Monday, December 27, 2010

No More Unsightly Holes Part II

Whew!  We made it through another Christmas successfully.  If you've been wondering where I have been, I apologize.  The holidays can seriously stress me out, and I needed to focus my efforts on survival.  With our new found free time, we decided to start thinking about house projects again.  
This hole has existed in our otherwise fully functioning kitchen for going on 10 months now.  As far as I know, we have not lost anything down there! 
Jason tackles the hole with some hardie board while George Costanza looks on.  Jason bought that tv with the Christmas money from his uncle.  Thanks Lee!  
And tada!  This hardie board is certainly hardy.  When we FINALLY make a decision and pick some tile for the backsplash, the tile can go directly on this stuff.  In the meantime, we do not have to worry about losing a measuring cup to the black abyss of DIY remodel living. 

But the REAL reason why I have been neglecting my blogging is that I'm PREGNANT!  Anyone who reads this blog most likely already knows that, but it's fun to shout it from the blogosphere mountaintops.  I've basically been too exhausted the last couple months to do much of anything besides dragging myself through the things that I HAVE to do, so blogging and housework have fallen by the wayside a little bit.  Today I'm 12 weeks, so I'm hoping the second trimester will bring some of my enthusiasm back. 

So is this blog going to turn into a baby blog?  Probably, just warning you.  I still plan to make posts about DIY projects and other random things, but who am I kidding, are we really going to have much time for that stuff?  This blog is about the details of our day to day lives (that I choose to share with you all), and this is pretty much the most exciting thing that will be going on with us for a while!  So for my Mom and anyone else who cares, here is a picture of the belly!  
(Clearly I did not put much effort into my appearance today, but it is my day off.)  So there it is, 12 week belly.  I've had TWO people tell me I'm showing already.  That kind of bothers me.  I'm not ready to be fat, not yet!  I want to hold it off as long as I can.  I've definitely gained some weight, but I was hoping I could pull off carefree 20 something a little longer.  Gini and Jason say I'm not showing yet, but I think that is their job to say that.  Honestly though, looking at that picture, it isn't as bad as it feels.  I feel like a huge bloated blimp, and that looks like maybe I wasn't sucking in for this picture.  But I was!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Trying not to OD on Christmas Cheer

Christmas is in full swing and I FINALLY gathered the energy to get my decorations out.  
Yep, this is about it for me.  I have the stockings my mother made, a quilted throw a student made, some elf shaped candles, a cat in a rude pose and a thousand Christmas catalogs.  
 You have to see these stockings close up!  They are so detailed and took my mom forever to make them.  
 This is the first time I've been able to enjoy them upstairs since she made them!  They are definitely my most treasured Christmas item.  
 I really like this wreath because it doesn't really say "Christmas" but more "winter".  (also it has metal stars all over it!)  You see, I'm not really into Christmas.  In fact, usually I detest Christmas so much that I begrudgingly pull out the decorations for the sake of my students only.  What I don't like is the rampant commercialism, the incessant tired old Christmas carols that I have to play a million times at gigs, and the pressure to buy, buy, buy.  I also feel that many of the emotions are contrived and insincere.  But maybe that is just my emotions, I'm coming to wonder!  I usually grumble through the season and hope it will pass quickly, but this year I have decided to try and look at things differently.  I don't WANT to be a scrooge, and I think there are some good things I can find in this season.  I have Netflix so I can easily avoid the commercials.  I no longer work in a department store, so the emotional trauma of the one hour cd of Christmas carols they played back to back ad nauseam is slowly numbing with each passing year.   This year, I'm trying to focus on family and traditions.  
 Unfortunately I don't actually get to see any of my family this Christmas, but I put up a few things that remind me of them.  My grandmother on my mom's side was Swedish, which only makes me 1/4 Swedish, but I still like honoring her and remembering Christmas at her house.  Here I have a Swedish straw Yule Goat and a Dala horse.  The Yule goat is missing some of his beard I think but I've had him for a while.  The reindeer was purchased at Target and isn't Swedish or family oriented in the least but I think it makes a nice trio with the others!  I have some other decorations, but I left them in the box this year partially out of laziness but mostly because a little Christmas goes a long way for me and I don't want to OD.  I am trying to be optimistic here and I'm taking baby steps! 
When we purchased the house it already had these rope lights up, so all we have to do is plug them in.  That's just the right amount of effort for us.  There is a dead spot in the middle of the rope, but we really don't care enough to do anything about it. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Couple of My Favorite Things

My new favorite thing is to sit in the living room with the fireplace turned on!  I never knew how much I would love having a gas fireplace.  When I thought of fireplaces before, I thought of my mom getting up every morning to light a fire in the basement to heat the house in the winter, and the carbon monoxide alarm going off constantly.  Either we don't have a problem with this at our house, or the batteries are dead in our monoxide alarms.  Flipping a switch for an instant fire is probably the greatest thing ever, and now that I'm spoiled with fireplaces, I don't think I could ever live without one.  That is unless we move to Florida! 
Tosca is in agreement, but then anything involving sitting and warmth is her cup of tea!  It is getting colder here, so this is the first time we've really been able to enjoy the upstairs fireplace.  This time last year we had no floors and were in firm denial about the length of time our project was going to take.  
This is going to sound silly I'm sure, but another one of my favorite things is picking out the weekly table decorations.  I enjoy picking out a table runner or cloth and finding an object in my home that would make a good centerpiece.  I'm sure by the end of my life I will have amassed enough table runners to have a different one every week all year with no repeats (hint hint relatives who don't know what to buy for me at gift giving occasions!).  I am very enthralled with my new Pottery Barn table runner, and I think my Grandma's cracker dish goes well with it. This has actually been the table decorations for a couple weeks now, but both items are new acquisitions and I'm not through enjoying them yet!  Next week I'll have to get out the obligatory Christmas decor, but for now I think these colors are "Fallish" enough. 
I FINALLY finished these paintings for our bedroom.  I have had these half done for months now, and I spent many hours finishing them up.  These are the largest paintings I've ever attempted and I had no idea how time consuming they would be!  I don't pretend that they are anything but amateur, but I'm pleased with how they turned out.  I had fun making them, and we needed something in this big empty space anyway! 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Making No Bones About It!

These are probably the last pictures I can scrape into a blog posting from our summer vacation. 
On our drive back home, we stopped at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman Montana.  They have a world famous collection of dinosaur fossils!
This is the world's largest Tyrannosaurus rex skull!  I never would have survived in prehistoric times, taking pictures all nonchalantly.  
Jason probably wouldn't survive either.  He is always complaining about his family's stubby fingers, and they are obviously no match! 
They also have the world's most complete Triceratops growth series.  I was honestly more impressed by this. They had a huge room devoted to the triceratops, and those things are big!  I think they really should get more star power than some of the other dinosaurs.  Whose favorite dinosaur is ever the triceratops?  I'm switching.  Sorry, brontosaurus! 
I thought this one was downright beautiful!  
This one lived to be very old because all his spikey things are worn down.  There is also probably the world's smallest triceratops there in the foreground.  Impressive! 
They also had captive researchers that you could watch.  Jason didn't want me to take this picture because he thought the flash would be distracting, but I took it anyway and they didn't react.  They're probably used to this paparazzi filled rock star lifestyle.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Don't Feed the Wildlife (unless a fat lady already is)

Our summer trip pictures have offered quite a lot of blog posting material, and today's post is no different.  While RVing with Jon and Roberta, we happened to camp next to a middle aged lady and her mentally disabled adult son.  One evening while we were dining on some wonderful macaroni and cheese (with pine nuts!), the son came over and pounded on our door.  He wanted us to come out and see the deer in our camp!  
This lady was feeding the deer an entire loaf of white bread.  When I came out with my camera, the lady said "your friends are going to wonder who that fat chick in your pictures is!"  So true!  I never got her name, but she is forever immortalized in my blog.  It's like being famous! 
Here I am, smug as can be because I get to stand so close to a deer.  This picture is funny because it looks like the deer is nibbling my boob but in reality it is just scarfing the terrible white bread. 
I know this is bad because it is horrible for the deer in several ways, but I figured that lady was going to continue feeding the deer the entire loaf of white bread, whether I participated or not.  I definitely would not feed wildlife of my own volition unless it was a bag of feed that you purchase for $10 from a state park employee.  These poor deer were already doomed to a stomach ache.  But her velvety lips tickled my fingers, and look how cute she is!
 Jason and I got to scratch her fuzzy head and she totally didn't care as long as the other hand had disgusting white bread in it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Is there a Rugdoctor in the house?

This weekend we had our first thing break in the house that was unplanned.  Mostly, we've been doing the breaking ourselves, on purpose of course and in the form of demolition.  But this weekend, I got up to take a shower and found this:
The cold water handle had just mysteriously broken off and was lying in the tub.  We weren't brokenhearted.  We know that the fixtures in the bathroom are cheap and ugly, and we want to replace them eventually.  Note the word "eventually."  Jason has big plans for the bathroom, and to properly replace this handle would require some other demo that we are not prepared for at the moment.  But how exactly did it break?  I'm thinking this one did it:
Tosca loves the bathtub water from the faucet.  I mean L-O-V-E.  She drinks it like we don't give her clean, filtered water in a petmate water fountain.  So to get her fix, why not break off the handle so it can't turn off?  She is quite a diabolical kitty.  Here she is, staring at the faucet and willing it to drip, because Jason has fixed the handle.  It isn't a handle that matches, but this is a quick fix until we get something grand and beautiful in there.  In other words, we don't really care what it looks like right now as long as it works!  
 Right after I took this picture, Jason asked, "must we always have a picture?"  The answer is heck yes!  Here he is demonstrating our other weekend project:  cleaning the carpet!  When we moved in, the carpet in the basement was really stained. So stained, that we thought it was ruined and we just thought we'd live with it for now and replace it someday.  But my very smart parents suggested that we clean it.  Here is a picture I found of a before:
And here is the after!  
Okay so that doesn't really show how dirty it was, but believe me it was.  Plus, my student Patrick asked today if it was just him or was my carpet more blue?  Way to be observant, Patrick!  We also cleaned the couches upstairs.  Woohoo to a productive weekend! 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Decorating Neurosis

So this may be surprising to those of you familiar with my weekly schedule, but I think I may have too much time on my hands.  Last weekend I created these:
I must admit that I got this idea from the Hyvee Seasons catalog that I get for free in the mail, and I was so giddy with excitement when I saw them there was no stopping me!  I spray painted a bunch of funky looking gourds and probably spent an hour bedazzling them by hand with rhinestones and a glue gun. When I picked them out of the bin at the store, this socially awkward looking man came over to rifle through the bin also, but really he was just trying to talk to me.  He kept asking me dumb questions about what you do with them.  You look at them, of course!  Then I kept running into him inside the store, and he would comment on the fact that I was buying SO MANY useless pumpkins.  He was clearly not good at picking up people.  
I also made this table runner.  I know it is kind of wide for a table runner, but I didn't know what else to do with the fabric I bought.  It is a bit worrying to me how much joy I get from doing these crafty projects!  Jason does not seem worried, however, so that is a relief.  
I also purchased this wheat wreath in honor of fall.  I could go crazy buying home accents but I try to reel it in. 
I've complained about the ugliness of the wicker on the porch the entire time we've lived here, and finally while my parents were visiting, we decided to tear it off.  Here is the before picture.  
And here is the after.  No one has noticed enough to comment, but it makes me breathe a sigh of relief that it is gone.  True, you can see the peeling paint of the cement underneath now, but a wicker free porch is worth it.  Plus, it wasn't even real wicker, it was wicker like plastic, which seems even worse somehow.  Anne gave me that pumpkin for the porch and I love it, what a great gift!  Anne is probably the best gift giver ever.  You rock, Anne! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Random Summer trip photos

I haven't posted for a while, so I thought I'd put up a few more pictures from our summer vacation.  
I adore the drive on highway 38 from Portland to Coos Bay!  It is so picturesque with river and forest views, and I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures to pass the time. 
I love the way the water was glittering that day.  
The drive to Coos Bay has a lot of neat bridges!  
Jon and Roberta took us on a road trip in their massive RV!  That is their Honda Element that is dwarfed in the background.  
I always forget how gorgeous Oregon is in between visits.  It really makes Nebraska pale in comparison!  Nebraska isn't bad, don't get me wrong, but honestly, there is no contest here.  You might think that you would get used to it living there, but both my parents and Jon and Roberta take full advantage of the beauty by taking frequent sojourns in their surroundings. 
I have forgotten the name of this lake.  We stopped here randomly on our RV trek, and we took a couple hours to walk around this lake and stretch our legs.  I love the craggy branches of this submerged tree.  
This is that same lake from a different angle.  The mountain in the background appears to be peeking sheepishly at me! 
Jason's Dad is always on the lookout for places suitable for swimming.  Here they are sharing a bonding moment.  (I used my telephoto for this one, Dad!)
Remy, Roberta and I preferred to watch from the beach.  
Something I always look forward to when visiting Jason's family in Coos Bay is barbecued oysters.  Marvel at their enormous size!  We like to dip them in garlic butter. 
This picture was taken back at my parent's beach at the end of our trip.  It is amazing how much the Oregon coast seems to change from day to day!  I just can't soak up enough of it when we visit. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There is a Baby Siberian Tiger in this post! Get excited!

We finished our guest room just in the nick of time before my parents arrived!
 I can't believe what a transformation the paint made in this room!  
Look at the lovely and relaxing view from the bed you would have if you stayed with us!  It took three coats of white paint to cover up the dark brown and yellow on these doors, but it was worth it!
Jason is really proud of his patching job.  You can't even tell there was a hole here!  
Right away while Jason was at work, Eric and my dad rescued a dove from our fireplace chimney that had been stuck there for a few days.  Jason and I read online that if you put a flashlight at the bottom, the bird would fly toward it.  This did not work after several minutes of standing there with a sheet and a box, and even though Tosca (our cat) said she could get it herself, we had no other plan. 
My dad grabbed it with his bare hands and Eric threw a towel over it!  Manly stuff, I tell you!  You can see in this picture that the dove is filthy with soot, and it lost a lot of feathers in this process, but it flew away (probably into the neighbor's chimney)!  
We also did some touristy things, like riding the skytram at the zoo
visiting the baby Siberian Tiger, (it's okay, you can say it:  aww!)
and walking across the new pedestrian bridge across the Missouri River.  This was Mom's first trip to Iowa, woohoo!
We knew we'd had enough fun when things got a little crazy at the Durham Western Heritage Museum.  All in all it was a great time and went way too fast!