Friday, November 8, 2013

You can find me in California!! (Kinda...)

I'm visiting Meryl, Chris & Zoe at Picardy Project today!

Well, virtually, anyway...Come visit! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Catching up...

Oh how I wish I had something exciting and wonderful to write about but, sadly, I don't.  Such is the life of a mom with two crazy busy kids.  Her's just a little snippet of what's happenin' around these parts lately...

Halloween came and went.  For the first time in 13 years, Olivia wasn't trick-or-treating with us - she chose to go to a completely different neighborhood with a group of friends and break our tradition.  I tried not to cry.  I was unsuccessful.  (Yes, I'm THAT mom).  Luckily, I still have a few more years with Sydney and she actually seems to enjoy being with us, so there's that.

Olivia is gearing up for Cheer competition - her last one with the local athletic association since she'll be in High School next year (WHAT?!!)  so we are in "practice 2 1/2 -plus hours every day of the week for the next 14 days while  managing to go to school, do homework, and still cheer at games an hour and a half away since the team made play offs this year " mode.  It's crazytown around here and she'll be beyond exhausted next week when competition is over (and will immediately get sick - she does every year).  I'm sad it's her last year cheering and competing  since she says she doesn't want to in high school.  I'll probably cry. (See?   I really am THAT mom!)

Sydney is flipping and tumbling and gymnastic-ing all over the place and really enjoying it.  She seems to have found her thing in gymnastics, and I'm happy for her.   I went to her Halloween party and realized that it was the last Elementary School Halloween party I would probably ever attend since she starts Middle School next year.  Do I really have to tell you how that makes me feel?  (See above).

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving - I'm hosting this year since mom did last year (this means that she gets Christmas this year though - ha!).  We are having a HUGE  crowd so I'm already mentally preparing for it.  At least 12 of us are running the local Turkey Trot that morning, which will hopefully become a new tradition.  The girls are running it with us - although Olivia is NOT happy about it and will probably walk it with her friends.  I don't care as long as she's moving.  She doesn't enjoy running (my God that girl is exactly like me at that age) although Sydney really likes it and has been out running with me a few times so she's looking forward to it.

As for me, I've been running a few early mornings a week with the neighbor  - there's something so perfect about getting up before the sun and running a few miles.  I still can't believe that I enjoy running.  I'm thinking about a half marathon next year but the idea of running 13.1 miles just seems so ridiculous.  And HARD.  I'm a 3-4 mile kinda girl.  I enjoy that distance right now and I'm just trying to run more often rather than longer distances.   Brian and I joined the local gym and are enjoying our time there too - when we get to go, which will hopefully be easier once cheer season winds down.

So that's it around here - my babies are growing up, time is flying by, the holidays are coming and I'm trying to get some projects done for the house.  Anything exciting happening with anyone else out there??

Monday, October 14, 2013

We only planned on cleaning the carpets, but....

I try to steam clean our carpets at least once a year to keep them looking nice.

Dogs and kids wreak havoc on carpets! 

This weekend Brian and I decided to bite the bullet and get it done since we have guests coming next weekend.   I found a $5 coupon for Bissell steam cleaners at Lowes and so off we went Friday night to rent one for 48 hours.  The Bissell was great - and only cost us $34.99 for two days after my coupon - woot! 

We cleaned out the family room Friday night so it was looking like this.  I'll try to give you a 360 degree view...

 The room was awkward to try and place furniture because we have two big couches and two chairs and the TV was placed between the windows - which was the only place we could put it. 

Although we had to run the cable to it (that cord used to be tucked between the trim and the carpet).

That's the dining room through the pocket doors (with all the family room furniture piled high)

The sliding door to the right of the pocket doors goes to the breakfast room and to the kitchen.  The sliding door is on a barn door track.  The door came from my former office, a huge old historic home (I snagged three of them and a few other little goodies before the office was demolished) and probably dates back to the 1920s. Brian and I stripped it, stained it and put a patterned film on the glass until I can afford to replace the glass with colored/stained glass. So, chances are it'll stay like that forever ;)

The door to the right of that door leads to the bathroom.

Bathroom door again,with the guest bedroom door to the right 

 Looking in from the breakfast room, guest room on the left.

Got the lay of the land now? 


Forgive the quality....I'm pretty sure I was a few cocktails in at this point.

Of course, that's usually when I can convince Brian to go along with my brilliant ideas. 
It didn't hurt that he was a few cocktails in at this point too.

Anyone else out there like to have a few drinks while they are deep cleaning - at 11:00 at night on Friday?


Bueller?   Bueller?

Ok, maybe it's just us.
Anyway, I looked at Brian and said "You know what would look great...."

And he was totally on board with what I suggested.

(It should be noted that I have been suggesting this for about 5 years now....)

Never underestimate the power of suggestion boys and girls.

And liquor.

NEVER underestimate the power of suggestion - after someone's been drinking liquor.

This is starting to sound like a PSA for all those young actors on the Disney channel.

Moving on.....

The next morning we got up and started hammering and drilling....

And vacuuming saw dust - Sydney was in charge of that.  

The end result was this - we removed the middle of the double bookcase (which was surprisingly easy) and reran the cable and electric through the bottom cabinets,  so we could put the TV in there and the cable box and DVR in the shelf above.

Later, after the carpets were cleaned (and dry) we moved everything back in - but now it looked like this:

I mean really - why didn't we do this years ago???

 We still have to get some window treatments up there, finish the shelf for the TV (which was quickly thrown together when we realized the TV needed to be higher), and get a bigger TV according to my husband (not gonna happen).

It's so cozy now.  I have claimed the chair to the left (below) as my spot. 

So there you have it - a quick, easy project we should have done years ago.

And now I want to repaint and stain the built-ins darker and do some sort of ceiling treatment.

I just have to convince Brian.....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

“I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special”

 “I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special

Fifteen years ago today Brian and I stood underneath a pergola topped with wisteria and twinkle lights, surrounded by people that loved us and said our vows.   
It was the smartest thing I ever did.  
Since that day we've  had two gorgeous girls, a few dogs, a couple of houses, many vacations, many struggles,  made a lot of memories  and had a few knock down, drag out fights and days where we were so mad we couldn’t even look at each other,  always followed by apologies and declarations, assurances and demonstrations of love and devotion.
I make no apologies for that - we’re passionate people, both when we fight and when we love. But we always come back together, full circle.

Circumstances over the past week or so have caused us both to look back over our life together and contemplate our future.  We have a lot of things we want to do, places we want to explore, things we want to experience – together – that seem to get pushed back. 

The kids are too young.
We don’t have the time off from work.
It’s too far.
We shouldn't spend money on that when we have other responsibilities.
The world is too scary right now.

Our goal for the next 15 years is to experience everything we've been pushing off to the future.  
This IS our future.  
We’ll figure out a way around all of the excuses.  
We have to.  

Life is too short and whether we live to be 100 or 50, our time together is limited.
We need to make the most of it and never regret a minute of it – the good and the bad.

So, here’s to traveling, and exploring, and experiencing life as a couple and as a family.  

But most of all, here's to the next 30 minutes or 30 years  together ...
no matter what, it’s been worth every second. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Olivia's Room

For Olivia's 13th Birthday, she wanted to redo her room.

The teenager in question - getting ready to help me paint....

Her room was originally the guest bedroom and while it was sweet and feminine, she wanted something that was a little more HER.

So, we moved her to another spare room upstairs which - while a tiny bit smaller square footage-wise - had a better layout for her.
In progress - getting ready to paint the walls - ceiling and trim is done!

This room was the "catch all" room upstairs - all of the clothes the girls outgrew and were waiting to be passed on were in here, along with a few pieces of furniture.

That other doorway is Sydney's room - which is next on the list!
The closet in this room was a full size closet (a big plus over the closet in Liv's current room, which was half the size and shortened due to being over the stairs) but only had a single door opening.

So, we widened the opening for easier storage and access.

Of course, this means we had no door for her closet. 

Olivia chose all of the colors and materials - she wanted teal and zebra.

I think she chose well actually. 

Tiffany blue

I was afraid it would be too dark for this size room, but  it's quite cozy. 

The only problem was that we wanted to get her a new bed.  We thought a twin would work better in here, since the room was smaller and she had a lot of other furniture she wanted to place in here. 

I scoured Craigslist and thought about just getting a mattress and frame until I could find what we wanted.

Then I visited the ever helpful Ana White's website.

I've been dying to make a piece of furniture.

So I figured why not start with something simple?

Luckily, my dad is a great woodworker and helped me on my first foray into furniture building. 
The bed frame - ready for sanding!
I sanded that baby to within an inch of its life - it's sooooo smooth!!
It's a platform bed, which- as any mother of a teenager knows - means less crap shoved under the bed, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. 
I loved the bed, but I wanted to try something different for the headboard
I wanted an upholstered headboard, but wanted to be able to change it if she wanted to change the theme of the room. 

The Headboard

So, we went off plan and used a large piece of ply board and attached a raised frame so that we could insert the upholstered part.  That way, I can remove the headboard from the frame with a few screws, pull out the insert, change the fabric, insert it back into the headboard and reattach it to the frame. 

That small gap will hold the insert in the headboard. 

The next step - paint or stain?

We thought about white paint, but ultimately Olivia chose a dark stain - she thought it looked nicer than paint and a bit more mature. 

(Secretly I was more than relieved)

Seriously- aren't these just gorgeous?  I just love them.

I used Min-Wax Stain and Poly in one and honestly, I don't think I'll use that again for a project like this.  
I just didn't like the finish as much. 
Stain, sand, repeat.  Again and again and again....

Then it was time for the headboard.   

I attached foam to a piece of thin ply board and then wrapped in it batting and stapled the back. 

I had to trim the side of the foam so it would squeeze in the insert. 

Waiting for the adhesive to dry

Olivia picked out this material - via pictures I was texting her from the fabric store.

And it was marked down from $12.99 a yard to $4.99 a yard.  BONUS! 

Ready to be put together!!! 

This is not the greatest picture, but I wanted to show how the insert fit in the headboard. 

It went in so easily, but it's tight and since it rests on the frame, the insert doesn't move at all. 

Once the headboard was done, I attached it to the bed frame using some 2 x 6 boards that were as tall as the headboard.  The headboard is very large and top heavy, so I screwed that sucker on tightly. 

It's pretty sturdy.

OK - are you ready for the final product?  

Of course, no teenage girl's room is complete without One Direction posters, amiright?

The vanity was a hand me down from a friend.  
I painted it and covered the top in contact paper so she can just wipe it off. 

The mirror is her old "Disney" mirror (it was pink with crowns).

A little gold paint and it's a little more dignified. 

No closet door?  No problem!  A zebra sheet works just fine thankyouverymuch. 

Looking in from the door

We still have some shelves to hang for her cheer trophies and window treatments would be nice. 

We also have two more strings of lanterns that need to be hung so they will be all the way around the room and we need to get her a very tall, very thin dresser.  I'm thinking IKEA? 

So, my first time building furniture and I am HOOKED!  I already have a few ideas for my next project! 

Brian's a little scared....


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

So, yeah - THIS happened. Or I guess better yet - this DIDN'T happen.

This Sunday was the Tough Mudder. 

We've been training for months.
(Ok, I've been training.  Brian's been talking about training.)

I was mentally READY.

(Although probably still not physically ready.  Have you seen the obstacles in this thing???)

Anyway, the point is I was READY.


I was going to KICK ASS!!

Then this happened:

VA Beach Mudders: Tropical Storm Andrea is hammering the course right now, and a significant portion is under water. There's a chance we won't be able to open it for Saturday, but we're working through the night to do what we can. Please check your email for updates - we'll have a final answer at 5:30am.

And then THIS happened:

Tough Mudder shared a link.
VA Beach Mudders,
You all know by now that we had to cancel the entire event. We're gutted - this was the last option and we want you know we worked nonstop for 48 hours to try and get the course in shape. Long story short, we can't implement our Medical Safety plan with the course as mess. As bummed as we are, we'd rather keep our Mudders safe, even if that means you'll be pissed at us.

We're offering transfers for participants and refunds for spectators; please go to the event page for more info:

Thanks for sticking it out with us. We hope to see you on another course this year.


So now, we wait until November and travel to Charlotte to try this all over again.  
I was beyond pissed Saturday.  
Not that they cancelled the event because - let's face it - I don't really want to die and if they can't get in to rescue me should something horrible happen, then I'm not even gonna attempt it.
No, I was upset because I was READY.
And the course was on this gorgeous plantation right on the James River
(which, in hindsight was probably not the best place to host one of these events during hurricane season)
The pictures were beautiful, the weather on Sunday was perfect - but sadly most of the obstacles were flooded out.

So, now I concentrate on my triathlon in August and once that's done, I will go back to training for the TM. 

I started riding my bike to get ready - Holy out of shape!!  It's amazing how in shape you think you are and how strong you feel until you do something your body isn't used to.

After five minutes I thought I would die. 

I have a loooooong way to go to prepare - not to mention the swim!

Oh, and Liv's room is getting there - it's painted, she's moved in (story for another day - oh, the drama of having a teenage girl)

And, I can't find a bed that I like for her so I'm gonna make one! 

I'm so excited!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Livvie Lou's new room - Coming Soon!

This baby girl:

 Has suddenly grown into this 13 year old girl (Wait, what??):

And needs a new room to reflect her teenager status. 

It involves this:

And this:

Stay tuned....