The Irony

Sorry for the recent absence. It seems our home is electronically challenged at the moment. Here's a brief list of all the things that aren't working right now:
  • the "p" on my blackberry - making it incredibly challenging to email, text or do anything really, although it has caused me to be a more creative writer find ways to say the same thing with words that don't include the letter "p".
  • apparently the Wii is not recognizing the wireless controllers, which has proved exceptionally frustrating for S and his friend as they can't play the new Goldeneye game that just came out. Thankfully, other than his frustration this doesn't affect me. Selfish. I know.
  • my camera - remember, nothing was "wrong" with the camera, per se. But this makes almost 4 weeks since I've had a camera. Yikes!
  • oh, and did I mention that part of my absence was due to the fact that our hard drive failed on our Mac. Yes. On our mac. I thought those things were invincible. Apparently not. I'm waiting for an update from our tech guys at work. Have you ever lived without a computer? It's so challenging! And shows how reliant I am on recipe websites, weather checking, and other nonsense.
  • That's about it - but, really, isn't that enough for one person?!

And may I just remind everyone that S works for a certain electronics store....seems a little ironic, doesn't it?


Girls and Power Tools

If you haven't already stumbled across Ana White's blog, you should really check her out. She is AMAZING.

Last fall I made this:
Which looks like this now.
And I did it all. by. myself. (Mostly because Seth would have never let me use power tools alone! But what happens while he's at work, well, that's my little home remodeling secret!)

Then I found this website. And I fell in love.

I shared my love with my mom. And my super handy pops made this for my mom's new deck.
Wood-Slat Double Lounger
(Photo courtesy of West Elm) This baby retails for $549 WITHOUT the cushions to make it comfy. Thankfully my dad made it for a fraction of the price. Now if only he could make one for me!

I've already made these
but I stained mine instead of painting them white. They still need to be hung. We're currently in matrimonial negotiations on where they will reside.

What should my next project be?

Psst - just don't tell Seth that I'm using power tools!


Happy Thanksgiving...

I'm having a really hard time being positive right now. I'm so frustrated. And I feel so lonely. I miss my family. And I hate not spending holidays in my mom's kitchen in Nebraska. I miss traveling home to Nebraska to see friends, sitting on the deck with my pops drinking coffee and watching the squirrels, helping my mom in the tiny kitchen that IS home, sleeping off the triptophan in my old bedroom. That's what Thanksgiving is - and that's what I miss. Simple really.

I'm trying so hard to make family a priority and to instill some new traditions even though we don't get to see much of our families during the holidays. I'm frustrated that S doesn't share this vision with me, but instead wants to go play football with kids from work while the rest of our family in Colorado participates in the Turkey Trot. My honest thoughts? He sees those kids EVERY DAY at WORK! We only get to see my brother and SIL once or twice a month - and its THANKSGIVING for crying out loud!

Spending the holidays away from all our family isn't a new thing, so I should be used to low key uneventful holidays by now. But I have to be honest, I HATE S's job. I hate that we never get to travel. I hate that we never get time to do the fun things associated with the holidays (holiday light parade, zoo lights, holiday parties, holiday shopping, decorating the house, etc). I hate that even if I wanted to travel to see family for the holidays that S wouldn't be able to come with me - thus defeated the "family-ness."

It's no wonder that we never put up a Christmas tree. By the time Christmas is here my resolve to have a great family holiday season has been drowned in loneliness and frustration. It seems its happening earlier than expected this year.

I know I should be a little more thankful right now, especially considering it is Thanksgiving. Maybe my attitude will change by tomorrow - especially when I go home tonight and lay everything out in preparation for Thursdays meal.

Pray for an attitude adjustment for me - I think I'm turning into Mrs. Scrooge.

Ideas. Ideas. Ideas

My SIL might be getting the niece and nephews their own iPod's for the holiday. How about this cute carry-all for my niece?Customizeable gadget case with Amy Butler Lacework in Grey Doubly Padded for great protection SEE SHOP ANNC. FOR FREE SHIPPING OFFER

Just $14.00 on Etsy by MushyBug

Or this little travel art kit for the middle child who loves to draw
Vintage Fabric Pencil Pouch, Travel Art Kit, Scribble Kit, Reclaimed Vintage by Whoopsie Daisies on Etsy
From Whoopsidaisies on Etsy for $25.00

But then what to do for my 10 year old nephew.....


Furniture Rant

Is it just me or do people using Craigslist in Denver have extremely inflated asking prices? Maybe I'm just insanely frugal, but you should see what people think their crummy old VENEER furniture can get!

Check this out - as an example. Really?! Granted it probably is hard wood - not veneer - but really?!

Although, I should mention I found this gorgeous beauty for only $85.
No, I didn't buy it, although how adorable would it be with some new modern fabric?!

And this is gorgeous, but $400 gorgeous?

Joi from Nuestra Vida Dulce always seems to find chic and fabulous finds on craigslist - for much more reasonable prices. Personally, I feel like the Denver craigslist market is inflated.

All I want is a simple desk that I can use as a sewing table, or an old console table to use in our entry way. I'm more than willing to refinish it - in fact I would prefer to! But there is nothing out there that fits the bill.

Subtle Changes

Our neighbor's house is for sale. Last weekend they had an open house and invited all the neighbors to come by - an interesting gesture but seems more honest than sneaking neighbors creepily spying on your house, I suppose. Until we learned that the owner is also a realtor. No doubt trying to stir up some business as well as sell her home.

Anyways, we went to the open house. In the pictures on the flier, her kitchen layout looked like ours, except she had a more open entry way.
See that "window" looking cutout? That's what I want!!!!

And these counters and cabinets that go under the window...
I would love to do that to this

So jealous. Its what I would love to do. But our extra large window prevents us from adding the cabinets and countertop that would add so much space!

But - she did have another great idea. And so simple! Why didn't I think of it. See, we both have a built-in unit like this
And she had removed the doors (and painted the back wall as an accent). So guess what I did this weekend?

You'll have to wait until tomorrow when I can take a pictures or it!


Gift List

I've officially started my Christmas gift list. Our family isn't "big" on gift giving. S and usually do a gift to each other but its without too much ceremony. For example, a few years ago for Christmas he gave me my gift early while we were in the car on the way to dinner. He reached around to the backseat and handed me a Dillards bag and said "Merry Christmas." It was the perfume that I had wanted. No ceremony. No wrapping paper. No gift sitting under the tree for weeks just waiting for me to unveil it. And since we haven't spent a Christmas with family since - well, for a really long time (retail management jobs!), we don't really do gifts for our family either. The only kids in the family are a niece and two nephews that we don't get to see on Christmas.

But this year I don't care if we don't get to see people. By golly, we're having Christmas!

And this week it starts with making my list.

However, now that I look at my list, I'm realizing that 1/2 of it is Christmas and the other is birthdays and bachelorette party and wedding stuff!

Here is what our December looks like:
  • Bachelorette party for family member
  • Two 30th Birthdays for best friends
  • SIL's birthday
  • Poppa's birthday
  • Brother's wedding (in Costa Rica - yeah, be jealous!)
  • Christmas!
I have a feeling its gonna be an expensive month!



Totally played hooky yesterday to do a little of this:

Ok. I guess its not hooky if your boss approved the time off. But still, it was a weekday, and other people were working. Which always makes it more fun!


Something Old, Something Awesome

I love thrifting. It's sort of a new addiction. When I first moved to Colorado over 6 years ago I found a great Goodwill with lots of great finds - probably because it's close to the posh neighborhood of Cherry Creek!

Now that we are in our second home, I've been thrift-looking for furniture. Almost a year ago I can across two of these beauties.

Being the good housewife that I am (and knowing that S would think these were a waste of money), I hid them in the back room of the basement. At least until they could get a new coat of paint and some new upholstery.

And now they look like this! Aren't they gorgeous? Sorry for the poor
picture quality. Maybe when I get my new camera I'll repost with updated and better photos.

And yet S still isn't sure about them. Oh, boys will be boys!


A Late Life Goal

Music has always been a very important piece of my life. As far back as I can remember, I was a musically-inclined kid. I was in every musical production at church and I was never shy about singing in front of others. My freshman year of high school I earned a spot on the select singing choir, Image. We led chapel worship, performed at school events and concerts, and even did performances throughout our community as well as an annual tour that took us to Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis.

While neither of my parents were into the performing arts, my mom frequently had a CD playing while she made dinner, cleaned the house, or sat on the back porch. Especially during the holiday season I can always remember Mannheim Steamroller or other holiday music blasting from the kitchen while we made cookies or prepared a meal. And I'm the same way today. Our iPod dock lives on the kitchen counter where I can switch it on when I walk in the door. I love having music playing while I fold laundry, mop the floors or play around in the kitchen.

One of my best friends in high school was also in the select choir, and she played the piano beautifully. I have fond memories of her sitting at the piano magically making beautiful music from those black and white keys while I sang along. I miss that. Our little jam session - or as our other friend called our opportunities for "harmonization." When we did a girls reunion a few years ago we couldn't help but have Sarah play her baby grand piano while Abbey and I sang along.

The piano player and I at Junior Formal...
And then a few years ago

I've always admired those who can play the acoustic guitar. In fact, I'd call it straight jealousy. So now that I'm 30, I'd really like to learn to play the guitar. Only problem is, I want to play it NOW. The learning process is slightly intimidating. I want to be like Sarah - I want to sit down with my instrument and play beautiful music. But I can learn something so intricate this late in life?

How about you? Do you have a life goal/accomplishment that you want to fulfill?


An early Christmas

You know those pesky "warranties" that stores always want you to purchase. Sometimes it seems like they just want to take on an extra zero onto your bill. Well, since Seth works at one of those places that offers those warranties, we sometimes do get them on major purchases. Like my first digital camera that he gave me for my birthday way back in 2005. And that was the last camera he bought me. But it's not the camera I'm using today! Well, actually, I don't have a camera right now. You see, with the warranty the camera is covered in the event that "something" happens to it. And the original camera got sand in the lens during our honeymoon. Sent it in and now we have a new (upgraded) camera. A few years later and "something" happened to it. So soon I will be getting a new (upgraded) camera. Until then, I'm camera-less.

While I would love one of these bad boys
8975184 Front Detail
I'm not sure that my photo skills demand such highly sophisticated technology quite yet.

In the meantime, maybe I can get my grubby hands on something like this

9766919 Front Large

Until then, no picture taking for me.... (sad face)


Ikea. Wherefore art thou, my Ikea?

I want this. Just saying.
RATIONELL VARIERA Spice rack with 6 jars gray Width: 14 ¼ " Depth: 2 ¼ " Height: 4 ½ "  Width: 36 cm Depth: 6 cm Height: 11.5 cm

Our Ikea can't open soon enough. I told S to start saving his pennies, cause when that sucker opens were going SHOPPING!

My favorite time of year

Fall is my favorite time of year, so it should come as no surprise that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It encompasses all of my favorite things: family, food, wine, laziness, naps, and more food!

I did throw a little pity party last weekend though. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, yes. But the majority of my family live so far away that we don't get to see them for the holidays. Thus, making the holidays a bit depressing. Thankfully my little brother and his wife live in the same city, so at least we get to see them. In fact, little brother is in charge of the green bean casserole this year, an upgrade from dinner rolls which was last years assignment.

So to keep my spirits up, here's a quick reminder (to myself) of all the things I love about the holiday and the time of year:
  • perfect running weather (although it's been a week since I've run - oops!)
  • fire in the fireplace (had the first fire going last night - love!)
  • lots of "comfort" food
  • sweet cinnamon pumpkin candles (from Bath and Body Works)
  • the crunch of leaves while on walks with the dogs
  • a cup of tea
  • stuffing - yum!
  • the colors of fall - gold, orange, reds!
  • leftover Thanksgiving food - super yum!
While these wonderful things are great, they aren't as great as spending time with my family. But at least for another year I'll have to settle with phone calls to other time zones. Someday we'll all be together again for a Thanksgiving. Until then...I'll try to celebrate the family that we do have near. And gorge myself on stuffing!


Whatcha been reading lately?

Have you ever noticed what a big waste of time and energy the TV is? Yeah, maybe you already noticed that. I've found myself reading a lot more recently - for which I am grateful, as I feel it is a much better use of my time! However, I'm having a hard time finding "good reads."

My sister-in-law recently told me that I had to read this book - The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
So apparently it's a New York Times bestseller - and I have NO IDEA WHY. Especially since it's a YOUNG ADULTS book! I was warned by the SIL that it was a little different, but she told me it was a must-read. After the first three chapters I was almost in tears (I'm a very sensitive reader) and texted her about my concern. She basically confirmed that this was just how the book was and that no, it didn't get any better, but that I still had to read it. And against my better judgement, I did end up finishing the book. But it's the first in a series! Ugh, so now I have to determine if I want to continue with the 2nd and 3rd books. If you've heard about this series then you know what I'm talking about. If not, well, proceed with caution.

Next up on my list was The Shack by William P. Young.

A friend of mine had raved about it. My SIL - whom I'm starting to question her judgement on reading - said it was "meh." But, I had nothing else to read at the moment so I jumped in. And this is what I will say - it was good. I think it is a great book for people who have a disillusioned idea about Christianity. Having grown up in the church (Sundays, Wednesdays and every day of the week at a Christina school) it was a good read. It aligned with my personal beliefs on a relationship with God, and I hope that it paints a new and refreshing picture of "a relationship with God" for those who have a distaste for anything "Christian."

And then I picked up a few books from Sam's Club out of desperation. First up was The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
My mother-in-law actually mentioned this book to me after I had already purchased it. After the first 2-3 chapters though I had to put it aside. I'm a super sensitive reader, and my running partner had recently put her 15 year old dog down, and the book about a family - told from the dog's perspective - was just a little too close to home at the time. I just finished it however, and cried uncontrollably through the last two chapters. Ironically, our 5 year old boxer was in bed with me while I was crying and came up to comfort me. She looked at me with these eyes that said, "I know. I know exactly what you are thinking and feeling." And since then I swear, she communicates more like a person than ever.

And this weekend I picked up The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
I'm only about 6 chapters in, but already I'm loving it!

And that's what I've been reading lately - and I welcome any and all recommendations - unless it's gonna make me cry!

Bathroom update

I'm so glad that I posted Seth's little "surprise" back in September. I'm definitely getting old in the fact that I can't seem to remember details - like, how long has my bathroom been torn up? I would have had no idea without this little blog entry!

So the update is....
  • everything has been torn out
  • three rows of tile have been laid
  • that's all
We removed the tile that ran about 3 1/2 feet up the wall. We plan to put up bead board to cover the nastiness and add some detail.yay - not really sure what happened to the top of the shower - but I'm guessing the exposed studs mean we'll be putting up some sheet rock soon.And we'll need to finish the tile around the toilet (lots of cutting - ugh) and then grout.

Seth seems to have a very specific "order" to how he wants this done. When I offered to go get bead board and start putting it up this weekend, he said no. Apparently he thinks that bead board is the last step in the reno process.

With the holidays quickly approaching and thus a crazy work schedule for Seth, I'm hoping that we can make some progress in the next few weeks - at least to the point where he'll let me do some of the work unsupervised!


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