Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Like it never happened.

Does anyone else feel strange after packing up Christmas decorations? We enjoyed a wonderful white Christmas in Dalton with my family. After being snowed in for a few days, I came home and set to work on storing all the decorations. By that night, there was no trace that Christmas even happened.


work in progress
Hurley was so exhausted from playing in Dalton that he slept the whole time. He didn't stir one bit as I drug our 7.5ft tree across the floor in front of him. I think he was actually annoyed that I was making so much noise. He buried his face in his paws.

Here are a few pictures from our weekend.

John and my Mom making Christmas breakfast.
Hurley outside as the snow was falling.
The patio.
Gus wasn't thrilled to share his home with our monster.
Before we opened any gifts.
The face of concentration.
Aunt Caroline
camera shy
snowman making
The whole family.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find the baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Luke 2:8-12

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What the elves have been building.

After 21 months of parking outside our garage, I am happy to announce that we are now parked in our garage. The "elves" I was talking about were Patrick and his dad. The two of them spent hours upon hours putting two openers together. They are my heroes at least for the rest of the year.

I mentioned in an earlier blog posting (which you can find here) about getting an electrician to wire us up for these babies. Then Patrick's parents surprised us with two openers not to long after that. Have I mentioned that I love them? Oh, I love them.

My car parked in its new home.
Close up of the opener on "my" side of the garage.
It still boggles my mind that these doors have never been electronically lifted before now. Words cannot describe what these doors mean to me. I don't have to take groceries up into the house in the rain, I don't have to fight our beast to get into the house when he is covered in mud (or when trying to get out of the house for that matter), no more coming to grab a second load of groceries to find Hurley standing on them in the back of the car, no more frosty windows, no more freezing car in the morning, and I could go on I'm sure. Let's just say...

I am one happy lady.

Thank you Patrick and Bruce!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa came early

If you've ever been a young couple without kids then you probably know what it's like to feel pulled in many directions during the holidays. It's hard to juggle time between my family, his family, grandparents, and time together. Being a nurse, it's never a guarantee that I will be available on Thanksgiving or even Christmas day. That's right, people still get sick and babies come whenever they feel like it. Now, please don't hear me complaining. I love my job and I knew what I was getting into. I grew up watching my dad, an obstetrician gynecologist, do the exact same thing.

Thankfully, Patrick and I are blessed with very understanding parents. Patrick and I didn't make it home to see my family during Thanksgiving and my mom hasn't complained to me once. Last year, I worked Christmas day and so Patrick's parents came over the day after to celebrate "Christmas morning" all over again.

Whatever the circumstances are, Patrick and I make sure that we get time to open our presents in front of our tree with just the two of us. We have come to cherish it. This year was no different. We exchanged gifts this morning.  

Hurley and his sore paws that we've bandaged.
The mess we made.
 Now, for even more exciting news...

There are elves working in my garage! I'll show you their work later so check back!

Monday, December 20, 2010

What Christmas is all about...

When I was little, Christmas was about baby Jesus being born in a stable. It was a time to get excited about coming home from school and seeing the Christmas tree ready for ornaments. It was a time to ponder God sending his Son as a helpless baby. Christmas was about receiving gifts, seeing relatives (especially Clay and my cousins), and wearing special Christmas outfits. I remember one red dress in particular that I wore in kindergarten when I sang in the school's Christmas production. I just remember the way it would fill up with air as I spun in circles. I remember being so excited to attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at my church. I thought it was beautiful to see the light from one candle spread across the whole sanctuary. I remember feeling like Christmas morning would never come. I remember asking John (my older brother) if we could sneak down the stairs to try and see Santa. I remember thinking the whole season was magical.

Somewhere along the way the magic fades and consumerism is left behind. It's just not as magical when you're responsible for purchasing all the gifts, not to mention funding them. I've said before that Patrick and I want to make a point to keep the Christmas season in perspective. While I want our children to experience the magic that I felt as a child, I also want our whole family to spend time remembering the true meaning of Christmas. I want to be sure that we have our "Linus" moment if you will. This desire is one of the reasons why I am so thankful that my mom gave us an advent wreath. This is the first year that we have actually used it and it has brought so much joy to my heart. I feel like the anticipation is growing within my soul for rescue, redemption, and the return of our Savior. While you will not find it mentioned in Scripture, I think the wreath can be a great tool. My hope is that the wreath will become a family tradition. I've posted a picture of it before, but here is what our wreath looks like.

When we spend time lighting an Advent wreath, we are taking time to celebrate the truth about God. It is a time to affirm that Jesus Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. So when we light the candles we are reflecting on the past and placing hope in the future and final return of our Lord and Savior. 

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and
of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do
 Isaiah 9:6-7

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cards

I was very close to forgoing Christmas cards this year. I wasn't trying to be a scrooge, just economical. Patrick and I have been number crunching and doing our best to stick to our budget. We have a rather expensive anniversary trip coming up. Plus, we always spend too much during the holiday season. I thought my plan of ditching the cards would help keep the season in perspective. Well, I caved. When I began to receive Christmas cards in the mail I realized that it's not about money. It is taking a moment to let friends and family know that you love them and appreciate their love and support each year even if you don't get to see them the whole year through. I think there are other ways Patrick and I can learn to cut back and recognize Christ as being the reason for celebrating. I'll post more on that later though...

We had a very last minute picture taken. (Like, Aubrie was on her way out of our house with her keys in hand when I asked her to snap a couple photos of us in front of our tree.) I then got on shutterfly and ordered the cards later that same day. Now I'm trying to get them all in the mail on time. It hasn't been a horrible experience like some make it out to be. Hunting down new addresses can take some time though!

To all of our blogosphere friends/family, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Project

December's project was less renovation and more crafty. I've seen chalkboard paint used in combination with magnetic paint several times and thought I'd have a go at it. Instead of putting it on the walls I decided to put it in frames that can move around if need be. Here is my desk area before the craftiness was underway.

As you can see, the area above the desk was pretty bare. I'd been wanting a place to put little memos and photos. So here is how I did it.

Ugly, right?
I found this guy and his partner at home goods on sale. Can you believe nobody wanted it at full price? It was originally $50.

Next it was time to use my knife to remove the paper backing. Then I could take the art out, throw it away, and be left with the frames and glass.

I decided to start with painting the frames. I used red enamel spray paint. I think it's actually for model cars. It worked though!

I intentionally wanted some of the black from the frames to come through. While my first coat dried I went inside to cut out some cork board and begin applying it to the glass from one of the frames. I placed the glass on top of the cork and then traced around it with my knife so that I would have a piece that fit perfectly.

My mugs were holding down the cork board because it kept wanting to roll back up. I then used household cement to hold the two pieces (glass and cork) together.

The directions said to apply it to each piece and then allow it to sit for 10 minutes prior to putting them together. It worked pretty well. I did, however, push them together and then place some heavy books on top of them. That is why the cook book and phone book were on the table. I then went back to the garage to work on the magnetic chalkboard.

That was the first coat of magnetic spray paint. I followed directions and applied thin coats about 30 minutes apart from each other. Next was the chalkboard paint. I started this about 4 hours after the magnetic paint was finished.

My drop cloth was a mess at this point! The chalkboard spray paint went on a lot easier it seemed. I applied two coats about 1 hour apart from each other. While it was drying, I grabbed one of the red frames to put it together with the cork board.

Then after the magnetic chalkboard dried, I did the same with it. Here is the finished product. I'm sad to say that I'm not sure how long the chalkboard will last. I accidentally stepped on it (tripped over wrapping paper all over the office floor) and it cracked a little. You can only tell if you get up really close but it may have be replaced soon. 

Here is a list of supplies:

- a cork roll
- a knife
- a frame (or two)
- spray paint (color of choice for the frame)
- magnetic spray paint
- chalkboard spray paint
- household cement

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 2010

I said I would post some more pictures of it didn't I? I also thought I'd show another picture of the foyer now that I have finished with all the trim. Please take note that I do plan on painting the front door, but I decided that it doesn't fall into the trim category and so I could save it for later. Also please take note that I am aware wreaths should be displayed on the other side of the door. However, I didn't want my Christmas wreath share the same fate as my beautiful fall wreath (RIP). When Hurley is outside, the wreath comes inside.

Do you even remember what it used to look like?

Now for some other pictures from around the house.

One sleepy bear...
Santa's house sitting on the foyer table.
Our Advent wreath.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas's Past

Our first Christmas in our apartment was simple and we had to get creative. We went to hobby lobby to find things to make some ornaments. The lights from our tree were hand-me-downs from a friend of ours as was the wreath that we put on our door. Our tree still looked kind of empty, but we loved it because it was ours. Now we really enjoy pulling those same ornaments out and remembering our first Christmas as a married couple.

December 2008
making snowflakes
Our "Christmas morning"
Unfortunately, I never took a picture of our tree last year. I'm a little sad that I don't have a picture to remember our first Christmas tree in our house, but I am determined to do better with year two. However, we did have a pretty cute addition to our family last Christmas...

We were a little preoccupied playing with Hurley on the kitchen floor... I'm pretty sure he was still sleeping in there at that point because he couldn't make it through the night without having to go out and "get busy". Crazy how things change in a year!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Does anyone else find themselves drinking way too much hot chocolate this time of year? It's not just because I have had a sore throat. I get really excited about my Christmas mugs and hot cocoa every December. You can ask my husband. My hot chocolate consumption is kind of ridiculous actually. Anyway, I thought I'd post on some of our family Christmas traditions thus far. Some are things we actually have done every year. The rest are things we are currently working to complete.

1. Decorate the house for Christmas while listening to Christmas music.

2. Every member of the family putting ornaments on the tree together (more Christmas music).

3. Make homemade ornaments.

4. Wrap "Santa" gifts using gift wrap with the jolly man himself on it. That way, we know which ones are from loved ones and which ones are from Santa.

5. Have a family advent wreath that we celebrate with every week at dinner complete with Scripture reading and prayer (this is new because my mom gave us an advent wreath last year).

6. At some point during the month wed' like to enjoy a Christmas movie night (more hot chocolate consumption is a must).

7. Go to our church's candlelight service Christmas Eve.

8. Open one gift to each other on Christmas Eve.

9. Read about the birth of Jesus in Luke Christmas Eve and finish the wreath.

10. Eat breakfast casserole Christmas morning after opening gifts.

What about you? Have some fun traditions with your family? I'd love to hear what sort of things other families do to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Project

I guess it is time to show you what I did in the month of November as my little "project". It was a continuation of the things done in September. I almost feel like the whole thing is becoming a foyer renovation. Here is the before (like way back in August).

And here is what it looked like after the September project that you can find details on here.

And this it what it looks like right now.

The basement view.
The foyer view.
As you can see, I finished off the trim in the foyer. The only thing left to do is paint the doors and door moldings. Oh, and paint the walls. It seems I will always be painting this house. I'll probably be buried with a paint brush in my hand. Good news is that I'm still enjoying it.