Friday, December 30, 2011

Goodbye, 2011. Hello, 2012.

I've been on vacation since last Thursday and have been spending my time painting curtains, watching House, cleaning/purging, and enjoying some lazy time, too.  After the new year, I will have a living room reveal for you and, soon after that, a bedroom reveal.  So far, I have purged a mountain of clothes to put in consignment and taped paint samples to the wall.
Anyway, here we are at the end of 2011.  A lot has changed for me over this year and I wanted to honor that somehow.  Justine wrote a post to sum up her year and I have stolen it decided to use it, too.
Here's where I am going into 2012:
Age: 27
Location: Northern Kentucky (Cincinnati area)
Status: Married!
Occupation: School Psychologist
Favorite food: This is a hard question since I am such a picky eater.  I guess I would have to say pot roast.  I just cannot get enough of a good pot roast.
Favorite color: Orange (bright), green (deep).
Music I like right now: Adele, Dashboard Confessional, Death Cab for Cutie, Country (Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Joe Nichols, Taylor Swift)
TV shows I watch: I don't watch TV a lot, at least not when it's first airing.  Brad and I don't have cable, so we miss a lot of good stuff.  I do watch House and Big Bang Theory on DVD and catch up on Glee, Hart of Dixie, and New Girl via Hulu.
Book I’m reading: I sadly have not read much recently, aside from magazines.  I do have A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration to read, as well as to finish I Do, Now What?: Secrets, Stories, and Advice From a Madly-In-Love Couple from Bill and Guiliana Rancic. 
Favorite magazine: Marie Claire, Glamour, Martha Stewart Living.  Earlier this year, I spent quite a chunk of time reading Martha Stewart Weddings.  I do love that magazine.
Goals for next year: Live better--eat healthier foods, work out more, laugh more with Brad. I also want us to hike more. I'd also like to further investigate growing our little family.
Overall opinion of my life: Pretty good.  :)

This has been such a good year.  Brad and I got married, enjoyed our honeymoon in San Francisco, and have been working on settling into marriage and fixing up our apartment.  We've laughed together, cried together, and spent lots of time cuddling (as much as he'll let me). We know that marriage isn't easy, but we're working on strengthening our bond everyday.  I think it helps that we know it won't always be easy, but we're always willing to talk about things and work on us.
Where do you stand going into the new year?  Let me know.  Oh, and let Justine know, too.  :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Our Christmas Card

Somehow I convinced Brad that we should send out a Christmas card.  (Maker's Mark sent him a bottle sweater and I think that tipped the votes, but whatever.)  We gathered up his drinks and my crochet and headed to his parents' house.  His brother-in-law snapped the photo for us and we were all cracking up.

My slight obsession with Gap (yeah, winning the employee discount for a year) led to us receiving a coupon for $35 off of an order from Tiny Prints, so we went with them.  We chose square cards, a matte finish, and rectangle envelopes.  Tiny Prints will even address and mail them for you, but I took care of that part. 

Do you send out Christmas cards?  What company do you like?

We look so adorkable.

Here's a portion of the back of the card. 
We just had the year printed.

Happy holidays!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I love...lamp.

I finally spray painted my $2.50 lamp this weekend!  It was a hilarious process and the laundry room of my apartment building may or may not have an orange stripe along one wall.  (Hey, it was cold outside.)

I primed the lamp with Rustoleum primer after roughing it up with some very fine steel wool.  My primer was a red primer, so my Krylon Orange Pumpkin paint was showing up a little darker than I originally wanted.  I had some Valspar white on hand and gave that a quick layer and it brightened right up!  Overall, I probably have 20,000 coats on this lamp (or 7-8 if you value closer estimates).  In the end, I'd say it was well worth it and I love that we now have a lamp on the other side of the living room and that we have a lamp that is connected to the wall switch. 

Ooh--the curtain rod is up, too!  I need to paint and hem the curtains and then you can see that piece.  Also, I need to go to Ikea and pick up some frames.  Anyone local wanna go?

The orignal $2.50 lamp.

Primed and ready to go.
The green Frogger tape is definitely the way to go!

Beautiful lamp on the cluttered table.

Detail shot, though the color looks a bit off.

Safety first!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Feelin' the Spirit

Today I thought I'd share some horrible iPhone pictures that I took this morning of our Christmas tree.  I have our tree on a timer so that it lights up for about an hour in the morning (conveniently, at the same time that I awake) and turns on again in the evening when I return home. This makes it feel like the tree is always on without the added fire risk.  Been there, house burned straight down.

This morning, I was feeling particularly joyful and so I wanted to capture that.  However, the photographs I take in my mind and those that I take with my phone are very, very different. 

The tree.  No flash and no lights except for those on the tree. 

Here we have some flash and some wrapped gifts.
Our tree is only a 4-footer that we set on a table and I like it. 
I'm sure we'll get a bigger tree when we have a house and/or kids,
but for now this tree fits us.

My duck nativity.  Don't hate.

I just learned of the Santa Key this year and had to get one. 
I'll hang it on the front door a few days before Christmas
so Santa can come on in.

This darling angel was crafted by my husband in 1992 at a Boy Scout event.

Do you have any pictures of your tree (good or bad)?
Also, see our first-ever photo Christmas card next week!

Enjoy your weekend!


It's hard to believe that it's already been three months.  Here's to the next three thousand more.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Family

Gingerbread image from here.

I was a grump last night.  What I posted is probably more than a little selfish, but I think it boils down to a couple of things:
1. I need a night out, preferably with a grown-up beverage in my hand.
2. Brad and I need to develop some holiday traditions and lay some groundwork.

I feel that my first point is pretty self-explanatory to anyone under the age of 35 who works.  Now and then, you just need to get out.  Normally, Brad and I are in bed by 9:30 PM.  We work hard throughout the day, eat an early dinner, and try to relax.  We are still settling into married life and have the additional fun of redoing the living room.  We're busy people.  However, that doesn't negate the need to sometimes go out and act our ages.

My second point gets more at my frustration, though I'm not sure frustration is the word I want.  My father is a huge grump and I don't think he'll want to do anything for Christmas this year.  If he does, he'll come over one night for a couple hours and we'll exchange gifts.  Not a big deal.  On Christmas, my mom, sister (family), and brother will come over to our apartment for gifts and dinner.  We are celebrating with Brad's immediate family this Friday, extended maternal family on Christmas Eve, and extended paternal family on New Year's Eve.  All combined, that is a lot of Christmases and not something that I will necessarily want to drag a kid (or two. or three.) around to all December.  I want Brad and I to really talk about what is important to us and what we envision for the future.

I'm trying to be careful here because my mom checks in on this blog now and then, along with some members of Brad's family.  I'm not saying that I don't enjoy getting together with any of my family members (in-law or blood) because I love them and I love hanging out and eating too much food.  There are babies to hold and newlywed cousins to catch up with and all the aunts and uncles and grandparents.  They are wonderful, but we are devoting ourselves to FIVE Christmases, FIVE get-togethers and that is a lot. 

I want my (future) babies to wake up on Christmas in their own beds.  I want them to see their grandparents on or near Christmas.  I adore large family gatherings and would love for our (future) children to grow up running around with cousins and declaring favorite aunts and uncles.  I just don't know if I want all of this in December.

How did you split up holidays?  What new traditions have you put in place?  How do you think it all changes when you add children?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Today was just nutso at work.  It has been for awhile.  I had to go to a kid's house after school today to interview him and his mom and ended up being there for two hours. I got home at 7PM, ate a scrambled egg, and am trying to unwind so I can do it all again tomorrow.  That's when I learn that we have a jam-packed weekend, including a family thing I forgot about (which has to cancel out the planned friend thing), and that the family thing is supposed to include a gift exchange. Well, that would be fine if I were done shopping for the family, but I'm not.

Also, I still have to hang a curtain rod (picking up the drill bit from my daddy tomorrow), paint a lamp, hang a print, pick out frames, hang a mirror, paint curtains, and finalize wedding pictures to print.  Good grief!  I'm definitely feeling overwhelmed and I'm trying to eat my elephant one bite at a time.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by a project?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Weekend (and Monday)

This weekend was jam-packed full of crazy good times.  On Friday, we had a pre-birthday dinner for Brad at his parents' house.  We shot pumpkins (yeah, rifles!), ate tacos, and made cookies with his parents and his sister's family.  Sorry, no pictures of that on my phone.  I'll find one, though.

On Saturday I met my mom and sister to take the nieces out to lunch and then to see trains.  Traffic was a mess because of bridge construction and I had to take the ferry.  At the train exhibit, we looked at trains, looked at plants, and colored pictures.  Then we took the ferry back home. 

It's not really majestic.

Trains! Sunflares! Woot!

My sister and I both like this photo.  That rarely happens.

I included my age so the other kids wouldn't get too hurt that
my picture was way cooler than their pictures.

My mom and I.

My sister and her girls.

After dropping the girls off at their house, I picked up Brad and headed to my dad's house.  We met my brother there and enjoyed a yummy dinner and movie night.  My dad lives by himself and we joke a lot about the amount of expired food that he must keep on his shelves.  Well, he asked me to make brownies after dinner and I did, even though the box read "25SEP2010."  Dad laughed and said that the batter smelled just fine.  We took a picture to document that we were all alive and well 60-90 minutes after consuming them and I'm thankful to say that we're all still OK today.

So good.  So scary.

 Sunday began the great cookie-baking day.  My sister and I met at Mom's with our stand mixers and had dueling mixers for optimal baking efficiency.  Please cue Deliverance music.  Of course, the girls also wanted pictures with Aunt Melanie and I am just narcissistic enough to oblige them.

 We had to include Tigger, too.

My snuggle-bug gives the sweetest kisses.

Yesterday, my darling husband turned 28.  He's old.  For his birthday, he really wanted us to clean up the house and eat Asian Chicken Helper.  I'm happy to report that I fulfilled those wishes for him. He's an odd-bird, but he's mine.
Picture from our honeymoon.
I guess I still owe a recap/pictures from that, don't I?

At the pub after the wedding.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A little something...

Guys, I have had a ROUGH week.  I've had back-to-back meetings, 10 minutes for lunch, and I even missed a meeting this week.  Argh!  Today, I had a lighter schedule, so I caught up on my paperwork (my desk is still a wreck, though) and enjoyed thoroughly chewing my food at lunch.  I also worked in time for a hot chocolate and pick up a little something extra.

And it made my day.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Living Room Update

Wow.  I'm glad I did the "thankful" posts during November or you wouldn't have heard from me at all!

How about an update on the living room?

If you'll remember from my last post about it, Emily (from GoHausGo and a dear friend) had come up with an amazing plan for our living room to take us from "dorm room chic" to "we're married and grown-up."

As a reminder, here was our "Before."
Photo credit to Brad, who emailed it to Emily for our plan.
The image originally appeared on her blog, linked above.

Pretty boring, huh?  I'd had that orange couch a couple of years (thank you, Urban Outfitters) because I'd grown disgusted with boring white walls.  I needed color.  In a previous apartment, I had that couch, a green rug, and a six-foot plywood buffalo "shadow" hanging on the wall.  I'm a bit of an odd bird.

Our first step from Emily's plan was to paint.  We taped up bits of paint to the walls and hemmed and hawed. We both wanted a light gray, but Brad wanted to be sure that it wouldn't look too blue and that it would be light enough that we wouldn't need to prime it before moving out.

We ended up choosing the sample on the left, which is actually a beige color that magically shows up light gray on our walls. Brad invited his parents over for a painting party and breakfast-for-dinner.  I made eggs, the boys got out the painting stuff, and his mom and I went to look at fabric for curtains.

My father-in-law.  I told him this picture would feature
on the blog and I'm not sure he was as excited as I was. 

It's hard to see in the above picture, but if you look by the ladder, you can see the light gray going up on the walls.  It dried a smidge darker than it appears and is such a subtle change, but I love it.  Brad is fond of it, too.

Anyway, after the painting came the couch.  We had factored it in the budget for November, but it certainly didn't hurt that Ikea was running a promotion where you received a gift card for 15% of the purchase price of a sofa when you purchased your sofa.  $900 sofa = $135 gift card towards bedroom furniture, odds and ends, cinnamon rolls, etc.  Done and done.

We invited my brother over for lasagna and wrangled him into helping us put the couch together.  I LOVE assembling furniture. Seriously, if I weren't a school psychologist, I would want to work for Ikea assembling peoples' furniture.

Five humongous boxes containing our new sofa.

Getting all the pieces unloaded.

Poor, poor Karlstad

Tragedy struck when we were unloading the third box.  We noticed that a back support piece was badly damaged (as pictured above).  I quickly called Ikea and they informed me that I just needed to bring in the broken piece and they would hand me a replacement.  I had time the next day and took care of it. Crisis solved!

Men at Work.

The boys did most of the sofa set up while I finished up dinner and it was so lovely to watch it come together!  They assembled as much of it as they could with the one piece being broken.

Enjoying the fruits of their labor.

You can see in the (somewhat creepy) photo above where the other half of the couch is ready to hook on.  It was a little sad looking, but I was so excited that we had at least half of our couch ready to go.  True to my word, I went to Ikea the next day, picked up the piece, and Brad and I finished assembling our couch.  Here's a photo that Emily snapped of us and our amazing ability to sit so far apart from each other.

We can both sleep on the couch without touching
the arms of the couch or each other.

With the couch in place, I went to work on the other items.  I ordered the orange stool from Crate and Barrel (it looks great!) and Mom and I went out for lamps.
Sadly, this is not the lamp I bought.

Here's the lamp I bought.  Mom is holding it up for size
reference as we tried to find a suitable lampshade.

With the lamp purchased, Mom and I made another Ikea run.  I scored our nightstands, a lampshade, curtains, and drinking straws and only spent $20 after using the gift card.  I had plans of painting the lamp orange and either leaving the shade white or painting it a light gray, but Emily let me know yesterday that she has an orange lamp shade for me.  So now, I don't know what to do with the lamp.  The curtains with be striped orange and Mom scored some amazing curtain rods at JoAnn's for 40% off + an additional 25% off.  She rocks.  Brad and I now need to set up our Christmas tree, complete some of these DIY projects, and pick out wedding photos and frames for the wall over the couch.  Oh, and sell the orange couch.  I've had three buyers back out before they even saw it's gorgeousness, but I have a former co-worker who wants it this weekend.  I'm eager to no longer be in the land of couches. 

So, there it is.  What are your thoughts?  Anyone know an amazing place to get unique, cost-effective frames?  I'm thinking a lot of rectangles with a couple ovals thrown in. 


Days 29-30

November 29
I'm thankful for my school district for taking a chance and hiring the young psychologist.  Also, thank you for providing a training today on nonviolent crisis intervention.  It is very valuable to know how to talk and interact with students in crisis, as well as how to get away from those choking me, biting me, or grabbing my wrists without hurting them.

November 30
I'm just really thankful for all of my blessings.  I'm in a warm home, with my husband.  I have a large, supportive family (both mine and in-law side now!) and I feel loved.  There's nothing more awesome than that.