January through the end of March is Stephen's insanely busy season at work. He's a trooper to work so hard for us. I usually try to pick a project to work on during this time so the time passes more quickly. So far this year, I've just been trying to be a good mom and run my new business. Some sewing projects are around the bend. I'll keep you posted.
Let's take a look back at last year. This time last year, my kitchen looked like this (Don't you love how the light fixture over the sink is like 3" away from the wall? So effective. And beautiful.):
Thank God this is a before and after post. However, it is not so blog-tastic that it will knock your socks off. I am very thankful that I was able to get this far. It is a work in progress. Clearly, the pressed oak builder cabinets had to be painted. This took FOREVER. I did obsessively paint every surface- inside/outside drawers, inside cabinets, under the sink, etc.). Thanks to all my friends and family for putting up with my whining during the process. I know if you heard me say "alcohol based primer" one more time you might have lost it. It was kind of a nightmare, nonetheless, it is done. Six coats later, it is done. And I love it. I painted the walls, added hardware (actually my dad did that part for me), new hinges, and switched out the faucet. I feel like it looks so much better. In my dreams, I'm one step closer to THE Suzanne Kasler kitchen. I have lots more planned for this kitchen. I'm tempted to list it all, but you'd be bored. And I realized that I kind of want to list it so you know that I know what needs to be done. Then, I realized that was pretty egotistical of me. As a designer, I have exposure to incredible homes and finishes. Unfortunately, we have yet to win the lottery (or play it). That dynamic makes home improvements (and home contentment) challenging for me. The good news is that figuring out how to improve our house as inexpensively as possible is a challenge that ends up expanding my creativity. Hopefully I'll get to some of it this year, and I'll share the changes with you as they come. Trust me. It will continue to improve.
In other news, we got about 4" of snow! Hooray! Backyard... Down the street... I just started a little sewing project last night. When it's done, I'll show it. First project on my very own sewing machine! Thanks Santa!
I'm back! Sorry again for leaving you hanging for so long. I know all 4 of you were totally devastated :) I have so many posts to write, but here are some random things to share.
Don't you just love Etsy? Gram sent Sadie this super cool mobile for Christmas. She loves it, and so do I. I don't think you have to be a baby to like this. Get yours here. Sorry my pictures not great. I was too lazy to keep trying. Just being honest.
How cute is this kid? Thanks Aunt LOM for the fun onesie! I am totally obsessed with this tea. I drink it hot. Its so warm and so refreshing at the same time. I know it looks weird. You're not mistaken- it is the consistency of jelly. You put a few teaspoons in hot water and it dissolves. It does have rinds in it. I like them and tell myself I'm getting more fiber. You can only get it at the Asian grocery, but it is well worth the trip. Enjoy. So random, but please look at the shape of our bread this week. Really? Did someone smoosh it or what? I see the profile of the gopher from Caddyshack. What do you see (besides my love of butter)? More new posts to come- including a before and after and a throwback! Did anybody see the Avett Brothers on Austin City Limits? So glad they played some older stuff. I like their new quiet stuff, but I love them best when they are yelling and heavy on the banjo.
Sorry I've been MIA. I started back to work, and it has been harder to balance than I thought (but I still love it). Plus, Sadie and I headed out for our first road trip together- to Kentucky! The drive there was...interesting. Sadie was awesome; my car was not. Wa-wa. It broke down in the mountains of West Virginia. Super. However, it was totally fine. Here are some highlights- a sweet older fella topped of my oil (lesson in compassion and giving), I happened to break down an hour from my cousin (who graciously picked us up), we also are blessed to have connections through family friends to the VW dealer in West Virginia (who were amazing and helped me get the work done under warrantee- hallelujah!), and my dad got to swoop in and save the day and pick Sadie and I up (bless his heart- 7+ hours round trip). So 14 hours later, we were in KY.
This is how you know you're in Kentucky: It was really fun to share Sadie with family and friends. Gram and Pops are very sad that we are back in NC. Here are puppy updates for those of you who are interested...first Sam, then Sunny. Once I started this post, I realized how many pictures mom must have on her camera. I'll add more once I get them from her. In the meantime, here are some.
Larry and Kelly We got to see Sara and meet sweet Will- hooray! Happy Birthday, Birdo! Part of my trip to KY included making stops for my favorite tomato soups- Napa (below) and Cheddar Box. Delicioso! Thanks for having us, everyone! We loved seeing you! Miss you already.
No fancy party clothes and funny hats for us this year. We laid low at home with this one. It's a good thing we think she is hilarious. We did manage a little festivity with a toast to welcome in the new year. 2010. I'm nearly 30- deep breath. Stephen and I had some great conversation, reflecting and looking forward. It's so exciting to think about all of life's potential- places to visit, places to live, jobs to aim for, family to foster, love to grow, so much joy mingled with so much unknown. I've been realizing that I think my life should be like a vacation. I think, " Oh, I like Charleston." And I picture us living there eating fabulous food, boating, and owning an incredible house near the Battery. There is a very strong chance that it would not be like that. I think, "Oh, I love Colorado." And I picture us riding horses, skiing, and getting super cool outdoor gear. Probably wouldn't spend most of our time that way. As I go into 2010, I really want to work on (or rather let God work on) my heart. I desperately need to work on my contentment. I daydream constantly about how to improve everything around me, mostly for my selfish benefit. I am praying that I will be open and pliable. I have decided to give up dessert for the next year- yikes! I have the worst sweet tooth ever. I am letting myself have a little one once each month. I am hoping that I not only gain some self control, but that it reminds me to shoot for total contentment- and to stop hoping my life will be like one big vacation. I don't normally do New Year's Resolutions, but here I go.
Thanks for hearing my chatter (all four of you).
New Year's Day has been great. Ross and Amy Free came for a visit. It was so nice to just be with friends all day. Amy (who photographed Sadie previously) helped me get my act together and order some Birth Announcements. She custom designed some since I couldn't find what I wanted online (I also didn't want to pay like $2 per card online- am I cheap?). While Ross and Stephen immersed themselves in football, Amy and I headed out to take a few pictures.
First stop: this old church down the road from our house.
Sorry that that is the only picture. We ran into some trouble. Actually, some trouble ran after us. We walked around the back of the church to take a few pictures (the light was gorgeous), and we heard some stirring in the woods. To our surprise, we were being stalked by a troop of Guinea Hens. I got nervous. I HATE birds. Don't even think about feeding the seagulls if you're ever with me at the beach. It would potentially end our friendship. So, Amy and I decided to trot back toward the front. After a glance back over our shoulders, we realized a full out run was necessary. These psycho birds were sprinting after us! So scary and so funny- funniest thing that has happened to me in a long time. We made it back to the car just in time to miss out on having our shins pecked to death. The Guinea Hens surrounded my car with no fear. I tried to roll down the window to take their picture, but they yelled at me, and I was afraid they would jump up and peck my eyes out. So here's a picture through the front window (I love that old farmhouse across the street- don't you?): They look like they were retreating, but you can't see the other eight that were still intensely focused on hurting us. This picture doesn't show how scary they were. I googled, and this is the only picture I could find to show you their size. So funny and so random. Thanks Lori O'Toole. I have no idea who you are. I swear ours were bigger, and they definitely were not walking away from us. On a lighter note, their feathers were really beautiful.
Moral of the story- Happy New Year, seek out some adventure this year (even if it is down the street), and never cross a Guinea Hen.
We absolutely love when we get to go to Colorado to visit Stephen's family. First because we love them and second because of this:
Oh, and this (Garden of the Gods -with my favorite Kissing Camels at center- with Pike's Peak in the background): It's so beautiful there, and just so different than here in North Carolina. Every time we go out there we talk about living there...but I just love the South so much. I love that we only have a two hour drive to the beach from our house, and I like being able to get shrimp and grits at most restaurants nearby. Where would I get things monogrammed (just kidding)? And I would honestly miss hot pink azaleas come springtime. However, as much as North Carolina thinks they offer skiing, they don't offer this: Stephen, Rick, and Kyle had a great time at Copper Mountain with about 4" of fresh powder. Not the most powder, but plenty to enjoy. I don't really have anything to say about this picture, other than that I like it. We had to creatively bundle Sadie for her first cold Colorado winter. Here she is ready to hit the car seat in some vintage wool mittens (don't mistake them for oven mits) and fleece shoes (no, her feet aren't that big). Hysterical. Also, a few semi-serious notes: Sadie has been in this brace for the last six weeks. It is to help correct her hip dysplasia. Hopefully she will get it off this coming Tuesday. Thanks so much for praying for her hip to heal! The Doctor is very positive, so we feel hopeful that her harness days are coming to a close. We also want to thank everyone who prayed for our flights. I was quite anxious to fly with a little one. My imagination took me to every nightmare situation- like crying for an entire 4 hour flight and an overnight-stuck-in-the-Chicago-airport-without-enough-diapers delay. God blessed us with smooth flights, minimal delays, very little crying, and a sleepy little traveler. Thanks very much for all of your prayers- they worked!