Sunday, November 30, 2014


It. Was. Awesome.

Here's who came:
Mom and Dad
Daren and family
Me and family
David and family
Dion and family
Diane and family
Branden and family
Chantel (officially part of Daren's family but lives on her own so she gets her own line)
Nevin (adopted son and family friend)
Hannah (niece)
Arthur (adopted son and family friend)
Amber's siblings:
The Deiter family

38 people

The weather was so nice which made it possible for kids to play outside
family to chat outside
and a little game of catch to take place.

I can see that I'm going to have trouble choosing which photos NOT to use.

Nevin and Arthur slaved in the kitchen with me all day.
It was so nice to have them helping me.
We kept up with the dishes and mess so well.
It was practically clean when we started dinner.
Of course, somehow, by the time we finished eating, the kitchen was a complete disaster again...

Arthur chatting with my mom

Nevin, rocking the zebra print apron
We had several activities for showing our thankfulness.
1-Hannah made some cute turkeys for my cork board where we could write what we were thankful for on the feathers

2-We went around the table and said what we were thankful for during dinner
(Mom and Dad both teared up during this part, which means it was a success!)

3-I decided to start the tradition of a tablecloth that everyone signs

Several people put their hand prints on it which I love...but they then discovered that drawing around your hand with a sharpie isn't the smartest thing to do.  Hilarious.
My cute niece, Jenna, got all creative and artistic on the tablecloth and I love it so much!

Because of how many people there were, we did a bad job of introductions.
I wish we'd done that different.

I had several people ask me who Hannah was...all toward the end of the evening.
"Who is the blonde girl? Carter's girlfriend?"
"Who's that blond girl? Nevin's sister?"
"I was wondering who that girl was..." 
Sorry Hannah!
P.S. She's Frank's Sister's daughter

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

100 Things 2014

I'm doing things a little differently for 2014.
I'm planning to write 8-10 things each month throughout the year until I have 100 things that I'm thankful for.
That way, I'll get a more realistic view of the things I felt thankful for all year long instead of trying to remember January and February in November!

They are in no particular order, as usual.

  1. Snow Days
  2. A warm, heated house
  3. My new Macbook!
  4. All the smart people on the internet who have already written about any problem I might have and how to fix it.
  5. Snowflakes on a window so I can see each one individually.  Amazing.
  6. A working heater (it broke several times this winter so when it's working I am much more thankful now!)
  7. home made bread
  8. Pinterest recipes
  9. Botox (for headaches!)
  10. Upholstery class
  11. No traffic when I have to drive to Boston
  12. Boston Public Library online membership
  13. Netflix
  14. water in the door of the fridge
  15. My trash compactor.  I love that thing more than is healthy.
  16. Scratch cake
  17. motivational posts on Facebook from my friend Jennifer.  I'm sure they'll kick in soon...
  18. My remote car starter.
  19. compliments
  20. See's (obviously)
  21. bluegrass
  22. a snappy tune downloaded from iTunes
  23. the smell of rain
  24. those first days of spring when it's finally finally warm
  25. lotion on dry hands
  26. a pedicure
  27. time spent with my siblings. I love them and they are funny
  28. My nieces and nephews
  29. understanding Landlord(s)...really landladies but I don't know if that's a word
  30. Dark chocolate covered coconut from Costco
  31. Costco-let's be real, we love the samples
  32. texts from my kids
  33. Gorgeous blue Caribbean water
  34. All expenses paid trips to beautiful locations :-)
  35. Lazy Sunday afternoons
  36. being friends with artistic people
  37. small town parades
  38. craigslist
  39. the fact that my son is humming Christmas carols as I type this (in May)
  40. AAA
  41. my magnets that say "student driver" for when Carter drives (unrelated to #40 BTW)
  42. violin lessons
  43. wearing short sleeves outside for the first time
  44. Popchips salt and pepper (when I can find them)
  45. Carter's new drum sticks (he's drumming way more's on my furniture...but, still good)
  46. Helpful things that fit into cup holders
  47. UPS-its always fun to get a package! even when it turns out to be your husband's meds, you get a momentary thrill when the UPS truck drives up :-)
  48. A reliable car for road trips
  49. National Parks
  50. "free" breakfast at hotels
  51. 80 MPH speed limits
  52. windmills
  53. Buffalo (bison)
  54. interesting park rangers
  55. sleeping in your own bed
  56. GPS
  57. throw blankets
  58. finally, finally finding a comfortable bra (edited-it didn't last...but I enjoyed it for the little while that it was comfortable. sigh)
  59. Hugs from my brother and hearing him say "I'm glad you're in Utah"
  60. excedrin
  61. holding a sleeping grand baby
  62. seeing Isabelle take some of her first steps! (missed the very first ones)
  63. clouds over the mountains
  64. rides into the canyon
  65. cool evenings on the porch with no mosquitoes
  66. the neighbor's chickens.  They come up to the fence when we are outside and they are pretty funny creatures.
  67. Lunch with my parents
  68. Canning
  69. Have I mentioned Peaches?  Because, oh my gosh, PEACHES!
  70. Having Isabelle hold her arms out for me to pick her up. melt.
  71. Home Depot less than 2 miles away.
  72. My striped wall
  73. Having Nevin living here...he's a fun addition :-)
  74. Etsy
  75. KSL/craigslist
  76. An understanding husband
  77. advil
  78. ceiling fans in the bedroom at night
  79. alone time
  80. "believing Christ"
  81. My kids. Heartbreak, love, happiness, tears...they bring it all.  I love them dearly.
  82. Oregon Coast
  83. Texts, emails and/or calls from long distance friends
  84. Beautiful fall weather
  85. Fall foliage
  86. lunch with Mom and Dad
  87. google docs
  88. that we sold the Acura!
  89. having a husband who can fix things
  90. amazing sunsets
  91. having such nice neighbors right downstairs :-)
  92. shopping for baby/toddler stuff for Christmas
  93. Buying girl clothes
  94. Gilmore girls
  95. electric sanders
  96. when one of my kids makes a good decision
  97. overhearing one of my kids saying something nice about me.
  98. Tons of family here for Thanksgiving!
  99. snuggling on the couch with a warm blanket, a good show and a sweet hubby
  100. My family

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Will we fit?

I am having Thanksgiving at my house this year.
This is not unusual,
I used to have Thanksgiving at my house in MA every year.
(I will miss all of my MA friends for sure!!)
But that house had a humongous family room.
I could put up three 6 foot tables and not even have to rearrange my furniture.

This house...
not so much.

Don't get me wrong.
I love my house.
I love that it is smaller and I can vacuum the whole place in a few minutes.
I love having the bedrooms on the main floor.
I love carrying my groceries in without going up any stairs.

But Thanksgiving is a different matter.

We are having
my kids 
my parents
quite a few of my siblings and their families
Amber's siblings and their families
and a few college kids thrown in.

There will be over 40 people here!

Currently the plan is to remove the couches and chairs
from the living room,
remove the dresser from the entryway,
and put tables up.
Kids eat in the entryway 
(where there is easily cleaned tile)
Adults eat in the living room.
(Light carpet...throwing caution to the wind.)
Food will go on the table I just refinished that is in the adjacent dining area.

I think I can fit 4 tables if I do that.
But I haven't measured...

It will be tight.

But that will leave the family room area for hanging out.
Kitchen for cooking
Basement for playing/watching football.
And my bedroom for Frank to escape to when he can't take the crowds anymore.
I know him WILL happen.

I can't wait to have my first family thanksgiving in many many years.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Brrrr! I mean Ouch!

The shower in my new house
is super duper stupid.

It likes to switch from warm to blazing hot to freezing cold
on a whim.

It doesn't seem to have anything to do with
water running elsewhere in the house
flushing of toilets

It just likes to do its own thing.

I enjoy a nice, relaxing shower.
Or at least I used to.
In this house, there is no such thing.


If you start to enjoy
you are definitely going to get doused with burning hot water
or freezing
You just never know which one.

And then 
you will be yelping
or jumping out
or reflexively turning off the water
leaving you standing there, wet, possibly with shampoo in your hair
and wondering if you should risk turning it back on.

Feel free to visit!
Stay overnight!
I will let you use my shower...
{insert evil laugh}

The table is done

Well, the table is finished!
It feels like it took forever...but really it wasn't that bad.

Amber helped me with it a lot.
I would sand and sand and sand until I couldn't take it anymore.
And then Amber would come and sand
and she would make so much more progress than me!

She did the majority of the staining too.

Between the two of us, we actually finished.
and I think it looks great.

I wish I had a good "before" picture.
But you can see it here on the edge of this picture:
It was beat up.
And had a thick layer of stain and poly
making it almost completely lacking in visible woodgrain.

A few "during" pictures:

I wish I had taken pictures of the mess we made with sanders and sandpaper
and junk all around the back porch.

I would sit out there, surrounded by sanding stuff,
and watch Gilmore Girls on Netlix.
Good times.

Then it got cold.
I had to bring it inside for the final coats of poly.

This picture is the most true to the actual color of the table...

And, the "after"!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Living Room Progress

The first room of my new house that I have decided to "decorate" is the living room.

I removed wallpaper (nightmare)
had the walls re-textured
and then I painted them all a light greige.

My house is currently ALL beige.
It wears on me.
But I knew I didn't want to go all crazy colors in my entryway/living room
So I chose a gray-ish color...
doesn't clash with the rest of the house but isn't truly beige.

I decided to be a little brave, though, and made a striped wall in the entryway.

The math of getting the stripes on the wall was beyond my capabilities for some reason.

After many attempts, I got Amber's brother to do some calculating
(which took him only a few minutes!)
and I was set.

all taped and ready to paint


tape removed
I'm happy with how it came out.  The whimsical stripes don't totally mesh with the floor but I'm willing to pretend this particular floor doesn't exist since, in my dreams, it doesn't.

I put my yellow dresser in the entryway
and found a clock that looks great in the space.

Now if only the clock kept proper time...
It's never easy.

The dresser was originally a tv stand in our bedroom
so that top section was for the components.
I have baskets in there now and I think it looks ok.
Someday I  might replace it with a different piece of furniture...
but I like the yellow.
I am a color person after all.

I managed to find a spot for my red secretary.
I still love it and I'm so glad I didn't get rid of it when we sold our house in MA.

I removed the weird light fixture that was in this corner.
That makes me happy!

This is the dining room.
My buffet fits in there as well as my Pottery Barn knock-off mirror.
The piece of cardboard is a pretend table.

I searched KSL for a long time looking for just the right table.
I finally bought one for $40 and I'm working to refinish it now.
My daughter-in-law, Amber, actually knows what she's doing when it comes to refinishing furniture
(where-as I always just wing it)
so she's helping me.
I told her that we have to get it done before Thanksgiving!
So we gotta get moving.
Plus, its sitting outside for sanding right now and it's gonna get cold...

I have purchased fabric for curtains that will go on the big living room window.

Here's the fabric:

Then I found some cute nesting tables on KSL.
Here they are before:

I decided to paint them the same color as the buffet in the adjacent dining room.


Sanded and primed

Painting them in the living room since it's too chilly outside

And After:
I decided to only use two of the tables.  
The third one felt like too much and it's tiny and not of much use anyway.

Now I need new pillows though...too much  matching going on!

What's left?
Art for the wall behind the couch (I think I want to do a collage)
side table for the other side of the couch
maybe a different coffee homemade table has worked fine for a long time but I'm feeling like I need something less bulky in here.
finish the dining table!

I did get some chairs for the table so I don't have to worry about painting or refinishing any.
Here's what I chose:
(obviously a picture from the website)

I'm enjoying having some projects again.  
It's been awhile.

So I will probably start scouring KSL for the other side table next
(once I get the dining table done, of course)

I'm going to have Thanksgiving at my house for whoever can come
so I'm using that as a deadline of sorts.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Back to Moab

Frank and I took another quick trip to Moab this last weekend.
Four Wheeling
look at this poor tree and where it chose to grow

Here are a couple of quotes from me during our trip:
"I don't want to do this! I don't want to do this! I don't want to do this!"
"I do not like this feeling!"
"Be careful!"

Here are a couple of quotes from Frank during our trip:
"Isn't this fun?!"
"You have to admit, that was fun!"
"This would be so fun after a rainstorm!"

I do have fun when we go four wheeling.
Really I do.

My fun, however is interspersed with moments of terror.
Frank is just having constant fun.

Well, when he goes alone, he is having constant fun...
when I go with him, he is probably having fun interspersed with moments of annoyance.
Just a guess.

It was a gorgeous day, however.
Perfect weather
Gorgeous blue sky

We went on some very cool trails
We climbed rocks
We went down steep hills
We had all kinds of dashboard lights go on
(not the best thing when you are in the middle of nowhere)
We got a little lost
We saw some gorgeous views
And we made it home safe and sound afterwards.

Some of the sights:

A smaller but awesome arch
(very good acoustics)

HUGE caves
It's hard to show just how big they were but I tried.
See how tiny frank is there standing by the cave entrance?

grazing cattle who looked super bored to be seeing us

Some old mining cabins built from railroad ties.
They didn't look like they'd be too comfortable in the winter...but have held up amazingly well over the years.

I learned that if I hold onto the handle in front of me and lean forward
rather than holding onto the handhold above me and leaning back
The handle that I gripped 90% of the time
then I will feel a lot less like I'm getting 
beaten up
and more like I'm on a roller coaster.
It was a good thing to learn.