Monday, March 31, 2008

And on the seventh day...

he created a closet...

Voila...okay, not NEARLY that easy!

Friends and loved ones, never, ever, ever take your closets for granted! Our old (ancient really, 130+ years) farmhouse is just over 3,000 square feet (including the basement). There is not one closet original to the house. The previous owner made attempts (lame as they were) to create closets. My miracle-worker of a dad has come in behind this guy and done what he could to give us three closets (well, sort of). One is a true closet with plenty of room and shelves that my dad added. The one in the "little bedroom" is, well, little and has been taken over by my husband and his work uniforms. The third is in our bedroom (seen above) and has been/is an architectural nightmare. We've done all we can to it and I simply have to be grateful for what it is and live with it! Note - there are no linen closets or hall closets for guests (or my own) coats, etc. Did I mention to you to be grateful for the closets in your house?!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Has Spring sprung?

It was a day for taking pictures...and walks and drinking your coffee outside this morning, and jogging and porch-sitting... It's days like this that make me absolutely love North Carolina. No wonder so many northerners are headed this way! I hope you had a beautiful day today...
Our first Tulip of the spring...

Mr. Pat loves the coolness in the flower bed under the Camilla bush.

A pan full of pansies...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blessed Easter

Easter has always been one of my favorite days of celebration. Years ago, like every other kid, I looked forward to waking up and discovering my Easter basket on the dining room table filled with every candy a kid needed to wind them up tight! And there was always a special goody in there, too. A little present. A little "somthin' somethin' ". And, of course, there were the eggs. The eggs that my brother and I blew our brains out making. I am completely dating myself here but do you all remember doing that? My mom would bring us a dozen or so eggs, prick a tiny pin hole in each end and tell us to blow hard. Like good little children, my brother and I would blow so hard we looked like blow fish, like that famous jazz trumpet play whos name escapes me right now, like we would explode at any minute! Eventually, however, we would empty the eggs of their yolk and whites and be left with a very delicate shell to decorate. I'm not sure why my mom didn't simply hard boil the eggs like every other mom. As an adult looking back on this event, I simply think my mom was completely entertained by watching my brother and me blow so hard we turned beet red. Heck, I'd laugh at that, too!

But now, while I still put together an Easter basket for my husband and me - and my adult daughter - I have a full understanding and appreciation for the true meaning of Easter. And as much happiness as the basket and the candy and the treats and the flowers and the food brings me, nothing warms my heart more than knowing Christ rose on the third day for me so that I would have ever lasting life in eternity with Him. This fact simply makes the day perfect for me.

I hope each of you had a beautiful Easter day. It was breathtaking here Sunday in North Carolina; a little chilly in the morning but just right by the afternoon. Mike had to work on Sunday but we squeezed in two hours together before he had to leave. I made us a nice brunch with all the fixings.

Mike is such a good sport about amusing me! He doesn't mind eating from the antique plates or using the knife rest or even wiping his mouth on cotton napkins. I think he'd participate in a tea party for two if I asked him! Of course, we'd have to have the TV on in the background (for Easter Sunday is was basketball - March madness you know!). The television sort of burst my Easter brunch bubble but I didn't complain. I thought I needed to compromise with him. That's what it's all about, right?
Since it was just the two of us, we just ate at the bar in our kitchen (which we do every day). We do have a dining room but it hasn't been "done" yet. Oh, there's furniture in there but the room hasn't been painted and the floor and ceiling haven't gotten the polyurathane yet. I think that'll be the next project since we've just finished up the last bedroom (only accessories need to be added now). I guess I need to be thinking about a color scheme for the dining room now. Something bright and beautiful. The dining room gets lovely morning sun. Maybe a super soft dove gray or a robin's egg blue with lots and lots of bright white trim and curtains? We'll see.

A few of my Easter pics to share with you. This is a little display I put together with sweet little robin's eggs, grass (weeds) from my yard, a pretty crystal candle holder sitting in the top of the jar and a pretty, soft blue candle. Mom sent me the sweet little pink bunny candy dish.
This is a little boquet of flowers I put together. Everything came from the yard except for the 4 Gerbera daisies and, well, the green sparkled egg. Isn't it awesome when you can simply walk out your door, grab a little of this and a little of that and put together something so simple yet so pretty? We're still enjoying this litte piece of sunshine right here in the house.

Monday, March 24, 2008

More Race Pictures

I can't say for sure but this may be the last of the race pics I share. These are from first thing in the morning, pre-dawn, as we were all stretching and making our way to our respective corrals and bracing ourselves against the wind, cold and rain. Poor little Bran was right out there with us taking pictures, giving back pats and words of encouragement and carrying Michael's dry gear bag that weighed more than she does! As I'm sitting here chuckling at the memory of Brandi Lee that morning, I can't help but have a full heart - Bran has been, either begrudgingly or very willingly, right by my side during EVERY crazy adventure I've participated in. We were, in every sense of the word, partners. Bran, you will never know the depth of my love for cup runneth over.

Here we are just trying to stay warm, do a few last minute stretches and get our minds right. Judging by this picture, I'm a little more excited at this point than Mike is.

In this picture, however, it looks like the tables have turned. Mike's psyched and ready to go and I look like "what the heck was I thinking...this sounded like a good idea 3 months ago"!

Wow, It's been a week and I still wake up shaking my head at our accomplishment. But I'm done sharing it with you all. That's it. The memory is safely tucked away deep in my heart but I know that whenever I doubt my ability as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a woman, I can retrieve this memory and know that "I am better than I think and not yet what I expect to be".

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shamrock Race Day March 16, 2008

First, a great big thank you to those of you who've sent congratulations to Mike and me via email. Please know how much we appreciate the " 'atta boys" from those we love!

I had a few more pics I wanted to share with you. This first one is of Mike and me in the finishers tent on the beach. Yuengling was the major sponsor of this event and put together an extremely nice venue for us. The tent was a GREAT place to go in and warm up - WOW, was it cold and WINDY that day! (Mike forgot his Under Armor Cold Gear beannie and the last minute, he accepted Brandi's offer to wear hers - a $1.00 special at Target! Ha! For those of you who don't know my sweet Bran, she's itty-bitty; just over 5 feet tall with little feet and tiny hands! I'm sure I'll need to replace Bran's gloves - there's no way they'll fit her now!).
And here's Michael after crossing the finish line and doning his winners medal! Is that a look of disbelief on his face or what?! That and the sweat was frozen on his face so he couldn't really move! Ha, I just noticed...that's "thug JC" standing behind Mike (blue cap and sweatshirt)! Not really... well, yes that's really JC, our son-in-law, but he's not a thug...he just looks like one at marathon races!

I am so proud of Michael. He's battled anemia (low hemoglobin/serverely low iron in his blood)throughout this whole training time yet he rose to the occassion. Also, Mike's not a little guy. As real runners like to say "he's a big block"! Regardless, he met his goal and helped push me to meet mine (and heaven knows I'm not built to run either!!!!).

Lastly, please bear with me while I bathe in this accomplishment for a bit longer. As other pictures come in it is my intent to post them here again and maybe again... We're simply in awe of this experience.

*I placed #4,101 overall; I was #255 out of 342 women in my age division (40-44 years old); and I was #2,101 out of 2,933 women total - hey, I wasn't last people!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Who Likes Fish?

We had Cod for dinner last night...guess who got the leftovers?

Honestly, there is more to my life than these cats but with 13 of them outside, there are ALWAYS antics to share with you!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Allow Me to Introduce You...

THIS is my dad...(and me). I thought you should virtually meet him since I talk about and brag on him so much. He's my buddy and we work very well together (it's evident in all the changes we've made throughout my house - most all of which have been done by just the two of us); we make a great team! I love my dad...and he loves me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Four Little Kitty Cats Sittin' in a Swing...

What better way to spend a rainy, dreary Friday afternoon but napping on a front porch swing with a few of your closest friends... ahh

Come Fall, my porch transforms from a welcoming "room" to a virtual cat house! Yep, it's all about keeping the kitties warm and comfortable when the temperature starts to dip below 40. What can I say? I love my felines!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Room With A View

I couldn't help it... I simply wanted to share with you one of the beautiful views I have while sitting at my computer. This is my "girlie shed", what I see out the side window, to the left of my desk. Of course I have a story or two about this outbuilding - which you all know involves my dad. But the best and funniest story about this building is that this is where I would go - after we first moved here and LONG before the shed looked like this - to cry my eyes out after my dad would pull out of the driveway after spending days and days with me on yet another project! After a concerning amount of time had past, my husband would come looking for me, find me crouched in the shed sobbing and simply turn, close the door and walk back to the house...leaving me to my pity party where there is only ever room for one! Looking back on this cracks me up! Eventually, Michael stopped coming to the shed because he knew I simply needed this time. And yes, eventually I stopped NEEDING to go to the shed after my dad left... I'm proud to say that now I can wave goodbye and go back into the house with a feeling of love and complete satisfaction with what we'd accomplished and the wonderful feeling that Daddy will be back in a few weeks to finish or start something else. **ahh** buddy Deb always said we'd have sweet tea on that little deck...we never got to do that together...I'll drink sweet tea with Deb when I meet her in heaven...I miss my friend today...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I've been lax...

I've allowed way too much time to pass between postings. It was my intent to write a little something EVERY day! It's not like I have a job or kids taking up my time! What's my problem? Actually, I have been busy. My dad was here last week and we worked on the "dressing area". No one really knows what to call this..."room". It sits between my bathroom and our bedroom and houses what it supposed to be a closet. It's really wasted space in my opinion. And if I could afford an architect I'd have the whole thing redesigned. But, it is what it is, as is our checkbook. At first, I was going to make it a little sitting area with an overstuffed, recycled (Habitat, Goodwill, etc) chair and floor lamp; a little place to sit and put on our shoes. But, my mom and I came across this sweet little desk and at least for now it's replaced my idea of the chair and lamp.

My mom and dad and I re-covered the little chair. It originally had some gangly, awful yellow brocade fabric on it that was literally stiff when we took it off! Yuck! This is MUCH sweeter! You may be able to notice the faint color (yes, that's pink) on the wall behind the desk. It's slightly darker than I'd hoped but still so soft. And I think it looks great against the bright white trim. You can also see that I haven't done anything with the floor yet, it's still just the sub-floor showing. I absolutely cannot decide on what I want in here. Okay, that's not true. What I REALLY want is a berber carpet. But there is NO way that's going to happen with a dog and 5 cats in the house - uh, uh, no way, no how!!!! That's one of the things we loved most about this house when we bought it - hard wood or tile floors throughout! So, it'll just stay "raw" until I decide. Unfortunately, because I haven't put down the floor, I can't put down the baseboard or corner mold either! Ugh!!! I want this done!! And it also means no pretties on the walls yet, either! Ugh! I want this done!! For absolute certain, this house and the projects that have come with it have taught me, unwillingly I might add, the test of patience.

And speaking of patience, while I was "watching the paint dry" I remembered a little stool that has been traveling with me for close to 20 years. It's never really served any purpose and I have no idea why I've hung on to for so long and dragged it from state to state but I have and it's still with me. I remembered this little stool tucked away in a dark place and thought..."I bet I can put some life in that little stool and give it a home in what I hope to become my shabby-chic dressing area". So, one evening while watching the TV, my oh-so-willing dad and I did this...
What do you think? I know, it's a little overstuffed but still cute. Maybe a footstool for me under the desk (notice that the fabric on the chair matches the stool...I planned it that way) or maybe a step-stool for the kitties to use to jump on something higher up? (I probably shouldn't enourage that, huh?) The possiblities are endless. I'll let you know where the stool puts its roots when it's all said and done. What do you think, another coat of white paint or leave it sort of "aged" looking?
I attempted to take some pics of the dressing room but for the life of me could not get any good angles. I'm telling you, it's an architectual disaster! I'll keep trying or see if Michael could do any better.
My dad will be back next Wednesday/Thursday. Remeber, Michael and I are leaving for VA Beach to run the Shamrock Half Marathon! Yikes, only one more week!! Daddy's coming to babysit the herd and the dog and to, hopefully, finish up our bedroom. I can definitely get some before and after shots of that room, which I will do, and post them in the next day or so. Now that's turning out to be a real transformation! Remember, our entire house - inside - is barnwood. All together now, can we say "dark and depressing"?! But with each room getting a face lift with a little bright paint, it's actually becominig charming... there's no place like home.
"The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow