Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Saying Adios to Blogging

Sort of

When I started this blog, it was my entertainment.  I lived far away from my family and friends, so my evening and weekends were wide open.  This became a passion of mine and opened so many doors for me.  

But last night, I had an epiphany.

After work, I stopped by Char and Frank's house to say hello and kiss those cute kids on their cute little cheeks.  As I was walking in, Char was on the phone with Est and Mom.  Dad was driving them home from the airport after a trip to visit relatives.  They were excited to hand out souvenirs and see the kids.  And so it was decided that we would have a spontaneous family dinner.  It had been way too long since our last one and we had a great time.

While driving home, I was thinking about a blog post I could put up because it had been awhile since I last posted.  I realized that I wasn't looking forward to writing anything.  When a hobby becomes a chore, it's time to change things up.

This blog used to fill my evenings and weekends, but now my evenings and weekends are full of so many other wonderful things.  Plus, I've noticed that I put off projects because I want to be able to take pictures in good light.  Good light happens on the weekends and I'm usually pretty busy on the weekends, so projects that should be getting done are not getting done.

The last reason for dramatically slowing things down here on the blog - blog envy.  I look at other amazing bloggers and I want to be them.  I want to take photos like them or think of amazing projects that get pinned left and right.  That's not what this is about and that will never be me - this isn's my job and I'm not ready to say no to babysitting Cam and Han because I need to post something.  This isn't my career and it can't come before my family or my job. Plus, the fact that it's very easy to say no to blogging is a sign that I'm ready to move on.

Charlie and I aren't going anywhere.  We just won't be here as often.  When I do a DIY project and have the time and inclination to take photos, I'll post it here.  Don't worry Auntie Karen and Auntie Sharon, I'll still be posting family photos.  I wouldn't deprive you of seeing Cam and Han's big brown eyes. 

I'll still be around, just not as much.  I'm not going to put pressure on myself to post a few times a week when I should be painting the windows or cleaning the bathroom (worst. chore. ever.).  I want to say yes to time away from my computer as much as possible.  I want to say yes to spending more time with my camera outside of my home.  

This blog has been really fun and I've really enjoyed doing it.  Here are just a few of the many blessings that happened because of this blog - 

One: I became more adventurous.  I started going places more and doing things I normally wouldn't because I wanted/needed something to write about.

Two: I learned how to use a DSLR and can confidently shoot in full manual mode.  

Three: I had desktop wallpapers featured on, my puffy paint project was featured in Apartment Therapy twice and had a few mentions on several other blogs.

Four: This blog led me to my current job.  A job that brought me back home.  A job that pays the mortgage.  More than that, it's a job that I LOVE.  I work with amazing people who challenge me daily.

So yeah, things are going to slow down, but as long as Charlie is adorable, I'll have something to post about.  If you want to stay in the loop - like my page on facebook.  I always keep it updated with the latest posts.

Here's what will be filling my nights and weekends:

1. Working on my house - there's so much to do.
2. Taking lots and lots of photos and videos - of my family and friends instead of projects
3. Cuddling my sweet pup (when she lets me)
4. Getting out of the house more and working to fulfill my New Year's resolutions.
5. Pinterest
6. Design projects - I've been doing some designing for my church a lot lately and I've got some projects in the works for family and friends.

Life has been really good lately.  

2014 is going to be a good year.  I can just feel it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Very Special Gift

It takes me a long time to get my house back to normal after Christmas.  Over the weekend, I finally finished.  The last step was the bookcase.  I needed to add two new items - a new record player and a very special gift.

The green "suitcase" is the record player.  Charlotte's had one for about a year now and, since I keep borrowing hers, I asked for one for Christmas.  The color is perfect.  I found a few Christmas records on New Years, but I haven't gotten any others yet.  Thrift stores often sell them for $1, so I think that's a good excuse to go thrifting.

Now to my favorite part - the very special gift.  This silhouette of Zack was my dad's gift to all of us this year.  It is precious (for lack of a more mature and meaningful word).  I love it.  It's made out of steel that's been laser cut.

The silhouette was made from this picture of Zack working on a missions trip in Mexico.  He went on this same trip for several years in a row and he loved it.  This photo is so... Zack.  The hat, the stance, the work.  It's so very him.  I have it framed in my living room.  I love this photo.

Dad asked me to help him make the silhouette.  He would do all the leg work, but he needed my help with the artwork.  I put the photo into illustrator and started tracing.  After some back and forth with the company that would be cutting the steel, we had to nix some of the smaller pieces and make sure all the connections were strong since this is all one piece.  I always start with too many lines and then delete what isn't needed.

We are thrilled with how it turned out.  The circle is 10.75" in diameter.  Dad had several of these cut and painted some a deep brown and some white.  Of course, I requested white.  I knew it would stand out on my gray walls.

Emotionally, my favorite part is his face.  It's amazing how a simple silhouette can be so personal and so obviously him.

Design wise, I love how the tool belt turned out.  The laser is well, laser thin, so we were able to get some really great details.

The stands are really perfect.  Dad made them simple, yet interesting.  I love the dark stain of the wood.

I adore this silhouette.  I love this way of remembering Zack.  I just wish I had one for every room.  Maybe I'll put in a request for a few more.  At the very least, I need one on each floor.  It would also look awesome hanging on a wall.

Yes, I've decided I need a few more.  :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Christmas in Philly

Our somewhat annual trip to Philly was so much fun this year.  We missed it last year because of busy schedules, but we weren't going to miss it again.  We opted out of bringing Hannah because she's still in the hard-to-handle stage and we wanted Char to have a good time.  No offense, Han.  We love ya girl, but you're pretty high maintenance right now.

This picture is from our trip 2 years ago.  What a difference!

We had a really nice day for our trip.  It was unseasonably warm for this time of year.  It was right between "do I even need a jacket?" and "where's my scarf? I'm freezing".

Cam loved walking the steps of the art museum.  I think we've brainwashed him into thinking climbing 77 steps is fun.  Nonetheless, he was really looking forward to it.

We had to take this photo several times.  I put my camera on the timer setting and it took 10 photos in a row.  The first batch was perfect.  We took a second batch for some reason - all of which were ruined by the runners going up the steps.  This photo shows the moment the guy realized he was having his picture taken and the moment the girl realized she'd just run up 77 steps.

No idea what's happening here, I just know I love it.

 Then we headed for Macy's to see the light show.  Cam had the best seat in the house.  I need to bring a stroller for me next time.  Watching the show gives me a crick in my neck.

We had lunch at a great mexican restaurant in the city.  The food was delicious and there was a photo booth.  We tried to squeeze all of us into the photos, but it mostly ended up being Cam's face.

This photo and the next two were taken on the top floor of Anthro.  Cam and I were having fun looking out the window at the cars and people.  I love the way the light is coming from below and it's so soft.


We had a really fun day and I snagged some super awesome Christmas stuff on sale at Anthro.

Can't wait until next year when Hannah gets to come along!

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Window Painting Has Begun

The painting has begun! This was my progress after an hour and a half.   A tad depressing, but I'm looking on the bright side - I've actually started!  Now I'm actively trying to forget how many windows I have in this house.

Craft room - 2
Bedroom 2
Bathroom 1 (already done)
Storage closet - 1
Living room - 1
Dining room - 2
Kitchen - 5

Total - 13

Oh boy.

But, I'm going to stick with the bright side here.  It's going to be done eventually and it will feel so good.  Another point from the bright side - I don't have to tape because the glass is already covered in paint!

Ok...back to painting.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Boy and My Brain

These photos of Cam are from November.  They are from a practice session I did to get used to the camera at work.  I finally got around to going through them so I thought I'd share them here.

Just a heads up, this post is going to be sort of scatterbrained.  Let's look at every photo as a new post, because that is where my brain is at right now.  

Wednesday was a good day.  I spent the day at a video shoot for a product install movie.  It's technical, slow, tedious and technical.  Strangely, I loved it.  I guess that's why I do what I do.  The engineer side of my brain and the creative side of my brain are both challenged at this job of mine.  While it can be tiring (I fell asleep on the couch at 6:30), it is also very fun.

Wednesday night, I watched American Idol for the first time since the Clay Aiken season in 2003. Three words: Harry Connick Jr.  I love him.  I love him as an actor.  I love him as a singer.  I love him as a musician.  So they hooked me with Harry.

Can I just tell you, I was a little bored.  Is it normally that slow?  You would never have known it was the season opener.  The Voice is definitely still my favorite.  But I'll tell you what.  Harry Connick Jr. did not disappoint.  He was as charming and sweet as ever.

Some small part of me is starting to believe the creative part of my brain has died or at least gone on vacation.  I haven't done a single thing to my house in weeks.  There have been a few attempts (ending in failure) but for the most part, I've got nothing. Does that ever happen to you?  Do you just lose the drive?  I'm not quite sure how to kick start the creativity again, but hopefully it will happen soon.  I miss being productive.

Now I feel guilty about not cleaning the house when before I had an excellent excuse - I was busy doing fun stuff.

Last weekend I was gone from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.  It was very cold here on Friday, but Saturday and Sunday were nice(ish).  When I pulled into the garage, I heard a really strange noise.  It sounded like it was coming from the backyard so I headed for the door.  Then, all of a sudden, I'm getting wet!  I look down to see a burst pipe spewing water!  That explains the strange noise I heard.  It must have been going all weekend because Friday was the only day cold enough to burst it.

I ran in the house, turned off the water and then called my dad.  Via FaceTime and photos, I managed to shut off the water to the garage, but keep the water flowing in the house. If that is my first home crisis, I think I got off pretty easy.  I am so thankful the burst pipe wasn't in the house!

Owning a home has been a lot easier than I thought it would be.  So far, I have remembered to pay all of my bills on time and keep up with chores and responsibilities around the house (even the ones I don't like).  I still worry about something huge/expensive happening, but I feel like I'm in a really good place right now.  This house has been such a blessing.

I don't know about you, but I am so excited that my shows are back on.  I do not love their winter break.  It's so nice to spend my evenings with Oliva, Neil, Nick, Temperance, Jess, Schmidt and so many others.  I love me some good TV.

Ok, enough with the scatterbrained posts, let's get back to Cam.  This is one of my favorite photos from the day.  He was counting.  I love the concentration in this photo.

This is a strange photo, but it's been on my desktop since November.  That face.  That smile.  Those eyes.  They kill me.  He's not doing anything in particular or special, he's just being Cam.

There's a Jack Johnson song called "You Remind Me of You" that's incredibly sweet and makes me smile.  In a commentary he explains where the song came from - as kids start to show their personalities they remind you of yourself or people you know, "but in other ways there's never been a person in the world like them".  This boy is so special and I love to see him grow and change.  I'm glad he let's me follow him around his world with a camera.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

House Warming Planning

It's time to take the plunge.  It's time to finally have a house warming party.  There are so many excuses for putting it off, but I've picked the day and now it's time to check things off the list.

There's aren't many projects left to finally whip this house into shape, but here are a few things I've come up with:

The living room is half done.  Aspects of the living room are done and I'm happy with the results.  But others are lacking and stare me in the face everyday.  Like the big space in the corner between the couch and the chair.  It's huge, like I-could-host-a-party-in-that-corner huge.  It has really stumped me.

Living room (and hallway) list:
1. put up curtains
2. figure out to do with the giant empty space between the couch and the chair
3. finish new TV stand
4. paint window trim
5. put up chandelier in hallway
6. put on new door nob

The dining room is pretty much done at this point.  I just have a few touch ups to do here and there.  Plus, there's a lot of clutter that needs to be organized.

Dining room list:
1. clean out the clutter
2. touch up holes
3. Paint the windows

The craft room is also pretty much done. It's just a matter of organizing and storing my supplies.

Craft room list:
1. paint the windows
2. oganize/hide supplies

The kitchen is the only room that requires some major changes.  Unfortunately, I can't do them by myself and my dad is still recovering from a broken wrist.  But! I have a plan - supervised work.  I need to learn to do it myself anyway, right?  As long as Dad is there to show me how it's done, I think I can handle most of the work.

Kitchen list:
1. spackle and paint "backsplash"
2. put up chandelier
3. Paint windows

With the purchase of two shower curtains (finally) the bathroom only has two things left on the list!

Bathroom list:
1. paint window
2. touch up paint on light
oh and -
3. clean, clean, clean.  Remind me again why I chose white everything?

The bedroom is the most ignored room in the house.  I'm only in there to get dressed and sleep, so it doesn't get a lot of my attention.  The list in this room could go on for days, but it'll stay short and sweet for now.

Bedroom list:
1. paint windows
2. put up curtains

Let's not even talk about the yard.  The yard doesn't get a list because it would be never ending.  I'm just hoping we get a freak snow storm the day of the party - just enough to cover the yard so no one can see it.

You might have noticed that every room's list has "paint windows".  This is something I hope will happen, but I don't think I'll get it all finished. It's hard to motivate myself to do something that will turn the house upside down.

I'm excited for the party and also nervous. I'm skeptical that I'll make a good hostess.  Thankfully, Esther, Char and Mom will be around to help with that and tell me what to do.  That's what family is for, right?