Sunday, February 20, 2011

Keep me awake...

I am currently sitting in St. Louis' Lambert Airport after an exhausting and incredibly fun weekend in the great city town of Kirksville, Missouri. I could seriously fall asleep this very moment, despite these uncomfortable airport bench seats. I've already checked Facebook, Twitter, E News!, and have read a whole 5 more pages of Wuthering Heights in the hopes of keeping my eyes open, but unfortunately even Facebook stalking and the riveting first chapters of WH (sarcasm font needed here) aren't keeping me awake, so I figured I'd write a quick blog post before I get on my plane back to DC and crash.

This weekend I left Chris at home to deal with our basement and I flew to St. Louis, MO to go back to my alma mater, Truman State University (the "Harvard of the Midwest"), for my service sorority's 5- year reunion, Hoopla!!! It was great to visit with a ton of old friends, re-explore K-Vegas and Truman, eat ronzas, and bar crawl to old and new haunts (TPs and...Genos?). It's so hard to visit with with friends when I come back to StL, but this was the perfect opportunity to catch up with all the girls!

To all of my ASG sisters who partook in the epic-ness of Hoopla 2011 and all of those who couldn't make it, I love and miss you! Here's to another 5 years of sisterhood and service!  See you in 2016 for the 45th Anniversary Hoopla extravaganza!!

(And now time to board my flight. Thanks for reading my exhausted ramblings! Ciao!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What a mess. (aka, our basement remodel)

When we moved into our new home 6 months ago we knew that our first project would be tackling our basement. Don't get me wrong, our basement was finished, complete with a granite-countertopped kitchenette, BUT, we had a MAJOR problem... We couldn't get anything into the basement! (and there was a leak somewhere, which we figured out ...) We had big dreams of a basement "frigerator" for Chris' stock of beers and a huge comfy sectional for movie and game watching, but unfortunately we couldn't even get our futon frame down there without taking it completely apart. So, we decided that first weekend that fixing the basement was #1 on our priority list - how else were we going to get our sweet sectional and fridge down there?
Long story, short, we decided that our only option was to re-design the back half of our basement. The photos below are our "before" shots. Note the window, the tiny hallway to the left of the window (that led to the bathroom and backdoor), and the backdoor itself which, in combination to the tiny hallway and its relation the back stairs, made it impossible to get furniture down to the basement. Ergh.

Back of the Basement
"Before" Inside

Back stairs
"Before" Outside
Confused by all of this? Yup, so were we. And a lot of contractors. Needless to say, we needed help re-designing this mess of a basement doorway. We found an awesome contractor that made the window into a door, and the silly door into a wall. Ta-da! Now doesn't our new door look more "normal"!? (And, thanks to the new door, we got our dreamy sectional into the basement!)

New Back Door
"After" outside!!
From there, handy Chris, who had been dying for a home project, decided to make that tiny hallway part of the bathroom. I mean really, we didn't need a hallway that led to a cruise ship-sized bathroom, did we? So, Chris tore down the hallway wall that separated it from the bathroom and moved the bathroom door. You can't believe how much bigger that bathroom looks and feels! As you can see from the photo below, even our kitties are in awe of the changes! And, if you look close enough to the floor of the current bathroom, you can even see the mark on the floor where the hallway wall was a few weeks ago! Believe it or not, our basement bathroom is now the largest bathroom in our house. Which we I think is a good thing!
Basement bathroom
"After" bathroom
Now, instead of a window and a tiny hallway along the back wall of our basement, you see a wall of doors (and my treadmill). And don't worry, after the bathroom is tidied-up, we're going to paint the brick so you don't have to look at the awful 1920s green glue residue.


(here's the "before" shot again!)

Back of the Basement

And, if you noticed in the "after" photo above, while Chris was busy working on tearing down the hallway wall and re-framing the bathroom door we also took time to paint our basement. We wanted to go for the movie theater-look, so we decided to go dark, navy blue dark . . . We love it! When we turn the lights off to watch a movie everything is dark except the screen. It's the cheapest (or most expensive) movie theater experience we could have asked for!

Ohhh!!! Ahhh!!!
The end.

So for all of you that made it to the end of this VERY long blog post, you are welcome to come visit us in our new home and enjoy our almost-finished basement as much as we do!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Valentine's Day
(It only took 10+ tries to get this photo . . .)
We "celebrated" Valentine's Day with some low-key, and low-cost, mini-dates this weekend:
  • I taught Chris how to make my family's favorite meal of bacon, mashed potatoes, and green beans. And, to be some-what healthy we used fresh green beans and turkey bacon, mm mmm! (Recipe: fry up some chopped bacon and mix it in a pile of mashed potatoes and green beans. Easy schmeezy and yuuummmy!)
  • For dessert we had mini-cheesecakes from Capital City Cheesecake. Yummy.
  • We finally watched The Social Network. Which was so good. Thank you, Netflix!
  • We enjoyed the nice weather and walked around Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, stopping at The Brass Knob to check out, not buy, some architectural antiques and vintage house decorations. (Although, I do foresee a future project using some old porcelain doorknobs.)
  • We also walked around and browsed the goods at Eastern Market and the Flea Market at Eastern Market, spotting a 1910 University of Missouri sports card that we may have to go back and get....
  • And, we explored Barracks Row before popping in Ted's Bulletin for yummy adult milkshakes, a burger, and a homemade pop-tart!

While Chris and I don't do the stereotypical Valentine's Day celebrations of chocolate, dinner, champagne, jewelry, etc., we did take the time to do something we love doing together - exploring our new home. We hope everyone else gets the chance to share some time with the person and people that they love! Happy Valentine's Day!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Forgotten goal: Vacay!

In my first blog post I told you all of my resolutions goals for 2011. That is, all of them but 1: a vacation! I have no idea how I forgot that one considering that it seems to be all I think about these days (and considering I read and re-read and re-wrote that first blog post over and over out of nervousness and my perfective tendencies) . . .

Anywho . . . it is one of my ULTIMATE goals this year to go on a VACATION. And no offense to my family, but a vacation is not a weekend back to St. Louis, or Kansas City, or Tablerock Lake, as much fun as it is and even though I do miss you all!

Said future vacation will include:

  1. Just Chris and I. We had a lovely honeymoon. In Hermann, MO. And before that, the last vacation we had that was just the two of us was almost 4 years ago when we went to Europe (and got engaged). That is too long of a wait for me.

  2. Sunshine. Lots. of. sunshine. So that I can put on a bathing suit and get a tan. And, as my dad would say, "Get a little skin on that color."

  3. Re.lax.ation. Pure, relaxation. I want to bring a suitcase full of books and games (we have a thing for Yahtzee, and Sorry!) and read/play them all. And, I want to fall asleep on a beach or by a pool after reading my books and playing my games.

  4. Water, preferably a beach. I may not even get in the water (because I'm not a huge fan of salt water), but there MUST be water.  We did find an all-inclusive "adventure" resort in Mexico that wasn't on a beach, but had cabana rooms with private pools. Nice.

  5. Speaking of all-inclusive, lots of food and drinks are necessary. I like food, Chris likes drinks. While an all-inclusive place isn't completely necessary, being surrounded by easy options adds to #3.

  6. Culture/Adventure. While I say I want complete relaxation, I don't know if Chris and I can truly sit around for that long. So, we need a place that has some sort of culture and adventure that we can partake in when we get bored from relaxing - a historic site, zip-line, something.

  7. Affordable. Let's not forget about the price. We did just buy a house this year and we both decided to go back to school, so something really affordable is essential for our tiny bank accounts. We're thinking that the Caribbean, Mexico, or Costa Rica are good options . . . but if you have ideas, please share!!

Now, you might be thinking that a vacation isn't really a goal as much as it is a wish. But, to us, it's a goal. The definition of a goal is: the result or achievement toward which effort is directed. Our efforts will be directed towards making our vacation dreams come true (aka, saving our pennies! . . . and getting in swim-suit-wearing shape.).

I can't believe I forgot to list it, but now it's out there. And MUST be achieved (or else I might go crazy)!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bear with me.

Bear with me, I am a perfectionist.

I just wanted to let my readers know (which is probably just Danielle) that this blog will be "under construction" and constantly changing until my perfectionist-self deems it perfect. While it looks fine right now, I will, and already do, want to change things.  And changing the aesthetic look of my blog will require lots of decisions - decisions about fonts, colors, format, images, etc. etc. etc. So please bear with me as I undergo the pressures of decision making.

Also, please see the cute pictures below of "bears" in my life.

 One of my childhood dogs, Bear (one of the best dogs ever!) Courtesy of Danielle

Knut, Berlin Zoo
A real bear, baby Knut, that I saw in the Berlin Zoo (who wouldn't want to cuddle with that?!) Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

(PS - Doesn't "bear with me" look strange. It's one of those phrases everyone always uses, but I never realized until I typed it now that it is "bear" not "bare." Looks kinda weird, that's all. )

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Welcome to my blog! (Whoever you are out there!)

I’m going to keep this very first post short and sweet (hopefully) and let you know why exactly I am joining the blogosphere. Two reasons:

  • 1) To stay connected and share my life with my family and friends across the country; and

  • 2) My New Year’s resolution. (WhenI say “resolution” I really mean something more like “goal” because I hate the idea of resolutions)

No, my New Year’s resolution goal was not to start a blog. Well, not exactly. My New Year’s goal was to try to do everything that I’ve always said that I wanted to do. Kinda overambitious, right? But really, what have I been waiting for?

. . . I kept finding myself thinking that I wanted to do such-and-such, but never thought when I wanted to do. I never gave myself a timeline or date, until now. 2011 will be the year that I start doing everything that I've said I wanted to do:

  • Keep in touch with family and friends better. Since we moved from Missouri to Washington, DC it has proved difficult (for me) to keep in touch with family and friends in the Show Me state and beyond. This blog will help (along with letters, cards, emails, and calls.)

  • Blog. Ok, ok, yes, blogging was part of my New Year’s resolution goal. Honestly,  I’ve been thinking about starting one ever since I moved out to DC in order to share our life with friends and family “back home.” It’s been over 2 years since we moved, so I guess it’s about time I start sharing.

  • Get certified to teach secondary social studies. Since I was in high school I’ve wanted to teach high school. (I had a not-so-great teacher that I swore I could do the job better than her!) Buuuut, because I am the WORST decision-maker EVER I always found other interests that I thought would lead to “cool” careers. So, I have finally started classes this semester that will, hopefully, lead to certification by May 2012! (Remember, I cannot make decisions for the life of me, so who knows if I will actually ever teach!)

  • Run a Half Marathon (or two . . .) I ran in high school. I earned a scholarship to run in college (although I quit the team 3 weeks in). But, I’ve never even ran a race longer than 6 miles. That will change come this spring though when I run the half in the 2011 National Marathon on March 26! And, I am already contemplating another half marathon, the Marine Corps Historic Half, on my birthday and even a trail-run race along the Potomac!

  • Skydive. (Over the Keys perhaps, Kelsey?)

  • Do genealogical research. (Dorky, I know.)

  • Learn to sew. (First I need a sewing machine. And, something to sew.)

  • Learn some photography skills beyond auto and manual settings, and the flash.

  • Eat healthy/Perhaps learn to cook healthy-ish things. (I will NOT be giving up french fries though!)

  • Read more. Obviously, more history books. Well, honestly, probably more historical fiction. And, regular fiction. Although, I could get fancy and read about something like historical architecture, who knows ....

  • Decorate my/our new house! (This one I am probably most excited about, but I’m afraid it will be a never-ending process with my oh-so-decisive decision-making skills.)

So, there you have it, although not short and sweet as promised (sorry!). One of my New Year’s goals was to start a blog about living here. And one of them was to stay connected with everyone I love out there. And then there is everything else. . . So, over the course of this blog’s life I will be sharing with you the progress towards my current and future resolutions, and mine, er, our life (let’s not forget about Chris) in Washington. Duh.
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