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Thursday, November 28, 2013


I have to be honest...Thanksgiving was never my favorite holiday as a kid. It was just another family get together where we ate a big meal and went to both Grandparents' houses. There were no presents like at Christmas time, no Easter egg hunts or fireworks...there was nothing "fun" about Thanksgiving. 

It isn't until you're older that you actually realize what this holiday is about, and as a matter a fact, it's actually a pretty cool holiday. What other holiday exists that is ALL about being thankful for what you have? That is kind of cool, right?

Image from here - visit the link for directions on how to make that banner!

So I thought I would list a few things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving, because as I've come to realize, I have a lot of things to be thankful for!

  1. I'm thankful for the house that Trent and I have together, which we were GIVEN and have shared many memories in together so far. Even though it has caused us frustration at times and has a LOT of improvements left to has been too fun of a journey making it our own that we wouldn't trade it in for a new one quite yet.
  2. I'm thankful for Trent and the fact that we have spent 5 1/2 years together and our relationship is as close to perfect as I could ever ask for. We've lived together for over 3 years now and accept each other's faults. He cooks for me, and I pick up after him. ;)
  3. I'm thankful for having grown up with a loving and caring family. To have no worries at all because we always knew we were taken care of, and we always knew we had a house and two parents to come home to at the end of everyday.
  4. I'm thankful for Trent's family, that they have always been nothing but kind to me, and the fact that they live so close. They are always here for us to lend a hand whenever we need it, whether it's helping to start my car, watching Saleen when we're away, helping with our yard sale, getting our taxes done, or having a place to put our trash every Tuesday night. :)
  5. I'm thankful for my amazing and reliable car that has been awesome over the past year and a half. It gets me from point A to point B everyday, and I have had very little issues with it. One less thing I have to worry about.
  6. I'm thankful that I have the ability to keep calm in stressful situations and can always look on the bright side of things. I balance Trent out because of this, which is one reason we are pretty much the perfect match.
  7. I'm thankful that I get to be a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding next summer. I cannot wait, and am so excited that I finally get to be a bridesmaid!
  8. I'm thankful for all of the people I've met in my life, whether it be coworkers, classmates, teachers, family, friends, or just acquaintances that I said hello and goodbye to once in a while. So many people have played a part in who I am or have influenced me in some way. I love learning from other people and the different personalities they have, good or bad.
  9. I'm thankful to have known all of my grandparents and to have been able to spend so much time with them as a kid. You don't fully appreciate them until they are gone sometimes. To have had such loving and caring grandparents as I have is definitely something to be thankful for.
  10. Finally, I am thankful that my parents made me go to Sunday school and church every Sunday growing up. Even though it was sometimes a pain getting up early in the morning to go to Sunday school when all I wanted to do was sleep in, growing up with a church community that I came to know almost like family, who watched us grow up, and most importantly, taught me morals and values that helped make me who I am today, is truly a blessing looking back. Another thing you never realize until you are older and can appreciate it.

So what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Ok, let's be real. I can't wait to stuff my face today and do some online shopping tonight. :p

H A P P Y  T H A N K S G I V I N G

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Some Sentimental House Art

This morning, I had an itch to do something creative or draw something. I've been looking at all of the home portraits online, and was especially inspired by Sherry's cute DIY house painting she shared on Young House Love last week. Since I don't have any canvases lying around, I just decided to draw on a piece of paper. And I drew our house:

It turned out pretty decent, so I hung it up in the living room. I switch out these frames like crazy, and it's always fun to try new photos and pictures up there.

I like that it's understated and sentimental. It's also a nice way of marking our 3 year anniversary of living in this house together.

It kinda makes you want to get up closer to see it better since it's so light.

In short, I like it a lot. And it only took me a couple of hours or so, so it was a nice little project. I'm hoping to pick up some small canvases next weekend and paint some things. Not sure what I want to paint this time, but I'm ready to experiment some more and be creative.

Oh, and I haven't put up my Christmas decorations yet, despite everyone around us starting to get theirs out already it seems! I've almost always waited until after Thanksgiving I think, so I'm continuing in that tradition this year. (Even though I've been watching plenty of Holiday movies on Hallmark and Lifetime already, and have been itching to get started on my Christmas decor and projects..ha.) I'm still waiting. :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Three-Year Housiversary: A Timeline

Today marks three years we have been living in our house together! Sunday, November 21, 2010, I moved into Trent's house - the house where he grew up and that we inherited together. 

We had just renovated the living room and made our first big purchases of a TV and a washer and dryer. That first month we slept in Trent's twin bed then on a mattress on the living room floor while we renovated the bedroom. We had our first Christmas tree in the living room that we got from Target on sale on Black Friday. I graduated from college that December, and we finished the bedroom reno in January. It all seems like yesterday.

Our temporary sleeping arrangement in December 2010.
Now, three years later it's fun to look back and see what all we've done with the house and how far it has come since we started. As we've discovered over the past few years, renovating your house takes time. (Especially if it was built in the 1800's and has problems that are much bigger than just cosmetic.) We've been going little by little, chugging along, project after project since 2010. In order to help visualize the major projects we've completed with the house so far, and to show how much time it really takes in between renovation projects, I thought I would create a little 3-Year Home Renovation Timeline of our house so far. So! Here goes....

Summer 2010

Fall 2010

Where the Bedroom reno started!
January 2011
  • We finish the Bedroom Makeover.

Summer 2011
  • Kitchen Phase 1 makeover - We painted all the walls, trim, and cabinets, and installed a beadboard backsplash. Doing what we can until we can gut it entirely and start from scratch.      

September 2011
  • We begin a complete hallway renovation.

Fall 2011
  • We give the Stairway and my office upstairs a little makeover.

  • We continue the hallway renovation - added a closet, doors to the bedroom and bathroom, lighting, finished putting up drywall, etc. (See more of our hallway renovation here, here, and here).

Summer 2013

Fall 2013
  • The foundation work has started and we got the foundation wall rebuilt on the east side of the house. We all know how that project went...and is still going!

So those are the major improvements we've made to date, which doesn't count all of the many little projects in between that have helped to make our house "our home," like cleaning up the front and back yards, hanging art, filling our home with furniture, and planting a garden, just to name a few. Up until this fall, we had done everything entirely by ourselves without hiring outside help. The first project we contracted out was the dreaded foundation repair project. This project has been our most expensive project yet, by far, but in the long run will also probably be the most crucial so far as well. Fixing the major structural hurdles that this house will allow us to completely renovate the kitchen, and in general, just make the entire century-old house more stable, level, and structurally sound.

We have so many other major renovations and projects to take on yet, including eventually replacing all of the electrical, getting a new roof, putting up a fence, complete kitchen and bathroom renovations...and we have barely even touched some rooms yet, like the upstairs bedroom, the master bedroom closet, pantry, and the back room. I have a feeling it's going to take several more years to completely renovate this house so that we can finally sit back and relax! But maybe then, it will all be worth it. I can't wait to see where this journey will take us...

P.S. - Tour the whole house and see all the Before and Afters here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day at the Museum

Saturday was a blast. It was just what we needed to take our mind off of the foundation for a day. Trent and I spent the day in Davenport. I wanted to see the Diana Exhibit, which is at the Putnam museum until January, and Trent wanted to see the 3D movie, Metallica: Through the Never, also playing at the Putnam. I myself was not too thrilled to see the Metallica movie, but since we were seeing the Diana exhibit, I figured I would go along for his thing, too. 

We got tickets for 1:00 to see the Diana exhibit, and those tickets also included all of the other galleries in the museum. It had been a while since either of us went through the museum, so after we saw the Diana exhibit, we went through the other galleries, too. Please excuse the quality of these photos, as I took them all on my phone!

The tiara was the first thing they had on display. I loved it - it was super sparkly!

I also really liked all of the jewels they had displayed, especially the diamond necklace below.

There was a really cool room where they played home videos stitched together and had a bunch of things from Diana's childhood, like stuffed animals, ballet slippers, one of her diaries, and family albums. I didn't get any photos of these, although it was cool to see. At the beginning of the exhibit, there was quite the crowd. It settled down after you went through the other rooms, but there were definitely a lot of people there to see it. Mostly older women. There were a couple really young girls, maybe with their grandma or something - one of them said, "Didn't she die like a really long time ago?".....I laughed.

Her wedding dress was really cool to see, though. The train is 25 feet long!

Then there was the room with 28 of her dresses on display. The black sparkly one below was one of my favorites, along with the two Versace dresses below.

There were a lot of these "coat dresses" too, which just feel like something a first lady (or a princess) would have worn in the eighties.

I thought the exhibit was really cool and well done. There was also a room dedicated to her charity work, and then at the end was a room dedicated to her death, with hundreds of books that people signed after her death with messages to her, and they also played scenes from her funeral and played the song "Candle in the Wind." Trent said that part was just depressing. Ha. It did seem a lot like a visitation or something. Anyway, I'm glad we got to see it. It was kind of a once in a lifetime kind of thing, and it's cool that it was right in our own backyard.

In the other exhibits, I just took photos of things I found kind of interesting..Trent and I thought the old documents from the founding of the cities around here were kind of cool, and funny.

They talked about how beautiful the land was around here and how there were so many resources, being right by the "Great river" and such.

Of course we had some fun exploring the river on a steamboat, and exploring the caves. :)

We were lucky that the rest of the galleries actually weren't that busy at all. Not a whole lot of kids running around..we maybe saw 2 or 3 families while we were in the other galleries. Nothing like the Diana exhibit. But we got to play around without embarrassing ourselves too much, which is always fun.

There was a huge art installation in one of the big lobby areas that I didn't expect to see, but it was really cool. It was made to look like a coral reef.

But it was actually all crocheted together. A huge, colorful crocheted coral reef. It must have taken a million years. It was crazy.

Here's the story below - sorry it's hard to read. But basically two sisters created it as an homage to coral reefs and saving these ecosystems. It's been displayed all over the world, including at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

I just thought it was really cool. Maybe just because I love colorful things. :)

After we explored the museum, we had some down time until the Metallica movie at 6:00, so we decided to check out the new restaurant downtown called Me & Billy.

It was pretty good. We just got appetizers and drinks. I got mini grilled cheese sandwiches with Sangria, and Trent got mussels with some kind of crafty beer. 

The atmosphere was really cool. This is a horrible photo below, but it was really open and modern, and made you feel like you were in a big city like Chicago. I really liked the shiny white tile on the columns, and the bright green chandeliers near the entrance.

After dinner, we went to Brady St. Pub and hung out there until it was time for the movie. I was surprised at the amount of people who showed up to see Metallica in 3D. It was basically a 3D concert with a weird storyline that was happening at the same time.

The music was loud, and I don't really know a lot of Metallica songs. I was bored and felt like I was going to fall asleep most of the time. However, Trent loved it. We went back to Brady St. after the movie, hung out with Sean, and watched the UFC fights on tv. All in all, it was quite the day/night! So glad we finally got a break from reality.

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