Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What I Really Want for Christmas

'Tis the season for a million different gift guides for every different type of person on your shopping list. Unfortunately, none of these seem to capture exactly what I want for Christmas this year.

Here is what I want, what I really, really want for Christmas this year:

Overhead Lighting for Our Living Room:

Brian would never let me go for this, but I like it. From Pottery Barn

Our living room is the most used space in our house. We watch tv in there, play with Charlie in there, and, until our dining room chairs finally arrive, we eat in there. The only light we have is single bulb lamp and our Christmas tree, which just don't cut it. Santa, send me some light!

Perfect Vision:


For the majority of my life, I have had terrible vision and must rely on contacts and glasses to see anything at all. One day, I would love to wake up and be able to see my surroundings perfectly. Ideally, my eyes would magically correct themselves without the need for surgical intervention because the thought of a laser in my eye is frightening and expensive.

Absolutely No Tchotchkes:

After packing and moving all our Earthly possessions this year, I have come to the conclusion that we have too much crap. Unfortunately, we both have family members that believe in giving presents just for the sake of having something to open. At this point, I would rather open empty boxes than have more useless stuff in my house. I know our families love us and they mean well, but we don't have the space!

So, what's really on your list this year?

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! I'll be back next week after some much needed time with our families!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Charlie: 22 & 23 weeks

 I'm finally catching up with Charlie updates after my hiatus! And, lucky for you, this update is full of adorable pictures!

Likes: snow! Ice! Omg, they're delicious! And all over the ground! I'm going to stop  doing my business outside entirely and just eat all the snow and ice I can thus compounding the problem because now I am full of water!! Best thing ever!!! (seriously.)

Dislikes: birds, snow plows/salt trucks, nice little neighborhood kids that deliver plates of cookies to my people...they're up to no good, obviously.

He learned how to jump over the baby gate so we had to improvise, which resulted in this

New to him: growling and barking at said birds, snow plows, and cute little neighborhood children, giving high fives

Post bath fluffy pup

Looking forward to: our 12. hour. drive. to Tennessee, destroying packages under the Christmas tree, hanging out with bitches in Tennessee (not being derogatory, they're female dogs)

Happiest of holidays from Charlie!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Charlie: 20 & 21 weeks

Just as I've been a bit absent from blogging, I've also been a little lax on my Charlie pictures. It didn't help that I sold my slr so I could finally upgrade to a new one and was without a "real" camera for a while. Most of these are from my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality.

In dog jail at Thanksgiving

Likes: long holiday weekends, houseguests that play and take him outside often, playing with the Christmas tree!

Dislikes: getting his nails clipped. He never really like having them cut, but it's like we are torturing him whenever we try to clip them now.

New this week(s): losing puppy teeth! He lost his first on Thanksgiving and has been steadily losing them since.
  sleepy puppy

Looking forward to: more naps ;)

Happy Tuesday from Charlie!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Life, Lately

It has now been pointed out to me by more than one person that I haven't posted anything in quite some time. Trust me, it is not for lack of things to talk about  (house projects! new furniture! Charlie!!), but I just needed a break.

The last month has been extremely exhausting emotionally and mentally as we continue to deal with the effects of the accident that left my brother in law with a traumatic brain injury. Although he is doing so much better than we could have dreamed (he's home!), the reality is that he needs a lot of support as he continues to improve. As the big brother, my husband has taken on as many responsibilities as he can from four hundred miles away. In turn, I've tried to be supportive and understanding, knowing that my brother in law needs it right now. 

Yesterday, we had a snow day and it was so welcome. Charlie and I hung out, lazed on the couch, and finally started our online Christmas shopping (we are so behind this year it is driving me crazy). Life will still be pretty crazy and stressful, but the break yesterday was a much needed refresher for my mental health and I am now ready to embrace this blog and the holiday season with open arms.

Much love, Jess 


Friday, November 22, 2013

Bring on Winter

Normally, I hate when it gets cold enough to have to bust out my winter coat. It feels as though doing so is admitting defeat to winter and it's short, bleary days.

This winter (um...fall? technically.) has been different though. I could not wait to embrace the cold weather. All because of my new winter coat!

Via - obviously not me
The coat is actually a brighter, more Kelly green in real life. I bought it at the end of the season last year for a steal, so I didn't really get to wear it until now. It brightens my day and makes the upcoming winter a little more enjoyable. The only thing that could make it even better would be new boots.
Do you embrace the winter season or try to ignore it for as long as possible?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Charlie: Eighteen & Nineteen Weeks

The last couple of weeks have been quite hectic, so this post got skipped last week. Honestly, I haven't been taking as many Charlie pictures since we've been preoccupied with an ongoing family situation (for those of you who asked-my brother in law is doing better than anticipated, but still has a very long road of recovery in front of him). It's been a tough couple of weeks, but Charlie always makes me feel a little better about the world.

Ready for bed after a late night

Likes: Ice cubes, chew toys with nubs, spooning us while we sleep

Dislikes: garbage cans, having Brian gone

New this week(s): working on catching and heeling with limited success in both

Looking forward to: my dad visiting for Thanksgiving next week!

This face!

Brian left to visit his brother, leaving Charlie and I home alone for the first time. I was a little nervous about being home alone, but Charlie has proven to be quite the watchdog. When the wind and rain began knocking things onto the roof in the middle of the night, Charlie was up and barking (he never barks) and protecting our household. It would have been adorable except it was 2 a.m. and I just wanted to sleep.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You, Always

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." 
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

Changing of the guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, July 2012

Thank you to the veterans of the past, present, and future that honor, protect, and serve the freedoms we enjoy everyday in this country.

And, a special thank you to my brother in law who has proudly served our country all over the world. He was in a very serious bicycle accident last week and while his doctors are very positive about his recovery, he has a long road of recovery ahead of him. We are hopeful his recovery will be quick, but any positive thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Friday, November 8, 2013

House Tour: The Great Outdoors

One of the reasons we chose this house over the other contender was the yard. Nearly all the houses we looked at had tiny lots (as is the norm here), but this one was double the size of any of the others we looked at and is flat in the front and back.

On the side of our driveway is our raised garden bed. We would prefer for it to be in the backyard, but, as you will see, it does not get adequate sunlight. We had already tore down the beans (?) which are the purple pile in the middle when this photo was taken, but it also contained carrots, basil, thai basil, dill, and other things that were either intentional or weeds.

The side yard has brick steps down to the backyard and about a million plants. It's hard to tell what was actually planted versus what are weeds though, so we hope to reduce a lot of the plants so it doesn't look so raggedy.

On the side of our house is our deck space. Since the deck sits partially on the side and partially on the back of the house, these lattice pieces were placed to provide a bit of privacy from street traffic. The archway has grapevines on it too...clearly we were meant to buy this house.

Our very large deck that has not been utilized whatsoever since we moved in, except to store the ugly carpet we ripped out from the inside of the house.

We can't wait to put a large outdoor dining set and grill out here so we can enjoy some alfresco dining.

Below our deck is not super exciting, it's a lot of pea gravel (and now leaves), but Brian can walk underneath it without hitting his head on anything, so it's perfect for that reason.

Brian's absolute favorite part of our house is through the white door in the above picture, his workshop! Most of Brian's tools are scattered throughout our parents' garages, but I hope we can get them in here soon so I can start placing some orders for home improvement projects.

The rest of our yard is full of trees, ivy, and a tiny bit of grass. The ivy was nearly a third of our entire backyard space (the third closest to the fence) until Brian mowed over it. This won't completely eradicate the  ivy (we have to tear out all the roots), but it already looks so much bigger and better with the ivy gone.

From the left

From the right

Below the ugly addition to our home is a small shed where we store our lawn mower and other outdoor essentials. Luckily we don't have very large items because I can't even fit in here without stooping down.

That is our entire house tour, inside and out! We have lots of plans for renovations large and small, but right now we've been focused on making necessary repairs and improvements. I plan to share a few of our changes in the very near future along with asking for some opinions as we go!

Was there a room in your home that sold your spouse on your house?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

House Tour: Up (and Down) Stairs

After showing off the main floor of our house, I'm finally back to share our lower and upper levels. I can't find personal pictures of the upstairs at all, so you'll have to settle for those taken to put the house on the market (which are better than anything I could take anyway).

Walking in the front door, you are immediately greeted by the stairs to the upper floor. While I would have preferred an entryway with a little more space, we make it work. This carpet, however, does not work for me.

To the left coming up the stairs is our master bedroom, our second floor bath, and a linen closet.

Our master bedroom has a lot going for it; it's large, full of light, and actually has overhead lighting. Unfortunately, it is also painted an ugly light terracotta color that needs to go ASAP.

Our upstairs bathroom is tiled in a peachy/pink color that I cannot wait to tear off the walls. If I have my way, this little bathroom will be our first home renovation (and total gut) project.

On the other side of the hallway from our master bedroom are the other two bedrooms. This yellow room is the bigger of the two. Although I don't hate the color, I don't love it either, so we'll probably be painting it in the near future as well.

Our third bedroom is somewhat deceiving because the old owners turned it into an epic walk in closet. It is perfect for the two of us right now, but we may need to change this room into something more practical when we decide to expand our family. I will be so, so sad when that day comes.

Downstairs is my much beloved walk out basement. Only half is finished, but the half that is finished is exactly what I wanted. It is one big room with laminate floors, a big built-in, plenty of light, and a pretty green paint colors on the wall. As you can see, the basement has turned into Charlie's room, but we hope to one day use it as a family room with a sectional, giant tv, and surround system.

The other half of our basement is unfinished laundry, utilities, and storage space. And bugs. Oh, the bugs. We already have quite the collection of junk between some of our things and stuff left behind by the former owners.

I'm never going to have a pretty laundry space, but that is okay cause I have high efficiency machines again!

The former owner was very fond of photography and used the space under that stairs (aka Harry Potter's room) as a dark room since it has no windows or light. We don't produce our own prints, but we do produce our own wine, so we are going to convert this into our wine cellar. We want to add some shelving for bottles and dedicate a place for our brewing carboys.

That concludes the tour inside our house, but I'm not quite done. Up next I'll share some pictures of our outdoor spaces.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Charlie: Seventeen Weeks

After being gone for another awesome weekend visiting family and friends in Illinois, I was so excited to get back to my Charlie boy and see how different he looks. It seems that he looks less like a puppy and more like a mini-dog.

Likes: his mini Kong toy, eating all his food, looking out the storm door (especially on Halloween)

Grass is tasty!

Dislikes: the time change! it means we don't get home until after dark now which greatly limits outdoor time

New this week: working on the 'drop it' command (which I'm pretty sure he understands, but chooses to ignore)

Looking forward to: the weekend (aren't we all?!)

My boys :)

Aaaand, this is how I wake up every morning:

Love from Charlie and happy Tuesday!
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