Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Ten for Tuesday

It's Tuesday.  I love Tuesdays...it's knit night.  But tonight I'm not going to knitting because the band is having their Holiday Concert.  Justine is playing in the orchestra as well as the band this year.  I'm excited!  The neighborhood is also having a bonfire at our little community beach tonight.  If we get home in time, we'll walk over and join them.  So today's Ten for Tuesday:

Ten Things I Truly Enjoy About the Holiday Season.

1.  The Christmas Tree.  Our tree is turned on first thing in the morning (when it's still dark) and it's the last thing to be turned off at night.  I love looking at it...every ornament means something to me.  The tree this year makes me think of Veronica...she helped put it up and jump started my Christmas Spirit!

2.  I love to knit presents for my family.  This doesn't always happen but it did last year and again this year.  I love keeping them secret...not that anyone pays any attention to my "knitting zone" anyway.  When I see a loved one (friend and family) in something I knit, it makes my heart happy.

3.  I love to see houses decorated for the holidays...especially at night! We saw one the other night, on the way to my friend Teri's house...OMG!  We're gonna have to bring the kids by so they can see it...a huge yard and house covered with displays/lights.  Our new neighborhood has a holiday decorating contest...I think next year we'll get into it for sure!

4.  My homemade Almond Roca.  Love making it, cracking it, eating it and giving it!

5.  I love that this year Justine asked me to number the presents under the tree.  Last year I didn't, no particular reason, just didn't do it.  You know what I mean?  You put a number on the presents instead of a name so the "guessers" can't guess!  Brilliant! I've been doing it for years.  My mom did it when we were kids.  I have to be really careful not to lose the list of which number is for which person, too.

6.  I love reading uplifting stories of gratitude, giving and friendship on social media.  It's hard to find with all the horrors in the world and political BS all over the place but it's there if you look hard enough (and block certain people). My head isn't buried in the sand...but it's looking for the positive not the negative.

7.  I really enjoy the holiday commercials that make me cry!  The one with the grandma holding her grandson on Christmas morning, telling the baby about her little boy (daddy)...I think it's a coffee commercial.  I'm just a sucker for that schmaltz.

8.  Christmas movies!  I love so many and watch year round but REALLY ramp up my viewing this time of year.  Besides, I have to knit all the gifts, so why not watch Christmas movies at the same time?!  haha  I really love The Santa Clause, Elf and Love Actually.  Oh! and The Christmas Story, too.  I wish I had a copy of Pocket Full of Miracles...mom and I would watch that while decorating her tree.  I guess it's not technically a "christmas" movie...but mom and I consider it one.

9.  I love Christmas baking and cookie decorating!  Well, truth be told, Veronica has taken over as the cookie baker the last few years but we all get in on the decorating!  Justine has already made a batch of Peppermint Biscoti with Chocolate and Peppermint candies on top...oh so good!  No telling what we'll make this year!

10.  I just don't feel the rush of the holiday season like I did when the kids were smaller.  I feel life has a slower pace (some days more than others) and I can take my time about things.  Some things can wait.  I'm going to enjoy all the beautiful sights and sounds...hugs and hand shakes...cookies and movies this year.  Hope you do too!

Last winter.  Don't tell anyone but....I miss the Polar Vortex!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

We're Home!

Hello!  Finally surfacing after the move!  YEAH!  We got all our stuff moved to the new house, thanks to a bunch of Mike's buddies from work, mid November.  It wasn't easy.  We have so much crap.  Nothing like moving to make you look at your life and think...I gotta get rid of this stuff.  Not my yarn, but all that other stuff.  HAHA!  The week before we moved, we rented an open trailer to move some "small" stuff (boxes and small furniture we could get down the stairs ourselves).  Remember we moved from a four-story townhouse.  FOUR STORIES!!  I don't miss it or those stairs one bit!  
Here's my dining room after the move.  It was so frustrating to live with things like this for even a few days.  Mike and the kids went to work/school so I was stuck at home with THIS. I couldn't move the furniture or boxes...too heavy!  So I just did what I could and it was ok.  

My sweet friend Teri sent me flowers to welcome us to our new home.  After seeing that photo of my dining room, she said, "I thought you could put the flowers on your dining room table, but um..."  haha!  Well, we did get that room squared away and ate at the table for Thanksgiving...and the flowers were there!

Oh!  Wait, I'm jumping the gun. Back it up! We closed on the house the morning of October 23rd.  We met with our agent, our loan agent (both had lovely gifts for us!), seller's agent and title officer.  It was all very nice and friendly...really great.  We signed away and BOOM...we're new home owners!  That afternoon we went to the house and started working.  We worked every day, all day for three weeks. We painted almost the entire interior of the house, including the ceilings.  The house was SOOOOO dirty!  I'm telling you, I've never worked so hard in my life.  Forget the gym membership, just buy a house and paint the darn thing.  I would go over in the morning, stay all day, then Mike would take over when he got home from work.  One night he stayed till midnight, painting.  The floor guys came (a few days earlier than expected...awesome) and put in new vinyl flooring in the den and kitchen.  They did a great job...we had the den painted but not the kitchen.  Then we started on the kitchen.
The floor guys had to remove the stove and fridge.  The counter guys asked that, if possible, we not put the stove back till after the counters are installed.  And they were gonna try to get them in by Thanksgiving.  What?!  Long story short...they did get them in before Thanksgiving...yeah!  They were installed one week after we moved in, the day before Veronica flew in.  I was SO relieved.  I really wanted to cook Thanksgiving dinner in my new home.  That turkey was the first thing I cooked in my new kitchen!

You can see the hideousness of the wall color and flooring no doubt. 
New floor (kind of all over pattern...looks like concrete), new color on cabinets...
New wall color and new counters!  Yeah!  Mike is removing the old counters...they came apart in three pieces.  Whew!
 Then after the counters Mike installed a new faucet, garbage disposal (needed wiring, too since they never had one before) and all the plumbing.  Really, Mike has been amazing!  He's done so much himself.  Poor guy...I have a new list every day for him to do.  Yesterday he said, "I'm looking forward to the day I can just come home and do nothing."  I wonder if that will ever happen.  Someday, maybe.

Most of the kitchen work was done after we moved in.  We still have the second half-bath to paint, the kitchen cabinet doors to paint, organize the basement, and a bunch of other stuff that is on Mike's list.

While Veronica was here over Thanksgiving, she and I got a TON of stuff done.  We put the new run in the living room, unpacked a bunch of boxes, painted the drawers for the kitchen and hung up most of our pictures so the house is really feeling like home.  She kept me working (even between my "I don't know where this is gonna go!" meltdowns). 

I think she's passed out in this photo.  It was so hard to get that rug in the room full of furniture.  The run is 9' x 12'!  But we did it...and it looks great!  I need more rugs.

We still don't have curtains on the huge front window.  Hello neighbor's! But last night (cyber monday) I ordered some.  So they should be up soon.  That's how things are going...we do little bit by little bit and when things get done, they get done.  

Veronica helped get the tree up for Christmas...and stockings!
Before ornaments.  Also, it's a bit like Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree...the star on top bends over a bit.  That's fine with us!  

The mantel is high enough to hang the stockings and keep them up during a fire.  We LOVE our new fireplace!!!  We've already had a bunch of evenings with a cozy fire ablaze...so nice!!!

Mike, the girls and I did some adventuring out on Black Friday and on Small Business Saturday.  It was easy and fun...both days!  The trick is to go early, not crazy shopper early but early in the day, early.  This is the second BF shopping trip for me and the girls...we go around 8am and end around Noon.  We got some great bargains!

Veronica and I walked to a local park with Gracie.  It's nice and big with trails and a little bridge.  I'll have to make it a habit of walking Gracie there in the future.  Today it's raining and cold...day two of this and tomorrow will be more of the same.  That's ok, plenty to do in the new house.  Still boxes to open and stuff to find a place for....and stuff to organize.  And when I run out of that, I can start painting those kitchen cabinet doors! Or sit and knit and watch a movie.