Tag Archives: weekend activities

A Wedding in Rome

24 Nov

This weekend I had the pleasure of witnessing and celebrating the wedding of one of my good Georgia Tech friends. I had never been to Rome, Georgia, and I have to say it was really a nice place. A quaint downtown, which I love, and the reception was at The Farm, which was even more of a drive, but well worth it.

Because we had another friend we hadn’t seen in two and a half years who lived in Rome, we drove up a little early and had lunch with him at Harvest Moon Cafe. The food was incredible and the company even better.

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It’s really nice to get back in touch with a friend and to instantly remember why you liked said friend so much. I also felt the same way seeing all my Georgia Tech friends again, most of whom are busy like we are or have moved out of state, so I either haven’t seen them in months or years. I blame the quickness of time for why so much of it passes by before I get a chance to meet up with friends.

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The Catholic service was very lovely and interesting. I thought the homily was short and meaningful — and funny! — and since the bride is Hispanic, they incorporated some of those traditions into the ceremony as well, which I enjoyed. I feel like no matter what your religious beliefs, you can always appreciate the cultural diversity of attending someone else’s service.

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We arrived at the reception venue and it didn’t disappoint.

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We did a quick photo shoot before it got dark.

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And then the fun began! A delicious dinner, drinks, and dancing into the night.

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Cupcakes. Yum.

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It was really nice to have this opportunity to spend so much time with people that I basically grew up with and used to hang out with every day (and their significant others). It felt good to be silly and just simply have a lot of fun together!

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There was an awesome bonfire in a nearby pasture after the festivities. It looked like they cut up an entire tree to make it. I wanted to stay til all the flames died, but we had to get home at some point that evening!

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I love fire.

Everything about the whole day was just extremely wonderful. Congrats to my friends! May they live long and happy lives together!

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A Johnny Appleseed kind of weekend

5 Oct

My friend Katina and her family decided to go apple picking with us yesterday in Ellijay, GA (which is now the host of two of my favorite yearly events: birthday tubing and apple picking), and we had a blast.

We chose out the Red Apple Barn and it couldn’t have been better. At first I was a little worried given the amount of people there, but we easily got on a hayride to the orchard and didn’t feel crowded there at all. We got there around 2:30pm, and when we were done picking at 5pm there was a much bigger hayride line, so we were lucky.

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Sixty degrees and warm in the sun. Couldn’t have been better fall weather!

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It didn’t take him long to figure out how to eat a whole apple.

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I don’t think I have ever picked an apple off a tree and eaten it before. Just like growing food at home, it was so much more delicious than buying it at the grocery store.

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Walt definitely ate more than he picked.

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He had such a blast walking around the orchard, stuffing his cute little apple face.

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Apple coma. This was one of my favorite Walter moments ever. I love how much he loves being outside.

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Katina and I were friends in 6th grade, and now here we are with our husbands and kiddos!

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After spending a couple glorious hours in the orchard (much more than I thought we would), we roamed the pumpkin patch. I really loved how relaxed and friendly everyone was here. They even have apple cider and apple cider donuts waiting for you when you get back from picking.

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We picked out a couple pumpkins to take home with us between more apple bites.

Walt didn’t give up his last apple til we got in the car and I took it from him. We ate a bag of yummy boiled peanuts on the way home to Nini’s house for dinner, where we ate a delicious roast, drank amazing wine, and watched Crocodile Dundee.

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We convinced my mom to light her fire.

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Walt fell asleep on the way home, which he never does. We’ve driven home from Chattanooga at 10pm and he never fell asleep. But I guess it was a big outdoor day and he was exhausted. So adorable.

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Today we lit our first fire of the season, because it’s been downright chilly!

It’s definitely been a weekend that makes me thankful I live in beautiful Georgia with great friends and family.

Georgia Tech mini-reunion

25 Sep

Last weekend was one of those really fun weekends that starts Thursday night. We left our house at 9pm (9 o’clock!) to go out to meet up with some of my college friends. I couldn’t believe we were leaving the house when I usually am ready to get into my pajamas and watch some TV (and thanks to my mother, the trooper, who watched Walt for us). But my good Georgia Tech friend Bo, who lives in Switzerland, was in town for just a heartbeat, so we had to join him, his wife, and our other friends. Another one of whom I hadn’t seen since before our wedding even though he and his wife moved back to Atlanta over six months ago. Time flies when you’re a busy bee.

We met up at Holeman and Finch, not one of my favorite places. I’d rather go to Turner Field to grab one of their delicious burgers. But the actual restaurant is fairly pretentious and has minimal seating. However our waitress looked just like Laura Prepon, so that was awesome. Dave and I enjoyed catching up, then headed home around midnight. The others don’t have kids yet, so they stayed out til 2am. Certainly reminded me of good ol’ college times!

Friday morning Walt and I met up with Bo, who hadn’t met my sweet toddler yet. We were going to walk around Piedmont Park until we realized that it would be fully occupied by Music Midtown, so we opted for a coffee at Starbucks.

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Then we met Jordan at Taqueria del Sol for lunch. Yum. I don’t usually get to go there anymore because of the long lines, but it is always such a treat. We ordered a feast and chatted about what we were like ten years ago. I’m glad Walter wasn’t paying too much attention to us.

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Jordan is getting married in November, and we’ll all be able to get together again to celebrate!

Saturday night we were able to babysit Walt’s cousin Ward for a few hours. He just turned one and is old enough to really play with Walter now. It’s more fun than a movie to watch them together. I had visions of them growing up as best friends.

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Mayhem.

Hello there, Dugout Johnston

11 Sep

It is really fantastic when a new thing meshes so simply into your life, as if it was always there. That’s when you know you’ve found someone or something great. Recently, for us, it was a little dog named Duggy.

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When I first met David, literally, on the very first night after that very first round of darts, he told me how he was going to get a dog that week. He asked me to help him pick out a dog. A good idea at 4am on a Thursday night. An overwhelming idea in clear daylight. I declined when he called, but we played another round of darts on Monday and the rest is history. He did get a dog that weekend, but had to return said dog because whenever he left the house the dog howled, and that didn’t work with Dave’s recording artist roommate.

David spent the next six years talking about the previous doggy loves of his life, especially Itchy in Iraq and Stuffy when he was growing up. So when recently a friend of an old friend was looking for someone to take a foster dog, I thought, Why not try the dog out for a week? We wouldn’t be committed, but if we fell in love we could keep her. Turns out the dog hated cats and bit people out of frustration, which isn’t great with a toddler running around. I was ready to avoid any more dogs, but I had gotten my husband re-excited about dog ownership. So we went looking for a dog even though we thought we were crazy for adding on more responsibility and expense than we already had.

At the Humane Society, we walk up to Duggy’s cage (who was shelter-named Beau and one of few non-pitbull mixes there) and David says “Ohhh no” as if he’s found the awesomest dog ever. We played with him in the meet-and-greet room, then went home to sleep on it. I absolutely knew we would be going back the next day to get him when I looked up his photo online and said, “What do you think he’s mixed with?” and David replied, “Beagle and cuddliness.”

So after church we went to get him and despite my sense of impending doom, Duggy (we had already decided we wanted to name him Dug the dog) slept on the floorboards on the ride home. Hm, I thought, he is already exceeding expectations!

 And thus was born the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Duggy doesn’t shed much at all (praise the Lord), was already housebroken (thank you God!), listens well, learns quickly, likes to sleep, doesn’t wake us up in the morning, and is sweet and cuddly. He is great with other people and other dogs, except on the leash. He has what is called “leash aggression” only towards dogs, which we need to work on because it is embarrassing and frustrating, especially since he didn’t seem to have it when we first got him.

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Walt loves his furry friends.

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Who’s taking whom on a walk here?

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Cuddle bug!

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Nap time!

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I’m glad Walt gets to grow up with such a gentle teacher.

Old Hickory Lake

29 Jul

Two weekends ago we got to go on one of those really fantastic vacations that takes you by surprise. It is so easy, based on what everyone else is doing on social media, to assume that you have to travel to far and exotic locations to be somewhere amazing. The United States has some pretty spectacular views, and some of them are even within easy driving distance of Atlanta. For instance, my family loves visiting Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, FL. But this time we met up with some friends outside of Nashville. And the lake house we rented from this guy on VRBO was sensational.

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I wasn’t even looking forward to going on vacation to Nashville. Even though I had never been, I thought, what could be so great about it?

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And then we arrived to this view. Walter loved quacking at all the ducks.

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There is something magical about staying this close to a body of water. The world doesn’t seem quite so weary as it does living in the middle of a major city.

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Walter wasted no time relaxing.

We try to meet up with Dave’s Marine friends, who were also his groomsmen, and their spouses every year. Everyone lives in a different state, so Nashville was a relatively central location for us all to get to.

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The guys spent the first day fishing off the dock.

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When I got tired of watching them fish, we went into town to get some frozen yogurt and grab some pizza for dinner. Now that a couple families have kids, it worked out really great to rent out a house instead of four hotel rooms, so once the kids went to bed we could still hang out. Sawyer is almost one, and he adored Walter. Walter was actually terrified of Sawyer, except for one afternoon when he felt like playing. Doesn’t bode well for getting along with younger siblings!

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The second day we rented a pontoon, and it was awesome to get out on the lake.

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Pre-boat ride. I swear Walt is checking to make sure Sawyer isn’t up to no good.

Walter’s first boat ride.

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It was hot out there, and he fell asleep pretty quick.

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Even though Daddy won tubing.

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And Sawyer took us for a ride.
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One of three fish caught that weekend.

That evening we ate at a really good Mexican restaurant, then everyone who wasn’t a mommy went to play The Escape Game. You get locked in a room for an hour with a million clues, and if you solve them all and get out of the room, you win. It sounded like a lot of fun. There’s apparently one in Atlanta, but there’s a zombie in the room with you. No thank you.

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I ended up going to bed super early that night because we stayed up late every night chatting with our friends, and we were also sharing a room with a two-year-old who didn’t realize we were on vacation, and he kept getting up before 6am. He is usually a late sleeper, unless we need to sleep in!

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At least he’s cute early in the morning.

I love our friends. They’re a ridiculous bunch, and some of the best people I know. I wish we all lived closer to each other, but I’m glad we make the effort meet up anyway.

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Before everyone went home, Cassie made us go to the Pancake Pantry in Nashville for lunch. We waited 1 1/2 hours for possibly the best pancakes I’ve ever had. I’m glad we got to go into the city, at least for a little bit. It was an adorable town, and with my new love of the TV show Nashville, I’m absolutely ready to move there.

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

28 Jul

I’ve enjoyed the movie 13 Going on 30 for the past ten years, and now here I am: 30 years old. So far it doesn’t feel much different than when I was 29. To be honest, I don’t feel that much different than how I remember feeling when I was 6. Except I’m a bit more knowledgeable and possibly a lot more emotional.

I planned a full weekend to celebrate myself. It kicked off Thursday night with a perfect-weather Braves game and an H&F burger. Friday (my actual birthday) I met my Mom, Grandma, Aunt Joanne, and Cousin Robin for lunch in Dunwoody. It was nice to sit around the table with the ladies from my family. I always enjoy that. And I think Grandma liked leaving her assisted living home to join us and eat some less salty food. I was good and ordered a salmon salad but silently wished I had followed my grandmother’s lead and gotten the yummy margherita flatbread.

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My cousin made me delicious cupcakes with sparkles. I didn’t even make it home before eating one.

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Walter always gets more attention than I do, even on my birthday.

Friday night my mom threw a small dinner party for me, with just a couple friends, my dad, and Dave’s parents too. Walt spent the night with Nini so Dave and I could go tubing the next day. It was a glorious day on the Cartecay River, my 10th year in a row going birthday tubing. I’m a traditional type of gal, and this is definitely my favorite tradition all year.

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Dave has been 6 times, Jen$ 5 times, Sophia 5 times, and Kate 4 times.

We were supposed to go next door to a cookout when we got home, but we got home much later than we thought we would, had to wash the river off of us, and I fell asleep on the car ride home, so I wasn’t in the mood to be social with a lot of people I didn’t know. So I watched Nashville in bed til I fell asleep. I am now completely addicted to that show, and country music has entered my life once again. I had country music playing today when David came home for lunch, and the look on his face when he heard it was so priceless I was crying with laughter.

Sunday morning we got the house ready for another open house (we were going to go look at a dog but it got canceled), and then Jason took us to see Gone with the Wind on the big screen at The Fox. It was amazing. They had Margaret Mitchell introduce the movie with a little posthumous skit, and the crowd was delighted to be there. I’ve never enjoyed watching the movie more. Everyone laughed with Mammy, gasped at Vivien’s looks, and clapped when Clark Gable came on screen. It was awesome. We only stayed for the first half because I was desperate to see Walter at that point and didn’t want to wait another 3 hours after intermission.

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We’ve already decided that the next time they do this we’ll go for the second (more depressing) half of the show.

Last but not least, after we had a glass of wine and some snacks at my mom’s while picking up Walt, we went to Jen and Anton’s for a quite yummy birthday dinner. They couldn’t go tubing with us, so Jen wanted us to come over to their townhouse, which Dave had never seen before. We don’t get to see them often because they have a large extended family and several busy jobs, so it was really great to get that time with them.

It was a great weekend spending lots of time with friends and family. So great, in fact, that I couldn’t bring myself to get me or Walt out of pajamas today until 2pm. Walt didn’t mind though.

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Another decade bites the dust! It was a good one, but I’m expecting this one to be even better!

Family Portrait.

18 Jun

We went to Picture People to have our family portrait taken last weekend. It took me til this long just to get over it enough so I could write about it. It was so much fun I almost started day drinking. Dave and I didn’t talk to each other for an hour after we got home. Talk about successful! I was envisioning Walter enjoying posing for photos with his loving parents. Instead, he screamed and ran around. I guess I forgot he was a 2 year old.

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This is him on his way up.

At least he’s so darn cute.

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Little boys aren’t made to sit still!

The Metamorphosis of the Kitchen Table

14 May

Over the past few weeks the garage has been in a super transitional period. First we filled it up with the things we wanted out of the house for showings and items for a yard sale. With both these things postponed, David managed to clean and organize so that we could fit the cars back in there. I was thoroughly impressed.

Then, my kitchen table project happened. Cars were parked in the driveway again.

The table was a hand-me-down from Dave’s sister, bought very cheaply from an estate sale. It’s sturdy but not very pretty. I loved it. Walter likes to push back from the table, and it would be very hard to knock these chairs over backwards. I wanted a table we could make a mess on and I wouldn’t freak out about. I didn’t want to pay $1,000 for a well-made table either.

Enter our table:

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However, once we painted the kitchen, the table looked even worse style-wise. My mother had mentioned earlier that I should paint the chairs. So I looked up some blog posts of people who had painted furniture and thought to myself, “Why not?” It didn’t really turn out like theirs (maybe it was the paint I used), but it is so much better than before that I can hardly believe it.

DSC_0291Finished product. What a beaut.

Midway through the project I had a fantastic idea to get a glass top for the table. When  I found out our table was a standard 48″ and I could get one for $100 from Pier1, I was sold. There was a lady stocking paint at Lowe’s who told me that no paint was safe to eat off of, but I could use bar wax that would yellow the paint. This other guy said that paint has been safe to use for a while now. Either way, I’m glad I don’t have to worry eating cancerous paint anymore. And I think it really is the icing on the cake in terms of how it all looks.

Here’s how I did it:

Without sanding any of the furniture (but making sure all the dust and dirt was gone), I primed everything with Zinsser 1-2-3. It covers any surface and seals as it goes. I read one person who used a brush to paint it on. Do yourself a favor and use spray primer and spray paint for any surface that isn’t completely flat. It goes so quickly too. The first chair I did with a brush and it looks significantly worse than the rest of the table and took forever. The spray cans of primer were big and I was able to use one can per chair and one can for the legs of the table.

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For the table top I used a small foam roller and a regular can of primer. When it is applied it looks like it’s going to have a terrible texture to it, but it dries nicely. You just have to make sure to take care of any lines.

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I sprayed the primer inside the garage with the door open, wearing a ventilator. This worked well to keep pollen/dust off the table while it dried and the smell isn’t bad. However, I should have done Dexter’s kill room setup in there. Primer dust was all over the floor. Not really on anything else, surprisingly, but it was hard to clean up.

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The primer dried in half an hour, which made this project go very quickly. If it feels gritty after it’s done drying, take a piece of fine sandpaper to it, removing any dust before you continue. I used Valspar black satin spray paint for the chairs and table legs, about 1 1/2 cans for each. You have to spray paint outside. The fumes are unbearable even in an open garage with a mask on. On a drop cloth I flipped the chairs upside down to get at the legs easier, then placed them upright and finished. You can’t touch them for at least an hour. They ended up a little glossier than I had imagined they would be, but it still matches my Parisian beach theme going on in the house.

I did one chair a week earlier than the rest as a test subject. I don’t know why, but maybe because I brushed on the primer, the chair is even glossier than the rest. Also, I found out, if you don’t use poly to seal the chairs then they might never dry. I read somewhere that it can take 7-30 days to “cure”. I certainly don’t have that kind of time to wait around for paint to dry! Over a week after I painted that first chair, a dinner guest left a nice butt print on the seat. No paint came off, but it was still tacky and had lots of kitty paw prints all over it too.

Solution: about an hour or so after you spray paint the chair, you can brush on polyurethane with one of those cheap sponge brushes, and three hours later it is a finished product. You can sit on it with no problems. The key to poly is to prevent it from foaming as you apply it by not having too much or too little on the brush. Also beware of drips, because they will dry permanently that way. I only did one coat for everything (instead of sanding and doing a second coat). It seems to be fine so far but obviously I can’t attest for durability. There might be a second coat in my future.

I also used the foam roller to roll on the table top paint. I used Valspar black satin latex enamel (it’s right by the spray paint). It dries a little bit harder and quicker than the spray paint, so I didn’t poly it, but that’s because I knew I was going to use the glass table top. It took about two days of Walt’s nap time to do all this, minus extra time for pilot error.

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I can see the flaws, but David says that’s because I’m being too critical.

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With some additional cute new artwork, the kitchen looks like a million bucks.

The House, nearing completion.

4 May

We have been chin deep in house projects for the past two months. This is way past knee deep… though I do see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just funny that after you make your already awesome house perfect you get to… move?

Since we haven’t had any pressure to put the house on the market, this is how things have been going:

When you tell a homeowner to replace the front door handle, the new handle will make the front door look old now too. They will probably want to re-stain the door.

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Worn out door.

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Fresh and wonderful door.

When they re-stain the door, they will notice that the wood rot around the house needs to be fixed as well before it goes on market. The handyman will notice that your gutter is too small, causing the problems, so he will recommend a new gutter. The gutter guys will recommend and your husband will agree that the fancy gutter guards will be worth the expense, so you’ll get those too.

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Helping us paint by keeping the drop cloth warm.

After many more projects outside (painting, washing, staining, planting, fixing, etc.), you will realize things that need to be fixed and updated inside. You want a new light fixture for the kitchen. This light fixture will be great, but then you’ll realize that you to need to repaint the kitchen to match the new light. With the fresh new look, you’ll realize how old and cheap the cabinet knobs look, so you’ll get new ones. When your kitchen looks as great as it does, you’ll want to paint the kitchen table as well (that one is mid-project. So far only one chair is currently black).

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Old kitchen.

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New kitchen.
Not the best picture. But during the day the kitchen looks almost gray to match the living room, then at night it’s this beachy blue color. Love it.

When your husband notes that the pantry could use some painting too, you say, well it’ll be difficult to paint around the pantry shelves. When your husband says he’s going to take those down, you tell him that he’s not going to put the old ones back up. He’s going to have to build shelves since you’ve always disliked the wire ones. And if you’re going to paint and put in custom shelves, you can’t leave the old linoleum. You’ll want to tile the pantry floor too.

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We picked the black one.

And this is why when you give a homeowner a cookie, he’ll want a glass of milk to go with it…

What a Presbyterian Deacon Looks Like

28 Apr

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Yay! Happy Deacon!

It’s great to be a deacon lately. This weekend we had our retreat, and it was really a lot of fun. When our pastor/board liaison Drew first mentioned going to a monastery and attending 5-7 worship services a day, I thought to myself… uh oh. That’s a little too pious for me! But luckily we toned it down a bit and I think it was a great weekend for all.

Friday night David let me have all the deacons, spouses, and kids over for some fellowship. I actually overestimated how much we would drink, which I thought was surprising for Presbyterians, but I guess not for me! We hung out for a few hours, which was really nice since usually we are working and going to meetings together. And watching Walt play with some of the older boys before he went to bed was one of the highlights of my life. David and I cleaned up then put in Saving Mr. Banks before bed. Great movie.

The next morning Dave and I assembly-lined some sandwiches for the picnic I wanted the deacons to have when we went to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit. Luckily it was a beautiful day! None of us had ever been to the monastery, so we wondered around their gift shop and bonsai garden, watched the short movie of the monastery’s history, and enjoyed the museum. Then we attended the midday prayers before lunch. 15 minutes, short and sweet!

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They built this place with the work of their own hands.

One of the things I liked best about the monks and their home is how trusting they are. They have really old bonsais just sitting there for you to touch. And all the grounds are open for you to have a picnic or play or exercise, etc. It was really inspiring for me since so many places these days have so many rules and are just out there to make money. The monastery is there to share the beauty of the land with anyone who wants to visit.

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It was such a gorgeous day to be sitting under the trees enjoying good friends and breaking bread together.

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And Shirley and Raymond treated us with a waltz too!