Family fun at the DC Cherry Blossom Festival

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

National Cherry Blossom Festival

Every year around the end of March or beginning of April, the Tidal Basin/Potomac Park area of downtown Washington DC practically explodes into a magical world of delicate little pink and white fluttering petals. There are parades, concerts, and scores of other fun events, and it seems like almost every photo taken of the flowers and the area in general turns out unbelievably gorgeous. People travel from all over the world to take in the sight, and you'd better believe that absolutely everyone is snapping pictures 

Jefferson Memorial during the DC Cherry Blossom Festival
White blooms at the DC Cherry Blossom Festival

For the past 3 years we've watched the buds grow on the Cherry Blossom Cam, and made plans to spend a day in the city when the trees reach their peak bloom stage. The first year there was a down pour, the second year Corbin was born 2 weeks earlier than expected, and last year we were so busy that we completely forgot until it was too late.

DC Cherry Blossom Festival
DC Cherry Blossom Festival
With Ant out of town for a full week (during the expected peak bloom of course :-P), I was sure we were going to miss our chance yet again. But it turns out something good actually came from all those freakishly late snow showers we kept having around here. The cold weather added an extra week to the bloom cycle, and Ant returned home just in time to take a day off and enjoy a beautiful spring outing with me and the kids.

DC Cherry Blossom Festival
DC Cherry Blossom Festival

The whole day was perfect! We saw the gorgeous trees, had a picnic lunch in the warm sunshine, strolled around the Mall, and then spent the afternoon at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum. Aurelia and Corbin both had an awesome time visiting the dinosaurs, wild animals, sea critters, and "sparkly" rocks. (aka giant crystals and gems!) 

Lunch at the National Cherry Blossom Festival
Playing in the park

It was so nice to take a break from the chores, errands, and unpacking that have filled our last 2 months to do something fun together for a change. We all had such a great time, and it looks like I was even able to borrow a bit of the flower's "super photogenic powers" to get tons of adorable shots of the kids. When did they get so stinkin' big?!

(And no, before any of you asks, the magical photogenic powers were not quite strong enough to work on me. Sadly I'm still jinxed. 
But this time I'm going to blame Ant's photography skills (or lack thereof) for my wonky pictures ;-)

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When real life takes over...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Well hey there! Long time
I know at the end of my last post I mentioned I might disappear for a few weeks now and again, but I had no idea my break 
would be quite so soon. And especially not for a whole 3 weeks! Do you know how much crazy stuff can happen in 3 weeks!?

Let me give you a rough idea...

Ant went off on a business trip to Arizona for a week. And I'm talking a FULL Sunday to Saturday week.
I'll just let you use your imagination about how the kids and I spent so much awesome time together.
(Spoiler alert : There were Lots of movies, Lots of less than healthy meals, and Lots of early bedtimes!)

While Ant was out of town, I tried to salvage my sanity be the nice Mom and let the kids play in the Chick-fil-a
jungle gym thingy. It was an amazing hour of quiet as I sat outside that magical little room eating their ice cream. least it was until they both came down with the plague.
And then gave it to Ant. One word : Man-cold. Ugh!

Somewhere in between Ant's return and the sickness, we took a family day and went to the Cherry Blossom Festival. 
Finally! We've been trying to go since we first moved to the area...3.5 years ago! (we're so pathetic sometimes.)

Corbin turned 2. Yay!
Then mere days later he went through a major attitude overhaul. Boo! (I'm praying it's just the new molars talking!) 
That was actually way back on March 27th, but since Ant was AWOL we didn't have a party until April 12th.

Speaking of, I put together my first real "blog worthy" party. 
It freaking took for-ev-er to pull together, and no one showed up except my grandparents and Dad. 

There's been quite a bit of of reading going on too, and here are some of my recent favorites...

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor - The best series ending I've read in a long while!
Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt - Sometimes you just need a bit of romance.
The Firery Heart by Richelle Mead - Seriously, just go read everything Mead has written. 
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi - Another good ending to an interesting series. Team Warner!
Cress by Marissa Meyer - Not as good as the first two books, but I still need to know how it all ends.
Fyre and Darke by Angie Sage - Great series for middle school readers!

And then this last week, we pretty much gave Lowe's a ridiculous portion of our bank account in a attempt to start getting this place in order. Unfortunately most of that has gone towards yard work, so I don't even have anything to show for all the work I've been doing digging, spreading, and planting - not until my bulbs start to sprout that is. :-)

And of course we can't forget about Easter. We opted out of coloring eggs this year, but since the bunny brought us enough candy
 for the whole stinkin' block, the kids were still more than happy to run around the front yard looking for plastic eggs.

In the crafting department: (Sorry, you may have forgotten by now that I actually do those.) 
I finally finished the afghan that I started while I was pregnant with Corbin, Did I mention he's 2 now? Yea, I rock.
I made the most adorable My Little Pony - Nightmare Moon costume that I can't wait to share with you guys,
and I felt so bad about all the e-mails I got recently asking if I had a pattern for the Coastal Bliss dress,
that I actually dug out the scary wad of scrap papers that are my patterns and started grading a few things.

It's been quite an interesting few weeks of randomness, but I've been sothankful for the recent increase in "family time".
I'm really looking forward to going on many more family outings now the the weather has begun to warm up...kind of.
Berry picking, and amusement parks are always fun, but I'm also excited to get back in my room and get some sewing done!
What adventures are you looking forward to this summer?

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PS - I was offline for a good bit of the time I was gone (so nice to be unplugged!), and I'm still in the process of catching up on emails,
comments, and reading a zillion awesome blog posts. I'll get back to everyone as soon as I can though. Promise!

House Tour Part 4: Sewing Room

Friday, March 21, 2014

I know you've all seen those gorgeous craft rooms where everything is light, airy, and completely color coordinated.
The space is so organized and dreamy that it makes you wish you could just visit and craft forever.

That is NOT what my room will be like.

Nope, not at all. My room will be cram packed with years worth of hoarded fabric, yarn, paper, ribbons, thread, patterns, knick-knacks, do-dads, and what-nots. It will be full of pencils, pens, markers, scribbles, and more lists than any one person could possibly keep track of in their lifetime. Almost every single surface (including the floor!) will be covered with some sort of something, and certain folks may actually be frightened to enter sometimes. (Honestly, I'm not sure why those people would want to visit me in the first place.) 
But the thing is, I don't think I'd have it any other way.

I love looking at those beautiful rooms just as much as the rest of you, but they just aren't me. 
I am messy. I am random. And I often work on a dozen different projects at a time.
This room will be mine! Now let me show you what I plan to do with it...

- Paint: I think I've chosen the perfect color, but it wouldn't be right if I didn't waffle for a little longer. (spoiler alert - it's teal!)
- Get an Algot stand for the printer to sit on, and maybe another one for under the table to hold embroidery machine goodies.
- Install a shelf above the desk for some of my cute knick-knacks.
- Find a new desk chair. Maybe I'll steal mine back from Ant and make a slipcover for it.
- Add a giant piece of sheet metal to the wall between the computer and shelf. A magnet board is just what I need to help corral my lists!
- The third thread rack is already hung, but that wall could still use a bit of art or decorations of some kind.
- Add more color! Right now everything is pretty much a boring blue or white. We need some pink, green, and patterns!

- We've already added shelves to the left side of the window to match the right, but I'd like to paint them all a pretty color.
- Hang a white board on this wall so I can keep better track or my Etsy orders and collections. More lists!
- Add a curtain rod above the white board and use it to hang backdrops for photo-shoots.
- Build a cutting table to help store a good chunk of my random crafting supplies.

The cutting table is by far the project I'm most looking forward to. I've designed it to work for my specific needs,
and since my dad already has all the necessary skills and tools, he's agreed to help me build it. Yay!

The top will be 40x60 so I can work will more than a full yard of fabric without having to keep wiggling it (or myself) to make things fit.
On each end will be a mini 3x3 Expedit kind of shelf/drawer/paper cubbie combo thing where I can store all my yarn, scrapbook paper, zippers, do-dads, etc. Then between the two end units will be more shelves where I can stash my bolts of fleece. I'm even considering adding a magnetic bar for my scissors, and a few hooks to keep my clear rulers handy. And to make it even better, the whole thing will be on casters so I can move it into the center of the room if I'm cutting out large pieces. Doesn't that just sound amazing?
It's like sewer's bliss actually, and I'm so excited to start working on it! **insert fangirl squeal**

Moving on...

- Paint and organize the shelves. 
- Give the bookcase a makeover with a fun new color.
- Hang some kind of garland or bunting above the window.

Holy cow I've got a lot of junk!

- The paint rack was already hung above the light switches, but it still needs to be sanded and painted.
- Hang the pegboard vertically beside the bookcase.
- Find drawers (maybe more Algot ones) to stick below the pegboard as storage for my Etsy shop back-stock.
- Paint the ugly grey screw drawer organizer.
- Decide weather or not to keep the ceiling fan

Well, I guess that's it!
If you've been following along through parts one, two, and three, you can see that I've got plenty of work ahead of me.
And when I say me, I mean Ant. Oh wait no, I really mean me. ;-) Of course it won't all be done at the same time, and some of it may not even be finished this year, but at least we have a plan. So now if I randomly disappear from the blog for weeks at a time, as I'm wont to do, at least you'll all know that I'm off on some kind of sanding/caulking/painting whim that couldn't wait a minute longer. 

Happy Friday!

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House Tour Part 3: Basement and Yard

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Well, we covered the kitchen and dining room in Part 1, the bedrooms and bathrooms in Part 2, and now it's time to head down into the cavernous depths of the basement where we hide our children so no one can hear their screams. Ha ha, I'm only kidding! I definitely lock them down there when I need to, but you can totally hear the shrieks of "Mommy I want a juice!!!" from anywhere in the house. Lucky me.

Updates planned for the stairwell

Basement Stairwell
Would it look odd for the downstairs and upstairs to have different color banisters?
Also, I still LOVE our Dyson Animal vacuum, and yes that is a dirty sock at the bottom of the stairs. :-)

- Re-caulk all the cracking trim
- Choose a paint color
- Replace the brass light fixture
- Possibly change the color of the railing and banister. 

basement layout

The lay of the land...

Plan for the storage room

Storage Closet
This is probably the coolest little closet ever! If we didn't have so much junk, I would probably turn it into a cute little room for the kids, but alas, I'm a hoarder so too bad for them. I'd like to build something like this eventually, but for now, as long as I can keep hiding away the things I don't know what to do with, I'm good.

- Build a shelving unit
- Buy more totes
- Purge like there's no tomorrow!
- Sort and organize what ever is left

Updates planned for the laundry room

Laundry Room
If you saw my Valentine's day public service announcement about cleaning your dryer vents, you'll already know that this was my very first project as soon as we got moved in. Maybe one day we'll install a cabinet and cute it up a little, but at least it's functional now. 
And of course it's always nice that we're less likely to burn down the house trying to dry our never-ending mountain of clothes.

- Check if Dad has any extra cabinets hidden away. (Everyone in my family is a hoarder!)
- Paint: Something fun and fresh. Is lavender weird for a laundry room?
- Hang up the ironing board
- Maybe build one of these for the laundry baskets.
- Replace the light fixture. The old one has a short in it...and it's brass.

Bathroom redo plan

Basement Bathroom
This room is the very definition of the phrase "half-assed", and I don't even like to think about the amount of work we'll need to do in order to make it an actual NICE bathroom. The medicine cabinet and towel bar are falling off the wall, the faucet knobs pop off, and the plumber decided to "fix" a lose pipe (a stipulation in our contract) by wedging a shampoo bottle between the pipe and the wall. I didn't even bother to take a picture of the tub, but trust me, it looks like a bath fitter project gone wrong. Since we don't have much use for a basement bathtub, I'm not sure what we'll do in here yet. But if I ever win the lottery, you can bet the whole mess will be torn down to the studs for a complete do-over. At least in the mean time I've got a close place to pee when I'm in the middle of a project. ;-)

Updates planned for the playroom

Plan for the playroom makeover

I'm so sick of helping pick up toys and then seeing them all dumped back out 5 minutes later.
Can't we just leave it like this and pretend everything's invisible? I know some of you would totally do the same!

- I already installed a blower on the fireplace so now maybe it won't be so cold in the basement during the winter.
- Bring the sofa and chair down from the living room
- Paint: What color says "This is a fun kid's room, but we aren't ashamed to have adults over for a movie"?
- Block off the drafts around the sliding glass door and the back wall along the foundation. I started, but didn't make it very far.
- Get rid of the vertical blinds and find a sliding curtain option. (The kid's have helped by ripping most of the blinds down already!)
- Figure out a way to organize the toys. I like the trofast system, but these goobers just keep standing on the buckets.
- Either bring down the old tv from the living room, or get a new one to hang over the fireplace.
- More brass, but I think you guys have probably figured out how I feel about that by now.

Updates planned for the backyard

Updates planned for the backyard

Plan for the backyard makeover

Most of our time here the yard has been filled with snow, (seriously, we got 6 more inches yesterday!)
but once it warms up it'll be so nice to send the kids outside and let them burn off some energy.

- Remove all the timbers, pebbles, mulch, and pavers and start from scratch.
- Level the gate so it doesn't drag on the ground a find a latch that locks. Corbin has already figured out how to break out.
- Prune the ginormous azalea bush that is taking up a quarter of the yard.
- Get rid of the ten (yes 10!!) bags of rock salt that the old owner left behind the lattice.
- Throw down some grass seed and try to conquer that moss that's taking over the right side of the yard.
- Bracket the stairs in place since they aren't actually attached to the center support. 

We're totally gonna eat most of our summer meals out here!

- Remove the extra handrails. Why are they doubled up to begin with?
- Take down the lighting on the stairs.
- Fix all the protruding nails before someone gets snagged.
- Sand the railings. I really don't want to have to wrestle splinters out of anyone unless I absolutely have to!
- Bring up the kid's plastic table and stools and spray paint them something other than neon green.
- Buy some flower boxes, and get a bit of color going out here.
- Get a grill and some patio furniture. Ant would like to sit out here with his morning coffee.

That's it for the main bits of the house, but don't forget to stop back later this week for a peek at my own personal space - my Sewing Room! *squee* I can't tell you how nice it is to say that after working out of the dining room for so long, and I'm super excited to get everything in order so I can start creating again. I can already feel that this is going to be my most productive sewing year ever, and I can't wait to share some of the surprises I've got in store for you awesome readers who have stuck by me during all the moves, babies, and crazy parts. Thank you so so much. I truly hope you'll enjoy the fun adventures to come!

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