Jarred

Hey, homies! I’m finally posting again! Been home sick with a sinus infection that went untreated too long. Long story short, glad to be on the mend!

I’ve recently realized my favorite little buddy in the kitchen (aside for Jasper begging for scraps – yes, he’s a cat – and Hadley wanting to “help”). While I’ve probably mentioned the beauty that is a mason jar before, it’s time to declare my undying love for them, along with a bunch of things you can use them for. Come. Let’s chat.

We’ve currently got a few sizes of mason jars floating around, but our all-time faves are minis (4 oz.) and half pint-sized wide mouth Ball jars. They’re perfect for storage (well, duh, that’s why they were invented), but you might be surprised as to how many ways that we use them. And, guess what! We don’t jelly/preserve a damn thing in them. I think I’m kicked out of the club. (One day, my friends. One day.)

Salad dressing – The tiny ones are perfect for transporting dressing for lunch. Seriously, just pour in your favorite or do what we do: olive oil, some vinegar, and seasonings.


This also deters anyone from sneaking your salad topper from the fridge at work. Seriously, a couple of weeks ago, I observed someone who had forgotten their salad dressing perusing the row of dressings others keep in the fridge, as if shopping. So, bringing one serving of dressing is perfect AND super easy.

Dry spice mixes – We don’t buy spice packets for things like tacos, chili, and salad dressing (Dave’s a fan of Good Seasons, but he hasn’t quite perfected the recipe yet). So, we double or triple the recipe and store the rest in our tiny jars. I use a dry erase marker to make a note of what’s inside, then just spoon it out as needed.

Mmm. Tacos.

Lunch packin’ – This is especially an awesome one for toddlers. We send breakfast and lunch to Grandma’s for Hadley, so we’re lucky that she’ll hear stuff up as needed. Most days I’ll pack his whole lunch in a glass container with a silicone-lined lid, but I’ll often split it up and give, say, his peas and carrots or corn in a tiny jar. They’re also a great size to fill with applesauce. Just like those little plastic cups at the store, only eco-friendly, reusable, and you can control what goes in. It’s also super cheaper to buy or make organic applesauce in large amounts and dole them out.


Yogurt keepers – Similar to the applesauce idea, yogurt is a great snack that is the perfect match for mason jars. The little ones are awesome for the little guy (just check out that link!), and I use the slightly-larger size for my own. Again, cheaper, reusable, and easier than you’d think!

Snack ‘n dip – Half-pint jars are a great way to make a tasty, healthy snack alternative. Just put whatever dip you like in the bottom and the fruit or veg spears of your choice standing up on top of it. Carrots sticking in ranch, apples in almond butter, celery in peant butter. Really, the combos are endless, and make otherwise boring snacks something to look forward to.

On-the-go snacks – Speaking of snacks, the 4-oz. size is awesome for toddler treats on a little trip. Fill ’em with raisins, mini crackers, pretzels, or dry cereal and skip the baggie.


Serve up some fun – Use mason jars (plain or decorated) to serve appetizers or little snacks for company. I even like the idea of creating a salad or taco bar by filling separate jars with toppings and just scooping out your favorites with a spoon or fork. Simple, rustic, fun.

Bank it – Hee hee. While Hadley has an incredible robot bank for his millions (uh, no), Dave and I use a few jars, labeled with simple cut-out paper rounds on the top, to sock away for future goals. It’s cool to look and see our change filling up these jars that have super happy connotations. Just seeing the vacation jar brings a smile to my face.


Oh, and surprisingly, none are swear jars. Knowing me…one probably should be. 😉

Coconut oily goodness – Dave and I both use coconut oil for different (and wondrous!) uses. He keeps a tiny jar of it nearby to style his hair with, and I have some mixed with essential oils (namely, peppermint and an “alignment” combo) for occasional aches and pains. Like, now. On top of getting stupidly sick, I pinched a nerve in my shoulder/neck. *didn’t say I was smart*

Decorating – Pinterest has a million awesome decor ideas using mason jars. I used the large ones to display fruit skewers at Had’s second birthday shindig and they provided some “height” and purtiness (totally a word) to the table. I’m dying to try one of the painted jar crafts, too!

Gifting – This is a great tip that I hope to use for the holidays, but you can use it all year long. Fill a pint jar with some candy, a favorite product, or something homemade, like granola or a “recipe in a jar” layering dry ingredients, and tie on a tag (I suggest printing something quirky/dorky like “we mix you a merry Christmas!” for a recipe mix). Embellish with ribbon or raffia…or don’t. Either way, the jar acts as a beautiful presentation, so you may not even have to put it in a gift bag.

Flower “vase” – Looking for a no-nonsense, sweet, rustic alternative to those flower shop vases? (Sometimes they’re okay, but mostly outdated or too frilly-looking.) Well, mason your vase game! The cool thing is that you can split up a mixed bouquet and use various sizes of jars to create a tiered, layered look. 


Holding collections – We have one jar that stores rocks and sticks that the little guy “collects” on walks. I’m sure that, as his “collections” grow, we’ll be splitting them up into organized items, too. And, not only does he feel that the things he finds are validated in their special containers, but they look cool all lined up. Which I can’t say for most of his toys. Ahem.

So, that’s just some of the ways we use our beloved little jars! Do you have any awesome ways that you utilize them that you’d like to share with the class? Go ahead in the comments!

One Year Later – Lessons

Back with another one-year anniversary post – aren’t you the luckiest readers? 😉

While we were stopped at our favorite pub/restaurant in Troy on our way back home from our anniversary trip to Vermont (the UBER-LONG VT post will be ready soon…I hope!), the conversation naturally led itself to our marriage. In all honesty, the discussion was brief; I mean, how philosophical can one get over a flight of 6 (beer samples) and a pint of pumpkin ale? (I’m sure some people can get QUITE philosophical over such, but I was anxious to get back to the three fuzzy ones at home and Dave was just enjoying his flavor selection. We ain’t too classy sometimes.)

Instead of focusing on the numerous improvements we need to work on with the marriage, or all that we’ve done wrong (either as a couple or individually), I decided to ask – “What’ve we done RIGHT and good?” We’re painfully aware of what we need to fix (although it’s not really much), so there’s no need to dwell on the negative. The anniversary weekend was ALL about fun and positivity.

Here are a few of the answers that I jotted down on the beer-splattered napkin:

Forgiveness. We’re both stubborn, and I own my Irish temper – it is what it is. Arguments are inevitable. I once read that more marriages fail when the individuals involved DON’T know how to argue correctly – either by keeping it all inside and holding unspoken grudges (never fighting) or by getting verbally abusive or harmful. We’ve learned to fight about the issue at hand, not drudge up long-dead issues or past faults just to win the upper hand in an argument. Simultaneously, we’re not out to HURT each other. (Isn’t it true that we always hurt the ones we love? And the jerks that we work with or deal with outside the home get away with being, well, jerks? It shouldn’t be that way.)

So, we’ve learned to fight properly, but most importantly, we forgive and move on. One of us is usually able to calm down before the other, and remind the other of the love we share. Oh, and since, through trial and error, we’ve learned about forgiveness and how to fight properly, we fight a lot less. We didn’t fight much in the first place, but when we did, it wasn’t pleasant. Now, every issue doesn’t turn into a fight; more often than not, it turns into a conversation.

Communication, or, as Mr. Hubs put it, “We talk more.” We suuuuuuuure do! Like I said, even when we’re annoyed or mad, we lay our cards on the table and explain it. Sometimes we don’t even know that the other is upset, or we need an explanation. It’s a lot easier not to get mad back and to try to bring some calm levity to the discussion when you know what the other person’s going through. Because of this, the number of “I just wanna be alone” or downright SILENT fights (you know what I’m talking about, married folks) has diminished.

Remembering to Regroup. We’re a busy couple. Between theater duties and practices, Dave’s particularly rough work schedule, caring for the cats (that doesn’t sound like much, but it’s something!), and trying to find time for friends and family (which we only wish we could do more). It could be worse, but it’s easy to get home, exhausted, only to sit eating without connecting. I’ve more than once laid down in bed to say, “I don’t remember talking to you today.” I know we’d spoken, but I don’t remember a word of it. It’s like phantom driving, that dangerous habit of pulling sleepily into one’s driveway not remembering driving.

So, we remember our occasional Cooperstown trips, or put aside a Saturday to focus on what WE want to do. It’s often not about “us”, like a date day or what have you, but we enjoy the process of whatever we’re doing, together. Shopping at the farmers’ market (or even the grocery store), working on a little house project, making breakfast and actually eating it together – it helps us regroup. And, the strangest thing is, we both get the urge when it’s needed. It could be a random Wednesday night conversation during which we realize that we had both been struck with the “This Saturday, we should go to the farmers’ market” mood during the day. And, when we’re on the same page (95% of the time) and SPEND time together, it FEELS like a date. We appreciate the time together all the more and really enjoy each other.

Mind you, there are those times (like the weekend prior to our anniversary weekend) that a simple, slightly-too-expensive date night makes you feel like a princess. Those rock, too. 😉

Support and understanding. While it’s not like we didn’t support OR understand each other before we got married, it seems we get better at this the more time we spend together. Everyday I learn more about the stresses that he deals with at work; everyday he learns more about my hopes and dreams and wishes and frustrations. Every time I don’t blow up that he has to work late, for example, I show that I’m learning how to support him better. Every time he compliments my talents, he shows that he supports my creative outlets (sometimes even more than I do). Every way that I can show him support for his writing and understanding for the bumps in the road, I try to find. Heck, even making the occasional pot of soup seems to boost him up; whatever I can do. We’re stronger than we were a year ago, and not everyone can say that; I hope this continues for decades!

Goals. We both have an idea of where we’d like to head in life. These ideas may or may not be different than they were a year ago, but we’re still completely connected as to the importance of supporting (see above) one another while traveling our paths, whether those paths be what we expected or not. I was always concerned about human’s inclination to change – hey, what would life be if we just lived in ruts for good? But, I was worried that the idea of marriage opposed a person’s will to change, leading to ultimate doom (the dreaded “D” word that marks the end of a marriage). Now, however, I’m feeling much more confident that people (Dave and I, in particular) can change and grow – even if they’re moving at different speeds or in different directions – as long as it’s together and with open communication throughout. It can be an uplifting thing, really. Quite unexpected!

An extra non-napkin note that I’d like to add is one that I haven’t mentioned to Dave. Something that means A LOT to me is that he’s turned into my cheer-up person. There was a time that I’d be in a bad mood about something and he’d be completely hands-off about it. It wasn’t for lack of caring; he just didn’t know that my needs are different than his needs, and I need some support. (I guess you could “see above” again about that.)

Recently, I was working on the aforementioned looooong VT blog post and was having major problems posting 50 pictures using Windows Live Writer. (Any suggestions GREATLY appreciated!) I finally had to face the music: I was going to have to upload them directly to often-fussy Blogger. I was discouraged and downright upset, and Dave knew it. He boosted up my mood by being super sweet, bringing me tea, supporting a project I decided to do instead, and organizing my kitchen cabinets. It. Was. Incredible. Even a year ago (yep, newlywedland), he wouldn’t have handled it this well.

I used to have a certain friend or movie or other activity to help boost me when I was feeling low. Now, my husband fulfills that role. Not bad for a one-year anniversary; just think where we’ll be in five years!

One Year Later – Wedding Fun

Dave and I celebrated our one-year anniversary this past weekend, so I’m going to ask you to indulge me for one post. I’d like to remember the silly stuff from the wedding day. We did our best to focus on the most important part of the wedding – y’know, the marriage part – but sometimes it’s fun to reminisce about the stuff that people tend to remember more than the personal stuff.
We were lucky enough to have a lot to laugh about 10/9/10, mostly thanks to our close friends. Our families were VERY well-behaved (consider us pleased and proud that everyone got along so well – we’ve since realized that things aren’t always this pleasant), but as my mother said, a person would have to have been dead not to have a ball at our wedding. (How many “have”s can you fit in one sentence?)

The only control we had over the fun factor was in the planning; otherwise, our friends (and family…but mostly friends) took over and did most of the work. Our “fun factors” were, in no particular order: music, activities, people, food, and photography. These seem like no-brainers, but stay with me here; it’s how we planned, selected and set up these factors that let us relax and enjoy the day while allowing our guests to cut loose, too. Looking back, I realize that the day, ultimately, was as much about “them” (the people that we love and adore) as much as it was about “us”.

Music: If we hadn’t selected our DJ, who was meticulous in HIS own planning of our reception time and in the gathering of information from us (hate the electric slide, love Beatles songs), the dance floor wouldn’t have been hopping like it was ’til the moment people finally left (or headed down to the Dungeon for drinky dinks). Seriously, for an afternoon reception, I was shocked at how many people were still dancing hours into it. We hardly had to call people back out to the dance floor for the final dance – “All You Need is Love”, which turned into the bride and groom’s final dance, surrounded by a circle of LOVE. Best. Moment. Ever.

We knew “DJ Bill T” was going to do an awesome job, because he really brought his A game to my brother-in-law’s wedding. But the equation of Bill T plus weird, awesome friends equaled incredibly crazy dance moves. Again, for an afternoon wedding, it was unheard of. Relive with me, won’t you?…

air guitar + Journey = awesome.

Christine’s Travolta

Activities: As for the little “activities” that we had embedded here and there, people were given the chance to mingle and meet or share in their Dave and Meg stories. We provided cards for folks to leave messages, a scrapbook comparing the bride and groom’s growth, from messy-haired kids to awkward teens, to when we finally met and fell in love. Our Flip camera was set out to allow for any greetings or, as it turned out, creepy/strangely-acted-yet-hilarious messages – can’t wait ’til we have kids, and they’re eventually old enough to watch some of those! Even the table names gave way to some conversation. Oh, and a little game played by our DJ REALLY got the tables talking and laughing, enough to break the ice at the get-go for amiable chatting for the rest of the day.



People:
If we hadn’t invited the folks that we had…if we hadn’t decided early on to keep the day small, simple, and meaningful…if we hadn’t whittled the list down to the people that we truly loved and cared about…we might as well have eloped. A huge wedding, showing how in debt a couple can go by inviting over 200 people, showing how many important people we know well enough to invite…well, it just wasn’t us. Our day was MADE by the people we invited. See for yourself…

Good times!

Jim Mills, ie Col. Mustard, ie Hip Hop Extraordinaire.

Chuck, the Professional Party Starter.
(Small Print: Chuck Carr was not paid for his involvement in our wedding.)



And, needless to say, Uncle Mark’s perfect mix of humor and somberness made for an eloquent, PERFECT ceremony.

Food: Holy crap, the food was incredible!!! Seriously, I’ve just gotta share with you just a sample from the menu (and not ‘cuz I’m bragging – it’s not like I cooked the stuff!): Slow Roast Certified Angus Top Round of Beef served sliced, rosemary mushroom au jus, roasted to medium, with whipped potatoes & frizzled onions (mmm…frizzled onions)…Roast Breast of Turkey with traditional herb sage stuffing, pan gravy (I MUST MASTER SAGE STUFFING…I never knew I liked the herb so much until I tasted this). We were going to go with a chicken and a beef, but given that it was a fall wedding…and given what we found to be delicious (hoping that our guests would agree), let’s just say we don’t regret it one bit. AAAAND let’s just say that when the leaves start to turn, we start craving a Beardslee meal. (And the staff was ON TOP OF EVERYTHING, even down to framing our singed seating chart, which now hangs proudly in our dining room. If they hadn’t been so smooth and accommodating with ALL the planning, it wouldn’t have been such a perfect day.)

Dave reconstructing the seating chart…

Seriously. I put TONS and TONS of thought into what I cook for people when they come for dinner. At times, I Martha Stewart a little too much. So, it was incredible that we found such a perfect venue for our wedding that would treat our guests just the way I like to treat them when they come over – only slightly better. 😉

The food was served homestyle, which definitely contributed to folks interacting at their tables. We also had black, champagne, and white M&Ms (one of which was “personalized” with our picture), and a huge chocolate fountain bar (thanks to Dave’s mom for prepping all those awesome goodies – I don’t think I ate one, but all the guests partook, which is what matters most; the only thing I missed out on!) with marshmallows, graham crackers, and tons of fruit on skewers. This area drew people in…then forced them to do the aforementioned activities. Mwahaha, sneaky.



I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention, also, the fact that our cupcakes were in-cre-dible, from the Gingerbread Bake Shop. I think we had 4 different flavors, from chocolate and “wedding cake” vanilla to orange and lemon (we were saved one of each, which we ate before and during our honeymoon…so sweet, so yummy). But, the best dessert was OURS. My mother had made a homemade apple pie (her recipe is THE best) with a “D” on it, which we cut into instead of cake. With forks in hand, we fed it to each other. Much nicer than the face-smash, and much more personalized since my hubby’s a much bigger pie fan than cake. Throw in the Beatles song “When I’m 64” to cut the pie to, and you’ve got a memorable, fun time!



Photography: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sarah Beck is insanely talented and, mostly appreciated, incredibly accommodating and easy to work with. I was SO looking forward to pictures and never once became nervous that they were going to take over the entire day. I feel badly for brides who miss their entire wedding (ie “all the fun”) because the photographer’s taking a million pictures. Here’s just some of the fun Sarah brought along to the party…

And she was kind enough to grab a few extra family shots when folks were heading out…

Oops. Sorry. Not those ones.
Although, this WAS a hilarious moment to capture. 😉

Of course, the “group shot” loosened people up even more to saunter back into the Dungeon (it also got us away from the other “evil” wedding group that had taken over the bar unexpectedly – which we graciously rose above ;-D Beardslee’s folks were so kind about it, though, really) and finish the night off right.





Dave and I marvel at how much fun our wedding day was. I don’t think we’d ever renew our vows – nothing could compare to the fun, semi-perfection of our one and only wedding day.

Six Months

It didn’t occur to me until late yesterday that today would mark six months since our wedding. I instantly got excited about the fact, and memories of the day flooded my thoughts. The easiest way to share those thoughts, emotions and memories with you? Pics. It’s taken me long enough, right?

Please just remember that these are owned by a) Sarah Beck, our friggin’ incredible (and fairly priced!) photographer and b) me. So hands off. That being said… For those of you who weren’t there or for those of you who’d like to relive it, got an hour? Here we go…in no particular order, here are some favorite memories…


I completely forgot, until the news that night, that the photogs at Dave’s work were busy with weddings that day…

 The feeling of accomplishment and relief that everything had gone well, all of our planning went great, and that we were finally ready to start our lives together. Legally.

 Doesn’t every bride and groom air guitar at their wedding?
 Entrance music for the reception? Austin Powers.

Speaking of “reception”, ours was at Beardslee Castle. So much history, so much spirit (literally). How could you not celebrate a day of life-long love here?

My father-daughter dance was actually a grandfather-brothers-stepfather-mother-daughter dance. Not all at once. Here’s my oldest brother, Bill. I’ll always remember how emotional he was that day. What a sweetheart.

 

Bill also performed a reading at the wedding. Talk about emotional! So glad he did it, and so glad to have him as a special part of the day.

This is Bill’s fun, gorgeous family. Yep, that tall stud on the right’s my nephew…and that little girl’s a bit of a mini-me. Ah, I love family.

I was as nervous about the “father-daughter” dance and the second “surprise” I had for Dave as I was for the ceremony itself. I’m actually getting bustled here.

We put a lot of personal details into our day – such as our donation to the ACS to remember those who couldn’t be with us – specifically, my dad.

Fire? What fire? I’ve got free champagne. (So glad Dave will always have my back, even when I’m distracted and unable to help.)

All three charms I handmade. We needed our loved ones to be remembered in our own, quiet way. Dave’s grandmother adorned his bout.

Everyone’s surprisingly calm. What’s there to worry about, anyway?

Some of our close friends cut loose big-time at our reception — which we LOVED. It was a joyous, unforgettable time (reminded me a bit of their wedding!). Not like a lot of weddings, though — possibly thanks to our small guest list (only truly close friends and family). Here’s our friend, Christine (or Christina, depends on the day, hee hee) doing her best John Travolta.

 Chuck, Professional Party Starter
 So much love surrounding us that day. Look at all the lovebirds!

Sweetest. Cupcakes. Ever. Deliciousness. Plus, the 2nd surprise – a homemade apple pie (made by my mom). Dave’s not a big cake eater, so we cut and shared this instead.

Another silent show of respect and love to Dad – a burning candle (homemade square beeswax, very masculine and plain, like Dad…no, I didn’t make it, but I searched high and low for it) in his Remington Arms candle holder (he worked there) on an antique stand that my uncle gave to my mother. Surrounded by his kids…

The speeches. Perfect, concise, funny but respectful. Here’s Dan, Dave’s brother and best man. I had a maid and matron of honor – my best friend, Beth, and my sister/best friend, Mary.

I started my “father-daughter” with Grandpa. He’s my hero, and acted in place of a father throughout my childhood.

Dancing soul mates. Dave’s proud to break out his Arrested Development chicken impersonation. We <3 Safety Dance.

Will always remember the sweet tears of Dave’s parents, and the mother-son dance to Cyndi Lauper.

 One reason he doesn’t break out the dance moves very often…at all….You keep trying, buddy.

The look Dave gave me down the aisle. Nervous, but confident and happy. It helped me reach the end without losing it.

Dave picking up the slack upon hearing about the guest list catching fire. Let’s see, who was at the Classic Hollywood table? (Oh, and the kind folks at Beardslee framed the singed list and gave it to us with a sweet note. It’s hanging in our dining room.)

I’m part of their family now!
 What an eclectic mix of awesome guests we had.
 Our iiiiinnnnccrrreeedible DJ, Bill T, checking in. Such a personalized playlist!

And his fun dollar-drink game. Tee hee. People knew they were in for some fun times.

My dress. How much work we ladies put into it…and the perfect veil…and everything. I felt that Grandma was with me throughout the day…along with a few long-dead actresses.

The Dungeon. AKA After-party. AKA Our favorite pub (in Beardslee’s basement). If you come visit, we’ll go!

How beautiful Sarah made me feel. Seriously, she’s unbelievable. And how nervous my mother was when she showed up wearing Chucks – which didn’t matter a bit in the long run (and I love that she wore them; we went to high school together and couldn’t picture her wearing anything BUT). Part of me wishes I’d worn them, too.

 Our first dance was to the Beatles/John Lennon’s “Real Love”. Look up the lyrics. Now. Seriously.

Did I mention personalized details? We provided a Flipcam for folks to leave greetings on. Man, were they fun! Other stuff – a scrapbook showing Dave and I at stages throughout life (then together), M&Ms with our faces, a chocolate fountain with tons of fruit via my wonderful MIL, and personalized table names (“Classic Hollywood”, “Mrs. Shake”, “Beardslee Castle”, “Ilion Little Theater”, etc.) according to our interests.

My bouquet. Perfectly classic, old-fashioned and modern simultaneously. My something blue- the ribbon on my homemade charms.

 This motley crew. What better way to end the day? (Well, that and booze.)
The fact that this picture makes my fam look like the mafia. Love it.
 That we could laugh like it was any other day – which it kind of was. Plus a wedding.
 The girls helping each other. I couldn’t have had cooler, more relaxed ladies in my par-tay.

Pics in the street in front of my parents’ house. Luckily, no one had to head up Putts Hill that morning. It was a perfect autumn day.

Throwing on my rehearsal dinner dress and running over to my dad’s headstone. I left him a calla lily that was still as fresh as new a week later. That tree has watched me grow.

 The wedding party, relaxed. Love them all.
 Still being a dork, making unelegant hand gestures while Dave puts the ring on.
Here are some of the perfect pictures of perfect loves, people who we can look to to model strong relationships upon (other than, of course, our parents):
 Alex and Abby
 Rob and Cara (now engaged!)
 Sara and Michael
Sharon and Ken
(So weird calling them that – Mr. and Mrs. Palmer; she played the organ at the ceremony, and is practically family. My brother and I took piano lessons from her for several years.)
 Paul and Ambi
 Holly and Bill (sweetest moment ever!)
 Debbie and John
 Danielle and Jon (now engaged! Something in the water…or booze…at Beardslee)
 I knew Mom was happy this day. Man, did that make me happy.

Have I mentioned how much I <3 Sarah, our photog? And have I mentioned how much I <3 this guy?

I do believe this was either “Let Me Clear My Throat” or “Don’t Stop Believin'”. Either way, how could you have a reception without them? Look at ’em. Always performing.
 Awesome. Moment. (Albeit staged.)
Thinking: “We’re allowed to touch up here, right?” He seemed to need a hand-holding. We both did. Strange, we’re not usual hand-holding types.
 Wedding day hugs are the BEST.

 Finally, no tears! Just happiness all around. I couldn’t be luckier in-law.

Before the 1st surprise. Even after we were sitting in it, he couldn’t quite understand. See, we’d planned quite meticulously whose car we’d be riding where. (No, we didn’t do limos. We didn’t do a videographer. We didn’t do a lot of very expensive things. There was no need; it was perfect the way it was.)

My stepdad, Jerry, who didn’t stop talking during our “father-daughter” time. He’s always been a part of our family in different capacities, but when he finally became a part of our family, for-real, I gave him hell. Lots of teenage hell for several years. He’s, luckily, since forgiven me, and has been a shot in the arm of strength, humor and calm for our family. He’s given my mother a new life, and I’ll always appreciate that. I love that he considers me one of his children and speaks of me proudly to people. There couldn’t be a kinder man.

Our theater buddy, Jim, who also happens to be the father of my dear friend, Kelly. Strange how life revolves like that. Regardless, he helped make the day so memorable – in a great way!

My sister’s husband, John, had a permasmile like this all day. He was an usher, but he’s, simply put, a brother. I love my other brothers and would do anything for them, but he was the more “present” brother during my teen years and beyond. I love that guy as much as I love that girl, and that’s saying a lot.

 Josh called. He insisted the party get started.
 The most jubilant emotions can be found while people jump.

Our final dance – “All You Need Is Love”. Surrounded by every guest. The best moment of our lives.

 Always there to lean on, especially at a cemetery on your wedding day.

 …or to get Uncle Bob (Dad’s baby brother, who was very good to us kids growing up) shakin’ his boo-tay. Yes, I just wrote that. Embarrassing side note: Mom was known to dance on our local version of American Bandstand. I guess the guys liked her because they could easily throw her around, being tiny.

 …or to share the final part of the “father-daughter” dance with. And, no offense to the guys, but she was the best dancer. Maybe I’m just used to shorter guys.

Mom, holding my charms. I love how you can see how tenderly and gently she’s holding them with her time-worn hands. There’s a lot of love in those hands, and for those people. (Her mom and first husband.)

 More dancing soul mates who had never met before.
 The job is done. Make ‘er last.

This perfect shot was suggested when inspiration struck…our very own Chuck Carr. He’s got a damn fine eye. (Wish my hair wasn’t loose, but s’all good.)
 Cutting the pie.

My brother, sister and stepdad enjoying the first posed shots of the day. Nothing like standing in the middle of a street in a wedding dress. No, seriously, you should try it some time. Fun!!

Man, I worked hours on those darn things. Downloaded the perfect font (eventually), reworked it to the perfect design (eventually), had them printed and folded at Staples. And, yet, I highly advise that people looking to a) have complete design control and b) save a bundle, design your own stationery, programs, seating chart, table names/labels, etc. It’s fun (in a sick way) and whenever I look at our invitation, I can say, “I did that! And Dave had approval of them!” There were definite DIY parts of the wedding. Oh! Maybe I should share those sometime, if anyone would be interested.

Some random, unrehearsed moments…

 A touching moment. Oh, wait. Wrong one.
 This one. That’s better. We get along like peanut butter and jelly.
 In disarray. Love this picture – relaxed, fun. But, wait. Where is my sister’s hand?! That can’t be right.

My makeup artist! Couldn’t have had a wedding without my brother, seriously. He made me look perfect. Huge task. Then, he helped out my ladies, which he didn’t need to do. There’s a big heart in there, even if his way of showing it is with impeccable sarcasm and brutal honesty. 😉

Not one to be unpleasantly surprised by being forced to publicly dance in front of dozens of people, he threw ME a curveball…that could’ve gone badly! But was fun, instead.

We kept expecting him to do something naughty. Like swear. Or perhaps say “Mawwaige. Mawwaige is what bwings us…togethahhh.” He behaved…although I was slightly disappointed that he didn’t mix it up.

The scrapbook I decided to undertake shortly before the big day. Idle hands… It did actually help calm me, and I love the outcome. Better than the technical glitches of Powerpoint.
I wore flats. Took awhile to get champagne ones, though. Our colors were black and white…with a hint of champagne.
 Straightening up our act.
 See? So much love!
Very special church decor.
Our table frames.
 And, yet, I thought there’d be more tears that day.

Mom, showing her friend Joanne’s hubby, Terry (whose birthday I share!) how to cut a rug. He taught me how to throw a ball and swing a bat, just like Dad would’ve wanted me to know. He was the first person called the day I was born, and I was honored that they could be here for the wedding.

 What a gentleman! My husband, drinking champagne, while Chuck lifts my train.
 One look I get regularly…especially whilst fixing a tie or what have you.
Another look I get regularly. “I try to be annoyed with you, but it doesn’t last long.” (I’m grateful for my goofy grin, it does wonders.)
 Fire? Eh, no big.

 Tom looks ready for a party…in the parking lot.
 I knew Tonya could handle two men! (We’re not traditional; we had 4 guys, 3 girls.)
 I <3 My Train. What other day can you get away with one?
Uncle Mark, schooling the crowd and making us laugh. Oh, he’s the priest, BTW.

 Walking like Egyptians. This song holds so many memories for me as a child, we just had to dance to it. We had to teach it to my niece.

Drinking water – the bride way. “Don’t spill, don’t spill!” (Side note: I didn’t pee until I was home and out of my dress, so never had to have the “3 ladies, 1 stall” scenario.)

What a wacky bunch!


So, there you have it. The day. The months since then have been up and down, but mostly quite good. No huge speed bumps, although I’m sure we’ll inevitably hit some. I think that we’re currently in a state of “realistic thinking” as far as marriage is concerned — and we’re happily not looking back.

You received “thank you” notes, but I’d like to, once again, thank all those who came to our wedding and who helped to make it so damn special. Seriously, Dave and I still pinch ourselves over how wonderful and perfect it was. And, now, for those friends who WEREN’T at the wedding, I thank you for spending the time to peruse through our day. You’re officially a McCoy-Dellecese guest of honor.

Sidenote: Wedding Bling

So, while I try to avoid theknot.com like high fructose corn syrup these days (since the wedding is minus 30+ days since happening — ie I’m already hitched and forever done with those stress-inducing web sites!), a link on my Facebook news feed caught my eye today: What Your Engagement Ring Says About You.

You should know that I ADORE my engagement ring, and love that my “forever bling” all goes together so well. The ring Dave gave to me is all the more important because it came from his grandmother — his mother presented him a couple of “choices” that she had inherited after her mother’s death, and he knew immediately that this one (after retrofitted with a new white gold band to match the setting) was THE one. It’s simple with delicate filigree detailing and clearly vintage-yet-somehow-still-modern. So, I figured it’d be neat to see if what they had to say is true.


 
Okay. If you were to get a look of me at this very moment, you’d know that the “Your style” isn’t 100% accurate. While I’m pretty traditional (kind of), I am not always utterly put together. Sure, I try, but not TOO hard. Currently, I’m adorned with my after-school uniform: sweatpants, T-shirt (my favorite “Feel Me, I’m Organic” organic cotton tee) and my ever-present green VERMONT on heather gray sweatshirt. Coziness! Who says newlyweds have to be all sexy ‘n stuff? Pish posh. I’ve always been one to buck some traditional ways — which is another reason I question the “Your style” verdict.

However, I’d say that the relationship and wedding descriptions are spot-on. Dave IS my best friend (not that I don’t have others). How could you marry someone who you didn’t trust talking about, heck, weird health issues or awkward financial situations with? Or giggling like Peter Griffin when one of us quacks (okay, when I quack) or shout “Approved!” at Target (or Lowe’s…or Christmas Tree Shop…or….). Hmm, come to think of it, he’s usually the one laughing at me. And I like it. 😉 But when he comes out with something unexpectedly hysterical, I give props and laugh until my belly hurts. It works.

And, as for the wedding. Hee hee. Yeah. That whole “takes a lot of planning to make things look this effortless” is SOOOOO painfully true. And, yet, we never really “lost it” in the midst of planning. I think I just got pretty introverted and kept a lot of the stresses in, rather than turning into the infamous bridal monster. It got to the point where, if it wasn’t already thought of in my planning, it just didn’t matter. And, after the fact, I heard so much positive feedback that the day was so personal with clearly well-considered touches that it was palpable — wahoo! Totally what we were going for — that and a laid-back FUN time. So, it was pretty unfussy and relaxed…but still completely romantic. Hard not to with a satin wedding dress, Rolls Royce, calla lilies, a birdcage veil, a setting like Beardslee, and one’s very own Prince Charming-meets-Jimmy Stewart-meets-Cary Grant-meets-every-nice-person-I’ve-ever-met. *sigh* What a great day.


Add some filigree around the diamonds and you’ve pretty much got my band.
Perfectly suited for the engagement ring.
There’s no ring in cyberspace similar enough to my engagement ring.
Seriously, an original. Aaaaand I can’t get a good enough picture of it. Sorry!
 

Inside the Honeymoon, Part I: Accommodations

So, we’re back and, for the most part, FINISHED with all the wedding festivities. The day of the wedding and those following it were some of the greatest memories we’ll ever have. But, I’m ready for some normalcy to return. I just can’t get as motivated as I’d like to, for example, work on house projects or blog entries. Perhaps it’s the newlywed slump…or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t know what to do with myself now that I’m not planning the wedding! It’ll pass (especially with the holidays and an end to the renovation at work coming up) — I was excited that I just happened to get the urge to share with you some of our honeymoon fun!

With that said, I figured I’d start by telling you about where we stayed. We had originally booked a bed-and-breakfast and found out that the room that we’d fallen in love with was no longer available. We accepted that for awhile, but as the plans of our VT trip started coming together, we realized that we also wanted to be relatively “centrally” located (we traveled along the western side of the state, up and down, but you know what I mean). So, we picked the aptly-named Middlebury, VT to make our 3-day home.

I chose Middlebury Inn for several reasons. A) It was centrally-located. B) It’s HISTORIC! Boy, is it!! C) It’s GREEN. D) They had a nice room available for our time at a reasonable price (although it was still a splurge by our standards).

We discovered several “pluses” to add to the list after we arrived, although we did run into an issue. When we arrived, admittedly early, we were told to leave and return at a certain time. Okay, so we schlepped our bags back out to the car, walked around town, grabbed something to eat, and returned at the allotted time…at which point we discovered that they still didn’t have the room ready AND there were no apologies. So, we partook in “Afternoon Tea” (on the veranda, nonetheless!) to wait for another 30 minutes. It was kind of ridiculous that they had a good handful of people working the front desk but zero hospitality or kindness.

Enjoying some tea and a gorgeous autumn day in VT

But, that didn’t get us upset. Once we walked into the Porter Mansion and our suite, any annoyance in our bodies melted away. It was incredibly roomy and the entire inn (which is actually three buildings) was green-certified in its energy practices. Also, the tavern (which was more like a nice restaurant) was part of Vermont’s Fresh Network, which connects chefs with local food sources (farms) to give patrons the best, freshest possible meals. Gotta be frank: we ate organic/local practically the whole time!

Dave, already enjoying the comfy couch and learning about the area.

This was the same floor I had once considered
buying from Lowe’s…vintage!

Yet, with all this modernity, the history of the place was palpable. The inn opened for business in 1827, and the decor of everything felt historic but not “old” or worn. Everyday, we ate in a separate dining area for breakfast and I couldn’t stop looking at the wallpaper. Granted, I’m not usually a wallpaper person, but when it’s high-end and GORGEOUS, you just have to appreciate it.

Also on the National Registry of
Historic Places (just like the theater!).

We had two dinners (we stayed two evenings, left on the third day) at Morgan’s Tavern (which I LOVED the name of — my niece’s name is Morgan). The first evening, we had our “big meal”, which was gourmet and awesome, and we decided to go there for a more “pub” experience the next night. IN-CRE-DIBLE! Oh, and that breakfast? Best thing we ate the entire trip! BEST. WAFFLES. EVER. (ie I had to buy myself a waffle maker the WEEKEND after. Must discover their secret.)

Dave, enjoying his breakfast, trying
his best to be a good husband
while I snap pics.
Looking pretty pale and sleepy…but SO excited for this meal!

So, all in all, our experience at Middlebury Inn was awesome. The food service was impeccable (which I noted in our survey at the end of our stay — wishing that the rest of the staff at the inn could take lessons), the ambiance of the inn was elegant yet warm, and it provided the perfect geographic center-point for our trip.

Stay tuned to hear more about our actual honeymoon activities, meals, and other “favorites”.


*If you know us, you know we’re not a “sexy couple.” So, sorry if you saw the title of the post and are disappointed that I discussed where we stayed and what we did, and nothing more. 😀 Pervs.*

I’m Baaaack…and Married!

So, I’ve been MIA for a little while. The wedding took SO much time — any extra moment was spent doing even time-wasting Googling about wedding stuff. And, while I felt ashamed that it was taking up so much time, in the end, I’m glad we did! The wedding itself was absolutely PERFECT. Not a traditional wedding shindig in the least (sure, we got married in a church and danced at the reception), but fun and simply wonderful. We couldn’t have asked for a better day, better friends and family to share it with, better vendors to help make it perfect. Seriously. Awesome. (Finishing up our final wedding blog post at Momentville.)

Dave and I took LOTS of pictures during our honeymoon — and not because we’re freakishly kinky. Nope, other than wanting to remember the awesome time we had, we took the pics specifically for YOU GUYS! Really, we’d find something else wonderfully neat and Dave would say, “Oh, let’s get this one for the blog.” Didn’t I find a perfect guy?

So, we’ll start posting soon. Instead, I thought I’d share something very meaningful to both the mister and myself. We took the last day of the honeymoon to decompress, and a part of our decompression was grabbing lunch at our regular spot, Donna’s Diner. While there, we started brainstorming all the ways we want to make our marriage successful, small to majorly important. So, as written on our napkin, we give to you our…

Declaration of a Happy Marriage (10/13/2010)
– When it’s time to have kids, take them into our lifestyle, not create a new lifestyle for them.Yes, we want kids. It’s probably the biggest goal we have. If we’re meant to have them, our life goal will be achieved. And, while we don’t necessarily have a very crazy lifestyle right now, we’d like to be able to maintain the parts of our life that make us “us” — theater work (less, but still active), travel (especially to NYC — if I’d been able to experience the city when I was young, I think that my philosophies on life would’ve been more realistic), making movies, etc. It may sound unrealistic, but we want to give them ALL the time they deserve but not forget that we exist, if that makes sense.
– Keep eating healthy. (And get healthier in other ways.) Our trip to Vermont helped solidify this, and even has us brainstorming about how we can change things for MORE than just the Dellecese household.
– Be happy for what we have, but no excuses not to dream. We never want to take what we have and where we are for granted. At the same token, we won’t stand in each other’s way — and we won’t use our “comfort” stop us from considering a different future.
– Get out of ruts. It happens to everyone. We get busy. We get tired. We have those nights that we get home from work and hardly talk to each other, too zoned-out to notice. When that happens, inevitably one of us will notice — and, in the words of Mike Holmes, make it right.
– Have more friends over. One way that we’ll get out of ruts is by changing up our routine. Also, the wedding made us that “Oh, them? Are they still alive?” couple. I’m DYING to break out my new fondue set…wine…games….
– Take the time for date nights. Still another way to get out of a rut. Pretty self-explanatory.
– Appreciate one another. This is an easy one to forget, especially when life takes over.
– When we fight, remember our vows. Everyone fights. It’s inevitable. If two people are going to spend sooooo much darn time together and have opinions on things and sometimes disagree, a fight will happen. It’s also easy to say things that we don’t mean. This is when the sincerity and honesty of our vows will help get us through…among other things. 😉
– Do/say something kind every day. We already do this, whether we do it on purpose or not. From Dave making my lunches to my making dinner, I feel loved by the way he shows it, and I feel that I show him how much I love him in actions as much as anything. However, sometimes I get insecure and wonder… “Does he still love me, heads-over-heels, or is he just busy with work, or…?” So, we’re making a point to SAY something kind everyday, too. I think this’ll be a household rule as the family gets bigger.
– Help with and/or support each other’s dreams and attempts at achieving them. Some dreams don’t pan out. You don’t want your one and only partner to be down on them from the very beginning. “Stand by your man” (or woman, as it were). Even those goals one of us might be apprehensive about, I find, helping a person out with it helps you understand it. Open-mindedness!

There’s room to add, although I’m not sure Dave will give us a chance to before he frames it. I’m sure there are about 100+ more things that should be on the list, but we’re new at this. We also know that these don’t work for everyone, but given the 2 1/2 or so years that we’ve been together (and 1 1/2 living together), it’s what works for us! 🙂

And for those of you dying for a few more pictures, here’s our INCREDIBLE photographer’s blog. She’s still got plenty of time before we’ll be bugging her for the final versions of all the rest of the photos, but it was awesome of her to share these samples with us.

Keep an eye out for our honeymoon posts! Thanks for following.

How to Be a Wife…

So, one week from today, I’ll officially be a Mrs. I’m hoping for smooth sailing and a fun time out of the day, as well as the marriage, but I know that won’t necessarily be the case. I’m realistic — generally. 😉 I know there are things in life we can’t control; boy, do I! Luckily, Dave and I have supportive parents who didn’t mind that we decided to move in together before getting married. Heck, my purdy darn conservative mom FOUND the house for us. Psht. Granted, she knew he was planning on asking me to get married, so y’know.

I’ve thought a lot about how our relationship might change, what will stay the same. Much of it will be a continuation of “already issues” while the things that we enjoy will remain a constant comfort. At the same time, I know that I’ll be working on overcoming lots of my own flaws (or at least keeping them in check) in order to combat some of our issues — and I’m sure that new and exciting fun will help keep things fresh. Our involvement with the theater (and hopefully future involvement in different areas) ensures that things are hardly, if ever, dull!

So, how am I going to do this wife thing? Like I said, I’ve got some challenges ahead of me, but simultaneously I know that I’m ingrained with some pretty cool traits that helped Dave realize he wanted to marry me. (Just like Dave has traits that made me want to marry him — or else we wouldn’t be in this mess right now, lol!)

– We’re individuals. This was our first agreement as a couple; to maintain our own identities. It doesn’t mean that we don’t spend a lot of time together. It more means that we’re allowed to be ourselves (flaws and all, as long as they’re not hurtful or dangerous), which sometimes entails doing things separately. Let me just say that I can’t WAIT to get my piano! Oh, and he’s fine when I MUST MUST MUST watch one of my favorite cooking (odds are either Nigella or Ina) or design (odds are Sarah Richardson or Genevieve) shows. Clearly not an area that we share interest, but man is he forgiving…although, come to think of it, he’s never watched the Monkees with me.

– On the same token, we embrace our similarities. Some of our best quality time is spent watching great old movies. It seems like a small thing, but it’s one of the special similarities that make us work. We both read, and we pretty much read ANYthing, so we’re great at discussing the interesting points or what in the reading might affect our lives. Hell, we had a pretty great conversation tonight about the history of super heroes. Oh, and we met onstage, so we have a creative streak; unfortunately, I need to work on being critical without being OVERLY critical (I’m sure you know what that means!!!).

– We share the hard, little stuff. When he’s having a rough week, I mow the lawn or take out the garbage to take some of the stress off his shoulders. He scoops the cat pan and washes dishes way more often than I do. I generally cook a lot more than he does. They’re things that we don’t mind doing individually, but if we had to do it ALL alone, it would add resentment.

– I’m working on my patience. I know he must be working on his, too, because I’m not sure I could live with MYSELF if I had to. He worries far too much, but I try to rationalize and recognize WHY he worries. It all boils down to my own safety, and the safety of Beardslee. Those are his two priorities in the world, and it’s incredibly, importantly, wonderfully sweet — but sometimes it’s easy to look at small situations rather than the big picture and get frustrated. So, as a wife, I’ll be working on honing my patience level.

– We also embrace our future goals. For the most part, we enjoy doing home improvement jobs together. He’s learned so much from my stepfather, who ADORES teaching him what he knows, and I get to show off my “man skills” with power tools and dirty stuff without getting scoffed at. We truly enjoy discussing what our plans for the house are, and where our priorities lie. Of course, our other future goals include kids, and we discuss it quite a bit – but we don’t have a time frame. It’s good to know we’re on the same page on such a HUGE life change! …Oh, and I say “for the most part” because there are those times when Dave wants to, ohhhh, saaaayyyy, hang a chandelier on a Sunday afternoon, thinking it’ll take 30 minutes…while Meg knows full well that it’ll be more complicated than expected (aren’t all projects?!?!?!) and may last into the late evening. Yeah, it’s been known to happen.

– But that’s our only definitive goal. While we’re not necessarily yyyyooooooouuuuuunnnngg (my poor circulation and a daily reminder from 16-year-old girls are both far too blatant), we don’t want life to end upon marriage. At times, I feel “behind” — parenting was old hat to both of our sets of parents by the time they were our ages (Dave’s parents had both he and Dan; my parents had 3 out of 4 of their kids by this point) — but we’re also quite sure that we’re not 100% sure what our futures hold. We’re in agreement that life takes us in unexpected directions, and we have to be ready, prepared and supportive in case of such times. Life’s a journey, and marriage isn’t the end of it!

– Finally, I consider myself uber-lucky. Dave puts up with a lot from me. I may be the most wonderful person on Earth and all, but even I have some annoying and, at times, downright bitchy tendencies. (No, really, don’t we all? Man, I hope so.) And while Dave isn’t always all sunshine and rainbows, he deals with lots more from me than I do from him. So, when I get into one of my crappy modes, before too long I have to remind myself what life would be like without Dave in it. Then I have to make myself STOP thinking about that; just too hard. That generally smacks enough sense back into me to find the dude, hug him (if he’s nearby) and tell him how much I appreciate and love him. *sappy Full House audience “awwww”* That’s another wicked important thing to remember — if you THINK something positive, TELL them about it! You can never hear “I love you” too many times (um…unless doing it sarcastically, I suppose), but even the simple “I love the way you cook” or “Thank you for mowing the lawn, it looks awesome” comments mean a lot.

So, those are some of the things that will help this marriage succeed in the future. I know there will be tough times as well as wonderfully sweet, awesome times. I think we’ll be fine as long as we continue to enjoy watching a kitty do ninja kicks at invisible intruders throughout the living room together.

Post-Wedding Plans

Howdy, all! Things here at the McCoy-Dellecese household have obviously been pretty busy lately. The school year is well under way, the theater season has started…and, oh yeah, our wedding is ONE WEEK from this Saturday.

Holy crap! It’s so easy to liken it to doing a show. You prepare and plan and organize and even kinda practice (girls? Wedding shoes? Am I right?) and lose sleep thinking that you must be missing something. You want it to be fun for all your guests (audience?) and as the end is near, you finally realize that, wait, why are you doing this in the first place? Obviously, to get the “job done”, but WE have to have some fun, too. Some unavoidable mishaps are inevitable; just like live theater, wedding planning is impossible to control completely. But, boy, does it take over your thought process in the meantime.

So, that’s where I’ve been the last month! Things are coming together pretty nicely. Heck, we’ve got the license and rings, so we could just do it tonight if we wanted to…but, we’re SO looking forward to seeing our friends and family (many of whom are traveling quite a way to get here!) and giving them a bit of a party to get to know each other and celebrate, well, love!

But, what about AFTER the wedding? Dave and I are itching to get going on a project or two (or more) around the house. Here’s what we’ve got in mind?

#1: MAKING THE BASEMENT USABLE: You’ve seen my post about my basement inspiration as far as decor goes (if you haven’t, check it out here). First, however, we’ll obviously have to do some prep work. Any time you’re working in the basement (especially when you’re trying to make the space more livable through the use of furniture and decor), waterproofing is essential. So, we’ve got some cement walls to scrape, a few patches to fill and Drylok to apply.

We’re deciding to take my stepdad’s advice and only apply a foot or so of Drylok around the perimeter of the basement. Why? First, it’s cheaper. Second, the only areas that we’ve had moisture problems have been where the floor meets the wall. Oh, and we’re not just doing the wall; we’ll be coming down onto the floor 6-12″s, as well.

After Dryloking (which will inevitably be a project, since we’ll be applying a few thin layers), we’ll be painting the walls a creamy tan to modernize and brighten things up. The floors will be painted a light brown to coordinate and hide dirt.

We’d like to have these projects done before the snow flies. That way, any additional work down there can pretty easily be done on our schedule, regardless of weather. Don’t want to paint when the walls are freezing, but working on adding storage and decor can definitely be done in a cozy fashion.

In addition to working on the laundry area, additional living space, and hopefully a half bath, we’ve got extra room for some storage! In a 1920s house that is full of closets — TINY ones — extra storage is a must. We have a cut-out space on the far side of the house that is just begging for pantry shelving. Yay! My potatoes and onions can actually store, unspoiled! Plus, there’s an awkward area in the center of the whole shebang that seems useless — except for storage that we only need to access every once in awhile. (Y’know, Christmas decorations, tubs full o’ our childhood and adult memories.)

The space under the stairs also needs some work to make it a safe place for Beardslee to hang out — which he can’t WAIT for! He loves “discovering” the basement. Plus, we can finally move his potty space down there (right under the stairs) now that his cough has gotten better. Man, is this basement going to be a huge multi-tasker! How have we lived using it so unwisely so long? 😉

#2: MINI-BATHROOM RENO: We have one bathroom. We MAY be adding one (is it sick that I dream and wish about it?) half bath, like I said, in the basement. For now, one bathroom is all we have and, honestly, it’s all we need. Sure, it’s small. Compared to the bathroom that I left behind in my old apartment, where you could easily practice ballroom dancing, this one is awkwardly-shaped (the 3rd bedroom, aka office, closet juts into the room — and bedroom minus closet equals no more bedroom AND a lower home value…yeah, we ain’t movin’ nothin’) and just fits the toilet, sink, bathtub, and built-in storage.

Our goal? (Well, mine.) Three words: modernize, modernize, modernize! We’ll chip away the tiny tiles that cover the bottom half of the walls, cover with white bead-board (and finish with chair rail), paint the rest of the walls, add some new towel hangers, then turn my attention to the built-in and shower. The tub is a brown-ish color and, if I can get an eco-friendly heavy-duty cleanser, I’ll keep it. It’s in good shape and I’m a little lazy; tubs are frickin’ HARD to move! But, the surround was put in improperly. I’ll be consulting my stepdad for options (I’d LOVE to put subway tile just on the shower interior to add some more value and interest, but a new surround to replace the now-torn one would also work). Ah, and the floors need some consistency — I had considered tiling, but since we’re still trying to determine how long we’ll be here, I know that vinyl tiles may help achieve what I want easily and cheaply. Then, I’ll turn my attention to the currently-ugly built-in cabinetry. I’d like open storage, so I’ve just gotta continue brainstorming. Overall, I’d like to go for a spa-feel. Heard it before? 😉
#3: KITCHEN CABINETS: We have two cabinetry./counter areas in our kitchen. One is as old as the house and would be impossible to move — and we don’t need to, we just need to clean them up and give them a new countertop. The other…well, to put it bluntly, is a piece of crap. The previous owners put in a CHEAP press-board sink cabinet and let’s just say that I cry every time I open them. They had a leak issue with the faucet and didn’t bother to fix it. So, what were we left with? A rotted-through bottom. So, while we have some cleaning supplies in there, it reeks to open it and I can’t take advantage of the storage as I’d like. It just needs an update!!!! My loving future-husband (I’d say “hubby” but he hates that) has promised that, before too long, I’ll at least get new a new sink area. We’re also pretty much constantly pricing new appliances, although we’re lucky that these (as with the washer/dryer) were F-R-E-E!!!!

We’ve got lots of other must-do’s around the house (can you say “tree”?!), but for now, these are where our priorities lie. Anyone else out there have some fun to-do’s helping to distract you from other things — be it work…or wedding planning? 😉