2011: A Look Back

With all the excitement about Christmas, there is no big day that sneaks up on me more each year than the last day of it. I woke up this morning to my 4 year old’s face pressed up to mine and he said in a very concerned and serious voice, “Mommy! Wake up! You have 4 eyes!!” And so began the last day of this year – a “year of dreams” we’ve called it around this house. A year that like all others was full of hard stuff, sad stuff, but lots of good stuff too. This year, my kids turned 4 and 7, I hit the big 33 and hubs is now on the downhill slide to 40. He doesn’t like when I say that.

As 2011 began, I set my sights on some long put off goals and now that the year is over, I’m happy to look back and say I completed them.

I signed up for and ran my first half marathon back in February while my hubby and kids stood in the cold for 2 hours to cheer for me for the 15 seconds it took me to go past them. I still get choked up thinking back to that moment of running past my daughter with her “Go Mommy” sign.

I also signed up for and finished my final class for my bachelor’s degree and am officially a University of Colorado at Boulder graduate. Woo!

My two big goals for the year complete. What next? Probably a full marathon, maybe more school.

Around the house, we painted the kitchen a new blue.

We turned our guest room into a playroom.

We did a quickie little makeover at our entryway.

And added a beadboard headboard in our bedroom that just celebrated it’s first birthday.

In the rest of our not picture perfect ready for it’s closeup just everyday living life:

I spent a month cooking all new to me meals.

We spent another glorious summer at the cottage.

Back in January of this year, I wrote this post about The me I want to be and the struggle I was having with blogging, sharing, writing, taking pretty pictures and the pressure that I felt from all of it. I think that this year brought big changes to this blog. I stepped back a lot more. I didn’t share just to share. I took time off when I needed it. I enjoyed the moments and began to really live what is in my heart more than just talking about it. I think it’s safe to say now that the year has passed that I really did become the me I wanted to be this time last year. What a wonderful thing for anyone.

I thank you all for being here over the past year or years. I appreciate all of you and wish you all the best in the coming year.

Happy New Year!!

In The Kitchen: New Blue

For quite a while now, my kitchen has basically looked like this on one side:

 and like this on the other:

It’s the second picture that always bothered me. The upper cabinets were too tall (we have low ceilings) but since they came in the lot of them that we found on ebay way back when, hubby used them. He hated to *not* use them even if they weren’t quite right. So, he made this little corner. What bothered me was that I had this whole area of countertop that I could barely use for more than a few do dads and for piling up organizing papers.

Imagine my delight when while we were away, hubby got a new – free! – microwave that got the ball rolling on a whole new kitchen project. I don’t think he knew what he was in for, and neither did I. The day we got home from vacation, he ripped down those too tall cabinets to put shorter ones in their place (that we already had in another spot that wasn’t working – more on that another day).

Of course we had painted since the installation of the cabinets which meant we needed to repaint. I figured if we had to paint, we might as well pick a new color. So, I chose Behr Cumberland Fog. You should know this about me and choosing paint. I am not one of those people that brings home sample after sample until I get a color just right. I walk into a store, pick up a handful of paint cards and choose one. The only color I’ve ever hated was one someone else made by mixing colors and chose for me. I am not the queen of choosing paint colors – I just know what I like and don’t waste time, I guess. You could show me 26 light blue paint colors and I’d love all of them so why bother wasting time making sure it’s perfect? I know I’ll like it just fine.

Hubby got to painting – which also meant that he painted all the trim white again – yay! So fresh and shiny clean looking now. Having him paint the trim sure beats me having to scrub it. Then he put up the new cabinets, built some open shelving between them and we finally had a functional space in my kitchen where I can store stuff and use the countertop for more than clutter. I also took this opportunity to make a new not clashing curtain for that little section of cabinet. A friend gave me a shower curtain she’d never taken out of the package. I didn’t need a shower curtain so I used it to make this instead.

Here’s the rest of the kitchen with the new blue paint color:

That shelf in the middle of the kitchen isn’t staying. Hubby is still working on one area, so that has been floating around and I’m trying to decide if I can live with walking around a kitchen island all the time before I bite the bullet and buy the island that I love at Ikea. Enough explaining. There it is. New blue in the kitchen and some new functional counter space!

Yes, the chalkboard in the background says First Day of School 2011. Aren’t they cute?

13: A New Project

I am having a slight panic attack just writing this post, but here it is out there to the world. Two weeks from today, exactly 5 years to the day after we bought our home, is the closing for the sale of this house (if all goes as planned, which we expect it will). We are not moving. This has been a dream for my hubby for a long time – to buy sad, neglected, once charming homes and make them nice again and then rent them. This is step one in beginning that journey. I am terrified and excited all at once. I am so happy that his dream is becoming a reality after lots of hard work and pinched pennies. The house, as you can see, has seen better days. I like to think it was once quite charming and will be again with a whole lot of sweat and a bunch of nails among many other things. I am having a hard time looking past the broken and seeing the renewed, but I know it will be beautiful one day and become what we are hoping for. I am warning you now, this is not going to be one of those quick little fixes. I expect a finished product in 5 years, so that probably means 10 years. Nonetheless, we are one step closer. I am going to have to come up with a name for this home. Maybe it will come to me as time goes on and I get to know her better.

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