Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Wreath and Decorations

In my family, the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving.  We don't go Black Friday shopping, we put up the Christmas tree.  Last year, Nick and I went out the Monday after Thanksgiving and bought our Christmas tree.  Nick's allergic to real trees, but we got a great artificial.  While I would love to continue our tradition this year, we have our dog this year and I don't trust her not to chew up our tree, so it has to wait a couple weeks until I'm on Christmas break.

I did get some decorating done today though.  With my Mom's help, we made a wreath for my newly painted front door.  I went to Hobby Lobby during an early Black Friday sale and got the makings for my wreath 50% off.  I got some shatter-proof ornaments and wired 3 together.

Then, we put them where we wanted them on the wreath and wired them in.

Then Mom made a big gold bow for the top and I wired a loop onto the back so I could hang it on my door.  My husband REFUSED to put a screw into our door, but I did get him to hang a small hook on the wooden part of the window so I can change wreaths frequently.  I'm totally in love with the finished product.

I LOVE the colors against the black door.  I also got my husband to hang icicle lights along the front of the house, although he wasn't thrilled about it.  But when it got dark enough for the lights to come on, he too liked it, and now he wants to go raid my parents' barn for the white lawn deer that they no longer use.  I took some pictures when the lights came on and I'm pretty happy with the outside decorations...

I have started decorating a little bit inside as well.  Mom and I also made a swag to hang above the door that goes into our dining room.  I got those things when I went to the Hobby Lobby sale as well.

It doesn't show in the picture but the elements in the swag are glittery.  It matches my green/gold/brown Christmas decorating scheme...a lot of which are leftover wedding decorations.  And the last thing I did today was hang this wreath inside that Nick got me at Home Goods.  It's a little off-center so I'll have to fix that tomorrow.

The lighting in the picture's kind of bad because I was too lazy to change camera lenses.  It's gold accents on the wreath instead of silver.  Lots more decorations to come.  Stay tuned....

Lucky Linky Tuesday @ Lucky Star Lane
Toot Your Own Horn Tuesday @ Silly Little Sparrow
Make It Yours Day @ My Backyard Eden
Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
A Crafty Soiree @ Yesterday on Tuesday
Passion for Paint @ Mural Maker & More
Just Something I Whipped Up @ The Girl Creative
Motivate Me Monday @ Keeping It Simple
Make It 4 Monday @ Cottage Instincts
All About You Monday @ Texas Monkey

One Year Ago

A year ago today, my life changed forever.  I always feel like that phrase has a negative connotation, but in this case, it was a wonderful thing.  I woke up a year ago today from a restless night of very little sleep.  I was tired and didn't really want to get out of bed, despite the long list of things I had to do, and an appointment to get to.  I went through my morning ritual of putting in my contacts and brushing my teeth.  I went down the stairs of my parents house for probably the last time, and it was bittersweet.  That was the home I'd gone back to in college, where I  had spent my high school years, and it was filled with happy memories, and I had just spent my last night there.  When I got to the kitchen, my Mom didn't say much.  She just hugged me a little longer than normal, and went about her business.

By 9:30, I was sitting in the hair salon, watching my sisters have their hair styled and curled, then my Mom, and my friend Rhonda.  My fiance's mother showed up with containers of food left over from the night before  Then it was my turn.  I hadn't stressed about this decision.  In fact, there wasn't a lot leading up to that moment that I actually had stressed about. 

When it was finished my hair was done, and my veil was in place.  I remember playing with the crystals that hung off the edges of it.  I wasn't really nervous, just ready for 4:30 to arrive.  We made it to the church, bags, dresses, and make-up in tow.  It was a beautiful day!  We set up shop in our designated area in the church and started the long process of make-up application and dressing.

The time finally arrived.  Pictures were finished, and the church was filled with people.  I teach high school...I stand in front of people every day.  But when I heard them setting up extra chairs, I started getting nervous.  But when the appropriate music played, I walked with my Dad down the long aisle, trying to keep my skinny heel from dropping into a hole in the decorative metal grate half way down.

I don't remember much about the actual ceremony.  I do remember thinking that those vows Nick and I had put together seemed like a lot better idea four weeks ago when I gave them to our pastor.  At that moment they seemed like they were ten years long.

When it was all said and done, I had become Mrs. Elgin.  Months of plannings and preperations had come together in one beautiful, perfect day.  I loved the wedding process, and I loved our wedding day.  It was the beginning of an amazing year.  We've accomplished a lot, and have lots more planned. 

One year ago today, I married my best friend. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gearing Up for Being Thankful

It's T minus 3 days to Turkey Day!  I'm excited to be able to open up my home to my extended family, and even more excited that I have a family that gets together every chance we get.  I'll admit that I've been freaking out a little wondering how I was going to get all the cleaning done that I wanted to get done.  My cabinet doors could use a good scrub down with Murphy's Oil Soap, my off-white carpet could stand to have the dog stains shampooed out of it, and the console table that Abby's chewed up mocks me every time I walk into the living room.  And while I will have time to clean on Wednesday I decided it's more important to take my sister to get an outfit for honors ceremony at school.  It occurred to me that my family isn't really going to care if my cabinet doors aren't cleaned, and the carpets aren't going to get shampooed.  But there is a new console table in the garage waiting for my husband to assemble.  I can't completely get rid of my OCD tendencies. 

So with all the festivities of the next few days, I thought I'd take a few minutes to list some of the things I'm thankful for.  I try to do this in some form, either written or in my head, every year.  So this year I'll share then with no particular order...

1.  My husband.  He is awesome.  It took awhile to find him, but it was definitely worth the wait.  He's supportive, loving, encouraging, and he makes me laugh all the time.  He does whatever he can to make me happy, and keeps me grounded all at the same time.

2.  My parents.  I don't even know if I can express in words how amazing my parents are.  They sacrificed a lot while my sisters and I were growing up so that we would know what it was like to get to take vacations, and go on mission trips with the youth group.  They went without new things so we could have new things.  They always made (and still do) a huge deal out of birthdays, and holidays, and pulled off some pretty cool surprises (like restoring my 1970 VW Bug while I was away on a church trip).  And I was lucky enough to have parents that are still married.  It never occurred to me that it was weird not have step parents until I started teaching.

3.  My sisters (and brother-in-law).  My sisters are my best friends.  They are always around to lend a shoulder, and ear, or to share a laugh.  We have the best memories growing up and it's fantastic that we live close enough to see each other all the time!

4.  My nieces and nephews crack me up!!  My newest niece is perfect.  She's a little miracle in 6-pound form, and my sister and brother-in-law are doing so awesome having a new baby in their lives.  My other nieces and nephews were inherited with marriage and I love them dearly.  Being an aunt is a huge blessing, and I think that if Nick and I never had children of our own, it would be a fantastic alternative to spoil our nieces and nephews rotten.

5. Family & Friends just make my life complete.  I have the most amazing group of friends and my extended family is awesome.  I ADORE all my cousins (even the one that used to chase me down on his mini-bike and put nasty stuff in my drinks).  Talking to them makes me smile. 

6.  My job for all kinds of reasons.  It's something I love, and it's very humbling sometimes when you hear about the things students have to deal with at such a young age.  Some of them face hardships and adversities I can't imagine going through as an adult, much less a kid.  It's a reminder of how blessed and lucky I've been.

7.  And finally, I'm thankful that God has blessed me with a billion little things that I can't possibly mention.  Having a beautiful home, and a pantry full of food.  Money to pay bills and have some fun now and then.  An education, and the freedoms that others have fought to give me.

Thanksgiving begins my absolute favorite time of year.  I would encourage you to list your blessings too.  It's an overwhelming feeling to SEE how God works.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Great Big Blessed Week

I was in the middle of reading during our school-wide SSR time on Monday when I got a phone call from my sister saying that she was going to be induced that afternoon.  My sweet little niece would soon make her appearance into the world.  It took a lot of hours sitting in a hospital waiting room, and with my sister in her labor and delivery room, but she finally made arrived on Tuesday afternoon.  And let me tell you, everybody told me how great being an aunt is, and they were right!  I inherited 2 nieces and 2 nephews when I married Nick, but they weren't babies, and while I love them dearly it's just not the same.  She is such a little miracle! 

Abby also passed her first course in puppy class.  She got her picture taken with a little graduation hat on (which I really want a copy of) and she got a little certificate of achievement that is currently hanging on the fridge.  I took her down the toy aisle at PetSmart and let her pick out a toy as a graduation present.  I don't think she knows exactly what she did, but she knows it's good and that she's very proud of herself.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Little Preview

It's been a busy few weeks!  Now that I'm spending my days with my high school students instead of with my dog and my projects, time is flying by.  I'm also enrolled in an 18 month Masters program, and that is seriously taking away from my project time.  I'm doing good to keep my husband in clean shirts and have dinner cooked.  We've had an out of town wedding to go to about three weeks ago, and a garage to clean last week, and puppy classes for our little beastie, Abby, every Sunday morning.  My church probably thinks I've disappeared off the face of the Earth.  I'm also slowly doing random cleaning in preparation for hosting my first Thanksgiving dinner.

I did have Fall Break a couple of weeks ago, and I started another painting project.  It's not TOTALLY finished yet, but I'll share a little sneek peek.

This is what our house looked like in the spring.  When we moved in, our front door and garage door were both white, and the shutters a darker shade of beige than the siding.  I painted the door red for lack of any better ideas, but I never really fell in love with it.  I took inspiration from a house I pass going to and from work every day, and after several months of pondering, I made a trip to the local Porter paint store and bought a gallon of Black Magic paint.
I still have to do a little touching up, but here's a preview...

Hopefully I'll have it finished and post the final product in a day or two!