Tag Archive | clutter

Mini Monday: The Seven Year Itch

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I just couldn’t resist using this as the title for a post about our seventh wedding anniversary, even though research has shown that the “3 year glitch” is the new “7 year itch” when it comes to marital woes. So phew, I guess we’ve made it honey!

As we enter our seventh year of marriage, the most exciting thing on the horizon is the little bundle of joy that is scheduled to join our family in September. We are keeping things pretty low key this year in terms of anniversary celebrations, but the traditional seventh anniversary gift is copper and my husband just happened upon a super shiny penny from the year we got married the other day. I thought it was such a sweet gesture (I was really just impressed that he knew copper was the appropriate gift… I had no idea!). During the weekend we picked up this little copper heart from a vendor at Eastern Market to put in the nursery. It was our small, but sweet, gift to each other.

But I wanted to do something to surprise to him, and I decided that would be putting two tulips — purple like the day we got married — in the bud vase we were given on our wedding day.

As the years tick by, I know I couldn’t have asked for a better partner — who else would stay up until 11 pm working to assemble an Ikea bed? Or spend his entire weekend organizing and cleaning the house from top to bottom because there are so many things I can’t move or clean properly these days? Or who encouraged me to quit my full-time job to start my own freelance firm? Or who is willing to get up at 6:30 am on a Saturday to help me set up my Jazzercise class? Or who puts his hand on my belly and talks to our son in crazy voices (at first I was worried that our son wouldn’t recognize my husband’s voice when after being born, but then I realized he’s still going to talk to the baby with crazy voices so we should be good)? The list goes on and on and I am more grateful to have him in my life with every passing day.

 

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Getting the Garden Going

After such a long, cold winter I’ve been anxious to get going on our garden. It’s as if I can see green then somehow that will force spring along. This method doesn’t seem to be working out for me at all (when I woke up it was 30 degrees and felt like 19… brr!).

On top of the weather not being too interested in our spending time outdoors, with all of the work that happened on our house from November to March, our backyard was pretty much trashed. We weren’t thrilled about the plants that were crushed by construction supplies or the giant mud pit that used to be the grassy side of our yard, but most frustrating was the state of our garden plots. The one closest to the house was in particular trouble as it had gone from wonderful, clean soil (after much hard work by my husband) to being filled with clay as well as bits of insulation, nails, staples, and trash—just what a girl wants to grow her food in the midst of…

As soon as it was warm enough, my hubby was outside cleaning out that plot and during the past two weekends we have been able to plant all of the items we wanted to start from seed. (Due to the construction, we didn’t bother with seedlings this year so we will see how our growing season goes.) We’ve planted almost everything we are hoping to grow this year—with tomatoes and peppers being the exception—including salad greens, herbs, cucumbers, snap peas, green beans, and a variety of flowers. Of course, we managed to do this just in time for the weather to dip more than 50 degrees and provide us with yet another frost last night.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the frost blanketsphoto-2 I already had out to keep the birds from simply eating all of the seeds was enough to keep those little guys alive. We also brought in the strawberry plants and flowers that were in pots of the front porch and redecorated our entry hall. Lovely, isn’t it? I figure this great “spring” weather can’t be any worse than last year when I did grow seedlings only to plant them in late March and have it snow the very next day killing them all (despite the frost blankets) because I was departing for 2 weeks in Turkey and Greece and would not be around the care for them.

Only time will tell what will become of all our little plants (and spring for that matter). Hopefully next week when I pull back the frost blankets to water I’ll start seeing some green!

Mini Monday: Five Month Hiatus

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Hi there! It’s me again. I know we haven’t connected this way since early December … sorry about that! I’m mulling over the list of things I should have been blogging about since then and it’s a good one. So here’s a rundown of what’s been going on and I am hoping with this mini post, I’ll get my blogging booty back in gear!

Since my last post:

• Our house renovation has been completed! And it looks amazing! We are just starting to get used to having (and using) our new space. It’s wonderful to have the extra light and a much more open feeling to our floor plan than we had before the remodel. It’s leading to some interesting projects … more on those in a future post!

• In other “addition” news, my hubby and I found out in January that we are expecting our first little one in September! I’m so grateful that, despite being tired and hungry, I haven’t had any morning sickness or complications so far. At the beginning of the pregnancy the baby was making me so hungry that we nicknamed him/her the hungry, hungry hippo. Hopefully tomorrow our little hippo cooperates and we will find out whether we are having a boy or a girl. I can’t wait to know!

• Okay so back to the house, the contractor’s portion of the work was completed in mid-March. Now we (and I use the term “we” loosely as it is mostly my husband) are still taking care of all the little things — re-arranging rooms, hanging art, putting things away, yard work. Thankfully we received A LOT of help from my amazing in-laws and my mom who were all visiting in March. Quite a few things got crossed off the to-do list during their time in DC — painting, cleaning, hanging new ceiling fans, the list goes on and on. Now it’s just the two of us plowing through what remains of the list, so thank goodness for weekends allowing us to continue making progress!

• After a terribly long winter (it snowed like crazy on March 30!!) spring has finally sprung in DC. While our yard was a total wreck because of the construction, the garden beds have been cleaned up and planted (with the exception of tomatoes and peppers) and we have flowers going in pots and planters, too. The other side of the yard is still in need of a lot of TLC. One thing at a time!

• We briefly escaped DC for a long weekend in Florida, in fact we managed to depart while it was snowing and returned just in time for yet another snow storm. It was great to catch up with the family and friends we visited in the Sarasota/Tampa area and I made a new friend while we were there — Cliff the Penguin!

 

Phew! I told you that we have had a lot going on! It may be a Monday, but I can still say I’m grateful to have ice cream in the freezer (hey, I’m pregnant, don’t judge my four different pints…okay, okay there are five…) and for being able to have the windows open while I work. Hope you are all having a great start to the week!

Day 16: Furlough Fun Facts

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Okay, my headline might be a teensy bit misleading, but honestly I am running out of ways to title posts about this furlough nonsense. There are no “facts” in this post and probably not a whole lot of “fun.” As we approach the middle of week three of the government shutdown, finding the bright side has gotten a little tougher — When will my husband be going back to work? Will he receive back pay? If so, how long we will have to wait for that? But as I started to make this list, I see that there are a number of positive outcomes due to this unexpected three week “vacation.” Here’s what we have been up to the past few days:

• We are finally approaching the start of our long talked about home renovation project, so my hubby spent yesterday and this morning clearing out our lower back porch so it is ready to be demolished. And he didn’t just throw the stuff that was back there all over the rest of the house, he nicely organized it in the kitchen and basement. I am so glad that after months of planning, permitting, and reaching out to contractors we are nearly ready to knock things down and get this renovation started!

• I baked tiny little brioche bites from scratch on Monday. They were absolutely delicious, particularly when topped with bacon jam (which I keep trying to convince my hubby to post about…)

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• It finally stopped raining so we’ve been able to sit outside a few mornings this week and catch up with folks over our usual iced mocha and chai.

• Despite our plan to not spend any money, we tried out the pretzel place (that has been open for at least a year) and frequented the new cupcake/coffee shop that is in its soft opening phase since both are only a few blocks from the house. Gotta support our local neighborhood businesses! And I got a free mocha out of the latter.

• Our garbage and recycling is still getting picked up. Definitely happy about that!

• My husband has continued cooking up a storm and if he doesn’t go back to work soon I am going to be furlough fat — while I love having home cooked meals for lunch AND dinner, I think my pants would be happier with just one big meal per day. My fingers are crossed that I fit into the dress I bought for my friend’s wedding this weekend!

• Last (and definitely least) I had a dream that we spent $400 buying cheese ($120 of which was tax!) last night. Needless to say I was a little stressed out about this decision since the government was also shutdown in my dream. I love cheese as much as the next girl, but I was very glad to wake up and discover that we had not purchased a lifetime supply of cheese!

Day 3

It’s been an exciting week in the world of this freelancer and her pseudo-unemployed husband. Or not. As the Shutdown drags into day three, my furloughed honey is doing his best to keep busy (ie cross things off the very long list I made him on Monday). So far he has tackled a number of items — dusting in high places, cleaning up the bedroom clutter, breaking down boxes to recycle, and making a large batch of granola. But the biggest project so far started yesterday and is continuing into today. It is the exciting work of patching/re-tarring the porch roof (don’t be jealous). Basically he’s out there icing a very big cake, unfortunately it is a lot stinkier. Next up — he’s headed back to the kitchen to make a large pot of curry for dinner and to freeze.

I’m hoping that tomorrow I can get him to guest blog about the bacon jam making adventure we had a few weekends ago. Mmmm…. bacon jam…

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Hall Closet Re-Org

While our old house has a lot of “character” (such as fabulous hard wood floors, old-fashioned glass door knobs and, of course, a seemingly unending list of expensive projects) it unfortunately lacks the storage space that newer homes are built with. One of the best features of the second floor is a hall closet that allows us to store towels, sheets, toilet paper and assorted other toiletry items right across from the bathroom. I love it so much that I often include it when I am giving guests a tour of the house (weird, I know).

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Despite my love for it, the closet tends to get cluttered really quickly so I took some time yesterday afternoon to straighten things out. The good news is that I now know we don’t need any toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, contact solution or, well, anything for the remainder of 2013 as you can see…

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As I was re-arranging, I realized that I could utilize the unused space toward the back of the main shelf for the extra towels and sheets, which helped de-clutter the front portion of the shelf. I still need to take a look through the travel items box that is overflowing on the second shelf and get rid of expired or almost empty containers, but I’m definitely happy with the results so far!

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Mini Monday: Renovations #1

When things like “upgrading your heating system” start to excite you, you have clearly reached a different phase in life. As a little girl, fun gifts and trips to Disneyland got me all riled up. When my hubby and I got married, I was surprised that I could get excited about receiving place settings and water glasses (but I did). And here we are, upgrading our heating system and I am excited about improving our lovely (but old) space. Old Lady Annie, reporting for duty!

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Originally designed to run off of coal, our radiant heat has been running off the same monstrosity of a boiler since the house was built in 1936. This fuel oil beast, which seems to be about the same size as a bank vault, is a wee bit past its prime. Almost immediately after we moved into the house the thermostat stopped working, so since 2009 we have had to manually turn the heat off and on with a little switch that was installed by my husband and a friend. It basically jump started the system and has worked fine all these years, but with every flick, I said a little prayer that the whole boiler didn’t explode and take me with it.

Today the company that is replacing the system came and took away the asbesto shell that was around the core of the boiler (so what you see is actually smaller and taking up less room than it has all these years…). Tomorrow they will be back to remove this core and prepare to install the new system — a tankless, gas powered boiler that will be mounted on the wall like our energy efficient water heater (shown in the upper right hand corner of the image).

I can’t wait for this project to be completed so that we have a more efficient (and more functional system) in place for the winter, although it’s pretty hard to imagine it being cold right now. It’s also the unofficial kick off to our major renovation project which I am excited (and a little bit terrified) about. Many blogs about that will be coming soon, I’m sure!