Friday, March 7, 2014


Hiya!  Today was a pretty successful Thursday.  I was able to Skype the Mister for a longgg time (which is pretty much my favorite hobby right now), go to the store and put his first care package together, workout at the gym (it was leg day, whoop whoop!), and take the dogs for a walk (not realizing how terrible the weather was till it was too late to turn back - I probably gave us all three pneumonia walking in the cold rain).  I am often guilty of looking back on the day and beating myself up for not getting enough done, but I slept in for the first time in forever this morning and, even if I would have liked to accomplish more, I am thankful for the rest and the long conversation with the Mister.

The best time in his schedule for our daily Skype date is before he goes to bed, which is around late morning/noonish here.  Most days this time works perfectly; it's a good time in the day for me to sit down and talk, and he is available until he can't keep his eyes open and needs to go to sleep.  However, the timing is stinky on the days I am scheduled to work in the mornings.  By the time I get home from work,  he is fast asleep.  And when he is available to talk again, it's the middle of the night here.  That makes it 48 hours between Skype sessions on those days, but there is always Facebook messaging, which I can use on my phone like text messaging, so it's not too terribly bad.  I'm sure until he is home I'll never be totally satisfied with the amount of communication we have, so I'm working to remember to be thankful for how much we are able to talk.  There may be times in his deployment when we won't be able to communicate this much, and I know we are lucky to be able to stay in contact a lot of the time right now.

My work schedule was pretty great this past week - I had the whole weekend off so I was able to go to my family's house in Burlington and hang out for a few days.  My little sister's birthday was over the weekend... well, kind of over the weekend.  She was born on Leap Year Day in 1996, so she has only ever had four birthdays, and she didn't technically have a birthday this year.  Although I know it's weird for her and that it must stink that everyone she interacts with is not obligated to tell her "Happy Birthday" one day out of the year, I do think she is lucky to have this strange birth date because she always has an interesting fact to share about herself when she is playing one of those stupid "tell us something cool about yourself" icebreaker games.  When playing one of those games, I always say something lame like, "I had the chicken pox twice.'' But Caroline gets to say "I was born on Leap Year Day."  That has to make her automatically the coolest, most interesting person in any group that is playing an awkward "get-to-know-you" game.  But I digress.

As I was saying, Caroline's birthday was kind of over the weekend and, because we're her family, we always celebrate her the last few days of February and the first couple days of March since she doesn't have a day all her own.  The birthday girl was on a business trip to Puerto Rico with her best friend and her family for the weekend, and we redecorated her room while she was gone.  Really my parents redecorated her room (I provided moral support).

The girl is intense about her love for her country and her favorite color is gray, so we went with a 'Merica and gray theme.  My dad painted her previously minty key lime green walls a lovely denim shade and we switched her lavender comforter out for a new gray one.  We hung her huge American flag over her desk, and my mom rounded up a few patriotic themed wall decorations to hang over the bed.  Caroline was SO surprised when she got home.  Her first comments were, "What the heck?" and "I am so confused."  She loved it though.  Happy birthday to the Leap Year Day baby!  

All of the painting and decorating this weekend got my wheels spinning about what I want to do around our little house.  One of the things I struggle with the most when Chris is gone is feeling unsettled.  Since he came into my life, I've felt like my home is no longer a structure with four walls and a roof, but just wherever he is.  That being said, I love our little house, and we have done so much to make it ours already.  Even though Chris is not here, this is the place I feel closest to him.  Although I do feel lonely sometimes here on my own, I have my pups to keep me company, and there is so much I want to do around here to make this place even more "us."  And I want Chris to be happy when he gets back that our home is more complete and is even more compatible with our personalities than it was when he left.

I've set A LOT of goals for what I want to get accomplished around the house while Chris is away, and I figure that if I list everything here I will hold myself more accountable.  My plan is to get it all done before he gets home and to keep you updated on what I'm checking off the list.

So without further ado, the "holding Hannah accountable for getting work done around the house while Chris is deployed" list in the order I want to accomplish each task:

  • In the backyard:
    • Stain the inside of the fence (we already stained the outside so it would look nice from the road, just got to follow through with that task).
    • Build some kind of retaining wall to hold the mulch in our little pergola area.
    • Replenish mulch in said little pergola area.
    • Plant grass and make it grow in the strange, sandy place that is resistant to vegetation.
    • Find some cute, affordable chairs to go around the outside table (not pictured, but it usually lives under the pergola).

  • In the office (I don't know why we call it "the office," as it is currently just a room full of random things we have stored in there with a futon in the middle):
    • Clean the random junk out and either throw it away, store it somewhere else, or organize it.
    • Paint the walls a forest green color.
    • Find a pretty and functional wall organizational system for papers and odds and ends.
    • Hang some curtains, either off white or a pretty pattern.
    • Find a way to make the black futon look a little nicer, either with pretty throw pillows or a slip cover (or both).
    • Find a cheap, nice-looking desk.
    • Hang our college diplomas and all of Chris's job-related accomplishment certificates.
I like this color for the walls, but it looks a lot greener and less dark on the paint chip than it does on the computer screen (Behr Amazon Jungle).

I'm loving this cubby wall organizer from Pottery Barn.

Threshold™ Farrah Window Panel Threshold™ Botanical Window Panel
Curtain possibilities - both are from Target.

I'm not even going to show you what's behind the door of "the office."  It's embarrassing.

  • In the side yard:
    • Plant some grass because this is another strange sandy place that resists vegetation.
    • Plant some kind of bush that will hopefully draw hummingbirds to our yard.  Chris's family gave us a hummingbird feeder as a gift at one of our wedding showers, and I would really love to see some of the little birdies outside our house this summer.
    • Plant sunflower and zinnia seeds like I did last spring.  They stuck around through September last year and made me very, very happy.

There are some little California poppies in there too but they weren't as hardy as the other flowers.

  • In the front yard:
    • Last year, I planted light pink snap dragons on either side of the front porch and they did really well in our sandy soil.  I think I will go the snap dragon route again this year, but will include a little color variation instead of all one color.
    • I want to stay on top of keeping the yard fertilized, watered, and healthy.  It's hard here where it's hot and sandy, but Chris took taking care of the grass very seriously last year, so I want to carry on that habit for him. 

  • In the guest bathroom:
    • I've told you before, but I really want this room to be Valspar's Oatmeal paint color.  That is all.

  • In the master bedroom:
    • Paint the wall a warm color that will make the big, white room a little more cozy:

I like the idea of something that's not quite tan but not brown, maybe the color second from the top in the paint samples I've had hanging in the room for almost a year.

  • In the living room and hall:
    • The paint on the biggest wall in the living room by the front door and all the walls in the hallway (the areas that receive the most traffic in the house) marks really easily.  I want to match the off white color in a better quality paint.  Those walls not looking dirty and marked all the time would have a big impact on the appearance of our home.

So there ya go... It's all totally doable and not too terribly expensive as long as I do it responsibly.  And, lucky for us, Chris and I have family members that are willing to help out around here while he's gone.  I won't have to do it all by myself or pay painters and landscapers.  Although I'm missing Chris, his not being here kind of "lights a fire under my ass." I like having a deadline, and I really want to get all this done before he gets home.

Of course, there are always things I have to do in the short term (spray the foundation of the house and garage for spiders before the weather gets warm and they start trying to trespass on my property, go to Verizon and have Chris's cell phone line suspended until he returns, have my passport renewed, etc.), I want to make my list of home improvements a priority as well and really set up a time table to get it all done.  We'll see how it goes!

I hope I haven't bored you to death with my extensive list.  I can't wait to get started, but I think I've done all I can for tonight.

Goodnight!  Have a fantastic Friday!

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