Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updates and Write Offs

I have 134 days until my 101 in 1001 list is to be completed, and it's looking rather, um, not finished. But let's update first, shall we?

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10. Eat at 10 local restaurants I've never eaten at before.

  • 9. Bad Daddy's Burger Bar
  • 10. Buffalo Wild Wing
  • 11. The Palm
Finished this one, and added an extra for good measure. And because the food at #10 was nothing to write home to the internet about so a #11 was needed.

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26. Go on a picnic.

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Check. On a warm December day we took advantage of the crazy weather (and the fact that Charley was having peanut butter crackers for lunch and outside = less mess to clean) and had a picnic in my parent's front yard.

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40. Visit Charleston.

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Back in October, Charley and I made our way down to Charleston to meet up with a couple of our friends. It was the first time I'd been to Charleston since our 8th grade class field trip, and I plan to go back ASAP! Oh, and Charleston is prettier than the background of our picture suggests. This was actually at the rest stop we stopped at on the way. I was a poor picture-taker that weekend.

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66. Find, get, and like a new hairstyle.

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LOVE wasn't part of the requirements of this one. But I'm an overachiever because I LOVE it.

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67. Go out and play pool one night.


& I've still got it. I can kick some major booty on the pool table and can't wait to own my own table one day soonish.

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And that's it. I think that brings my totals up to this:

46 items are completed.
5 items are started but not yet finished.
4 items are in the works.
40 items are not yet started.
And these 6 things I'm going to go ahead and write off, meaning according to #36, I will be donating $5 to charity for each of these things.

81. Go swimming in our neighborhood pool 5 times.

Um yeah. No longer living in said neighborhood, and new "neighborhood" has no pool. Fail.

91. Make my Christmas cards one year.

I won't have another Christmas between now and the end date so this one is impossible. I technically did make my cards on Shutterfly or whatever each year, but that's not what I meant when I made this so I'm not letting myself off the hook.

92. Babysit each of siblings’ kids so they can have a free night alone.

My oldest nephew is now 15 and doesn't need to be babysat any longer. I don't know what I was thinking when I came up with this. Maybe I was trying to earn some good babysitting karma so that when I had my own child I would have siblings lined up to babysit her?

57. Dress up for Halloween.

Halloween will not come again before this is over, and this year I spent all of my efforts on Charley's costume.

54. Go to a haunted house.

Same as above. Although there is a year-round haunted house at Myrtle Beach I could go to if I really wanted to, but nah. I'm too much of a chicken these days anyways.

75. Beat Super Mario Galaxy II.

Another one I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote it. I never did beat the last level and now it's been so long since I've played it I am positive I wouldn't even be able to beat the first level.

So, writing those 6 off, and writing a check to March of Dimes for $30.

Speaking of March of Dimes, I'll be walking in it this year in honor of Jen and her sweet boys Dylan and Noah whom I talked about here. Join my team if you'd like!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

365 Day Photo Challenge Completed.

I actually completed something on my 101 list that I never thought I'd do. I have trouble completing anything for a week straight, so one would think a year straight would be laughable. But, I guess when the thing to complete doesn't involve dieting, exercising, cleaning, being on time or cooking - I'm all for it!

I took a picture every single day in the year 2012 and posted them to my other blog here. Charley was such a wee little thing back in January compared to the slightly larger thing she was in December. And then, I had an "original" idea to make each month's pictures into a collage for 2013. Like, January 2012's pictures are in the collage shown for January 2013. See?

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I say "original" because it was one of those things I thought I came up with, and then a friend of mine said she does the same thing (she did her first 365 challenge a year earlier than me) and I then I remembered that's where my "original" idea came from. Duh. It was a great idea though, Kelly! Thanks for letting me steal it!

(I made the collages in Picasa, and had the calendar printed by Shutterfly. I had a free promo code emailed to me so I think I paid $6ish dollars for shipping total.)

So yeah. I spend a lot of my time at work now staring at my calendar. And analyzing things about the pictures. Like, it doesn't look like Charley repeated an outfit in all of January and I didn't even make her a spreadsheet! And, man our old house really photographed yellowy/orangey. I think I finally figured out the appropriate camera settings to use a month before we moved out.

Anyways, feel free to look at all of the pictures over on the other blog if you'd like. Or if you'd prefer not to scroll through 366 pictures, I made a set of the collages I used for the calendar over here on Flickr. Or not. I know looking through other people's pictures is kind of a snoozefest. Unless you are in them yourself of course. A couple of you ARE in some of them so now you must go play a game of Where's Waldo to find yourself.

I also said I'd keep up the picture a day thing in 2013. I'd like to go ahead and say nevermind to that. That's okay with you, right? You're not really missing anything in 2013 so far.

Except of course for a cutie pie baby rocking out with some old school headphones.

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And her kissing concrete frogs trying to find her prince.

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And then her playing in a bird bath on a warm January afternoon.

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But that's it, really.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Devoted 2 Jen and Patrick

As I have mentioned, I came out of my internet shell within the last couple of years and due to that have actually formed some wonderful friendships. In addition to the friendships made with my fellow bloggers, I also created friendships with many pregnant ladies due in the same month I was due with Charley. We were 200+ pregnant, hormonal, yet excited, moms-to-be. Throughout our pregnancies and now the 16 months since our babies have been born, it was inevitable that through sharing our experiences with each other day in and day out, that some real friendships would be formed without actually ever meeting in person. It's hard for some people to understand that, but it happens just as easily, if not easier than it happens in school, church, work or wherever. I know the majority of my audience is fellow bloggers so you know exactly what I mean. Friendships can be formed with no thoughts to the physical distance between us.

One of the friendships formed over this time was with a fellow mommy-to-be Jen. She was also due in September with a darling baby boy they had chosen to name Dylan. Without giving too much of their story away here, please watch this video that friends have created for Jen and her husband Patrick. It explains her journey much better than I'll be able to.



(Seems that the YouTube video is having issues. You can also see the video here on the Facebook page)

In short, Dylan was born with many complications and survived only 2 short months. In the months since his passing, Jen has been raising money in his honor for her March of Dimes team, Devoted to Dylan. She is so inspiring and relentless in her efforts for March of Dimes and was the #9 in the country of the top fundraising teams in 2012. She is so giving and would never in a million years ask for anything for herself. Which is why her friends felt that it was time to give something back to her in their time of need. Jen and Patrick are now pregnant with their second baby, Noah, who seems to have all of the same complications as his big brother Dylan. We are trying to raise money for them to be able have genetic testing done so that they can find out what is happening to their babies and one day be able to bring home a healthy baby.

There is a website set up for them here (and a Facebook page here) which gives even more information. If you have anything at all to spare, please help us help Jen and Patrick get the answers they need. I could never imagine going through all of this even one time, and they are now going through it all for a second time.

Even if you aren't able to give anything, please share their story with anyone and everyone that you can.

Thanks so much for listening to their story.

http://devoted2jenandpatrick.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Walls & Windows & Doors

Last time I updated you on the house was about 3 weeks ago and at that point the roof had just been added, and I shared this lovely picture with you:

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We've come a bit further than that now in which we now have walls and windows and doors (and daylight) in addition to the roof, but the whole process is still just putt-putting along. I am thinking that by the time we get into this house, it will have nearly been a year since the whole process started. Crazy, right? But we don't plan to ever move again so we're trying to be patient. And plus, we're really kind of liking living with my parents (at least John acts like he is too) and I think we'll all be lonely when we are in our respective houses afterwards. Good thing we are only moving 700 feet away.

Anyways, since I've done a really poor job of keeping you updated as this moves along, I figured we'd do a picture story to sort of catch you up.

October 8, 2012
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October 19, 2012
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November 3, 2012
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November 18, 2012
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December 4, 2012 - That would be a concrete pumping truck pouring the far corners of the basement floor.
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December 8, 2012 - Ooh! We have walls!
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December 11, 2012 - Checking out the basement. Giant front room:
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And back room which will be a home gym and eventually a theater room:
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And the front of the house that same day:
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December 16, 2012 - Looking like a house!
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It's c-c-c-c-cooold down here, Mama.

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December 21, 2012
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January 5, 2012
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They have run the outlets and all, and done the plumbing now too. I think next is waterproofing and backfill so we will no longer have a moat around our house, and I have no idea after that. I know they still need to pour the concrete for the porch, and the inside could use some real walls. The latest estimate is MARCH. MARCH! Why so slowwww?

I don't know what other updates to share, because really, is someone else's house building process really that interesting? I think probably not. But I wanted to document it for myself. My parents said they regret not taking many pictures when they built their house. But I think they are being too hard on themselves. When the 6 pictures you take are this high in quality, you don't need to take hundreds of pictures to document the process.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Santa Brought

Instead of doing my quarterly 'stuff we like', here is what Charley got for Christmas, along with what she did and didn't like.

[Stuff We Liked 9-12 Months, Stuff We Liked 6-9 MonthsStuff We Liked 3-6 Months, Stuff We Liked 0-3 Months]

So Charley got a lot of stuff this Christmas. Mainly because I am a big fan of Christmas spoiling, and less of a fan of spoiling year round. Plus, I love buying gifts so it's fun for me too. It evens out though I think: I don't buy her a toy every time we go into Target, and she gets spoiled on birthdays and Christmases. I like it. Santa was on board with that too, so it all worked out.

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Anyways, here's what my little cutie was spoiled with this year, and how she likes them all so far.

Playskool Mr. Potato Head Super Spud
I got this when it was a super good deal at Kohl's. It's for age 24 months and up, but I knew she would like it and not swallow a potato mustache. I was so right. This is probably the thing she's played with the most. She loves to dump out all of the pieces and place eyes where hats go, noses in arm holes, and wear the glasses herself. I give Santa an A+ on this one.

Ready for School Elmo

Charley was probably most excited about this when she opened it. (Yes, we wrap presents here. If you don't you're doing it wrong.) She had played with this Elmo once before with one of her friends, so I knew she liked it. He sings a couple of super catchy songs that I inevitably sing for the rest of the day. She hasn't played with him as much as I thought she would, but it's only 9 days past Christmas so I'm sure she'll come around.


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Fish Bowl Jumbo Knob Puzzle


I told  you about this one here. She's done the puzzle a time or two, but isn't really into it just yet. I'll give her time. I mean, I haven't done my puzzle yet for the year either.

Melissa & Doug 20 Animal Magnets in a Box

I caved and gave this one to Charley early. She was trying to play with a couple of my parent's refrigerator magnets that day, and they really weren't much fun so I decided to dig these out of the closet and give them to her then. Loved them. I tend to stand behind her and make the animal's sound as she puts them on the fridge, too. I do a really good elephant, but my panda bear and bunny could use some help.


Fisher-Price Little People Play 'n Float Bath Boat

Charley was lacking in the bath toy department so I got her this boat. She likes it okay, but especially likes the red part that comes off and makes a strainer. She also likes to try and drink some of her bathwater out of it before it drains out. Ick.

But the bath toy she likes even better she got from her Uncle Colt and Aunt Racheal. It's a turtle that floats on the water and is a shape sorter. 


My First Crayola Character Crayon

Just get regular crayons. These things suck.


Little People Figure Set Hedgehog Campfire Set


I had inside information that Charley was getting a couple of Little People sets from other family members, so I wanted to find a little set of extra people to go with them. Every set I found was either cartoon characters (bleh! no!) or had random things included that weren't people. Like this set. A hedgehog, an explorer girl, and a campfire! Would another little people have been too much to ask? She likes them though, even the campfire.

Little People: Barn & House & Car Track

These weren't from Santa, but from Charley's Gamma, Great Aunt Sharon and Aunt Christy. So far they've been a hit!


Leap Frog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

This has been at my sister's house pretty much since Christmas. I was told this was a hit by moms with older children, so I bought it but haven't witnessed myself if it really is a hit or not. I should ask my sister. It is awfully cute though!

Cabbage Patch Kids Baby Doll

This was bought a few days after Christmas after Charley had seen my nieces with their dolls and kidnapped one of them as her own. She kisses this baby a thousand times a day and stuffs the paci and bottle in her mouth too. This is definitely one of her favorite things!

There are a few other things too, and I feel awful because I listed some of the gifts from other family members but not everything. She really likes it all, but this is getting ridiculously long and verging into show-offy, and that's not my intention at all. So, please know she loves what you got her too!

And then, her big gift. As if we hadn't given her enough as it is. (I know, I know.)

But this is where it got really fun!

If you've been around here for long at all, you know I'm a big fan of the blog Young House Love. They have a daughter about a year older than Charley and are the most creative people on the planet, so my plan is to copy all of their DIYed gift ideas for their daughter forever. First up was this kitchen they built.

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I absolutely loved it, and knew we were going to have to duplicate this for Charley as soon as I saw it. And duplicate we did:

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We bought an old cabinet from the Habitat For Humanity ReStore, just as they did. John and my dad built the countertop, backboard and shelf and then John painted it. I would give more details, but there are already good instructions at Young House Love where I got the idea.

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We opted to add the backboard and the shelf so we could hang things from it. And so I could add a backsplash. I HAD to. Those subway tiles were only $.22 each!

Lots of things were from the dollar store: the wire cooling racks used in the oven, the red fruit basket, the cupcake pan and 8x8" pan, all of the red utensils that are hanging, the dishtowel, and the basket and plastic jars on the shelf.

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The burners are trivets found at Wal-Mart for $5 each. The sink is a dog bowl from Wal-Mart. A mixing bowl could be used instead, but I wanted something shallow so we wouldn't lose too much space under the sink.

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We struggled finding a faucet and knobs. And then we got creative and realized buying a new faucet for $22 to use for this was stupid, and came up with the PVC-pipe-spray-painted-silver faucet. Then, we were going to use the same knobs as we used for the oven for the faucet, but my dad found some old real knobs in his garage and donated them to our cause! Yay for free!

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To stock the kitchen, we bought the following:
Melissa and Doug Wooden Pots and Pans
Melissa and Doug Wooden Cutting Fruit (her favorite thing about it all)
Melissa and Doug Wooden Pantry Items
Wooden Toaster
IKEA Pots and Pans (from Gamma and Grandaddy)

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And then, I wanted to add a wooden sign to personalize the kitchen, and I knew just the person who could make that for me. My dad is pretty great with his router, and didn't mind one bit making this sign for me. He traced over my hand written letters, and I was left with this to paint on Christmas Eve night. (Nothing like waiting until the last minute)

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I think it came out pretty great, and Charley thinks so too!

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I know we overdid it, but we honestly didn't spend very much at all. I am a cheap-o bargain shopper, and NONE of the stuff I bought was regular price. Well, except for the stuff at the dollar store. You know, they send out an ad in the paper sometimes and yet everything is still one dollar. I mean, can I at least get a nickel off?