Thursday, November 1, 2012

No-Thanks November?

UPDATE: No judgment against my friends, family, and acquaintances who are onboard the Facebook thankfulness train...I just can't seem to warm up to it. I guess I personally don't see a need to broadcast all the great things in my life to the 400ish people I "know".  And there is no irony with that statement, even though I am putting my "thankful-fors" on a public blog, because let's be honest...the only person that reads this blog is me, my sister, and some random person in Russia. The only reason I have so many page hits is because I visit my own blog multiple times a day.


Apparently it is now a "thing" to update your Facebook status each day in November with a new thing for which you are thankful. Has this always been a thing? It seems more prevalent (and therefore, more irritating) this year. For some reason, I find it very annoying to scroll down Facebook and see "I'm thankful for blah blah blah" twenty times.  And I guess it is kind of lame of me to complain that people are (perhaps for the only time all year) putting something meaningful into their Facebook statuses, but there is this small rebellious part of me that gets very annoyed by "jumping on the bandwagon".   Yes, I realize that this is an ironic statement to make considering that blogging, in many people's eyes, is "jumping on the bandwagon". But I'm choosing to tolerate that particular form of trend-following since I enjoy it so much!

Since this isn't Facebook, and I'm already doing the lame-o trend-following thing by blogging, I'm okay with letting you all know what I am thankful for in this venue (but only here...never on Facebook!).

Today, I am thankful that my students had a fun time on our field trip. Since I don't want to spread photos of my students all over the internet for the creepers to find, I'll post a picture of our field trip destination ... Skyline Caverns. We had a great time!

I'm also thankful for my DSLR camera (thanks Mom and Dad and Nikon!). I get a lot of enjoyment out of that thing, and even though I treat it like crap, it still takes good pictures for me (although the flash is currently broken...first sign of trouble? maybe. I'm hoping its a one-time thing). Going along with that, I'm thankful for Adobe Photoshop and fantastic people who put tutorials on the internet to help me learn how to use it.

Here are today's pictures. The building is an old church on a back road I take home from work now and then. It's a cool place in the middle of farmland and trees and not much else. That makes it even more neat to me!

Before photoshop(top) and After (bottom)
Before(top) and After (bottom

Before(top) and After (bottom

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fun (of the costume, furniture, and photoshop variety)

I have to say, it's been a pretty fun and relaxing weekend. Have I gotten anything on my "to do" list done? Well, no. Have I done a lot of Pinterest pinning and other fun but unnecessary tasks? Of course!

On Friday, the hubby and I had lots of fun at my school's Trunk or Treat event. It was fun to dress up and decorate the trunk (and you know I love decorating!) and the kids really had a blast. They pranced around in their cute little costumes, little princesses and spongebobs and pumpkins and bloody zombies with skin dripping off their faces(....okay,so  not every costume was cute. But hey, way to be creative!) and got tons of candy. There were a lot of kids -- we gave one piece of candy to each kid and went through five (!!) bags of candy. A good time was had by all, and I have to say, I believe Mario and Luigi were a huge hit!

Yesterday, my husband shocked me when he suggested we spend our day looking at furniture. (Who are you and what have you done with my husband?) I happily took him up on this offer. We checked out a few local furniture stores and went out to lunch. It was fun! Since we're moving into a much bigger place and it's our first "grown up" house, we have a lot of furniture to buy. We took a ton of pictures and enjoyed dreaming about where everything will fit in our beautiful new home. We can't wait until it is finished!

Testing out all the furniture...please ignore my crazy face.
At this point, I had become a little silly.

Today, I'm supposed to be doing my lesson plans...clearly I'm still occupied with other things. Oh well, everything will get done eventually! I'm much more interested in playing with my new toy, Photoshop. I've been trying to learn how to use it...I want my pictures to have that professionally edited look. There are so many different types of edits in photoshop, it is kind of overwhelming. I discovered that you can use "actions" as shortcuts but I haven't quite figured those out yet and plus, most of them cost a lot of money (like, 130 bucks!). Buying photoshop itself was enough of an expenditure for now. 

I watched a few tutorials on how to improve your photographs, particularly of people. I practiced with a photograph of my sister I took a few years ago. I was pretty happy with how the edited version turned out!
Before (left) and After (right)

I guess now that I've had a little playtime, I should probably get to work. Gotta make sure I'm ready for the upcoming week with my fun fifth-graders!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Our First Place

Our life has been full of so many changes the past few months. It has been an interesting combination of totally exhilarating and completely exhausting. The emotional roller coaster has been running overtime!

One of the more exciting changes in our life is that we are going to become homeowners! After renting for four years we were getting pretty sick and tired of throwing our money away every month. Once we left our apartment in Blacksburg to head up back to good ol' northern Virginia, we knew we wanted to look for something more permanent and, well, ours!

After searching high and low for our perfect place, we made the choice to build a new single family home. The upside to this (and a really fun part, too!) is that we get to choose everything - our floors, cabinets, countertops, upgrades, location of outlets, basically anything that is within our budget to change. And, when we move in, it will be clean and pretty and brand new! The downside is that it takes a lot of time to build a house from scratch...and that is how we've wound up crammed into one of the upstairs rooms (my brother's old room, to be exact) at my parent's house. Don't get me wrong, I am super grateful to my parents for allowing us to live here rent free. However, it is a little tough to go from living on your own in a two bedroom townhouse (albeit a rental) to packing all your stuff into one room and being around your parents all.the.time.

We can't wait until December, when our house will hopefully be finished. For now, here are some progress pictures!

Start of construction, early October...digging the hole where our house will go!

House progress Oct. walls are in!

View of the neighborhood

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Photo Walk

A beautiful fall day inspired me to take a photo walk around the neighborhood. My newly purchased Adobe Photoshop CS6 helped motivate me, too. I just love the way my photos turned out! (Turns out teachers get a huge discount on photoshop and other adobe software...who knew!?)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Projects

I had a really productive weekend...a great way to spend my first full weekend of 2012.
On Saturday, we put the house back together after cleaning up all of the Christmas decorations Friday night. It's nice to have everything back to normal (although the house always looks so empty after all of the decorations are gone!).

On Sunday I decided to take on a few mini-projects. It's so fulfilling to spend a day getting things accomplished instead of just sitting around. So, I started off the day with a trip to home depot, where I bought the necessary supplies for my projects (then went to walmart for the necessary supplies for a yummy lasagna...gotta keep my hubby well fed while he prepares for his Grad School exit exam!).  Then I came home and got right to work! Here are the results:
Project 1: This one was a quick one. I had an old Jonathan Adler planner (2011...don't need that anymore!). Before I threw it out, I tore out the pages I liked. These three look great in a frame together, don't you think?
Project 2: Another quick one. This project has been lingering on since, oh, I don't know...September? I finally  attached the cushion to the rest of the chair. Project complete!
Project 3: Mirror/Oval Frame Redo. I picked up this mirror from Goodwill for  5 bucks. I loved the details, but hated the color, so I decided to fix that! Hit a few snags along the way (such as accidentally breaking the mirror...oops!) but I like the end result- a pretty turquoise frame!
Project 4: Steamer Trunk Update. I know, this project seems like it is never-ending . And it very well may be! But since it was nice outside, I decided to work on it a bit. So, I sanded down the two big sides. It looks a little better now, right?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Holiday Season 2011

Well, I've been back at work for a week and I'm already counting down to the next break! I had such a wonderful holiday break. The hubs and I brought the kitties up to Northern VA for a few days to celebrate Christmas with our families. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

We went to Christmas Eve Mass @ the beautiful Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
in DC

We shared a delicious meal with my Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister,  and Uncle after Mass ...thanks Dad!
We spent Christmas morning at my parent's house...the cats had fun exploring the presents
Bella was not too thrilled about her Reindeer outfit and kept trying to hide
We spent our third (!) Christmas together as husband & wife!
(and I got new glasses a few days before christmas!)
We visited with Drew's parents and sisters to exchange gifts on Christmas Day
We had a big Christmas dinner at my parent's house!
Once again, my mom did a superb job of cooking us a very tasty meal
 (I  have a lot to live up to when it's my turn to host the holidays!)
What a great husband...he put up with taking a "family" picture  with the cats
Drew and I got the game "Smart Ass" and we had fun playing
(although aside from Drew, everyone else in this picture looks really upset! They had fun, I promise!)

 All in all, it was a wonderful holiday! We got to see our parents and siblings, and also had the chance to visit with my Uncle Scott, who was in from California, and my Grampy and Bobbi, who were up from North Carolina. We even got to meet Bobbi's daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Trey. This caused my mom to go into major grand-baby fever, so that's been fun (though if I'm being completely honest, I was kind of right there with her...but not grand-baby fever...well, you know!).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Christmas Christmas

....Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas!!!

I'm such a kid when it comes to Christmas & Christmas vacation...maybe the fact that I work in a school is perpetuating this childishness towards Christmas break. I can't help it, I'm just SO excited that Christmas break is officially here, I'm not at work and it is a Thursday (!) and I get to see my family later today!

Plus, the kitties are coming home with us this year and they will be wearing these lovelies on Christmas morning:
Doesn't Bella look so happy about being dressed as Rudolph?

My sweet boy Colby

I just love everything about the holidays - the gift-giving (and, okay, the receiving is nice, too), spending time with family, great food, celebrations, and no work! 

Wishing everyone a happy, happy holiday!