Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Best Clothesline Ever

So I really should have written about this about a year and a half ago, that's when we put it up, but let's just consider my procrastination as giving time to know if this thing really works. In short, it works beautifully. I had been wanting a clothesline for quite a while so we decided that for Mother's Day (back in 2012 when I was still pregnant with Will) that I would get a one. I had seen a few different versions in magazines and online of retractable ones, and I really liked the idea of the line not being up all the time. We decided to take a trip to Lowe's to see what we could find before buying any of the expensive ones I had found online though, and I sure am glad we did. After just a little bit of looking we found this guy.

It came with an end hook, but it seemed a little flimsy, so we picked up a sturdier hook since it was going to be holding clothes. We also grabbed the eye bolt with a ring so that we could make a triangle out of the line, rather than one continuous 49 foot line.

Installation was very simple. Just drill the line into wherever you would like your line to start.

Then Jake just put the eye bolt in a tree, and the end hook back on the shed where a few feet from where we started the line.

And here it is in action.

You can see how the triangle worked for us and helped the middle of the line to not sag as much from the amount of weight it had on it. At this time I still needed to buy some clothes pins, but I have since remedied that problem. And the great thing is that when it's not in use it is barely noticeable at all; no giant poles in the middle of the yard with a line that you have to duck under every time you walk by.

I can say without hesitation almost two years later that we are both very happy with our purchase, in fact, I can hardly wait to get one up at the new house, although it has been cold enough lately that I wouldn't be able to use it anyway. So that's the story of the best clothesline ever. Your welcome.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dallas Get-A-Way

So as I mentioned in my last post, Jake and I took a little kiddo free vacation to Dallas for our anniversary at the end of November. We headed down the Friday before Thanksgiving and got back the day before turkey day. We had a great time, and I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to go and parents that were willing to watch our little munchkin while we were gone.

Disclaimer: all the pictures in this post will unfortunately be from my phone as I have yet to unpack the cord that connects the real camera to the computer. 

We got to Dallas late on Friday night so our first real day in the city was Saturday. It was a rainy and cool day, but we still had a good time. It also happened to be the 50th anniversary weekend of the Kennedy assassination. We went to the 6th Floor Museum where Lee Harvey Oswald *supposedly* took the shots that hit President Kennedy and the Texas governor. I don't know what the wait is usually like, and it was probably really busy being the day after the anniversary of the assassination, but we had to wait for about an hour and a half to get up to the museum. Here is the line waiting to go up, and it curved around the building on up ahead too.

 It was a really interesting museum, however, I don't have any pictures from inside it because they don't allow photography in the actual museum. Here is a picture of us with the window that Oswald shot from in the background though.

Even though you couldn't take pictures in the 6th Floor Museum, we did get an opportunity to go up to the 7th floor of the building, so this picture is exactly one floor above the corner window on the 6th floor looking down at the street below.

This is a shot looking up from the sidewalk (because I wasn't going to just walk out into a busy street to get a picture) to the window from where the shots were fired.

The memorial in Dealy Plaza was really nice, and even though it was a little rainy we enjoyed walking around to look at things.

And what would a visit to the place where Kennedy was shot be without a picture of the grassy knoll?

That night we went to a restaurant that we had both been wanting to try for a long time. The closest one to us is about an hour away, and we had heard great things about it, so we decided to give it a try.

It's true, we had never been to P. F. Chang's before this trip. We got a special where two people got an appetizer, main course and dessert for I think $50, which was a little pricey, but we were expecting it, and we took leftovers back to the hotel, so it wasn't too bad. And also since they heard it was our first time they gave us a $10 gift card incentive to come back again which we are really looking forward to using.

I also noticed that night that our second little bun was really starting to make an appearance, so here is an obligatory selfie.

The next day we headed somewhere that I had been looking forward to going for literally years. IKEA! Dallas is the closest IKEA to us, so we had never been to one before. We didn't plan anything else for our Sunday since we had heard it can take a while to get through it.

We were a little at a loss for what to do when we first walked in, so we just kind of followed the crowd up the elevator and started looking around. They also had some helpful signs along the way that helped us figure out how things worked. We really enjoyed looking at all the show rooms, as well as checking out a few things that we had been contemplating getting from there for a while, and overall we both really enjoyed the day, although by the time we were done looking through everything and getting our loot we had both hit our shopping limit I think. We liked the look of this island (as well as several other ones) to potentially put in our kitchen at the new house some day.

The new house also has soffit over the cabinets that we would like to tear out and possibly put up some cabinetry that goes to the ceiling, kind of like this, although I'm not sure our kitchen will ever be that beautiful. So anyway, we checked out a few basic glass front cabinets while we were there too.

We also checked out the area rugs and sofas since we would like to set up a tv area in the basement of the new house at some point (after we save enough up to do it well). I forgot to get a picture of the sofa that we like, but here are a few rug options we looked at.

We want something soft and cozy down there, so we were looking at more shag-like rugs than I would probably usually check out. And even though it's blurry, I think this picture of Jake checking out the coziness factor of this rug makes it worth it.

We didn't end up just looking at stuff either. I forgot to snap a picture of it all before it went into use, but we grabbed a nice picture frame to put up a family picture we had taken in September, as well as a little car for Will's Christmas stocking and an abacus for him too. We also snagged some sheet sets, one for the guest twin size bed and one for the futon, and some cute glass bottles to use in the kitchen. We may have picked up a couple of other things too, but I don't recall what they were at the moment.

Monday we had a pretty relaxed day, we went to a record store (Good Records was the name in case anyone is interested), where we came away several dollars poorer but several records richer, and checked out a cute little old historic soda shop where we had lunch.

It was very cute inside, and looked like it hadn't hardly been changed since it opened in 1912. If anyone is taking a trip to Dallas or some locals want to check it out, here is there website.

That night we went to the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special in theaters (yes we are nerds). Jake even decided to dress like the 11th Doctor for the occasion, and he was definitely not the only one in the theater who did. 

Tuesday was our last day in the city, and it was the first really nice day weather wise since we had been there. It was finally sunny and fairly warm and we took advantage by exploring the city a little more. Whenever we go on trips we like to just drive around and get a feel for the place we are in. We don't use a GPS or map really, we just go wherever looks interesting, and thankfully we both have a good enough sense of direction that we pretty much never get lost.

 We had seen an interesting looking bridge on Saturday from the 6th Floor Museum, and since it was finally a cloudless day we decided to go looking for it. We discovered that it is called the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and it was super cool. I think we drove across it three times each way just so that I could get enough pictures and we could take it in. 

Then we decided to hit up the Dallas Farmer's Market for lunch.

I had read great things about the market and so we had high hopes for it, but apparently Tuesday is not really a busy day at the market, so there was a definite lack of vendors and food places open. Despite that fact we still had a great sandwich (the picture of which is unfortunately stuck on the camera) and were able to check out some amazing looking produce.

Later that day we headed back to the theater that we had watched Doctor Who at to go see the new Thor movie (got to take advantage of the baby free times to go to the movies). We then headed back to the hotel to pack up for our trip home the next day.

Our hotel had a really nice view, and when it finally got sunny on Tuesday and Wednesday I was able to capture a little of it.

On our way out of town we stopped off for some breakfast and then got on the road somewhere around 10:30-11:00. When we hit traffic heading out of Dallas we were a little concerned what the drive home would be like (since the day before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel days of the year) but after about 30 minutes of really congested traffic we got clear of it and had great weather for the drive home. We stopped off at the Texas welcome center to have a bathroom break and take a picture in front of the giant Lone Star.

We made it home around 5:30-6:00, and were so excited to see our little stinker again. We had really missed him while we were gone. He stopped walking and looked at us for just a second when we walked in before heading over to give us big hugs and kisses. We were all very happy to see each other again, and Will thought we were much funnier than usual, so I think he must have missed us.

So that pretty much sums up our anniversary trip to Dallas. It turned out to be pretty much exactly what we wanted, slow and relaxing for the most part, without a ton of stuff to do every day. I'm sure there are tons of things to do in Dallas that we missed, but we had a great time regardless, and would definitely recommend it if you are considering a vacation.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Month of Craziness

Disclaimer: please forgive the horrible phone shots in this post, it was a busy month and I have not had a chance to edit any photos from the real camera. 

Warning, this is a very wordy post; I apologize in advance.

So it's been a while since I posted, and while there is really no good excuse I will list my excuses out for you anyway. Some of the reasons will get further info in the form of their own post later on, but some are not really interesting enough to go into so I will just talk about them briefly here and then let them be.

The end of November and all of December were possibly the craziest, busiest months of our lives to date. To start it all off we celebrated our 5th anniversary at the end of November, so the Friday before Thanksgiving we left Will at home with my parents (he moved over to Jake's parents part-way through our trip so that both sets of grandparents got their "Will time") and headed off to Dallas.

We stayed in Dallas until the day before Thanksgiving then headed back home to be back for all the family Thanksgiving craziness the next day. The traffic leaving Dallas was not on our side, but it did get better fairly quickly and we made it home by Wednesday evening.

The next day was Thanksgiving. Around 9:30 in the morning we packed up for our first of three family get-togethers that day. The first was at Jake's grandparents' house where we had brunch starting at 10:00. We had a good time with family and trying not to fill up too much since we knew we had a other family dinner waiting for us in just a few hours. We headed out from the grandparents' to go to our next family dinner at 12:30. Thankfully the next dinner was only two blocks from the first. It was at a church that my extended family always rents out to hold the 80ish of us that can make it to the meal. After eating a full on Thanksgiving dinner there (we knew there would be a little more time between this meal and the next) and spending some time with family that we don't see very often we headed home around 3:00 to put Will down for a nap before the next dinner we had. The last dinner of the day was very laid back and small compared to the 40 and then 80 people that we spent the earlier part of the day with. Our last dinner was just with Jake's immediate family and an aunt and uncle. We ate dinner together and played some games, then we headed home to get some much needed rest. I didn't take any pictures on Thanksgiving since we were just trying to spend time with family that we don't see all that often, so this is pretty much it that you'll hear about that day.

The first week in December we bought a new house!

That's right, we realized back in the summer that at some point we would be expanding our family and also that with as often as we have people over into our house our sweet little 900 square footer would no longer work for us. We spent a while looking at houses since we were in no hurry to move, and in late October we found one that we loved and that fit almost all of our criteria. We started the process and on Thursday, December 5, we signed the papers and got a new house. We moved in that Saturday, which was a nice snowy mess and have been here for just over a month now. We still own the other house too, since there are a few projects that we need to finish up before we put it on the market, but we are hoping to get it put up in the next few months. I will do a whole post dedicated to what we were looking for and what projects may be in the works for it sometime soon, but for now I'll just say that so far and we are really enjoying the new house and having more room.

The day after we moved we had an impromptu Christmas party here with our small group from church. The party was supposed to be at another person's house down in Arkansas but apparently Missouri cleans the roads much better because they were horrible down there, so the party got moved here. Our friends Tony and Angel (who had been planning to host at their house) came over to help us set up after church and we moved boxes out of the main areas and did a little last minute Christmas decorating. It all turned out really well for having just lived in the house barely over 24 hours, and the amount of room for hosting verses the old house was incredible.

Later that night Jake came down with the flu, which he then passed on to me, which I then passes to Will. We all recovered just fine, but we were not expecting to be taken down with the flu for the first week and a half that we lived here, so it kind of delayed our unpacking and Christmas present shopping/making until the last minute. By the time everyone was better we had less than a week before Christmas.

We crammed in our last minute Christmas shopping and present making, which I will go into in a little more detail later in a Christmas post, and all managed to be healthy for Christmas day. Unfortunately, just after midnight Jake got sick again and the whole cycle started up again. Jake was sick for several days, (thankfully neither Will nor I caught it this time) and then about the time he started feeling better Will came down with a cold. We got through our New Years party with only Will being sick and then I unfortunately came down with a cold that I am still getting over and have passed along to Jake. So to sum up, since we moved into this house, I think there has been a total of about four days when we have all been completely healthy. Hopefully this trend will end soon and not stick around since we plan to live in this house indefinitely.

I think that pretty much sums up the craziness that has gone on for us in the last month, travel, family, buying a house and moving, unending (or so it feels) sickness, and the holidays. It was a good time overall, other than the rampant illnesses, and I look forward to going into more detail at a later date.