Friday, September 4, 2015

The Weekend We've Been Waiting For!

I feel like we CRAWLED to the finish line of this work week.

Between both of us not feeling well, a busy week at work, and my car deciding to act up, this week has been anything but easy (a little depressing, since it is only week two of the semester!) We are definitely ready for some relaxation and fun:

We have visitors coming all the way from Austin to make it a very special weekend. Can you guess who they are? Hint: They are getting married in 35 days.

If you guessed my cousin AMANDA and her fiancee MATT, you are right!

I absolutely love these two, and I can't wait for a weekend of cooking, games, and catching up.

This was just a quick update to say hi, but before I sign off, I need to ask for healing thoughts for the child of our mentor and dear friend, Amy. His name is Graham. Please send him positive thoughts. Brendan and I certainly are.

We sign off with love and well wishes to all. Have a restful, safe, and fun weekend.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Birds, Bees, Flowers, and Trees!

Sunday was a big day for our little house. We got trees! 

Four trees to be exact!

Everyone in our neighborhood talks about "the tree man," who arrives every Saturday with a trailer load of trees for sale that he will plant himself and insure for a year. Rumor has it if you buy more than one, he gives you a great deal. Brendan and I have been very interested in meeting this tree man since we moved here, but we soon began to think of him as an urban legend. Saturday after Saturday went by, and we never saw him (though we would notice more and more neighbors getting trees in each weekend). We began to joke about it, since people would say "What, you haven't seen him? He's here every Saturday!" Then this past Saturday, the magic happened for us. We were driving to the grocery store, totally unsuspecting, when there we spotted him: THE TREE MAN!

"Stop the car!" We both shouted.

It was hard to play it cool enough to negotiate a bargain, since we were both so excited. I even told the tree man he was our version of Santa. We were both absolutely giddy with excitement.

We took every last tree that the tree man had.

The front has a small Chinese Pistache:

and a Live Oak (I'm partial to it, since we were married under a live oak):

The back has a larger Chinese Pistache:

and a Silver Leaf Maple:

Overall, I love the view of my trees from the window:

And the birds have already discovered the trees! We need to get feeders this weekend.

Oh yeah, I was also REALLY glad we didn't plant these ourselves. It looked like a lot of work.

Overall, our trees were worth every penny (and yes, it's true, the tree man negotiates a pretty fair deal!) We LOVE them. 

In other news, we had a great weekend that involved dinners with two different sets of friends, but things took a turn for the worse at 4:00am on Monday when I woke up sick. I had to call out sick from work for the first time. I really didn't like that! I was able to see a doctor immediately and get antibiotics. Brendan was a champ and covered my class and tutoring hours, but I felt bad that it made his Monday harder. I was back to work today, and while I wouldn't say I'm 100%, I am feeling better; however, I am still abstaining from working out until I feel I am back to fully functioning. 

So, I hope your work week got off to a better start than mine. I am enjoying the fresh start that the new month provides. I can't believe it's September, but I'm so excited to welcome fall. We had lower temperatures on Saturday, and it was such a nice preview of what is to come (and I'll take highs in the 90s over triple digits any day!) 

Happy September; let's make it a month to remember! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Home Tour: 7 Months In

Happy Friday everyone!

Brendan and I cannot believe that we have been homeowners for seven months today. Here is a little tour of our home, 7 months in. A lot has changed since our 3 week home tour. I'll also be talking about how we found some of our decor and furniture. 

The front of the house looks exactly the same as the day we bought it. We aspire to have a flowerbed in front of the front window and some trees in the front yard by the end of the fall.

The entryway has my secretary from graduate school and a new bench. The bench is from Overstock.com and we paid one of my mom's friends recover the cushion for us. The entryway also features art by Brendan's dad (left...we have a LOT of his artwork in our house, and I'm more than obsessed) and our friend Michael Hubbard (right...everyone that comes over wants to photograph this painting). 

To the left of the entryway is the dining room. This room is the most recently decorated and only contained empty boxes up until a few weeks ago. We are still planning to add artwork to this room by Brendan's dad. We have used RugsUSA for ordering the majority of our rugs, and we really like the company and the prices. We bought this set at Haverty's, and it was just what we were looking for: beautiful, simple, and functional. I LOVE finally having a place to display the beautiful silver and Waterford crystal candlesticks that we received as wedding presents.

Under the arch in this photo (right) , we have our office, guest room, and second bathroom.

PS--We still have Dagan's art and Amanda's vase here (are we lucky to have such talented friends and family or what?)

The guest room quilt is by Brendan's grandmother (I don't know how she does it, but I know where you can buy one if you are interested ;) The room is decorated with antiques and knick knacks from our travels. 

One of our friends, Wendy, lovingly dubbed this bathroom "the bird bath," and I like it! 

Our office finally got some attention at the end of the summer. Brendan is still finishing his bulletin board. Notice the mini fridge that we lived out of for two weeks while our real fridge was being delivered. Now, this fridge is our "beer fridge." We bought the table the fridge is on from an antique store. The rug is Brendan's from forever ago. 

Recognize my desk? It used to be our kitchen table at the old apartment. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond to find some organization solutions, and I purchased my printer table from an antique store.

To the right of these rooms is our kitchen

You can see the laundry room towards the back of the kitchen. It is nothing special, but we do enter and exit here since it is connected to the garage (I didn't take a new picture of that because our garage looks the same. Seemingly, we are the ONLY family on the block that can fit two cars into our garage. These are the perks of NOT having a truck).

The red bar stools are from ATGStores.com. We are super happy with them; they match everything in our red kitchen, and they are the perfect height to pull up to our breakfast table if we need more chairs.

Breakfast area. The table runner was my second anniversary present from Brendan. The valance curtains come from Saffon Marigold (online). Our friends Jill and Ryan gave us the table and we cherish it (not just because it looks nice, but also because it reminds us of many good times). 

The kitchen looks onto the living area, and we spend most of our time in this room. The sofa table is from an antique store (we hope to one day refinish it). The curtains are also new since the last home tour post and were purchased at Target. I just love hanging out in here. It is so cozy. BIG kudos to Brendan for figuring out furniture arrangement solutions to make this room feel cozy (it has a pretty odd shape, so it wasn't easy). 

Across from the living room is our room. I LOVE our bedroom. The colors are so calming. Grandma Nancy's wedding quilt is the star of the show in here. I planned all of the colors around it. 

The rug is from World Market. 

The oversized chair also comes from Haverty's (you have to love one stop shopping). My dresser/mirror, Brendan's dresser, and the nightstands are all from discountbedroomfurniture.com (great experience with the company, and they saved us hundreds of dollars). We wanted furniture that matched the cabinets in our bathroom, and again we were looking for beautiful but also simple.

Our bathroom is still one of my favorite things about the house. 

We use our jetted tub a lot, and we love it. It's an awesome way to unwind after a long day!

This should be your one takeaway from today's blogpost: Go out and buy a fluffy rug for your closet. Your feet will thank you! This one is from Homegoods. We are still working on true organization in here! 

And oh yeah, the back patio! 
The Rug is from Pier One and the lights are from Target. 

We are making slow but sure progress in our backyard space. Brendan loves the double hammock that was his second anniversary gift from me (see how we did the cotton theme?) and check out our basil! 

Still, we have a long way to go out here, but Rome wasn't built in a day people! 

Okay, there's our home tour! As you can tell, we spent a lot of time, money, and energy making our place just perfect, but I'm pretty sure we couldn't be happier with it. 

Happy weekend everyone! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Promotions All Around

Happy first day of the Fall semester to us!

We were up bright and early this morning (6:00am) for our first day back in the classroom. I was excited to see all my new students for the first time, and I have a really good feeling about my groups.

Here is me AFTER a long day of teaching. My calves, feet, and voice are absolutely aching right now. Teaching is a very physical job, and I am definitely out of practice! I didn't get a picture of Brendan before he changed into his gym clothes (much to his distress, I'm sure).

So here's our news that I can finally tell you because it's official: I have been promoted to the Assistant Professor level, and Brendan has been promoted to Chair of Creative and Technical Writing. We will both continue with our same responsibilities (just with new titles).

I am off to barre class, but I just wanted to check in, say hi, and wish all teachers, students, and parents a happy first day back. We hope everyone has an outstanding school year.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Four Years in Midland!

Whoa, can it really be?

Yep, four years ago today we arrived in Midland with our U-haul! We had a job and a half, a cute little apartment, and we had been dating less than a year.

Today, we have two full time jobs, a home we own, and we have been happily married for a couple of years. 

Four years really does change a lot!

In my three years in Midland post, I wrote that I thought I would bawl when we moved out of our apartment. But it turns out, I didn't. At all. I think that is because we continued to have access to the apartment for an entire month after we moved. Our move was so slow that I never truly felt like I was saying goodbye until I was already well "at home" in our house. Plus, I realized life in our home felt a lot more cozy than life in our apartment ever did (I hope I never have to share walls again). After 3.5 years of apartment living, the house was a change that we were definitely ready for, and one that has made a big difference in how much we (and Lola and Zoe) enjoy living in Midland.

Our careers here are also more satisfying than we ever could have imagined they would be when we arrived four years ago. The college takes GREAT care of us, and I feel lucky everyday that I get to work there. We've even been given more responsibilities (more on that later) and have been able to have opportunities that I never thought we would have this early in our careers.

Every year we stay here, I find more hobbies, more ways to get involved with the community, and more friends. Of course, we have to say goodbye too, as some friends move away, but we never anticipated having as large of a community here as we do. And gosh, honestly I could go on and on about the people we have met here. I really feel like I have a lot of loyal friends that care about me very much, and of course, they mean a lot to me too!

Though we never predicted it, Midland has become home (I've now lived here longer than I lived in NYC or Lake Charles), and I'm really excited to see what our next year here has in store for us.

Thanks for a great four years, Midland!

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