Friday, July 25, 2008

A Mega Update

Well I've certainly been on a blogging hiatus for the entire month of July. That's largely due to the fact that every spare minute is spent doing things. Whether it be traveling, visiting family, working in the yard or around the house, etc. This post is to catch up on what we've been up to for the past few weeks. These pictures are in chronological order too haha.

Peter and I ventured to Arlington for the annual RESNA conference. He was there for work and I was there tagging along. I previously posted about this, but here are some pictures from our trip...

This is actually the perimeter of the Pentagon.  We drove right by it on our way to our hotel.  It was pretty cool to see, but odd that you could drive so closely to it.

We stayed at the Hyatt which was pretty sweet.  The lobby was 3 floors high and all open with escalators.  I enjoyed reading there on Sunday afternoon while Peter finished up his last meeting.  Of course I didn't get a picture of it though haha.  Oops.

Our very nice room:

This couch was great.  It had a really nice view and on Saturday night a big storm hit and we sat on the couch watching the lightning and rain.

Here's part of the view from the couch...

After we arrived, we wandered around the Crystal City area where our hotel was and grabbed some dinner.  This is on our way back to the hotel.

Peter and I on Saturday morning before heading to the morning meeting and attempting to visit Emily.

The very cool morning meeting we attended.  It was really cool to see some of the users of the devices that his company creates.

This is a drive-by shot of the Washington Monument on our way back home to PA.

The weekend after our trip to Arlington, we headed to Hollidaysburg for the weekend of July 4th to celebrate Ash's 21st birthday.  Unfortunately, I'm sure that it was a birthday she'll never forget.  On Thursday night she and Drew were in a car accident right at the end of my parents' driveway.  We didn't know it was her and Drew when we heard the awful crash from inside the house.  Well Peter got there first and my mom and I were getting a flash light since it was pitch black out. Peter made it back to the house and said "it's Ashley and she's bleeding". My heart sank. Especially when my mom got the flashlight and I had to tell her it was Ashley and she just was like"Oh my God!" Luckily one off duty paramedic was the second car behind them. He was on his way home from work and stopped to help. Ashley said her neck hurt and she was bleeding.  An ambulance came and took her on a stretcher with a neck brace to the ER with my mom. Bryson was sleeping over so we were trying to keep him calm too. I think at first it looked and sounded a lot worse than it was.  It was just pretty emotional since it was Ashley and we heard it all, etc. They were turning to come in the driveway and an 18 yr old girl was behind them, going like 50 mph (speed limit is 35) and was on her cell phone not paying attention. She managed to total both her car (an 07 SUV) and Ashley's taurus. Around 2 AM Ashley was released from the hospital. She just had a few stitches.  She was extremely blessed becuase it could have been a whole lot worse. The dad of the girl was kind of a jerk and trying to make it like it wasn't her fault. The grass was all wet though and there were tire marks where the girl drove and she didn't hit the breaks until like 3 houses down when she wound up in the middle of our neighbors front yard.  Drew said he knew it was going to happen cause he saw the person not slowing down and said "hold on!". Ash turned to look and that's how she hit her face. It was right off the passengar window in the front since Drew was driving. Her old taurus doesn't have side airbags so she was screwed. And her car only had 30K miles on it since it was my great aunt's. Practically brand new. She'll get like $1500 for it. Bummer.  I'd rather the car be a wreck then her or Drew though.

Here's 2 pictures my dad had Peter take with his phone incase the insurance needed them.

This is the only other picture I took while we were home.  I think since we were up until like 3 AM on Thursday that it threw me off since I'm usually going to bed at 10 PM.  On Friday I slept in until almost 11 which hasn't happened in a long time.  But it doesn't really count since I still got less than 8 hours of sleep haha.  We still had Ashley's party on Friday and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs and had lots of yummy food.  We also played volleyball and Drew set off some great fireworks.  Turned out to be a good birthday after all I hope.

The next weekend (told ya we've been busy!) Jeff and Paula came down on Saturday to help us do some things around the house.  Peter and Jeff were able to trim a bunch of trees which was great and also cleaned out the gutters which as helpful since they were so full of crud and it make some leaking in our basement occur.  Here's 2 pictures Peter took of Jeff trimming one of the trees:

Paula and I tried shopping for a new screen door for the back but had no luck since it's only 30" x 77".  We'd have to special order it and it'd be like almost $400.  No way!  haha.  Our goal was to get a screen door since both backdoors are just glass.  We found a wooden screen door that we got in hopes that we could cut it down to size.  Well we got it home and Jeff said it wouldn't really work.  Bummer.  Fortunately we found in our garage the screen part to the second door.  We never knew it existed and figured it out by mistake.  So we took the other door back and are going to fix up the old one with new screen since it's ripped and new wooden pieces.  We picked those up and I hope to get that done this weekend.  I'll post pictures when we're all done.  We also got curtains at Lowe's for $7.50 for two 84" long panels and 2 tiebacks.  They were originally $40.  We picked up 3 and used scissors and the sewing machine to make them fit our windows better.  I didn't want them to be so long.  We used extra fabric to make 3 more tiebacks.  I picked up some cheap ($1.27 for 8) black rubber o-rings (used for plumbing haha) to replace the cream colored plastic ones on the tie backs.  The look great and make the living room look so nice.  

Here's the finished product.  I think I'm going to get new curtain rods since the ones we have don't fit the windows very well.  I found some I like a target really well and since we have those gift cards coming I'll use part of that to buy them.  They're only like 12 bucks each.  This picture turned out pretty cute with the wrought iron railing in the pic with my bucket of flowers at the bottom of the steps.  My house is so cozy :)

This is a little blurry but you can see the curtains pretty well here.  One day I hope to buy a matching end table for the other side of the couch.  I got the one on the left side for $50 bucks.  There was one small scratch on it that was barely noticeable and it was on the back part of the table so they put it on clearance for $50.  They normally sell for $250.  Even if I got another one for the other side it would average $150 a table which isn't too bad since they are really good tables and have two storage drawers and are beautiful looking...but I just can't bring myself to pay 5 times as much for the other least not right now haha.  I have a small table from my aunt Pat's house and my leg massager filling the space for now.

This is a close-up of what the fabric looks like:

I got small fleur de lis picture hooks at JoAnn Fabrics for like 6 bucks.  I didn't want huge curtain hold backs because I didn't think it'd look right.  You can see the small o-rings I've sewed on the tie backs too.  

With some of the leftover fabric I made two pillow covers for some old dingy pillows we had sitting around.

And then I still had extra fabric so I covered Cadi's blue bed with it to match the living room better than blue haha.  She loved it.  She was crawling all over me while I was trying to cover it and laid down in it immediately when I put it on the floor.  For all of the supplies (curtains, o-rings and picture hooks) it was less than $25 with the coupons I had on top of the curtains being on clearance already.  Not bad for all the curtains and 2 pillows and Cadi's bed and I still have a bunch left over haha.  

Paula and I also worked on refinishing the front door.  It was painted white with an ever so slight pink tint.  We thought it was only 1 coat but it turned out to have like 4 different yucky colors on it underneath so stripping it wasn't as easy as initially planned.  We both took off Monday to finish it and it looked much better.  We stained it a dark walnut color to cover over some of the blemishes that were on it.  Outside it didn't look as dark as it did when we got it on.  But now that I've diligently polished the knocker, lock and handle, it's looking much better.  I still have to put a coat of polyurethane on it and then it'll be done.  It's the original door and very beautiful.  It was a lot of work with stripping, cleaning, sanding, staining, etc., but Monday's weather was perfect and we were outside so I didn't much mind.  

This is what it looked like before, which wasn't bad but it was kind of a pink tint and you could see the dirt on it.  We were going for more of a natural wood looking door.

This is the after.  You can see how the handle and everything shined up nicely.  Although not perfectly since I couldn't take the handle and lock off so it was harder to do and then I decided to have it not completely shiny for a bit of character.  I still need to sand it a bit to make the wood show through some more and then put up my welcome sign from my aunt Pat's house again.  It's hard to see in the picture, but the wood grain is much more visible now than before.

While Paula was here we also dug out the junk on the right side of the driveway.  I bought a sprayer at Home Depot and put bleach it in to spray on the weeds and vines.  It's been killing it which is great because we plan on planting grass in the fall.  I also picked up some metal skewers for when I make kabobs at HD since my wooden ones burn up too easily.  They were nice and long and had a circle hook on the end to hold it by.  They were 4 in a pack on clearance for 74 cents.  There were only 2 packs so I picked up both.  Well when I rang out, they each rang up as 1 cent haha.  I wish they had more packs but oh well.  2 cents for 8 really nice skewers.  Can't beat that.  I can also use them to make s'mores when we get our fire pit built.  We also got rid of the rhododendron and moved a piece of it up towards the house and will see if it takes.  If not, we'll buy a new one and plant it there.  Paula also dug up the small area on the left of the driveway after where we mulched.  She leveled it out and planted grass which is starting to sprout up!  And Peter dug out the rest of the holly bush and they filled that area in and planted grass.  

I also put out our solar lights we got cheap at the end of the year last year.  They are too blue looking because it's an LED bulb so I got other ones at Wal-Mart with an amber bulb, but they looked orange so I took them back.  I wanted a natural light color but it's impossible unless you get low voltage lights and I want solar.  So I took the blueish ones apart and tape pieces of tan plastic bags over the small bulb (it won't burn since it's LED) and it turned out nicely.  It's not as bright as it was originally, but still looks nice and much more natural looking instead of the blueish it did with the plain LED lights.  They look nice with the candles I have in the front facing windows.  Things are sure coming along!  

The house from the road.  I can't believe how different it looks from when we first moved in.  We're also going to be cutting down all 3 pine trees and planting grass.  Just too much stuff.

The area where we've been spraying bleach.  It works like heavy duty weed killer but is a lot cheaper!  We will have to keep spraying a few time and then turn over the soil and plant grass in the fall.

This area already has grass planted and has a few seeds sprouting already.

As does this area where the holly bush used to be.  We're keeping the dogwood (tree on right) and getting rid of those two pines and the stones that surround them to make more lawn.  You can already see the grass coming up nicely here and it's only been 2 weeks.

Since Peter's birthday was the following Tuesday, Paula and I stopped and picked up a cake on our way home from one of the many Home Depot/Lowe's trips.  We made salmon cakes with corn and rice pilaf for dinner and then I snuck upstairs to get the hidden cake and light the candles and brought it down.  Peter was completely surprised-it was great!  I gave him all of his presents on Thursday and Friday before Jeff and Paula came since we had some down time and I wanted to be able to give him his presents without having to rush.  We also went out to dinner on Friday night.  We had plans to go to a Young Adults picnic outing on Tuesday so I knew we wouldn't have much time on his actual birthday.  I did save the card for that day though.  

Last weekend we were completely wiped out and just relaxed the majority of the time.  We did get some grocery shopping in on Saturday morning which was fun for Peter because they give out free samples of different foods all throughout our Giant Eagle in Monroeville on Saturdays.  It made the trip a lot more fun for him haha and subsided his hunger until we got home.  This is the weekend that I made the pillows from the leftover fabric and recovered Cadi's bed.  I also polished the brass/copper pieces on the door.  All in all it was a restful weekend which was really needed.  

This is a random shot of us from last week.  Turned out pretty nicely so I thought I'd post it.  :)

We have this small trash can that seals that we dump Cadi's big bag of cat food in.  It keeps it fresh and prevents Cadi from being able to open the cupboard and chew through the bag (which happened in the past).  We got a new bag since it was nearing empty and as I was throwing the bag away Cadi decided to eat straight from the newly filled can.  It was so cute!  

This one is my favorite since you can see her munching away. 

Other than all of this, we've been busy with work.  I won 2 tickets to see "Annie Get Your Gun" at the Benedum downtown on Sunday evening along with a $50 gift certificate to Jamie's Restaurant and Lounge on Liberty Ave.  I've never been there but some of my coworkers have and they said it's really good.  My coworker listens to this AM station all the time and they give away stuff and it's pretty easy to win.  She won the same thing the day before haha.  Peter went on an overnight business trip this week so he's been busy too.  We're both glad it's once again the weekend and plan on resting and being productive and having an evening out this weekend.  We'll see how it all goes haha.