Tonight, some of my friends are coming into town and I am so excited! We are having a girls weekend in Chicago so I get to show off the city to some of the girls closest to my heart. We met each other freshman year and still managed to stay friends between boy dramas and switched majors. A lot of them ended up in the South (well there isn't much north of Chicago) but we still keep in touch. I cannot wait to see them, stuff our faces with so much good, Chicago food, and laugh so much my abs hurt.
We did this back in October. The group will be a little different than last time based on who can come but I can't wait.
My sweet friend, Britt, gave us a wedding present last time I saw her in April which was truly thoughtful. It was a box with two place settings- from place mats to napkin rings. The idea is that you only use it when you have a momentous occasion, whether a move, a new job, a baby, first time you don't go home for the holidays, and the list could go on and on. Then you write about it and put both place settings and the note back in the box so that next time you get them out, you can read any of your notes and relive all the memories. Being someone who likes to document life (blog, instagram, journal, pictures, saved mementos, etc), I love this idea of having a gift that travels with you throughout your life. Adam and I rarely sit down to eat and just focus on each other and our food, so really just to do that would be a momentous occasion but I like the idea of making it special and cherishing those moments together. We already used it once for our collective move and new jobs and have no idea what will be our next use but look forward to that day.
Adam picked number #4. Thank you all who voted and helped us narrow the choices down.
This weekend, we spent a lot of time with friends. Hanging with people who get you is so good for the soul. We hung with our friends from the burbs on Friday, catching up between bites of pizza. Then we got to show them our place as we ate some ice cream on our cute deck. It was such a chill night.
Saturday, Adam and his dad reffed some games together in the burbs while I got to hang out with my mother-in-law and then my old boss, Mary, from Wheaton. It was so good to see Mary and catch up on life and talk about career stuff for me.
Then we ate dinner with Adam's parents and grandparents and played some chinese checkers. It was really fun to hang out with them.
Sunday, we had some people over from church for the world cup USA game and some good food. These "family dinners" started about a month ago and the idea is that someone hosts and picks a theme. Ours was "Let's get Saucy" using the word saucy liberally for example hummus, or dressing on salad, etc. We had a total of 15 people so we really maxed out our place but had a lot of fun meeting people.
We might have gotten a little over our heads with this project but learned a lot.
1. We are as they say, real newbs in this whole DIY realm ( I learned something about stain that I should have known before I did any of my other project. sheesh.)
2. I am not allowed to pick a paint color before I've really thought about EVERYTHING
3. It takes forever in a hardware store and you will spend more than you thought
4. We love our bookcase
When we moved, we got rid of our junky bookcases. While that was nice when we were carrying stuff to and fro it wasn't so nice when we went to put our books away and had nothing to store them in. This sent us on a mission to find a bookcase.
While we were exploring our new neighborhood one weekend, Adam saw this fantastic trunk in an antique store and had the brilliant idea to turn it into a bookcase. (When your husband has an idea to help you with your hobby, you jump at it and jump at it immediately before he can rethink it.)
So there we were paying more than we've paid for other pieces that we've redone but taking advantage of a really unique and fun idea. (I wish I had a picture of it sitting like a trunk but just imagine what it would have looked like if I had taken a picture…. okay good, you're with me.)
I knew I wanted to repaint it. The paint was chipped (not in a good way) and really dirty with scratches and marks. While I do like yellow, it would have been too much yellow with our chairs and table so I was just going to use the dark stain and white paint from some previous projects. (desk and dresser). I had already put one coat of paint on the trunk when I saw a picture of a beautiful piece of mint furniture. I changed my plan mid-game. THIS.IS.A. BAD. IDEA. A very bad idea. This led to me painting the trunk 4 different times to get the "right" color and going to the hardware store 3 times in one weekend not to mention the other times throughout this project. This also led me to stain the front with the stain we had (jacobean) and then strip that off and stain it again with a cherry stain… which is fine but the stain is just a hinge on the red side and still very dark so not much changed there except the loss of time on my part. All in all, I like the finished product but I don't suggest going about it my way.
I spent a lot time scraping off the paint on the front with chemicals (stripping gel and mineral spirits), a scraper, and sand paper. I really wanted to stain the front and then repaint the rest of it. Then we got to work on getting the rest of the supplies as our vision came together.
Shelves (just made of stained plywood)
new hinges- The old ones were way too rusty (tetanus anyone?) so I spray painted new ones
a cute knob to go on our door
and even cute little legs that I spray painted my new favorite color
brackets so the legs had leverage to stay on the trunk (the screws that come with the legs are really short).
Adam helped me a ton with this project by putting it all together at the end. I did all the painting and staining and then he sawed, sanded, and screwed everything in. Seriously, he was awesome from the get-go with this thing.
Here is another before and after.
Wish I had some better before and after's but it's hard to move that thing with all the books in it haha so I didn't try that hard. (also our floor is slanted, not the actually trunk but because of that we got a magnetic clasp to keep the door closed when we weren't using it)
Adam is in need of some glasses so we thought we would try and get people's opinions like we did with my glasses. Quick side note: Adam wants to make you guys aware that this is a fake democracy. As seen by me choosing the glasses that got the least amount of votes.
I needed glasses so I wouldn't wear my contacts 16 hours a day and while I liked what everyone else chose, I didn't like them enough to solve my problem…. ahem… back to your regularly schedule programming.
We choose glasses that we thought Adam would look good in (they are different, I swear) but some are little too small for his face (so let us know if we should go for round 2 and take some measurements before we order them).
Chicago is a city full of festivals so we hit up two this weekend. We hung out with Adam's cousins at the Puerto Rican Festival on Friday and then hit up the Blues Fest on Saturday. The Blues Festival was more up our alley because we got to bring a picnic and listen to some good music where as we had good company at the Puerto Rican Fest but it was more like a carnival. Fried food everywhere ;/ and no live music.
It was a little chilly at the blues fest but I wasn't above wearing the captain chair's bag and rolling up in our blanket like a taco. It certainly did the job even though I looked like a fool.
We also were in the nursery for the second Sunday in a row. It's another way for us to meet people and serve in our church. We both would prefer to greet but there is a huge need for nursery volunteers and not really any need on the greeting team. So for now this is what some of our Sunday mornings look like.
Adam is such a trooper to volunteer with me in the nursery so we are serving together and of course the kids love him
Thankful for the nice weather and Happy belated Father's day (and Mother's day for that matter since I never said anything on the blog about it).
The older I get the more thankful I am for my sisters and the time they sacrificed to take care of us younger kids. Whether it was coaching my basketball team or picking us up on snow days, while my mom was at work, so we wouldn't be all alone. My sister, Amy, and brother-in-law, Dean, would come every Thursday evening, while my mom worked, to make sure we had dinner and did our homework. We would watch jeopardy and see who could get the most questions right, while yelling at the contestants to wage it all (or ourselves if we kept track of our points). They would even come to our games and be our biggest fans along the sidelines of whatever sport was in season. They didn't just do this a couple times but they did this for 5 years. I think it conditioned me to look forward to Thursday every week and even now,Thursdays hold a special place in my heart.
All the siblings: Katie, Amy, me, Chrissy, Johanna, Leighann, and John
I am so thankful to them for the time they invested in our lives and I know that I am a better person because of it. Thank you, Amy! I love and appreciate you. You are making a difference in people's lives with the time you sacrifice and the love that pours out of you daily. I wish that we lived closer together and could not just have the best summer ever! (our mantra for the summer I lived with their family in Florida) but could have the best life together side-by-side serving Jesus and loving others. I hope you have a wonderful birthday!
Still missing a few who couldn't make it but here is most of the crew
My family planned to get together last weekend for a while and I had to choose over seeing all of my family now for a short amount of time or seeing most of them plus seeing my sister's newborn baby for a longer amount of time. I didn't have any vacation time yet because of just starting a new job and so flights were expensive to just go for the weekend. A lot of money for not a lot of time. So I chose to wait for when I could go for a couple more days for less money and see my newborn nephew. But that decision ate at me and ate at me every day. My family kept sending group texts and it just made me miss them even more. I looked at flights frequently and debated about just going but the longer I waited the more expensive the flights got. Then I resorted to how doable it was to drive the 21 hours roundtrip in one weekend. It wasn't really the smart decision but the closer it got the more I just needed to see my family. The transition to Chicago has been really hard for me, partly because this is my third move in three years, but also because the environment at work has been really stressful. So when it came down to it, I decided at 9pm the night before that I was going to get up at 4:30 in the morning and drive to Pittsburgh to drive the rest of the way with Leighann and her family.
I got up the next morning as planned and could have left earlier but just kept thinking to myself, is this crazy that I'm about to jump in the car for 10.5 hrs to barely see my family to just jump in the car and do it all over again? I kept asking Adam the same question (this is before 5 in morning, people) but he nicely said he wasn't going to make the decision for me. He helped me carry out my stuff to the car, being the great husband that he is, and then said, "If I don't hear you come back inside in the next 5 minutes, I'll know you've made the decision to go." haha I sat in the car for a couple minutes and then decided, I'm already packed and ready to go, I might as well get on the road. Best decision ever.
Seeing my family was exactly what I needed. I needed the comfort of a familiar place and people who love and support me. People who love Jesus so much that it just pours out of them in conversation and actions. It was so refreshing not to have to small talk with people but to be able to catch up and have deep conversations as well. I also got to have some fun times with my nieces and nephews. It's hard not to be able to be with them more because I truly want to know each and every one of them ( all 14 of them going on 16 by the end of the year). And because I don't get to be with my family a ton, I wanted to document the whole weekend. So here are some of the good ones.
My baby brother is all grown up and sold his motorcycle while I was there. I was so proud of him because him and Jess didn't really want to sell it but with having a little boy already and a little girl on the way, it just made a lot of sense.
I'm glad I got to come home because I got to see Chrissy pregnant. The last time I saw her, she wasn't even showing. I'm really glad I got to see her in person before she has the baby.
Mom's yard is perfect for entertaining our big family.
We played lots of corn hole, courtesy of John who built these set of boards. Isn't Liam just the cutest thing, ever?
Lots of underpuppies (aka underdoggies for Ryan) on the tire swing, Jack plum tuckered out from playing with all the kids, and our biggest kid, Henry, letting John swing him around on the merry-go-round to see if he could hold on. He, in fact, did hold on but then felt sick for an hour after. Things just don't get easier when you get older. haha
water slides, hoses, and water balloon fights filled the majority of the kids time and they loved it!
and we got to enjoy the weather and each other's company
are we really questioning why I had to see my family? So much fun when we get together
Left to right: Katie, Amy, me, John, Leighann, Johanna, Chrissy and mom being held by us all ;)
Seeing Johanna, aka the baby whisperer, in action
and even some toddler appreciation for his awesome parents
Neil's son even braved the chaos of all of us to spend some time with his kids at the house. His kids had a blast with all the other kids and Sean got some quality time with his dad.
I had the kids trained by the end of the weekend to let me take their pictures in between pushes on the swing, trampoline jumps, or waterside runs. Muriel said at one point that she would let me take a picture of her if I would push her on the swing haha I decided to push her on the swing without the picture haha
Me and Pipey-Pipe hanging out #sorryforherimmodesty
Even though the recovery time of traveling that much in a short amount of time was brutal, I was so glad I went. It was exactly what I needed.