Saturday, December 29, 2018

Happy Holidays

Today, 12/28, marks 11 years since I stopped smoking. I totally missed the 10 year anniversary of the blog back in August, but I certainly don't miss lighting up anymore. Although I do still get cravings sometimes. It's never easy. I ran 4 miles today to celebrate the accomplishment.

And since we're just on the other side of Christmas I wanted to share some pictures from the holidays.

Lena's gotten a bit peckish
Evil Genius didn't want to pose for the family picture in front of our Christmas tree, so we had to use a skeleton stand-in. The skeleton ended up being buried under our new front porch.

It is a pretty tree
Here's a couple of interesting pictures. I was working on the porch in shorts & a t-shirt on Dec 7, then we got a rare snowfall on Dec 8, about 4"!

pouring concrete on a sunny day

And tons of snow the next day

Kids walked with me to get Chinese food in the snow

And we got to go to a Hurricanes hockey game
Work gave me a really nice thank-you gift for taking on an extra project - 4 tickets to a Carolina Hurricanes and a VIP parking pass. We got a suite, all the food was included, plenty of drinks, the kids had a blast. and the Canes won big!

So for Christmas this year we had a wild ride. We started with Kelley's dad's side of the family on Christmas Eve. I didn't get any pictures, but it was a big crowd. My kids were the youngest people there, which has never happened before, and the family who has been hosting since I started going to this thing 20 years ago said this was the last year they were hosting. So next year our Christmas Eve plans might open up.

Santa came to visit the kids, and left way too many toys & clothes. Kelley's mom and sister came home with us from Biscoe and stayed for all of the festivities. Then Kelley's dad and his wife came by, eventually also our niece Kailiegh and her boyfriend came over as well and stayed for breakfast (or brunch? it was around noon).

Girls in their new pajamas

Playing with the new loot

Kelley handing out presents sitting down
Then around 3:30 we got on the road to go see my parents in SC. They had a pretty chill Christmas day, but the day after was quite hectic. My brothers came over for our big breakfast and opened presents. The big reveal was that my youngest brother Morgan and his wife Martha are finally pregnant, after 5 years of infertility treatments! We are all so happy for them.

And to finish the holidays we had to take family pictures

The four of us in our Ugly Christmas Sweaters

My parents and the grandkids

I'm on the right, with my parents and brothers
Then all of my mom's family came over later for our big family Christmas. It was fantastic getting to see everyone again, most of those folks I haven't visited with since last Christmas. Again, I didn't get pictures.

Thursday my God-parents came up from Atlanta to visit with us and a few others who came to the house, with my brother who lives in Los Angeles, his wife, and I got to get my hands on his baby for the first time! Cute little guy was great.

Then the weather forced our hand a bit so we came on back to Raleigh. Overall we had a wonderful holiday filled with fun times, lots of family togetherness, and love. Hope you had as much fun as we did!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Teen Cave

It's like a man-cave, if man-caves were built for teenage girls. We got this couch that forced a piece of furniture upstairs, which forced us to turn the guest room into something else. Enter the teenager. I had to completely remodel the bathroom up there, she called it "working on her suite". She originally picked the orange color when we moved in 8 years ago, now she wanted it purple. We had to replace the carpet, move the furniture up, and hang a huge TV on the wall.

We had a recent family vacation in Pigeon Forge, TN, so I took pictures of the teen-cave to show off to the bigger family that doesn't come visit us in Raleigh. Enjoy the tour and some pictures from the vacation.

These stairs used to have carpet on them. I still need to paint the risers, and the treads could use some refinishing too.

The landing was hardwood under carpet! Such a pleasant surprise.

The remodeled bathroom.

On my woodworking blog, I did a whole category for this bathroom remodel. We found that sink on a clearance sale at Lowe's, same with the engineered flooring ($30 and $40, respectively). I also blew open a closet, made those shelves, flushed up the wall, redid the electrical, added the medicine cabinet and 2 lights, made my own shiplap and did the accent wall back there, hung the rest of the drywall... it was quite a mess. But the finished product is really cool. The tiny bathroom up there came out great!

New carpet, and we moved all of her furniture up there

The double recliner that spurred the whole thing

The big TV mounted with the playstaion and VR

The whole big family on the train at Dollywood

And out on the deck at the cabin we rented

the cabin was really nice

It was a really fun vacation in TN. Morgan made it with his wife, and my parents of course, but Michael had to stay home with a sick kid. I thought the room turned out great, everyone else agreed. This was a great way to setup the holidays.