Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thankfulness: 27 and 28

So, my posts took a bit of a break because I am trying to problem solve here. Somehow, I have maxed out my picture quota on this site! Craziness. I went back and deleted some old pictures, to no avail. So I need to decide my game plan, which possibly means making a new blog. I guess 5 years and lots of adventures will do that for you.

In light of that, I am thankful to have had this blog for so long and to get so much happiness out of it and the memories it holds. I'll let you know when/if I decide to make a new blog (since I've got a serious number of pictures burning a hole in my pocket), but until then, thanks at least for reading :).

I'm also thankful that Ed and I went to the gym together today! He joined up, and that meant we could work out together. Tiring, but fun.

Have a good night, all!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankfulness: 26

Today, I am thankful for a super productive afternoon that made me very happy. I've been trying to make more of an effort to have a fuller and more enjoyable life outside of work, so I took on an ambitious agenda today.  Granted, staying an extra hour and a half after work (on top of the regular hour we need to stay) meant for a late start to my after work evening (i.e. 6pm), but I didn't let it discourage me.

First, I  headed to target, where I picked up some more holiday decorations for our home. I am especially in love with our new stocking hangers.

Deer Stocking Holder - Bronze

They look so pretty on our mantle (and I'm loving that I actually have a mantle and fireplace over which to hang our fireplaces). 

After Target, even though I was really pushing my time, I still got myself to the gym and ran 3 miles. I am "renting" Hunger Games on audiobook on my phone, so I really enjoyed listening to that, and hitting a fast pace. 

As soon as I was done with my run, I rushed home to start dinner before Ed got home. Unfortunately, he showed up about 2 minutes later. Thankfully the new recipe I tried was super quick and easy. So, I'm very thankful for that! We had fish tacos with cod, and they were quite different from anything we usually cook, but definitely a keeper. I was surprisingly a fan on the cole slaw topping - I usually dislike cabbage, but it added a great texture to the dish. 

So, it's been a great day. I'm pretty tired, but in a good, non-burned out way. Tomorrow, I'm hoping for another full afternoon that we can hopefully use to tackle Christmas lights. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankfulness: 24 and 25

After a wonderful family visit (which I'll recap when I get pictures uploaded), I feel so thankful for my amazing family. It was so nice to have everyone together, and get to spend quality time with everyone. I especially enjoyed being with my niece, and seeing her learn about this holiday season (she is very taken with "Santa" and was carrying around a little plush santa ornament and saying his name all weekend). It was wonderful and I can't wait to see everyone (plus Ed's family) in just a few weeks.

For my second bit of thankfulness, I am thankful that the Christmas season has started. I love switching over decorations and, in light of that, thought I'd share some ideas. I've seen a few other posts like this, but it's something I really want to do, since I have been pinning so many crafty ideas all year long, but am worried I might forget to actually bring any of them to fruition. Our house certainly needs some more holiday decor, though, since it's seriously sparse compared to how the decorations filled our apartment.

So, here are some of my many ideas. We'll see how many get accomplished this holiday season!

NOEL  Pottery Barn Inspired

Hang mini white ornaments from tree branches to achieve the look of gently falling snow. More elegant holiday decorations:


Easy pine cone garland

Use a pack of dollar store snowflakes for this

Tomato cage wrapped in lights outside on porch! SMART!

Fun wreath

Free Printable Christmas Wall Art ~ Be Different...Act Normal

Now, I can't promise that I'm going to attempt all of these, or even that many of these, but I'd like to try to do a few. The pine tree garland is a definite, and I think I'd also really like to do the to do the light up tree, as both look pretty easy and not too expensive. I'll recap at the end of the season and see how I did! Are there any ideas you've been pinning for the  holidays?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankfulness: 21 and 22

Yesterday's didn't post, so ill just say how thankful I am to be spending time with my wonderful family and "adoptive family" (our neighbors). We did a 10 k and a 5 k this morning, so really earned our meal.

Here are some pictures from our trip so far.

Happy thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankfulness: 20

Super tired, but today was a really fun day. I am very thankful that I have such sweet, silly students and that we were able to do so many great things. In addition to their regular Tuesday activities of PE and music, the kids had an artist come visit and do mask making with them for 2 hours, they got to run in a "turkey trot" - sort of an obstacle loop course out on the field in the afternoon, and a popsicle party afterwards. I have missed getting to do parties and art here (much stricter rules), so it was wonderful to just give them time to be kids. To relax and have fun.

I am also thankful that we have the next 5 days off! Thanksgiving, here we come :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankfulness: 19 - Tom and Irma's Wedding

Today, I'm continuing on the "I'm thankful for family" vein by sharing about a very special event that happened about a month ago. My brother in law, Tom, got married! In true Tom fashion, he and Irma wanted to get married in a place that would be a ton of fun, so on an early Saturday morning in October, we headed to Vegas. 

Along the way, we stopped in Wickenberg for breakfast. We stopped at the Horseshoe cafe where we didn't know what we were getting into. I ordered one biscuit with gravy on the side and Ed? One pancake and some eggs. 

This is what Ed got:

Umm.. yeah. Our jaws basically dropped. Mine wasn't quite so crazy, though it came with about 2 cups of gravy. Apparently the full biscuit order comes with 32 ounces of gravy! Needless to say, even with me helping him a little with the pancakes, we still had half a pancake left when we left, which was good for a snack in the car later. 

(view from our room at the Luxor)

We got to Vegas about 10:15, about 5 hours after we left and immediately ran into Keven and Noemi. We all got checked in and met up with the rest of the family. The boys had to go pick up Tom's suit. Sabine and her friend had to go to the doctor's (her friend wasn't feeling well), and the bride to be wanted to rest up. So, Noemi and I went out for lunch. The funny thing is that places in Vegas try to be one stop shops, so we had multiple food choices without ever leaving the hotel. We ended up going for a pub, which was a lot of fun.

Afterwards, it was our turn to also go rest in our respective rooms. Ed showed up about 45 minutes later and we ended up accidentally falling asleep. We woke up about 5 minutes before 4 (for the 4:30 wedding) and quickly got into action. I hurriedly got dressed and rushed down to the bridal suite, where Irma was putting the finishing touches on her look.

Noemi did a great job helping Irma get ready. Such pretty sisters-in-law!

It was fun to be on the other side of the wedding, hearing Irma's nervousness and excitement of her wedding, which reminded me of how nervous I was leading up to my wedding. Something about having all that focus on you makes everyone, I'm sure, get those butterflies in their stomach. 

Once Irma was all ready, she and Noemi headed to the "staging area" while I headed out to the foyer to see everyone else. 

Sabine was happy to be marrying off her last single son.

The brothers all looked great, and Tom looked very excited for his wedding.

It was hard to know what to expect from a wedding in Vegas, but we were all really impressed with the ceremony. The room was beautiful, and the officiant did a wonderful job. 

Ed and I talked later about how he and his brothers all had very different styled weddings, but that in essence, they all are the same, in that they are a meaningful and very special ceremonies. I so appreciate that I got to see both of Ed's brothers marry such perfect matches for them. 

After beautiful vows and the exchange of rings, they were officially married.

After the ceremony, we waited outside the chapel while the bride and groom got their pictures taken. 

Finally, Tom and Irma joined us outside. 

They agreed to do some more posing for us, so that we could get our own shots of the bride and groom. 

We had a bit of time before our dinner reservations, so we headed to the Mexican restaurant in the Luxor

for some drinks. While we all got drinks, the bride and groom got some shots of tequila to commemorate the occasion. 

Ed and I also decided to have ones as well. I've got to say, I don't know that I've done one of those since college (reliving college experiences ended up being a bit of a theme for this night). We splurged for Patron, and it was very tasty. 

Just like they wanted, the wedding was already living up to the promise of being lots of fun.

We had a really nice time just hanging out together, chatting, snacking, and relaxing.

From here, we headed to Tender, the wonderful steakhouse here. It was pretty darn fabulous. One of the wonderful things about having such a small, family wedding is that we could all sit down together at one table for the meal.

After dinner, we had the traditional cutting of the cake. It was so delicious and the perfect end to our meal.

All in all, a wonderful celebration. 

Now, one might think this was the end of the evening. Well, they would be wrong. Since we couldn't come into town before the wedding day, the bride and groom decided to do things a little untraditionally to fit in all the traditional events. This meant that following the reception, we split up to have our respective bachelor/bachelorette parties. I think I'll leave the specifics with the "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" tradition, but we all enjoyed a night on the town, which the ladies followed up with dancing. It was so fun to get to spend some time with just Irma and Noemi, especially since they are much more "hip" than me and actually, you know, go out dancing sometimes. For being the youngest, I really don't live up to it, considering Ed and I have never, that I can remember, gone out clubbing. I'm pretty sure my last experience with that was when I was studying abroad in college. But, it was a great bonding experience and a lot of fun. 

The boys met up with us around 1am, and we got to bed around 2. I definitely felt like I got to enjoy the traditional Vegas experience, and I have to say, it was really fun. We definitely did Vegas with the right group :). 

The next morning, Ed and I ended up waking up early, around 6:45, and enjoyed going for a walk, having breakfast, and a last little bit of electronic poker before we packed up. 

It was a whirlwind of a trip, but an incredibly fun and meaningful one. 

Experiences like this make me so thankful for being a part of Ed's side of the family.

 It's been so interesting to gain this whole other family, where the dynamics are all very different from my own. Ed and I talked about how it would be hard to imagine doing a similar event with my family (though, who knows, maybe it could be fun to try :) ).  We had such an amazing time, and it makes us excited for the next time we all get to be together. 

So, I am thankful for the Geaney/Oliver/Lyon family and my place in it :). 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thankfulness: 18 - Renovations

Today, I thought I'd share thankfulness for our home, and the time/energy to make updates. As I've shared plenty about, we have done a pretty good amount of painting. The living room was very much a joint project with Ed and I. These next rooms were 100% my choice to paint. Ed was pretty much burned out on painting after our wonderful living room. 

(notice our new dining room rug? It was Ed's birthday present from me - we love finally having all our rugs for this room). 

Since we moved, though, I'd always wanted to redo our laundry room. When we moved in, this was what we had:

Messy, chaotic, neon green, and a room that did nothing to show off our pretty washer and dryer. It was especially frustrating since we have to go through this room every time we go to or from the garage. 

So, I took advantage of Kortney's visit and decided to tackle these rooms. 

The result?

So in love with the changes! We used leftover paint from the living room, so it was a very inexpensive project. All we really bought were the baskets.

It took me until this weekend, but I finally almost finished this room by installing this beauty. 
Originally we had a funky yet practical place to hang our bags, but it was something I'd really wanted to update. I saw this idea on Pinterest, so with Ed gone, I decided to try my best. Ends up? I'm not so great at DIY. Nonetheless, it's strong, looks okay, and works really well. I still want to add two more hooks to fill in the space a little more, but I love how it adds to the wall. 

The other update is all thanks to Kortney. Unfortunately, I don't have a before picture that I can find of our guest bath, but it was bad. Olive green and brown walls made this a claustrophobic space. We painted it the appropriately named "contemplation," making this our "room of contemplation."

We still want to do a few things to this room, like hang white shelves next to the mirror, frame out the mirror, and get new fixtures. But, it's a great start. 

So, I am thankful that we've been able to make such progress on our home, and, room by room, make it even more us. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankfulness: 17 - Kort's October Visit

This is super late, but I decided I need to try to get caught up on recapping all my life. So, with that, today's Thankfulness is about having such a great little sister :). 

I was lucky enough that my sister, Kortney, was able to fly out for the tail end of my fall break. We both needed some sister time, and it was so fun to get to share my new life with her. 

We started by taking her to our favorite pizza and wine bar, where we seem to take everyone. For good reason - Kort was also duly impressed and commented that Phoenix area was much more hip than she'd expected. 

The next day, with Ed off, Kort and I headed to south Gilbert to a restaurant I'd heard about. Joe's Farm Grill is located in "agritopia" an urban farm area. In that vein, the food here is a lot of local, fresh goodness. 

We may have over-ordered. 

Yes, there is still a whole nother plate of a burger and fries that was mine. But, it was pretty darn delicious. 

Even better, this weather was probably the first nice day we had had since moving. It was in the mid 70s, sunny, and perfect. Sitting outside, eating delicious food, it was hard to feel anything but grateful for living here. 

Of course, signs like these make things a little less perfect. We've never seen any scorpions, except the ones for sale in tourist stores, so sometimes I think people just make it up. Then I see something like this, and I know that, yep, they are here. Gotta say, though, that sign certainly worked. There were no kids (or adults) on any trees in the vicinity.

After lunch, we walked around the farm. It's so funny to live in such a suburban area, but to  have all this rural space nearby.  

It may have taken us a full day to recover from the decadence of that meal, so the next day I took her to another favorite (yet healthier) place - Wildflower Cafe. We sat outside again and were even a little cool!

On the way back, we stopped at this cute pumpkin patch. I've not been to one of those since I was little. Sadly, it's not nearly as much fun as when you're a kid. Plus, the pumpkins were pricey!

Still, it was fun to stop by. 

Our final day, we decided to visit the Chandler Indian Art Market. I'd read about it a few weeks earlier, and it seemed very cool. It ended up being a lot smaller than I'd thought, but was still pretty cool. Kort bought me a necklace as a late birthday present, which I love. 

Even better, it was right next to the San Tan Brewing Company, another one of our favorite places. 

And for dessert? Indian fry bread!

We certainly ate well while she was here! It was a great visit :). 

Now, before you think eating was all we did, we had a lot of work to do as well. The big project was transforming the downstairs powder room and the laundry room. And...

We were successful! In fact, it turned out so great that I'm saving that reveal for another post.