December Projects: The Backyard

In anticipation of our big holiday party, we realized our backyard could also use a little help. Remember that freak snow we got at the beginning of 2011? Not only did the freeze claim some of our plants, but our photos of the falling snow also show the demise of our grass (notice the patches on the left and right):

Even here, I'm so happy to be playing in the snow, but our grass is so very sad.

By spring we basically had little dirt and weed patches (and way overgrown rosemary).


So in December we took a referral from one of my coworkers and had a crew come in to till, regrade and place down new sod! (Not to mention some general upkeep for the front and backyards - yipee!) Here's a span of the new backyard from left to right:

Ahhh, grass! I feel like I took it for granted while living in California, but it's so precious and rare here in the desert that I feel like the luckiest girl ever! I'm off to go walk outside barefoot again! ;)


December Projects: The Entry Light

As part of the original Southwesty decor, we inherited this turquoise stunner in our entryway:

It was our last of the green lights to come down. Here's a close-up of the sponge painted turquoise goodness:

The light fixture itself was actually really well made and very heavy, just not our cup of tea. Max Herculesed it down from the 18 foot ladder.

The ladder base, by the way, was wider than our entry steps. Max had to be creative to make the ladder work. Looking back, I don't know how I let him do this. In my defense, it was midnight, I was tired and he had the whole I have a Ph.D. in engineering thing going for him so I figured he had to know better than me.

Up went the new light.

And here it is with our holiday kissing ball. It's not our forever light (we have our eye on some beautiful coral chandeliers), but for the foreseeable future, it makes us happy. Bonus points that we are (finally) officially turquoise light free!

December Projects: Tackling the Turquoise

Next after the baseboards, we had the goal of de-turquoiseing the lighting in the house. We inherited tons of southwest inspired green light fixtures like our first dining room chandelier:

Which we had already replaced with this crystal one:

But some of our downstairs lights are on high, high ceilings so we took a Saturday to head to Home Depot and rent an 18 foot ladder to get to them. Have you seen an 18 foot ladder? They are ridiculously long and heavy. We took it home on top of Pepper.

I felt a bit crazy.

Maneuvering this huge ladder was interesting! I don't know how we got it off Pepper - I completely thought my end was going to fall on me. Max did a great job moving it around once we got it in the house, but there were some close calls with it fitting in some of the spaces:

I actually didn't snap a photo of our turquoise fan before Max took it down, but here he is, 18 foot ladder in place, taking down the long fan pole.

We couldn't find another pole long enough to replace the turquoise one so we decided to spray paint it and just put it back up.

We used an Oil Rubbed Bronze color.

Here's the pole after it dried, back up and installed with the new fan base. Perfect color match!

Hi, new fan!


December Projects: Baseboards

Back in November, I volunteered to host my school's staff holiday party. At the time, our house looked something like this:

We were stumbling through installing baseboards and I figured that having a set date would help us kick our butts into gear and get the house looking presentable. Max (assisted by his miter saw, trusty air compressor and nail gun) cut and put up all the boards.

Then I went back and finished them all. This was the project where I finally took to heart the term sweat equity. There were hundreds of feet of baseboards to tape, caulk and paint.

Luckily I had my cute (but not really functional) Lowe's handy belt to keep me smiling!


Boatloads of Cuteness

Our class t-shirts came in today! We have six different first grade classrooms at my school (Yes, six! There are a lot of us!) so we all chose a different color. My class has yellow so we'll be the sun-shiniest of them all : ) Anyway, one of my teammates found this super cute idea: We all started with a grid on a piece of paper, and each child in our class drew their own self portrait. The t-shirt company printed exactly what we gave them and ta-daaa!

The kids were amazed. "How did my picture get on there?" "How did they know my name?" I reminded them that we made the pictures. "But we made them in pencil!"

Here's a close up. I love how each portrait is so unique!

I just love my firsties! We'll be donning these for our first field trip which is on Monday! Wish us luck!


Everything's Bigger In Texas

Have I mentioned before how much I love Texas? It's true that everything's bigger there. The first time I visited Dallas I was astounded by the massive expanses of grass in every front yard. I'd never seen so much grass! Everyone is also extremely nice (you can't not be when you start sentences with y'all!).

This past weekend Max and I flew to Austin for a wedding and as we were touching down, the man next to me pointed out the capitol building, which is of course taller than the nation's capitol building (you know - everything's bigger...). I also just love the Texan state spirit. The state outline is everywhere, as is the state star. I found this one at our hotel:

And this guy was inside the lobby - to me it just screams Texas!

Before the wedding we got a mini photo shoot in... gotta love those camera timers ; )

I love this Texan the best! ; )

And then it was off to beautiful Lakeway! Max's buddy from high school was marrying his sweet Texas bride. The ceremony was just lovely - outdoors with lots of trees and gorgeous chandeliers! The couple incorporated a new tradition during the ceremony of locking up love letters to each other with a bottle of wine and two goblets and agreeing not to open the box until their tenth anniversary. I had thought the officiant was going to say first - open this on your first anniversary. But no, the tenth. I whispered to Max that we will have nothing to open on our tenth anniversary! Sigh.

Going along with the everything's bigger theme, there was a 15 piece brass band at the reception! So much fun!

I wore a dress gifted from my sister for my birthday - thanks, Lindsey!

I just loooved the bride's hair!

She had an outfit change, too! So clever! This is a photo I snapped of her with the groom's high school friends.

Yes, they're all boys. Max went to an amazing all-boys private school and in fact one of the "boys" in the picture was one of their instructors who holds a Ph.D. in something like Astrophysics (yes, teaching high school with advanced degrees is kind of the norm there - I did say that the school was amazing).

Before heading back to Scottsdale we brunched with Max's newly engaged aunt and her soon-to-be hubby! They took us to a fun spot that served neat dishes like like carrot cake french toast, yum!

Then it was back to Scottsdale. Luckily TSA let us through security with our wedding favors - we each had a cupcake-in-a-jar!

Texas, we'll see you again soon!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving that we received the invitation for Max's holiday work party and it's a Monte Carlo theme! My husband in a tuxedo? Yes, please!

I'm loving that Safeway is carrying Starbucks brand hot chocolate! I wanted to purchase all the different flavors, but I thought that was ridiculous, so I just took home two. That's normal, right?

I'm loving that this Friday is Wear Your Favorite Jersey To School Day. I'll be sporting my Frank Gore 49ers jersey of course. And while I wish they'd broadcast more 49ers games out here in Arizona, I'm still loving that they're 8-1. Yes, 8-1! After years of those Be a 49er Faithful! commercials (i.e. they were losing, losing, losing), they're finally on a winning streak!

Finally I'm loving my lovey of four years now! This was the first photo we ever snapped together : )

What are you loving this Wonderful Wednesday? Link up here!


November 14th, 2007

Exactly four years ago today, on a blind date at a little sushi restaurant in California, I met the future love of my life, and the kindest, most generous and hands down most intelligent man I know. Luckily something inside me always knew my future husband would be ridiculously smart, so I was able to hide my shock when this new person told me things like Oh yeah, and I teach my own graduate level course at Stanford.

Exactly one year from that day, on November 14th, 2008, this same man proposed. We both always assumed that we would date our future spouse for some years before committing to something lifelong like marriage, however just a few months into dating it was clear that this was it.

Max, you have given me more excitement and adventure than I could have ever even imagined,

...more support than I could have ever hoped,

...and more love than I could have ever wished.

Thank you for a marriage even better than my dreams!

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