The Jenni-Girl & Family!


Domestic Goddess At Large 

Please check out our family blog at:

http://thejennigirl.blogspot.com/

 

Hubby & I

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I'm just a USAF Veteran married to a USAF Veteran, living the civilian life and raising our family.

(And NO mini-van!)

We, as a couple, enjoy micro breweries (how odd, when you think that a few years ago, we loved to drink to excess, and now are "connoisseurs" of custom beers!), railfanning, photography, trying new foods, working on our home, antiquing, and watching movies like 'Smokey and the Bandit'.  We also like taking short road trips in the Mustang.  We have been married 4 and 1/2 crazy years.  Where does time go?  It seems like just yesterday we were insulting each other!  It really is true; being married to your best friend is the best decision you'll ever make!

"Marriage: Finding that one special person to annoy for the rest of your life..."

No big wedding for us.  After a LOT of excessive pressure to be married across the country from our home, have a certain ceremony officiated by someone no longer involved in my life, and being told how to do OUR wedding, we decided that only the most important people in our lives needed to be there.  So, we were married one cool, drizzly fall day, by a judge in his chambers, with only Hubby, myself, our son, and unborn daughter present.  And it was P.E.R.F.E.C.T.  We have never regretted our decision to keep our wedding day private and special.  Besides, we got the same wedding certificate that everyone else gets after a HUGE wedding.  And, we didn't put ourselves in debt to get it!  (And avoided insane levels of stress in the process...)

 

Our Home

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This is our beautiful home circa. a 1911 postcard

It is a 1906 Colonial Revival with Queen Anne influenced interior.  I own my dream home!  I'll try to keep updating the interior pictures as I accomplish remodeling and redecorating the rooms. 

The sidewalk in front of the house is the origional slate.  It's slick when wet, but pretty!  Until the mid 1980's the house boasted a massive Victorian garden in the back, complete with a grounds keeper's home.  All that is left is the foundation of the small home, and the previous owner had the gardens leveled in favor of a grassy yard.  We have dedicated countless hours to landscaping new gardens to replace the lost treasure.  Along with gardening, we have a beautiful fountain my in-laws got us as an anniversary gift last fall, that we will be installing this summer.  We will also finish the flower bed in front of the house.

 I have a MAJOR home improvement addiction.  My hubby jokes that he is living a bad episode of This Old House!  I have redone most of the kitchen, tore out almost all of the carpet, & painted the front entryway, living room, and and the children's bedrooms so far.  Eventually, I will get every scrap of the 1980's wall paper ripped off the walls!  One of my latest projects has been preparing the nursery for our expected Baby Boy!  I also want to paint the master suite soon.  As you will see, I have BIG plans to restore and redecorate our home!  Our goal is to not take out any loans during any of the restoration process, so things get done as we have the cash to pay for the supplies.  And, considering our home was divided into 3 apartments at one time, we have our work cut out for us, but it's a great investment for ourselves, our children, our community, & our history.

 

The Front Porch

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What a sorry state of affairs.

This is my "Big Outside" Summer Project. 

I didn't get as far as I wanted last summer, because of the never ending rain, so this summer, I WILL FINISH.

I made pillows and cushions for the front porch last spring and summer

 

  

The Interior

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The Front Foyer

 

Our entryway used to have white walls and thick, stained, ugly green carpeting on the stairs.  And, considering green is my favorite color, you get an idea how ugly the carpet actually was!  The Belgian rug was a housewarming gift from my mother-in-law.  Did I mention that I adore my MIL?  I pulled off the carpet, padding, and removed thousands of nails and staples from the stairs.  Then I had the joy of removing the carpet glue from the wood steps.  All we have left to do is to finish sanding and then stain the staircase (coming summer 2010), and replace the 1980's light fixture & floor vents, and then entryway will be done.  The built in bench and stair rails are origional to the house.  The front door has a window on each side and is situated like a bay window.  I hope to replace the curtains with something more elegant down the road.  I love how I have glass french doors leading to the living and dining rooms on each side of the room, it really makes the space flow, and yet, feel cozy.  The hardwood floors are original to the house, but were refinished by the previous owners.  The Victorian era antique chair is $35 find at an estate sale, and is all original.  This is one of my favorite rooms in the house, and it left a lasting impression on hubby when we viewed the house. He could picture our little girl walking down the staircase in her promdress!   Too bad we never use the front door, or more people could fully enjoy the view.

I added a large hanging mirror and silouettes of the kids around Thanksgiving of 2008, and am still trying to decide what I want above the mirror.  I'm also looking for an oval 16x20 picture frame to plave between the 2 silver ones, so that all 3 kids can hang there as well.

A before shot:

 

The Kitchen

 

The very first room in the house I tackled was the kitchen.  It literally took months to paint, paint some more, and paint again.  The previous owner had put up this horrible dark stripped wall paper on ALL the walls (talk about closing-in the room), dark, heavy balloon curtains, and the disgusting linoleum on the floor.  While removing the wallpaper, I discovered that the walls were not finished before the wallpaper was applied!  I had to finish the plaster around the windows, in the corners, and along the ceiling.  We are currently buying the slate tiles for the kitchen floor to replace the linoleum, and eventually will replace all the light fixtures and remove the dumb beams (which are not even with the architecture of the house).  We haven't decided on what we will put on as counter tops.  Maybe granite, although I lately have noticed soapstone.  I do think something neutral and neither too light or too dark.  Once we settle on a counter top, we'll look at back splashes.  I never would have thought there would be soooooo many decisions to make when updating and decorating a kitchen!

I love to cook, so I spend a LOT of time in my kitchen.  Which is probably why I have put so much time and effort into it!  The black "iron" basket shelf and the fruit accents (note: the fruit in the bowl is very real) are all from Home Interiors.  The island has wheels so I can move it around while entertaining.  All the dispalyed utensils are antique finds, except a few, which were my great-grandmother's.  We have an all original antique Hoosier that will go in the breakfast nook after we get the new tile floor installed, which will be the kids' homework center.  I have found floor vents that match the fancy brass vents in the rest of the house, so those tacky vents on the floor will be replaced as well.  Hubby and I also looked at tin backsplashes at Lowes, and are thinking we like the idea of tin better than ceramic or glass tile for that purpose.

Before shot:

In-process pictures:

The elusive to photograph breakfast nook still has a lot of work to go.  The dog's kennel currently lives there, while the table and chairs were sold on a yardsale 2 years ago.  I stayed up until 5 am painting the yellow one night.  I was going to do a faux paint technique in blues to go with the yellows, but decided a dark green would be better 6 months after the first coat of base blue.  And now, it's become my sewing nook!  The perfect workspace where I can sew away!   

Dining Room

 

I LOVE our dining room!  It's a very formal room with heavy carved wooden wainscoting on the walls, a fire place, and the large, origional leaded glass windows on 2 walls.  The hardwood floor was refinished prior to us acquiring the house.  The fireplace is no longer woodburning, as a previous owner sealed all the chimineys in the house, but it does have a gas hook-up.  For now, though, I have some logs neatly stacked inside to give the feeling that a match is all you need for a roaring fire.  I recently painted the walls Benjamin Moore Asanic Peach and made the drapes with fabric we bought at Hobby Lobby while on vacation.  The only things I have left to do in this room are to replace the light fixture with something more elegant (like what would have been there when gas lighting was used), find and hang more art work, and retile the fireplace with Victorian tiles.  The antique dining room set is Chippendale, and was made less than 100 miles from here 90 years ago.  The Belgian rug was another house warming gift from my mother-in-law.

I'm also debating on possibly painting the ceiling antique white, so that it isn't so noticable.

(I'll change pictures out after I take down the Christmas decor)

Before photos:

In Process:

 

Living Room

 

Painting the living room!

I have 2 of the sweetest friends in the whole world, who came help me.  I really owe them!

 My paint colors are Benjamin Moore's Moroccan Red  (1309)& Wilingatow Tan (HC-34).  I painted the room using Regal premium interior laytex flat finish wall satin, which I LOVE, because it's as easy to clean and durable as the semi-gloss, which is a must when you have kids.  Personally, the more I look at the tan, the more it reminds me of chocolate chip cookie dough, minus the chocolate chips.  And, both colors are so warm.  They makes the large room feel soooooo cozy.  (Can you tell how happy I am with my color choices?)  It's majorly pleasant change from the stark white walls the previous owners had.  I did have an insane moment when it came to painting the room.  At 8 months pregnant, I decided to not only paint, but also finish it in ONE day.  I did it, but boy! did my hips, legs, and arms ache the next morning!  But I'm glad I did it.  Especially since we were expecting our new couches to be delivered any day.  This room is done and ready, not only for our baby, but for ourselves to enjoy as well.

 Our living room was actually 2 rooms at one time, the front parlor and the family room.  The wall was removed when the kitchen was remodeled, and the doorway from the kitchen was moved over to the 1st floor hallway.  Sound complicated?  We have discussed putting wall back in, but I think we'll probably leave it as it is.  The back end of the living room has a fireplace, so we put my office desk at that end, making it more of a study/sitting area, with a chair or 2 facing the fireplace.  The front end of the living room is our family area, with the TV and my new Ashley couch and loveseat set .  The cherry coffee table is by Broyhill.  The chair with the teal fabric is a beautiful antique that hubby & I found right before Thanksgiving .  We would like to put built-ins on each side of the fireplace, remove the lovely (read: ewwwwwww) green carpet, refinish the floors, and replace the drapes.  I will probably do ivory & green Victorian drapes to accent.  The lamps are antiques my FIL and MIL found, the trunk is from my maternal grandmother's family, and the walnut table was a lovely antique find last spring.  The small secretary and chair are going to be refinished in a mahogany stain, and I am recovering the chair.  I would like to carry the slate from the kitchen, by having slate tiles in front of the 4 fireplaces in the house.  I'm not sure what we will do with the light fixtures.  Hubby likes them.  I don't...

Aren't the new couch and loveseat pretty?  There's more red in the weave, but I took the pictures late at night, so they look darker than they are.  So long plaid couch hidden under the red slip cover!  Oh! and Hubby said today, "I'm going to be sad when you paint over the red someday.  I really like it!"  Translation: "Baby, you have taste!"  The style of my new couches are Claremont Paula Amber, Mahogany Fringe by Ashley.

I will have to retake this picture when I have better lighting.  And I need to find a potted palm tree or fig tree to put in the corner by the loveseat.  It'll have to be fake, as long as I have my kitty and puppy, who seem attracted to destroying plants.  Not like I'll have time to water and protect a plant like that once the baby arrives, anyway...

The photographs hanging on the walls were captured by me.  My husband proposed to me on that abandoned railroad trestle, and it holds a very dear place in our hearts.  I'm afraid, because it is located in state gamelands/public property, that some kids goofing around will set it on fire and it will be gone.  Hard to believe less than 20 years ago, trains were still running across it.  At least we have the photos we've taken and our memories to console us when it's gone.

Living Room before pictures:

 

The Nursery 

 

  I actually got the idea for the walls from a piece of scrapbook paper!  The dark blue diamonds in this harliquin pattern were created by taping and using a rag to apply  the darker glaze on.  I really like the effect I achieved!

I have worked so hard on this room!  I spent days painting the walls, stripping carpet glue off the hardwood floor in late January, painting the changing table, staining the child's rocking chair, closet shelves & wall shelf, sewing the crib skirt, closet curtain & balloon shades & making the bumper pads & a matching minky blanket in February and March, putting together the picture rail, and hanging the pictures.  I finally finished on March 24th!   I've been  shooting for a Whimsical Victorian Steam theme.  Hubby has since bought me an antique rocker (not pictured), which sits by the west window.  The train on the mantle is a working Marx set.  And by the way: we hate Thomas the Tank Engine.  Nothing Thomas will be found in our Baby Boy's room!  If you would like to see more detailed pictures of our nursery, please checkout ratemyspace.com, Whimsical Victorian Steam nursery.

Here's some close-ups of the crib skirt, bumper pads, and matching minky blanket I made.  I haven't really sewn since high school Home Economics, other than mending; I'm so proud of how well everything turned out!  Just goes to show that anyone can sew a strait line...   The white blanket was mine, and was crochet by my paternal grandmother.  The blue satin and chenille blanket was a baby gift I received at my older son's baby shower.  I have used this beautiful blanket with both my older children, and am looking forward to using it with my new son.

 

Child's Bedroom #1

 

This room used to be my office/craft room.  I happily gave it to my oldest child so we could turn his smaller bedroom into the nursery.  The before paint color was the same shade you see in the bottom of a public swimming pool.  I think the previous owners were color blind.  I painted this room in November of 2007.  The checkered flag was all freehand painted by your's truely.  He wanted a Cars/Hotwheels theme.  He already had the bedspread, so I used it for color inspiration.  The curtains are actually the same ones I had in his nursery, I believe they are from the Monsters Inc. Disney-Pixar bedding collection, although I loved them simply because they were a bright blue and went well in his room.  We bought his desk in Jamestown, NY at a furniture outlet, for about $20 new.  He really needed somewhere he could play legos without the fear of the cat or baby swiping them!

He is very pleased with his new room.  Eventually, I will pull up the carpet and remove the carpet glue from this floor as well, but for now, I am leaving this carpet, since it's fairly new.  The ceiling tiles and too small crown molding will come down when I'm ready to deal with the mess it will cause.  Oh, and eventually we will ripout the poorly designed closet and get him an armoire to hang his clothing in.

 

Child's Bedroom #2

 AKA: The Princess Suite

 

I didn't want perfect stripes, so when I taped them, I made sure there were obvious differences in size.  I still need to get new carpet or laminate hardwoods, put up crown moulding, the double layered chair rail, and finish updating the pink chandlier, so I can hang it.

My daughter's room was painted blue with this (current) lovely (read: ewwwww) blue carpet.  Her room is the room that requires the most work here on the second floor.  Under her carpet is several layers of linolium and tile atop particle board glued to her hardwood floors.  Fantastic, huh?   Oh, and her trim is pieced together and looks horrible.  Sooooo, after I finished painting her walls in purple and pink stripes, I used wood caulking to fill in the cracks and mistakes on her trim, then I repainted the trim white again.  It really cleaned up the room, just the few layers of paint and the wood caulking!  It definately is a girly-girl room now, fit for a princess.  The wooden Barbie doll house is 4'x4'x2', and was custom made by my father for me, that she and I are remodeling.

I imagine we will gut her room after she or her big brother leaves for college, and completely restore the room.  I would say this room won't actually be done for maybe 15 years?  But we've been doing everything we can to make it look good now!

(Sorry, no before pictures that I can find)

In-process:

 

 

The Master Suite

 

This is my impulse space.  Just about everything that has been done in here, was done because I just felt like it at a particular moment.  The wallpaper on 2 walls (who only papers 2 walls?) started comming down because I was picking at a loose edge and then started pulling.  The walk-in closet (which had not been well thought out architecturally) came out because my MIL & I discovered it had been built ON TOP of the nasty, old brown carpet that we were removing.  Part of the carpet glue on the hardwood floor has been removed because I was curious if I could do it with the heatgun instead of buying more expensive chemicals, and then decided to do a little more removal to see the condition of the floors, and then couldn't stop!  The utility shelves hanging on the wall came down because I thought they were ugly.  And I plastered all the nail and screw holes because I had finished some plaster work in another room and wanted to use up what was left of the plaster.  I finished tearing down the wallpaper at 9 months pregnant.  Picture me on a ladder doing that!  Right now, each room has a 2'x2' square of the same light chocolate paint painted on the wall.  I will also be ripping down the too small, mismatched crown molding in the 2 rooms.  

UPDATE:  Totally changed the design direction for the suite!

Think something along the lines of an English manor, but w/ a Colonial American twist.  I am currently searching for the wallpaper to line the panels, the trim to frame the panals, and deciding on the size of crown moulding.  Once I find the wallpaper, THEN I'll choose the paint color for the walls.  Trim will still remain white.  Floors will still be stripped.

I will get started as soon as we get a portable air conditioner for the 3rd floor, so Hubby can sleep up there, instead of in the bedroom.  This is my Summer '08/Rainy Day project.

We have decided on an antique style, queen size bed by Ashley, but no end tables yet.  The large dresser is from the 1890's, which I purchased in Oklahoma just off base from Altus AFB, in the spring of 2001.  The chest at the foot of the bed is a 1940's design from Lane, and a gift from my in-laws.  The oriental rugs next to the bed were a 50% off find at Home Depot, and were hubby's birthday gift last year.  (He got even-he gave me a book on organization for my birthday a few months later...)  I found the bedspread set at Bon-Ton, it was origionally $500, but I got it for $35!  The best part?  It is exactly what I had been searching for! 

And yes, my new scrapbooking room/closet/dressing room is a disaster.  We recently purchased a new desk/work table to replace the 6 foot table, and put it together in March.  I've done quite a bit of organizing (since this picture was taken) so I can use the space between now and when we paint.  And I have the new curtains, just waiting, until we paint.  Both rooms are getting solid wood blinds, I am leaving the trim white, and the floor needs stripped.  But first: paint.  This room is also going to have an open face closet along the wall to your left.  Buuuuuuuuut, did I mention we need to paint first?

 

Main Bathroom

 

We hope to do a full renovation of this space in about 3 years.  I plan to do a checkered pattern with black and white marble tile on the floor, have white panels around the bottom 3rd of the room, with a reglazed antique pedestal bathe tub.  I want 2 pedestal sinks, with a marble wall shelf  (for toothbrushes and such) between them.  There will be recessed medicine cabinets above each sink.  The bathroom closet door will get a ceramic door knob installed.  Still not sure what I will paint on the walls above the paneling, but it'll probably be bright and warm, like cheery yellow.  Maybe a tin ceiling, we'll see.  One thing is for sure, it will feel a lot more open when we're done!  For now, this is the space.  All freshened up, minus the new vinyl floor we're about to install.  I like it!  The face lift pricetag is well under $150, including the floor.  I'm not so embarrassed to have guests in my bathe!

Before Pictures:

It's pretty bad, huh?  Would you believe that it took murderous rugs to motivate me to freshen up the space?  That green was the saddest green ever.  And that's saying a lot, since my favorite color is green!  So long yucky green!  May you rest in peace.  Repainting the space also gave me a chance to show J that chocolate brown will NOT shrink a space if done right.  The room is so crisp and delightful feeling now!  I will spare you pictures of J puting a new seal under the toilet.  You can thank me later.

 

2nd Floor Hallway

 

I have never seen another hallway quite like this one!  While it is long and straight, it also has 6 walls.  Basically it's a enlongated pentagon, with 6 doors and the top of the staircase surrounding it.  The 4 bedroom doors are all on the angled walls at each end.  So far, all I have done is removed the gross 40 year old carpet and strip the carpet glue off the hardwood floors. If you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that they used ROOFING nails to attatch some the carpet!   My hubby has been using the heatgun to remove the paint off a door and it's trim, as we would like to stain the woodwork in the hallway.  We will also have to replace the wood planks a previous owner used as floorboards.  So, I guess you could say the bright side to putting in new baseboards (they will match the origional trim found in the rest of the house) is we won't have to strip them to stain them!  My hubby is hoping to remove the improperly installed ceiling fan and install a new light fixture this spring.  Maybe this summer, I'll get the wallpaper border removed, and within a year or 2, we will be finished stripping, painting, and staining.  We'll see!  I'm going to paint the hallway to match the foyer.

Oriental rug is by Kathy Ireland, and is yet another great clearance find at Home Depot.  Hallway will be painted the same color as the front foyer.  The posts at the top of the stairway will be stripped & restained as well.  Lots of work for a tiny space!

I got this table at a yardsale 4th of July weeekend 2008 for $5!  It's perfect for the space!  It came painted black, which I like.  The hubs picked up the lamp at the dollar store, the books are  yardsale find from forever ago, Antiquities pictures are of Xavian & Korra in $2 Wal-Mart frames (those frames really, really, need to be changed), and the picket fence planter w/ only one plant left alive in it that I need to re-pot was a housewarming gift from the Hubs when we lived in our teeny tiny apartment. 

 

 

 The 3rd Floor

(AKA: Manland)

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 This is hubby's domain.  Together, we tore out a wall that divided the large front arched window, and made 2 bedrooms into one.  We pulled the appliances from the 3rd floor kitchen and yanked carpet off of  a floor.  The large room we created features an HO scale model railroad layout that showcases the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Northern Sub-Division in northwest Pennsylvania.  The back bedroom is hubby's office/guestroom.  We don't have too many overnight guests, so we put in a futon to double as a couch.  The former kitchen is now the railroad's staging yard.  The 3rd floor bathroom was going to be an Americana theme, then hubby liked the idea of the Spirit of '76 as a theme, although now, I think it'll end up with a Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad "Chessie" theme.  Hubby is doing all his own painting and decorating in Manland, with the exception of the bathroom, which I'll probably end up designing/decorating.  Maybe it'll be a good Christmas gift?!

 

 

The Basement

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The Laundry Room

 

When your dryer dies, and DH says no to your dream red washer & dryer set, what do you do?!  You remodel the space!  I am trusly happy that I got the machines I wanted.  I'm will always be a little sad over the color of them, but, oh well.  I poured hours of elbow grease into this space.  I threw out my back.  I scrabbed, painted, and passed out due to the basement wall sealant's fumes.  I etched the floor, rinsed it 5 million times while scrubbing, and in the end, J threw the color flecks like confetti while I rolled on the enamal floor paint.  I smile everytime I walk down those stairs.

The Before & During:

 

 

 

The Back Yard

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Our back yard has changed drastically from when we first moved in.  For starters, we cleaned up the junk and garbage strewn into the tree line, against the sides of the garage and the carriage house, and inside of the carriage house.  We ripped out dead trees, stumps,  and shrubs, removed the overgrowth, and have been creating actual landscaping.

After my new lower flower bed flooded out the first spring and summer we lived here, I devised that I should try landscaping the trouble zones with river pebbles.  And it works!  My MIL helped me dig out the area, line it with bricks, packdown sand, lay the slate stepping stones, and spread the river pebbles.  She also helped me plant my hostas and forget-me-knots in that area.  This summer, I will completely fill in the space between the house and the sidewalk with river pebbles as well, as it still tends to flood out and very little vegetation will grow in that particular space.  I also want to try making a small plant pond inside a large planter to set in the newly pebbled area.  I love the way my MIL's pond plants look, but don't want the hazard of a real pond with small children.

The previous owners obviously had no respect for the carriage house.  It was literally knee deep in squirrils' nut shells, sticks and leaves, and discarded rubbage.  It took a couple days of shoveling, raking, sweeping, and burning, but we revealed the origional wood floor and found a wonderful lawn and garden storage building, as well as a place to store our bikes and children's toys.  Definately worth our efforts.

The fire place and table were built sometime around the 1930's.  We have the slate, and Hubby just startedwork on the patio area the middle of April!  We are leveling and enlarging the patio area to make a lovely entertainment space.  We are thinking about removing the large bushes (they are horribly overgrown) and edging the area with boxwoods and tulips in the spring time, followed by some other bright perinials in the summer months.  The back of the fireplace will feature a pondless waterfall, with a small garden setting.  We have hosted several backyard parties, and the fire place has been a joy to have as the sun sets and children start pleading for smores.  My hubby would like to build a large arbor over the new patio area to provide shade on hot, sunny days.  We've looked at a lot of different styles of arbors over the last couple years, and it amazes us both that there are so many styles!  The trick has been finding the one that flows well with the style of our home.  Our goal is to have the slate portion completed this summer and build the arbor next summer.

Here's hubby hard at work.  He moved those stones all by himself!!!!  He's having a blast playing "grown-up Legos".  He's also loving putting his truck to use.

The patio, as of the end of May 2008:

The patio, as of mid-May 2009:

 

Jason  has worked so incredibly hard on this patio!  He moved all those big stones by himself, and created the garden beds.  He has quite the green thumb, much like his mom.  He spends hours drooling over patio furniture, and talks about how nice it'll be to sit out there of an evening and relax.  Patio books and magazines currently clutter his side of the bed, where he looks and "hmmmm"s the hours away.  The fountain was a 4th wedding anniversary gifts from my inlaw's, and it's wonderful to listen to the water trickle.  We recently aquired lots of raw chunks of green and white glass, and they will probably end up glittering around the fountain area. More bricks are to be laid this summer, as well as moss added between the stones.  The slate table is also in the works of being reconstructed this summer.  It's really turning into a beautiful space!

(Please excuse all the planting supplies and potted plants.  It's spring!  What can I say?)

 

My vegetable garden will be revamped in the coming years.  I want to raise it up into long rectangle boxes, which will make it very tidy looking, as well as help it flow with the rest of the flower beds.  Not to mention, it'll make picking easier that way.  The children and I enjoy growing wax beans, greenbeans, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, red potatoes, and okra.  We tried sweet corn a couple years ago, but it didn't turn out very well.  Since my MIL clued me on to the wonderfulness of blood meal, I have had no rabbit/rodent problems.  Appearently, the smell turns them off. 

 

We added a chicken coop this year.  Isn't it precious?!

 

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Things We've Learned:

 

Just because someone owns a hardware store, doesn't mean they treated their home like they advised everyone else to treat theirs.

The term "contractors" is actually a very loose term.  Anyone who does work on your home, and you pay them, can be considered contractors.  Whether they are professionals or not.  And these "contractors" do not always do work up to code.  Very fustrating to find light fixtures installed by "contractors", improperly installed.

People aren't the only ones with bones, houses have them too!

If we won a million dollars, we'd completely restore the house, with new wiring, plumbing, insulation, and God only knows what else.  And then we'd buy a shortline railroad with the change we have left...

Neither one of us like "commercial" decorating.  You can have the framed prints of generic pictures, the fake plants, the Wal-Mart drapes, the contempory furniture, minimalism, and the modern "designer" looks.  We like antiques, beautiful dark woods, actual art, pieces of our history, and things that make our home feel alive.  We love railroad memorbilia, antique cameras, bright colors, and furniture that is as elegant as it is durable.

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Our Children

 

Here are our 3 beautiful children! 

 

Our oldest child, Xavian, is a son who turned 6 in mid-April.  He's our Air Force Brat!  He loves trains, planes, cars, trucks, and, well, anything else that has a motor!  He is an amazing artist who covers our fridge and walls with his creative designs.  His lego designs amaze me, and I wouldn't be surprised if he grows up to be an engineer!  Our beautiful daughter Korra just turned 4 Christmas Eve.  She loves to play dress-up and refers to herself as The Princess.  If I'm baking in the kitchen, you can bet she's right there to help with her apron on, too!  She talks constantly about going to school next year, and looks forward to riding the bus.  She's also exceptionally excited to be a big sister!  Our youngest child, a baby boy named Saxton, arrived the end of April.  He took his sweet time getting here-he was 2 weeks overdue!  He's a big boy weighing in at more than 9 pounds, with reddish hair and chubby cheeks.  We all adore and love him!  He's such an easy baby, too.  I can officially say our family is complete with this joyful addition!

 

 We are very blessed to have such joy in our lives!  Everyday with my children is an adventure.  With them, I can again climb trees, build snowmen, play in the sand, admire bugs, play tag, and sing silly made-up songs.  I find myself playing in the leaves rather than raking them.  Puddles attract our entire family.  And the end of a day spent exploring our own backyard requires a trip to the local ice cream stand.  We make s'mores in our outdoor fireplace on warm evenings, and lay outside and watch for shooting stars well into the night.  On cold snowy days, we build snow forts and have snowball wars, followed by hot chocolate and cookies.  Being a parent is getting a chance to see the world through a child's eyes, and enjoying the view.

 

I do a LOT of photography-mostly natural light and on location.  I enjoy photographing children & their families.  I do the random senior portrait here and there, and if you're a really good friend, you might convince me to do your wedding, lol!  I have been christianed the Barefoot Photographer, because I am notorious for "losing" my shoes during shoots!

 

 

If someone had told me as a child who I would be and where I would live in 20 years, I may have thought you had lost your mind.  I never imagined that my life would turn out the way it has or the joy I would find along the way. 

Who would have thought that I would join the Air Force?  Guard planes, meet people, travel to other countries?  Meet my future husband on a flightline?  But it happened.

To me the North East part of the country, the Amish, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Great Lakes were just places in my geography book.  I was used to the gently rolling plains, cowboys & rodeos, farmers, tornados, manmade lakes, and the Bible Belt.  Talk about culture shock!  But I am lucky, because my husband helped me fall in love with his home state.  I'm fascinated by the industrial side of American life.  I find the snow beautiful (abiet cold) and marvel that my children will almost always have "real" white Christmases, a rarity for me growing up!  I admire the mountains and their valleys when we drive places. 

No joy is without it's sorrows, though.  My 2 most recent sorrows have been saying goodbye to my 80 year old maternal grandmother, a woman that I still admire very much.  Rest in peace, Grandma.  9-3-1927 to 1-20-2008 AND the sudden loss of my 91 year old paternal grandfather, a soft spoken disabled WWII veteran.  We'll miss you Grandpa!  12-28-1916 to 3-6-2008