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Sunday, May 25, 2014

4th Anniversary: A look back

Four years ago I put on ma weddin' dress and walked down the aisle in a little church in West Lafayette. 
 I took Michael's arm, we sang songs of praise to the Lord, Michael wiped a tear from my cheek, and we kissed for the first time as husband and wife.  It was a beautiful day full of friends, family, pictures, and peonies.  Some of my favorite things in the whole world!
So much has happened since then.  We've changed jobs, we've changed towns, we've lived in 4 different apartments/homes.  But one thing remains the same, I love this guy more every day.  He's "my top best friend," as I told him the other day.  He leads me spiritually, he makes me laugh, he teaches me things I didn't even know I was interested in learning.  He forgives me when I'm forgetful (which is often) and he does more than his fair share of the yard work... because I hate it. He is the better half and I thank the Lord for him in my life.
I love that writing this blog post allows me the chance to brag about my husband.  It is such an important part of a healthy marriage, I think.  To make sure everybody that knows me, knows how much I think of my husband! And I think a lot of him!

I also love that it is a time for the both of us to reflect on this past year and reminisce about where we have been and what we have been up to...Who we have hung with and how we have celebrated.  So here goes!.. Here are the highlights of our 4th year as husband and wife!


Demolished the interior of our home down to the studs 

(corresponding post: here, here, and here)


Visited Emily and Brittney in North Carolina 

(corresponding post: here)


Said goodbye to Michael's first car, Joyce, (I cried) and hello to his new truck, Orville



Working with so many people that mean the world to us to complete our house and make it a home 

(corresponding post: here, here, and here)

Mourned the loss of my beautiful Grandma Dorrie 

(corresponding post: here)


Visited Chicago more in one year than the rest of our lives combined


 Moved into our Home before Christmas! 

(corresponding post: here, and full house tour here)

Started enjoying hosting wonderful people at our home 

(corresponding post: here)

Made an epic trip to IKEA 

(corresponding post: here)

Survived the craziest and coldest winter we can remember 

(a high of -15, -39 with the wind chill! And So. Much. Snow.)

Laura's birthday celebrated with friends, pottery, sushi, and a sleep over 

(corresponding post: here)

Visited Jenelle and Junior in Las Vegas 

(corresponding post: here)


Became an aunt and uncle again! Welcome Baby Caroline!

Other things that have no corresponding picture:

-Living in my parent's basement for six weeks before we could moved into our home
-Michael's surprise birthday party when we ate pizza in our dust filled, incompletely renovated home
-Losing my family's dog Belle
-Started planning our trip to Alaska with the Benders

Other Snapshots to Remember:

It is exciting to think that we are embarking on our 5th year.  I'm an optimistic dreamer, so I get excited about thinking about what's ahead.  What will this year of marriage bring?  If it's anything like the last 4 years, it will bring days full of laughter, love, forgiveness, and memories with my (top) best friend by my side.  What more could a girl want? 

If you are interested, here are the highlights from last year's anniversary post. 

So how do you celebrate an anniversary?  What makes your spouse the better half? Do you have a favorite memory looking back over the year?   
Don't miss a beat.  
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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Laura Lately

Hello there all you wonderful people, 
By now you probably already know that I try to post every Sunday evening on this here blog.  But every once in a while, life gets away from me and I am unable to get myself around and write up a post for that week.  I think many times it's because I post about projects or room reveals and that can be time consuming or slow moving, so I skip a week because I don't have anything quite post-able yet. 
So I thought, on those off weeks, I would try to come up with a type of post I could do on the fly.  Something fun, easy, and interactive.  Who doesn't like all of those things?!
So I'm calling these posts... "Laura Lately..." 

It's meant to be a snapshot of what's going on in my life right now... and I thought it would be fun to invite you all to leave a comment and tell me what you've been up to lately!
So here goes... this is what I've been up to lately. 

Lately, I can't get enough of...

Our little family of geese! They are so fluffy and I love how they waddle around. It fun to peak out our front window and see what they are up to.  Michael said one day he was leaving for work and there were 3 geese families (probably about 21 little goslings in total!) all gathered on our yard.  A play date! I can't believe he didn't get a picture. There will be no cookies for him for a month! He'll learn...

Lately, I've been watching...

The Paradise.  It starts out slow but give it a chance.  This BBC show is set at the turn of the last century in one of Britain's first department stores.  There are unfortunately only two seasons but I love the coming of age story of a young country girl who comes to the city and discovers her own entrepreneurial spirit and falls in love along the way.  I hesitate to admit it, but I am probably a little too attracted to the leading man's facial hair.  I'm sorry, I just love a well trimmed beard! Good thing my hubby has one! The first season is on Netflix if you are interested.
 paradise collage best,jpg

Lately, I'm looking forward to...

-Refinishing my dining room table.  I started it this weekend and I can't wait to share it with you all.
-Celebrating our 4th Wedding Anniversary and making our yearly photo book that reflects this last year of our married life - I mean, it probably won't be that interesting though, it's not like we've done much this year.  :-)

Lately, I've been thinking about...

What it means to find your passion.  Have you ever heard of Shauna Niequist?  I just love her writing.  She is the queen of perspective.  She has several books that I have enjoyed reading but she also has her own blog.  And whenever she posts, I read it as soon as I can.  A couple days ago she posted something about "Finding Your Passion."  It's something I have been thinking a lot about ever since, well, always. What struck me was that a "calling" does not need to be lifelong.  It can be seasonal and that really allowed me to view my current calling (nursing) with more perspective.  There were lots of other takeaways from that post and many of her other posts.  I highly recommend following her!

Lately, I've been shopping for...

-Fabric for our bedroom curtains.  Love this soft paisley by P Kaufmann
-A maxi skirt.  Could I ever possibly be as classy as Emma Watson (source) is in hers? A girl can dream.

Lately I've been munching on...

Kercher's Apple Butter with Wheat Thins.  Yum.  Another yummy alternative is peach butter with Wheat Thins.

Lately, I've been feeling...

Grateful, encouraged, and excited.  I'm grateful for all of you who read this blog and I was encouraged by all your sweet comments and words.  I was also excited to be featured on Oak and Oats (another great blog that I recommend) last week! The excitement continues as I keep writing and keep creating and keep learning!

Now it's your turn! Lately, What can't you get enough of?  What have you been watching? Looking forward to?  Thinking about?  Shopping for?   Munching on?  or Feeling?

Answer all of them or only one, I'd just love to hear from you!

Don't miss a beat.  
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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Free Art, Spell Check Not Included

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!  You moms, you're just the best.  Keep up the good work, making the world go 'round!  
If you follow me on Instagram or saw the picture I posted on Facebook, you probably already know that my sister became a mom for the second time two weeks ago! But this time, to a little girl named Caroline Sue.  

And we just love you little Caroline Sue!

So Happy Mother's day to all the ladies that wipe noses, pack lunches, proof read papers, sacrifice, sacrifice and sacrifice some more.  We wouldn't be here without you! 
Remember when I told you I was working on some art for our dining room?  And then on Easter, I had a post about the special meaning behind that artwork? Well, today I want to tell ya all about how we made the art for $0!

It seems that pallet wood is all the rage these days, as is typographic art.  So I thought I would put my own twist on the trend. 

And the best part is, this art was 100% free. 
Many of you probably have some pallet wood laying around or can get some cheaply, so chances are, this could be a free project for you too!  
My pallet wood connection is a guy I like to call ma dad.  He's great.  He farms, he runs a busy business, he watches Curious George with his grandson. He wears many hats.  One hat he does not wear is DIYer.  So when I had the idea for this DIY project, he had a little bit of a hard time envisioning what I was talking about.
When I said, "Dad! I need some old pallet wood.  Can you take me back to your stash?"
He said, "Why?"
Then I said, "Because I'm going to paint words on it and hang in on my wall."
Flatly, he said, "Well its not going to be very nice wood.  It has a lot of splinters and a lot of it is broken."
Then, smiling really big, I said "Yeah!! That's what I want!"
Dad looked very confused.
"It's a look dad."  I said looking to my mom for support.
"He doesn't get it, he probably won't get it."  Mom said
Without any further explanations, we were off to the secret stash of beautifully weathered pallet wood.  

Sure enough! Broken, weathered, and perfect.  
Dad continued being confused - Especially as I got overly excited going through what he obviously considered trash.  It didn't matter, I just packed up my jems and drove on home, eager to get started.  
After covering the kitchen island with a drop cloth, it was time to check out the loot which quickly made me realize there were some occupational hazards to this job.  I made a mental check to ensure I was up to date on my tetanus shot (... Every ten years people.  And I'll just be stepping off my nursing pedestal, now.) and then I put on some work gloves.
I proceeded to bang/twist/snap off the nails in order to get a flat (and safer) surface.  And look! My favorite demo tools made a come back!
Once you are done with that job, wash your hands and place the banana bread muffins in the oven... I mean that's what I did!
 And following that, I laid all my pieces of wood out, and like a puzzle, pieced them together to make it approximately the size I needed for the wall. 
Of course, none of it really fit together neatly like a puzzle so we fit it together as best we could and then cut some of the pieces down to size.  We made sure that the cut edges would be hidden by other pieces of wood - so you would not see the edges of unweathered wood.
We also cut some scrap wood that we planned to use to secure the pieces of pallet wood together.
It's puzzle time again.  We fit it all back together again, but this time, right side down.

We used Gorilla Glue to glue the scrap pieces down first, then Michael screwed them in tight - he is nothing if  not serious about things being secured securely. 
Now that the wood was secured :-) I could proceed with eating a muffin

With sustenance in my belly and excitement in my heart, I moved to the next step.  The letters! 
A couple years ago, I got a Silhouette Cameo.  It's basically awesome.  It's a paper cutting machine similar to a Cricut, but better, because you don't need to buy expensive cartridges.  And you can use/make your own images and fonts that are already on your computer.  So, using some fonts I already had, I cut out some letters and laid them out on my wood.  
I traced around the letters with a pencil and then painted the letters with some of our left over trim paint.  
(victory music playing, and then screeching to a halt).
What's that you say? A Typo?  Oh c.r.a.p.
Yes, you see I missed a critical step in all my excitement.  I didn't have my husband spell check it before I painted.  Oh when will I learn?... or become a better speller?

What were we to do?
Try to paint over it?... No it would be noticeable.

Try to sand it off and paint it on correctly?...  No, that would expose un-weathered wood and would draw attention to it.

Really, the only solution was to remove that board and replace it with a new one, and repaint the correct spelling.  Lets practice shall we?

"Laura, how do you spell thirst?"    
"Very good.  And what will you always do when you are painting words permanently onto something that took you a long time to put together?"
"Have Michael spell check it..."
"That's right."

Oh the shame.

Except, now it's pretty.  And spelled correctly.
 In order to hang it on the wall we were very brave and used the 3M Damage Free Hanging Strips.  We use these things all the time so the only reason I say that we were brave is because this things weighs 18.4 lbs (yes Michael weighed it).

But I married a structural engineer for a reason and he was confident that if we used 8 strips, that it should hold, no problem.

 And I quote, "Well I calculated it out and it has a safety factor of 1.5."   

And that means...?

"I feel very confident that that should hold.  It's a conservative safety factor."

Just in case, we placed some cushions underneath it for 48 hours.  So far, the safety factor is satisfactory.  Or whatever...

I'd say its been a pretty fun project to work on from start to finish! Runnin' around on the farm with my dad, banana bread muffins, typos, and safety factors.  This is the kind of stuff that makes little (big) crafts projects like this even more meaningful.  It's the process as much as it is the final result, don't you think?

Oh and also, look what I managed to catch a picture of in our front yard this week!!!!

 Baby Geese!!! They're so flufffffyyyyyy!!!

Don't miss a beat.  
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