It’s Not Christmas Without… {12 Days of Blogging}

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I’m joining Amber and Erin as part of the 12 Days of Blogging Christmas linkup. Today’s prompt is “it’s not Christmas without…”

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There are so many things that make Christmas special to me. From new traditions. like the ones Mr. B and I are creating together, to the old traditions that out families have built over decades, each little piece makes the holiday season joyful.

One tradition that I brought to the table was Christmas lights. Mr. B didn’t have much desire to climb on the roof during the coldest months of the year, just to have a higher electric bill. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stand the idea of a naked house in December.  It’s just not Christmas without the glow of the lights prettying things up.

Being the good sport that he is, Mr. B agreed to decorate the exterior of our home for our first Christmas together. After we headed to town for a shopping cart full of string lights, that sweet, sweet man hauled his ladder out of the garage and got to work. And again, the following year, without much protest, he hung the lights once more.

{If I had a picture of our home all lit up with twinkling lights, I would insert it here. Sadly, I don’t have any photos of it. #badblogger.}

Except last year (our second Christmas together), we had a bit of a problem with the lights. See, we checked each strand before putting them up, and yet…they didn’t always work. Not that a strand died and needed replaced – no, that would have been too simple. More like entire strands of lights would go out one night, but work fine the next night (or even a few hours later).

We tried to separate the iffy lights from the good ones, but when we used the “good ones” later in the year to decorate for a party, we realized they were all shit. Rather than taking a chance on the three strands that had yet to be fickle little assholes, we decided to pitch the whole lot and start all over.

Really, it was our own fault. We pretty much bought the cheapest lights we could find since we needed a whole house worth. So when they didn’t last, we were bummed, but not terribly surprised. You get what you pay for, I suppose.

We ended up not getting replacements this year; we simply had other priorities, and that’s okay. (We will probably snag some right after Christmas, when the holiday decorations are dirt cheap.) It’s sad, I miss laying in bed at night and seeing the soft, yellow glow lighting up the yard. I miss coming home after dark and seeing the cheerful sparkle from down the road. It’s not Christmas without the lights. Don’t get me wrong, even though I wish the house was all lit up, I’m certain that this Christmas will be wonderful with or without the lights. And it is heartwarming to remember how willing Mr. B was to do all that work for a holiday tradition that he didn’t give two hoots about. That boy really makes me smile sometimes.

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The Train {12 Days of Blogging Christmas}

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I’m joining Amber and Erin as part of the 12 Days of Blogging Christmas linkup. Today’s prompt is “Christmas tree/home decor”.

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I’ve already told you how excited I get about putting up Christmas decorations each year. Growing up it was no different; I was thrilled to pull the old boxes out of the attic, unwrap each festive item, and find it a place in our home. My favorite part of all was setting up the train.

It wasn’t just a train, it was an entire town. Not just any town, actually. Since it’s always a winter wonderland and the Claus’ reside there, I think it’s safe to say it’s the North Pole.

This year, my dad passed the train set down to me, and he helped Mr. B and I set it up at our house. It takes up roughly half of our little living room, but it makes the whole house a tiny bit more magical. Once my dad got it running for us and showed Mr. B how it all works, Mr. B and I finished setting up all of the little details.

My great uncle, Uncle Mike, hand painted all of the houses, buildings, and figurines.

My great uncle, Uncle Mike, hand painted all of the houses, buildings, and figurines.

 

Santa and the Misses have a cozy little home right next to Santa's workshop and the toy store.

Santa and the Misses have a cozy little home right next to Santa’s workshop and the toy store.

 

There are so many pieces to the train that we can't use them all at one time. This is what we've got set up this year.

There are so many pieces to the train that we can’t use them all at one time. This is what we’ve got set up this year.

 

The trolley and the working car are on a separate track in the middle. Mr. B set up this cute coal platform along the train tracks.

The trolley and the working car are on a separate track in the middle. Mr. B set up this cute coal platform along the train tracks.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering how Joey feels about this, check out this video on Instagram.

What Christmas traditions are near and dear to your heart?

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Our House is Decorated Like a Happy Holiday Wonderland

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It’s December!

Thanksgiving is over and I am finally able to decorate the house with twinkling lights and evergreen-scented candles without protest from Mr. B, who believes (strongly) that Christmas should not be celebrated for the entire last quarter of the calendar year. Since I have a very hard time restraining the holiday cheer after Halloween, it means a good number of Scrooge and Grinch jokes get lobbed around our house during most of November.

I couldn’t help myself this year – the Christmas dishes made an appearance about a week before Thanksgiving – but I was able to refrain from fully decorating the house. That being said, I practically ran home after our second turkey dinner and pulled all of the garland, ornaments, and festive knick-knacks out of the attic. Okaaaay, okay, I waddled home, slipped into stretchy pants, took a nap, and decorated the next day, but you catch my drift. I was EXCITED.

The house is almost completely decorated (the train needs finished, my dad is going to come help us with that this weekend), and I love how cozy it feels with Christmas cheer all around us. Here are a few of  my favorite parts:

For most of the year, I'm not big on knick-knacks, but during the holidays, they are everywhere.

I’m not usually big on knick-knacks, but during the holidays, they are everywhere.

DecorationsSnowmen

I love these little guys on the kitchen window sill.

I love these little guys on the kitchen window sill.

Especially this sweet little tree. He's the perfect size to keep my ring safe when I get my hands dirty in the kitchen.

Especially this sweet little tree. He’s the perfect size to keep my ring safe when I get my hands dirty in the kitchen.

Most of our Christmas decorations are hand-me-downs, like these candles.

Most of our Christmas decorations are hand-me-downs, like these candles from my grandmother.

This nativity scene from my grandmother, sits on my great-grandmother's chest at the foot of our bed.

She also gave us this sweet nativity scene, which now sits on my great-grandmother’s chest at the foot of our bed.

I love seeing the decorations all lit up.

I love seeing the decorations all lit up, so they are almost always turned on.

That candle smells like a Christmas tree. It makes me so happy.

That candle smells like a Christmas tree. It makes me so happy.

I made all of our stockings, which is why they don't match. Joey's is still in the works, so the one with the green strip is his "for now" stocking.

I made all of our stockings, which is why they don’t match. Joey’s is still in the works, so the one with the green stripe is his “for now” stocking.

 

Do you get excited about decorating for the holidays? What are you favorite decorations or traditions?

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The Thankful Project {A Room}

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I am thankful for my home office.

That’s odd, right? But I am really grateful for it. It’s my little space. I’m grateful to have a work area all of my own, and I’m thankful to have a man like Mr. B who was thoughtful enough to give it to me.

When Mr. B and I began the huge project of renovating the interior of our home, we discussed the changes we would make in every room. When the subject of the home office came up, he told me it was mine and that I should make it a nice little work space for myself. I protested at first. After all, it was our home, he should have a say and feel comfortable in there too, right? But he insisted that I take it and make it my own. He wanted me to have a place to write and create and just do my thing.

Office

 

OfficeView

Sadly, I can’t find any “before” photos of the office. Trust me though, it was a mess. Dingy, scuffed up white walls and stained, trampled green carpet. It was kinda gross. We ripped out the carpet and replaced it with hardwood floors. I painted the walls a soft gray, which ended up being a light grayish-purple that I love more than I would have expected. I painted the doors and baseboards a crisp white, refinished the doorknobs and hardware, and started hunting down furniture and decor.

OfficeWindow

I’m still searching for wall art, but other than that, I’m pretty pleased with my little office. We found this desk at a flea market for $75. It is quite possibly the heaviest piece of furniture ever made. And those drawers are the full length of the desk, which means I have lots of great storage. All I had to do was polish it up and refinish the ugly gold knobs.

OfficeDesk

This chest belonged to my great grandmother. I’m not sure I love it’s placement yet, but it has such sentimental value that it will most definitely have a place in my office (or perhaps at the foot of our bed??), even if it is missing a knob.

OfficeChest

The lamp on my desk used to sit on my mother’s nightstand when she was a child. I painted it pink and put a new shade on it, so it no longer looks like it’s fresh out of 1974.

OfficeLight

I also revamped an old chair, an old nightstand, and a wicker trash bin with a little bit of paint. (I like color, can you tell?)

OfficePrinter

My office isn’t all mine though, I currently share it with Joey.

OfficeCrate

I don’t mind though. He’s got a cute photo-bombing butt.

OfficeJoey

I love this room. It’s mine. I’ve made it my own and decorated it to reflect my style. It’s my space to write, create, and do what I love. (And, sometimes, pay bills.) But it is so much more than that. It’s a space that Mr. B wanted me to have. He wanted to make sure I had a place in our home that was my own. He replaced the flooring and hauled in the world’s heaviest desk. He wanted me to have a space where I could do what I love, and I love him for that.

OfficeChair

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The Contents of Our Bedroom are Now Piled Up in the Living Room (and Other Weekend Shenanigans)

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One of these days I’m going to write a post about all of the renovations we’ve done to the house, complete with before and after photos and a few mushy paragraphs about making our house a home and all that good stuff. If I’d already done that, you’d know that we’ve so far replaced almost all of the carpet in the house with hardwood floors. Almost, because we still had carpet in the master bedroom…until this weekend.

Sami's Shenanigans

We finally started the process of replacing the floors. This weekend we moved every thing out of our bedroom. Every. Single. Thing. (I have had pretty severe allergic reactions each time we’ve pulled up carpeting in the past, so we had to make sure everything was out of the reach of the dust.) So now, everything that was in our bedroom (including all of the furniture and the contents of two walk-in closets) is now piled up in our living room. I’m surrounded by piles of our stuff.

bedroombarefloor

Mr. B, with the help of my cousin, Ty, pulled up all of the carpeting and padding and removed the baseboards. Then we made a (very successful) trip to Lowe’s. So now, we have a bare bedroom floor, stacks of flooring, underlayment, and tools, and two very confused, displaced pups. And piles of our stuff everywhere we turn. Side note: It’s motivating me to do some serious purging. There’s no way we need all of this crap. Also, we are sleeping in the spare room, and I miss my bed.

The whole project will probably take most of the week, since it’s an after-work affair, but Mr. B has already made some great progress. I’m not much help since I can’t spend much time in the allergen-infested room right now. I mostly just help Mr. B figure out angles and whatnot. (Yay math!)

Plus, our trip to Lowe’s also resulted in a garbage disposal. This is huge, guys. You have no idea. I’ve never not had a garbage disposal until I moved here, and I’ve been harassing Mr. B about getting one since I moved in. He’s never had one before so it wasn’t on his list of priorities, but we finally bought one. He even installed it last night! It’s not hooked up to power yet, but by golly, it’s here and it’s installed. I’m a pretty happy camper. It may even distract me from the fact that we are living in the middle of chaos for the next week or so.

Also providing distraction is the latest addition to my Kindle library: Harry Potter. I started it on Saturday and I’m already about halfway through the first book. I’m a little late to the party, I know, but I’m here and I’m hooked.

HPwine

What did you get into this weekend?

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Furniture Fit for a Grown-Up and Other Weekend Shenanigans

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I had such a nice weekend – productive and fun! – and I’m determined to carry that through this week. Especially after last week, which was…not productive. At all.

Sami's Shenanigans

On Saturday morning, Mr. B took the horses to get new shoes while I stayed home to clean up around the house. The trip to the farrier took much longer than usual, so I got lots of me time (as in, I got to do some knitting, paint my nails and spend quality time with Netflix. It was nice.) When he finally returned, we set out for Ikea – a trip we’ve been procrastinating all summer. We have been talking about picking up things for the house for a long while now, but managed to put it off for the last several months in favor of warm weather activities, like boating and day drinking.

On our way home from The Land of Home Furnishing Fabulousness, we stopped at Burgatory and stuffed ourselves. It was glorious. I devoured a burger the size of my head and washed it down with a “salted Nutella crunch” milkshake, which was the richest, gooiest, most heavenly thing I may have ever tasted. I felt like a cow when I was done, but it was amazingggg.

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The next morning we unpacked our loot and assembled, arranged and decorated for hours. This is what we ended up with:

IkeaLootCollage

 

 

1// A real bed for the spare room! Up until yesterday we had an air mattress in there for anyone who wanted to crash with us for the night. To everyone who spent the night on an inflatable on our floor: I’m so very sorry. We finally have a grown up guest room, please come back and enjoy it!

2// A new rug for my office. (It was only $20!!)

3// A new rug for the living room. (Joey planted himself there as soon as we spread it out because obviously it is unacceptable to have even one item in this house that isn’t covered in dog hair.)

4// A cute puppy butt wall hook to hang dog-wiping towel on.

5// A few little mirrors to liven up the office walls. (These weren’t on our shopping list, but for $2-3 each, I couldn’t leave them there.)

6// New pillow covers for the living room, made necessary after a baby Joey ripped a hole in one of the old covers with his stupid-sharp puppy teeth.

Later in the afternoon, my dad came by to drop off his boat (it spends the winter in storage near our house). The three of us went to the marina for a few drinks and a nice dinner. I really enjoy hanging out with my dad, so I’m loving that I’ve gotten to see more of him lately.

It was a great weekend – I got to relax, spend time with the guys I love, and Mr. B and I finally accomplished some crap we’ve been talking about for about six months.

So in the spirit of productivity, I’m off to chug some coffee, make a to-do list, and get some stuff done. Peace out, yo.

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