Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas of Firsts


We had a busy Christmas, being in our first house - not to mention our first Christmas as a married couple.  So trying to get things done around the house (such as unpack!) and still doing all the things that go into celebrating the season - decorating, baking, parties with family and friends, shopping, wrapping, preparing for guests and a New Year's Eve party, and still maintaining some sense of sanity - wasn't a very easy task.

But we had a wonderful, memory-filled Christmas and wouldn't have traded it for anything.  Here are some shots of Christmas in our first house, as we remembered the birth of a Savior who brought hope to the world.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ranch Meets East

After a very busy weekend of organizing and cleaning and unpacking and getting together for a Christmas dinner celebration with our college friends, one of my dear friends and I, who have recently bonded even closer over our adoration for the PW cookbook spent a VERY rainy Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon at the Chester County Book & Music Company.  We. Met. Ree. Drummond.

I just couldn't wait until later in the post to show you the picture. 

She was just as sweet and down-to-earth as you could imagine.  And she had a fanTAStic singing voice!  The Pioneer Woman in the flesh.  We couldn't contain our excitement. 

Check out Ree's cookbook - The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

We got to Chester County Book & Music Company at 1:30 PM, and Ree was scheduled to address the audience (okay, PW Philadelphia Fan Club) at 2:30 PM.  As number 142, we somehow still got seats for the Q&A session.  In the third to last row, but hey, that was okay with us.  We met a cute baby and her mom sitting in front of us, and a very nice woman who's husband had come early to save her a seat until she could get there.  My friend and I had a chance to get caught up on all things new in our life as we anxiously waited.  And at 2:30, all eyes were glued to Ree, who hilariously addressed the crowd and took many questions from the audience.  Halfway through the Q&A time, my friend and I realized that we were the last book-signing on the tour.  Bittersweet for Ree, I'm sure.  *Note: I just visited her site and realized that more signings have been added.  So if you live in Oklahoma, go to meet her.  It's definitely worth your time and money. 

After the Q&A session was over, Ree began to sign.  And sign, and sign and sign.  You could tell that Chester County Book & Music had hosted a book signing or two before.  They had a system that worked so well.  They called a range of numbers to join the line so that there wasn't a thousand-mile-long line wrapping around their HUGE store.  So my friend and I were able to enjoy a vanilla latte and mocha while leafing through some magazines and doing some more catching up.  It was great!  I had visions of being the last people in a very long line, and we barely had to stand in line at all.

At around 5:00, they called numbers 141-160, and we jumped in line, waited for about 10 minutes, and then the moment of judgment came.  We introduced ourselves, Ree signed our books (which we decided how she should personalize with sticky notes ahead of time) and I gave her a torn piece of paper with a link to our blog, for her to check out in all of her down time.  HA!  We got our picture taken with her, and that was the end of our adventure.
Thanks for coming to Pennsylvania, PW! We'd love to see you again for your Black Heels to Tractor Wheels signing... and this time, you will know what you have gotten yourself into.

And a special thanks to our photographer, who was also our chauffeur and was a good sport indulging us for oh, about 5 hours.  Ree even said he was a good sport.

Also, thanks to my friend for bringing an iPhone that was charged, so we had something to use to take our picture.  iPhones are great, but I really need a better camera.  I really hope Santa read my Christmas list!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Guilty of Neglect

My blogging has recently been placed on the back burner - so sorry to all my readers and fans! (I still like to kid myself that I actually have readers and fans).

After our harrowing settlement day gone awry, due to a federal reserve bank tech wrongly coding the wire transfer of funds from our mortgage firm to the attorney who was processing the settlement, and after a wasted work weekend because we couldn't get into the house until Monday instead of the Friday before, we finally got the keys and put the fiasco behind us.

We spent our first night in our new house on our comfy airbed on Monday, November 23rd.

On Monday, we jumped right in on our list of to-dos by taking down vents and unscrewing outlet covers, patching holes in the wall and cracks in the ceiling, caulking around the window trim to ensure a tight seal and less cold air getting in, and painting the ceiling. By the wee hours of Tuesday morning, while Rob and I were fast asleep because we had to work the next day, my mother-in-law, outfitted in her tshirt du-rag and sunglasses to protect her hair and eyes from paint splatter, had finished the last ceiling in the living room. Tuesday after work, my mom and sister and sister-in-law all came over to help tackle the painting, and by Wednesday night, we had a lot of the walls painted, with only touchups and trim remaining. And carpets to tear out. Rob and I spent Thanksgiving morning working on trim in the guest bedroom, before going to his parents to celebrate. On Friday morning, knowing we had all the loose ends to finish up, we headed out to Macy's for some Black Friday shopping (because we had a gift card that expired at the end of November) and then went to Ikea, where we got some great deals on nightstands and a shoe bench for our master bedroom (and other things like some curtain rods, shears, and accessories). By the afternoon, we were back to working on the house, me painting trim and Rob taking up the tack strip for the carpeting. We were pleasantly surprised by how nice most of the hardwood floor looked, and are glad that we can hold off on the refinishing project for a little while and get a bunch of estimates to get the best price. Dave and Lisa stopped by after their Black Friday shopping excursion, and jumped right in pulling up staples and nails and nasty foam padding that was under the carpet. By 8 PM, we had all the carpets out, most of the foam stuff up, and had painted all of the trim in all three bedrooms - with only touchups and trim in the living room and hallway to complete. Rob's siblings all came over after family bowling (which we had to skip out on, sadly) and we got EVERYTHING finished in time for the move on Saturday morning.

We're still unpacking boxes, and Rob is taking care of our little mouse (probably mice) problem in the basement - more on that in a later post. But we are so thrilled to be living in our new home, and can't wait for you all to see it in person! Or online... once we get around to taking pictures and posting them... maybe later this weekend!

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