I totally fell off the blogging bandwagon. And the facebook bandwagon, even, since I mostly just update twitter and let that update facebook. But mainly it's just been so busy and only getting busier, and I don't even have enough time to do all the knitting and cooking and laundry and cleaning that I need/want to do, so blogging has fallen by the wayside.
Christmas was lovely, except fot the part where Juno escaped from my parents' house and Paul had to chase her through the snow along the Conodoguinet creek for an hour in the cold rain. But we got her back, and at the moment she is grugingly sleeping in her bed, which I have positioned at my feet by the couch in the living room in the ongoing attempt to make her like us and hopefully eventually work our way up to voluntary snuggling.
We've continued to incrementally spruce up our house, with the biggest improvement being the basement: a few days after Christmas, Paul spent the evening moving boxes into the back and stacking them neatly, and a few weeks later he installed a shelf, so now we have a clean, huge room down there with our big, comfy couch and a TV. We haven't used the TV yet, but this Saturday we are picking up an elliptical machine we are buying from our friends Kelly and Luke, and I am dropping my YMCA membership (having lost my gym buddy in favor of her neighborhood's free exercize room), so hopefully I will be using that room and that TV multiple times each week starting Saturday!
Today has been a lazy day of me working from home while Paul enjoys a rare day to relax - the snow is piled up to our windows, and we haven't ventured out to shovel the driveway and uncover Paul's car yet. I finally got a new HP laptop at work, so I've been enjoying working from the couch in my pj's. Paul did do a little more than just relax, though, and has a pork roast in the oven for our dinner, which is filling the house with tantalizing smells. Tonight we plan to enjoy a slow dinner in front of the TV, watching a show on PBS that sounds interesting.
I've been getting into my stride at my new job (that isn't so new any more - it's been over a year now), while Paul is starting to wind down at his job in anticipation of going back to school full time this fall. He's been taking classes, this semester is pre-calc, but it's time to speed things up! Since the store will be closing or possibly changing hands this Spring, and with my employment feeling secure, there isn't going to be a better time for him to do it. I like to daydream of that day a few years down the road when he's graduated and found his career calling, allowing me to transition into a stay-at-home-mom/wife role, but until then I'm really looking forward to having a house-husband (at least a part-time one) once he's in school and not working. The few months between jobs when he moved down to VA with me, and again when we moved back to PA, were stressful because he was looking for work, but also really cool to have him home waiting for me with dinner made most evenings when I got home. This time around, it's all planned, so I'm really looking forward to it! I feel really lucky to have a job I like that also earns us enough to let Paul go back to school and not worry about work for a few years.
In the day-to-day-life department, I've been continuing to get together with a bunch of girlfriends almost every Monday evening, something we all look forward to every week. We switch houses every week, and one of the bunch just bought a new townhome right across from another, so soon we'll have a new location to enjoy. The spouses of all the girls sometimes get together, mainly during Monday Night Football season, and then we all get together on the occasional Friday or Saturday for parties that are always a blast.
We also continue to make the trip down to Northern Virginia pretty frequently to see the friends we made when we lived down there, most recently for the Super Bowl, and we always have a great time with them. My friend Jeneane and I just got together a few weeks ago in DC to see an author we both love, and who she introduced me to, followed by dinner; a couple months before that, we were down for Sarah and Ginny's wedding, which was beautiful and sweet.
I am, of course, still singing in choir at church every Sunday, with rehearsals every Thursday evening, but I dropped Bell Choir in order to have one evening a week at home with Paul. My mom and I don't see each other as often now that we don't have Wednesday evenings at bells, so we need to work on fixing that! I've also added one more church activity: I am extremely excited to be a member of the call committee that will be spending the next 18-24 (or more!) months calling a new senior pastor for TLC. Since I grew up at this church and now plan to raise my kids there too, I am so excited to get to help with the process.
Along with all that excitement, the list of things I want us to do in and around the house only grows! This spring, I want to sell the small Japanese Maple in the sunniest corner of our back yard so that I can put in a vegetable & herb garden, and I'm hoping we can also install a patio ourselves using supplies from a local home surplus store. The same surplus store has cheap laminate flooring we're hoping to install in the basement to replace the awesomely 70's orange carpet currently down there, and we're still deciding what to do with the fake wood paneling down there - we might save some money by just painting over it, but I would love to replace it with drywall, because I have a vision of painting the far wall with chalkboard paint in anticipation of using it as a playroom for our kids, and I think being able to draw on the wall would be so much fun. But speaking of our basement, we still need to contract someone to install a radon mitigation system, since our radon readings are pretty far above the safe limit, and that's something we definitely want to deal with before we have little ones in the house!
We still haven't scraped the glue off the walls in the second bathroom, which is partly because I can't imagine spending time re-painting in there until we can also afford to replace the hideous vanity. But the vanity is installed from wall to wall, so if we take it out, we end up needing to either uninstall all the tile and re-drywall, or patch up the tile, both of which sound equally difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. And come to that, I hate the wallpaper in our main bathroom more every day; plus, we want to cut down the mirror to be just over the vanity so that we can install some more storage over the toilet, but the wallpaper doesn't extend to behind the mirror, so once we take it down we'll be exposing something like naked plaster (which I'm hoping is at least sealed or something).
We exposed the original wood floors in our dining and living rooms last year pretty soon after we moved in, and we haven't regretted that for a minute, but we're still deciding whether to do the same in the rest of the house. But that would entail purchasing more area rugs, so we're not doing it yet, plus there's the additional question of refinishing the floors: there are a lot of ugly spots that need to be sanded down anyway, and I would really love to just go the whole way and re-stain the entire house a much darker color on the floors - the original color is very yellow wood.
And of course on top of all that is the looming possibility of offspring in the not-too-distant future, so that will mean either speeding up or putting on indefinite hold all these other renovations, and hopefully converting the second bedroom into a nursery with at least some fun painting and decorating to make it unique. My cousin accidentally introduced me to a DIY home improvement blog just before we moved, and I've continued to be obsessed with it, even though I know I'll never have the time to do all the ideas I have in my head for our own house. But, for example, I have a bunch more panels of the white Ikea curtain panels I bought for the whole house but only used in a few rooms, so I hope I'll eventually hang them in the second bedroom once I'm turning it into a nursery, and maybe I'll dye them a different color to match whatever color scheme I decide on for the nursery. I tried to talk Paul into doing away with the folding doors on our closets in favor of fabric panels, but since he didn't go for it, maybe I'll do it in the second bedroom/nursery instead!
Another big project I need to do is organize my pictures - it's been months, since the last time I posted on this blog in fact, since I downloaded them from my camera, and even longer than that since I shared any with anyone. I'm really hoping we can get a amatuer-quality digital SLR once I'm expecting, but if I'm going to ask for that, I need to get a lot better about keeping up with organizing and sharing my photos! My cousin and friend Kelly do such a great job posting pics of their bambinos on their blogs; our extended family will be living a lot closer to us than theirs do to them, but even so, I want to be as diligent with the updates as they are, just to have the record for myself years down the road! One thing I need to do is get better about picking the small handful of good photos out of the boatload I always take with a digital camera.
I'm a few weeks away from finally finishing the cardigan I started knitting for Kelly's beautiful babe last June, just in time to start knitting something for my friend Mindy, who is expecting in early May. In the interim, I've made a little bit of jewelry for Christmas presents, and crocheted a cover for the e-reader Paul got me for Christmas. I never have enough time to knit as much as I'd like to! The cover for my e-reader came out so well that I'd love to post the pattern and the item itself for sale on Etsy, but if someone actually bought one, I don't know if I'd have time to finish it in a reasonable amount of time! But I'll never be motivated to finish another one unless I know someone's going to buy it. I really should just bit the bullet, make another one in a different color, use the opportunity to solidify the pattern, and then post it for sale on Etsy.
I've never posted anything for sale on there before, and I'd love to try it; I'd post jewelry, but I'd never stand out from the thousands and thousands of others with the same thing. I searched for other e-reader covers, and found a bunch, but not tons, and none of them crocheted, so if I could do this, I'd really have something unique that I think I could sell, especially as they continue to catch on. I could even post links to my Etsy posting on the e-reader message boards I casually follow, and drum up business that way! What would I do if I actually got multiple orders right away? I could never finish a bunch in time to satisfy more than one or two people. Well, I suppose I shouldn't worry about that problem before I've even posted anything!
I haven't completely given up my little dreamlet of an idea to run a craft business some day, and I feel like getting a modest Etsy store running would be a decent first step in that direction. If I could get a few sales of the e-reader covers, maybe I'd be motivated to add a few more items like craft kits. And if I crochet that second cover and no one buys it, the worst that happens is that I have two covers for my own e-reader. Right?
Well there's a huge update for a snow day after two months of blog neglect. More for my benefit than anything - a wish list for myself, perhaps, to check back in on when I need motivation.