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Before & After: Fireplace Edition

July 13, 2021

We recently did a little (long over due!) fireplace refresh.

Before:

We have hated those brass doors and the molding around the brink for so long!

And after:

New doors, no molding, and a new mantel (made by Brian), and a few new decorations.

Love it! Why did we wait so long?!

March Things

July 8, 2021

March was officially a year since the world went crazy! We started March 2020 in Disney World and two weeks later we were stuck at home. March 2021 was still not quite normal but we did manage a few almost normal things.

I met a friend for coffee a couple of times at one of our favorite local spots. I met Nick for a “parking lot” lunch date.

I baked a caramel apple pie that we all enjoyed…

May be an image of dessert and indoor

and Tay & I tried a new ice cream flavor.

Yum!

(Clearly life is super exciting around here these days.)

I met with The Table Women’s Community on Zoom for a night of learning Zentangles. (Note: when scheduling Zoom calls with people in other time zones – especially if they’re the teachers – make sure you’re all on the same page about the time you’re meeting!)

Zentangle Shamrock (or is it a Shamrock Zentangle?)

I helped my chiropractor’s office get up to speed on their social media accounts.

We finished up Tay’s office…

May be an image of furniture, indoor and text that says 'ITISALL L IT ABOUT JESUS ABOUTJESUS U'

It’s so cute!

I got my hair cut & colored – long overdue! Is anyone else going longer & longer between hair appointments?

Tay’s church did a super fun Easter activity where families could sign up to have their house “egged”. Brian & I had fun egging a house.

May be an image of Taylor Starr

I hosted an online book club. We read this book….

We chatted in a Facebook group and then met on Zoom at the end of the month. Highly recommend the book for parents of older teens as well as young adults.

I signed up for a Keto coaching group (more on that later!) and had my first call to get the ball rolling on that.

Corbin spent lots of time keeping watch over the neighborhood.

We were still doing lots of things virtually & distanced but it was good to do some things that felt a bit normal again. Hopefully there are more “normal” things to come!

February Things

July 6, 2021

Yes. I know it’s July.

One of these days I’ll get caught up on the old blog. Or not.

For now, here’s what was happening way back in February.

I met a couple of friends for coffee at a favorite local coffee shop. It was GOOD to be together face-to-face. I love coffee dates with friends. I also continued meeting weekly on Zoom with my Bible study gals and monthly with The Table Women’s Community.

I “baked” another pie for Valentine’s Day. This one was a no-bake pie and we didn’t really care for it.

Chocolate Raspberry Pie

Also on Valentine’s Day, Corbin celebrated his birthday – 11 years old!

What a cutie! He may be a tad spoiled.

We had fun celebrating my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. I loved putting together a fun gift of some 80th birthday things. We all loved reading through a little book of things that were popular the year he was born.

Happy Birthday, Don!

Tay & Brian painted an accent wall in her new office (I just sat around and watched – LOL!). It looks so good. I’ll show you a picture of the finished product soon (or in a few months at the rate I post things).

And that’s a wrap on February!

Crazy Times at the BMV (alternate title: The Day I Almost Failed at the BMV)

March 23, 2021

Disclaimer: Nothing I’m about to share with you is the fault of the BMV. I take full responsibility for my crazy.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that I needed to renew my driver’s license this year. I used to HATE the BMV we went to. The people working there were rude (I wrote about a previous experience here). Some things happened at that location a few years back and it’s been 100% better. I still wasn’t looking forward to going.

I reached out to a former co-worker who now works there and she told me how things were going there during the pandemic. She made sure I knew which documents to bring (easy peasy if you have a current passport). She also mentioned that I could sign in online and get a place in line. I looked into that, saw where to do it, but the instructions after registering weren’t clear (or posted at all). I bugged my friend again and found out what the process was. I was ready to go!

This morning was the day. Well, actually, yesterday was supposed to be the day but Corbin had me up in the night and I was TIRED yesterday and decided to postpone. Corbin got me up again last night. I was tired this morning but decided I HAD to get this done. I got online right when they opened and put my name in. I gave the dog his morning medicine and then headed out the door.

When I arrived there were just a few people in line so I joined (checking with the nice lady in front of me that this was in fact the line for check in). When I got to the check-in lady she took my info from online registration and sent me right in (she said something like ‘You go girl” when I told her my number so I guess it was a good one). Those that hadn’t registered online were sent back to their cars for a 45 minute wait. Register online if you need to go!

Anyhoo…I step inside and wait for just a short time before my number is called to go to window #4.

(From Disney’s Zootopia)

And here’s where it all goes downhill.

I step up to the window. There’s a plexiglass divider between me and the BMV lady. We’re also both wearing masks. I soon discover that with the plexiglass, her mask, and all the noise around me, I cannot hear a word she’s staying….

BMV Lady: mumble, mumble, mumble

Me: I’m good! How are you today?

(It’s at this point I realize she did not wish me a good morning or inquire as to how I was doing. It’s the BMV. They do not care how you’re doing. She was basically asking me what I wanted.)

I try to keep from laughing as I tell her why I’m there and hand her all my documents (passport, social security card, bank statement, and driver’s license, if you need to know).

BMV Lady: mumble, mumble, mumble Sign and date this (as she hands me a form).

I verify with her what section she wants FILLED OUT and not just “sign & date” this. I also inform her at this time that I can’t hear a word she says. She’s not amused.

I stand there for a bit while she enters my info into the system. I’m sure she’s making a note on my permanent record that I’m hard of hearing. She then instructs me on the eye test. This is where it really starts to go downhill.

  1. I cannot hear her instructions.
  2. I’ve been wearing multi-focal lenses for the past few months. One sees distance, one up close. This isn’t working well with this machine.
  3. My mask is causing the machine to fog up.

I read with my left eye when she wants me to read with both eyes (I cannot hear you, lady). I read the middle column when she wants me to read the left column (I still cannot hear you, lady). EVERYTHING goes fuzzy and I figure I’m going blind or about to pass out. I think at this point I might be having an anxiety attack over possibly not passing this thing. I mention to her that I can’t see a thing. She says it’s the mask but she wasn’t going to tell me unless I said something (thanks a lot, lady).

I finish the eye test by spouting off random numbers. I must have gotten enough correct because she moves on to the next thing.

BMV Lady: Do you have any mental issues?

I don’t even think that’s an actual question they’re supposed to ask. I think she was genuinely curious at that moment in time. I worked in customer service for a few years. There were times I wondered this same thing about people.

We FINALLY finished up (which didn’t take as long as it seemed at the time) and she sent me over to get my picture taken. I left with a temporary piece of paper and quite possibly some permanent notes about my hearing & mental state on my record.

Things to do before my next renewal:

  1. Get rid of these multi-focal contact lenses.
  2. Find a new BMV location.

February’s Pie #piesof2021

March 1, 2021

If you’ve been following along (and I know two of you are – hi Mom & Dad), you know that I’ve taken up pie baking as a new hobby.

In January, I baked an apple pie.

For February’s pie I was looking for something for a Valentine’s Day dessert. I came across a chocolate raspberry pie.

It was a no bake pie so that may be cheating just a tiny bit. I followed a suggestion for a cookie crust in the blog comments where the recipe was posted. That was a big mistake as the cookie crust completely crumbled and I had to get a bit creative (I crushed it up, mixed it with butter, and lined the bottom of the pie pan with the mixture).

That chocolate layer on the bottom was the best part of this pie. The raspberry layer was SO TART! We weren’t fans of this pie so I’m not even going to link the recipe.

What should I attempt for March?

January Things

February 25, 2021

For as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve wanted to be a “better blogger”. More consistent in documenting things in our lives. I am a bit of a scrapbooking slacker so this is another way that I document things. It’s always fun to go back and see what was going on in life. I thought I’d try to do a monthly recap in addition to the posts I write up here & there. So, here’s a bit of what January looked like.

Taylor started her new job on January 1. She’s the Children’s Ministry Director at a great local church and loves it. I might be a bit biased but I think she’s doing a fantastic job so far! :)

Brian started a new job on January 4! Working virtually with his team members in other states can be a challenge, but he’s liking the job so far. He’s no longer in consulting (after MANY years) so that’s been an adjustment as well.

I did not start a new job in January. I’m continuing my life of leisure and mooching off of Brian. :) I did take up a couple new hobbies – yoga & pie baking (those two things go perfectly together, right?). I completed a 30 day yoga challenge (Yoga with Adriene on YouTube if you’re interested) and baked my first homemade pie.

Nick turned 25! Goodness, how did he get so old (Brian and I are still so young!)? Poor guy was diagnosed with Covid the day before his birthday. He had a couple rough weeks but is feeling fine now. We dropped off a gift as his apartment and chatted briefly on Zoom. Man, we miss him! Can’t wait till we can get together for birthday dinners again!

My small group started our winter Bible study. We’re doing Matchless by Angie Smith and are really enjoying it (confession: I wasn’t sure about it at first but have ended up liking it!).

I had a fun game night on Zoom with my women’s group (we played Quiplash which is always fun) and a couple of friends and I visited a new-ish (new to us) coffee shop in Hamilton. It was GOOD to be together in person!

Brian & I made a trip to Springfield to visit his dad & Margi. We hadn’t seen them yet for Christmas and had a fun afternoon catching up.

Taylor was a bridesmaid AND the officiant for one of her dearest friend’s wedding. Brian & I were so sad to miss it! #stupidcovid

Picture stolen from Tay’s Facebook page (used without permission).

That about does it for January. Not too bad for a time when we’re mostly staying home! I cannot believe it’s almost March. Back soon with a February recap!

January’s Pie #piesof2021

February 1, 2021

Confession: I don’t love pie. I’d much rather have cake.

My family likes pie. Taylor hates cake and chooses pie for her birthday every year.

I decided that I needed a new hobby for 2021 and that learning to bake pies was it. Nick said that’s a pretty good choice for a hobby. :)

I have never baked a pie completely from scratch. I’ve made a Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Pie before but always used pre-made crust. I’ve been most nervous about the homemade crust for some reason.

I gave up “sweats & treats” for January (minus the piece of cheesecake I ate when visiting my in-laws — you can’t pass up a Martha Stewart cheesecake) so I waited until the very last day of January for attempting my first pie.

I made Laura Vitale’s Apple Pie. Laura is one of Taylor’s favorite bakers (if you’ve had Tay’s cinnamon rolls, you know how awesome Laura’s recipes are). The store didn’t have the apples she recommended so I used Google’s apple recommendation.

I thought the pie looked a little “rustic” (aka lots of flaws), but I was pretty happy with how it turned out over all.

Brian & Tay both liked it. We all loved the crust (whew!). I thought it was a bit tart for my liking and will track down the suggested apples and try it again later. My pie pan was also slightly larger than what the recipe called for so I have to figure out how to accommodate for that difference next time as well.

Overall, it was a good first pie! If you’ve got any pie tips & tricks (or favorite recipes) send them my way!

Twenty-Five

January 19, 2021

A few days ago I was passing some butter to Brian and had a flashback to when Nick was little and called butter “butter butter”. There was peanut butter and then there was butter butter. It made us think of a few other funny things he used to say. Sometimes he’d ask for “chicken on the bone” rather than chicken tenders. He called Sprite “white pop” and Coke “brown pop”. Too cute!

This really doesn’t seem that long ago! And yet today he’s turning 25 years old!

Where does the time go?

And how are we old enough to have a kid that’s TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD?

We haven’t seen much of Nick this past year due to Covid so I’m extra thankful we had a fun family trip before 2020 really kicked in.

Happy Birthday, Nick! We love you so much and are so proud of the smart, funny, kind, hard-working guy you are.

2020 Recap

January 13, 2021

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know it’s January 13. For some reason I just haven’t taken the time to blog but I did want to post a quick recap of last year (is there much to recap?). I loved seeing some 2020 photo posts people were posting on Facebook of fun & positive things that happened during crazy 2020. I thought there were some things we might like to remember here too. So, here we go…

January

Nick turned 24!

February

I have no idea what we did for the Super Bowl but apparently there were football cookies involved. :) I hosted a fun “Galentine’s Day” party for my women’s community group (and we made these cute bracelets). Corbin turned 10!

March

We went to Disney World! What a fun week together before life changed completely. Disney World closed down one week after we got home.

The library closed down so I was off work for a while. Brian started a new job at the end of the month. What a strange time to be starting a new job, especially one where you’re managing people and can’t actually meet them face-to-face!

April

Brian surprised me with this fun Disney cake from my favorite bakery. He also arranged a Zoom party with Nick & our parents (our parents’ first Zoom experience!).

(All of sudden I want a piece of cake.)

Taylor started a tee shirt business (@threads.by.taylor on Instagram).

May

Taylor quit her job at the coffee shop. She had some fun plans in the works for the summer and fall (none of which ended up happening!).

I got called back to work at the library and the job was VERY different than my fun little 15-hour a week, pre-covid job. :(

June

This is life at the library in June. And it’s exhausting! Tay’s summer job got cancelled. Brian’s still navigating a new job working 100% from home.

We (and by “we” I mean Brian) did a little sprucing up of our front porch. He took down the railings and opened the space up. We love it!

July

Brian & I (in our Threads by Taylor tees) did 4th of July “porch visits” with our parents. It had been WAY too long since we had seen them. Somehow visits to Dairy Queen became a frequent thing we started doing during quarantine (no complaints – sometimes you just need to get out of the house!).

August

Quarantine may be getting to us. We’ve now started having Saturday morning dates to Dunkin & the Rumpke dump. Do we know how to have fun or what? (Seriously, single friends – find someone that you can have fun doing ANYTHING with!)

I quit my job at the library! I worked because I wanted to (I’m lucky, I know) and I just wasn’t enjoying the job any longer. :(

At the end of the month we got a horrible early morning phone call. Our nephew had been killed in a motorcycle accident. We got my mother-in-law and headed to Florida.

September

We spent the first few days in Florida with Brian’s brother’s family. So thankful we could be there with them as they went through one of the worst weeks of their lives. What a blessing to see all the love & support they received from their local friends and to meet so many of Aaron’s friends and hear so many wonderful stories of the kind-hearted person our nephew was. He was loved by all.

We knew there were risks to traveling in 2020 and discovered soon after returning home that we had been exposed to Covid. I didn’t feel great one night so we decided to get tested, mainly so we’d know if we had exposed Tay. Thankfully we were both negative!

We celebrated Taylor’s 22nd birthday with brunch & Top Golf (one of our new favorite things!).

We got creative with date nights and started tailgating at a local park. :)

We returned to Top Golf for Brian’s birthday.

October

We celebrated our 30th anniversary! We’ve been talking for years about going to Alaska for our 30th. Well, #2020. We did a little staycation with a nice dinner out, Top Golf (I told you it’s a favorite!), and the Pinball Garage.

November

I surprised Taylor with a little bathroom make-over while she was gone on a retreat.

We had a very quiet Thanksgiving with just me, Brian, and my in-laws (Nick is very cautious about being around groups of people & Tay was quarantining after a retreat).

December

Taylor graduated from college! She had a series of interviews and was hired as the Children’s Ministry Director at a local church.

We had a nice, quiet Christmas. We spent the morning with Nick & his girlfriend and saw our parents and my brother’s family the day after. These are the ONLY pictures we got of Christmas day.

We missed Nick and our parents as we didn’t see them much in 2020 (I hope that changes this year!).

I’m so thankful for these good memories in the midst of the craziest year!

Pray for Our Nation

January 7, 2021

Yesterday a friend shared this picture on Facebook…

I have no idea where the image came from (so I’m sorry I can’t give credit) but I thought about that image all day. And it broke my heart.

Pray for peace in our nation.