About Me

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I am a daughter, sister, wife, mom to three cats and one dog (each with their own personalities), working woman, renovator, landlord and friend. I love to laugh, read a good book, enjoy spending time with family and friends and hanging with the Zoo! This blog is keep track of the comings and going our house and this great adventure called life. Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  I went to my Mom's for brunch this morning and had a wonderful time, just the four of us...Mom, Dad, Dustin and I.

After opening presents, I found myself telling the story of previous friends who didn't treat their numerous animals well and ultimately how we came to have Little Miss.  In retelling the story, I realized that we are incredibly lucky to have our wonderful animals.  They are always so happy to see us - each in their own way - and it would be crushing to lose one of them in any way.  Chase and Mason were from the Fairfax SPCA in 2005, Hunter from Lost Dog and Cat Foundation in 2008 and Parker from friends when she was just three days old in 2008.

I received an email from LDCF looking back on the previous 2010 year.  Within it, there is the below video link...it's fabulous to see all those animals gain loving homes.  Just to warn you, it made me cry!

As I sit here, our zoo is hanging out with me in the office with Parker on top of the entertainment center, Chase the cat in my lap, Mason sitting with Jim Morrison in a chair and Hunter fast asleep in my orange chair.  I love each and every one of them immensely!

In addition to my current zoo, I will never forget these two...

These are my dogs growing up...Moe and Ashen.  They came home as a surprise from Daddio, so tiny and cute!  They didn't stay little for long, this is a picture of them at nine months old!!!  Brother and sister, Moe was more Rottweiler and Ashen was more Doberman Pincher.  They were wonderful dogs with their own quirks and lived a long life. They made our days brighter!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

To Do List

Okay, so we are officially counting down the days until Christmas is upon us...  I can't believe it's in less than a week!

Jay and I are hosting his parents this year and with the Big Day being on a Saturday, my husband doesn't have to work the actual day which is a rare occurrence in this neck of the woods.  So of course, down comes PA to join in the festivities.  Jay's other sister, Karen and her husband are staying with Kathy and Dennis, while Jay's 'rents are staying with us.  Originally there was going to be a lot of back and forth between our house and Herndon (K&D's house) but logistically it just doesn't make sense.  The in-laws and I will head to Herndon in the wee hours of the morning to see the girls open their presents and after a few hours, Jay will come join us (so Hunter isn't home alone all day long!)  After an early dinner, Jay and I will skip over to my aunt's house to see one side of my fam then back home to the zoo.

So that is the plan, which wasn't the point of this post!  In preparation for the arrival of PA, I have a 'To Do' list.  For those of you who know me well, you are not surprised by this - not even close to surprised.  I love lists.  They make me feel accomplished.  I love making a list and writing something on that list that I know 100% certain that I won't forget to do, but put it there just so I have at least one item to cross off.  Because crossing something off the list is the best part!

I'm rambling... Here's my To Do by Friday AM list: (in the order I wrote it down late last night :))

  • Clip cat's nails -- Done, with some growling involved but treats afterward :)
  • Vacuum -- Done on Friday
  • Dust -- Done on Friday
  • Wrap presents -- Will do tonight
  • Make sure guest room is ready/towels stocked/shampoo and conditioner -- Done on Friday
  • Hang wreaths -- might not happen - Nope, sure didn't
  • Paint hallway -- a long stretch - Wasn't even a thought to do
  • Buy stamps -- Done on lunch break Thursday
  • One more laundry run -- Done
  • Make rice krispies -- Done on Friday
  • Call Joy -- Done and as always fabulous talking to her and hearing Mr. Owen
  • Visit Heidi/Call Eric -- Jay and I visited her day after Christmas
  • Three more presents
  • More wood -- Being delivered tomorrow AM and then need to stack it by Friday
  • See the Madre and Bro -- tentatively scheduled for either Friday or Jan 2nd depending on this list -- Done, see post here
  • See Daddio -- tentative on schedules, hoping to catch dinner one evening -- Done, see post here
  • Mail out Christmas cards (possibly after Christmas, but whatever) -- Done Monday after Christmas
  • Sew something :)
That's a hefty list but manageable with Friday off work and possibly Thursday too.

Here's to hoping you all have a fabulously wonderful Christmas and have time to relax with loved ones!


Monday, December 20, 2010


I walked thru the dining room and kitchen this morning on my way to work (my typical route thru the house) and fell in love with both rooms all over again! 

As the Husband and I were saying last night, the brown in the dining room puts the emphasis on the fireplace - where it should be! - now being the focal point of the room. 

I must admit wasn't too hot for the blue color we chose originally for the kitchen, but it looks fabulous.  I also have a weakness for kitchens...  I'm not a big cook (probably because it can become so messy or disorganized in there) but I need a clean and orderly kitchen.  In college, I would constantly pull everything out of the community fridge (six people sharing) and reorganize it - it would drive me crazy.  I've done this a few times in my own fridge, especially on grocery shopping day.  Anyways, enough about the Kitchen OCD...

Point is, the house is coming together and that thrills me to no end!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paint changes everything - Part 2

We finished painting the dining room today and were on a roll so added some color to our newly redesigned kitchen... It's a bit nautical and looks fabulous!  WE LOVE IT! 


From just the right angle it could be in a magazine :)  Don't you think??


Kitchen redo

Over the last month, we have changed this house around ALOT!  Painting, rearranging, tearing apart the basement multiple times...one more big change to the kitchen and we might be taking a break for a while...

We did some demo upstairs this time :)  The kitchen overlooks the dining room I guess you'd say with the stove top, range hood and upper cabinets backing into the dining room.  Yes, that's a more accurate description.  We wanted a more open space, so Turkey Day weekend we tore some cabinets down and gave them a new home. 

Jay was ready to jump in (we aren't very patient people) when he came home from work Thursday evening at 11pm.  We had decided to take down the cabinets above the stove top in order to open up the space to the dining room.  About ten minutes after he was home, we tore into those cabinets and were able to take them down in one piece strategically.  The range hood came down too (nasty, dirty thing) which vented through the cabinets out of the side roof eave.  Once everything was down, we felt accomplished and exhausted so decided to get some sleep.  Given that our kitchen looked like a bomb blew up in it, I gave in to the fact that it would be more clean tomorrow and called it a night. 

Taking down the cabinet fronts (notice the dining room isn't done yet (post timing issue)

We both had Friday off work (yay!) and we jumped right in where we left off the evening before.  Maybe you're wondering where these cabinets now call home??  Our newly white/old ugly blue sponge wall is the perfect place!  Jay measured and created a 'third hand', I'm not sure what it's truly called, but was a 2x4 screwed into the wall to set the cabinets on.  While he did that, my kitchen OCD kicked in and I was cleaning behind us, straightening tools and throwing away scrap materials - hahaha!  I helped hold the cabinets up with all my might while he screwed them into the wall until they were secure enough for my tired arms to take a break.  It truly looks like the cabinets belong on that wall.  It gives the kitchen a more open feel and is such a better utilization of the space it's ridiculous!

Unfortunately during this project, the Husband didn't feel so hot and decided to lay down now that the cabinets were up and in place.  He was burning up but felt cold, turns out he had a temperature of 100.5!!  Poor guy was fighting something nasty, so he grabbed a sweatshirt and I wrapped him in blankets for a much needed nap with Hunter curled up beside him (love that!)  While my boys were resting up, I was in heaven rearranging and organizing our new kitchen cabinets!!  Everything now makes much more sense on the walls - with coffee cups by the maker, not over the stove; the plates, bowls, cups and glasses all in one large cabinet; the cooking items by the oven and over the baking items.  It's fabulous!  In the 'new' cabinets I was able to fit all my wine glasses, which don't get used often yet I feel they need to be in reach (plus they are beautiful and I have a collection going); Hunter's treats; extra set of bowls; Magic Bullet and accessories.  I screwed the cabinet doors back on and wiped down the counters, OCD'ed myself into oblivion within my kitchen space.  It was such a relief to put it all back together.  The Husband woke up to not knowing where I single item in the kitchen was :) but feeling better than earlier.  We ordered Chinese in and relaxed for the rest of the evening, climbing into bed early. 

We still had the range hood to figure out, which Jay did excellent handyman work one morning while I was at work.  He was able to use leftover materials from other projects and hang the hood by chains over the stove top and created the duct work also!  I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive when he told me about the chains, but it turned out great.  He is so much better at seeing the picture in his head, whereas I have to literally see it in person (this is our largest difference and biggest challenge probably, but I trust his instincts).  Our last piece of the project is to add a counter under the 'new' cabinets.  We originally were going to use an old door from the basement, but it's hollow core so won't work very well.  My Dad might have some leftover Corian at his shop to help us out, but for now it's still open and Hunter's crate is using the space up nicely. 

The kitchen/dining room space has changed immensely in the last month!  It's fitting into our lifestyle and our wants...slowly but surely, it's coming together.


Paint changes everything

It is true, paint changes the entire feel of a room or a piece of furniture! 

We have been stuck unable to agree on a color for the dining room.  I wanted a rich brown color but was afraid it would either be too dark or clash with whatever color we chose for the kitchen (since they are so open to each other now).  Jay wanted a maroon color to help with the fireplace and he's always liked the idea of a maroon dining room.  He is fabulous in truly letting me chose the colors for the house, even though I ask his opinion every time wanting him to enjoy the room too.  In the end, we were both in agreement that the peachy-pink color had to go!  My friend Virginia put it nicely when she said 'If they put that color in a paint can, it'd be called Old Lady'. HAHAHA!  So incredibly true.

How it looked when we bought the house
Gotta love the Old Lady walls and those dreadful curtain/drapes

With the snow that came this past week and my dentist appointment in town, I decided painting is how I would spend my free afternoon.  So I grabbed a gallon of beautiful brown, called Scented Clove, on the way home.  I taped off the edges, did the up and down trim work on the edges, ceiling and floor boards.  I accomplished painting the two main walls flanking the fireplace that evening.  At first I felt it was too contrast to the orange-ish brick and the thick cherry wood mantle, but the more I turned the corner or walked through the room, the more I loved it! 

Today Jay and I finished the room - yes, my Husband helped me paint :)  We two-teamed it...Jay trimmed and I rolled.  The entire room was done in less than two hours!  It is a gorgeous room now, very welcoming.  It gives the brick a darker, more brown coloring and warms up the room completely!  It feels lived in.  It feels relaxing. 

We've rearranged the room over the last week making it more functional.  Previously, the dining room table was the focal point of the room - making a fabulous dumping ground for anything and everything!  Plus, together we maybe sit at the dining room once or twice a week with our opposite schedules.  In rearranging, we created a little bistro by the large windows, it's intimate and still functional, along with not taking up the entire room's quirky space.  We added a throw rug in the middle of the space to settle everything.  Beside the kitchen, we have Heidi & Eric's papasan chair with a table and lamp - this is where I'm sitting now, yet the cats claim this space often.  We hung pictures up and curtains too (bought the rods yesterday and more of the old office curtains - we are just switching rooms with the curtains).  Sidenote:  Chase the Cat just curled up with me in the chair and Hunter the Dog is laying on the carpet chewing on his bone.  This scene makes me incredibly happy. 

I know you guys want to see pictures, so here you go...


Our little Bistro all lit up

 You will have to come over for dinner sometime soon! 

Home Sweet Home

Our house if finally becoming our home in the truest sense of the word... 

The office is painted - finished Turkey Day weekend - and it turned out to be a beautiful color called Mushroom Bisque.  I would work in the evenings jamming out to Dave and painting around the furniture Jay would have moved for me earlier in the day.  I took a good week to get the whole room done.  I was rooting around for rollers in our basement 'paint section' and found a Blue Tape Applicator Tool...LOVE IT!  It is a fabulous invention and made painting go a lot faster than with the newspaper I had taped to the ceiling originally (hahaha!)  After the painting was done last Friday, Jay and I rearranged the room again on Saturday. 

Here is what it looked like before...

And now...

The color gives such a soft, warm feel to the room.  We moved the living room curtains to the office, which goes well.  I like how the window and door way pop with the white trim.  It's our first complete room in the house with paint, curtains and decorating... 


Saturday, December 18, 2010

No longer battling...

...with my sewing machine :)

I was able to sew a present together for a certain someone which was supposed to be an August birthday present but now will be a Christmas present.  I am thrilled with the results and the fact that I did it with my own two hands (and the machine)!  If I must say so myself, it was pretty ambitious for a first sew job...

I can't wait to make pillows and quilts and purses and skirts...WAHOO!

Mom's hand-me-down machine

The zipper took a while to figure out... Mom and I both learned on this one!
I even embroidered the heart on :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Got Time?

Busy...that is such a 'cop-out' word at times - used when you can't collectively list out what you've been up to - yet usually is a true statement.  Maybe you've been so busy, you can't remember all the little things you've done or it'd take too long to recount it all.

I can fully confirm that we have been BUSY here on Cooks Court.  Ever since the day after Thanksgiving, surprisingly.  Where to begin (I feel I always start posts this way lately)...

After I painted the lovely blue sponged wall a classy white in the kitchen - still looks nice, yet more changes have happened there too.  I'll get to that later.  Anyways, I had a nice long five-day mini-vacation.

Turkey Day was fabulous!  It's by far my MOST FAVORITE holiday - good food, great people, good food, lots of laughs.  It's better than Christmas; I don't need any presents, just time with the fam.  Growing up, Thanksgiving has always been with my Mom's side of the family, so Hunter and I went to the Madre's house to enjoy the day.  Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Brother, Mom, Gran and a couple dogs - it was a full house!  We had delicious dinner and dessert.  Hunter had a playmate in Otis (Jackie and Greg's dog), along with Abby and Sophie (not the best play partners, but good girls).  We stayed late and headed home that evening with Hunter fast asleep before we hit the interstate.

Thanksgiving Hockey is a tradition - Go Uncle Marty!

What a handsome boy!

Happy Thanksgiving

The basement project is still coming along.  Just to recap, we have taken down the drywall, paneling, studs, drop ceiling, cork closet, dividing wall and doorway.  Wow, at times I still can't believe it used to be a liveable space because now it's not even close :)  We have big plans for this basement...slowly but surely it will be put back together!  Over the Turkey Day weekend, Jay and I rented a tile stripper from Theros - yep, not a tile scraper, but a tile stripper (the Husband enjoyed that one).  We picked it up Saturday afternoon and had it until Monday morning for $75 total.  It was a walk behind machine with a blade on the front and an internal mechanism constantly vibrating it against the floor.  Initially the rental place put the blade in backwards, so we thought this process was going to take forever but played with it and we were in business.  The Husband did most of the scraping - major workout for your legs and arms.  It took us half days on Saturday and Sunday - needing a break.  Eventually we hit a routine - he'd scrape and I'd sweep the remnants out of the way.  We filled up about five or six big black leaf trash bags!  So now the floor is a bit tacky but void of that ugly laminate tile.  I never thought I'd see the day...

Tile Stripper :)

Lots more to share - office is painted and complete (our first room), kitchen and dining room layout has changed, there is Christmas inside and outside our lovely home - details and pictures to come but am exhausted...time for bed with my electric blanket - thank you Husband :)