Weeded, Edged, Mowed, Rye’d, & Mulched

**Even though I didn’t write this post (Tom did for our old blog), I wanted to include it on Loquacious Lady so that you could see the progression for our yard.***

After those last two posts, hopefully we’ve not lost all male readers. I figured maybe I could counteract the femininity of shoes and coupons with yard work. Except now that I say it, it sounds really boring.

Nonetheless, a few months ago I mentioned that we’d spent some time out in the yard getting rid of all the weeds. For the weeks after that, I’ve tried to be pretty diligent about mowing, weed eating, and edging. It’s gone pretty well – there were some definite improvements, but there were still some bare patches throughout the yard.

With fall just around the corner, I decided to spend some time getting the yard ready for the coming months. Since the lawn originally consisted of sod, it’s likely to turn brown once it gets cold. I’d prefer the yard remain green for as long as possible and I’d like to fill in some of the bare areas we have. Ryegrass seemed to be the best choice given the current situation. So Friday afternoon, I mowed the grass down to the lowest setting (to make sure the seeds would fall through to the ground) and planted ryegrass throughout the entire yard. Permitting that we provide enough water, we should see results start in about a week.

In addition to planting seeds, I also mulched the hill behind the lawn. Before Friday, the juniper was accented by a lots of dirt. Lots. It was getting kinda boring to see it when looking out the window. Meghan and I decided on red cedar so after picking up a few bags, we’ve got a mulched backyard. Unfortunately, I ended up making two trips to Home Depot because I didn’t get enough of the stuff on my first trip. 12 bags later, we have results:

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Hopefully we’ll begin to see some more grass (preferrably green, at that) over the next few weeks.

Until then,
Tom

We’ve been weedin’ out the weeds

**Even though I didn’t write this post (Tom did for our old blog), I wanted to include it on Loquacious Lady so that you could see the progression for our yard.***

When I was young, a typical summer Saturday was often spent on the lawn mower or on the tractor cutting grass at Mom and Dad’s place. I’ve got some intense memories of riding on a John Deere while listening to my Walkman (do they even make those anymore?). At that point in my life, it wasn’t really the way I would’ve planned to spend a Saturday, but I think it’s definitely had it’s impact on me – since we’ve moved in, I’ve had a serious desire to get our yard lookin’ good.

Before we moved in, the house had been empty for sometime during which the lawn was left alone free to grow in whatever way it wanted. This translates to “we’ve got weeds.” Since Meghan has been doing a lot of work inside the house, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the yard working on cleaning it up. Once we took care of actually cutting the grass for the first time in who-knows-when, I turned my attention to the weeds.

Despite the fact that we were vastly outnumbered, it was time to kick some grass.

We started with the hill in the backyard. The hill spans across our backyard as well as our neighbors’ and is covered in juniper in order to keep erosion down. The juniper looks nice and all, but when it’s got random weeds poking up here and there, not so much. So the first thing we did was pull up all of the random weeds that were contaminating the juniper. Click on each picture for a larger view.

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Shortly thereafter, we turned our attention to the perimeter of the house. The weekend that Meghan was at the lake for a bachelorette party, I chose to spend the morning pulling up all of the weeds that were alongside the perimeter of the house. After that, I retraced my steps soaking the area with weedkiller just to make sure I had my bases covered.

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Next up, I sprayed all of the weeds that I could find in the backyard, front yard, and along either side of the house. A few days later, once the weeds were as dead as they were gonna get, Meghan and I got outside and began pulling up whatever weeds we could find. It took several evenings to get it all done, but we ended up making some really good progress.

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At this point, the majority of the weeds are gone. We’ve tried to be diligent in keeping it cut regularly and keeping an eye out for any weeds that may attempt to show up again. We’d eventually like to get the grass a bit greener, mulch the hill in the backyard, landscape the perimeter of the house, and get some flowers in the front yard. It’s just gonna take some time.

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It’s no where near what we’d like, but it’s a far cry from where it was. Hopefully things will begin to take shape over the next several months.

Weed-free is the way to be,”
Tom

The Office

No, not the tv show. Though we love it, that is not the point of this post. However, you could listen to this while you read this post and just pretend that I’m Pam and Tom is Jim. You could also answer this: “Question. What kind of bear is best?”

Tom and I have been using my dad’s truck this past week so that we could go to Ikea on Friday and get some new furniture. Up until this weekend, all of our office things have been in boxes in the office. Tom has had to use the breakfast table for his laptop, and he’s been missing his  regular setup with two towers and two monitors. I’ve had to stand at the breakfast bar to use my laptop. I haven’t been able to do anything with the scrapbooks I’d started. I literally haven’t touched them since months before our wedding. And Tom and I both have so many books that there were boxes of them piled up in the office and in storage upstairs. Books that aren’t out where you can get to them do not get read, and, being the book-lover that I am, it was a serious disservice to both me and to my friends who would like to borrow those books. Well, maybe not “serious,” but it was annoying. Tom also had no where to put his computer books, and he likes to read those to keep himself up-to-date with programming languages.

One afternoon and two trips to Ikea later (we forgot some things), and we had a new set of office furniture. Today, we unpacked most of the boxes and put things away. Now Tom has a desk that can comfortably hold his two monitors and his laptop, a desk lamp, and some notebooks, with room to spare for writing or having a book out. We also bought some cool accessories for his desk. He got two “computer holders” for his towers to be kept off the ground but under his desk next to the legs, and he got a cable holder for the back of the desk to keep all the cables from getting tangled up on the floor.

I have a much larger workspace than I did in the apartment with the desk I was using. And, I love the way that mytabletop is two levels so that I can have things on display, as storage, or drying underneath while I use the top to work. The legs are great because I can use them for extra storage space.  And we now have a couple of bookshelves in here to help out with the lack of book storage. We could probably use a few more, but right now, it’s fine. Tomorrow, we plan to get a small shelf unit from Target to hold our printer and printer supplies. We both feel like there is more that we would like to do in here (more storage, pictures and boards on the walls), but it’s come such a long way in two days, that we’re really happy with the transformation so far.

Here are some pictures from before and after. I had already moved most of the boxes out of the room in anticipation of the need for space while we put the furniture together, and I wish I’d take the picture before that so the change would be more dramatic. Just imagine 3x as many boxes in the room for the before picture, and you’ll start to get the idea.

Before we began to build the bookshelves.
“Before” shot we took right before we began to build the bookshelves.
One corner of the room.
“Before” shot. One corner of the room.
Another corner of the room.
Another “before” shot of a different corner of the room.
"After" shot, looking in from the doorway.
“After” shot, looking in from the doorway.
Another "after" shot, showing another bookshelf and Tom's desk.
Another “after” shot, showing a bookshelf full of text books and Tom’s desk.
"After" shot of our workspaces.
“After” shot of our workspaces.
"After" shot of just Tom's desk.
“After” shot of just Tom’s desk.

This message brought to you from the office.

Love,

Meghan

What a Week

On Saturday, Tom and I officially moved out of our apartment. It was so strange to see it empty! We definitely could not have made the move without help. Tommy, Patti, and Ben McFarlin, Eli Stevens (Tom & Ben’s cousin), and Will Hooper were such a HUGE blessing to us by coming up and helping to move us out. I don’t think either of us realized how much stuff we had collected during our first year of marriage. We are still trying to unpack it all. The most progress has been in the kitchen, but even it is not all unpacked yet.

Saying goodbye to apartment life in our emptied out first home together.
Saying goodbye to apartment life in our emptied out first home together.
Goodbye 44106 Mill Creek Avenue!!
Goodbye 44106 Mill Creek Avenue!!
We had a lot to sort through, and this is just two rooms' worth!
We had a lot to sort through, and this is just two rooms’ worth!
YAY! We love our new fridge!
YAY! We love our new fridge!

On Sunday, the McFarlins came up to go to church with us, and then we took them out to eat for Mother’s Day at Bahama Breeze. (My mom and dad were in Savannah, so we got my mom a different present.) We had a great time visiting with them, then we went home and did some more unpacking.

It was a bright, beautiful Mother's Day. A little too bright for this picture, actually.
It was a bright, beautiful Mother’s Day. A little too bright for this picture, actually.

That night, Tom and I did some grocery shopping. When we got back, I was in the kitchen putting up the groceries before going to bed, and I took out the lock we bought for our fence. It was tightly bound to the cardboard with zipties, so I got out the kitchen scissors to cut it free. The first one cut away easily, but the second one was much tighter. I had to push the scissors hard to get it underneath to cut the ziptie. Unfortunately, the scissors slipped and went into my hand. Suddenly, I was on the floor, screaming, crying, and pretty much oblivious to anything but the pain in my hand. Tom came downstairs and found me holding my hands together, blood coming out of my clasp. When he told me to show him, we were both pretty grossed out to see a hole in my hand. The pain was so intense, I began to gag and felt as though I would pass out. He got me a wet cloth to hold against it for pressure, put me in the car, and drove me to Northside Hospital. That was about all I could say when he had first come downstairs. I got out, “take me to the emergency room” and “Northside.”

By the time we arrived, my hand was swollen, and the hole looked more like a slit in my hand. No one else was in the ER waiting to be seen, and I was seen to immediately. I told the PA who treated me, Kyle, that my thumb felt strange, like I had damaged my nerves. He had me close my eyes and prodded my thumb with a “U”-shaped piece of metal, telling him if I felt one or two prongs poking my thumb. On the outside side of my thumb, all I could feel was pressure, so I just said “one.” On the inside side of my thumb, I could feel the prongs distinctly-one or two, not just pressure. Kyle said I had damaged the nerves, and I needed to see a hand specialist. He also had to numb the wound to look inside it to make sure there was no foreign debris left inside from the scissors. Basically, he gave me shots right at the wound while I cried and squeezed the mess out of the nurse’s arm.

Kyle then squirt a ton of fluid into my wound and prodded around to check it and clean it, following that up with, “you’re quite a bleeder, huh?” I looked over and saw a towel basically turned red under my hand. Tom was rubbing my legs to keep me calm during this, and he told me later that he about couldn’t watch it with all the blood and the wound being squirt open. Kyle then tested to make sure my tendon wasn’t cut by pushing and pulling on my thumb (ow!). I had to resist. (The pain literally had me arching off the bed. I can’t even imagine what childbirth pains must be like, but this was enough to secure my decision to have an epidural when I have kids someday.  I need the drugs.)

Cleaned, swollen, and ready for stitches with a new towel underneath.
Cleaned, swollen, and ready for stitches with a new towel underneath.

After that came the stitches. Most people I talk to who have been stitched up say it’s not that bad, and some say they even watched. I disagree. On other people, I can stomach this kind of stuff. I couldn’t watch my own skin get sewn up, though, and I found it disgusting to feel the thread being pulled through my hand. uck. I was sent home in a hard splint and with a prescription for painkillers and antibiotics.

Stitched up.
Stitched up.
This spilnt from the ER was so uncomfortable.
This spilnt from the ER was so uncomfortable.

On Tuesday, Tom took me to see Dr. Ratner, an orthopedic surgeon. He did more nerve testing, then he told me that I had severed the radial digit nerves of my thumb, and, without surgery, the chance of regeneration of those nerves was very low. With surgery, the nerves could be reattached or attached through a conduit if they were very far apart. Basically, if they weren’t close enough to be reattached, he would put each end in a little tube. They would grow through the tube and reattach, then grow back up the thumb. Either way, once the radial nerve is reattached, it grows very slowly, so it will take about 4 months before I get feeling all through my thumb again, and it might never be back to completely normal, but at least I should have feeling and be able to sense heat and cold with the outside of my thumb again, which is the most dangerous part of not having feeling on the outside digits (thumb and pinky).

My left hand is usually just a little smaller than my right one, but it is super swollen now.
My left hand is usually just a little smaller than my right one, but it is super swollen now. The  pink splint came from my visit to Dr. Ratner.
I slept on the couch, and the pups kept me company.
I slept on the couch, and the pups kept me company.
A nice buise is starting to show.
A nice bruise is starting to show.

Mom came up Wednesday night, and on Thursday she took me to Glenridge Medical Center (where Atlanta Outpatient Surgery Center is located) for the operation. After the paperwork was filled out, they took me back and had me change into a gown, sit on a recliner-type medical chair, made sure they had my info right, put bracelets on me, and hooked me up to an IV. Then I found out that the microscope they needed to use for my surgery was in use, so I needed to wait another hour to hour and a half. I sat waiting with some “cocktails” coming through the IV and some magazines the sweet nurses, Jo Ann and Lynn, got me. Mom came back to wait with me, then they took me off to the OR. It was a little intimidating to look up and see all that equipment overhead, see where my hand would be cut up and the anesthesiologist waiting on me with a bunch of tubes hooked up to a mask. I have gone under general anesthsia a couple of times before, but this was the most formal OR I’d ever been in, and I had remind myself to stay calm.

Mom, driving me to surgery.
Mom, driving me to surgery.
The Atl Outpatient Surgery Center was so nice...like a hotel.
The Atl Outpatient Surgery Center was so nice…like a hotel.
Filling out the paperwork.
Filling out the paperwork.
My hand started to hurt, and Mom took a picture. So nurturing. haha
My hand started to hurt, and Mom took a picture. So nurturing. haha
Waiting on the surgery to start.
Waiting in a recliner type of chair until the microscope is ready. Then I was wheeled to the OR. They had to use a “really great microscope” for Dr. Ratner to get a good look at my radial digit nerves during surgery.
Getting some "cocktails." They told me I was a lightweight because it hit me so fast.
Getting some “cocktails.” They told me I was a lightweight because it hit me so fast.

I woke up in the recovery room bawling from the pain and asking for Tom, who was at work, so, of course, they couldn’t get him. I felt like I had just been stabbed again, and they told me the drugs couldn’t counteract the pain if I was that tense. I tried to quit crying, but it was intensely painful, and it took a while to chill out. I was so cold, and then they wheeled me to mom’s car, which was hot from the sun, and I got nauseated between the drugs, the temperature change, and the stop-and-go traffic in Atlanta. Thankfully, I didn’t throw up. I was so glad to get home. Mom got us all Chinese for dinner (I wasn’t that hungry then, but I was grateful for leftovers today!), then she went home. Tom worked from home today, and Nikki Christiansen, one of our small group leaders, brought us dinner tonight and kept me company this afternoon while Tom took Liam to the vet. We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family. Tom has been doing everything for me, going out of his way to see to my every need. What a wonderful husband God has given me! This week has been crazy, painful and different than expected, but I am glad that God is in control and knows what the purpose is, especially when I don’t (turns out that we didn’t need that lock I cut myself opening after all).

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Back at home in yet another splint.
Back at home in yet another splint.
Tom, taking care of me at home. I can't open my own pill bottles.
Tom, taking care of me at home. I can’t open my own pill bottles.

~Meghan

ps-You have no idea how long it took to type this with one hand.

Quick Blurb…

Tom and I  are officially MOVING OUT of our first place together tomorrow. It’s been a good apartment, but we outgrew it (or our stuff did?) quickly, and we are really excited to move into our house. Looking around on my lunch break…because the tv is already over there….it’s hitting me that this is it.  It doesn’t look like our “home” anymore as it becomes gutted of all the furniture and personal touches. It’s a little overwhelming.

Hopefully Samantha and Liam won’t attempt to do any “interior facelifts” at the new place as they did here-removing sideboards at all corners and pulling up carpet. We took them to our house this week after the fence was put up and let them run free in the backyard. They loved it, and we had to smile watching them enjoy the freedom of running outside. It’s nice to be able to do that without going to a dog park. We took for granted having yards growing up, and in college it didn’t matter. But when we had two animals living with us for almost a year who desperately wanted and needed to run around, it made us appreciate yards like never before. We are so excited to have it fenced in, where we know they are safe.

Anyway, we will post pictures later, but we are excited. The paint job that has been done in the kitchen, living room, and dining room looks great, the fence is up, and Tom is at the house to get the new fridge right now. (I am beyond excited about this fridge.) We’ve been working hard to get as much done ahead of time as possible; most of my clothes are over and hanging in the closet already, one bathroom is set up, boxes are filling a spare bedroom, some small furniture has moved, all cookbooks have been set up in the kitchen, and some dishes are already in the cabinets.  We are ready to get this show on the road!

Love,

Meghan

Life Headlines

So, we’ve had some big stuff going on lately, and I just wanted to recap it here so I remember how it all went down years from now.

March 22, 2009 – Violet’s Baptism

Our youngest niece, Violet Grace Patton, was baptized in Augusta. We were able to travel down to be there, and it was great to get to visit with family. Dad rode down with us because Mom had been in Savannah earlier that week and would be coming in from there. We went on the 21st, and we just caught up with Dad during the car ride, which was nice.  Mom brought me a nice gift- a pair of dark wash Seven jeans in my size. I love clothes, but being a newlywed is kind of like being in college-happy, hard-working, and poor. We prioritized our money towards the house, so we both cut out unnecessary spending, and getting a new pair of jeans was like getting a birthday present. =) Anyway, now that I’m done writing a book about clothes, I’m laughing to myself about the way that night went. Tom and I stayed in Tyler’s room (he’ll be 6 in May), which he shares with Anna Kate (2). He slept in Madeline’s room (4) for the night. Anna Kate, Madeline, and I got down to important business after dinner-nail painting. Talk about a couple of girly-girls. I had a blast with them. Maddie sits perfectly still. Anna Kate is a moving target. Plus she’s in a stage where she likes to assert her independence. I got a lot of, “I can do it!” and “I want to hold this.” and “I do it myself.” haha She disappeared with orange fingernail polish while I was doing Madeline’s nails, and we found her painting her nails on top of Madeline’s white bedding. I thought I’d have a heart attack, but she actually didn’t get any on anything but her toes. Impressive for two, but, still, that was the end of my not keeping an eye on her while I painted toes.

Later that night, we woke up often to the sound of Anna Kate talking in her sleep from her crib in the room with us. Now I know how Tom feels sleeping next to me, a notorious sleep-walker, -talker, -laugher, -screamer, -crier, etc. In the middle of the night, Maddie wandered in to get in bed with us, and she brought Rascal, their Malti-Poo with her. Tom, Rascal, Madeline, and I shared the bed for a while, then I made Rascal leave the room. He was too wiggly. It was cramped, but amusing. I got to see a glimpse of what parenthood holds, and I think it’s good we didn’t plan for kids our first year of marriage, as we both love to sleep. haha

The baptism was so nice. Violet is so sweet, and she pretty much slept through it all, then woke up for pictures after church. A preacher’s dream for an infant baptism. haha We all went to eat afterwards, then Tom and I went home.

Jonathan, Lisa, and the kids at the front of the church.
Jonathan, Lisa, and the kids at the front of the church.
Handing Violet Over
Handing Violet Over
Being Baptized
Being Baptized
The Grandparents with Violet
The Grandparents with Violet
Lisa Holding Violet
Lisa Holding Violet
Madeleine, Anna Kate, Tyler, Lisa, Violet, and Jonathan
Madeline, Anna Kate, Tyler, Lisa, Violet, and Jonathan
Tom and Meghan at the Church
Tom and Meghan at the Church

March 28, 2009 – Alejandra and Jose’s Engagement Party

Our good friends Jose and Alejandra got engaged last fall, and we were going to throw them an engagement party. It got derailed because I got really sick and had to go get some stuff done at Northside Hospital’s Outpatient Center on the day of the party. So we had the party on the 28th, and we had a great time. We got to meet so many people from their college experiences, and they have some really fun, diverse, great (and greatly educated) friends. Since neither of them are from Georgia, pretty much everyone they had at the party was someone they’d met during their college years or right after. They looked great, and everyone talked and ate and hung out until the end when we decided to play “psychiatrist,” a fun but somewhat confusing game that Robert Lee, a friend of ours, introduced us to months ago.

The Couple of Honor: Jose and Alejandra with the hosts: Us!
The Couple of Honor: Jose and Alejandra with the hosts: Us!
Jose, Alejandra, Bonnie, and Zach
Jose, Alejandra, Bonnie, and Zach
Candles and Lamps for softer lighting.
Candles and Lamps for softer lighting.
Food-not all of it was out on the table in this picture.
Food-not all of it was out on the table in this picture.
More Food.
More Food.
Jose trying to figure out the pattern in "psychiatrist."
Jose trying to figure out the pattern in “psychiatrist.”
Playing "psychiatrist."
Playing “psychiatrist.”

March 29, 2009 – Tom’s Half Marathon

We got in bed around 12:30AM after the engagement party, and we woke up at 5:20AM to get ready to head to Atlanta. Tom ran in the ING Half-Marathon, and he did an awesome job, running 13.1 miles in less than two hours. It was pretty chilly, so after I took a million pictures of the start of the race, I headed into the CNN Center and read a book for an hour and a half. Then I went down to the finish area. It was packed, so I said plenty of “excuse me”s and pushed through the crowd and the bushes until I was at the front next to a woman whose husband and some friends were all running also. We had fun cheering on the runners and chatting while we waited, cameras in hand. I felt so silly, but I could have cried, I was so proud when Tom came into view. I told her “That’s him!” And we both cheered, haha. I love meeting other outgoing, friendly people. I got a great shot of Tom running in right when he saw me yelling his name and smiling, and he looks so happy to have achieved this big accomplishment that he trained for for so long (and, I’d like to think, he was happy that I was cheering, haha). He honestly looked like it was no big effort. He was barely even sweating when he got done, and he said he could have kept running. I can’t relate to that, as I’m NOT a runner, but I was really happy for him. You can read Tom’s account of the big run (and see the “happy” picture I took)  here.

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Tom, walking towards the starting point with the other runners.
My view from the CNN Center as they cleaned up the starting point.
My view from the CNN Center as they cleaned up the starting point.
Tom, about to cross the finish line!
Tom, about to cross the finish line!
Tom, posing for me after finishing the race.
Tom, posing for me after finishing the race.
We were both tired and happy!
We were both tired and happy!

April 1, 2009 – Closing on Our House

On April Fool’s Day, we met with the lawyer, bank representative, and Ruby, our realtor, to close on our house. It took about an hour and a half to go through all of the paperwork. That lawyer could explain legal procedures, such as seizure and foreclosure of a house, in one or two breaths. She’s been in the business for about 25 years, and you could tell. After we closed and got the keys, we went to OUR HOUSE! Whew, it’s been an exciting and nerve-racking experience, but we finally are homeowners! We immediately set to work trying to figure out paint colors for the downstairs. Benjamin Moore’s website lets you “paint” a room with their colors online so you can see how it will look next to another room or hallway that is painted. I love it.

Tom, signing.
Tom, signing.
Meghan, signing.
Meghan, signing.
Tom and Meghan signing at the closing.
Tom and Meghan signing at the closing.
Right after we received our keys.
Right after we received our keys.
We had to get a picture with Ruby! She worked so hard for us and was so great.
We had to get a picture with Ruby! She worked so hard for us and was so great.
YAY! It's OUR house!
YAY! It’s OUR house!
Although I am excited to have a walk-in pantry, that's not why I included this picture. I did it because I wore my cowboy boots that day, as I have on countless other occasions. And Tom, Will, Ben, and Henry told me all summer when I bought those that I wouldn't get my money's worth out of them. That was years ago, and I'm just proving a point. =)
Although I am excited to have a walk-in pantry, that’s not why I included this picture. I did it because I wore my cowboy boots that day, as I have on countless other occasions. And Tom, Will, Ben, and Henry told me all summer when I bought those that I wouldn’t get my money’s worth out of them. That was years ago, and I’m just proving a point. =)

April 5, 2009 – One Year Anniversary

Our first married year has flown by! To celebrate, we made a weekend of it. We didn’t exchange gifts, because we agreed that the house was our gift to each other for this anniversary. On Friday, we stayed in, ate Mexican from El Torero, and watched Marley and Me. What a great movie! I boo-hooed through the last third of it, haha. On Saturday, we hung out and relaxed at home, and for dinner, we went to Stoney River. YUM!! Today, Sunday, is our actual anniversary. We went to church, then came home to hang out. Tonight we are eating the top tier from our delicious wedding cake and popping open a bottle of the champagne that we had at our wedding. Yay!

We both feel like it was a great year. People always say that the first year is the hardest. It’s funny because they make it sound like it’s going to be so tough and even somewhat miserable. What we felt was that the difficult part is learning to “be grown ups” with all the bills and work schedules and responsibilities and making all of that work together. We have very different jobs and somewhat different hours, but we have a routine that works really well for us. We also got Sam and Liam, our sweet puppies who will be one year old in May, and that required adjustment. In many ways, that brought us closer. We were both getting up in the middle of the night to take them out to “potty.” We were both feeding them, playing with them, walking them, and sharing in their funny anecdotes. We’ve been a part of a newlywed small group through our church, and we’ve learned so much from our friends in that group and have been able to contribute some as well. We’ve also learned how to budget and how to have a healthy discussion about finances, something we’ve learned that many people twice our age are still trying to figure out. That’s not to say that we’re so great and have it all figured out, just that we’ve learned from trial and error and also listening to the wisdom of others. There are  many ways to communicate about topics that aren’t always fun to discuss but are always important to discuss. It’s been a big, wonderful, blessed year, and our family of four is ready to move into our new house next month and to dive right into our second year.

Heading out to Stoney River for dinner on April 4th.
Heading out to Stoney River for dinner on April 4th.
Tom out to eat.
Tom out to eat.
Meghan out to eat.
Meghan out to eat.

compressed

So, here we are. One year of marriage strong and loving it. =)

Love,

Meghan

Book-Wormin’ It

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a total fool for reading. I LOVE it. I could be happy staying home every day and reading for the entire time that I’m supposed to be at work. One of the reasons I’m excited to move is that the library is supposed to be much better in Suwanee than the one that is near us. Well, that wouldn’t be hard to beat, but still.

I finished my second book in the last few days tonight, and it occurred to me how much I had missed it when I first started to work out here. I didn’t have any time to plow through a book, as Tom describes it. =) Only recently have I been able to pick it up again, and I’m so glad I did. Something about me is that I don’t do well reading a book that I haven’t really been wanting to read. It takes me forever to read a book if I’m only mildly interested or if someone says, “You REALLY ought to read this book; you’d love it.” I’m still working on a couple of books (that aren’t even very long) that two different people let me borrow months ago. I need to finish them because they should be returned to their owners. I can’t stand not finishing a book, so I’ve been holding onto them all this time trying to get myself back into reading them. No luck yet, but I think I’m going to have to just get over it and read them.

Last month, a group of girlfriends from college and I had our first book club meeting. We have a less than conventional club, however. It’s less of reading the same book and more of swapping books or titles that we recommend, discussing what we’re currently reading, and talking about what we’ve read in the past and how we felt about it. A lot of the discussions lead us off on tangents, but that’s fine because we are already friends and are genuinely interested in hearing each others thoughts, personal news, and stories. We also all bring something to eat or drink and socialize a bit. It’s so much fun to all be nerds together, haha. As I look at the picture below, I’m reminded of how short Jenn and I are. =)

Megan, Meghan, Jessica, Jennifer, and Mollie at the first book club meeting.
Megan, Meghan, Jessica, Jennifer, and Mollie at the first book club meeting.

Love,

Meghan

ps- Tom and I now have a picture of the front and back of our house. We can’t wait to move out of this apartment that the four of us have outgrown! =)

The front and back of the outside of our house.
The front and back of the outside of our house.

There’s No Place Like Home

For a while now, Tom and I have been talking about getting a house and what we would want in one when we go house hunting. Last year, we figured with the economy being in the favor of home buyers, we should go ahead and start looking.  We decided that we needed to focus on things we wanted in a house that we couldn’t buy or install later (we can install a big sink in a laundry room someday; we can’t install an extra bedroom quite so easily). Our main focus was that it have at least 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. We want to be in a house for at least 10 years, which would put us at 33.5 (averaging our ages). By then, we would like to have had all or most of the (four!) kids we’ve talked about trying for someday, and we’ll need somewhere to put them. I’m not totally against having siblings share a room, but I would like to have at least room for us to have our room, a boy’s room, a girl’s room, and a nursery. So each gender is separate, and babies aren’t waking up or woken up by older kids.  We also wanted some space to use as an office, and a nice sized kitchen (I am SO ready for a bigger-than-apartment-sized kitchen). We need a backyard to be fenced in or to fence in on our own for the dogs and for kids to play in someday. We definitely wanted a 2 car garage, and some space in the house that we could use for storage, whether it was an attic or a basement or just a really big storage closet somewhere and space in the garage. We also prefered to have a fireplace. And I wanted a laundry room with space for sorting dirty clothes.  So, that’s what we knew we wanted.

The house hunting began in early February. Tom and I got on every real estate site we could find and looked at pictures, descriptions, price ranges, how long a house had been on the market, and location. There’s no telling how many houses we looked at. After a couple of weeks, we had narrowed it down to our top 5, and we called the agents to set up meetings with them at the house on Saturday, Feb. 21. (We weren’t working with an agent, just meeting the different agents/brokers that were showing the house.) That Saturday, we found a really cute house, but the rooms were really small (we would have been crowding the guest bedroom with anything more than a twin bed and a dresser). The couple living there has one baby and is moving out for more room. That sent off warning bells for us as to how long that house would work for us, so we moved on. No other houses that day were working. The next day we went to see three more houses. One had just been sold, we found out, so we skipped it (obviously). And the next house was nice. We really liked it, but then noticed a sign that said “Under Contract.” So that was disappointing, but we just figured that it must not be what God wanted for us. The last house was a total bust. It just couldn’t compete with the other house we had seen and liked, and it would need a lot of work, so we passed it up.

Tom was pretty disappointed at how it had gone, but I was remembering how long it took my parents’ old house in River Cove to sell, even though it was a nice house. Sometimes finding the right house just takes a while. So we went back to our computers and found more houses we liked. We also drove around neighborhoods and looked at some of the mansions for sale out here and laughed at how over budget they would be. But it was still fun to look at them. It definitely got us some looks from others driving around looking at those houses when we jumped out and grabbed the “Free Information” on houses that started in the 600s. (yeah right! Like we could do that right now.) We just wanted to see the pictures. We would each guess how much the house cost and then call and see what it was listed at to see who was right. (We only did a that a couple of times.) Then we decided to quit messing around in neighborhoods that kids I teach probably live in and move on to more reasonable real estate for our current place in life.

We set up appointments for six houses to see on February 28th. The first one was nice but not quite what we were looking for as far as size went. It had been made so nice and new inside-new carpet and new hardwood floors, new granite counter tops and new cabinets. New light fixtures, new blinds, new faucets. New whirlpool appliances in the kitchen. I mean, that’s nice. Plus, they were throwing in the hot tub that was on the back patio. We think the woman who made was flipping the house had great taste, but the house structure itself was not what we were looking for. The bathrooms weren’t a good size, and the master bath is smaller than ours is now in an apartment. These ended up being deal breakers.

The next house was not what we were looking for at all. Then the next four houses were all shown to us by the same agent, Ruby, who is this really cute lady from Columbia (she moved to the States when she was 18 or 19) who got a real feeling for what we were looking for in a house. She asked us first thing what structural things in a house were a must have, and she also pointed out every single thing in a house that we would need to fix. That helped us see whether or not a “great deal” on a house was really a good purchase, and it felt like she was working for us more than just someone we called to show us a few houses and was working for Remax. The first couple of houses she showed us were not so great once we saw them in person. Pictures can be so deceiving.

The second to last house of the day was our favorite. We walked into it and just looked at each other. We both knew we loved it.  The laundry room is a great size, and the kitchen has a small, walk-in pantry. (I had been surprised at how many houses have the same pantry size as our apartment, which is like a tiny linen closet.) It has five bedrooms and three bathrooms. The attic has enough room for plenty of storage, and the bedrooms are all a nice size. We loved the size of the master bedroom, bathroom, and closet. (Right now we aren’t even sharing a closet, so that will probably change.) The bedroom that is downstairs is a nice size for an office, and there is a fireplace in the living room. The kitchen is what first made me love the house. It’s got corian (at least, they look and feel like corian; I haven’t read that they are on any papers) countertops, cabinets that have a cherry wood stain, tile backsplash, a breakfast bar, a breakfast table area looking out at the yard, a dishwasher, and a gas range stove. I love it.

The last house of the day was a mess. It smelled all over like a big cigarette, and it had horrible carpet with paint stains all over it. There was wallpaper everywhere that would have to come down, and every room needed to be painted. The carpet and doors looked like they hadn’t been updated since the early nineties, and we were only in there for about five minutes before we told Ruby that we weren’t interested and wanted to make an offer on the house  that we had just left.

We started the paperwork that night, and our offer was in on Monday. That night, Ruby called us and said another couple had made an offer as well. We then had to begin revising our offer, and got that in on Tuesday. The bank counter-offered. We counter-offered that. Ruby worked really hard for us. On Wednesday night, she called us and told us to break out the champagne. We could hardly believe it. We got the house, and we’re still excited about it! =) On Friday, Ruby came over with some paperwork for us to sign, and we will close at the end of the month. In April, we plan to fence in the backyard and buy a fridge; those are our top priorities. We also plan to paint (inside) the house and steam clean the carpets. Then we can move in. It hasn’t sunk in yet, and I don’t think it will until we are there. It took us at least six months to quit saying, “Can you believe we’re married?” So I’m figuring that it will take us that long to quit saying, “Can you believe this is our home?” =) By the end of April, we’re planning to be living there. =) What a blessing from God to be able to find the right home so quickly. God guided us to this one, and we definitely spent some time in prayer while we looked online and before and after visits to different houses.

Here are a few pictures of our house, as it is right now:

We can put down more plywood over the insulation and use the space for storage.
Some of the Attic Space-We can put down more plywood over the insulation and use the space for storage.
This room is on the left as soon as you come in the front door.
Dining Room-This room is on the left as soon as you come in the front door.
View of the front door from the inside. Dining room is on the right
View of the front door from the inside. Dining room is on the right.
This is the view of the front door from the upstairs hall.
This is the view of the front door from the upstairs hall.
Our Garage.
Our Garage.
This is the secondary bathroom upstairs. It opens to the hall (where the picture was taken) and to a bedroom (door on left).
This is the secondary bathroom upstairs. It opens to the hall (where the picture was taken) and to a bedroom (door on left).
This is the closet of the bathroom for the bedroom that upstairs bathroom enters to. I don't know why we don't have a picture of the room.
This is the closet for the bedroom that the upstairs bathroom enters to. I don’t know why we don’t have a picture of the room.
Another picture of a closet. This room is on the left as soon as you come up the stairs.
Another picture of a closet. This room is on the left as soon as you come up the stairs.
This bedroom is on the right when you come up the stairs. That door is to the closet.
This bedroom is on the right when you come up the stairs. That door is to the closet.
This is the master bedroom. Past the doors, near that window, is a sitting area. I can't wait to make it cozy so I can read books there.
This is the master bedroom. Past the doors, near that window, is a sitting area. I can’t wait to make it cozy so I can read books there.
This is our master closet. YAY for space! Tom took the picture while I was taking notes. Wish I wasn't in it, oh well.
This is our master closet. YAY for space! Tom took the picture while I was taking notes. Wish I wasn’t in it, oh well.
This is looking over the rail down the stairs. The wooden floor you see at the bottom is part of the living room.
This is looking over the rail down the stairs. The wooden floor you see at the bottom is part of the living room.
This is the view of the stairs from one of the bedroom doors.
This is the view of the stairs from one of the bedroom doors.
View of the Living Room
View of the Living Room
I can't wait to get my washer and dryer in this laundry room. It's got more space than what we have in the apartment.
I can’t wait to get my washer and dryer in this laundry room. It’s got more space than what we have in the apartment.
Kitchen! Woo! I am so excited to have counterspace!!
Kitchen! Woo! I am so excited to have counterspace!!

Now we just have to find the best yard sales to hit because the furnishings for a two bedroom apartment won’t stretch far in a house! Maybe next year we can post pictures to show what the place looks like when people are actually living there. So that’s what’s happening with us right now, and that’s all I’ve got.

Love,

Meghan