Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wildbaby Crazy

We'll be leaving tomorrow morning, and by morning I mean 5am, for Arizona with Debbie and Joe. That's four full-sized adults, 2 dogs, and enough luggage for 5 days for all, crammed into a Prius. We made it work two years ago, so I can't imagine it will be much different this time around...

But for some reason packing this time seems way harder. I've set out to work on this project on the road. I cut out all 60 circles last night and plan to hand sew them in place in the car. We'll see how that works. This is really just a test run though. I want to make the real deal for future Wildbaby *who is now determined to be a GIRL!!!* with wool felt. Joann's wool felt selection is dismal, abysmal, really any 'mal you can think of... So I will be ordering the felt online. I want to make sure I can complete the project first before splurging on good fabric though.
I have been hounding Tali like crazy about the baby's name. She won't budge... Well correction, she would maybe, possibly, but not necessarily budge if I swore on my life, the baby's life, everyone I love's life that I wouldn't tell a soul... I just can't do that though. So tormented I shall remain... We have talked colors though. She has drawn inspiration from a blog called "Me and Wee." Not only do I love baby Paige's room, I find her mother/the blog's author to be really inspirational. I think the nursery is just fantastic. It's got the right amount of baby-ness to it, but is something any child could grow into. -And the doxie lamp!!!! I may be looking into this for a future present Tali, so if you find out you're getting it or have already gotten it, let me know!

I am trying to be not too much of an obnoxious-aunt-to-be, but it's hard! I'm a gazillion miles away, and I am just bouncy-excited-like-no-other for the Wildbaby to be born already!
But back to reality... I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday for reasons mentioned in the past. Tali confessed today that in my honor, she will abstain from making her amazing apple pie, and instead make apple cake. Although I shouldn't care, that made me feel really good. I'm not missing out -except everyone else is. Damnit. That's wrong.

This is just a taste of all the doggie lovin' we'll be getting on the road to AZ. We had a Thanksgiving themed Pilgrims & Indians girl's night at Debbie's this past Sat and it was the first time I'd seen Shebbie and Babu in ages...
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teach a man to fish

My dad will be leaving first thing in the morning tomorrow and it's truly hard to believe he was here less than a week. What's harder to believe is how much work was completed in that short time.

"Everything I set out to do today got done," was what I heard when I came home today. The base coat of stucco on the garage was completed. Mark and my dad installed trim on the french doors, switches were installed, the tub in the guest bath got its face plate, and hardware was installed in our bathroom... and that's just today.

It was such a great visit with my folks. We got a lot done and managed to have a great time throughout. Here are some photo highlights...

Mom was the cornhole master. She could sink a beanbag like nobody's business...

Testing out my chicken soup

Matzah balls!!!

Dad teaches Mark to lay stucco

The "after" from the photo below...

Mark and Dad install a new ceiling fan

The stopping point from last night
I haven't taken photos today to show more recent updates, but you can see, the work was all over the place, but very thorough. My dad even got stopped by a woman who was driving by and saw him doing the stucco today. She asked if he was taking on other jobs. *He's that good*
Anyhow, while I wasn't involved in the man-work this go-round, Mark "learned to fish." Mark was involved with all of the jobs and really what better way to learn?
Thanks mom and dad for a great long weekend and all of the help with the house!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Peach Palace Gets a Makeover

What a weekend! Mark and my dad worked diligently yesterday to lay the first layer of stucco on our exterior. It looks so great! Mark also learned how to install a ceiling fan (which was done in our bedroom) -out with the old, ugly, bright brass and white fan, and in with the new, beautiful, silent, brushed nickel and espresso finish fan *with dimmer*.

All the while, I learned how to make chicken soup from scratch and eggplant dip with my mother. The feminist in me is in there somewhere cringing at the cliche 1950s-ness of all of this, but let me tell you, it was a blast. The men were hard at work, the women slaved over a hot stove, and both Mark and I learned some valuable lessons.

I will post photos of everything later, but what I have on hand right now is a photo Mark sent me of the progress of the exterior of our garage. If you recall, there was this hideous architectural element on the facade of our garage, that alternated combed stucco, textured glass that had been painted over, and wood that boarded up some of the broken glass. Say buh-bye. Mark and my dad are hard at work, laying plywood and mesh, and soon to be stucco, over this monstrosity of an eyesore. Once we paint our house, it will all blend in. Oh, I can't wait!!!

Here is how it looks right now...

Friday, November 13, 2009

That time of year

It's almost Thanksgiving time! There really is no better holiday if you ask me - a day that's all about gratitude, togetherness, and feasting on copious amounts of food.

This year, Mark and I will be driving to Arizona with Debbie and Joe to celebrate with the Singers. The same trip to Arizona was how Mark and I really got to know each other a couple of years ago, on what I consider our five day second date, so it will be fun to do again.

I love going back to Austin for Thanksgiving because the food is amazing and of course, it's home. Tali makes Martha Stewart's apple pie every year and it is just devine. I will miss the feast this year, but having just been back in Austin in October, and my folks being here this weekend, an expensive flight for Mark and I just didn't make sense.

But in the spirit of Thanksgiving cuisine and Martha, I thought I'd share a Martha cookbook that a coworker sent me yesterday. If you go to this link for Martha's Sirius radio show, you can download a copy of her Thanksgiving recipe cookbook for free! Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If you already own it, it's practically free!

This mirror was Mark's before I ever met him. It was pretty as its former self (I apologize there are no befores). It was dark wood and crackled silver and just didn't fit in our current decor. Nothing a little white spraypaint couldn't fix. The mirror sits above our little desk/sewing table in our guest room. Mark and I compromised on the height. I wanted it to be vanity height so I could sit at the table and put on makeup. Mark wanted it much higher. So alas, it's all about compromise, right? I'm really happy with it! This project cost us a whopping $7 for a can of Rustoleum Universal in satin white. Pennies in the grand scheme of things... Two blog entries in one day? Dost my eyes deceive me?! Ok, that's all you get. Good night!

Where have I been?!

Apologies to you, blog, for this unwarranted (yet totally warranted) hiatus. No hard feelings?

So where to begin? Not much house work has taken place at Chez Braffe (or Jafflow, take your pick) as of late. Mark and I rallied this weekend to clean, paint our guest room door, and paint a mirror. We should have the door and mirror complete tonight, so photos will follow soon.

My parents are coming to visit this weekend, and I can hardly contain myself! They have only seen our home through the blog, and it definitely shows better in person if you ask me. They arrive on Friday evening, will stay with us Friday night, then drive up to Santa Barbara on Saturday morning for the day/night. On Sunday morning, they'll be back just in time for my dad to teach Mark (and I) how to re-facade the stucco on our exterior. My mom leaves early on Monday morning, but dad will stick around a couple of extra days to help us with some random projects around the house, which will hopefully include, replacing our kitchen window, installing a new ceiling fan, and fixing the socket in our master bathroom.

If you haven't figured it out already, my dad is super handy. And by super handy, I mean he can do practically anything -like Superman with a tool belt. He even built us new doors for our bathroom cabinets and shipped them to California. *I will be priming and painting them soon.

So back to where we've been... Mark turned the big dirty thirty last week! We decided to make a weekend out of it and went up to Boston, where he had never been before. We ate tons of chowdah, lobstah, drank lots of beeah (with an obligatory visit to the Sam Adams Brewery,) played in the leaves, hung out with old friends, and even went on the Ghosts and Gravestones tour, through the old cemeteries of Boston. Here are some photo highlights from our trip.
Mark playing in the leaves

Mark's birthday lobstah (stuffed)

Mark preparing to eat his birthday lobstah

at the Sam Adams Brewery

Enjoying some Boston Lagah

John Hancock's tomb (a little phallic, no?)

Paul Revere's more humble grave

Living it up with Jillian and Sean at the Black Rose

Enjoying the blustery weather
Hopefully I'll get another update in this week, but I don't want to risk any empty promises, as this week promises to be busy!