Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Memorial Day Weekend 2013

In the working world, Memorial Day is one of the most anticipated holidays on the books. It ends the Holiday drought from February to May and almost always guarantees good weather. With all of the cookouts and parties, it's easy to forget about the meaning and memory behind the holiday, remembering all of those who gave their lives in the Armed Forces for OUR freedom. I have a lot of family and friends who serve(d) in our country's military, and I am lucky enough to say that I do not actually know anyone who has given their life in the line of duty. Thank God, because there are so many others out there who have lost their loved ones to war.

I spent the long weekend with those I love, playing with my pup, taking a trip to the park with my sweet niece and nephews, and enjoying my yard/home.

Several months ago, my sister encouraged us all to buy MLB tickets to the Nationals vs. Orioles game on Memorial Day itself. My Dad is an avid baseball fan (that's an understatement actually) and his birthday was the day after Memorial Day, so we used his birthday as an excuse to go to the game. Unfortunately, the big guy is having surgery on his foot this week, and needed to work on Monday and couldn't come to the game. Even though it wasn't the same without his constant critique and commentary, we had a blast. My husband and I bought his ticket and gave it to my father-in-law for Fathers Day.

The weather was warm, the seats were great, and the kindness and thought that the Nationals organization showed for those lost in war for Memorial Day was inspiring!

Bubs and I, cheering for the O's!

Enjoying the game, and an Orioles lead.

My sister, Marci, and I went down to the front row to watch warm ups. Chris Davis, the Orioles slugger and first baseman, spotted our O's jerseys in a sea of Nats gear and tossed us two warm up balls followed by a kind smile and salute. *swoon*

Free American flags when you entered the park.

Marci, my mom, and myself taking in Nationals Park.

Before the game started, a different starting line-up took the field. A military widow made her way to the pitchers mound, and all of the other positions were filled with children who lost a parent to war, accompanied by a military sponsor. *tear*

Curb Appeal Pt.II

I just wanted to share a few more pictures of the cottage's curb appeal this year. The weather has finally started to warm up, and everything is in full bloom!

I'm always sharing pictures from the front of the house, so I thought I'd switch it up a bit.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cottage Improvement Chronicles: Curb Appeal

We've really thrown ourselves into improving our yard while we're on hold with the rest of the house. (With broken blinds and a dilapidated septic system, I'm getting PRETTY antsy waiting for to get started on the house) So, I'm determined to get the rest of our lot looking tip top! Here is a quick glance at some of the pretty new curb appeal at Point Breeze Cottage:

Our neighbor gave us her old walkway pavers when Bubba laid her new ones down for her. So, we upcycled them, and placed them around the two old/wild bushes in the front yard. Add a little mulch and a drift wood looking stump found on the beach, and voila! 

Bubba mulched the side of the house/flower bed that we had professionally done last year. Everything looks so clean and is blooming out beautifully!

Our gorgeous, old rose bush in the front of the garage is blooming out and climbing the lattice!

The lovely bouquet of roses and peonies from around the yard.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Cottage Improvement Chronicles: Dead Shed

I am abnormally excited to tell you all about the latest improvement we are making to the Point Breeze Cottage. Honestly, it's not really an improvement to the cottage itself, but more-so one to our yard.

The status on the cottage: Stuck in a holding pattern. We have discovered some septic issues and are trying to sort them out with the Health Department before we can move on with any additions or upgrades to the house. You'll read more about this dilemma later...So for now, we're focusing on our yard.

Anyway, on our property we have a large garage that allows us to store all kinds of junk, tools, projects, etc. A very useful structure indeed:

Sturdy, large, and not completely hideous. This is an old picture, we've since added a piece of lattice above the rose bush to the left to allow it to climb the wall and add some color. We've also relocated the large bushes (right) to the back yard. PS- check out the sweet deer sign my dad welded for us all on his own!

So that's the garage. What you can't see in this picture? The eye-sore that had been the thorn in every neighbors side LONG before we purchased the house...what I like to call, the "Dead Shed".

This picture doesn't actually do justice to the hideousness that was the "Dead Shed".  We took this picture after Hurricane Irene came through and knocked the tree over onto the shed. (You can learn more about our battle with Hurricane Irene by clicking HERE or HERE on my old blog) As you can see, this was all hidden behind our garage, shielding it front the front street, but leaving it exposed to all of those behind us. 

This mess had been this bad for years, so we took the storm as a sign/opportunity to relieve our neighbors of the ugliest spot on the block. Once we got rid of the old shed and remnants of the shed, we found a trove of junk. So much junk. Nails, screws, light switches, bottles, ice skates, cans, a toilet, random pieces of metal, fishing poles, and lots and lots of old plastic jugs. Being the daughter of a waterman, I know that most of the jugs were probably used years ago for marking pots in the water, but you'd think they'd have gotten thrown away. Nope everything was just left here; A catchall for things that were no longer wanted or used.

We removed as much as we could and did our best to rake up the dirt underneath. Bubba used the space to plant a small vegetable garden last year, with great results. This year he and his dad are planting a larger amount of fruits and vegetables on their family farm in Mechanicsville, so the space was free again. And looked rough...

No structure, no clean lines, just a OCD couldn't take it much longer...

We tilled and raked, removed the pavers we'd placed in the center for the firepit, and gathered up all of the old bricks that were leftover from the fireplace we found in our bedroom wall. (Read more about that escapade HERE!)

View from the backstreet/what our neighbors see when they look out their front door. (A wild puppy, a hardworking husband, a crazy lady with a camera, and the beautiful Potomac River)

We cleared what we could, placed the bricks around the perimeter (after fighting with several NASTY spiders), threw down some Preen for good measure, gave it a good soaking, and then spread some wildflower seeds. We figure that once our septic issues are resolved, we're more than likely going to need a mound system. So why waste the time, effort and money of creating a garden oasis, when we'll probably have to remove it at some point? Not to mention, we aren't exactly diligent when it comes to pulling me, this seemed like the best option, and certainly the prettiest one. 

Here are a couple of shots once we finished. Now we water and wait for the flowers to grow!

We decided to add a nautical touch by using some old drift wood we've collected over the years from the beach around the perimeter of the garden. As you can see, there are still some weeds in the tilled up dirt, but that's the beauty of wildflowers, it doesn't matter! 

Certainly not perfect, but we're making progress!

I can't wait for the flowers to start growing so they can add a pop of color to the backyard. In the mean time I'm working on a DIY birdbath project for the center of the flower garden, using all up-cycled materials from around the house...Look for a post on that project in the near future :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back to Reality

Ok, I last left you with a little teaser of what relaxation in Ponte Vedra, FL looked like. And if anyone is interested, I'll now give you a photographic recap of our trip to Florida.

Most of us "roadtripped" it to and from FL in order to accommodate these two...Harper, above, and Hillee, below.

We watched Tyler receive his Bachelors Degree from the University of North Florida.

We all enjoyed the pet friendly, private beaches of Ponte Vedra!

Ate and drank... a lot!

Took a day trip to Universal Studios...

...that ended in three outfit changes...

...and a Skunk ride!

 We spoiled our pups!

And most importantly, we enjoyed every moment of our time together!

Now, we go back to reality...