Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful Thoughts

Thanksgiving 2014

It's that time of the year again, the time that we all sit down and list out the things we are thankful for. Though we should reflect year-round on the things we are thankful for, sometimes it just doesn't happen that way. So here I am, to do my yearly reflection on the things I'm thankful for.

1. Life. Cliche as it may be, I am thankful for another day, every day. There are people who are trapped in a country where they cannot live the life they desire. There are some who do not know if they'll make it to see another day. And there are those who have lost their lives much too soon. So for me, I'm thankful for the life I have. It's by no means perfect, but it's mine, and I am thankful to have it.

2. Health. At a glance, my health wouldn't appear to be something anyone would be thankful for. In the past year I've suffered from extreme head and face pain, leading to a diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia; Anxiety and panic attacks, which I am working hard to overcome without any medication; A nasty bout of Salmonella poisoning; A continuous battle with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome and a recurring cyst on my right ovary; Several pre-cancerous cells on my back that needed to be removed; An auto-immune deficiency causing terrible itching in certain places on my body; and most recently I've battled through Shingles. All of these things have knocked me on my bottom, but I've been able to persevere by knowing that it could ALWAYS be worse. My body is strong, despite these issues. And that is why I am thankful for my health, because God wouldn't test someone who couldn't handle it.

3. Home. As featured so prominently on this blog, I'm so proud of and thankful for the place I call home. Almost seven years ago when we started renting our lovely little cottage by the sea I never would have dreamed that one day I would own it. But we do, and we are working on making it our own. Our home is a place of comfort, love and peace. 

4. Family. What would a thankful Thanksgiving post be without saying I'm thankful for my family?! Well, I am. I've always known this, and I've always been thankful for a strong, close-knit family. Family is your blood and that bonds you like no other. Whether you are upset with each other or sharing moments of pure joy, your family is always there to experience these things with you. Though some of us are spread out a little further than we'd like these days, it only brings us closer.

5. Harper.  My sweet, sweet baby girl. I'd always said I "wasn't a dog person", but that was before a little beagle runt stole my heart. As a newborn pup she was feisty, a fighter and just as cute as a button. Terrified of change, I wasn't sure I wanted to bring her home and add a dog to our lives, but I am so glad we did. I can't bare the thought of not having her in our lives, because she really does complete us. She is love. She is adventure. She is pure beagle and I love her dearly!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Interior Work

If you've ever watched any HGTV, you know that old houses typically come with their fair share of problems that are not visible from the surface. Once you start tearing out walls and pulling off siding you are likely to find some structural challenges. And despite my best efforts to wish away any old school problems, they crept right up to slow down our progress. Luckily, the biggest speed bump we've encountered so far wasn't really that big. The hip style of our roof has required us to use some headers in places we weren't planning for, causing us to rethink some of the room and closet placements. And lets be honest here....after several days of heated "discussions", re-drawn floor plans, and even a first by Bubba to change the layout, we finally compromised and came up with a functional and really great solution!

We've decided to make our former master bedroom into the guest room and what was supposed to be the guest room our master bedroom. Now, you'll enter our new sitting room from our bedroom, as well as a master bathroom and a (small) walk-in closet. It's also going to have some custom built shelving. I can't wait to watch it all unfold, it will be so nice to have a removed, personal space of our own and not feel like our bedroom is on display for all visitors to see.

For today though, I wanted to share some pictures of the work we've gotten done this past week. Our contractor and plumber came in and demoed the bathroom and exposed all of the piping. I'm still not sure how the two of them got the cast iron tub out of the house, but they did it!

Bathroom BEFORE:

View from the kitchen looking into the bathroom. So small...and so strange to have the only bathroom in the house off of the kitchen, but I guess that's an old house for you!

Closer view of the bathroom. Not that you can see it very well, but we are saving the vanity, sink and medicine cabinet.

Bathroom AFTER, now a mudroom:

View from about the same spot in the kitchen. Where the 2x4 is laying across the floor and there is no tile is where the tub and wall were and where the addition started. Lots of light and more room!
View from the new side door on the addition, looking into the new mudroom/former bathroom. It will enter into the kitchen.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Inside Updates

Everyone has been working hard on our house this past week. Check out the progress we're making!

This is a look from the living room of the former doorways to both bedrooms and the cutout for the hallway (which has been made larger at this point). Oh and my mom cleaning up a bit:

Standing in the master bedroom looking through to the guest room. #Messy:

In the guest room, looking towards the master bedroom. Don't mind the curious pup!:

View from the front of the house:

View from the side street/behind out neighbors house. Love it!:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Interior Demo

Lots of hard work today from Bubba, myself, my Mom, my grandfather, and my in-laws!

Luckily, I remembered to take a couple of "before" photos of the master bedroom and guest bedroom. Here we have our master bedroom. It's not huge, and it's not going to be huge, but you absolutely cannot beat the views of the sunrise.

And here we have the before photos of the guest bedroom. This room is going to change A LOT and I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Windows

LOVE LOVE LOVE! So happy with how things are coming along:

Harper approves!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Neighborhood History

How old is your neighborhood? Our is pretty old. In fact, while signing our settlement papers last week, we were given an old plat of the neighborhood from 1891!! There is so much history here and that is why we just love it. And it's also while we are trying to preserve as much of our cottage, built in 1929, that we can. As beautiful, spacious, and luxurious as so many of the newly built homes and neighborhoods in St. Mary's County are, I wouldn't trade what we have here for anything. It's peaceful here, minus a few negligent neighbors, and that is what makes our long commutes worth it.

The weather has been wicked this weekend. Icy cold and winds that just won't stop. So we didn't get too much work done on the addition. Bubba and Pa, my grandfather, were able to finish off the side wall and a few other small items, and we also made our way down to Lowes to buy the new windows for the front of the house. All 6 of them!

We are lot 17. Also neat to see how the names or roads and creeks have changed. previously, Dick Hart's Creek. Now known as, Duke Hart's Creek.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Seeing Rooms

Our builders and Bubba did some beautiful work last week on our house. They were able to take the biggest challenge, extending the roof, and make it work seamlessly! I just love the hip roof that was on the house when we bought it. And it isn't that old, so I was really hoping that we'd be able to just extend the roof, rather than take the entire thing off. They mulled it over for a while and they finally decided to keep the hip style, add a dormer to the side facing our driveway, and to create an overhang by the back door. And I just love it! It is staying true to the original style of the house, but updating it enough to make it functional.

Check it out:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Walls and a Roof Line

Bubba took off work this week to lend a helping hand to the construction. He must have been quite the helper too because when I came home the house looked totally different! My grandfather only lives ten minutes away, so he decided to come down around lunch time to see if there was anything he could help with too. They were both still working when I pulled in the driveway and finished up just before dark. I'm so lucky to have such hardworking men in my life!

Anyway, here is the progress that was made today:

View from the back.

We have a new roof line!

Looking into the guest room and it's closet.

View from standing in the mudroom looking towards the front of the house.

Exciting, good stuff! I love it :)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Floor Boards and Framing

The rain and nasty weather slowed us down a bit, but this past week our builder was able to make some good progress on the addition. Bubba and I, along with some help from our family, also pitched in and did our part. Our builder has been kind enough to work with us and allow us to do any of the labor that we're capable of, as well as picking out appliances, windows, doors, etc. that fit our budget.

Here are a few shots of how the addition is coming along:

My grandfather, Pa, Bubba, and his dad, Pee Wee, working on back-filling all of the dirt that was dug out in order to put the foundation in. The pile of dirt was HUGE and after two days of shoveling, tilling, raking, and more shoveling, we were finally able to move the extra dirt to other areas of the yard that needed to be filled in.

View from the back - the AC unit has finally been moved. The shorter area is where the mudroom will begin.

View from the driveway/side. Walls are getting framed up! Finally seeing it come together.

View from the front. I love our little hip-roof, but it is going to change once we're finished. It will be worth it for the views and the extra space we'll have inside the house.

Now for a few fun, sentimental pictures :)

Harper exploring the new digs! She seems very interested in everything that has been happening.

I went for a run this morning and was sitting in the sitting room trying to plan out the closet and where I'm going to put my freshly painted desk. I thought it might be a good idea to snap a picture, that way wen it's finished and I'm inside I'll take another one for the after effect!

Watching the progress has been pretty neat, and it's only going to get more exciting. Things are really going to start rolling this week - can't wait to share it with you!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cottage Renovation: Footers

I came home from work one day last week and found this sitting in the driveway:

So I guess this is really happening! Our cottage renovation and small addition is ready to get started. In fact, they dug the footers and poured the concrete towards the end of the week before the rain came in.


Digging the footers:

Filled with cement (and a couple beagle paw prints...):

It may not look like much, but I'm definitely starting to envision to end product! Up next: the AC unit (towards the back) needs to be relocated to the back of the house and then Bubba will be working with our Mason to lay the block. Let's hope the rain holds off this week so we can get cracking!

In the House:
Currently we are working on downsizing and de-cluttering. Today we switched out our warm weather wardrobes for our cool weather clothing, removed two chest of drawers, and took all of the artwork and decor off the walls in the bedrooms and living room. We've also packed up all of our valuables and fragile items from the kitchen, such as our china and serving dishes and moved them to the living room where they will be safe and sound. There will be a lot of banging and hammering going on on the opposite side of the kitchen, so I thought, better safe than sorry, let's gently package this stuff up and put it in a safe place. Next, I will be cleaning the remaining items out of the guest room and giving it a final clean up. Lots of work to do - AND lots of "before" pictures I need to take!

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Blessing of the Fleet

I just love the month of October. It has so much to offer Bubba and I. For example, the first weekend of October, every year, is The Blessing of the Fleet. This is an event that takes place literally 3 doors down from our house, at the St. Clements Island Museum. It is put on by the 7th District Optimist Club and it never disappoints. Since we've lived in Colton's Point, going on 6 years now, we've thrown a party or get-together of sorts to coincide with the event. Though we didn't party it up like we have in the past, we did have a great time! Thank goodness for the nice weather. It allowed us to stay outside the majority of the day. Which was nice since we've already started packing up our house for the upcoming renovation.

You know it's been a good day when you're two brothers-in-law have had a couple drinks and make their way to the kitchen to have a good old fashioned cook off. And their competition item? Crab balls! I think we all reaped the benefits of that one! #delicious #drunkcrabballs

A beautiful day for the Blessing of the Fleet!

Taking a ferry ride to the island with my mom and sister.

One of Bubba's little cousins enjoying the boat ride back from St. Clements Island.

Bubba's homemade low country boil. #spicy #numnum

P.S. - How cute is my nephew, Zack, rocking out to The Sam Grow Band?! Oh I just love this sweet baby boy!