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: