Shotgun Rider

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that Scott and I went to a Tim McGraw concert on Saturday.  And you might think, “What fun those two have!  So glad they are enjoying their weekend.”  To which I would say, “Fooled you!” IMG_5443

Don’t get me wrong, the concert was a blast. It was an absolute lifesaver from the sheer amount of home improvement that consumed our weekend.  I’m still finding paint and caulk on my arms and legs.  I think my hand will forever be a claw that can only hold a paintbrush.

IMG_5447

But. We have finally…FINALLY…finished every project we have started.  I’m so excited to share finished pictures this week.  This has been such a long, grueling process.  And frankly, I’m just so happy I married someone who I can do home projects with all day and turn around and head straight to a country concert together.  We weren’t sick of each other and had so much fun dancing the night away.

IMG_5458

Tim McGraw always puts on a good show.  You know all of his songs and can dance and sing along all night.  He’s like Kenny Chesney – always a good bet for a live show.

IMG_5453

And he looks darn good in a hat.IMG_5450

The “During” Stage of Life

{House} facelifts don’t just happen.  But weren’t those “After” pictures nice?  Working on the house has been consuming our weekends and weeknights for awhile now.  I wanted to be sure to document the people doing the “during” work, not just the “after” pictures.  Because one day we’ll be able to just enjoy our house and our weekends, and I don’t want to take that for granted.

IMG_4952

IMG_1905

We have had some incredible help from our family and friends.  Look at this sooty fireplace.IMG_5416

My family visited for a weekend at the Shore, but cold, rainy weather turned it into a work weekend!  Hi Megan!  Poor girl got roped into re-painting our fireplace.IMG_5172

And it looks so much better!IMG_4317

Mom helped me weed.  ALL the weeds.  They are the absolute bane of my existence.IMG_5178

Dad and Scott replaced rotted boards on the deck. IMG_5175IMG_5174 IMG_5179

And then Scott and his dad re-stained the whole thing.  It’s a BIG deck.IMG_5232IMG_5245

We also painted our 2 downstairs bedrooms.  Somehow we talked our friends, Todd and Allie, into helping us.  IMG_5235

You go to bed thanking Jesus for that sort of blessing.IMG_5238 IMG_5239

And when it’s all done – or feels like it won’t end – I employ my good friend, tequila.IMG_5217We have one more weekend of housework to push through.  Send good thoughts, prayers and maybe tequila!

House Face Lift

We have been working on our house like crazy recently and we just finished some curb-appeal projects this weekend. Mainly, we painted the shutters black and stained the front porch.  Here’s the house, looking all spiffed up.  I couldn’t be happier with the new black shutters.  Buh-bye faded merlot eye sores! IMG_5412

Here is the “curb-appeal” progression. When we moved in to the jungle:Front Yard

Post-ripping out all of the trees and bushes.IMG_1253

After laying sod.IMG_1320

And the finished product!  With black shutters and a stained deck.  And pretty pink hydrangeas.  I’m debating painting the front door black (we have leftover paint).  Or a different color?  Thoughts?

IMG_5412

Bizzare-o Weekend at the Fitzgerald House

The past two weekends have been domestic bliss, I tell you.  Without an ounce of sarcasm.  We have stayed home, worked on the house, gone to church, caught up on movies, saw friends and enjoyed the glorious weekend sunshine-y weather.  I literally couldn’t want anything more out of my weekends.  Except a trip to Greece, I suppose.

Friday night, Scott and I went to one of our new local favorites, The Robinson Ale House.  We followed it up, no lie, with a viewing of How to Train Your Dragon 2.  If you ask me it was even better than the first one.  And apparently, dragons are just big cats.  Because Scott and I both kept laughing at the bizarre behavior similarities between the dragons and Prince.

Saturday was gloriously beautiful.  We hit up an estate sale (two lamps for $1 a piece), drove to the ocean and came home and put our new (to us) weight set to use.  Yes, that is right, I pumped some iron.  First time since a brief, week-long stint in weight training class in high school.  You know I promptly dropped that class in favor of aerobics.  Do they still offer aerobics as a legitimate class these days?  Anyways, I’m still sore.  I would love to know why my elbows hurt.

IMG_4293

And in the afternoon, Scott continued to build doorway headers as we slowly inch our way to a completed downstairs. I can’t wait to show pictures of the final product.  Especially considering the amount of painstaking work that goes into making an old house level.  IMG_4434

Believe it or not, this is what level/90 degree angles looks like.IMG_4432

And I planted a vegetable garden!  It’s success is doubtful, but I’m hoping to get some fresh veggies and a few gardening lessons out of it.  Lesson 1: Stick to the list you go to the store with, which was informed by garden research.  Don’t get fooled by the fact that they are selling brussels sprouts! Because you might come home to learn from Google that brussels are more of a fall crop and should not be planted in the heat.  Well then.  I planted spinach, mixed lettuce, cauliflower and the doomed brussels.  And some marigolds, since they are apparently the garden equivalent of a bouncer and “keep pests away.”

At one point, Scott came outside to inform me that Prince had escaped the deck and was halfway under a bush.  He pulled him out and then we saw a MOUSE run out from the bush!  So basically, my fluff ball went hunting. Outside. Without any claws or real world know-how.  And I lifted weights.  Bizarre-o land for sure.

I also finished a small makeover/DIY project. Our house came with this massive (4′ x 5′) mirror.

IMG_4427

So I used up some leftover Annie Sloan Antique White paint on the frame.

IMG_4430

And voila – it’s hung in our entryway, bouncing around more light and filling the wall nicely. You can see that the sunny weather didn’t last past the weekend, but I’d rather have sunny weekends than work weeks anyways.

IMG_4457Next up: Building a grey-washed shelf or table under the mirror.  And then pretty candles and vases and decorations. Hopefully my massive muscles and the aggressive mouse hunter don’t get in the way.

We Have Walls

We have walls, yes, we do.  Here is proof.  This is a little behind the times, since we have now painted.  But I thought I’d give you a peek at the semi-finished downstairs.  These pictures were taken back in August.

photo-10photo-9

Ok, so this is a floor.  But it shows the amount of dust collected on the {once brown} paper.  The mud and new dry wall smell like the inside of a pumpkin to me.  Not in the “Pumpkin Spice Latte” way, but the gross, gut-sy stuff inside of a pumpkin you carve at Halloween.  It actually makes me look forward to the smell of paint. (<– Written in August.)

photo 1-16photo 2-16photo 3-14

So there you have it.  And now, I need to try to get some pictures of the beautiful, blue paint we chose. We are inching our way along to a finished product!  Molding is up next.

One Year in our House

We have been in our house in New Jersey for one year.  Well, one year on October 18.  But life has been busy, y’all.  In the past year, we have accomplished quite a bit.  I still get overwhelmed and have to remind myself of that and rest easy that we are doing as much as we can.  And what we can do is enough.  Here are some of the highlights.

We ripped up our front yard and planted sod.  

We basically gave our house a major botox-injection-facelift.

Front Yard Before and After

I found our house on Google Maps street view.  it’s the best picture of the front of the house with a straight on  view…of the craziest tree ever.

Front Yard

SO much better!IMG_1320

Now we have some serious landscaping to do next spring, but we still consider this one of our biggest accomplishments.

We ripped out plaster and put up drywall.

I promise we have walls now.  Just gotta get you some pictures!

photo 5-7

We bought a Jeep.

photo 1-3

We hosted at least six major holidays/get-togethers.

And that doesn’t include little visits here and there.

Thanksgiving (six weeks after the move).  I’m so proud of that, I feel like I should include it on my resume.

photo-11

New Years Eve

NYE14 Glitter Prosecco

Christmas (in January)

Fireplace

Easter

Easter10

Summer Fitzgerald Family Reunion

10429329_10100544361172883_7762883444625750828_n

Labor Day

10604664_10102817391077553_8249880422592636767_o

We traveled far and wide.

Punta Cana

IMG_1022

Harrisonburg, VA for Megan’s GraduationIMG_0936

West Point, NY for West Point’s graduationIMG_5888

Manassas, VA

photo 4-2

Boston, MA

IMG_1100

Cape May, NJ

photo-12

Amish Country, PA

photo-13

Rehoboth, DE

photo-14

Nashville, TN

photo 1-20

And that doesn’t include work travel!  I went to Anaheim, Las Vegas, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Chicago (and probably more that I’m blocking out).  Frankly, we are both a little exhausted.  But its fun to look back at what we have accomplished.  And our house has been the site of so many good memories for us and our friends and family already and I have a feeling that will continue for a good, long time.

Not for the faint of heart.

Demolition of half of your house is not for the faint of heart.  It is tough on your sanity, your comfort and your marriage, if I’m real with you.  Picking contractors (or picking a different contractor than the one your spouse prefers…), making decisions, deciding how much money to spend and where to cut corners in your home.  The home where you live and have to stare at said decisions for years to come.  It’s quite a bit to take in.  And then there is the deadline of visitors on Labor Day Weekend.  Everything must be done by then! Gah.

photo 1-14

Scott was at a bachelor party last weekend.  Which meant I was alone with nothing but the studs of our house and no window treatments.  I met with contractors galore.  Electrician’s, dry wallers and flooring, oh my!

And then I was out of town for work the past few days.  Needless to say, this project has been a logistical spider web.  We’ve had to get ok with strangers coming into our home while we aren’t there.  And hoping that tape boxes on the wall properly communicate where we want the TV mounted.

photo-8

When the electrician stopped by to get his check the other day, Prince greeted him like an old friend.  So there’s that.

But here’s the good news.  Demo is DONE.  As of 3:20 pm yesterday. And electrical is as done as it can be until the dry wall is up.  And the dry wall – yeah, its getting started on WEDNESDAY!  Like, in two days, people.

And living in a state of craziness continues to provide unforeseen marriage strengthening exercises.  Scott and I could win one of those marriage competition reality shows at this point.  For example: Fish your house key out of the debris-filled hole in the floor.  That is too narrow for either of your hands to fit in.  In under a minute so you don’t miss your train.  If you fail, your contractor can’t get into the house to do his work and then you will be behind schedule.  GO!   (We totally rocked that challenge – thank you, salad fork!)