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Happy early Christmas to us.
We chose the gift that keeps on giving this year.
And no, I'm not talking about this baby we're growing.

Instead of spending hours of time thinking of perfect, unexpected gifts for each other, Adam and I decided to splurge on a house project.
Namely, our obscene orange floors upstairs.
Yes, orange.  Who stains beautiful oak floors this color?

Obviously the same nut who painted all the stair trim olive green.

With the bebe on the way, now seemed like the best time to move EVERY piece of furniture downstairs and sleep in our living room for a week.
It was like camping, except with a bed, heat and running water.
My kind of camping.

The afters of this process made every trip up and down the stairs with an armful of clothes worth it.

I'm in love.
The stain color we chose was called 'Spiced Rum'
Seemed appropriate.

Clevelanders - we used Pete Laki for the job.  Highly recommended, I cannot believe the scratches and imperfections he was able to remove from the floors.  And the actual sanding/staining/polying process only took 2.5 days.

 Also, he didn't leave a mess in my house.
Which totally upped my praise for a job well done.

It's easier to ignore the painting that needs to be finished when you have gorgeous mocha floors to gaze at.


thanksgiving 2012

We do Thanksgiving a little differently at our house.
We all indulge in a traditional Thanksgiving feast on Thursday with our families just as any other red-blooded American does.
But come Saturday.
Well, Saturday is OUR Thanksgiving.

A day to break out the fryers, grab some friends and have a casual day of watching football, cooking some birds and shots.  After the stress of preparing a whole meal on Thursday and having everything just so, it's so relaxing to just prepare one dish each, throw on some casual clothes and hang out by the heater.
Because the Cleveland cold was in full-force on Saturday.

Yes, there are many shots.
I said it was a bit nontraditional.
(no worries, this mama was busy sipping on orange juice instead of whiskey)

We gathered a large crowd this year: twenty-two people and forty-seven pounds of turkey.
That's a lot of poultry.

And a lot of shots.

Check out #studzgiving for more photos on twitter and instagram.

Now onto the next holiday.  After all the excitement this weekend I didn't have time to put up our tree, but I'm ready for our home to be clothed in the warmth of twinkle lights and garland.

side note: Remember last year when our house was yellow for Thanksgiving?  Loving the blue so much more in these photos!


jennette's pier

Back in the summer when we were in North Carolina, we ventured to a new spot.
The original fishing pier of the Outer Banks.
I just happened upon these photos the other day and was hit with a pang of longing to be down there again.  I'm one of those people who gets their energy from the sea.  And from anything with a story.

Jennette's Pier in Nags Head has both.
This historic 1939 pier was once the destination of fishermen everywhere.  Until a hurricane destroyed more than half of it in 2003.  Luckily the funds were found to rebuild this favorite local spot, keeping with the wooden aesthetic of the old pier but securing the footing with concrete.
Bring on the hurricanes.

The educational center was full of aquariums and old photos of 1940s fishermen with their catch of the day.  Each visitor was politely asked to provide a small donation in exchange for access to the full length of the pier.  A cool 1,000 feet out into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.

It must be incredible to be sitting out there during 20 foot seas.  Floating just above the chaos.

We didn't venture there long, as we had lunch reservations elsewhere but I wouldn't say no to a long afternoon spent lounging on one of the many benches, watching the fishermen work and just enjoying the sea breeze.

After all, that's what piers are made for.


on the power of encouragement

Remember that time when I didn't blog for a month?
I'm deeply sorry for that.  Thank you all for bearing with me.  Adam and I are SO overjoyed at all the sweet comments and emails we've gotten since announcing our big news.  I seriously wish I could hug every single one of you for your happiness and kind words.

It has been a rough ten weeks for me.
You know how they say morning sickness goes away at 12 weeks?
They were wrong.
I'm at 17 weeks and still spending more time praying to the porcelain god than I care to mention.  Emotionally it's been hard.  Being unpredictably sick.  Missing out on being with friends and family.  Spending whole days on the couch, not accomplishing anything.  It's draining.  I haven't 'felt' the baby yet, so I'm still in the stage of knowing I'm pregnant, knowing there is something so amazing growing inside of me, but it's all so hard to believe without that 'proof' of a sweet little tap or kick.  Hopefully soon.  I know that every day of sickness is going to erased from my mind as soon as I feel that, and I cannot wait.

Some highlights of pregnancy?

Baby loves potatoes.  I have been a mashed potato eating machine.  And am fully prepared to demolish Thanksgiving.

Further proof that I married the sweetest, most wonderful man in the world.  There are no words to describe the support he has given me.  His patience with my mood swings and forgetfulness.  His ability to soothe my tears when I'm fed up with being hungry and unable to eat.  His insistence that I rest and leave all the housework to him.
His sweetness when he bends down to ask the baby to take it easy on mama for a few days so she can rest and eat some normal food.
His sweetness, oh my word, he is going to be the best daddy.

 My friends from near and far.  The happiness shared with my girlfriends here.  The encouraging words received via email and snail mail.  Quick notes from Megan who makes me pee my pants in laughter.  Sweet mail from Candice who is always so full of encouragement.  And my More Love Letters family.  Who are always filling my inbox with emails that fill me with hope.  And make me feel grateful for having a chance to raise my child in a world where people like them exist.  Seriously, this child is going to have 30 aunts by the time they make their debut in this world.

The constant burning of my Home For The Holidays Yankee Candle to keep all smells away.  My house has smelled like Christmas for the past three months and I intend on keeping it that way.

My mama and MIL.  They are the support system I've always had but have been depending on like crazy lately.  From making extra helpings of potatoes for me, to giving up a weekend to paint the baby's room, to the simplest text of 'what can I make you for dinner tonight that you'll be able to keep down.'
Yeah, mamas are the best invention ever.

Which makes me even more excited that I get to be one.
I can't wait to love all up on this child.

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