Christmas in.. September?

It’s beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS….  Well, in my head anyway.  And all over my Pinterest boards.  (Do you follow me on Pinterest?!  Because you should… Pins are FUN!)

Don’t you LOVE this? I love this! (Photo Source: Pinterest)

I am moving up to Atlanta the week of Thanksgiving.  The Fiance and I spent last week packing boxes in Florida and stuffing them into his car.  He took a load up to Atlanta yesterday and will be back for another in 2 weeks.   That means that I’ve officially shifted into dreamer-mode when it comes to my home and DIY lovin’.

Normally I start decorating the house around Halloween and don’t stop until somewhere around Valentine’s Day, but moving over a major holiday has kind of thrown a Monkey Wrench into that plan.  Plus, this Christmas is going to be extra special for a number of reasons:

  • It will be our first Christmas as a family in The Atlanta House.
  • It will be the first major holiday I can decorate for, since we’re moving over Thanksgiving
  • It will be the first time my mom is coming to ME for Christmas
  • …. something way awesomer than all of that, but it’s a SUPER SECRET SURPRISE.
  • It will be the first Christmas with my In-Laws and we are hosting Christmas Dinner this year.

So, I’ve spun out into full nutjob mode.  I’ve come up with my Christmas Timeline, begun planning the decorations for the house, the meals I will make, and the gifts I will give.  There just might be some DIY-lovin’ going on in Florida, in anticipation…  I’m not sure I can hold out another 2 months! 😉

This is positively adorable! I think I’ll be making this in Florida… (Photo Source: Pinterest)

When do you start thinking about Christmas?  Do you shop early?  Plan early?  Or are you a last-minute, pull it out of the attic and shop the week of Christmas for presents kind of person?  Any great ideas planned for this year?

Blood on the walls…

So, after my last posting, things ramped up a bit here…  We drove to Florida, with the intention of spending several days for my birthday.   We got there late Sunday night, and at Midnight, my 2 loves gave me presents..  And then we went to bed.   We slept late, rolled out of bed to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch and then took a long drive along the coastline, enjoying the views of the water and the wind on our faces.  When we got home, it was a bit warm in the house.  Uh-oh.  I checked the thermostat and lowered it a bit, but worried that maybe the AC was just working a little too hard.  So, we hung out for a little while but ultimately decided to head out, enjoy the afternoon and then go to a late dinner at a great Fondue restaurant.  So, showers and then back out we went.

Dinner was amazing, and I had a good time with my loves.  However, when we got home, it was just downright HOT in the house.   We looked at the Unit and tried to troubleshoot it, turned on a bunch of fans and tried to make the best of it.   By 3 a.m., it was blazing hot and The Fiance and I couldn’t take it anymore.  My monkey wasn’t complaining, but she also hadn’t fallen asleep either, because she was hot.   So, we packed up the car, grabbed a couple of 5-hour energy drinks and came back to Atlanta.  The monkey and I slept for a good portion of the trip and The Fiance powered through like a champ and got us all safe and sound back to the Atlanta house.

While we were in Florida, my In-Laws had decided to come and look at the house once more before deciding to head to the bank, and My future Mother-in-Law noticed things that were less than optimal for her that would go unnoticed unless you’re looking at a house, envisioning yourself in it.  One, both of the bathrooms have bath tubs, not walk-in-showers, and she has a tough time climbing in and out of a bathtub.  So, they mentally added that as a renovation they’d have to make.

Two, the backyard is quite large.  That’s upkeep they’ll have to pay someone else to do, because they can’t maintain a yard of that size.  Third, the driveway has a little bit of gradation to it.  Not a lot, but enough that someone in their 60’s would sit up and pay attention to that.   She worried that my future Father-in-Law would have a hard time taking the trash to the street and back up to the house.

In a stroke of coincidence, their Realtor called them the same day with a listing to show them, 3 miles from here, with all of the things they’d been looking for in a house.  They went to see it, and my future Mother-in-Law fell in love.  In LOVE.  The house is a bit smaller, on a smaller chunk of land, with a completely flat drive-way and a walk-in shower.

They were a little afraid to tell us, afraid we’d be upset that they’d changed their minds and we wouldn’t be house hunting after all.  LITTLE DID THEY KNOW…  I kind of hate house hunting, hehe.   And I was already fully entrenched in Crazytown with the house I HAD.  No sense sending my poor little planner brain into a complete tailspin and having no where to root my Crazytown fantasies!  So, with the new found news and finding ourselves in Atlanta instead of Florida – what did we do?  We went and bought paint.  Let’s get this Crazytown show on the road! hehe

We decided to paint the little nook next to the kitchen a different color than the rest of the common areas.  We’ve been talking and talking and
talking about this nook, and both of us were in agreement that we want to block off the sliding glass doors there and pretend they don’t exist.
Eventually, drywall would be nice, but for now – just hanging curtains will do nicely. I am most definitely a fan of red, and have lots of red accents already, so in the spirit of comforting, familiar colors, as well as budget in mind (I don’t want to spray paint ALL of my accent pieces, nor do I want to replace them).. we chose Valspar’s Posh Red.

The first night of painting was fun, and exciting, and our very first slap of paint onto the walls of what will be our home.  We liked it so much, we ran right out the next day and bought 5 gallons of paint for the common areas.  Let’s just say that painting that little nook compared to painting 16 foot high ceilings in a HUGE space (plus the hallway!) are VERY different experiences!  Buttttt…  we’re trekking along, and tomorrow I will unveil what we’ve completed in the living room. 😀

Operation: Meet The In-laws

So, this vacation to Atlanta was part working-vacation and part utilitarian.  One of the items on the agenda: Meet The Fiancé’s parents.   I can’t think of anything more nerve-wracking, to be honest.   At least on my first date with the Fiancé, I could always fall back on the batting of the eyelashes, or the well-timed innuendo to fill any void created by nerves.   Somehow, I didn’t imagine that would work with his parents.  I sweated it out and tried on 453 outfits, re-did my make up 3 times, and agonized over my hair.   I had “the talk” with my daughter about being on her best behavior, and we stopped to pick up flowers for my future Mother-in-law.

The plan was to visit them at their home, and then we would all go out to dinner.  Knowing this his mother was British, I wasn’t sure whether to expect Mary Poppins or Mrs. Doubtfire, but I stood anxiously behind him when he rang the doorbell, channeling all of my energy into any inner zen-like quality that would keep my palms from sweating profusely.  His father answered, with a warm-hearted smile and an Egyptian amusement twinkling behind his eyes, and immediately hugged my Monkey, inviting us in.  I hugged him and kissed his cheek, and while doing so, his mother came from around the corner with a very boisterous “hello!”

….  This Woman.  She is breathtakingly beautiful.  She embodies, physically, all that a lady should be, I imagine.  Her hair and make up were immaculate, and she was positively charming.  I think she meant to shake my hand, but I was still worried about that palm sweating, so.. what the hell!  I hugged her, too. Hehehe.

We sat on their floral print couches in the pink-wallpapered sitting room, and Monkey pulled out her very best manners, complimenting their home and trying her best to be as sweet and polite as she’d ever been.  I was very, very proud of her.  We went for seafood at a restaurant near their home, and .. the conversation was a tad disjointed and awkward, nerves filling all of us I think.  When all else failed, we talked about the food.   When the evening came to an end, I wasn’t sure at all if they liked me, and I couldn’t get a read on them at all.  When we parted, it was decided that they would drive out to the Fiancé’s home on Thursday and spend the afternoon and evening with us.  I would make dinner, and we would pick up a board game.   The Fiancé’s father offered to bring children’s DVDs for the Monkey.

One of the dishes we had at the restaurant was a shrimp appetizer that was delicious.  I wanted to try to duplicate the recipe, so I figured I would do my best to replicate it for their visit and then I would have 4 palettes to sample my efforts, with the original fresh in our minds.  I would also make a traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage, because it’s low-fuss and would provide me with ample time to participate in the board games.

Thursday morning, we got up and ran out to the store to buy all of the things for the meal, trying to decide on that last-minute dessert.  The shrimp ended up fantastic (recipe next Friday!  I forgot to take pictures of the process, which I wanted to share with you, so The Fiancé and I are going to make it again this week just so we can document it for you guys), the Corned Beef was good, and I ultimately decided to make individual raspberry trifles for dessert, which got rave reviews.

We picked up Yahtzee to play with them, which they’d never played before (What?!  They do not play Yahtzee in England??  This is a travesty!), and that went well.   There was plenty of time for lots of conversation and the mood was much, much less nervous and far more casual.  By the end of the evening, My future Mother-in-Law and I had made plans to go shoe shopping at some future unnamed date for shoes for our wedding, we’d talked about going swimming together and I’d fallen in love with her proper, English charm.  I’d offered generously to beat my future Father-in-Law at a game of backgammon sometime in the future and allowed my heart to open to his native Egyptian mischievous sense of humor, and Monkey had gotten herself so wound up and excited by her new Nana and Pops (there was much discussion as to what she would call them, and the three of them settled this themselves) that she had trouble falling asleep, wanting to instead chatter away about all of the new and exciting things that we would all do together.

They left around 7:45 p.m. to drive home, and after getting Monkey in the bath and ready for bed, I laid on the bed while The Fiancé took a quick shower.  I was asleep before he got out — after a very long, yet very good day.

Side Note:  Monkey did eventually burst out with her “Ello, Gov-nah!” …  and his mother laughed very much and responded with “Ello, Luv!”  😀