10.31.2006

Happy Halloween!!

Here's wishing you a happy and spoooooky Halloween!

My day will be filled with work, then coming home to (a) prepare for any trick-or-treaters that we may get, (b) iPod charging, (c) laundry washing, (d) packing and then (e) a late late night trip to the airport. I'm taking a red-eye flight to Houston to meet up with Dad and Barb (who are taking a red-eye from Sacramento) where we'll join Brian for a day at his house and then head back into Houston with Barb to go to the International Quilt Festival (where we'll hopefully get to see a little bit of Michelle). Should be lots of fun, and I'll post pictures when I get back!

~L

10.23.2006

Sending Good Thoughts Her Way

My childhood dog, Shelby, has hit a rough patch in her life.

She’s the most beautiful Australian shepherd – she has a reddish-brown coat with white markings, the biggest brown eyes that make me want to smother her face in kisses, and some of the most expressive ears I’ve ever seen on a dog. I convinced my mom to bring her home the same summer that I was in driver’s ed – our previous dog (Brandy, a lovable miniature long-haired dachshund) had died a bit earlier, and I really wanted another dog in our lives. My mom wasn’t so keen on the idea of a new puppy, especially since the pain of losing Brandy was still so raw. But I beguiled her into going out to the farm where the Aussie pups were…and once we saw the sweet little girl runt, we just couldn’t resist bringing her home. My argument was (a) she’s the runt, so she’ll be really calm and well-behaved, and (b) if we don’t take her home, this girl’s brother is going to “get rid of” the pups in a not-so-humane manner (makes me sick just thinking of it).

With my case being successfully argued and won, the runt pup came home with us and became our Shelby (some might say I had a habit of doing this…taking in orphan animals with or without permission from my mom…). My first argument, that she wouldn’t be very hyper because she was the runt of the litter? Yeah, not so much…she is an Aussie, after all. That pup jumped like a kangaroo, ran a track around our yard, barked for hours on end at every neighbor animal that got near our fence, and would take ME on the longest walks ever (of course, the walks always started out with me thinking that I was taking HER on a walk….but in the end it was always her that led me wherever she wanted). But oh man, I loved that dog and it was so worth all of the frustrations.

Fast forward 9 years, and I am now out of college and living in an apartment in Mission, KS. And I miss having Shelby around, so I take her for a weekend. Wow, was she not prepared for apartment life! Every noise and car door slamming had her completely on edge, and she had never really learned to go potty while on a leash so that led to lots of pee-pee dancing but not many results. You see since she’s always had a fenced-in yard, her time on a leash is considered “fun walk time” instead of “taking care of business time”. And then I left her alone in the apartment for about an hour while I ran some errands….and I came home to a partially chewed away door frame. Yikes!

This brings us to the present, and Little Miss Shelby Belby is now 13.5 years old and I live halfway across the country from her. She had to have a toe amputated and a tooth removed last week, and her recovery is not going as smoothly as we had hoped it would. It’s hard to be so far away from her, and to think that she might not be around the next time that we go back to KC. Luckily we got to see her this past May when we were back in town for a wedding, and we took her on a nice long walk where she got lots of admiration from everyone we walked by (Oh what a pretty dog! What a nice and shiny coat!).

If you are the praying type, please say a little prayer for a quick recovery to full health for our girl. If you aren’t the praying type, then please keep Shelby in your thoughts as she struggles through these next few days.

Shelby Belby…we love you, please hang in there! And please drink some water!

10.22.2006

BOO!


Alright, Halloween can now officially arrive because we are ready! Candy? Check. Pumpkins? Check. Spooktacular decor? Check. :) Costumes? Well....not quite yet, so I guess Halloween had better wait for another week before getting here.

Since this is our first year as homeowners, and since I love Halloween decor so much, I went a little bit crazy. Without further ado, I give you the LeDoux House of Horrors!

A cute little door hanging that I got at JoAnn's...on sale...

Mr. and Mrs. Skeleton, possibly my favorite indoor decoration. I saw this idea on the blog of one of my favorite scrapbookers (Elsie) , and liked it so much that I ran out to Michaels to get a pair of skeletons to decorate for our house! I used a Sharpie for the facial features, ribbon for Mr. Skeleton's tie, and layers of tulle for Mrs. Skeleton's skirt along with some rick-rack for her belt. They are currently hanging in our kitchen window so that I can have a laugh every day while doing the dishes.

A felt table runner that I found yesterday at Target. Check out the green skeleton faces! And the blue bats! Like I said yesterday....it really doesn't take much to make me happy! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the cats will leave it alone while it is residing on the living room coffee table!

Here's the reason why the felt runner can't be on our kitchen table - because my quilt is on it. This is the first (and only, so far!) quilt that I ever made. I took a class with my friend Alisa to learn how to piece and quilt, and thankfully Barb finished up the binding for me (because it probably still wouldn't be done, nearly 3 years later). I am so proud of this quilt, and I'm going to be bummed when it gets too far into winter to have a fall quilt on the table!

And the piece de resistance...our pumpkins!! I had seen the cats in Sunset Magazine a few months back, and I just knew that we'd be making a cat family of our own this year. And then I saw the ghosts in Ladies' Home Journal, and well....resistance was futile, you might say. I love, love, love how these pumpkins turned out!!


And in non-Halloween news...

Lately Karl and I have really been enjoying seeing the many different types of birds that come into our yard. Most of the time we have little small birds enjoying the suet out of our little feeder. But for the past few days, this big lady has been all "Hey, I look a little ridiculous hanging out on this thing....would you get a more size-appropriate feeder for me....like, now??" and we were all "Alright, already.....geesh!" and so we went out and got a larger feeder. So far it hasn't received any birdie love, but I'm sure in time it will. Anyone know what kind of bird that is?

Also this weekend, we went to see The Prestige. I'd give it 7 out of 10 stars - great premise, very interesting plot, but the characters weren't overly likable. One thing is for sure, I will never look at a magic trick the same way again! And if you ever see someone do the whole disappearing bird thing? Run far, far away!

Happy Sunday!

~L

10.18.2006

Does this mean I can't collect cute mugs anymore?

My friend Lorraine sent me this little quote, and I liked it so much that I decided to post it here. :) Thanks, Lorraine!

LIFE is the Coffee!



A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive and some exquisite -telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

After all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress."

"Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, it's just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups...and then began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee, and the jobs, houses, cars,
things, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us. God brews the coffee, not the cups . . . enjoy your coffee.

"Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect, it means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections"

Live in peace and peace will live in you.

(not sure who to attribute this quote to...if anyone knows, please
share!)



This is something that I'd like to strive toward - enjoying the 'coffee' and not caring so much about the 'cups'.

That being said...I do enjoy myself a cute coffee cup though. Because you know what? It's the little things that really make me happy. A cute mug, my reindeer pants, fun fabric, reading blogs...the little things are the best.

10.17.2006

Weekend Recap, a bit late

A bit slow on getting the blog updated from the weekend....

This past Saturday we went to the pumpkin patch with my boss and her husband and daughter. As you can see, we bought a LOT of pumpkins. And I have plans for those babies. Big plans! Unfortunately I haven't carried through with my big plans yet because rain, work and other distractions have gotten in the way. I'd let you in on our plans for the pumpkins, but that would ruin the surprise! Mark my words, they will quite possibly be the coolest pumpkins on our block. :)




After the pumpkin patch, we checked off a few things from our Fall Home Maintenance Checklist - seeded and fertilized the yard, and propped up bricks to block some big holes along our fence. The bricks look a little ghetto, but if we get a puppy anytime soon then I'll take ghetto over an escaped pup any day of the week.

On Sunday morning, we awoke to this view from our backyard....

And a little bit later, this....

It's like a regular wildlife preservation back there! Now if only I could get my Rebel XT so that I could take better close-up photos (hint, hint). :)

And as always, this little one was sitting with rapt attention to monitor the goings on in the yard....


Coming up this week is going to be some furious work on our Halloween costumes. We might just be crazy for what we've committed to dressing up as....I just hope it works out as good as we are envisioning! Also happening this week is some searching for a ticket to the upcoming Beastie Boys show at the Joint in Vegas next Tuesday. If I can score a ticket, then I'm going to join my friend Carrie and I will have a wild and crazy night at the Hard Rock! She's already got her ticket, and a room reserved....and when I found out she was looking for someone to go with her, I decided to do a very un-Laura-like thing and be spontaneous! :) (yes, I know that planning something more than a week out isn't exactly the epitome of spontaneous per se....but it's a step in the right direction!)

Okay, the oven timer just peeped which means that my veggie lasagna is ready to go and I must eat so that I can dash to Value Village for Karl's costume...

Will post more this week!

10.13.2006

Happy Adoption Anniversary, Cooper!!

It’s hard to believe you’ve only been in our lives for 1 year!

Our little CoopCoop, Cooper the Pooper, Mr. Talkative, Super Duper Cooper, Coopie McCooperson,Coopie Doopie, Ha-Cooper.

You give us endless entertainment and you are a faithful companion to Hobbes. Your sleepy eyes and your “lean back” are too cute for words, and the way you play with reckless abandon just cracks us up. We could watch you play with a toy mouse forever, and it would never cease to make us laugh. We love the way you get so happy just from seeing Hobbes purring, and how you'll high-step over to us and take a nosedive into your side...so happy just to be around another happy cat.

You scratch on the couch a little too much, you faked us out at the shelter by acting like you would be a lap cat, and you earn the nickname Cooper the Pooper a little too often….but we can’t even imagine not having you in our lives!



We love you Cooper!

10.11.2006

Are you ready for this?

Told you I'm a list maker...

We closed on the house on July 19. Since then, we've...

  • Patched 20+ holes that were left from nails, screws, ugly curtain rods, baby gates...you get the picture.
  • Scraped off the nasty old popcorn ceilings in all 3 bedrooms, hallway, dining room and living room. On a weekend of record-breaking heat, with no a/c. Wearing all of the protective gear that you see below. Heat + Protective Gear + Back Breaking Work + Laura = CRABBY

  • Fixed the dangerous gas leak on our hot water heater, and replaced the rusted out old tank just for shi!s and giggles (here's a big kiss blown at ya, previous owners!).
  • Fixed the other dangerous gas leak on our furnace, but passed on replacing the furnace itself (me thinks the previous owners hired a Cracker Jack HVAC person to inspect the furnace, since they didn't find the leak on the MAIN VALVE of the furnace, but they would NEVER admit that!).
  • Trimmed up the apple and pear trees in the backyard. Took away at least 2 full truckloads of yard debris. Realized that the fruit trees were nearly dead from lack of water (thanks for that, previous owners!), spent a lot of time trying to figure out the ideal sprinkler placement for maximum yard coverage (I will conquer you, allusive sprinkler placement. Oh yes, I will!).
  • Painted the reading room (the room that had light blue stars stenciled on it) a cozy shade of red , the guest bedroom (the blue one with the wallpaper border that caused me great grief in removing) a very Colonial shade of melted butter, the office (which is the converted garage) a yummy shade of green called Grape Leaves, and the living room an absolutely delicious color called Stonewall Jackson (a bluish grey).
  • Removed the cheap trim from the red room.
  • Replaced the ghetto sliding glass door in the office with a beauty of a window. And a windowsill! (thanks, Rocky!)
  • Removed and replaced the cheap trim in the office. I am so in love with our baseboards. :)
  • Added a small cabinet beside the stove with a great butcher block top (thanks, Dad!).
  • Painted the shutters a dark blue - much more complimentary with our main house color than the old green.
  • Sharpened Karl's skills at building furniture.
  • Replaced the cheap white light fixture by the front door with a cool bronze-ish one.
  • Added a decorative screen to the front of the fireplace. Oh so much more classy than the paper that we had taped up to keep Cooper and Hobbes out of trouble.
  • Replaced the cheap mini blinds with wood slat blinds. There's just something about having blinds that actually close that appeals to the non-exhibitionist side of me...
  • Replaced one of my car windows after some punk kid smashed it in the middle of the night. You know, as a Welcome to the Neighborhood gift.
  • Weeded and planted a ton of flowers and bulbs (thanks, Susan!).


That's about it! I haven't taken photos of everything yet and I'm sure I've missed a few things here and there, but the list above seems to pretty much cover it. So far we have LOVED everything that we've done. It's made the house feel so much more like our own, instead of just some random place that we were staying in. Too bad we're going to have to slow down the pace to keep from going into the poor house though!

Still on our To Do list: painting (kitchen/dining/hallway, bathroom, utility room), caulk/paint new office trim, paint/install shutters for new window, paint front door to match shutters, and a bunch of other stuff. Oh, and plant a money tree. A big, fast-growing money tree. Maybe two of them. Anyone know where I can score one of those bad boys? :)

Have a good night, and thanks for stopping by and hanging in there to make it all the way through this post!

~L

...before photos...

This summer we purchased our first house - a 1960s rambler in Renton. We've been working our tails off (which is good, because having a tail is a bit embarrassing anyway) to update it, change some of the more ghetto parts of it, and just make it our own.

Since most of our family and a lot of our friends live out-of-town, here are some before shots - these are the best of the best from the real estate listing. Notice how green the grass is? I'm pretty sure that was Photoshopped, because there wasn't a bit of green left by the time we took possession! One other item to note is that these pictures were taken by the previous owners, so that's all of their stuff that you see in these pics.


The front of the house:




A portion of the backyard:
Master bedroom:
Guest bedroom:

Reading room (for us):

Bathroom:


Living room:Kitchen:Dining room/breakfast nook:Yes, it looks very cute. But these photos were taken by a professional realtor who knew how to maximize the space and minimize/hide the flaws! Don't get me wrong, we love the house...or rather, we love what the house WILL be when we are done with it. :) I just keep dreaming of that day when our house moves from a work-in-progress to a completed project!

Coming up next....a list of what we have done so far.

As a side note, anyone know why I can't put more than one picture on a line? It's a little weird (read: annoying) to have such a long and linnear post.

'Would you rather look like a fat Minnie Mouse or would you rather look long and lean?" --Heidi Klum, Project Runway

10.10.2006

And we're off!

Hola, mi amigos!

Well, I’ve officially jumped on the bandwagon and started a blog! Bear with me as I struggle to find my groove on this, as it could be a bumpy ride…

My intent with this blog is simple. Keep our friends and family up-to-date on the goings on with…

  • our lives
  • our little furballs
  • our house remodeling
  • yummy goodness from the kitchen
  • our dreams and plans and wishes
  • my random lists (and there will be a lot of those, I am a list maker afterall)
  • my favorite quotes
  • photos (the good, the bad and the embarrassing)
  • Karl's artwork
  • my crafty little corner of our office

(the latter two points may not see much action while we are focusing so much energy on the house)

What will this blog not have?

  • discussions about Karl’s or my jobs, companies or coworkers (too risky on a public blog, you know?).
  • proper grammar or punctuation ;)

And so it begins. Let’s kick this party off in style with an embarrassing photo of me!

Here I am, at some young age. Asleep with a chair on top of me. By choice. Some might say that this is what I do best – sleeping awkwardly.

See you next time!

~L