Thursday, November 23, 2017

Remembering my grandfather

My grandfather was a lot of things.

A racecar driver. A salesman. A husband. A father. A grandfather. A great-grandfather.

He was a NASCAR fanatic. A Minnesota Vikings fanatic. He loved to play card games, from Go Fish to Rummy, but he'd cheat (and win) at every single one. He was a father figure to many people in his life; he provided love, assistance and guidance. 

He'd sit down for breakfast and eat half a watermelon, with it sitting on a plate like a big red bowl, and he'd scoop out chunks with a spoon. Then later, he'd point at his rounded belly and warn us kids not to eat the watermelon seeds, or else our belly would look like his.

He was old school. When the boys were naughty, he'd warn that he was going to use his belt. When the girls were naughty, well, not much would happen. Maybe a raised voice.

He always said "I love you" first when hanging up on the phone. When he smiled at you, there was always a cliché, but very genuine twinkle in his eye. 

He was stubborn. He was opinionated. He was stern. He was a hard worker. He was a loving grandpa who always told me I was his "favorite." (I never found out if that's something he told all nine of us.)

My grandfather was a lot of things. To me, he'll always be Grandpa Mel.

Melroy Svenkerud
April 8, 1929 - November 17, 2017


More here.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Our bathroom upgrade

My husband Chris and I closed on our first house one year ago, and we've been busy with projects: cleaning, organizing, plumbing work, HVAC work and more. We've also done quite a bit of painting, including our bathroom!

When we moved in, our bathroom gave me a Florida/beachy/retirement house vibe. The pink tub, sink and toilet were a little intimidating. What were we going to do with those? But with a fresh color and some decorating (courtesy of this crazy cat lady,) the bathroom has become one of my favorite rooms in the house.

Before and after photos are below!

BEFORE:
Bathroom before

Bathroom before

Bathroom before

Bathroom before
DURING:
Bathroom in progress

Bathroom in progress

Bathroom in progress

Bathroom in progress

Bathroom in progress

Bathroom in progress

Bathroom in progress
AFTER:
 
Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Bathroom now

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A proactive attempt at combatting winter blues

Photo by Jessi LaRue
The winter blues are very real, and it feels like they'll be here at any minute. After the holidays it can feel like there's nothing to look forward to.

Last January/February was a hard time for me. There were mornings that I would lie in bed, unwilling to move, wondering what my purpose was. I would sometimes dread the day and whatever was waiting for me. I had no motivation and no interest in the day. 

Since last winter, I've spent some time thinking about those days. I'm not sure how effective this will be, but I've begun to plan a proactive way to keep my mind at ease and to create a mindful purpose for myself this winter. I've decided to slate some projects for myself to keep myself interested, busy, and looking forward to the next big thing.

I've decided to find "projects" mostly because hobbies like binge watching Netflix just leave me feeling groggy and unproductive, and only add to the issue, it seems.

I plan on painting my living room. My husband and I purchased our home one year ago, and we quickly painted our bedroom and bathroom to conceal the hideous blues and purples that were once on the walls. Now, we're staring at bright white walls in our living room, which remind us of our old apartment. I'm looking forward to splashing some color on the walls, as well as finally hanging some family photos. We also picked up a couple Hatch Show prints during our time in Nashville.

I hope to enlist my dad to help me out with another project this winter: building my very own Little Free Library. I've always been a reader, and really just started reading again in the last few weeks. My husband and I found an old dollhouse at Goodwill, and I plan to convert it into a cute library to display on my front lawn. I'm not a very handy person, but I look forward to putting it together and painting it. Over the last couple of months I've picked up books at thrift stores, and I've had friends donate their old books to the library as well. I look forward to putting it in the ground this spring and cutting the red ribbon.

I plan on writing more. My Jacob Haish project keeps me so busy and focused on an end prize -- enough information and stories to one day fill a book. I also hope to officially start pitching freelance writing. I have stories about family, cats and love that I'd love to find a home for. I've never ventured into that territory, but what a good time to try, right? Keeping my mind busy is very important.

One of my biggest healers is music. I'll be listening, blogging, and creating new playlists and mix CDs. Last year I also spent time filling my adult coloring books with bright colors, and trying Crock-Pot meals.

What do you do to combat those winter feelings?