Saturday, February 2, 2013

Funniest Faces of 2012

One thing about being "at home" or at least at home with yourself is making faces. Both Robbie and I make some pretty funny faces, but few of them actually end up getting captured by a camera (probably a good thing lol).

So, after reviewing the pictures of us over the past year, here are my top 5 favorites of the two of us:

Number 5: "Sometimes I just want to kiss Robbie, even if he's behind the camera!"

Number 4: "No, SIRI, I was NOT talking to you."

Number 3: "Oh my goodness, this corn is good!"

Number 2: "Ehh...who needs to study? Books are for sissies."

and ... Number 1: "You think you're cool, Robbie? I'll show you cool!"

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oh my, How time flies! (2012 Improvements)

Yes, we are still alive - and perhaps this blog is too! While we did take quite a break from Home improvements in 2012, there were a few things that happened over the past 12 months that I thought I'd post (at least those that I have pictures of)!

We started 2012 pretty much as you see in the previous post, although there were quite a lot of Christmas decorations in addition to the room. But in February, we finally found several pieces to "complete" our family room.

The first piece was a chocolate brown love seat that was just big enough to fit on the wall separating the kitchen and the family room. We originally wanted a larger couch there, but there wouldn't be any room for a lamp or end table.

The second piece was a lovely coffee table that we found at the Levin's warehouse sale. With only a few scratches on it, it looked like new and was a perfect complement to our other pieces. The last two additions were side tables for the love seat and the sectional.

Finally, our room looked pretty complete, and we could also put the sectional back together the way it was intended - which meant Robbie got his long reclining area back!

Since we had most of the inside under control (or at least, were tired of fixing things up inside), we spent the summer working on the outside of the house. The biggest things to deal with were the humongous bushes that were spread everywhere around the side and back of the house.

If you were to walk around the right side of our house, this is what you would have seen - lots of huge bushes taking over the yard. Yes, they provided a lot of privacy for the back porch, but they were really just overgrown and needed to come out.

While I sadly did not get pictures of the entire process, it was similar to the earlier event I posted on Dad with the chainsaw :-) . After all was said and done, we discovered that the massive clump of bushes we thought was 5 or six, was actually more like 12-15 bushes that grew into each other. We hauled over 25 garbage bags of bushes into our garage (after we took out a lot of the useable firewood), and had to keep our "truck" outside until we could get them taken away a few at a time.

Several months later, we finally managed to dig up a few of the stumps, mulch the beds, and plant some flowers, so this is a picture of what it looked like in the late summer. LOTS of open space - we had no idea how much room we had without the bushes taking over everything! So last fall we took some time and planted some bulbs, a butterfly bush, and hopefully we'll see some more (pretty) greenery this spring!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Getting the Living Room Going...

It's been a long while since I've updated you on our house, and it's not that we haven't been doing stuff on the house, but we haven't been doing anything big, and we've both been crazy with school schedules, so I have not been inspired enough to write lately. But, now that my life at least is a little less crazy than it has been, I'll try to catch you all up.

So, if you remember the living room in our house, it is the main/middle floor that's attached to the kitchen and dining room. It has been in many different arrangements since we moved in a little more than a year ago. One of our friends that visits somewhat frequently remarked that every time she's here, it looks different, and this could be true.

When we were redoing the kitchen, the living room became our kitchen, dining room, and living room, and was quite packed. Then we finished the kitchen and got the family room ready to go and all the furniture left so that it was quite open and empty. Around March, we found this fun sectional to take up part of the room.

But because we didn't have any other furniture in there yet, we decided to separate the sectional into 2 couches across from each other. And then, one summer day, my sister and her roommate decided to come and claim the coffee table (almost from out under my nose!), so we are left mostly table-less for now.

Sometime in the summer, we found this chair for the corner of the room, which Robbie promptly declared as "the chair of proclamation". So basically that just means he gets to sit there when he's teaching (bible study, home groups, etc.). Otherwise, he is perfectly in  love with stretching out on one of the long open sofas. :-)

Then, after months and months, and eventually a year without having curtains in our living room (much to the dismay of my husband lol), we (read I) finally decided on some curtains and rods to match our furniture.

So, now that fall is here, and we have organized this room as much as it will be for now, here's how it turned out!

Happy Fall to everyone - hope you're staying warm and toasty!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vacation - St. Simon's Island Edition

Every other year the Howell Clan goes on a family vacation to Hilton Head Island (HHI) with another family that they are close with. This year however it was decided to go elsewhere. A certain son-in-law and a daughter wanted to try someplace new. (Now for certain Howell folks this would have been trip number ten to HHI, so we decided to spice it up.) After a short Sunday meeting, led by my wife, we picked out the things that would make our ideal place: someplace new, watersports, beach, tennis and golf, all within a 13 hour drive of Pittsburgh.

So.. after some web searching and research the following places were suggested: OBX (the Outer Banks), Tybee Island, and St. Simon's Island. After a lot of back and forth between the kids and the parents, the decision was made to try St. Simon's Island in Georgia. Although it was at least an hour farther south than our typical venture (much to my wife's dismay), it looked like a nice place that wasn't too crowded, yet had most everything we were looking for.

Tradition dictates that this family getaway occurs over the week of the fourth to allow as many possible days off (i.e. holiday). We arrived on the island on the Friday before the 4th. Little did we know that because of the holiday, basically the entire surrounding population of Georgia was also planning to enjoy the island! Since the island is only about a 15 minute drive from one end to the other, you can imagine the wall of people we encountered - on the beach, in the streets, on the pier, and so forth. As with any typical Independence Day celebration we had fireworks, which was quite fun viewed from the rocks next to the pier where they were shooting them. :-)

Once the fourth of July crowd finally went back to work on Tuesday, the beaches became much less crowded, and the winds became much more violent, which lent itself for some excellent boogie boarding opportunities with my wife. (Some opportunities were more successful than others lol.)

We even were able to go out on the water in a catamaran with a bonafide sailor, which was my number one goal for the week! And (sadly) since the island didn't end up having waverunners, we ended up doing this twice!

But of course, what would vacation be (for the Howell's at least) without some rousing games of tennis? ;-) Although there weren't any courts in the complex we stayed at, there were a few public courts within biking distance away, which we frequented a couple times during the week.

So, all in all, it was a very relaxing week, with some sun, sand, surf, food, exercise...

...boating, and fun with the Howells!

At the end of the week, we spent our last evening walking on the beach and having some last thrills with sparklers while the sun went down. Thanks for the fun, St. Simon!

- Robbie

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bright and Beautiful!

I was able to capture a few of our roses at their peak of beauty this summer - they are so fun!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How do you like to relax?

This is how I do it. You see... I have this thing for hammocks, or as my beloved puts it, I like to lay down. But the thing about a hammock is that you get to lay down outside. Being outdoors is very relaxing. When you get outside you disconnect and unplug from it all. It is you and whatever is around you. But enough about me... how do you like to relax?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Finally in Bloom!

We weren't really sure what we would find in our yard this year, since we didn't see the house at all during the month of May when everything was flowering, but much to our surprise we did manage to find a few things that blossomed around the yard!

 As I showed you a couple weeks ago, the first things to blossom were the azalea bushes. I love the bright fushia flowers that came everywhere! In the next few weeks the rhododendron bush started to open, slowly at first, right beneath our bedroom window.

We also discovered that we had lilac bushes on one side of our house, next to the garage. 

 For the week (maybe two) they were in bloom, we had some lovely smells floating around - and inside - the house, which are some of Robbie's favorite flower smells.

 Finally, this past week, the rhododendrons came into full bloom, as the azaleas died off.

 These are some of my favorites too - unfortunately with all the rain/storms we had, they are now not looking so great - but they were pretty while they lasted!

Who knows what we'll see next!