Friday, June 26, 2015

My 2015 Summer To Do List

I did it! I got all of the blog posts done that I wanted to do for documenting last summer before we left for this summer's vacation. It wasn't easy, but I'm glad I got them done! I feel much more caught up now. I have definitely earned my much-needed break from blogging for the rest of the summer!

I'm out of creative juice and I really need to go work on packing and on getting through a long, not fun to do list before we leave to go East in the morning, so quickly, here's my "fun" to do list for this summer:

  • Read lots of books. Read, read, read! Read on the beach, read in bed, read on a couch, in a chair, anywhere! (I'm channeling my inner Dr. Suess here. Ha!) I haven't been doing enough reading for fun over the last few busy months, and I want to make up for that this summer. 
  • Try stand-up paddleboarding, which I think I'll really like because I love canoeing and this is basically canoeing, only you're standing up. On a board. Right? As long as I can maintain my balance and my abs and arms don't give out on me too quickly, I think I'll love it! This was on last summer's list and it didn't happen. This summer, it will!

  • Quit Facebook and Instagram for the summer. Part of me really wants to do this, but part of me doesn't, and the latter part is going to win. But I'm planning on curtailing my use of social media during the summer and trying not to be on it and on my phone too much. But it sure is a lifesaver and boredom buster on our long road trips!
  • Get my hair cut short. I should put a check-mark next to this one because it's already done! I got it cut a few days ago, and I love it. I should have gotten it cut shorter years ago when it all broke off and died in the case of the deadly highlights. I really like the cut. It looks cute and it fits my hair type well. It's not super-short (I can still pull it back if I want) but it's shorter than I've had it in a very long time. I'm now one of those "short hair, don't care" girls. It's the right group for me to be in!
  • (I can't get rid of this bullet point no matter what I do. Aargh!)  
  • Do morning yoga on the beach. At least a few times.
  • Take some good sunset pictures over the ocean. Or more importantly, see a good sunset over the ocean. Ideally, both.
  • Finally take the boys on this pirate ship ride out of Hyannisport that I've been meaning to take them on for years:

  • Be super good about sunscreen and skin protection. Sam and I got painful sunburns in the Bahamas in March, and I'm determined to not let that happen again. Skin cancer scares me a lot. Sunblock is going to be one of our best and most-used friends this summer. And I'm even going to wear a hat when I'm at the beach, and I hate hats on me, but I'm going to do it! My thin-haired blond head is like a magnet for the sun's rays to penetrate deep. I got a good hat today that will make it easier for me to follow through with this. If I end the summer with my skin being its usual pale color or only slightly more tan, than I will have been victorious.
  • Pamper my feet. After years of treatment, the plantar warts on the soles of my feet that I got in college are finally gone. This summer, I'm going to exfoliate and moisturize my feet regularly and help them to be their prettiest. I'm also going to use my new Jamberry nail wraps on them. My feet are in for quite the treat this summer!
  • Color for fun. I used to love coloring. It was one of the few artistic things I was good at, and it's becoming popular for adults to color as a stress-reliever and as an easy creative outlet. I bought a set of colored pencils and crayons and this Secret Garden coloring book (currently a #1 best-seller on amazon) that I intend to fill with color this summer.
  • Try not to mourn the fact that I'm going to age out of the 18-34 Millenial age group this summer. (I refuse to bold this sentence.) How is this happening?!
  • (Another stubborn bullet point that won't disappear no matter what I do. Dang it! I don't have time for this. Oh well, it's going to get its way.)
  • Experience more. Swim in the ocean and the lake frequently instead of just watching the kids do it. Get my head wet. I love swimming but I hate getting my head wet (mostly because of my contacts and my hair) and I've been missing out because of it. Take fewer pictures and play instead. Keep my hands free--of a camera, a phone, etc. Connect better with others, with myself, with nature, with God. 
If I get even half of these things done, than the summer will have been a success. But I'm aiming to do them all!
I hope you have a great summer!
See you in around two months!

The Trip Home

The drive from Massachusetts to Iowa takes about two days. It's always a fun time. (Not really.)

Still on the Cape, getting ready to hit the road.

I wanted to go home, but I also didn't want to go home.

There's a Holiday Inn Express that we usually stay at that's in the very western side of Pennsylvania. It's the best Holiday Inn Express we've ever stayed at. It's nice and casually fancy, clean, and well-managed with all sorts of extra goodies, and the customer service is excellent. We spent the night of our 10th anniversary there three years ago on our drive out to Massachusetts. We always like staying there after a long day of travel.

We had the pool to ourselves that night.

Ready to launch!

I remembered to set my camera to sports mode for these pictures, so unlike the photo above, they came out well!

Here's my favorite spot. A hot tub feels soooo good after a long day in the car.

The next morning, Sam was an early-riser, and John was not.

Getting some energy out before we became car-bound for the rest of the day.

Some of of the things that make this hotel a little more special:

They have good art on the walls. I've always liked this picture. We have it hanging in our bedroom at home.

They have a mini golf course and a really pretty waterfall fountain.

This fountain always cracks me up. Seen from a certain angle, it looks like one of those peeing fountains...

...but this place is too classy for that.

We saw this in the parking lot and it was so funny. I guess this pick-up truck had aspirations to go airborne?
I love America. We are geniuses here.

Speaking of geniuses, sad news.

On the road again...

This is when we were driving up near Chicago. We'll take the one on the right! 
Only about three more hours until we got home.

We're home! It was good to be back after being away for over six weeks.
But, ohhhh, the pain that is unpacking. I don't mind it at the beginning of a vacation, but at the end of vacation, it really stinks. 
But it's worth it!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Cape House 2014

The following pictures show how the Cape house looked when we left to go home last summer. I think I'm going to document it with photos these first few summers to see how it changes due to re-decorating and bigger projects (like the basement remodel that happened last year). Because, you know, houses are like babies those first few years you have them, right?

The Living Room

We got a new couch and armchair and they made a big difference in the room. I really believe the couch sets the tone in a room! I also replaced the two old end table lamps with new ones.

Out with the old and in with the new.

We kept the rocking chair, coffee table, and end tables.

I redecorated the mantel with my shopping finds and got the TV and sound system hooked up and the cables wrapped.

I had gotten two pretty black-and-white framed nature photos to go on the living room wall, but they were mostly just fillers until I found something permanent to go there...

...which was this nice print that I found on Joss & Main. It was perfect for that spot.

An upcoming project will be to paint this room a still neutral but warmer color, and to take out the un-kid-friendly cream-colored carpeting and do hardwood floors and throw rugs.
Having said that, it's a very pleasant room and I really like it.

I found this antique framed map picture of Cape Cod from the year 1880 on Joss & Main (I love that site! And this map!).

I like this cut-through window between the living room and kitchen. It opens the two rooms up to each other.
And I was able to fill it with good shopping finds. :-)

The Kitchen

It doesn't need much work or anything right now, thankfully.
I love the table and chairs; they're perfect.

A cute Yarmouth whale for the wall.

No lonely bare countertops in this house!

Master Bedroom (Ground Floor)

This is the room that Peter and I sleep in. There's a room upstairs that's bigger and more comfortable, but the kids' room is right across the hall from it and it doesn't have the awesome shower next door to it that this room has. I'm conflicted about this. In future years, I may end up switching rooms. But for now, this arrangement is working out well.

The furniture set in this room is really nice and high-quality. I just got new bedding and curtains.

This summer, I'd like to replace that little table by the chair. It's cute but flimsy, and I'd like to be able to have a pretty but sturdy little table there that I can use as a small desk.

Cute stuff I bought last summer that's in this room.

Second Ground Floor Bedroom

I haven't really changed anything in this room. It's pretty much as it was when we bought the house. It's a cute room. I'll probably end up changing the bedding and curtains at some point in the future and making it a little less "frilly," but for the foreseeable future, it's staying like this.

The Ground Floor Bathroom

It has an amazing shower, with jets in the wall and a big showerhead.
It puts our master bath shower in Iowa to complete shame.

The Kids' Bedroom (Upstairs)

I got new bedding for the beds and some new pictures for the walls, and a small bookshelf.
 We may get a bunk bed or two in the future to replace the twin beds in order to increase the kid-holding capacity of this room.

I love the eaves in the two upstairs bedrooms. Slanted ceilings are so cozy.

This room is big and easily fits two dressers and two beds. It's a great space for the kids to hang out in. And it has the secret room that's behind the closet, which is pretty awesome.

Second Upstairs Bedroom
(a.k.a. My Favorite Bedroom in the House)

I love this room! It's spacious and cozy and peacefully serene. It's the only room in the house with a view of the water. This is where my Mom sleeps when she stays there. For now. Ha ha.

I got new bedding and some decorations and that little bench.

Upstairs Bathroom

The upstairs bathroom is pretty and nice but a little too flowery and feminine for my taste.

Purple flowers everywhere!

I'm happy to report that this bathroom was repainted and redecorated this past spring. (Pictures to come in the fall.) I found an elegant beachy bathroom set at Bed Bath & Beyond that I liked a lot, so I bought that and my mom did the rest. Thanks Mom! :-)

Upstairs Hall

I bought a cute little table that fit the space perfectly, and a cool starfish nightlight.

The Basement

We love it! The remodel was awesome, and it's a bright and fun space to hang out in now.

This couch is so comfortable. I took some good naps on it last summer.

I found this picture randomly at a consignment shop here in Iowa, of all places. What great luck! I paid a ridiculous amount to have it shipped out to MA so that it wouldn't get damaged, which almost surely would have happened if we tried to bring it out in our car with all our stuff. It was worth it!

Peter bought this. We think it's funny. And true. Ha ha.

The Backyard

We bought a new grill and an umbrella for the patio table.

When I stepped out onto the side patio from the kitchen one day, I noticed the view over the fence. Pretty!

I really like having a fenced-in yard.

The yard, like the house, is not too big and not too small. It's just the right size.

Maybe I'll actually use the backyard shower this summer!  

Some backyard hydrangeas.

The Front Yard

A pretty scene next to the front door.

These rocking chairs looked nice and we thought we were getting a good deal on them, but they've turned out to be pretty cheap. I'm probably going to have to replace them this summer.
They're pretty though, and they work. 

That dead tree in the front yard is eventually going to have to go.

The house looks small from the front and people are always surprised by the amount of space it has inside. I think it's just right--not too big and not too small. I really love it and I'm so thankful to have it.

{If there are any potential random thieves reading this and making diabolical plans, don't even think about it! Not only do we have some vigilant neighbors who live there year-round, but we've also got a state-of-the-art alarm system that will send the police right out to nab your thieving butts! (Forgive me, readers. Working on this post has made me feel rather possessive of the house and its contents, I suppose. My apologies!)}

I can't wait to be back here in our summer home in a few short weeks!