Thursday, August 31, 2023

Me, Myself, and I in July

 Here I was during my last month of being the magical and special age of 42!

I liked how these impromptu selfies turned out.

But I don't like my nose. Womp womp.

This one is now my profile picture on LinkedIn.

I like this one mostly because my skin and eyes look like they're glowing with good health--physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

My hair was curling in for some reason here and looked shorter. I thought it looked cute.

I snapped this selfie soon after I had a virtual job interview that I'd been nervous about for weeks. You can see how my cheeks were kind of flushed from it!
The interview went pretty well--well enough to get a good offer out of it a few days later! It was a second-round interview (the first round was with HR a few weeks earlier) with the two executive co-directors of a national non-profit, which is why I was nervous. I was interviewing to be their executive assistant, but they were very interested in me taking on an editing management role instead (they said it would be harder to fill and I had the skill set for it). That's the job I was offered the following week, and I gladly accepted the offer! 🙌 This is my first-ever management role, and it combines my editing, writing, and organizational skills with my interest in politics and legislation, and I'm working with talented and accomplished LDS women. It's remote and about 5-15 hours a week, so I can still do my other jobs and still be a mostly full-time mom. I feel very blessed by the opportunities that have come my way. 

Literal profile pics! 😆

I truly feel joyful and at peace with myself and my life right now. I still have bad days, some anxieties, and times of sadness, but I'm in a really good place after going through a lot, and I feel very thankful for that. 💖

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Pretty Flowers, Pretty Sunset

 Zinnias are such cheerful, happy, colorful flowers! I couldn't resist buying a bouquet of them from Outpost Farm a couple of weeks after I moved in. They were the first flowers in my new house.

Meredith gave me and Sharalyn flower bouquets for our twin birthdays a few weeks early when we met for lunch. 

It wasn't a good summer for hydrangeas in New England (for the first time they didn't bloom at the Cape house!), so it was nice to have these ones in the arrangement.

I saw my first pretty sunset at the new place too. My new neighborhood has a bigger, more open view of the sky, and because of that, sunsets are even better here than they were in my old neighborhood.

I really like the dark row of trees in the background and how the sky colors shine through them. What a great contrast!

I'm thankful to be able to experience pretty flowers and pretty sunsets in my life. And to have a comfortable, cozy home of my own from which to experience them!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The Boys (and Pets!) in July

 The boys weren't home with me very much in July, not nearly as much as Violet and my mom's cat Olive were, but as always the boys come first in my life, including in my blog posts. 😉

For taco night Sam and I made a recipe for flour tortillas from his new cookbook. I'm happy to report that they came out delicious! 

(Sam is growing his hair out 😑.)

My mom challenged John to a wrestling match. It was so funny. He wasn't really on board with it and didn't wrestle back hard. Gee, I don't know why. 😆

He much prefers to go after Sam (which is why my mom went after John), and if Sam's not available, then me. Lucky us!

The boys spent a week at FSY at UMASS-Amherst and they had a good time.
John really loves his friends...

...maybe a little too much! 🙄
They're not gay, just so you know; they're both very interested in girls!
I wasn't aware that John and Ben had these shirts, much less that they brought them to FSY, of all places! For obvious reasons, these shirts didn't meet FSY standards and they had to take them off, and the parents got a call about it. (Again, 😑.) John!!

A pretty picture of Olive soon after we moved in.
I think it's so cute how her paws are crossed. Violet and Olive settled in really well to the new house, much better and faster than I thought they would.

Violet was still wearing her post-surgical onesie for the first week after we moved. Once she had her stitches removed, the onesie got to come off.

Cute companions
This is one of the reasons why I kept the leather couch. It's pet-friendly and doesn't retain fur or pet smells the way that fabric couches do.

Post-stitches and onesie removal. My little Frankenstein was healing well.

It's kind of nice that a large patch of her fur was shaved for the summer. Natural air-conditioning!

Olive took a liking to Sam's banana chair and I thought that was cute, too. 

Olive is a little meanie, she won't let me (or anyone) hold her. 😩

Again, I thought it was cute how they were being buddies.

These are pictures the pet-sitter sent me when we were at the Cape.

Violet is really enjoying going for walks. I never walked her in Iowa or when we lived in our former house in MA because we had big fenced-in yards that she could easily go out and run around in. My new place doesn't have that, so she gets to go for a lot more walks. She loves it, and fortunately, she's an excellent walker!

Monday, August 28, 2023

New House Before-and-Afters

 My new house is a pretty little townhouse that I'm renting (so technically it's not "mine," which takes some getting used to after having owned all of my homes for the past 21 years!). I moved in at the end of June and spent the first few weeks of July unpacking, setting things up, and organizing rooms. It's a process that still isn't all the way done, but these are some before-and-after pictures from July for what I did get done last month.

My new office is now in the back corner of the living room, along with the piano. I spent a whole day organizing this space a couple of days after moving in.



I should have taken a better picture at the same angle as the "Before." I'll do that for a future post when the house is totally done getting all set up.
Also--I set up the computer all by myself! This was a big accomplishment for me! The only thing was that the sound didn't work, but at least the computer did! So I was able to get back to my editing work sooner than I thought I'd be able to, which was nice. 

I have a good walk-in closet in my room. It was such a disorganized mess. It took me a full day of over eight hours of work to get the closet and my bathroom organized and put together.


At the back of the closet ("back and center," ha ha) are my temple dresses. I like that they're the first things I see when I walk in there. It's a visual reminder of the things that matter most. 
Just like at the old house, Violet likes to lay in my closet under the clothes. She's such a girly girl! 😆

I really like the master bed/bath/closet set-up. From the bedroom, you go into the bathroom and then from there into the closet.

Wondering where the toilet is? 😁 It has its own little alcove on the left side of this picture, between the shower and the closet. 

I got a pretty shower curtain and new towels. My old shower had doors. I like having this curtain; it's like a flower garden in my bathroom. 
My only complaint about the bathroom is that the water pressure in the shower isn't very strong. It also sometimes leaked onto the kitchen floor below when I first moved in, but the landlord took care of it and got it fixed. That's one benefit of renting!

I forgot to take "before" pictures of my bedroom, but here are the AFTERS. I'll preface them by saying that I really like my room. It's big but not too big, so it still has a cozy feel but it fits everything that I wanted it to fit and there's still plenty of room to walk around! It was a moving miracle!

I know it's pretty ghetto to have a treadmill in my room, and even worse, right next to my bed, but I had no place else to put it. If the third bedroom were available, it would go in there. For now, it goes here and is a good visual reminder to work out and stay in shape!

That door is to the bathroom.

My beautiful bedroom set all fit! 🙌

John and Sam have to share a room because my mother is still living with us while my sister and her sons are still living in my mom's house (which is why the third bedroom isn't currently available--if it were it would be a combination of John's room/guest room/workout room). 
Here's the boys' room BEFORE:


Good thing I got a bunkbed for Sam a few years ago!

(I hung up pictures throughout the house in August, so for all of these "After" pictures, the walls are still somewhat depressingly bare.)

This is John's little corner of the room for his things. Since he was leaving for college this summer he really didn't need to have a lot of space for his things.

My new library is in the upstairs hallway, which is actually quite spacious. Not spacious enough for my Beauty & The Beast bookcase of course, but spacious enough to hold three bookcases. I'm thankful for that!


The books, bookends, and other things on these shelves were not yet organized (and as of this writing, they still aren't!). At this point, I just unpacked the boxes and put everything in them onto the shelves.

Another part of the upstairs landing, across from the bookshelves. I don't have a "before" picture, but if I did, you would have seen more boxes, more artificial plants, and a Patriots chair.

These drapes on the back windows of the living room were my landlord's, and although they're a pretty color, they just weren't doing it for me. They didn't match my decor at all. So I replaced them with nice neutral drapes that I got at Target. Along with my new shower curtain and bath towels, this is one of the only things I spent money on for setting up the new house. 


So much better! 😍

The basement is unfinished and became a dumping ground for so much. So, so much. Keep in mind that I moved from a ~4500 sq. ft. house to a 1700 sq. ft. townhouse (not including the basement). I'm still working on the basement, so I don't have any "Afters" yet, but here are the overwhelming and unapologetic "Befores"!


I really had--and still have--my work cut out for me down there. But I'm up for the challenge! 😤

Despite all of the work involved and the fact that it's a big downsizing (no pun intended), I'm truly grateful for my new home every day. It's an important part of this new chapter in my life, and it provides my boys and me (and my mom) with a good place to live in the town that I love.