Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back to the grind. I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Did you get to spend some time with your family and friends? Maybe grill out, run through a sprinkler, and try something new? I hope so.

Country and I packed up the dogs and headed to Michigan to the barn house for the weekend.

It was grey and gloomy the entire time we were there. But we tried to sneak in some walks and gardening in between storms.

Have you ever tried to weed a garden bed that is practically a pond? No? It’s great fun.

In classic Melanie –style, I took one thousand eight hundred and twenty three pictures of the dogs.

And I have not one good picture of any of the people that we spent the weekend with. You’ll have to use your imagination as to what they might look like.

Oh wait, I lied. Here’s one of Country’s sister’s hands chopping an onion. See how blazingly speedy she chops that onion? So fast I couldn’t even get a good picture. Or maybe it’s that I am still learning aperture, etc. so often my pictures turn out like these. But really she cuts those onions so quickly!!

Said sister with said onions made the best. damn. French onion soup I have ever had in my life. I ate two bowls and wanted more. And more.

Justice ran and ran through the field. Then ran some more.

Tripp was on his own agenda; eat grass, walk three feet, eat grass. Maybe moo a little bit.

But after two nights, we were ready to come home and sleep in our own beds. We knew it was going to be beautiful yesterday and didn’t want to end up driving home in horrendous traffic while it was gorgeous outside, so we headed home late Sunday night. After dinner, of course.

We awoke to glorious sunshine. I worked in the gardens all day long. I live for this time of year.

And then in the early evening, we headed over to my parent’s house for a little BBQ action, which is exactly what I needed. I’ve been throwing myself a pity party because our first month of fertility treatment resulted in a big fat negative. I know, I know, it’s only the first month of meds. But it was the 15th time we’ve tried. 15. It’s been a long time to ache for something so badly. Anyway, I really want one of these:

Is he not the sweetest thing? This is Leo. As in Leonardo. He’s my brother’s youngest son and even though we’re not in Georgia, he’s a peach through and through.

Yes, I did change the subject and I think the transition was quite nice.

And remember this little man?

He’s turning in to such a. . . . . toddler? Little boy? I’m not sure what I’d say about Ryan because he is not quite 16 months but sometimes seems so much older than that. As in, he’s been speaking in complete sentences for so long now that it seems silly to think that he ever babbled. And A-B-C’s? Fahgettaboudit.

These two sweet little boys have changed every family gathering for the better.


I am thankful for them and my family and for all of the troops that make it possible for me to head off for the weekend and take one thousand eight hundred and twenty three pictures of my dogs and then return home and have a great night with my family.

And a special shout out to my dear friend Heather who is a nurse in the service and probably one of the bravest people I know. Thank you for all you have done for this country.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


My heart has been a little tender this week, thinking about all of the people who lost their homes from the tornados and storms. Here I was, feeling pretty darn good about myself for being featured on one of my favorite sites, Better After, and there are so many people out there that have lost everything. Their pictures. Maybe a wedding dress, grandma’s ring. A lifetime of treasures. Perhaps a pet. Hopefully not a family member or friend.

With that being said, I chose not to post anything house related this week.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, friends. Squeeze everyone a little tighter this weekend.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Power of Paint

Whenever Country goes out of town, I usually get really inspired and do something dramatic around the house.  It's fun for me to take on some projects and then surprise him when he gets home.

So, I've had these pine dressers from IKEA, circa 1997 or so.  For years I've thought I should just take the plunge and paint them to update them a bit.  Then one day while browsing through Hobby Lobby, I was stopped in my tracks by this awesome storage type unit that had each drawer painted a different neutral color and then distressed.  I loved the piece, but had no use for it and well, the quality left something to be desired.  But, inspiration striked and I thought my set would look great with a paint treatment.

Here's the before of the taller dresser:

So, here's the how-to.  Since I was alone, I dragged each piece of furniture into the living room and onto a tarp.  A few months ago, I learned my lesson the hard way that the key to painting IKEA furniture, no matter what type of wood it is made of, is to prime it with oil-based primer first.  Yes, this stuff stinks to high heaven, but it works.

Then I rummaged around through my paint collection  cans and found a bunch of neutral colors.  I am in the habit of picking up the "OOPS" cans and samples of paint from Home Depot, so I had everything I needed already.  I painted each drawer a different color and then on both pieces, painted the top and sides in greige.

I didn't take pictures of the next step since I didn't have a free hand, but I just got out the palm sander and went to town distressing.  Then, I took a little glaze and added some black paint and brushed it on.  With paper towels and rags, I wiped it off to give it that aged look.  Here's the little piece:

And the larger dresser:

Since I had all of the furniture out of the room except the bed, I decided to paint the bedroom a fresh new color.  I was a little tired of the brown and blue.  No before pic on that one--I'm too lazy to scan one in.  But here's the after--the color is Ryegrass from Behr.  I also picked up some new bedding.  Actually, just new sheets.  I found the Waverly coverlet for $5 and the greenish duvet cover, which Tripp is laying on, for $2 at Salvation Army!!

And then, because it wasn't quite enough to just paint the furniture and bedroom, I added another project to the list.  The staircase.

Let's talk about the staircase for a minute.  This is what it looked like when I bought the house:

I'm not a big fan of carpet on stairs.  I'm not a big fan of carpet in general.  So, away it went.  The railing did nothing for me as well.  Bye bye.

And so it sat like this for years.  As in, six years.  There was also this pine paneled wall:

First I stained the treads over the course of the weekend.  Then I used the oil-based primer to prime the risers and the pine wall and then painted it all in a soft cream color.  Here's the after:

Big difference, huh?  Ah, the power of paint.  And a weekend.
I started those pesky hormone shots a week ago. So far, so good. Emotionally, I feel fine. Physically, it’s another story. This feeling of complete and utter exhaustion is something I’m not used to, so I think it’s all part of The Universe’s Mommy Boot Camp. You know, so I’m good and ready to feel tired for the next 18 years. Let’s just say that the couch and I have been best friends all week.

The hardest part was actually working up the courage to give myself the first shot. I stood there, fat pinched, needle in hand. . . . . . psyching myself up. “I can do this. I can do this.” Country showed his support by saying, “JUST DO IT!” And, 3-2-1, I did it. Pretty painless. . . .until about 10 minutes later when I felt like my abdomen had been stung by the Queen Bee.

The ultrasounds have been fascinating. We can see my ovaries and the follicles that are growing on the monitor. I can’t even imagine what it will (hopefully) be like someday to see a baby on that screen!! As for now, I have been responding quite well to the medication. Those little follies are doing their thing and growing 1-2 mm a day.

We pray that this works and helps bring us what we have been hoping for...

Thursday, May 5, 2011


The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, blood work, ultrasounds, phone calls, doctor’s bills, and chaos. I’m learning the language of infertility. . . the codes, the abbreviations, the medicines. . . but despite all of the chaos, I’ve had a sort of peace with it all. A feeling that everything is going to be okay. I no longer feel the frenzy of month after month, trying to conceive only to be disappointed again and again.

At this morning’s appointment I was told I would be starting the medication tonight. I’m nervous. Fluttery. Hopeful. But a tiny whisper of fear is closing in. What if it doesn’t work? What if it does? How am I going to handle the wait to see if I’m pregnant? How am I going to handle the disappointment if it takes a few months? Am I ready to be a mom? Is Country ready to be a dad? What about his work situation? So many questions, so many unknowns.

I was on a phone call just a few minutes ago and when I hung up the phone, I heard my co-worker crying at her desk. She sat there, stunned. She was just told that her beautiful 27 year old cousin is probably going to die from pancreatic cancer.