Starting a new school year

Tomorrow begins a new year of school for the Virginia Beach teachers and I was finally offered a contract on Thursday (a little last minute for my comfort, but still a contract and a job unlike last year at this time). My new home school is Pembroke Meadows Elementary School and I will continue working as the ESL teacher. I will also be teaching ESL at Independence Middle School.I moved all of my classroom materials from Larkspur Middle to my new school last Friday with the help of my wonderful husband! We filled the Explorer to the brim with textbooks, dictionaries, other curriculum and materials. Hopefully I'll meet some great new people and really click with the staff and students at my new schools. Wish me luck!

A little decorating!

I've been visiting the following sofa set at Crate and Barrel for over two years now! Many of you who have been in the store with me have been asked the question, "Do you want to visit my couches?" You could NEVER call this a spontaneous purchase since I've been eyeing these furniture pieces for SO long! I just love them, a true love affair. They are so comfortable and super soft micro-fiber velvet. After visiting Chicago's Crate and Barrel this summer I was told that they would be having an upholstery sale in August and it begins tomorrow, so I went to Richmond today to make sure I ordered the right style and color and here are the pieces! You're going to LOVE sitting in our living room once the house is complete of course. We're planning to incorporate a friend's dark brown leather piece along with our cherry furniture. Then the same berry color will be on the bottom of the wall in the dining room and in the kitchen to carry the color through the downstairs. The rest of the walls will be mushroom bisque, a nice coffee color to give a warm neutral backdrop for the rooms. I am so excited to see it all come together.It also appears that the color scheme that I love is very in fashion this season, so I picked up a couple of these place mats as a color inspiration piece that would also get used in the kitchen. I love these warm fall colors, the reds, browns and oranges and the blue looks like a pretty addition too. Too many colors to choose from but lots of room for variety.
I can't wait to start decorating and get all of our furniture out of the POD. It is really going to feel like Christmas because it's been over a year now since we've seen most of our things. Of course the house has to get finished and first things first. I'm not trying to get too ahead of myself, but the couches will take 10 weeks to come in anyway. While the house can be overwhelming, at least it's moving along. The roof work starts Tuesday and the decorating has officially begun!

Our future home...a blessing from my dad

We have been working hard on my Dad's house over the past few weeks. It already looks like a completely different place, but there is still much to be done before Adam and I are able to move in and make it a home. It is a true blessing in the midst of the difficulty of losing my dad. While I will always wish I still had him here to live life's moments, we are truly thankful to him for giving us a place to make our own.

This is the house last summer when my sister and I did some work and organizing for dad.We were able to give away all of the furniture through Craig's List and knowing our dad was the king of recycling we knew he would have wanted things to go to good use. We also donated the books that we did not keep since our dad was such a lover of books. After going through the house and organizing what Anna and I would hold onto, what we would donate and what needed to be gotten rid of we began work on the house itself. We pulled out the carpet and a few trees and have since been working on each room. We even filled two 30 foot dumpsters. Here are some photos of the progress thus far.(A clean slate, the house from the front...we'll be getting new windows, siding and a roof since the window pains have gotten old and lost their seals, the back of the house has to be resided and the trees have damaged the 20 year old roof, so these will all be freshened up, as will the landscaping. It is really going to be beautiful again, just like when dad first bought the house years ago. We've already gotten approval from the neighborhood association on the siding color which will be country beige instead of yellow with white trim instead of blue trim and a new brown roof.)(We're preparing to paint, hence the tape in the dining room. Yes, we will actually have a dining room in which I can put my Nana's dining room set which she left with us here in Virginia. I'm looking forward to many more memorable meals around that table. Get excited for your invite to dinner! The photo above that is the living room. It is pretty spacious!)(This was a coat closet downstairs that was plumbed to be a half bath if the home owner ever wished. We think it would be a good idea to convert that closet, so half bath it will become and the pantry closet will now serve as the future coat closet.)(This is the kitchen and with Brad's help it is about to be TRANSFORMED! We have already cleared out all of the cabinetry and appliances to make room for the new cabinets, counter tops and appliances! It is going to be beautiful. Hopefully it can serve as a real good before and after kitchen rehab for Appliance Enterprise and their kitchen remodels. We even cut a pass way in the wall between the dining room and the kitchen so that as you look out from the sink you can see right into the dining room, giving the house a more open layout. You can see that transformation in the next shot.)
(Bedrooms and masterbath.)

(This was the latest adventure, upon trying to replace the back door a back window literally fell out of the house. What did we discover but water and termite damage. Therefore the entire back wall of the downstairs actually has to be rebuilt. This is why in the end we are now replacing the siding on the house as well as an extra reason to replace the windows. )

Needless to say, this will in many ways be a new home when all is said and done and hopefully we won't have any more new discoveries as we continue to rehab the house. No doubt a lot of time and sweat will have gone into making this house and a new home for our family. We hope it will honor our dad as well as we fix his house and make it our own. We'll keep everyone updated with pictures as the house comes along.

Retro post- our 4th anniversary

For our fourth anniversary I joined Adam in Charleston, SC where he was completing his Airforce Reserve Chaplaincy Training. I arrived Thursday and made great time driving down after summer school ended for the week. We had dinner at a cute restaurant called the Farringdon, which was in a neighboring town to Charleston. This was our actual anniversary of four happy, eventful years! We had yummy southern cooking. I had a beef tenderloin dish and Adam had the typical shrimp and grits. Both were delicious as we sat out on the restaurant's veranda and enjoyed the evening air.

The next morning we got up and grabbed breakfast at Cracker Barrel, did some outlet window shopping while it rained and then headed to a plantation for the afternoon and some beautiful photo ops. I was especially excited to take some pictures because Adam gave me a new camera bag and lens for my anniversary gift. I would finally be able to get the depth of field that I'd been desiring. Adam got a new golf club and pro lesson as his gift. It was the anniversary for developing hobbies. Check out the shots from around the plantation.
(Beautiful farm animals)
(The plantation was a rice farm and very scenic.)(A couple shots with the new lens)
(This is one of my favorite shots from the day.)
We really enjoyed walking around the plantation.
What an interesting place it must have been to live and work.Dinner on the rooftop of the Charleston Crab house was delicious and right in the heart of downtown Charleston.

The next day we headed into downtown Charleston to walk all around. We started out at High Cotton for a tasty southern lunch. The restaurant was chic and seemed to have a long history. To me it seemed like typical Charleston or at least what I had pictured.
(The food was picture perfect and perfect on the taste buds as well!)
We then walked around town to find Rainbow Row and the water.
The finish out the day, we scheduled a horse and buggy ride to tour the historic homes of Charleston. Boy are there some gorgeous places that take your breath away.
(The false doors to the porches are a neat feature of many of the homes.)
(We even found the spot where Linds and Darren had their wedding.)
(Charleston has some amazing iron work!)
Charleston is a beautiful, whimsical city and I loved spending our fourth anniversary together in a place that had an old timey romance.

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