Birthday Recap: Giving Back

So catching up on blogging here… my bad!

Last week (April 1) I celebrated my 24th birthday and for some reason 24 seems crazy old! I know it’s not, but it just seems like wow, just the other day I was still a kid, still eating Chef Boyardee and Lunchables… nevermind, that still occurs on a regular basis in my life.

To celebrate, both Drew and I took the day off, so it started with sleeping in. We didn’t really have plans for the day, and that is usually what I like best. Since my sister, niece and brother-in-law were in town, I decided to take the opportunity to spend most of the day with my sister, niece and mom. Drew wasn’t opposed to playing video games with Josh either – win win. We just hung out, went for a Target shopping trip and visited Yo Mama for a birthday treat. It was also Reese’s first time!

After Drew and I went to Olive Garden and enjoyed some delicious food – then came home and caught up on a bunch of Mad Men episodes to get ready for the season premiere which was Sunday.

When asked what I wanted for my birthday this year… from Drew, my parents and his parents, It was a challenge to think of things I really needed. There was definitely things I wanted, but it just sometimes seems so silly to just get things just because you want them when there is so much that other people in the word need. So this year I made it a goal to make my birthday gifts about giving back. From Drew I asked for these floral TOMS – I knew that TOMS gives a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair you buy, so I figured this was a good start – and these are super cute for spring!

Next, I asked Drew for this 31bits necklace. 31bits is a company that sells jewelry made by  women in Africa. It provides them a way to make an income without selling their bodies in order to support their families. Plus, all their jewelry is made from paper (how cool!?) and they have awesome designs.

Last but not least, with the money I got from my parents and Drew’s family I was originally going to purchase stools for our kitchen when we remodel this summer. However, I just kept thinking about how I really didn’t need those now and decided that part of the money I was going to give towards an IheartLC need – which would use the money to really help someone in need around our city or world and meet a need now, instead of a want I wanted later. The other part of the money I got from family will be going towards a new roof for our house this summer. Obviously, it is also important to take care of our own things God has blessed us with.

So there is my birthday of giving back – instead of making it about myself, I really wanted to think of others and bless them. Hopefully it inspires you to give back in someway whether in our city or somewhere in the world.

House Tour – February 2013

Soo every other Friday night we get to host a bunch of fun people our age over at our home to play games and hang out – what our church calls a lifegroup. Our last one was a blast, and Drew and I are looking forward to next Friday. However having 15-20 people over every other week has made me obviously clean a bit more.

I’d like to say we’re just keeping things neat and tidy so that we don’t have to do a huge clean each week, but so far we aren’t there yet. And because I have my house super picked up and everything put away every other week now, I’ll be trying to take more update photos of how our house is coming along.

So last Saturday morning since everything was clean still, I went around with the camera real quick and snapped these – enjoy! PS this totally makes me see all the spots I missed cleaning… oh well, too late now. Like check out the dust on the window in the kitchen. Woops!

As you can see, a lot is a work in progress. This summer we’ll do our big kitchen reno (think white cabinets, gray countertop, wood floor, penny tile backsplash). The living room needs things put in those frame and then the family room needs some good design thought into it. It has basically just received all of our leftovers for furniture and decor – hopefully some day I will get to that space to improve it. Just looking at it now in these photos I cringe and debated including them.

But a house is all about making it a home, so I included them…

Getting in the Valentine Mood

I love Valentine’s day – why not love a day that’s all about love, especially when you have someone to love and someone that loves you. I hear Drew’s got a pretty super plan/surprise for me to celebrate (eek can’t wait!) up his sleeve, but while I was waiting, I figured I might as well take down our Christmas decor and sprinkle Valentine love throughout our home.

I updated our chalkboard wall and added some felt heart garland that I found at Target. PS isn’t Target the best, it’s such a trap!

valentine-chalkboard-ideaslove-chalkboard-walltarget valentine heart garland

The In-Between / Work-In-Progress

It’s a mix of cra-cra at our casa at right now, and is literally driving me nuts.

Exhibit numero uno: Re-grouting our main shower. The original grout was very cracked (and missing in some places) and was begging for some TLC. So while that is underway, I’m trying to embrace it the best I can, but having to shower in our spare bathroom… means I zombie walk down two flights of stares upon waking up. This morning I totally tripped over some old trim while making my way to the shower –  I was this close to lodging a nail in my foot.

Exhibit numero dos: Our family room, aka Drew’s chill space, is torn up because we are adding board and batten to the lower portion of the walls. And when I say “we” I mean my dad, but I did help paint the majority of those boards, I have the calluses on my hands to prove it. So even Drew’s precious Xbox is unplugged and has a barney blanket over it (gotta protect those precious electronics)! That also means I have to share my chill space (the living room) with him. Please make fun of me for this, but I even have him rotate around our couch, in fear of massive saggy butt marks in the fabric and on the cushions. Hey, I’m protective of my space, especially because everything in that room is brand spankin’ new.

And here are the photos to prove it, though not sure why anyone wants to look at the mess we call home… so if you don’t want to see them, just scroll down 🙂

In addition to projects that we’re in-between on, is some decorating things that I need to finish up. For instance, I had Drew hang a few things like this mailbox, photo frame, and to make & mount a mason jar to the wall for flowers. So literally the frame is hung without a photo in it yet. And I have yet to make this mason jar contraption.

Also, these awesome bookshelves I got for Christmas from my parents are now assembled in our living room, however I realized I have to now accessorize them with things that match throughout the room. I did some digging and didn’t come up with much from existing decor. My goal is to hit up goodwill looking for things I can spraypaint to match the color scheme and tie in the yellows and whites. But we all know you can’t spraypaint outside in Wisconsin in the winter, so that will probably have to wait 🙁

And what about this trim painting that I started doing, say in October? Yea I have zero motivation for that now, but if you take a look back at my 2013 goals, it’s on there. So I’ve got to tackle that at some point! (And I realize I need to update our “before & in-progress” photos).

The goal is to have a lot of our projects wrapped up by February 1st (minus the major projects we haven’t started, like the kitchen) because we’ll be hosting a life group every other week. So I’m using that as motivation, I’m totally using that as a way to keep the house clean too. This shall be fun….

Goals for 2013

The first of every year is a good time to reflect on what’s working for you and what’s not… what you had hoped to do in the past 365 days and what you forgotten about. I’m not one for making resolutions, but instead setting some realistic goals. So before I crank out the list for this year, let’s see how we came out in 2012…

1. Pay off Vanessa’s School Loansliterally finished this on the 31st
2. Take a vacationcruise!
3. Save up for a down payment on a house! – check and we bought one, so we should get bonus points
4. Get better at doing our laundry and keeping our house cleanso so on this, could use improvement still
5. Go rock climbing together – fail 🙁
6. Start to pay off Drew’s loans – Luckily we don’t have to start paying these until 1/8/13

1. Graduate MSOE
2. Start at Milwaukee Tool
3. RelaxTook the past 11 days off, I’d say he’s relaxed

1. Read a book in entiretyHunger Games 1 & 2
2. Blog more to document our livesSee for yourself
3. Sew something
4. Do less freelance

Now for 2013
1. Save up 3-6 months salary for our emergency fund
2. Pay off 1/3 of Drew’s school loans
3. Invite people over more to hang out as couples
4. Get a laundry schedule together – and fold after washing, not 2 weeks later
5. Go on a mini-vacation somewhere close

1. Start Grad school in the Fall
2. Go to China for work
3. Hang out with my brother-in-laws more

1. Enter a Minted design contest
2. Get my design etsy shop up and running
3. Get my car washed more
4. Finish updating my freelance website in hopes to do more this year
5.  Sew something
6. Draw/sketch more
7. Visit my sisters in MN and IL

1. Finish painting trim white throughout house
2. Start and finish kitchen remodel
3. Update upstairs bathroom

Fingers crossed we can stick to these goals!

Christmas Traditions 2012

It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas! Well kinda. Due to the fact that we’re tearing up each room on a regular basis to finish projects, Christmas hasn’t really hit us yet. I’ve literally decorated and re-fluffed the trees three separate times because we had to move them and then half the ornaments fall off. I seriously thought about not even bothering to decorate this year with all the chaos, but I’m glad we’re finally getting into the Christmas spirit.

A few weekends ago, I convinced Drew (aka Scrooge when it comes to Christmas decor) to hang Christmas lights outside. The conditions were, 1. I had to help, 2. Get free lights and clips from my parents, and 3. It had to be nice outside – a lot to ask for in December. But thanks to my parents and the random 55 degree day, his wishes came true and we hung them up on the front of our house. It makes me soo excited driving up to our house and seeing it all lite up – so pretty!

The weekend before, I took it upon myself to get the trees up (yes, three of them), add a little decor on the mantle, and a wreath on our door. PS have you seen Target’s Christmas home decor section – I basically wanted it all, but I had self-control and only got the two sweater Christmas tree cones… and a ceramic reindeer….and a snowball/jingle bell wreath… and 4 sweater stars to hang on our fireplace, sparkly pillows (I plan to use those year-round)…. oh and a “W” ornament to add to the tree. PS only available in stores.To finish out our two Christmas themed weekends, we made our traditional cookies spelling out “Merry Christmas 2012” – along with those hershey-kiss-pretzel-m&m things. See our Christmas baking day for 2010 and 2011. Yum! We tried out icing the cookies this year versus frosting them – we thought it would look nicer, however we should have practiced all year. Never the less, they taste the same! PS listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas album will really get you into the Christmas spirit. I always forget his voice. is. soo. good.

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a cat-reindeer and a baby-niece-elf too. Merry Christmas! What Christmas traditions do you and your family have?

Christmas Cards 2012

Any day now our family and friends will find our Christmas card in their mail and will probably head on over here to check and see what we are up to on our blog and see all about our house! So hello! if you are here from the card. I’ll have some fun updates coming in the next few days, so check back!

Christmas card new home idea

Even though it is not the end of the year, quite yet, I thought I’d do a quick year in review for you all! So 2012 was a great year overall, so many exciting things to look forward to and enjoy. We are so thankful for amazing family who make life fun and interest and new and old friends who we can laugh with until it hurts. We are so blessed and are thankful for each one of you.
2012 in Review
We had the joy of welcoming our first niece  – She is getting cuter by the day! See more about Reese’s first days
niece born photosniece reese

Drew graduated from MSOE and started full-time at Milwaukee Electric Tool as an engineer. See photos from Drew’s graduation
msoe 2012 graduate mechanical engineer drew wyler 

Went on our first cruise to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary – we traveled to Miami, Key West and Cozumel. View all our cruise photos
carnival cruise miami key west cozumel 

We bought a House! So all the fun stuff that comes with it such as moving, decorating and having a mortgage. See more house photos and our plans to make it our own. Lots more daily tidbits on Vanessa’s instagram.
pewaukee home front

We loved 2012, as it brought us lots of exciting things and new challenges… a bigger house to clean, both now working full time jobs with not so much free time, and a nice tan (or sunburn) which has definitely faded by now… all challenges that are nothing compared to what most are facing today. We are truly blessed and for one reason only, Jesus. There is simply no other way to explain why we are where we are today than that. Drew and I both can agree that we’re not perfect and we have our days, and if we relied on just ourselves, there is no way we’d be here. Simple as that. When you sit and look back, it’s a wonderful life we live and we’re so thankful we get to live it.

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving 2012

I absolutely LOVE my family and I love spending the holidays with them. We can completely be ourselves and we have to like each other no matter what. I’m so thankful that we all get along and have fun together and there is no drama. Drew and I don’t do drama. Seems like each year our family is growing as is the traditional photo grows – due to marriage and babies.

It also seems like they get crazier and crazier. For the first part of Thanksgiving, we headed on over to Drew’s aunt to do thanksgiving with them, then we headed over to my parents house to continue the holiday and thankful we could eat a little at both! If you don’t believe me that it’s crazy as all get out at our holidays, check out the photos 🙂

Dream Couch is Ours!

Awhile back I professed my love for a certain couch – Well yesterday my dreams came true as we hiked down to Ikea (well we drove, not really hiked).

It began like this. I saw this sofa on a blog. Fell in love. Decided any house we bought had to fit this couch. Bought the house. Sat on the floor to watch tv in the meantime (not cool). Taped out the couch on the floor to make sure it would fit. Plan to go to Ikea to pick it up (borrowing a trailer) since the shipping on it would be $300+. Drove 2 hours to Ikea, loaded it up and brought it home.

And this is how it looked packaged up. Scary… but we weren’t too intimidated. I immediately started ripping open the boxes while Drew finished up some work stuff. Once he was done, we were ready to get assembling. Overall it was pretty darn easy – with the help of two people it made it go by faster. I was stuffing pillows and cushions while Drew was doing the nuts and bolts.

Here are a few shots I managed to take with my iphone every time I took a break to enjoy some lemonade…

Verdict. We LOVE it. We have yet to really enjoy it since we finished assembling at 10pm last night and then went to bed – it’s also a dark grey compared to the black color it looks in the photos. (PS don’t mind the awful space between the chaise. We realized we stuffed the cushion in the wrong way and have yet to fix it). This morning Eddy was professing his love for it too, as he was continually doing hurdles over and under the couch. It was a site to see. Oh and don’t you love our cardboard rug? Once we finish the space up a little bit more, I’ll share some non-iphone photos!

Master Bedroom Progress

It’s been a whole week plus two days since we’ve made this house our home. There are still so many boxes to unpack, but we’re slowly getting more and more settled in. We tried to do a little unpacking each night this week, but after a long day at work and making dinner, the last thing you want to do is unpack.

Saturday we made some more progress, however we encountered a small set back too. Our progress includes getting our bedroom almost complete, we hung the headboard, our shelves above the bed, and a mirror above my dresser (Thanks Drew!!).

But, we still have some work to do (here’s the areas below that need some TLC). We still have to hang up a few framed photos, and eventually redo the two nightstands, but it’s all live able right now. Oh, I want to get a tall-lean-against-the-wall-mirror for next to our closet and our shared, small closet needs some serious organization. PS – Our White Pintuck Duvet isn’t on our bed for these photos, my mom took it home to sew because it was a bit big.

And the setback… I’ll share another day this week. This time we’re focusing on the positive 🙂

Curtains – World Market
Chandelier – World Market (my dad had to re-wire it for a ceiling light versus how it was made to just plug into the wall.
Shelves & Frames – Ikea
Sunburst Mirror – Target
Decorative Pillow – Target
Dressers – Goodwill that my Dad refinished
Nightstands – from a friend/sweet little ol lady who passed away (I’ll share that story soon)
Owl Ring Holder – gift from my friend Morgan