Monday, October 7, 2013

Rebooting the Ravn. . .

Ok, as you know, my life has been turned upside down the past couple of months. The girls and I have been reeling from my husband, their dad, leaving during a full-fledged mid-life crisis. I have gone to therapy (they went only once, they did not enjoy it; I found laying on a couch telling someone my woes to be quiet relaxing and helpful; just needed a glass of wine and some nachos and I might have never gotten off that couch!). I joined Divorce Care, a Christian-based support group. I have had countless breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and happy hours with friends. I have reconnected with high school and college friends. I have commiserated with friends through the fence at a soccer game. I have texted my family and had marathon phone calls at all hours of the night. I have gone through ludicrous amounts of wine (recycling bin is overflowing!). I have blogged. I have journaled. I have met with a great attorney. And do you want to know the best part about it? It all has helped! Every. Single. Bit. Of. It! I have all of you to be thankful for and really, really appreciative all of your support! Every last ounce of it.

With that being said, I actually got my first GOOD night of sleep last night. I even had a dream, can't remember it but I think it was a good one too. I woke up happy. In the past, I have actually woken up crying. Not a great way to start the day. I have also noticed my crying has lessened. It's not gone completely but definitely easing up (thank God too because soft Kleenex are not cheap!).

My girls seem to be in a good place, too. They are not really interested in spending any time with their dad but will go stay with him for the occasional night. Hopefully he will be patient with them and allow for them to continue to heal and get over the betrayal and hurt they are also feeling.

Now I am going to start focusing on myself and I have declared this project "Rebooting the Ravn!" Ravn is my maiden name and I like the alliteration. Plus, kind of not liking my married name right now for obvious reasons.

So far, I have started flossing again (hate having to do it with permanent retainers on the top and bottom but it can add 6.4 years to your life per Dr. Rozien, easy no brainer), I got my hair colored darker (slightly new look for me) and I am starting a diet.

I know, DIET really is a 4-letter word and it is something I have failed miserably at for the past 16 years (I gained weight while pregnant with my 15-old and still haven't lost it!). I know my family, and probably most of my friends, are sick of hearing me talk about weight loss. I am too. It's something I think about every single day, especially as I am eating a Cuban sandwich with Doritos! I have tried Weight Watchers more times than I can honestly remember. I have lost weight on a no carb diet only to regain it once I looked at a dinner roll again (this girl is NEVER going to be carb free again!). I have joined gyms, hired a trainer, walked hundreds of miles. The problem is, I just don't think I have ever had the deep down, inner passion or desire to do it. I always thought I would deal with it eventually. If I cut back a little here, used smaller plates every meal, did this or that, the weight would melt off. Let me tell you - not freaking true.

Let me tell you, nothing will give you the desire again to lose weight than to realize that after 20 years off the market, I will have to start dating again (at some time in the very, very, very far future)! So wish me well as I start to turn a major corner in my life and I will leave you with some words I read on Facebook and they just spoke to me!

It's perfect for me!
I will be sure to share my ups and downs with you but that is for another post!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It's Fall Y'All!

Ok, first, let me say a BIG THANK YOU to all my friends who reached out to me following my last blog post. I cannot even begin to tell you all how much it meant to me. This really is a hard, scary, heart-breaking, tragic, confusing, crappy time in my life, not to mention my girls. We all are struggling with the process. I am still crying everyday (except for one day the beginning of the month - not sure what happened there), eating (way too much!), and downright struggling with the reality and finality of everything. I have decided, the best way to get my new, little family through all this, is to try to keep to traditions and routines we all know and love.

That being said, Fall came to Seabreeze Dr a couple of weeks ago. Now, since our house is on the market, I chose to hold back (I know, hard for me, right??) and just put up a few touches here and there.

I love these glittery leaves I picked up at Hobby Lobby
in Ocala a couple of years ago.
I think they add a little something special to
 the chandelier. 

The girls and I are going to Asheville (with some other family members) the end of October, a trip we used to make as a family. It will be bittersweet but we are really looking forward to getting away for a few days, breathing in some cold air, looking at the gorgeous leaves, getting lost in a corn maze, and just taking our mind off of all the chaos in our lives (plus, Brevard, NC, has a restaurant that makes wicked good Grilled Pimento Cheese sandwiches and Asheville is known for their craft beers - win, win!). 

So I hope you like my little touch of Fall in the South. Switching to Halloween real soon but that will be for another post!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Getting Back Into Routine . . .

Ok, I am back. It's been a long time since I have written a post and to be quite honest, I have really missed the writing portion of blogging. Now why was I gone for the last 7 weeks, you ask? Well, if I was a guy, I would say life kicked me in the nuts. Being a "more mature" woman, perhaps I could sum it up best and say life kicked me in my super deflated, hanging in my Southern Hemisphere, need a crane to life them up boobs! Too much? Sorry!

To be honest, everything I knew and thought that was true, was taken away from me. My hubby of 17 years (and best friend for almost 20), came home after a week-long vacation without his family, and told me he didn't want to be married anymore and that he was moving out and on. I am a big girl, and you could have honestly knocked me over with a feather. I NEVER expected that. My heart, my future, my family, everything I had worked for in the last 20 years, was taken from me and I had absolutely NO SAY in it whatsoever. For those who know me, not having a say has never been an issue of mine! Now there is a lot more to this story but in the spirit of self-preservation and for the sake of my girls, this is all I am going to say about this right now. If you are a friend of mine and want more "scoop", please don't hesitate to call me. I am leaning heavily on my friends and family right now and I thank God for them everyday. I have also started seeing a family counselor at our church (girls are going with me next time) and joined a Divorce Support Group. Both are very cathartic and will help me move forward.

With all this being said, there are some other major changes going on in our lives right now. I know seriously, what else could be happening? Well, we are selling our house and the girls and I will be looking for a new pad to call home. I have to say, with all the time, energy and money I have put into this house, it sure does look good - for someone else.

So here's the listing so you can see how pretty it looks (professional photos totally make a difference!).

Here's a few of the photos  -

So, when the highlight of your summer is an emergency appendectomy (ahhhh yes, that happened too, I will definitely blog about that later because that story is so freaking funny, you will pop a stitch!), you can honestly say your summer sucked. As the girls and I say Worst. Summer. Ever. But now I have a clean, pretty house and will begin a house hunt very soon. I LOVE looking at houses so super excited about that part.

I will keep you filled in on what is going on in my life, the highs and the lows, as well as share our house search and making that house into a home. We have a lot to be thankful for, a lot to look forward to, and a lot of pain to heal. We will get there, just the three of us (not sure if we are more like the Three Stooges or the Three Amigos, only time will tell?!?!).

Much, much, much more to come, but that is for another post!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Keeps on Going and Going . . .

Ok, so in 2002, we bought a Chevrolet Suburban. Now I did not want this car, it was too big and too much of a gas guzzler. My hubby was the one who kept insisting we needed the extra row.

However, while driving to Miami for our annual Stone crab trip, I had a 3-year-old sitting right next to a  4-month-old in a Jeep Cherokee. Now the oldest daughter wanted to love on the baby and kept touching her, squishing her cheeks, and making her cry (not a 100% sure it was all loving but let's just go with that). By the time we had driven to Ft. Myers (barely an hour and 45 minutes from home), I was convinced we needed a bigger car. Thus the Blue Burb, as we sometimes call it.

Now I will say, I have really come to appreciate this car. The most important reason is that there are three rows and still enough room in the back for lots of anything and everything you need to haul. Plus, if someone rear ends the car, they are not in the back seat with my family - big plus!

So my sister and I took a quick trip to Atlanta to head to the Gift Mart for our on-line store Two Chic Gifting Gals. Going to market is super fun, especially when we discovered the vendor giving away tumblers full of wine!! On the way home from Atlanta, something big happened, or at least it was exciting to me. No explanation needed:

200,000 freaking miles! That's amazing and a heckuva lot of miles!! After dropping off my sister and picking up my girls (a row for each of them!), I started thinking about everything this car has been through:

- driving Girl Scouts to meetings for 9 years
- 8 Girl Scout camping trips
- 10 years of school carpools 
- driving family members home from the hospital after three surgeries
- tons of trips to Gainesville for Gator games
- driving to West Virginia with 6 family members for skiing for my parents 40th anniversary
- driving the Masellis and Hutchisons to Kentucky for the Gator game
- being hit in the front by a KY Wildcat trying to jump the car and instead jumped the curb
- trips to New Orleans, Tennessee, Atlanta, and yearly pilgrimages to North Carolina for fall leaves
- my 15-year-old daughter learning to drive (if she can handle this car, she can drive anything)
- my 15-year-old daughter stopping at her first red light and being rear-ended TWICE by some crazy man (no damage to our car)
- too many to count field trips
- 2 sleepovers at Sea World
- 1 sleepover at Busch Gardens
- hauling furniture, supplies from Home Depot, you name it
- home to a lizard for one, very long, week
- trips to Disney, concerts, the beach, dinners out, church
- no tickets (knock on wood)
- no major accidents (2 fender benders not our fault)
- backed into a pole and scrapped a stop sign (both not visible to driver and both the driver's fault - that would be me!)
- has a J carved in the passenger's, backseat door (oldest daughter to blame for that)
- still has a VCR installed in the ceiling (yes, we were trendsetters at the time!)
- brought home our new puppy (now she's 9)
- no major repairs

I imagine in the next year, the Blue Burb will conk out on us and no longer want to take us where we want to go but all-in-all, this car has served us well. While I will happily go look at new cars (who doesn't love that new car smell??), I will not happily look at the price tags. We have not had a car payment in over 9 years! Oy vey! Off to go load up the car for a sleepover with 10 teenagers at the Tradewinds, but that is for another post!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kitchen Confidential (But I'll Share) . . .

Ok, so the kiddos and the hubby were both out-of-town last week and that left me and the dog. Hattie (our black Lab) is fun but she won't fill my days nor will she take out the trash (was really missing hubby on the second trash day he was gone!!). I was pulling another filled trash bag from under the sink and was grossed out by what I saw. Originally, I had laid down a shelf liner like this -

Here I was, thinking this was so smart. Reality check - NOT! It appears my family is a group of slobs and only hits the trash can accurately about 60% of the time. The rest obviously misses and lands on my shelf liner. Funny thing here, the liner has little open squares and the missed trash would fill these holes and harden. When I removed it, there were actually squares of dried nastiness. I had to take a razor blade to the gunk to remove it. I then bleached the cabinet floor and this is the best I got!

There was a small, wire pull-out shelf that held cleaning supplies
but basically no other organization.
I ran (ok, not literally) to Home Depot and bought 6 vinyl tiles.
I figured these would be much easier to clean and it only cost $7.00!
Armstrong 12" x 12" Peel & Stick Slate Modular Brown Vinyl Tile
I was able to cut the tile with an old pair of scissors.
Forgot to take a finished photo of just the tiles but trust me here,
it looks SO much better!
I added a pull-out trash can  and shelf, all from Home Depot,
and now have everything in reach.
I do plan on adding some sort of dividers for the shelf
because if I close it quickly, some of the items tend to fall over.
Other than that, it is clean and organized.
My youngest daughter was really impressed with the new and improved look so that's enough validation for me! Of course, the new rule in the house is to always pull out the trash can before adding anything to it. That way, we avoid the messy overspills. 

I am so excited to cross another item off my Summer To Do List. Crap!! Just pulled it up and another project not on my To Do list - ugh!

Off to finish something ACTUALLY on the list but that is for another post.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's About Time . . .

Ok, so I have been living with this 1980s, completely hideous, ugliness for almost ten years (I think I deserve a major award!).

If you look super closely, you can see the wood from the other side.
Many years ago, I put up bead board in Caitlin's room to
hide the glass blocks on her side.
So with the girls in Gainesville and hubby visiting his dad, I woke up this morning and decided it needed to be a productive day. I pulled out the big ladder and took detailed measurements. Then I headed to Home Depot, picked up some luan, and had one of the employees cut down the wood for me (makes it super easy, peasy!). Now in my mind, I would just stick up the luan, add a few nails and then paint it all and believe it or not, that's exactly the way it went.

This piece was cut a little crooked but once I painted it,
you really couldn't notice.
This was my trick corner because it actually had a bend.

All the luan fit nicely and was super easy to install,
plus it's light so not too heavy to lift by myself.
The Home Depot man cut some 3' x 1" strips for me and I used them as trim to go over the seams. I originally was going to just glue up the strips so I started that (gobs of glue later) but found it easier to just nail them in place. I then added a bunch of spackle (forgot to sand so don't look closely when you visit) and added paint. And here's the finished product . . . 

Not too bad??
I was going to paint the wood strips brown to add some more color
but since their placement apart varies based on where the main
supports of the glass blocks are, I painted them white.

I might actually add some fun art or some sort of decorations up there but for now, I will just admire it. I do have some touch-up painting still to do but tackling that tomorrow. My dog woke me up at 4 a.m. this morning and I didn't really fall back asleep (thanks Hattie!). More painting tomorrow but that is for another post.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Loving Me Some Dowton Abbey . . .

Ok, so I can become a completely obsessive person. With that being said, a lot of the time, once I make my mind up, there is no stopping me (remember I painted 18' high walls!?!?!).  So I was sitting down to fold several loads of laundry and I turned on the TV. With nothing being on, I switched to Netflix and came across Downton Abbey. For those of you not in the "know," it's a PBS fiction series set in a grand house in England beginning in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic. It follows the lives of the wealthy family who live in the house and the servants who are at their beck-and-call. Little did I know, when I innocently played that first show, that the next 36 hours of my life would be in front of a TV and computer! I was completely hooked in the first five minutes (I am a bit of an Anglophile).

I love the grand home (they use the real English estate Highclere Castle) . . .

the amazing costumes  . . .

A staff (who wouldn't want a staff???) . . .

the great, can't-stop-watching storylines  . . .
Shirley MacLaine as a sassy, outspoken, ridiculously wealthy American . . . 

but best of all, Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham 
(Lady Grantham)!

Every family needs a dowager. Here are some of my favorite lines she has spouted -

Lady Mary: "Sybil is entitled to her opinions."
Lady Grantham: "No. She isn't until she is married, then her husband will tell her what her opinions are."

Lady Grantham: "You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal."
Mrs Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”
Lady Grantham: “I must have said it wrong.”

Tom: "They turned everyone out of the castle. Lord and Lady Dromgoole, their sons and the servants. And then they set fire to it."
Edith: "What a tragedy"
Lady Grantham: "Well, rather yes and no - that house was hideous. Of course, that is no excuse."

Lady Grantham: "I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there."

Robert: "They do say there is a wild man inside all of us."
Lady Grantham: "If only he would stay inside."

Lady Grantham: "Parenting is difficult enough even when you like the child."

Lady Grantham: "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's so middle class."

Sir Richard: "I am leaving this morning Lady Grantham, I doubt we will ever meet again."
Lady Grantham: "Do you promise?"

Lady Grantham: "Judas was only trying to help."

Lady Grantham: "I will applaud your discretion when you leave."

Lady Grantham: "I do hope I am interrupting something."

So, needless to say, I watched Season One on Netflix. Immediately had to switch over to (signed up for a free week, watched my stories and then canceled it) since Netflix didn't have Season Two. After watching Season Two (took a short break to sleep), onto Amazon Prime (free membership for 1 month) to watch Season Three. All that rushing (literally would have been a page turner if I was reading it) and now I have to wait until January 5, 2014 for Season Four. Bummer! Something MAJOR happened in last minute of Season Three but I won't be a spoiler. Go see for yourself! It's really good!

Now off to get something finally done but that is for another post!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just a Little Painting . . .

Ok, so I came up with my "Summer To Do" on my last post  (yes, 17 days ago) and yeah, I have some progress to report!!

First, I organized all my photos on-line!! Yeah me! It took about 2 days of dragging, deleting, and reorganizing folders to get it all together. I had photos from 2 different cameras, in two different programs, and wanted them in one location. I also had photos from a folder pulled together after my last computer crash. It's nice that they are now together, neatly organized, and now backed up. Technically, I can't cross this off my list . . .  yet . . . because it said to also organize all my photos currently just sitting in boxes (that will hopefully be done in the next couple of weeks) so as my mom always says, "stay tuned". (Note to future self: when making a To Do list, list jobs individually so I will feel more successful crossing them off - never double them up!)

Now onto my big news, and one that I can actually cross off the list, I painted the living room, all by myself!! Now normally, that's not big news but remember, I have 18' ceilings. 18 feet people! I used two different ladders, 2 different extension rods for the roller, my wonderful bendy paint brush and 7 gallons of paint.

Before reminder -

Drum roll please  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

I love the slight off-white color with the dark wood.
We decided to slowly renovate our home to have a Mediterranean-Spanish
flair but it takes a lot to make a 1987 contemporary
house an old-world home!
Wish us luck!!!
Plan on reworking the fireplace in the near future.
Doesn't it look nice with my pediment??

Eventually, we plan on replacing the Pergo floor with hardwood, removing the popcorn off the ceiling (professionals only please!) and adding a few beams up there (again, professionals) but that's down the road. For now, I just will paint the old baseboards a dark brown.

So cross this baby off. Tomorrow I am reorganizing under my kitchen sink (not fun or fancy but a major necessity!). (Note to future self: when making a To Do list, go back and list jobs that you might be doing the next day so you can feel more successful crossing them off !)

Off to read and relax and will think about the rest of my To Do list, but that is for another post!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Goals . . .

Ok, so my life is start to finally calm down a little. School is out (even though my oldest is currently in Driver's Ed, good luck Coach Blackwell!) so I came up with a list of things I want to accomplish this summer.

1. Paint living room and stairwell - just a note on this. We have 18'  ceilings so my goal is to paint as much as possible and then have professionals come in and do the "dirty" work. Hoping to start that ASAP.

2. Find table and chairs for outside. My GTG (go-to-guy) has not contacted me back (not sure what's up there) so alas, I am left to my own devices. I have been cruising the Internet and have not found anything I truly like (under $2,000) but thought this might work:
Ikea outdoor table and 6 chairs - $399
I like that the table can extend to sit more and I really like the color.
Now it doesn't have the trough in it that I was going to have GTG build for me, but I can either add one to the table top or maybe pull a board out if I kept the table always larger. 

We are even thinking of getting 2 table sets if we really like them. That is still to be determined.

3. Hang outside curtains - yes, I am talking about the ones I bought last summer. 

4. Make pillows for upstairs porch - yes, with the fabric I bought last spring (2012, not 2013!).

5. Paint upstairs porch table and all the chairs - so glad I waited until summer in Florida to start that project!

6. Debating whether to paint the outside walls on the porch - just make a decision!

7. Organize all photos - on-line and in all the boxes I have (have been putting this one off for YEARS!).

8. Finish craft room - need I say more!

9. Finish Liv's room - again, need I say more!

Do you sense a pattern here??

10. Paint the back of the front doors - leaning towards black or a fun color.

Dark photo and yes, it's old. Valentine's Day was put up
weeks ago! Ha, ha!!
11. Find doors for office.

Something to block all this loveliness!
Like this -

or this - 

or maybe with glass insets.
Still can't decide!

A girl can dream right? Maybe that will be my reward to myself if I manage to get all my other "chores" done!

My other plan is to have a week of Pinterest. Find Pins I have been wanting to try and take one and do it each day. 

Now, off to start my "summer"! But that's for another post!