Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blood Moon

I set my alarm and woke up at 2 am so I could watch the lunar eclipse last night. I wanted to try to get some photos of the "blood moon". It was COLD outside, like in the low 30s, so I pretty much froze while standing on the back porch.

I started shooting when the moon was rising and got this shot:
After that I went to bed and waited for my alarm.   Kate actually woke up during the night a couple of times, so I didn't even sleep all that well during the time I was supposed to be sleeping.

I knew the eclipse would begin sometimes around midnight but it wouldn't be in full eclipse until just after 2, so I decided that would be my target time. I didn't really see the need to watch the whole two hours before hand because I needed to be able to function today.
You could also see Mars really well last night, and the blue giant star Spica was hanging out near the moon and very bright as well.
In between  taking photos, I ran in to my computer to upload what I was shooting and make sure my focus was in check. It was really hard to manually focus on the moon because of the angle in the sky, which meant my tripod was aimed really high so I had to crouch below it to see, which was a bit challenging. Never mind that I had to balance my tripod up on two chairs and a garden statue because the power lines that run behind my house were in my way. I had to be able to shoot through the wires, instead of having them cut across my moon. It was awkward.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

First Egg Hunt 2014

Yesterday we had a church fellowship get-together at a friend's place and Kate got to have her first egg hunt of the year. Considering that the last few years she has hunted eggs for at least 2 months after Easter was over, I'm quite certain this will not be egg hunt 1 of 2. At any rate, we had a lot of fun getting to know members of our new congregation. Kate has made a good friend there named Ava, so they had quite a good time together.

Monday, April 7, 2014

House Project: Laundry Room Remodel

While a laundry room remodel may not sound like much fun, it was one of those things on my must-do list that randomly became this weekend's project. My laundry room is the first room we enter when we come home - it's just off the garage. It's been an eye sore for me from day one, but I had bigger fish to fry so I've been ignoring it. This was the laundry room before this weekend:
Yes, I needed to iron. It's been completed as well, ok? Anyway, so this are all the things that drove me crazy about the space. First, I didn't like being able to see all the bottles of cleaner and what not. It just made the room look so cluttered to have all that sitting out for the world to see. When the house was built, obviously there was one shelf in the laundry room that sat in the middle of the wall from side to side. The previous owners had a stacked washer/dryer, so they had to remove that shelf and put their own shelves up but couldn't be bothered to remove the ugly 1x4s that were on the wall. So that useless wood was just ugly. I also hated all the shelf brackets. They were just too industrial looking and the wall looks messy because of them. Lastly, my clothes rod (a necessity for all the stuff we don't put in the dryer) is actually a shower curtain rod that was just barely long enough (note the sagging in the middle) but it got the job done. It was all I had when we moved in and I just went with it.
My original plan was to purchase an unfinished cabinet from Lowe's and paint it, then hang it above the washing machine and reconfigure the rod. I needed to wait until we had the extra money laying around for that because those cabinets are about $90. Then my next door neighbor unknowingly came to my rescue last week by sticking a chest of drawers with no drawers out on the curb. I ran out and grabbed it, trying to figure out what I would do with it when it dawned on me - add shelves and use it in the laundry room. I removed all of the drawer tracks and was ready to go. I already had a little black curtain rod that I could hang at the top so I would not need doors. It cost me $15.53 in lumber to add a bottom and middle shelf. I also cut the four legs off at the bottom.
Bill came over on Saturday morning and we got to work. I had taken as much of the shelving down as I could, but he had to rip the 1x4s off the wall and remove the top shelf since I was too short to reach all the screws. When he pulled off the top shelf, it revealed a seriously bright blue wall color that obviously filled this tiny space at some point. I can't even imagine why.
Once we got the new shelf unit in place, we used the same shower curtain rod but just hung it over the dryer instead of all the way across. We added the top shelf back so I would have some storage space all the way across, and voila! Then it was time to start puttying and painting.
 It's already so much better, and I haven't even added the stuff back!
 I had some material that I had purchased sometime last year just sitting on a shelf in the spare room, so I sent it over to Nana to make me some curtains for my shelf. Now everything is still accessible but hidden and the room looks so much nicer!
The only thing I still want to do is get some kind of cute laundry wall decal to stick on the wall above the dryer and it will be complete! Even though the new shelving sticks out 5" further than the old shelves did, the room feels much bigger now than before the transformation. I'm pretty happy about it all...and it only cost me $15.53!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Disney on Ice!

Today I surprised Kate with a special Mommy-Kate date - we went to the American Airlines Center and saw Disney on Ice! I knew she would love it and although she was a little scared at first because of the volume of the music and the dark arena, she warmed up pretty quickly when mickey and Minnie came out.
She didn't like the Fantasia number at all, although I thought the ice skating brooms were very cool and the black light effect made it really neat looking, and that was followed by a Halloween themed number with a bunch of villains that again, I thought was really cool but Kate did not like it at all....but that was quickly changed when the princesses all came out in honor of Valentine's day.
That's when I captured this expression on her face, and every penny I spent on the tickets was totally worth it for her pure joy:
 The show was pretty lengthy- they skated for an hour, had a short intermission, and then skated for another 45 minutes or so.  Of course we had to visit the souvenir tables, and she came home with a new Belle necklace and Snow White doll.  They weren't cheap of course. It was a cute show and after it was all said and done Kate was thrilled she got to see it. It definitely makes me ready to go back to Disney World, but I have to wait another 11 months for that.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Random Kate-ness

Last month, Karyn got ambitious and created Kate a Princess Tiana dress from scratch (as in, no pattern) and surprised her with it. She was very excited, and promptly asked Karyn to make her an Elsa dress, specifically Elsa's coronation dress. It's really quite difficult to say no to the little cutie pie, so Karyn went right to work and really outdid herself. Here are both creations:
Kate already has the Walmart version (because Mommy can't sew) of Elsa's dress once she becomes the ice queen, which is cute but really could be so much better, you know, if Aunt Karyn did her own version...just sayin'....
I mean come on, the Walmart dress doesn't even really look like Elsa's dress. It's a pretty sad copy.
Anyway, on Thursday they had western day at school. We really aren't western people, although Kate does own a pair of hot pink cowgirl boots, so basically we paired that with a My Little Pony t-shirt because ponies are western...sort of...right? She looked cute, regardless.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I was cleaning off the point and shoot camera that I gave to Kate a while back. I never used it anymore, and she needed more of a real camera to use. As I was sorting through the tons of pictures of her favorite cartoons on the TV, the walls, the dog, the cat, blurry pics of me and Nick....I came across this:
Kate's first selfie. I like it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Happy birthday Nick!

We celebrated Nick's birthday by eating....of course. Yiayia and Nana cooked some fish and the sides to go with that so we could have a nice little dinner in honor of his 33rd birthday. He requested a cookie cake again this year, just like last year, and naturally they didn't disappoint and baked him two of them. He got another gift card to Posado's (his Christmas one recently ran out) so he could further his addiction to their tamales, and besides buying him some new shorts, Kate picked out a new water cup for him to use at home because he dropped and broke his other one last week.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

MapMyWalk: March 2014

All I can say for March is "well at least I beat February". Here's to it finally becoming spring time in Texas though. April is going to be much better. It has to be, or I'm going to be struggling to hit my goal.
My March summary:
36.65 Total miles
10.7 Total Hours
6,045 Total Calories
21 Workouts

I'm still off my pace, but it's getting better. I have 489.44 miles to go before the end of 2014. We've had weird weather, I've had weird injuries, and life has just been crazy at times. I'm hoping the longer sunshine days will help me walk on days after Nick gets home from work now (I'm not comfortable walking in the dark alone) so that should put me back on track.

We've been plugging along with our vegetables but I'll admit, we were really bad when on vacation this past weekend. We pretty much let her rip on food and dessert, so we'll have to do a little correcting of some bad habits that crept back in. The cycle...it's a killer!