Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cystinosis and Sam's Hope for a Cure

Ashton and I have been the best of friends since I met her when I moved to Utah in the 4th grade.  We played barbies together, experimented with cooking together, drew dream-home floor plans together, trick-or-treated together, travelled together...and basically did everything together through college when we were roommates and then afterward until I moved out to DC. 

I can honestly say she's one of the most beautiful people (inside and out) that I've ever met.  She's hard-working, easy-going and never complains when things are difficult.  She's the epitome of generosity and knows how to create beauty (seemingly effortlessly) wherever she goes.  She's the sister I never had, but always wanted. 

As you can imagine, it's heartbreaking for me that her two gorgeous little boys have a rare genetic disorder called Cystinosis.  Cystinosis is so rare, in fact, that only around 500 people in the country have it.  You can read more about the symptoms of Cystinosis here.

As Ashton and her husband mention in their letter, Cystinosis is so rare that it does not receive much government attention or funding. So, in honor of her older son Sam's third birthday, Ashton and her husband Stephen started a non-profit to raise money for Cystinosis research.

If you're looking for a cause to support, I would be overjoyed if you chose to support one that's near and dear to my heart: Sam's Hope for a Cure.  If you'd like to make a donation, you can do so here

Here's to Ashton, Stephen, Sam and Lars!  Here's to helping find a cure!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The real normal

Do you ever have those weeks where you've been extremely busy, but you look back and feel like you did a whole lot of nothing?  Last week was like that for me.

During the week I felt like I didn't have two seconds to rub together, but then, as I look back, I can't really pinpoint what I was up to.  Probably just a busy work schedule, trying to keep the house clean, and perpetually picking up the smashed figs that the squirrels and birds like to leave around our yard.  You know, the glamorous, fun stuff.

This week isn't really much better in terms of excitement.  The Law Center semester starts next Tuesday, so I'm slogging through the piles of questions the adjunct faculty members like to hit me with at the last second.  I don't blame them...I'd probably be the same way, but it sure takes it out of me.  If I never write another email again after today I'd be perfectly happy...

Monday, August 20, 2012

At rug has come along!

A rug at last. 

I've been searching off-and-on for a rug for our living room since we moved in.  It's a long room that includes the entry-way and the living room, so I wanted to get something to define the seating area as a separate space from the entry area.

For me, rugs are always the hardest part of decorating.  Do I get something with a pattern? Something plain?  Fluffy?  Flat-weave?  Will I get sick of a patterned rug?  Will it conflict with other elements of the room?  Will it hold up to the foot traffic? The list goes on.

One of my primary issues is that to get a nice rug for a room this size would normally cost a small fortune. And I'm not willing to part with a small fortune...especially not for something I'm so wishy-washy on. 

I started contemplating a hair-on-hide rug about a year ago when I cruising the archives of some of my favorite design blogs.  I love the organic shape and the fact that they're true work-horses (pun?) in terms of holding up to wear-and-tear.  But again, other than the IKEA version (which I didn't absolutely love), it was an expensive proposition.

Then - cue the heavenly choirs singing - Blake and I were perusing Arhaus before dinner one night and noticed that they had a zebra-print rug and that it was on sale!  Drastic sale.  75% off to be exact.  That put it, mercifully, in our price range.  It only took a few minutes of my incessant chattering to successfully convince Blake that, yes, we needed this zebra rug for our home. 

20 minutes later we were home and eagerly re-positioning our furniture and the rug "just-so." 

Not the best (iPhone) picture, but it looks amazing in person.

It pays to wait for a deal.

Friday, August 17, 2012

That's a wrap

Sometimes when you've spent the week battling the stomach flu, you've gotta review pictures of your latest vacation to remind yourself that life can be more than just vertigo and the view of the inside of a toilet bowl.

Life is Maine Black Bear with extra hot fudge - purchased with part of the $20.00 found on the sidewalk.  It is blueberries picked and eaten straight off the bushes by the dock. 

Life is fresh produce from New Hampshire farmers markets. And pulling up to get gas in the boat on a perfectly blue Winnipesaukee day. 

Life is having a laugh with your best friend while pulling up to the fair and noticing one old man riding the Ferris wheel by himself.  It is giddily buying armfuls of almost-new books for pennies.  It is ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the beautiful New England architecture. 

Yep. Life outside of the stomach flu is pretty darn great.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From King Kong to Jaws

Now that the Olympics are over (and I've filled my sport-free afternoons with Shark Week), I've been thinking a lot about the games:

1.  Is it really fair to call Phelps the winningest Olympian?  Sure, he's fabulous at what he does, but isn't it unfair to name him champion when he's in a sport in which he can win so many medals?  Track stars are going to win, what, maybe three medals per games if they're lucky? Discuss.

2.  We (as a human race) have spent the last several million years evolving away from monkeys.  And yet here we are awarding top honors to the folks who have managed to combat evolution and do with their bodies what monkeys can do.  Exhibit A:

Again, discuss.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pennsylvania Blue

When we purchased our home back in 2009, we knew we'd have to make some landscaping updates. The shed was old and crummy, and the brick patio was buckled and sloping precipitously in toward the house.  The brick required constant weeding, and caused me frequent heartburn as every time it rained, the water would come rushing in toward the house and pool by the foundation (eek!).

We ousted the old shed and replaced with with a new, updated version throughout last summer and into the winter (our projects take a long time around here, ok?), and have been saving and planning for a new flagstone patio since we signed our mortgage papers on the dotted line. 

Although we're often DIY-ers, we weren't ready to take on the leveling, foundation digging, cement stair jack-hammering and general stone heave-ho-ing that comes with putting in a new patio.

We worked with East Coast Landscaping to come up with a plan, and let them work their magic. 

They had a last-minute hole in their schedule, so they started construction while we were up at the lake.  We had them send pictures at the end of each day, and had to have a few changes made (we're pretty picky customers), but it was a fairly painless process. 

We couldn't be more tickled with how it turned out.  AND (big, important and) we've already had a couple of nasty rain storms, where, to our delight, the water rolled politely off the patio away from the house rather than rushing in toward it.  As if the patio weren't beautiful enough to look at, it also brings the sweet relief of knowing I can sleep at night without worrying that our foundation would be soggily disintegrating.

I even bought some long lusted-after outdoor lights - I like to think of them as the cherry on top of a big, delicious ice cream sundae.

Come over and have a BBQ with us soon, ok?

Friday, August 10, 2012

BLAKE Winnipesaukee

Here we are observing Blake in his natural habitat:

1. Driving the "biggie boat" into town for lunch and ice cream.  (Side note: when he wears these sunglasses I call him "Risky Blake.")


2. Water skiing on a perfect summer day.  I'm still much too chicken (and much to out-of-shape) to attempt water skiing myself.  Plus, I greatly prefer watching the pro and getting my photo on.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

And we're back

After a long Sunday-afternoon flight delay, we arrived home to an extremely dusty yard (our patio was being re-done) and enough humidity to drown even the great Michael Phelps.  Ok, maybe not quite that lethal, but awful nonetheless.

It's pretty discouraging to come home to monstrous piles of laundry and the prospect of work early the next morning...especially when we knew we were missing out on more of this:

I'm finally starting to get my act together (don't you hate the back-log that comes after being out of town?) and when I do, be prepared for me to regale you with many a Winnipesaukee story.