Thursday, March 26, 2015

Our Savannah Souvenir

Back in December, I told you that Drew successfully completed basic training and safely made it home. Hooray! What I did not tell you is that between his graduation and our return to Texas we took a trip to Savannah, Georgia. If you aren’t familiar with this beautiful gem of a city, then you absolutely need to add a visit to your to-do list. I had been once before, on a week-long trip with a fun group of social studies teachers, but Drew had never visited, even though he had lived in Georgia for several years. I was so excited to plan our trip so I could show him why I had immediately fallen in love with Savannah, and since we would be there just before Christmas, I knew there would be an extra sense of excitement in the air.

The holiday decorations and atmosphere were exactly what I had hoped they would be; they made the evenings that much more beautiful.
I love white lights, and these were strung across the street for blocks in each direction. It was gorgeous.
After Drew’s graduation ceremony on Fort Benning, we enjoyed lunch with his parents and then departed for the opposite side of the state, arriving at our hotel just before dinnertime. I spent a somewhat ridiculous amount of time researching and choosing the hotel for our long weekend and I am glad that I did. We were on the western edge of the historic district, not on busy Bay Street, but within easy walking distance of everything. It was THE perfect location for us. Plus, we paid a little less than what we would have for one of the Bay Street hotels, but we got much more for our money.

B Historic Savannah Hotel
For our first evening in Savannah I wanted to get Drew down to see the river as soon as possible, so I made a reservation for dinner at River House Seafood. We got a little bit lost while finding the restaurant, but we had fun along the way. Since Drew was still wearing his uniform, a street performer played the U.S. Army Song as we walked down the street; I was pretty proud to be on the arm of my soldier.

The entire weekend was amazing and so pleasant. The city was adorned with white lights and Christmas decorations. The weather was beautiful and, although the pre-holiday season is a peak time for tourism, it didn’t feel too crowded or busy. As we browsed through shops and tourist attractions, we hoped that we would find some special souvenir by which we could remember our trip. We contemplated Christmas ornaments, art prints, coffee mugs, and other trinkets, but nothing seemed to excite us. Instead, we took lots of pictures, walked miles back and forth across town, indulged in delicious lunches and dinners, and enjoyed being back together again.

We loved watching the container ships go up and down the river. They are quite an impressive sight.
Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was beautiful.
We enjoyed a peaceful stroll through Forsyth Park after Saturday evening Mass and before going to dinner.
I wonder if the army is looking for super models?

Waiting for our walking tour to begin. We highly recommend Free Savannah Walking Tours.
Posing with the statue of the Waving Girl.
Everyone recommended that we dine at The Olde Pink House and we are so glad we did. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip because the food was incredible and the staff went above and beyond our expectations.
An unforgettable memory: Drew's plate of congratulatory strawberries courtesy of The Olde Pink House. He would probably like for me to note that he now has a full head of hair.
On our drive home we were lucky to see this fragment of a rainbow - a beautiful reminder of the many blessings in our lives.
We left Savannah feeling happy and rested, wishing we could have stayed longer, and already wondering when we would return. Stopping in Birmingham to visit Drew’s parents broke up the journey home, and we pulled into our driveway less than one week after leaving Fort Benning. Since we were immediately thrown back into real life, it took us a while to get completely unpacked and nearly three months later I feel like we have yet to catch a break from piles laundry. Anyway, being back under one roof again was great but also stressful. I found myself more easily irritated and I wondered if I was just having a hard time readjusting; it can be tough to transition from being a team, to having to be a one woman show, and then going back to the team again. My husband is unbelievably patient and understanding, but I know my moodiness was affecting him, and I was even annoying myself!

Don't get me wrong, I certainly have my cranky days here and there (who doesn't?), but perpetual irritability was not normal for me and as the days wore on, I had a sneaking suspicion that I knew the cause. So, after my morning shift on December 22nd, I went home and took a pregnancy test. The instructions on the package said to wait at least two minutes, and up to ten, for results. I swear to you, not thirty seconds later, there it was: PREGNANT! Just to be sure and to help the shock wear off, I took another test, even though it was expired and, once again, POSITIVE!

I was positively pregnant.

No wonder we had struggled to find the perfect souvenir when we were in Savannah; we had the best souvenir with us the whole time, we just did not know it. :)

Proof positive! (Pun intended.)

Introducing Baby Smith, due August 27th!

Our 9 week ultrasound photo
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Craft Closet Makeover

When I initially interviewed at The Container Store I was assigned the task of choosing an area in my home that needed organization and selecting a product from the store to solve the problem. I chose the craft area of our apartment and now, one year later and in our house, I have finally gotten it done!

You know I love to be crafty. I am happiest when I am painting pegs or crocheting a blanket or scarf. It is hard for me to just sit still without also working on a project of some sort. This innate craftiness manifests itself by the many supplies that sometimes get out of control. Felt, paint, paper, markers, wood, fabric, and yarn everywhere. Here at the house, I am lucky enough to have an entire closet that we have devoted to craft supplies. Sadly, it isn't large enough to fit everything, but I knew it had the potential to hold quite a lot. Once it got to the point where the door couldn't really be closed and boxes of supplies were scattered about the floor, I knew I had to get to work.

Oh, the shame! Yvette and Drew, I don't know how you put up with this for so long.
I had initially planned to tackle this challenge in November, but instead I redid Drew's clothes closet, because I am awesome like that. However, I had already removed the only existing shelf from the craft closet and that served to exacerbate the overflow problem. Drew is two months into restarting his quest to complete his bachelor's degree, and since the "office" and the "craft room" are one and the same, I needed to get organized for his sake.

Off to The Container Store I went for some shelving! I planned to sort and organize all of my supplies into clear shoe boxes and stack them on the shelves. Upon realizing that some of the shoe boxes would be quite heavy and that I wanted easier access to them, I determined that adding three more shelves would be ideal. I also had the brilliant idea to install a very short shelf at the bottom where we could store broken down boxes for mailing gifts to family throughout the year; they take up so much less space this way!

Five shelves was the initial plan.

Eight shelves made for a much better solution.

Some of the shoe boxes needed a little bit more help getting organized than others. The Like-It Bricks were a great choice to get our office supplies all tidy. The bricks can be divided and, when stacked, the top brick can slide back and forth. These shoe boxes make me happy. :)

I also LOVE the gift wrap door rack that I installed. I frequently sell wall and door racks to customers and, although they are quite popular, I was skeptical about whether I would like it. Our gift wrap and ribbon had no organization whatsoever before this, and since they were stored in several different places, this is a tremendous improvement. Now everything is together and I have room for even more supplies!

Over Door Gift Wrap Organizer

The clear boxes make it fairly easy to see what is inside each one, but for the sake of convenience, I bought chalkboard labels and chalk ink pens so that I could label each box. They are erasable, so I can rewrite the labels in the likely event that my crafty interests change in the future. The closet looks packed, but it is orderly and I like it that way. Everything has its place and I now have two empty drawers in the dresser I use as a workspace - perfect for yarn and fabric and works in progress.

All things crafty are easy to see and easy to find!

I am a happy crafty camper!

Disclaimer, because you never know when people will freak out over nothing: I do work for The Container Store, however, I receive no benefit for talking about my job or the store's products on this blog. Unless you consider getting great joy out of sharing something I love a benefit.