Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dress Up and Paper Dolls

One of Grace's favorite things to do is play dress up. Here she is with her pretty necklace, sunglasses, and hat that she picked out and put on all by herself. She's growing up so fast! It's amazing to me how she loves to wear hats, but hates ribbons and bows in her hair. One of these days I'm going to find her a chest or trunk to hold all her dress up clothes.

Here's Daddy and Grace playing dress up with paper dolls. Each girl must wear her shoes!

New Carpet

This weekend we decided to bite the bullet and have new carpet installed in the "Yellow Room" aka, our gym. That's been the number 1 complaint at our open houses - yellow carpet in one bedroom that doesn't match the rest of the house.

So, Bob from Lowe's came out and measured the room and gave us our estimate. The estimate was lower than what we expected, partly because the carpet is on sale, and partly because we decided to save $250 by moving all the furniture out (a treadmill, weight set, and air mattress) and ripping the old carpet out ourselves.

That's what I've accomplished so far today - moving furniture. Whew - that's a lot of hard work! Tonight, David and I plan to rip out the old carpet.

(Above, empty room ready for the carpet rip-out)

Hopefully we'll have the new carpet installed before we leave for our trip to Alabama.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sunshine and sprinkler time

Today was such a beautiful day that Grace and I just had to get outside and play! But it was SO HOT - 84 degrees! That's when we decided to break the sprinkler out. Look at how much fun we had!

Good morning little birdy

I hear Grace giggling.
Grace laughs harder.
Mommy: Grace, what are you laughing at?
Grace: Buhrd! Buhrd! and giggles some more.

And sure enough, outside our window is this little guy. The thumping was the poor thing flying into our window! After knocking himself silly he finally flew away. I wonder if he'll fly by again tomorrow to say good morning.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lions, Tigers, and Penguins - OH MY!

Grace and I went to the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo today and we had so much fun!

We started at the cat complex because Grace loves tigers! It is capable of holding up to 100 large cats, including three subspecies of tiger, lion, jaguar, snow leopard, clouded leopard and the North American puma. It is the largest cat breeding and management facility in North America.
First, we saw lions

And then tigers...Grrrrr!

And then we took a quick snack break

Next, we cooled off with some fresh water

(no Grace didn't drink it)

Then we strolled through the aviary. It houses over 500 birds in the world's second largest free-flight aviary. In this four acre sanctuary you can see flamingos, ducks, swans, storks and cranes.

I love how Grace is staring up at the sky trying to find a bird.

Then we headed off to the aquarium. This 71,000 square foot aquarium features realistic displays of aquatic habitats from polar regions, temperate oceans, coral reefs and the Amazon.
Here Grace got to see how tall she is in comparison to the penguins. She's a little taller than a Macaroni. That's what she ate for lunch - macaroni and cheese - not Macaroni the penguin.

Grace loved the bright fishies!

After the aquarium, we decided to go home since it was so hot outside and we were getting tired. But, of course we couldn't leave without her two new friends that Grace picked out. A baby penguin and tiger from her two favorite exhibits.

Such a fun day! Maybe next time we can see the bears, and giraffes, and zebras!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Enticing Entry

Here is a photo from the day we finally moved in. Pretty nice but basic.
Here it is again almost 3 years later.

More modern and marvelous, wouldn't you say?

Blue Screen of Death - Part 2

So I finally called HP technical support once again hoping to finally resolve these annoying error messages and be able to use our computer on a regular basis. To my surprise, after a lengthy discussion of the issues we've been having, HP sent us system recovery disks overnight via UPS. Surely this would correct the problem once and for all.

Of course, I was in Alabama visiting my family and David was in Africa when the cd's arrived. No fault of HP's, of course, I just neglected to tell them I wasn't at home when they offered to send the disks. Luckily, our kind neighbors held them for us until we arrived home the next week.

Once at home, I waited a couple of days before tackling the daunting task before us. Finally, the time had come. Should I call or go at it by myself? I'm sure you guessed the correct answer, why trouble any one else if I can fix this by myself? How difficult could it really be? Those were the questions barrelling through my head while I inserted the first disk. I should have known better.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I started receiving errors immediately. I called HP and after another 4 hours on the phone we finally resolved the issue (supposedly). I'm still unsure what the issue WAS but since the computer seems to be functioning correctly, I'm happy enough. I send my everlasting gratitude to my dear technical support buddies. And if it starts causing more mischief in the future, I still have 103 photos of different error messages to email my new friends at HP.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blue Screen of Death - Part 1

For weeks now we have been getting a crazy "blue screen error" that really freaked me out a bit.

It read "A problem has been detected and Windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer..." WHAT?!? Damage to my computer?!? That's gotta be bad...

"... Collecting data for crash dump..." HUH?

"Initializing disk for crash dump ..." IS THIS A JOKE?

"Dumping phsyical memory: 100%" Not a joke! Stop! STOP! DON'T DUMP MY PHYSICAL MEMORY!!!!

And then "poof" the screen was gone! Gone! Just like that. How could it possibly be gone when I didn't even have time to read the whole thing before it just disappeared?!?
Wait - this has to be one of David's jokes or pranks or something, right? Uh-uh. Nope. Can't blame it on the dear hubby this time.
Time to call HP technical support. Got a brand new computer...it's under warranty...this will only take 10 minutes. 15 tops. Whatever. You try to explain this mysterious "blue screen error" after only reading the top and bottom lines. Apparently all the writing in the middle is pretty important.

Now I ask, why would it disappear after flashing on the screen for only 5 seconds or so if the middle part's so important? After attempting to describe / explain / interpret this perplexing message and failing dismally, I was instructed to perform a "system recovery." At least our computer isn't fatally damaged. It can be fixed. Things are looking up.

Until the next time we turned our computer on and our little blue buddy popped in to say 'howdy.' That's right, our persistent little "blue screen" was back for a surprise visit.
I tried (really I did!) to read all that mumbo-jumbo in the middle of the screen but my eyes automatically started at the top. By the time I remembered to read the middle and then told my eyes to read the middle - hurry, hurry, for goodness sakes! - it was already too late. Poof. Gone. Again. Great. Just great.

HP technical support, here I come again with another inexplicable blue screen error message. After 20 minutes on the phone, I'm instructed to perform a system recovery. Again. Starting to notice a pattern yet?

Guess what happened the next time I turned my computer on? Ding, ding, ding! You're right... the blue screen of death was back yet again! A tenacious little thing, but this time I was ready for it. Me and my handy dandy Nikon D60. You know, since a picture is worth a thousand words and all.

That's me in the reflection of the monitor - ready to capture the relentless and fleeting screen.

And I got it! Just barely. Now for another phone call to my friends in India - and I say friends because we're now on a first name basis and I talk to them more often than I call my mother...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fatal Formal Den to Distinguished Office

Before this formal den really served no purposed for our little family of three. It sat empty for the longest time while we tried to decide what to do with the wasted space.

And then inspiration struck! We turned it into a phenomenal and functional office space! This was really one of our easiest makeovers. All it took was a little "Timber Lodge" paint color on the walls, modern white crisp trimwork, and new furniture. It also gave us a place to showcase our college diplomas and other higher education certificates. Quite lovely, don't you think?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Boring Bath to Sensual Spa Retreat

Before, there was carpet, I repeat CARPET, in the bathroom - all the way to the toilet AND shower. Gross! Outdated light fixtures, brown fir trim, and boring white walls.

Now, the molding carpet has been ripped out and replaced with new luxurious marble tile. The old outdated vanity lights in brass were replaced with something more elegant and modern in brushed nickel. The cabinets received a facelift with a fresh coat of paint in a dark chocolate brown and brushed nickel hardware. The old wood trim was transformed to a bright crisp white and the walls painted a soothing blue called "Morning Fog." Finally, beautiful orchids on the vanity and candles along a new shelf above the Jacuzzi tub give this boring bath the feel of sensual spa retreat. Ahhhh.

Blushing Baby Grace

When I stopped by the nursery to retrieve Grace after the Easter service, the lady in charge told her she had to clean up her space before she could leave. She had been eating little "gold fishies" out of a coffee filter (very creative idea, by the way) and was halfway across the room to me when the orders were given.

Much to my surprise, Grace looked at me and her entire face turned bright RED! She was blushing! Grace just stood in the middle of the room somewhat indecisively (I think she's terrified in the new age group since she's much younger than the others) until I came inside. Then she tried to grab the remaining "fishies" in one hand to put in a small cup to take with us. After that, she put the coffee filter in the toy basket (which was beside the trash can). The nursery lady immediately corrected her and Grace blushed AGAIN!. She finally got it right and then we turned to leave. Once she was in my arms, she turned back into her typical outgoing self and said "Bye-bye now" several times while waving. To see her so intimidated was quite comical and to see her blush for the first time was so sweet. If only I had remembered to take that picture...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

From Drab to Divine Dining

This is what our dining room looked like when we first purchased it. Not terrible, just a little drab. Notice the floral border between the double chair rails. And the white walls - is it just me or is white just a tad boring. The whole room seems old-fashioned and a little out-dated.
And here's the after! Much improved, I'd say.

We tore down the floral border and painted the walls crimson. I love, love, LOVE the red. It's so dramatic. The custom blinds and window treatments remain, but now they look so elegant. We painted the baseboards, double chair rails, and added crown molding - all in a bright white that really pops. In addition, we swapped out the electrical outlets and switches for modern flat panel ones in white. The lights are also on dimmers so you can lower the lighting for a nice romatic meal.

This is the view from the windows. I love the mirror (it's huge, 3 x 3 feet) and the painting of the tulip is so gorgeous, I just had to put these lovely red tulips in our crystal vase (another wedding gift) to finish the room off.

After a lot of hard work, and three coats of red paint, we managed to take a drab, old-fashioned and out-dated dining room to one that's modern and romantic......How divine.

Hippity Hoppity Easter

Happy Easter from some bunny special!

For those of you who asked, yes the hydrangeas are real. We bought them to help stage our house during our open houses, but I piled them all behind Grace for this photo. There's nothing quite like fresh flowers. I prefer fresh over cut because flowers only last a few days, a week at most in a vase, so my dear husband bought me these instead. And before you ask, yes they are moving to Alabama with us. They're too beautiful not to.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Egg-celent Easter Egg Hunt

The Easter egg hunt at our church, Covenant Presbyterian, started off today with a magic show by the great lady magician and balloon maven, Penelope who is "better than her big brother Arthur." Here you can see the "magic psychic hat" and "magic hair dryer" she made for one of her volunteers. Hi Tim! (he's the guy in orange).

SOOOO many people brought their kids to Covenant for the egg hunt today - many more than what I expected. These people were in line for the 5 and under group like us. What an amazing turnout!

Here's Grace finding an egg. She did it, she did it all by herself! All that practice around the house this week really paid off!

And here's Mommy and Grace finding the prizes inside each of the eggs. Yummy!


Time for one family photo courtesy of a stranger standing by...
and then....

A sugar rush sets in and Grace takes off!

What EGGcelent fun!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spicing up our Kitchen

This was our kitchen on the day we signed our offer in 2006. Hello Chad (our realtor) and David (my dearest husband)! Notice the monstrosity hanging from the ceiling, the mix-matched appliances, and the interesting red floral and striped wallpaper. I will quickly say I that loathe wallpaper and leave it at that. I'll save my diatribe for another post.

The kitchen, as the heart of a home, was the first room we changed in the house once we moved in. It's hard to believe but it took me and David more than an hour to rip that thing out of the ceiling. We still have the numerous pieces in the garage wood to sharpen our newly purchased miter saw. We did without a fixture in the ceiling for about a week once we took it down. What can I say except that a hole in the ceiling was a big improvement from that massive appurtenance.

Next we painted the walls a nice brownish color. The official name is "Timber Lodge" but I call it taupe. David calls it brown.

Then we replaced all the yellowish appliances with stainless steel. New double door refridgerator with freezer door below. New convection oven with ceramic cooktop. New dishwasher. LOVE the dishwasher. And finally, new microwave oven.

In addition, we added a wine glass rack underneath a few cabinets to hold the Crate & Barrell wine glasses we were given at our engagement party a long time ago, a set of knives in a block (also a wedding gift), and a bowl of fruit in a crystal a bowl (another wedding gift). Much improved, wouldn't you say.

Busy Busy Weekend

This weekend is going to be very, very busy for us here at the Cathey household. First, we have the big Easter Egg Hunt at church tomorrow morning at 10:00 and then we are holding an open house from 2-5. Sunday will be just as busy since we'll have another open house following the Easter service at church. Fingers crossed for an offer!

In preparation for the Easter egg hunt, Grace, Chloe, and I have been practicing finding eggs this week. Grace has gotten a lot of practice and excels at finding and picking them up inside. We decided to practice outside yesterday and unfortunately it didn't work out so well. Chloe and Champ liked to grab the eggs and run away and Grace enjoyed chasing the dogs more than she did picking up the eggs. Hmmmm....maybe tomorrow will work out better since those eggs will have prizes inside. I'm afraid, however, that she's going to grab the first egg and decide to investigate whatever is inside instead of finding any more. Regardless of the outcome, I'll be sure to post the results! Happy Good Friday everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This is a photo of our home on the day we purchased it in 2006. It is full of wonderful memories and a lot of "firsts." You learn a lot with a first home. Like, you need to buy fertilizer to make the grass grow and then you need to buy a mower to cut it. Things like that. But I digress. When we bought this home, it was something of a fixer-upper.

After 3 years of living here, David and I have put in a lot of time, love, and hard work here. Now it is beautiful on the inside and out and mercifully bug free (no more spiders the size of mayonaise jars!) It is also up for sale since we are in the process of transplanting ourselves back to the good ole South. This is our home improvement story and my attempt to chronicle our attempts to modernize it, as well as, the search for a new place to call home sweet home.

Thanks y'all!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hello Blogging World!

I am starting this blog because I want to do a better job of documenting our little girl's life. Since I am more likely to glue my fingers together or staple my hand to the paper than to successfully use all those strange tools with "normal" scrapbooking activities, I thought I'd try the blogging thing.

I was born and raised in Alabama and I married my true love and college neighbor, David, in September 2006. He is an incredibly talented and compassionate man, stellar father, and all around gorgeous hunk. He's a keeper and he holds my heart in his hands.

In September 2007 I became Mommy to the best little girl in the world and my other true love, Grace. She is beautiful, incredibly sweet and wildly entertaining (and sometimes just plain wild).

I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Auburn University (WAR EAGLE!) and after graduation this Southern gal was transplanted to the Midwest. I worked in client services full-time while in college and then in December 2007 I mercifully retired after 10 years of service to the same company. Since then I have spent my time adjusting to being a stay-at-home mommy and trying to limit myself to 1 Diet Coke a day.

Now we are in the process of moving back to Sweet Home Alabama.

I am a homebody by nature and thankfully my husband is wonderfully supportive of this and allows me to live my life this way. I love to read although I can sometimes be something of a book snob. I am a hopelessly sentimental romantic at heart. I love vintage photographs and vintage linens. Oh, and I can cook. I really enjoy serving up a little "love" in the kitchen.

While oftentimes I'm more klutzy than charming, I am trying to live the life of a domestic goddess with some semblance of grace and dignity. In those few moments between mountains of laundry, I also manage to write, take tons of pictures, and attempt to chronicle this incredible and often hilarious journey I’m on. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you!
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