Last Thursday I saw a tweet that Marty’s Market, one of our favorite spots on the Strip, was closing. This was a total bummer. They were a combination of an organic grocery store and a cafe. They were selling everything on Saturday, so we decided to make the trip to Pittsburgh.
I am on the hunt for the perfect dining room table that seats ten. When I walked into the market, I laid my eyes upon my dream table. It was stunning. The table top was made from reclaimed wood from a bowling alley in Indiana, PA and the iron legs were crafted in Millville, PA. The price listed on the table was $2,395, but it was negotiable.
We ran around the city a few more hours then went back. We offered $1,200. She said no because she had $700 in the legs alone and she paid the costumer who built it for her with food. We offered $1,500, and she said no again. She said she had restaurant owners coming in on Tuesday and she wanted to see how that went.
I will admit that I fought the lump in my thought when we walked away from that table.
She called Dusty Monday to say that it sold.
My heart is broken.
I needed a light for my future dining room table in my future dining room. I knew what I wanted, and I found it at WayFair. However, I mulled over it for days. It was $143, but they had a returned item for $103. Dusty finally talked me into buying it.
It shipped immediately. When it arrived, I was surprised to find a tall skinny box at my door. I remembered reading a few reviews that said it required some assembly. I didn’t plan on opening the box because I didn’t want to lose any of the pieces. Finally curiosity got the best of me, and after two days I cut open the box to find a haphazardly wrapped seashell print on a canvas.
I was slightly less than thrilled. I called customer service. Well, I tried to call. I was one digit off and sat through five minutes of weird promotions that made me think I had been scammed. Dusty took the phone and dialed the correct number. The customer service at Wayfair was excellent. She asked for a packaging slip, and we didn’t receive one. She said that she would reorder the light, and I would most likely be able to keep the seashell canvas. (Yay?)
The next day I got an email that the light was now unavailable and they would be refunding my account, but I would be able to keep the canvas. Lovely. It was no longer available at the discounted price, so they weren’t able to provide it for the same price. The light now cost $183. I didn’t want to spend that much, so I thought I would wait for it to go on sale again. When that day came, I reordered the light for $146. I should have it by Thursday. Let’s hope it truly is a light this time.
At least I have this sweet seashell canvas.
Let me tell you about my love for Little Free Libraries (LFL). These tiny structures house books. Free books. Any kind of free books. You can borrow a book and bring it back. You can take a book and bring back a different book. You can just donate a book or you can just take a book. How cool is that?
I have the pleasure of being co-president of our local literacy council. Two years ago a member of our council suggested we purchase one of these libraries and place it in an area that did not have easy access to a public library. After the success of this LFL, we knew we had to do more. My co-president’s father was able to build three more libraries for less than the price of one. In the fall we placed two of these libraries, and they were wonderfully received by the communities in which they were placed. My husband has been inspired to build another one, so we have two to place in the spring.
Dusty installed the two we placed in the fall, and made a promotional video for them. Seriously, how talented is my husband? I was also interviewed by the local news crew. You should check out these videos then find out how you can get a Little Free Library in your neighborhood.
Each year on the weekend before Christmas Dusty and I travel to Pittsburgh. We always choose an event, somewhere delicious to eat, and stay in our favorite hotel. In the past we have seen The Nutcracker at The Benedum and Highmark Holiday Pops at Heinz Hall. They are both amazing shows. This year we decided to do something different. We went to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. My sister and her husband joined us for this part of our trip, and we really enjoyed it. We got there before the crowd but late enough to enjoy the special winter light garden. It was absolutely perfect.
We parted ways for dinner after our tour of the conservatory. Dusty and I had a reservation at Meat and Potatoes. We had a wonderful dinner as we watched the snow fall.
The next morning we made our usual rounds on the Strip… and so did everyone else. Wow, was it packed!! We usually try to get to the Strip as early as possible, but on this trip we try not to rush. Before we did any shopping, we made our typical visit to Enrico Cafe. This is the highlight of every trip to Pittsburgh. I could set up camp in this cafe. After our bellies were full, we made all of the necessary stops and made our way out.
To see more of our trip, check out the video Dusty put together.
Have we closed on the house? No. However, we are trying to make some decisions to be ready to spring into action as soon as the house is officially ours. This morning we made our way to our sweet friends’, Jodie and Jonah’s, house to pick up moving boxes. We also decided to stop at our favorite bakery while we were in their neighborhood. With coffee and scone in hand, we were ready to do some shopping. We stopped at a construction surplus store, thrift shop, and a few antique markets. My favorite stop was at a local speciality building supply store. I took a few pictures of things and concepts that we hope to include in our home. Once we close, I will share pictures of the house. For now, you will just have to use your imagination.
We are passionate about feeding people. Our new dining room is the size of our current kitchen and dining room combined. My heart is set on a dining room table that seats 10. Finding one of these is no easy feat. Well, I suppose it could be easy if I was willing/able to spend $3,000 on a table (not including the chairs). I also just haven’t found the table. Dusty is convinced he can make it for me. He made our amazing coffee bar, so I’m excited to see our table.
We will also be completely renovating the kitchen. The appliances came with our current home, and they will be staying with it. I now know more about refrigerators, ranges, and dishwashers than I ever thought I would care to know. We have chosen a stainless steel finish for all appliances. The refrigerator will be a side-by-side with ice and water in the door. Dream big, right? The oven will be a five burner gas range. After five years of using electric, I can’t wait to get back to gas. The dishwasher will have a stainless steel tub as opposed to plastic.
Have I mentioned that we are ready to close so we can get this show on the road?
Last night I was inducted into Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary organization of women educators. It was quite an honor, and I am humbled to be a sister to these accomplished ladies.
Prior to beginning the meeting, a devotion was shared. The selection was titled An Interview with God. As she read the words “That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live neither for the present nor the future,” I felt a pang in my gut.
After about two years of looking at houses, we found the one. We are under contract. The house is a great deal, but needs some love. I spend every waking moment thinking about renovations. I live on Pinterest. I peruse Hobby Lobby’s website. I have watched every episode of Fixer Upper available on Netflix. I have made budget sheets and timelines. We are told not to worry, yet this is all I do. “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:25)
I am currently sitting in my living room with a view of a pile of empty boxes and stacks of packed boxes. My fear is that I will find myself in my new home, thinking of how I worried away the last few weeks of living in my little green house. I love looking back at my blog posts from 2010 tracking the renovations of our home. I’m sure my posts in 2016 will revolve around the new house. We have made so many memories in our little green house in the past five years. I hope I allow myself the opportunity to savor these last few weeks until we begin this new chapter of our lives.
In 2015 I set a few goals for myself. One of these was to read more. I love books, but I rarely set aside time to enjoy them. I am also a very slow reader. My goal this year was to read ten books. I was off to a good start when Renee gifted me The Zimzum of Love by Rob and Kristen Bell for Christmas of 2014. I didn’t make it to ten, but I am very proud of what I accomplished. I have my books ready to go for 2016.
- Bossypants by Tina Fey– My mom got this book for me for my 27th birthday. I could not wait to read it, and it did not disappoint. It had me laughing so hard I was crying. At one point I had to let Dusty read it because he had to know what was so funny. My mom currently has it because I insisted she had to read it.
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling– After finishing Bossypants, I was ready for another book that would make me laugh. My love for Mindy Kaling goes back to her role as Kelly Kapoor in The Office. I later became hooked on The Mindy Project as well. It was obvious that I needed to read this book, and it made me love her even more.
- Savor by Shauna Niequist– My friend, Emily, is a big fan of Shauna Neiquist. When her devotional, Savor, was coming out I thought I would give it a try. I was immediately hooked. This devotional speaks to my heart daily.
- Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist– I don’t actually own this book. Emily loaned it to me after I told her I was reading Savor. I had no idea how applicable some of its content would be until my dear friend lost her baby in the fall. She and her husband had been trying for over a year and were so excited to be pregnant. The day she told me I cried with her, then I went to my computer and ordered this book. She said it really helped to hear Shauna’s story.
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed– Wow. This was my first summer not working. Usually I pick up a job in the summer when I’m not teaching. I woke up every morning, made myself a cup of coffee, and sat in my adirondack chair on my patio with a book. Although I may have been on my patio reading this book, I felt like I was on the PCT with Cheryl. This book stirred up something inside of me. I was ready for an adventure.
- Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans– I highlighted and dogeared so many pages of this book. If you are like me and find yourself having a cynical attitude about the church, you need to read this book now.
- Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines– To be honest, I started this book and never finished it. Some things happened while I was reading it, and I put it down. I’m not ready to pick it back up yet. The day will come. I will have to get back to you on this one.
- Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist– Obviously, for me, this was the year of Shauna Niequist. A few of my friends and I decided to do a book club around this book. It’s about the beauty of life around the table. We met every other week and used the recipes from the book to make dinner together. As we ate, we discussed the book. It was perfect. This group got my tender heart through a very difficult season.