Thursday, July 29, 2010

new horizons

I don't even know what that means, but I felt like using it as the title for this post :)

Things are good here in the Castrodale household - busy, but good. That's how we roll, you know. Andrew starts school on Monday (eeks!) so we've been doing our best to make the most of this week. I see some downtown adventures in our future for this weekend and I'm molto eccitato - that's "very excited" for those of you that no parlano Italiano.

So, typical me, I'm already making a list of things to keep me busy while the boy commits to being at school FOR THIRTEEN HOURS A DAY. Good grief, Navy, how about you just take my husband for the next five years and be done with it? I do have a little project in the works that I'm excited to tell you all about once it's been finished. Perhaps I'll do a big reveal this weekend? Maybe.

Oh AND I'm taking a jewelry-making class next week at this adorable little shop in town called Craft Happy. I'm super excited about that. As we take on this new challenge of saving as much as possible and being as thrifty as possible (more on that later) I've decided that one good way to save money is to MAKE gifts instead of buying them. So I need a few more skills in my arsenal so I can just crank out something when a birthday rolls around. People love that stuff.

That's all for now, folks. Until next time...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

memory lane

Oh man. This week feels forever long and super quick, all at once. We got home from Concord last weekend (which included an IKEA trip...more on that later) and I didn't unpack because I knew we'd be hitting the road again on Wednesday. I had to be in Durham for work, so I talked my roadtrip buddies into coming along for the ride. 10pm on Friday and we were back in SC, confused about what day of the week it was.

We stayed with my parents, which is always a treat, so I made the trek out to the office twice - traveling past our old haunt. When I passed the exit for our very first apartment, I was struck with how nostalgic it felt. We moved out not even a year ago (wow) but it feels like a lifetime ago. In a lot of ways, it was a completely different world. Side note: I just realized that we've lived three different places in the last year. Holy smokes, I need a little consistency in my life.

The time we spent in that apartment was We were completely in love and COMPLETELY happy. Really, we were so content with our life. And we didn't have much. We were on one income for a majority of the time, for crying out loud, and we never felt troubled. God was/is so good. We had the perfect space for two newlyweds, a ton of hand-me-downs that made our house a home and a place that was all us. A little bit of Andrew, a little bit of Page. Perfect.

Then came Rudy - the little disruptive homewrecker that he was - and whisperings of other big changes, and we set our life on a course that would change everything. We moved out so we could get a yard for the dog in a neighborhood where Andrew felt comfortable leaving me behind. And you know all about the leaving me behind part.

So there I was, driving down I-40, past the exit that headed back in our former direction and I was amazed at how much has changed. When we were in Concord, Andrew was looking at one of our engagement pictures framed in his room and his mom commented that the people in that picture had no idea of the life ahead of them. Understatement of the century.

But we're here and the funny thing is that we're still completely in love and COMPLETELY happy. It's not simple by any stretch of imagination, but it's perfect. Perfect for us.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

you can take the boy out of OCS...

You know those slightly obnoxious (sorry if that's offensive) stick people families that moms put on their minivans?

We got behind a girl in an SUV yesterday, with the ubiquitous palmetto and moon decal, a stick girl with shopping bags, and a stick girl doing this pose:

This girl looks happy, doesn't she? The stick girl looked happy, too, with her adorable little side ponytail. Here's the conversation that took place:

Page: What do you think she's trying to tell people about herself?

Andrew: Maybe that she's a fun SC girl who likes to go shopping?

Page: Maybe. What's that other one? Is she stretching? Oh, I think that's a yoga pose. I bet she likes yoga.

Andrew: No, I think her drill instructor just said, "Put your hands over your head right now! Stand on one foot right now!"

Does anyone else think this is hilarious? I did. I laughed. A LOT.

Poor guy. That's part of his very being now, I guess. You really can't take OCS out of the boy...

Monday, July 19, 2010

warning: you might cry

One thing that I have NOT gotten tired of since Andrew graduated OCS is walking around with him in uniform. The day we flew home from Newport, he was in his summer whites. Ladies pointed, kids stared, gentleman gave the head nod. It's a proud moment for a wife to walk next to her hubs when he represents something so humbling.

This past Friday, we had to go on base during lunch so I could get a new military ID. He was "conducting official business" so he had to wear his uniform. When we stopped by Chick-fil-a on the way home for lunch, I was enjoying all of the sideglances, per usual. What I didn't expect, was this:

An older woman stopped by our table, put her hand on Andrew's shoulder and said, "I just want to thank you for what you do. It means a lot to me to see men in the service and I hope you know that we appreciate it." This is not uncommon, so Andrew kindly thanked her and we expected to continue with our lunch. But then she looked at me, put her hand on MY shoulder and said, "And I hope you know how I much I appreciate YOU. If it wasn't for your support and encouragement, he couldn't do what he's doing, so thank you."

Folks, I really REALLY almost cried. I choked out a thank you, with a quick nod, hoping that she would know the impact she'd had with such kind words. Andrew thanked her too, saying that no one thinks about my role in all of this. Which made me even more emotional, that he would be so quick to acknowledge my sacrifice.

The lady left and we finished our lunch and headed about our way. But I haven't been able to get her off my mind. Thanks, Chick-fil-a lady, for making my day.

Friday, July 16, 2010

fdn: fulton five

We celebrated on Wednesday because it was the boy's bday (Happy Birthday, boo!). Holy, Italian food - this place was good. On our plates:

Bruschetta with peas, prosciutto, asiago cheese and black olive-balsamic vinaigrette

Filet rubbed in espresso and a red wine-dark chocolate reduction sauce, asparagus and garlic whipped potatoes (For Andrew)

Lobster claw meat, roasted red and yellow bell peppers, sweet corn tossed in pasta and a lobster cream sauce (For me)

And Tiramisu, which Andrew deemed the best he's ever had.

Yummm. We shared a lot, obvi. And his filet was more than phenomenal. Can I please rub espresso on everything and cook it in chocolate for the rest of my life? Heaven, help me.

Charleston, please take pity on our arteries.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

here's to the birthday boy

I know I've said it a time or two - often on days when we're not even celebrating your birth - but I'm SO glad you were born. You're my BFF a hundred times over and I really can't remember my life before you walked into it. Knowing this life we have now, how was I happy before us? It's a mystery.

For kicks, I looked back at last year's birthday post. I still mean every one of those things, so that's good. I have a million more things on that list - and you know how much I love lists - so here are a few more that I would like to include this year:
  • You just went on a rant about all the things you checked off your list today. On your bday. You little worker bee, you.
  • You do things because they're right for us. I really don't think you've ever made a decision without thinking of how it will affect the two of us together.
  • You are stinking cute when you get all flustered about cool submarine things.
  • You like letting me decorate. At least you pretend like you're enjoying it.
  • You STILL tell me I'm pretty a bagillion times a day.
  • And you're still pretty darn handsome. Even if you did shave off your eyebrow.

So today, and every day, I hope you know that you are loved. By your family and my family and our friends and of course, your two favorites...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ode to an eyebrow

If you know my husband, you know that he'll do anything to save a buck. Like eat beans and rice for all three meals, because it only costs $0.17 a serving. Or suggest taking our parents' old towels, rather than register for new ones when we got married. Or cut his own hair because it saves $50 a month (that $600 a year!). But based on last night's eyebrow incident, I think he may reconsider the hair-cutting part:

It appears as though he was going a little too quickly with the clippers. When your husband is cutting his hair and you hear "uh-oh" from the other room, you know something hilarious has happened. He thought about shaving off the other one to make it even, but I couldn't let him go that far. He already looks like Powder with his hair that short - I can't imagine what he'll look like with no eyebrows. And don't worry, a Google search revealed that eyebrow hairs are the slowest growing hairs on the human body. So this will be his new look for a while.

He says he's going to tell people he was in a knife fight. I told him that would only work if he had a cool scar. Sorry, Patch, you'll just have to stick with "I accidentally shaved off half of my eyebrow."

Monday, July 12, 2010

pantry overhaul

I'm not one to jump on bandwagons. I don't watch The Office. I haven't read Twilight. I only had five Beanie Babies. But there's one new trend that I've researched enough to join in on: eating whole. Not organic - whole. Sometimes that means organic, but mostly it just means eating what God created as food. It means eating real, honest-to-goodness cheese and NOT "prepared cheese product," as stated on the Kraft singles package. Ew.

It started when a fellow blogger mentioned hearing Michael Pollan on NPR. I was intrigued, so I ordered Food Rules on Amazon. I didn't get around to reading it until 3 months later, but when I did I was sold. I read 85% of it out loud to Andrew and he's on board, too. It felt overwhelming only for a second, then it just felt natural and necessary. How can I not choose real food over manufactured fake food? Boiled down, Pollan says:

After spending several years trying to answer the supposedly incredibly complicated question of how we should eat in order to be maximally healthy, I discovered the answer was shockingly simple: eat real food, not too much of it, and more plants than meat. Or, put another way, get off the modern western diet, with its abundance of processed food, refined grains and sugars, and its sore lack of vegetables, whole grains and fruit.
His rules aren't that difficult to follow. And really, you'll be better for even just remembering a handful of the 64. For me, these are the ones that are forever ingrained in my brain:

  • Don't eat anything with ingredients you can't pronounce.

  • Don't eat anything with sugar in the first three ingredients (they're listed in order of abundance).

  • Sugar is sugar, whether it's low-cal, high fructose corn syrup or organic - it's still sugar.

  • Treat treats as treats. You can still eat an Oreo, you just can't eat 3 every night after dinner.

  • EAT REAL THINGS: real meat, real grains, real fruit. Don't eat the processed stuff, it's no good.

See, that's easy. Until you go to the grocery store and stand in line reading the ingredients in a bottle of salad dressing and you realize when you get to the bottom of the paragraph that the only ingredient you recognize is water. Then you start contemplating making every single condiment in your pantry, much to your husband's dismay. If you do this, prepare for some seriously lofty ambitions to creep into your day-to-day.

We're only a few weeks into this and we're only a few days into doing it whole-heartedly. We'll keep you posted on our progress, so you can laugh at how ridiculous I am. Really, it boils down to this: it can't hurt. And at the end of the day, I just want to take care of myself and my family.

I'm turning into a granola hippy. Heaven help me.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

i got the fever

Let me tell you something, folks. I'm feeling crafty. I spend way too many hours at a time perusing thrifty craft blogs and all it does it make me want to find something grungy at Goodwill and turn it into something fabulous. I almost convinced Andrew to let me take home the most hideous, disease-infested avocado and orange striped FURRY chair today, thinking that I could recover it. Thankfully, he had the presence of mind to sweetly remind me of how difficult that task would be. And how it's unlikely that I would have the patience to complete it. And how we didn't bring any latex gloves to wear for carting it out of the store.

But seriously. I want to buy hardware from Anthro and put it on old pieces of furniture to give it some flair. I want to put molding in a square on the wall in the guest bedroom to frame some pics we took downtown. I want to figure out what to do with the awkward space in our living room. I want to paint the portable island in our kitchen. Aaahhhhh, somebody give me a staple gun!!

But here's what I'm telling myself: BE PATIENT. Page, you will not find every piece of inspiration at the Habitat Restore in one trip. You will not have time to sew pillows, paint your rocking chairs and organize your office/craft corner in one weekend. And you should not try to build your own nightstand. Trust me on this. Above all else, take it one day at a time. Geez.

In order to keep track, here's what we have on the list:
  • Turn our antique secretary, into a mail center and a place to pay the bills.
  • Paint that kitchen island and figure out how to make it more functional.
  • Hang some pictures. Somewhere.
  • Turn the school desk I DID buy at Goodwill into a nightstand, replacing the one I butchered last weekend.
  • Give this blah black and white lamp to my right some flair.
  • Re-sew the pillows on the couch and figure out why the stitching came out to begin with.
  • Consider this for my own kitchen canister-dilemma.
  • Sew a valence for the kitchen window.
  • Recover the ottoman for our bedroom.
  • Find a wingback chair for SO cheap that I can pay a professional to reupholster it.
Somebody stop me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

the out-of-towners

We've had our first visitors! My parents got here late Sunday evening and stayed until Thursday morning - a visit that was much needed, much enjoyed and too short for my taste. My family always seems to gather in one room of the house: the kitchen. And when we're not in the kitchen, we're looking for the coolest spot outside to enjoy good conversation. This week was no exception and I'm excited to think that this tradition is carrying over to my house and my table.

We ate and ate and ate. At any given point during the week, there was something marinating, baking, grilling or being reheated. It was glorious. My mom, with her "I'll do anything for anyone" personality, heard me mention an affinity for cream puffs and decided to make a batch. Then she made peanut butter cookies. And my dad made a blueberry cheesecake-like dessert. I'm serious, it was deadly around here. We grilled every night - bratwurst and an assortment of veggies one night, the best burger I've ever had another and ribs (yummm) on the final night. And then I told you about the desserts, right? We spent the mornings drinking coffee in the front porch rocking chairs and we spent the cool evenings on the patio, watching Rudy and his Uncle Jake wrestle around the yard (I think that pic is hilarious, by the way!). My dad planted us a garden - tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, squash, eggplant and canteloupe. All I need are grass-fed cows and a few free-range chickens and I'll have our all-natural diet taken care of right in my backyard. Somehow I don't think the HOA will be too thrilled about the farm animals. We would have had fish, had Andrew and my dad experienced successful fishing trips, but that wasn't in the cards. Maybe next time.

To say this week was perfect would be quite an understatement. I was missing my parents so much it sometimes made my breath catch in my chest - something I wasn't prepared for when we left NC. We only saw them a few times a month when we lived closer, but the thought that I can't be there in 45 minutes is hard to swallow when you've been used that for so many years. I thought about crying when they left on Thursday, but I didn't. Then my dad circled around the block to come back for one more hug and I was almost a goner. Sweetest people alive, I tell you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I'll be the first to admit that "patriotic" is not a word I've ever used to describe myself. I'm absolutely proud to be a member of this country and I've even teared up a time or two during the national anthem thinking about how blessed we are to call this place home. But I never really stopped to think about everything it's taken to have something to be proud of.

The second Andrew left for OCS, I immediately felt differently about the freedoms we experience here. In an instant, the most precious person in my world was gone from me and the casual joys we enjoyed, pursuing a career that would turn our lives upside down so that others could live theirs without fear or hindrances. At graduation, the part of Andrew's oath that most struck me was when they said that they take the obligation freely. He always said that when he had doubts about this, he reminded himself that someone has to do it and there's no reason it shouldn't be us. By the way, I can follow this man anywhere, because I know his motivations are pure. Hallelujah for that.

I guess what I'm saying is that this new life for us has opened my eyes to a lot. And on this day when everyone is quick to thank those that preserve freedom to the rest of us, I pray that it's something that is never far from my mind. It's a sacrifice bigger than anyone can imagine, when you really think about it. And I'm proud to know someone who's willing to make it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

summa, summa, summa time...

It seems like everywhere I turn, someone I know (or don't know, but stalk via the blogosphere) is plotting out their summer plans. Andrew and I have been keeping a mental listof things to do, especially since he starts school in August, so I figured I would transcribe it here for good keeping. Release it into cyberspace and there's no turning back.

The first thing on our list, which we crossed off this week, was to spend some time at the beach with the Castrodale/Dixon clan. It was a last-minute rearrangment that allowed us to go, but we pulled it off and had a blast. Here are the other works-in-progress:
  • Finish decorating. Okay, maybe that one's only mine, but Andrew helps! I still need to put the finishing touches on almost every room in the house, so my sewing machine better be ready.
  • Set up the front porch and patio. We have a couple of pieces that we want to spray paint and we're still on the hunt for some patio furniture. But we did get a grill and I'm pretty sure we've used it for every dinner since we got it. Happy Birthday to us!
  • Explore the Farmers Market downtown. The one here is perfect for the essential produce, but the one downtown is supposed to be awesome. And it's open through December! There's one benefit to living in this balmy climate...
  • Read, duh. I didn't get started until we went to the beach, but I've already knocked out a couple, including South of Broad by Pat Conroy. It seemed appropriate, given our current situation. I need to finish A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller and then I have a few others on my list. Including Mudbound, which I'm really excited about.
  • Make a budget. Andrew keeps our budget in his head and I need it on paper to stick to it. Trust me, it's better this way.
  • Venture downtown. I'm sad to say that we haven't been out there yet. We've only been here for 3 weeks, and we've been busy, but I don't want to waste a single second. Or a single morsel of delicious food.
  • Get in shape. It's true - we have to do it. Our goal is to at least play tennis a couple of times a week. We'll see what follows. I tried to convince Andrew that a Wii is a good workout, but he's not buying it. Literally.
  • Eat whole. I've been reading a little bit here and there about the organic/whole/natural lifestyle lately, but I wasn't sure if I was prepared to make the leap. Then I read Food Rules and realized that it's not as difficult as one would think. And my ever-intelligent aunt proved the same thing when she blogged about the transition this week. So starting this weekend, we're making the jump. More on that later.

I'm known to bite off more than I can chew, so maybe I should stop there. We also need to make a "while we're in Charleston" list, but that will come another day. This should keep us busy for a while.

Happy summer adventures, everyone!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...