Saturday, December 31, 2011

Adventures in Spray Painting

Again, you can blame my crazy love of all things crafty on pinterest- I'm addicted, addicted, addicted!!! So when Ryan mentioned we should change out the silver mirror in our living room, I agreed whole-heartedly and with an idea in mind!

I have been seeing some beautiful oil-rubbed bronze items on pinterest and on blogs that I follow, so I knew that's what I wanted to change the silver frame to. First we needed the goods.

Rust-Oleum Metallic Paint & Primer in 1- Oil Rubbed Bronze, And, because one project is never enough, Krylon Satin White for another frame project...more on that later. And yes that is a glass of red wine in the background...we do our projects with a little fun added in :)

While Ryan worked on the mirror

I worked on our frame project that we had been hoping to do for months now. Ryan had so lovingly been bringing home old frames from co-workers, and I scoured Goodwill for some winners to do a small gallery wall in our living room. (really the tangled mess of hoses is still there? Ryan will need to learn the art of flattering picture angles from now on).

After we painted, it was time to let the frames dry and figure out how we would hang them.
We went with the newspaper method and cut out the sizes of the frames we wanted to hang and then used painter's tape to re-arrange as needed. Here was our first option...

And that turned into options 2, 3, 4, etc...until we came up with this winner

When everything was dry and ready it was time to hang. The mirror turned out to be a great contrast on the light brown wall.

And the frame gallery turned out better than we had imagined! We'll be able to swap out picture in those frames in the years to come, and I still need one last thing in the final frame...but that will come as well. Yay for spray painting!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

A fun Austad Family Fact- For the almost 3 years we have been married, our Christmas Tree has been located in 3 different homes.

First at our apartment in Omaha:

Then in our house in Omaha:

And now in our house in Minnesota, where we hope we will have many more Christmases to come! I always love the days after Thanksgiving, putting our house together in all of its Christmas glory- from trees to wreaths, twinkle lights, nativities and baking cookies- our house is full of Christmasy things.

Thankfully I had this guy to help me along in putting up the Christmas Tree

And Lola helped a bit too :)

Once the tree was fully put together it was my job to start stringing the lights and adding the Christmas ornaments.

I know I shared this picture earlier, but Lola was enthralled with our tree and the treeskirt. Thankfully she didn't break or bite up any of our ornaments...or the tree.

After the tree was put together, it was time for me to start adding Christmas spirit to every other nook and cranny of our house. Ryan and Lola supervised while drinking hot cocoa and chewing on a bone...Ryan with the cocoa, Lola with the bone, in case you were confused. :)

After everything was done, it was finally time to sit and enjoy

I love the feeling of turning off all the overhead lights and lamps and just letting the Christmas lights do the talking. It adds a whole new glow to the house and a Christmas warmth.

Turkey Baby

Sometimes Ryan is affectionately called Turkey Baby, by me and his family. Because he was born in close approximation to the day of thanks, Turkey Baby is the natural thing to call him right? I think so.

After we had our Thanksgiving feast at Ryan's parent's house in Sioux Falls, we had birthday cake dessert and Ryan unwrapped his presents.

Here's the Turkey baby now with his Turkey Cake! There wasn't quite enough room for 27 candles on this 8" Round, so we opted for a few less instead.

Opening Presents, which included some new work out shorts and pants, a framed picture of Ryan and Lola, packs of gum (because he always steals mine), a calendar, an amazon gift card and a few other things I can't remember off the top of my head.

Here he is showing off the goods....the birthday work out pants!

Happy 27th Ryan!


Thanksgiving this year was spent in Sioux Falls, SD. We had a great time with Ryan's family, hanging out, watching movies, making appetizers, playing games and casually chatting by the fireplace. The best part about Thanksgiving this year was the weather- it was a gorgeous 55 degrees through the weekend- coats weren't needed during the day! It was fantastic!

On Thanksgiving morning, Mike, Denise, Sara and Melissa prepared the turkey.

A lot of laughter ensued while Melissa and Sara did their best to stuff and prepare the turkey. I'm pretty sure this was their very first time getting a Thanksgiving Turkey ready for the big day!

The weather all weekend was quite wonderful, and Lola was able to play outside to her heart's delight!

One evening we went out to eat at Wild Sage Grille in Sioux Falls. While we waiting outside for our table, Melissa happened to kick this post...and the concrete crumbled. She replaced it nicely.

After dinner that night we went to a Christmas parade in Downtown Sioux Falls. It was fun to kick off the Christmas season with some floats and lights.

On our last night in Sioux Falls, we all helped to prepare appetizers and dinner. We also learned while we were in Sioux Falls for Thanksgiving that Mike and Sara are going to have a little girl in April. How fun!

Family Day!

I thought it might be fun to take some family pictures of just the 3 of us to possibly hang on our soon to be gallery wall in the family room. But sadly, none of the pictures quite turned out. I'm sure most moms and dads feel this way when they try to take pictures of their usually goes a little like this.

Mom and Dad look great, but Lola is not having it.

Now Lola's kind of looking but Ryan is hidden.

I guess this will be close enough?

First Snow!

Lola had a great time playing in the snow when it fell in early December. It wasn't much, just a dusting of about an inch, but she took full advantage of playing outside in it.

I love seeing her little puppy paws in the snow. :)

And after all that playing, Lola found a spot by one of the vents and enjoyed the heat blasting through. Sweet Lola.

Out the Window

I guess every dog likes to look at the window. But, Lola likes to find the best view possible. If she's in our bedroom she's usually looking out the corner windows for squirrels below, and if she's in the living room she's on the ottoman watching the leaves blow back and forth in the wind tunnel by our house. Whenever I see her sitting and looking out the window, it reminds me to do the same. To just sit and enjoy sometimes, no phone, no computer, no magazine or newspaper, no nothing. Just sit and enjoy.

Fall Walks

We absolutely LOVED 2011's fall. I'm not sure if mother nature was making up for all of the crazy snow last year, but fall took its time this year...and we got to enjoy every bit of it, almost through the end of November! Part of our fall included fall walks through the trails by our house. We let Lola off of her leash and she sniffs and explores like crazy.

Here's an example of Lola's craziness when she gets off of her leash-its like a whole new world all of a sudden!

Ryan and Lola

Just checking out the lake that will be freezing over soon enough.

Meeting Ansley

Ryan and Nik have been great friends since they were little. Nik was the best man in our wedding in January 2009, and Ryan was lucky enough to be part of his wedding in June of 2010.

Nik wed Stacy that June and they are such a wonderful and fantastic couple. They are loving and caring, sweet, funny and oh so cute together. They added a precious addition to their family this past fall with the arrival of Ansley Joy. We were able to meet Ansley when we took a trip to Brookings in November.

Ryan was a pro at holding Ansley, as he took care of little sister, Abbie, when she was a baby.

And then Abbie had to take her turn and hold Ansley. Although it only lasted a minute before she was ready to hand her over.

And then I got my chance to hold baby A. So incredibly sweet and lovey, I cuddled little Ansley Joy as much as I could.

We are so thankful for the blessing that is Ansley Joy and her parents are so incredibly proud. Welcome to the world Ansley and Congratulations Nik & Stacie!

Lobster Visits

We have an open paws policy at work. Meaning if you're dog is well-behaved, you're more than welcome to bring him/her in to hang out while you work the day away!

As much as I'd love to bring Lola into work with me, to hang out and keep me company while I'm typing away, she's still a bit too young to just hang at my desk all day. However, I do get my fix of doggie, with my friend Lobster.

Lobster is a golden retriever that belongs to Melissa one of our Account Directors. Since her desk is only a few feet from mine, Lobster visits are eminent. Usually he just moseys over and checks out what I'm doing. But sometimes when I'm having lunch he lays right next to my chair. He definitely has a good nose, as he's usually around when I have food. He's such a good dog!

I'm sure Lola will come visit someday too :)

Hangin' at Home

One of my most favorite things in the whole wide world is hanging out with these 2. As you know, some of our evenings are spent next to the fire with glass of wine in hand. We've noticed that Lola is growing up and isn't our little puppy anymore. Now, she'll hang out with us and lay on the couch beside us while we talk about anything and everything. No matter where we go, Lola wants to be there, and is by our side most of the time.

Lola also does a fantastic job of situating herself where she can see both Ryan and I. If Ryan is in the office on the computer and I'm in the kitchen cleaning/cooking, Lola will lay right in the doorway between the two so she can watch us intently. We love her, and we cherish the times like these- just the 3 of us.

Long Time Friends

My friend Rachel and I have been friends since we were little. We met in dance class at Barb's School of Dance in Columbus, NE, with boogie woogie bugle boy being our first tap dance together. And now almost 15 years later, we remain good friends.

Rachel and I continued in dance classes together, we were cheerleaders in high school and members of our band's colorguard. Our boyfriends were on the football team, and we attended baseball games together as well. We danced/ran in the rain, shared secrets, and have been through heartache, failure, death, happiness, weddings, and distance together. Rachel is such a great friend and my best. She knows me well and we can always pick up where we left off last.

Rachel came to the Twin Cities for work one weekend, and we were able to go have dinner and drinks together to catch up. It was amazing to see her and we clicked again like we always have.

Rachel also just moved to Chicago to start a new job and a new life in the Windy City. Congratulations Rachel, I am so excited for what your future has in store!

Cheers to good friends!

MOA Adventure

I would say that I'm a pretty active person- I like to work out, go for walks, play outside with the dog or catch with my husband. However, when winter kicks in its really really hard for me to unfurl myself from my cozy blanketed spot on the couch.

Luckily, I have a husband that now more than ever seems to have so much energy! Which is why whenever we have a weekend at home, we're probably going to be going somewhere in town to get out of the house for a while. In November, Ryan mentioned we should take a quick trip to the Mall of America.

I was skeptical, because the Christmas shopping frenzy might have already started- but we braved it anyway. And we had a great time!

We tried on silly glasses at an eyewear store...

...Ryan posed inside a picture stadium...

...and we got to see the Mall of America Christmas decorations starting to poke out around the mall.

And let's hear it for my skinny husband! Ryan has some amazing willpower- because he has stuck to his new diet and exercise plan since August! Good work hunny- I'm so proud of you and proud of your new healthy lifestyle!

Lola's 1st Christmas Ornament

Every year in the Austad family, a new ornament makes its way onto our Christmas tree. This year, our little Lola Bear received her very 1st Christmas ornament. What makes it special is the fact that I got the ornament in New York during my very 1st trip there. The booth didn't have a golden retriever/black lab mix breed ornament, but this one looked pretty darn close. And Lola sniffed it out when I got back and approved.

My 1st Trip to NYC

I was lucky enough to take my very 1st trip to New York City in November. I went for work to represent my company at a small gathering. I was able to get there the day before to do a little sight-seeing beforehand. It was so great to experience NYC, but I wish Ryan could've been with me!

I stayed in midtown NYC and was able to see St. Patrick's Cathedral

And a view of the Chrysler building from 5th Avenue.

I checked out Rockafellar Center and watched the ice skaters

And experienced Times Square at night with the brightest lights!

I took a short walk in central park.

And actually got a little work in while I was there too :)

We'll have to go back again together sometime soon!