Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And I'm Out!

Well guys, this has been an amazing year. I love this blog and the feedback I get from it, so thank you so much for all of your support over the past year.

But I'm taking a few weeks to do what I haven't done in a long time. Spend quality one-on-one time with my husband. Without school, without computers, without work, just us. Pre-Chris's schooling days, we were pretty inseparable. I'm so excited to take these next few weeks to go back to our place of happiness...being together with no stress.

Our friends Erin and Chris joke with us that we're Amish because we don't watch much TV. The next few weeks is going to be filled with very little electronics at all. Do you hear that? It's the sound of heaven...ahhh!!!

So, while I know you're not supposed to take 'blogging breaks' if you want to make your blog a success, I'm hoping that you guys will stick around to see what 2011 brings us.

I do have a promise though that hopefully entices you to stay tuned till I return next year. I promise I'll be back, on my one year blog anniversary (January 13th), and I'll post a BIG huge project reveal that you most definitely won't want to miss. We've been working on this one for quite some time, and I can't wait to share the big reveal with you guys!!

So here's hoping you a Merry, joyous, wonderful Christmas season, and a New Year filled with hope, inspiration, love, and joy!

See ya on the flip side!!!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Cold Florida Winter

Dear Weather,

I think you're confused. I know you've got a great big job to do with weathering the whole world and all, so I understand some mistakes every now and then, but this is the 2nd winter in a row. Which makes me think I should probably bring it to your attention.

I LIVE IN FLORIDA. The TAMPA BAY area of Florida to be exact. It is NOT supposed to get into the 20's at night, and we're most DEFINITELY not supposed to not get above something in the 40's during the day. I think maybe you're confusing us with some other state. The only thing I like to do in the cold in snowboard, and since Florida doesn't have mountains, I don't really want it to get cold enough to snow here.

This week is better than last, but it seems to be getting cold again, so I thought I'd throw out a little note. Maybe that'll help. Good luck with the rest of your weathering duties! Merry Christmas!

Kara Hart

Granted, this picture was taken two weekends ago, not this past weekend, but I still thought I'd share. This is how Chris and I sleep during the frigid Florida winters :

In our living room, snuggled up next to the fireplace.

Sorry for the picture quality, it was obviously dark when I took it!!  We actually moved the mattress a bit closer to the fire too...this was just all I could move it on my's heavy!  Kodi sleeps behind us in the living room because he doesn't like the cackling of the fire, but he enjoys the warmth too.

Most Florida houses aren't equipped to handle 20 degree weather, but ours is even worse.  We have no heat pump.  Last winter, the warmest we could get our house was 64 degrees, and our heating bill was RIDICULOUS, so we've just accepted the fact that we don't have heat and deal with what we do have!  We've actually got two space heaters that heat up our bedroom and office quite nicely, but there's something cozy about still moving our mattress out to the living room in the winter.  It's like we're camping cozily.  Just my style!

Hope everyone is staying warm this winter!  I know, I'm a baby when it comes to cold...but I was born and raised in Florida...the central florida area, on the coast.  I think high 60's is freezing during the day...40's?!  That's just crazy talk!

Happy Monday!  Hope everyone has a great week!
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home-made Christmas gift

With everything that's been going on the latter part of this year, I only had time to make one Christmas gift. I'm hoping to do a home-made Christmas next year, or at least a lot more home-made gifts, so hopefully with Chris's school now being done, I'll be able to focus more on that while still doing all of my other million projects I've got planned for 2011. Pretty soon, I'm going to have to start filling out my 2012 project list. The 2011 one is already getting quite long.

Onto the gift...

I always ask my sisters for ideas on what my nieces need or would like for Christmas. One of my nieces was adopted last year from China. She is such a special little girl, and we're so lucky to have her as an addition to our family. My sister's suggestion for her this year was "maybe you could do Chinese symbols that mean special things for Ashlyn or she really likes pretty princess stuff for her walls". So, I racked my brain and came up with my own DIY idea to incorporate both.

First up, I got this pad of scrapbook paper from Jo-Ann's. I only needed 6 sheets for my project, but I couldn't find 6 sheets that were princess related, so I just bought the whole pad. Besides, it gave me room to error (which I most definitely did...a few times!).

Next up, I got a 4x8 piece of wood from home depot and had them cut it into 12" squares.

Then, I found a website that translates English words into Chinese lettering, here, and came up with 6 different words that I wanted to put on my scrap paper.  I copied them onto a word document and blew them up, and then printed them out.

I traced over the Chinese lettering with a pencil, pushing really hard (like so hard my arms were shaking) so that I left the outlines of the Chinese lettering on my scrapbook paper.  Then I traced over that with a black sharpie, painted inside of my tracings, painted the side of my 12x12 board, decoupaged my paper to my board, and WALA :

Oh yeah, and I wrote the English version of what I had written in Chinese in the bottom right hand corner.  Yeah, I know, I skipped taking pictures step-by-step, but I'm on a time crunch here lately!

Here's a view from the side :

Of course, she needs to be able to hang these on her wall, so I picked up a pack of mounting hardware that you just push into the back of the picture to secure.  My husband came up with this solution after my fat fingers couldn't hold the silly little nails that come with normal hanging hardware, and the board is too thin to use mounting hardware with screws.  He's a genius, I swear!

And then I repeated this 5 more times, each with different sayings.  The next two were words that come to my mind when I think of Ashlyn.  If they would've had the word goofball or silly, I would've written that down, but since they didn't, I decided to go the more sentimental (yet still true) route.

For the next three, I love the live, laugh, love saying...and I think it especially holds true to how Ashlyn, even at only 7 years old, lives her life.  She's such a carefree and fun little person to be around!!

The laugh one is actually my least favorite with the way it turned out.  It was late one night when I was trying to finish this up, so I got a bit of bubbling, and one of the fans blew some stuff on top of it while it was still drying.  I'll probably try to do another one for her at some point, assuming she likes these, but this will just have to do for now!

And here's a shot of all 6 of them together :

I have no idea why I thought this would be a quick and easy project, but overall I'm pretty happy with how it all came out.  And I'm happy with the fact that I could give my niece a gift that I spent time thinking about and making...a gift from the heart.

What do you think?  Are you making any homemade gifts this year?

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!  Happy almost Friday!!!
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I'm linking up to the parties on my sidebar...go check out what everyone else is making!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Project

Chris and I worked on a few projects together this weekend. While I do love having my husband to do projects with, these projects aren't exactly the fun ones that I love doing with him. We did his school projects...and since you guys like seeing pictures, here's one of the things we were working on :

Oh yeah, 2 microcontrollers that talk to each other.  I've told you what dorks we are you believe me now?  Anyone want any step-by-step instructions on how to program this up?  Or how about a 10 page report on all of the software and hardware that went along with making it possible to write my husbands name on it?  This picture was actually taken for the report, not for your viewing pleasure...but since this is a project blog, and that's my latest project...well, I thought I'd share!

The other project that Chris wrapped up this weekend that we've been working on for weeks was pretty close to what I do on a day to day basis.  Lots and lots of code and waveforms.  Anyone want to see a screen shot of a bunch of lines of code or some waveforms with a bunch of signals traced?!

Yeah, I didn't think so...just thought I'd check.

It was quite reminiscent of our college days together though.  Chris moved in our big 6 ft table and we worked side by side in the office.  I'm not used to having an 'office mate' anymore!  This is how we went through our undergrad degree together our last year.  Side by side, working together.  When you can work with someone on this kind of stuff, and then still have an amazing time doing all the fun things in life, you know you've met your soul mate.  Things are just better together.

I took this picture this morning...Chris's laptop was set up on the other desk.  The office is in major need of some's on my 8 million mile long list of things to-do eventually.

I called it quits relatively early last night and climbed in bed to watch Sunday night football.  When Chris came in at half time with a glass of wine and said he hit submit on his final report, for the third time in a little over a week, I cried.  These tears were tears of joy though.  He just has to have a telecon with his TA tomorrow morning on his drive into work to go over his report, and he's done.  Forever.  He finished.  He made it.

WE made it!!!  I'm beyond proud of him, words can't even begin to describe all of the emotions and the huge sense of pride I have in him.  He was a full time student as well as a full time employee, even earned a big promotion while going to school.  On top of being a wonderful husband.

I'm not going to sugar coat it, there were so many times over the last year and a half that I thought I can't do this anymore.  There were so many times that HE thought he couldn't do it anymore, but hand-in-hand, side-by-side, we did it.  Chris was always so grateful for all of the housework that I picked up so that he could focus on school, and has been so supportive on all of my projects that I've attempted solo.  I kept telling Chris that he could finish getting his Master's, that I could help, and that it wasn't impossible (even when I really thought it was).  Our undergrad Electrical Engineering degree was a tough program.  I remember phone calls home during college, bawling my eyes out saying that there was no way I could do it.  It was just too hard.

I know how hard the EE Master's program was, and I honestly don't think I could balance work and school as successfully as he did.  My brain turns off after work...I couldn't watch 2 hours of class or do homework and projects after working all day.  Chris did.  For a year and a half.  And he's DONE!!!  WOO HOO!!!

I'll stop my gloating now and get back to work...I did manage to finish up my one homemade Christmas gift this year, so stay tuned for a post on that later on this week!

Happy Monday!  This might be the happiest one yet for me for the past year and half!!
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baby Shower

Thanks so much to everyone for their kind and sweet words on my latest post.  The emails and comments I got were beyond touching, and I really truly appreciate every single one of them.  I'm doing better...I'm gonna focus on what I tell other people to do...look for the rainbow after the rain.

Also, thanks for all your compliments on our family pictures!  Some of you guys seriously made me blush!!

Now...onto more fun posting pictures of the baby shower!!!

The shower started at 530 p.m., so the other girls started showing up around 5 to put their food and decor out before the Mom and Dad to be showed up. Here's some photos I snapped really quickly before the chaos began...

First up, the changing table with the diaper baby and the m&m favors.  Only one diaper baby made it on display.  The other one I couldn't figure out a way to creatively incorporate.  Besides, we wound up needing the diapers for one of the games!

As far as the books on the changing table, we had asked everyone to bring a book in lieu of a card, so we could get the babies library started.  I think the Mommy and Daddy to be really appreciated this!

The Hersey's Bar Favors.

The Diaper Cake with a few more of the Favors for decoration.

The two Baby Garlands on either window.  Thanks so much to another Kara for suggesting using the 3M removable hooks.  They worked so perfectly, and I think my T. Mom has now taken stock in them for hanging her Christmas decor!

Here's a view of the room from the kitchen :

Oh yes, and Kodi.  That's Kodi's second home, so he protects it and watches over it like he does his own.  And yes, that's the Auburn / Alabama game on TV.  I'd like to say that I had the football game on because it was a coed shower, but we all know how much I enjoy watching college football (even if it's not the Gator's - go SEC!).

My parents recently redid their kitchen (in all honesty, they recently redid their entire home...I'll have to do a before and after post at some point), and their bar area works out perfect for doing buffet style food and drink.  All of my co-hosts brought something, so this entire counter was filled to the max once everyone got there.

We used the large containers for water and sangria, the decanters for wine,  and then on the far left we made a non-alcoholic punch.  I put out little labels so people knew what things were, which worked out perfectly!

After dinner, we played a few games.  To get the guys involved, we did a diaper changing contest between the boys.  We had 2 rounds of three guys (one of the experienced Dad's was disqualified...when you have 2 still in diapers, it's just an unfair advantage!)

Round 1 :

Uncle to Be, Dad to Be, Grandpa to Be
Round 1 winner : Tie between the Daddy and Uncle to Be!!

Round Two
Ryan, Tim, and Chris
 I had to include that picture for round two.  Do you see my husband's face?  He's looking at those diaper tabs like 'what the heck do these things do?!'  And you wanna know what his diaper baby looked like?!

 No, the doll didn't come with a dirty diaper already.  Oiy...I have some work to do one day!!

Obviously, Chris didn't win round 2.  Tim did.

Round 3 : Playoffs.  From this picture, it's obvious that the soon to be Daddy won!!!  Yay!

He might need to give Chris pointers one day!

Here's the only picture I can find of the gift table, and the "best balloon in the entire world".  The baby's name is Yulander III, so it was a really cute balloon.  We had flowers dispersed throughout the table, which added such a fun touch!

Gift Table with Grandma to be!
And lastly, I'll end on a picture of the Uncle, Grandma, Mommy, and Daddy to be :

It was such a fun shower...a lot of work and love went into making it as special as we could, and the Mommy and Daddy to be really appreciated it all.

So what's the end verdict on the diaper baby?  Still creepy, or did you think it worked well on the changing table?  I really did have such a good laugh reading through all of your thoughts and opinions on guys surely are entertaining!

Thanks again for all of the kind words on my last post.  Your support is so appreciated!!

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Monday, December 6, 2010


Sorry for the lack of posts...I know I promised pictures of the baby shower, and I will post those before too long.  Life got in the way of posting it last week...

I debate writing about my personal life on here...I debate how much you'll want to read, or who will want to read about it.  But this blog is my creative outlet, and part of my creative side is my love to write.  I find it therapeutic.  It's the only way, besides running, that I know how to organize my thoughts and put things into perspective.  So I'm writing this with  no clear direction of where it's going, just a lot of heavy thoughts weighing on my mind that need to be sorted out.

Last week, Chris got really sick on our drive back home from Thanksgiving.  We thought maybe he ate something that gave him food poisoning...he got sick for about 7 hours straight, finally managed to pass out, and after a full day in bed, seemed to relatively recover.

It wasn't food poisoning.  It was a virus.

I got it Wednesday night.  And then I spiked a fever Thursday, and wound up in the doctor's office at 6 p.m. with him giving me his last ditch effort of anti-nausea medicine and saying if that didn't work within 30 minutes, I was to go straight to the ER to get an IV of fluids.  My body ached, I was chilled to the core, and I couldn't have felt more miserable.  On our way home from the pharmacy at 8 p.m. that night, I broke down and started sobbing.  Not just crying, bawling crying.  I don't remember the last time I've cried that hard.  It was just all too much, and I couldn't take it anymore without breaking down.

Chris has a week left of his school, and he needs my help to be able to finish up his last 2 projects.  He couldn't work on either one of them Sunday or Monday because he was so sick, and then Wednesday and Thursday he couldn't do them either because I was so sick.  I sobbed because I felt sorry for him.  I feel the pressure of his schooling almost as much as he does most days, and I don't know how, with the stressful jobs we have, he gets it done.  This semester is his last, but it's been his hardest.  He needs my help, and instead of helping, I took away precious time that he didn't have to give.

I don't like feeling helpless or defeated.  I don't deal with it well, and there was absolutely nothing I could do to make either him or I better.  I didn't want to take away anymore time and have him bring me anymore water or gingerale, but every time I got up, I puked.  I sobbed because I was helpless, and I did have to rely on my husband who will give his time, stay up till midnight working or doing school, and get up at 5 to start it all over again.

I'm overloaded.  I've got too much on my plate, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to get it all done.  I sobbed because I used to be able to be superwoman all of the time...and right now I just can't.  And I don't know how to deal with that.

On top of a million other personal things that probably seem either insignificant to most, or are too detailed and time oriented to write about, one of my Grandfather's has been in the hospital since before Thanksgiving.  My Mom has been prepping me that they thought the end was getting near.  My Grandfather has lived an amazingly blessed and fulfilling life.  He's 92.  My Grandmother was lucky enough to meet him, the love of her life, later on in life.  They've been married 20 years, and she's 20 years younger than he is.  I sobbed for her...for my Grandma.  I sobbed because I knew how hurt and sad and heavy her heart has to be.  My Grandfather will be fine...he's lived a great life, had many amazing experiences, and his time has just come.  But she waited a long time to find him...and she deserves to be happy, and I'm worried that she won't be.  So I sobbed.

This evening, my Grandfather passed away.  He passed away peacefully and without pain, which he was in previously, so that's reassuring.  But my Grandma....  My heart is so heavy for her.  I will miss my Grandpa dearly, but I know that I'll reflect upon his quirks, funny demeanor, and various stories that he's told me throughout the years fondly.  My Grandma has to be so sad.  She loved him so much.  They even refused to get any bigger than a queen sized bed because they felt like they slept too far apart in a King.  She liked keeping him close.  Although my heart is heavy, I am so thankful that she met him.  She had 20 great years of laughter, love, and companionship.  She will be able to forever cherish and reflect on the memories they created together, and I really hope that one day soon she can look back fondly on them instead of looking on with sadness.

So...this evening I sobbed for them, my Grandparents.  And in doing so, I felt so silly for my sobbing for Chris and I on Thursday.  It seems so insignificant.  We have each, school, and everything else will work itself out.

And as I've written this, I've stopped sobbing.  My head feels clearer.  My heart is still heavy, but for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones.  Death is a tricky subject to address, and I know I'm not any good at it, but I find peace in knowing that my Grandpa is in a better place and lived a great life.  All I can do for my Grandma is to be there for her and be supportive of this new journey she'll embark on while surrounding her with love.

Thanks for letting me clear my head...
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Family Photos

I have some amazingly talented friends. Seriously, no joke, no lie. You'll see in a minute...

I mentioned awhile back when Chris, Kodi, and I were being goofy in the pool that my girlfriend Erin gave me family pictures for my Birthday back in March.  She's such a talented photographer, and I was seriously so excited for the gift.  The only problem was, time is never my friend...and you have to make time to do these things.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we all decided to clear out our busy schedules to make time to do this...and I'm so glad we finally did.

You guys are used to seeing me looking something like this:

And this is probably on a relatively good day.  That's in a ponytail, sans makeup, and with exercise clothes on.  That's the me that I represent in this blog anyways...

But Erin is a miracle worker.  Seriously.  I mean, I did up my hair and makeup, and Erin came over and picked out my outfits the night before to wear, but how she managed to make these pictures look so good is beyond me.  My absolute favorite part about them is that she captured 'us'.  She knows me better than most (umm...sorry E!), and Chris and I actually both had a TON of fun doing this photo shoot.

So, without further ado, here's the pictures Erin and Chris posted on their blog :

Oh my goodness...I have to comment on just this one.  Isn't my husband HOT?!!!

Okay, I lied...this one too.  Even our feet shot captures us.  I'm constantly standing on one foot (don't ask, I have no idea why), and Chris always stands with his foot sideways like that when he's in dress clothes.  He's like a 7 year old boy trying to play dress up.  So cute!

Amazing right?!  She didn't even photo-shop anyone else's heads on our bodies...that's for really us!!

If you'd like to read more on our background with the photo shoot, or want to see some more amazing and beautiful pictures, visit Erin's Blog.  Or if you'd like to leave her some comment lovin to tell her how amazing it is that she can clean us up that well, feel free to do that too!

Erin put so much work into this photo shoot...from helping me pick out my outfits, to finding SO many different amazing places for us to do our photos at, I'm so grateful to her (and her hubby :-)) for doing this for us.  These are pictures that I'll forever cherish and it means the world to me that she just did all of this out of the goodness of her heart for my birthday.  What a special friend!!!  Love you E!!

Stay tuned for Friday's post on the baby shower...Hope everyone's having a great Wednesday!

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