Monday, April 27, 2009

We did it!

This weekend was the Nashville Half Marathon - and I did it! I was really nervous before the race as I was unsure whether my injured quad was completely healed or not - but it held up the entire 13.1 miles! I finished in 2 hours and 21 minutes. My sis-in-law, Al, and I finished together holding hands! I really hope the picture of the finish comes out - but even if it doesn't, I'll always remember the race and the fact that we finished together! I am very proud of my accomplishment and am anxious to start training for another race...though I'm thinking about training for a triathlon instead!

Here are some pics from our wonderful weekend!

The before picture of me, Al & Kate:

And the after picture - 13.1! (note, this is quite a few hours after...the pic from right after we finished was not so pretty...we needed some sleep and some food and some showers!)

And one of me and the best husband in the world! He was there cheering us girls on and when I saw him at mile 10 I started to tear up - he was the inspiration I needed to keep running until the finish!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Surges are not a good thing

You'll have to pardon the lack of updates this week...I even started writing a great entry about all the stuff we did this weekend (brief rundown: planted a lot of wildflowers - that are already starting to sprout!; installed a water spicket outside in the basement - this required cutting the pipes and adding on new pipes AND waiting with bated breathe to see if water would come rushing out of the pipes and flood our basement...luckily Handyman T is still doing a great job!; and I'm sure we did a few more things, but they are escaping my mind now - I'll post this update with pics some other time). I've been a bit preoccupied since Tuesday when two wires that are never supposed to touch, well touched. They fused together and caused a power/electrical surge to go through our house resulting in many damaged goods and a small electrical fire in our freezer (who knew a freezer could catch fire - it seems counter-intuitive, but it happened and was very scary.) A bright light white and white smoke was coming out of the freezer and for an instant we both thought Jesus was going to come out of our freezer and that it was THE big white light and the tunnel that leads you to you know where! Luckily, the white light quickly extinguished and Mr. Cob and I are still around to talk about it. Sadly we have lost some valuables and some very sentimental items, but no one was hurt and we are both not too worse for the wear.

Tonight, we go refrigerator shopping...I usually love shopping, but this I'm not looking forward to. Any suggestions on a good fridge?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let the Rhythm Move You

It's official - I becoming a pianist. Well, not exactly. But I did just book my very first piano lesson (yes, at the age of 27) for next Tuesday night! My teacher is named Jessica and I have all the confidence that she's going to give me the tools I need to make beautiful music. Actually, I'm not all that concerned about whether to not its beautiful, I just want to learn to play. Mr. Cob may start rethinking this whole piano-as-a-wedding-gift thing once he hears me practice...

And the winner is...

ME! So I'd be lying if I said I was not a competitive person. The truth is, I hate to lose. I especially hate losing to my husband. I contribute my competitive nature to my father and brother - we are all very competitive. We've always been a "board game" family and played lots of games growing up. (And luckily, Mr. Cob's family is a big "game" family too so when the whole group of us gets together, we tend to play games - its fabulous.) According to my parents, when I joined my first swim team at the age of 5, I was so determined to win - I had that drive and spark in my eye when I started a race. I wasn't just doing it for fun. No, not at all. I was doing it to win the blue ribbon. This competitive nature continued to my brief stint playing soccer (which didn't last long because I never quite understood why I couldn't just hang out by the opposing team's goal and wait for the ball to come back my way and then score...the whole "off sides" concept eluded me). And my competitiveness eventually spread out into most aspects of my life, be it swimming (my sport of choice growing up), scrabble, Texas-hold em with the fam, and even bowling. Yes, bowling. Dad was a bowler in his days growing up in Connecticut and he taught me and B how to bowl when we were little. I've always prided myself on having good bowling form - you start at one of the little dots, hold the ball in front of you, slowly walk up to the line, pick your arrow to aim for and most importantly FOLLOW THROUGH...never forget the follow through or your game will go to pot.

Well wouldn't you know that Mr. Cob is also a bowler. (If it hasn't yet become abundantly clear that we are both huge nerds, it should be clear now. It's ok, I've come to terms with my dorkiness - I believe that at some point being a dork does become "cool" least that's what I'm telling myself). And by bowler, I mean Mr. Cob has been in leagues, he has his own shoes, and he has his own ball - with finger tips! Well for our first Valentines Day, Mr. Cob gave me my very first pair of bowling shoes - they are pink...I love them. And then the next Christmas my mom gave all the kids their own bowling balls - mine is neon green and kind of looks like a planet. So, it's now safe to say I'm "officially" a bowler too (however, I've never been in a league). Well, Mr. Cob and I haven't been bowling in a while due to a thumb injury Mr. Cob incurred playing soccer. But yesterday after dinner we were wasting time before his soccer game and traffic was horrible, so I decided that we would make an impromptu stop at Fun Time Bowl! Alas, we didn't have our own shoes or balls, but I have to admit I kind of like renting the shoes and hunting for the "perfect" bowling ball. (Though I now realize the perfect ball is the one I own. Having the finger holes drilled to fit your hand really does make a difference.) We only had time to play 2 games, but I won them both!!!! They weren't fantastic games or high scorers, but that's ok.

It's ok because I beat Mr. Cob at bowling - which is, lets be honest, a rare feat!

There was a ladies bowling league going on while we played and the little gray haired ladies were so cute - but they were good too! Mr. Cob and I are seriously considering joining a bowling league but we need to find another couple - any takers???? Bowling is something you can do your whole life and I just picture me and hubbie bowling when we're old, wrinkly and grey...both still very competitive with each other. Some things, I think, will never change. I love the afterglow of winning! (Though I have to admit, I did lose every game during our game night last Friday. I was up the entire scrabble game and then just threw it away. He won by 2 points - 2 measly points. Then he beat me at Yahtzee - 2 games to 1. The dice just weren't rolling my way. And finally, I couldn't even pull out the victory at Carcasson...he had two farmers in the farm which beat my one. It was a clean sweep. So I needed this bowling win to redeem my pride - and it's least until our next match up!)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

Happy Easter! Today was a wonderful day spent with family and friends. My mom had the whole fam over for a huge Easter brunch, complete with her very own egg hunt. Somehow my 8.5 month old nephew acquired all the eggs with money in them...admittedly, his dad did help him on the hunt. My dad had the task of actually hiding the eggs and I must say that I was impressed with his creativity. My favorite hiding spot was the egg implanted in the beaver puppet...I didn't know beaver's birthed eggs! It was nice to see my grandparents, especially since they are getting a little older each day (though, aren't' we all???!!!). They seemed in good spirits despite my grandpa's mid-afternoon nap (though Mr. Cob noted that giving grandpa champagne in his punch was a surefire way to put him to sleep). And my aunt and uncle are moving to Florida this week, so it was also a farewell party of sorts for them. All in all, it was a great day with the family. And my nephew is SO close to walking! Mom gave him a toy car that he can either sit on and scoot around or stand behind and push like a cart. Well he took off pushing that thing! There was an occasional fall here and there, but mostly he just wanted to walk all around the house! While I might be biased, Stu is quite the little smart kid!

On the organization/nest front, Mr. Cob and I had yet another successful weekend...with merely a few bumps in the road this time! So after a few heavy rain storms in Georgia, Mr. Cob noticed that we had this above our dining room table...

(for those that can't tell, it's a lovely water leak...a big yucky water stain!) Well, we already knew our inspector was less than stellar (I was able to get all our money back from the inspection, though we're definitely having to deal with some of the "problem areas" he failed to notice or point out, hence the large water stain). Upon further inspection into the cause of the leak, Mr. Cob noticed a large hole in the side of the house and a bad roofing job in one part. So rather than calling a roofer, as I suggested, Mr. Cob decided he could fix it. He was going to put his serious fear of heights aside and get on top our roof to fix the problem. I must admit, I was skeptical, but I've realized that once he has his mind set, there is no stopping him. So despite my pleas to call a friend to assist with the "steadying of the ladder" Mr. Cob was adamant that I could do it...well he was right and he was wrong. The roof now has a new layer of flashing, the hole is boarded up and we have new shingles, all covered with black rubber cement - it actually looks like a professional did the job! (If this lawyer thing doesn't work out, Mr. Cob could loan himself out as your very own handyman - lucky for me, he came with the marriage certificate!) There was however, one slight hiccup in the process...Mr. Cob got stuck on the roof for a while. You see, he got up on the roof, but the ladder was not in a good spot, so he could not come down the same way, so I had the job of moving the ladder - which was not easy. After some yelling back and forth (and I'm now certain our neighbors think we are crazy), I finally was able to move the ladder and get him down. I hope we don't have any more roof jobs anytime soon!

Yesterday I also went to my very first yard sale since moving in the nest. My friend Lauren is an expert yardsaler and dragged me out of bed to go to a neighborhood yard sale with her. Her house is adorably decorated and she gets a lot of her stuff from yard sales, so I thought she'd be a great, cost-conscious person to help me adorn the nest...and she did not let me down! We now have this sitting in our basement:

Its a table with four wooden chairs! I envision Mr. Cob and I playing cards on the table, bottling Mr. Cob's home brew, potting plants and scrap booking on the table - an all-purpose table! And it's a project in and of itself. I've already started scrapping all the paint off the tiles and sanding down the wood. I can't decide what color paint would be perfect - any suggestions???

We also finished the office yesterday. While Mr. Cob was fixing the roof, I put together our fourth and final bookshelf (all by myself - which was a feat since I'm not always so good with the whole following directions things...). We even have room to buy a few more books...

I also started gardening today. We planted my Valentines day azalea in the front yard - the first plant Mr. Cob ever gave me. I'm hoping it will lead a long and happy life in our yard (that's assuming I can keep it alive long enough to lead such happy gardening skills have yet to be tested). We also raked an area on the side of the house and started tilling the soil (is tilling the right word, I'm not sure...what was that I said early about being an idiot gardener, um, yea). I have plans to plant lots of wild flowers along the driveway! And now Mr. Cob and I are going to plan our vegetable garden - my Idiots book is making me less of an idiot...I'd now qualify myself as uneducated gardner, but learning!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back on the Wagon...

And by Wagon, I mean treadmill. After a two week hiatus due to a quad injury that suddenly appeared two weeks ago after my 9 mile run, I finally was able to run again tonight! I put in a decent 4 mile run before stopping for fear of re-injuring my leg. I think I need to ease back into running, but it's hard to do with the half marathon only 19 days away!! (My sis-in-law, Al, and I are running the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN. We've been training together from afar since January and I was REALLY bummed when my leg started hurting. I've been so excited about doing this race together, so I'm hopeful that my quad will be 100% when its race time!)

And without further ado, here are some pics from our weekend!

First up - Mr. Cob's scar from the saw. (He said tonight that he's so excited because he can tell our future kids that it is shark bite...or bear scratch, or from a wolverine....which makes me question how gullible our children will be.)

And the wound will always be a reminder of the blood and sweat that Mr. Cob put into building this:

Here are the new valances my mom made:

These are the before pictures of the basement windows...

And the much better "after" pictures!

Here is Bailey Ann playing outside! (Notice the dirt all over her fur...)

And here are the love ferns - hopefully they will not die tonight when the temperatures in Georgia are expected to drop to around 29!

And a few final pictures are of our china cabinet that I found at Kudzu Antiques. It's a great antique store in Decatur - I can't ever go in the store without finding at least a handful of items I'd love to make my own. A few weeks ago Mr. Cob and I purchased this black china cabinet and Mama Kae washed all our china and displayed it in the cabinet for me! Yesterday I was unpacking another box and came across our engraved champagne flutes from the wedding and added them, and my bouquet to the cabinet - I think it looks great! And now every time I walk past the cabinet I am reminded of our wedding and smile. I really am a lucky, happy girl!

And on a final note, I have to admit that grocery shopping was, dare I say it, a pleasant experience tonight...all because of my Grocery List by Aisle chart! And we ate our Caesar salad for dinner...with no question of "What's for Dinner?" Now if only State could somehow turn this game around...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The word of the week: Organization

I can say without a doubt that the Nesting Swans have had a successful weekend! Now upon opening our front door you are immediately greeted by a desk full of family photos. Our deck stairs (which Mr. Cob, his dad and brother built all by themselves!!!) now has a handrail - so you no longer fear for your life whilst walking up them. (I have to interject that I had no idea my husband was so handy before I married him...even after living together for a year, I had no clue. I guess there aren't too many things to really fix in an apartment - but I am amazed and so proud of what he does around the house! He's my very own Mr. Fix-It!) Our garage has working electricity and one fully operational electric garage door opener! I potted my first plants ever - two Boston ferns which are adorning our front stoop. The key hooks in the kitchen are hung (whether or not Mr. Cob actually hangs his keys on them are another story altogether...). We have four blinds hung on the basement windows. We have two new window valances hung in the family room. (The valances are thanks to my awesome mother - I helped her hang them, but she created and made them from scratch! The fabric matches the couches perfectly and makes the room feel warm and cozy. Mom you rock!!!) My car has a new Dekalb county license plate. The floors are mopped, the bathrooms are cleaned and the laundry is done! Even if we had only accomplished half these things, I'd call the weekend a success. (Although I must admit, the to-do list is not empty...we didn't make it to the grocery store and we didn't buy bookshelves for the office - however, we did TRY to purchase bookshelves, the store was out of the shelves we wanted.)

All these successful projects did not come without some "issues." While perfecting the angles for the deck railing Mr. Cob got a bit overzealous with the saw and sliced open his arm a little. Luckily it wasn't a deep cut and only required a bandaid - but it was enough to leave a mark! He said today that he's going to be so proud of the scar - only a mans! The blinds in the basement also required some saw measurements were a little off and the blinds were about half an inch too long. (I could have returned the blinds for the correct size, but seeing as how they have been sitting in the basement for 2 months, I had no idea where the receipt was, so I decided to make do with what I had.) I tried to power sand the sides down, but after about 45 minutes (and an "I deserve a beer", and ok, a few swear words later), Mr. Cob realized the saw would do the trick, and he was right. I was a little disappointed with the blind experience because I was sure I could hang them without the husband's help, but something went terribly wrong (something other than the blinds being entirely the wrong size)...the drill bit broke off into the wall!!! I've used a drill before and I'm just not sure what went now we will forever have half of the drill bit stuck in the basement wall - WHOOPS! (I have to give a shout out to the hubby for not freaking out when this happened...or for hiding his anger well! I think the fact that I felt so defeated made him feel a little bad for me. And he ended up having to help me hang the remaining 4 blinds...but at least they are hung!)

Tomorrow I'll post some pics of all the new "stuff" from the house (and Mr. Cob's war wound), but I'm so excited we're getting stuff accomplished! Our next big project is planting my vegetable garden (and Mr. Cob's "hops" to start brewing his own beer again) - unfortunately I know next to nothing about gardening and don't exactly have a green thumb. All of the house plants I've ever owned have died - though the cat is partially to blame, as she eats the plants. But I am serious about this garden and so tomorrow I am going to buy a Vegetable Gardening For Dummies (or Idiots..I think its safe to say I fall under both categories) book to learn about gardening. Wish me luck!

Speaking of Bailey Ann, we let her outside for most of the weekend (she has been an indoor cat her whole life (well, aside from the whole wheel well experience . She LOVES playing in the grass (and eating said grass - resulting in a lovely regurgitated gift when we got home last night...if anyone knows how you can stop a cat from eating grass and plants, please let me in on the secret!). Rather than being a black and white cat, between the red Georgia clay and all the yellow pollen, she's now a shade of orange and gray. But its worth watching her purr and roll around when she manages to get outside - it makes her so happy!

Ok, I'm off to plan our meals for the week and my grocery list - as part of my attempt to get organized, I just created nifty charts for our weekly dinners and a grocery list. I'm hoping this will eliminate the nightly discussion with Mr. Cob of "what's for dinner?" Now I will have an answer! My cutesy charts are below - they're quite amateur, but they get the job done!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hello World, it's me Mrs. Swan

Ok, so I have posted a link to this blog on facebook...Mr. Cob convinced me. So I realize blogs are very self indulgent and presumptuous in thinking that anyone out there gives a hoot about my life, but I'm ok with that. I love writing and keep saying I want to be more creative - so if this blog is a way for me to fuel my creative side and get those juices flowing, so be it.

Now that you have found me, I figure its time to introduce you to me and my family. I am Mrs. Swan (aka Mrs. Pen). I'm an associate attorney at a great firm in Atlanta and am married to a wonderful man who is also an attorney - we met in law school. We have one pet - Bailey Ann. She's the sweetest evil cat around...she's not a big fan of people she does not know, but she loves me and Mr. Cob (although she has been known to turn on Mr. Cob when he moves too quickly). She plays fetch just like a dog with twist ties - it's hilarious. Bailey had a pretty hard life before I adopted her - she was only about 4 weeks old when I found her hiding inside the wheel well of my friend C's Explorer. There's no telling how long she was stuck in there, and she didn't immediately feel the love for her new mom, but she eventually came around. Although, I fear she'll question our love for her when we bring her a brother or sister soon in the form of a puppy! I'm sure there will be many stories that are entitled "Bailey slashes the pup" or "Puppy thinks she and Bai are friends...but she would be wrong". But for now its just the three of us - we're a small, but very happy family.

Here is Mr. Cob's thoughts on our cat:

Bailey Ann, Cat

Cute, but Dangerous

Much like the Sirens of ancient Greece, this little lion will lure you in with gentle and somewhat lyrical purring. But do not be entranced and fooled by her cuteness, for she is at heart a very tiny killer who could very well leave your outstretched hand with painful, albeit superficial, scratches.

Our Nest

This is our nest! I have to admit that the snow makes it look more picturesque than it actually is - mainly because our yard could use some landscaping...all in due time. But I do LOVE our house - the first time we drove up to it, I knew I wanted it. Mr. Cob was not so certain - in fact, he was very skeptical. And he was more skeptical once we set foot across the threshold. Mr. Cob noticed all the imperfections and flaws. But I just saw the potential and the life we could build inside...turns out I was able to convince him of the beauty and I just turned a blind eye to the flaws (this has already come back to haunt me a bit). But it is ours and no one can take that away from us (ok, it's technically the banks' and they can take it away from us if we don't pay our mortgage - but my story sounds so much better when you leave that part out, don't ya think! In 30 year its will be ours!

It's hard to believe we've already been in the house for two months. It's now starting to feel like home, although I have to admit that if you walk inside you wouldn't necessarily know who lived there. Aside from the beautiful canvas picture my brother and sister in law gave us as a wedding gift (see below), we don't have any family pictures put up yet.

I'm going to remedy the lack of displayed photographs soon, but it takes time and energy and creativity and other house projects have seemed to come before the picture hanging. It's on my ever growing to-do list, but I'm going to start checking things off this weekend - really, I am!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bit by bit we build the nest

Welcome to my new blog: The Swans are Nesting!

In an effort to write more, my sweet husband has encouraged me to start blogging. This is officially the third blog I have started. Number 1 was called "27 and counting" with no real theme - I think I made three entries (one right after my first nephew was born, one right before my wedding and one months later about trying to figure out what I want from life). Blog Number 2 was entitled "Running to Eat...or Eating to Run" and was started with the intention of chronicling my half marathon training and recent struggle with my weight. Blog 2 ended with a grand total of 2 entries. So, as they say, third times a charm (we hope).

I think the first two blogs failed because I was keeping them to myself. Fearful of sharing my feelings with the world - well, it was more fear of sharing with those close to me - I don't mind if nameless strangers read about me. But, as my husband, (who we'll call "Mr. Cob") told me, blogs are meant to be shared and read. So at least I know I have one supporter in Mr. Cob and maybe, just maybe, I'm a more entertaining writer than I think and people will start reading my blog #3 - The Swans are Nesting.

And no, I'm not an avid bird lover. I do not have an obsession with swans or the building of nests. But I am a newly married "Swan" and Mr. Cob and I just bought our first house together - and I am officially nesting. So this blog will follow our trials and tribulations of our first year of marriage and dealing with, loving and putting our hearts into our new house.

So welcome, share with friends, family and check back often to find out what other piece of wood or hay I've added to the nest.