Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time with Family, Part 3

My last blog post was over two months ago, and what a busy couple of months we've had.  I've been behind on blogging for a solid six months (I really need to work on that), so this post is about my mom and dad coming to visit TWICE this past Spring.  Lucky us!  :)

During one of my parents' visits, their dear friends, The Griffiths and Fabulous Ms. Martha were vacationing on Hilton Head Island so we had the pleasure of spending quality time with them, too!  Our friends, Kendra and Clint, were in town in for a house-hunting trip at the same time so here's a pic of the whole gang at Captain Woody's for dinner.  Martha ordered everyone a special blue martini in honor of her alma mater, Kentucky.  What an entertaining group of people!!  We laughed a lot that night. :)

One of the projects that has been on our to do list since Kevin and I moved to SC was refinishing our guest bedroom chest of drawers.  My dad graciously agreed to help me tackle this project, and here are the before and after pics.
Instead of spending a lot of time sanding off the existing stain, we tried a product I read about on a blog called BIN primer.  You just paint it directly on the wood and then after it dries, you apply your paint.  We think it worked really well.

Eventually I might replace the knobs with different ones that are more fun and interesting, but for now I think the chest of drawers looks a million times better in the purple guest bedroom.

Since we moved into our house in early 2011, it has bothered me that the shrubs in our big flowerbed were not evenly spaced by the builder-contracted landscaper.  I know that might sound tedious to some people, but to me it was quite annoying.  So, I did a little research to find out when the best time to transplant would be and Spring seemed to be the optimum time.  Kevin and my dad moved the middle shrub and a perennial (that looked out of place after we moved the shrub), and suddenly everything looked nice and balanced throughout our main flowerbed.  Well, not really because my shrubs and perennials are growing at different rates but whatever...these changes were vast improvements!

So so happy that I was able to spend Mother's Day with my incredible and loving mom!  My dad, Kevin and I celebrated my mom that morning by having a delicious breakfast at Palmetto Bluff.

I am slightly obsessed with the trees and Spanish Moss around here!
The purple character in one of the above pics is Flat Stanley.  My cousin's daughter, Bekah, sent him to us for a school project, so we carried him around all week and took photos that we could send back to Bekah's class.  Flat Stanley got to do something I've never done...he flew in the Hornet with Kevin! :)

The biggest project of the week was painting the living room and dining room.  My awesome dad spent countless hours taping and painting, and I am incredibly grateful for his hard work.  The newly painted walls are a richer neutral color, and they look soooo much richer now.

As you can tell from this post, my parents are such hardworking people by nature, and they are incredible giving and selfless parents.  Whenever they visit us, they are eager to help us tackle any and every household task, issue or project.  I am very grateful for their willingness to lend a hand, and we learn so much from them...especially as first time homeowners.  During one of their visits, I'm really glad we managed to spend some time relaxing at the beach.

My mom helped me accomplish a long overdue task while in town - choosing pillow fabric for our living room sofa.  I searched for pillows for about a year, and I could not find any that were the right colors, size and style for our space.  So I finally decided I needed to order fabric and have some made.  My mom and I looked through hundreds of swatches one afternoon, but I ultimately chose this fabric in the pic below and I just love it.  The back side and the welting were made with a solid, less expensive fabric, which is an easy way to save money if you're having custom pillows made.

Mom and Dad, thanks again for coming to see us!  We always love having you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Five: What I've been doing lately

1. Kevin and I went to a shooting range one Friday night this summer, and it is definitely something I'd like to do with him again!  The 9mm was a little more powerful than I expected, but I shot better than I thought I would.  Here's a short video...

2. Avalanche bars are my latest Pinterest discovery.  Actually, I pinned the recipe a long time ago, but I just recently decided to make them.  Oh my goodness, they are delicious!  You only need five ingredients to make them, and they couldn't be easier.  I've made them twice already and Kevin has forbidden me from ever making them again (because they are irresistible!).  I think I'll pretend he never said that. ;)

3. Believe it or not, my friends and I danced in a flash mob last month!  There is a video of it out there on the internet, but I'm a little too shy and embarrassed to share it. :)  It started raining right before we were supposed to dance, but we waited it out and eventually did our thing.  It was nothing like the huge, perfected flash mobs that you have probably seen on TV, but we had a lot of fun and we're all glad we did it!

4. Lately, I've had several friends ask me to take family photos for them, and I am having a lot of fun doing so.  I really enjoy photography, and I jump at the chance to take photos for friends, because I know I can only get better if I practice.  Here are some of my favorites from recent photo sessions.

5. Last week Kevin surprised me with an anniversary trip to the BAHAMAS!  To say I was completely shocked is an understatement, and I still can't believe he planned an international vacation without my knowledge!  What a thoughtful and loving husband I have.  Thank goodness our families and friends are good secret keepers, because quite a few people knew about the trip and I was still surprised.  Kevin and I had an incredible time together, and I promise to post more pics from our trip...eventually.  I can't blog about that when I still need to blog about my parents' visit this past Spring!  Yes, I'm that behind on blogging.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

3 years, 2 people, 1 God

Three years ago today, I said "I do" to the love of my life.

During the last three years...

...we've lived in three different states

...we've been attached to four different squadrons

...we've purchased our first home

...we've endured one deployment and many detachments

...I've been honored to call Kevin my husband

...I've been learning what it means to be a military wife

...I've been experiencing one of God's greatest blessings


...I've never been happier!

Happy 3rd Anniversary, honey!!!  I love you, and I'm so thankful God gave me you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Time with Family, Part 2

In April (yes, I'm still that behind on blogging), my mother-in-law, Belinda, came to SC to see us! Kevin and I had an amazing weekend exploring Savannah and Beaufort with her.

We took a trolley tour around historic downtown Savannah, and I have to say that is the best way to familiarize yourself with a new place. You get a brief look into lots of different areas in a relatively short amount of time, and you learn a ton of interesting facts about local history and culture. After the tour, we enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant, Moon River Brewing Co, sampled and bought fresh pralines at Savannah Candy Kitchen (YUM!), perused Colonial Park Cemetery, browsed the outdoor market, and witness a huge container ship coming into the port.
Talmadge Memorial Bridge
One of the 22 squares in historic downtown Savannah
World War II Memorial - "A World Apart"

Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons Restaurant
Container ship approaching Port of Savannah
The Waving Girl Statue - honors a woman who waved at every passing ship for 44 years!

Checking out the Spanish moss
After church on Easter Sunday, we took Belinda to Beaufort to show her the air station (where Kevin works) and the charming downtown area.  We enjoyed lunch on the patio at Q on Bay, and then we discovered an incredible local art gallery.

Downtown Beaufort
Belinda, we absolutely loved having you here and we are already looking forward to your next visit!  Thank you so much for coming to see us!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Time with Family, Part 1

In March, my father-in-law, Rick, came to visit, and we had a wonderful weekend with him!  We are so grateful that he came to see us, and we loved having him in our home.  His weekend here started out with an amazing tour of the area from the backseat of the F/A-18D Hornet!  Okay, technically it was from the F/A-18D Hornet simulator, but it certainly felt like we were flying because the cockpit was real and the graphics were unbelievably lifelike.  It was really neat to get a glimpse of what Kevin does when he's in the jet.

On Friday night, we had the pleasure of seeing Little Texas in concert about half an hour away from our house.  Kevin's Uncle Dwayne is a member of the band so we like to go to their concerts if they're playing anywhere near us.  Some of their biggest hits are "God Blessed Texas," "What Might Have Been" and "Kick A Little," and they always put on an awesome show.  

We also saw a movie, grilled outside and even spotted a gator while Rick was here.  All in all, a great O'Brien weekend!  (In case you're wondering, the alligator was not in our neighborhood...whew!)

Kevin, Kelly, Dwayne, Rick after the concert

Checking out the gator - he's in the water so you can barely see him

Like father, like son :)

Richard & Richard

Rick, thanks again for coming to South Carolina to see us!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Five: Random happenings

On the phone last night, my dear friend Sarah asked when I was going to blog again.  Although it was a reminder that I'm way behind on blogging, it was encouraging to know that someone noticed my lack of blogging during the past month. :)  Thanks, Sarah!

1.  Tonight I'm trying a new recipe that I found via Pinterest - Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps  They are healthy and easy (two things I look for in new recipes), so I hope they taste as good as they look!

2.  Kevin and I really enjoy the TV show Shark Tank.  Have you ever seen it?  If not, you should watch it.  Friday nights at 8/7c on ABC.  It's fascinating, thought-provoking and entertaining, and it has nothing to do with actual sharks.  The show celebrates innovation and capitalism, and it inspires great conversation between us.

3.  We have a new dining room chandelier, and I absolutely love it!  Kevin and my Dad installed it last week, and I feel like it has transformed the room.  My Dad also painted while my parents were here visiting, and you can see a glimpse of the new wall color in the background of this pic.  Not a dramatic change, I know, but a BIG change for the better in my opinion.

4.  A couple of months ago, Kevin and I went to a nearby auction with a bunch of our friends.  We didn't plan to buy anything, but we thought it would be fun to experience.  Of course, we each found something that we have been wanting for a very long time so we splurged and bought both things.  Kevin's find - a gun of some kind, I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you all about it.  (It's his very first gun.)   My find - a Louis XV style chair!  I've always adored this type of chair, but I've never purchased one because they are pretty expensive.  However, I bought this one at the auction for just $70!  It definitely needs a facelift, so I can't wait to find fabric with a modern design that will give this stylish chair new life.

For comparison, here's a similar chair available at Ballard Designs for $549!!!!

5.  Have you heard of Flat Stanley?  I was vaguely familiar with the name before last week, but now I have had my own personal experience with him.  My cousin's precious daughter, Bekah, sent him to me as part of a class project, and I was delighted to show him around South Carolina!