Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lessons Learned at the Beach

In the days, weeks, and well, even months leading up to our vacation this year, I've felt overwhelmed, haggard, and tired.  In addition to relaxing last week, I tried to take some time to consider how I might be able to feel a little more peaceful and energetic in my everyday life.  Now, I was on vacation, so I didn't really think that hard, but here are some things I figured out on vacation:

  • Go when you have to go.
  • Plan ahead so you have room to be spontaneous.  
  • Live in the moment.

  • Go to bed early.
  • Take time to think about yourself.

  • Stretch in the morning.
  • Take time to think about nothing!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Engineer at Play

Kevin's mom went on a childhood toy binge at Five Below before leaving for vacation.  I can imagine what happened.  She went in with plans to get decorations for Mr. Ulmes' surprise 60th birthday party (which was a huge hit), and got swept up by bargain and nostalgia, walking away with water guns, Silly Putty, jacks, and model airplanes.  I tried to put my model airplane together for approximately 9.2 seconds before declaring that the boys were welcome to use it for spare parts or tricking out their own planes.

Kevin test flew his plane indoors (a big no no!)

Ok, I'm really embarrassed that I ended up shooting it sideways, but can't for the life of me figure out how to turn it.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Goings-On

Finally, we're on an honest-to-goodness vacation that has given me some time to update this blog!  We're down in the Outer Banks on the annual Ulmes Family beach vacation - my first as an "official" Ulmes.  We rent a house for a week with Kevin's parents, brother and fiance.  Next summer, it will be her first vacation as an "official" Ulmes.  :-)

This picture is from last summer, when I was still "unofficial."
 Lots has been going on in our world!  In the weeks leading up to July 4th, we were working feverishly to get our house to look like, well, a house, and not a storage unit.  Although it's certainly not as homey as I'd like it to be, yet, it does finally look like a place where people live, and not where they store stuff.

Kevin was particularly concerned about getting the pool and the pool area ready.  This ended up being a huge task.  It appeared as though the previous owners did pretty much nothing to maintain the pool or pool area.  The pool was essentially a pond, complete with tadpoles and croaking frogs, surrounded by overgrown bushes and grasses.  Kevin worked valiantly for what seemed like weeks trying to clean that pool out using the skimmer and a variety of chemicals (his favorite part), but finally relented and emptied the pool.  Then, he just jumped in with a power washer and scrubbed up the sides.  We actually have a pretty cool time lapse video of this, which I'll have to post after a little processing.

We then cut back the overgrown foliage around the pool.  I've been really bad about remembering to take "before" photos, but here's some of the work in progress:



Unfortunately, although we have a ton of pictures (to come) from our July 4th Housewarming BLAST, we don't really have one that really shows the transformation.  I'll have to take one when we get back to show you.

Bryan and Sarah, pictured above, were invaluable indentured servants helpers  house guests over the past two months.  Another thing that's being going on is that these two have been staying with us since their house sold until they were able to move into a new one.
They don't always look this nice.

This was originally only supposed to be a few weeks, but their original contract fell through, so it ended up being a little longer.  The good news is that staying with us just a few weeks lured them up to our area, and they found a charming place for much less than where they were originally looking.  So, now we have more friends up north with us!  They were also super, super-helpful with our home projects, and while Sarah insists they are "forever indebted" to us for letting them stay with us, we can assure her that the feeling is mutual!  The house will be empty when we get back from the beach, and we will miss the weeknight dinners and weekend bacon!

We also spent a few days in San Francisco and Monterey, CA, while Kevin was out there for a conference.  I have a lengthy post about it that I started on the airplane ride back that I'll post soon.  Here's a preview:

So, sorry for what has essentially ended up be the equivalent of a mid-summer Christmas letter.  Consider it your Christmas in July gift!