What is that Mitchell’s Project all about? Part 1

If you follow me on social media you may have noticed that I have been posting a lot about Mitchell’s Project. 

Back in early December a friend of mine asked if I would be willing to help with paint colors etc on a local construction project for a young man (her brother-in-law, but also my sister-in-law’s cousin- confused yet? :)) with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

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Mitchell has suffered from a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) since he was born. This disease does not allow his muscles grow and therefore his condition similar to that of a quadriplegic – someone that is paralyzed from the neck, down.

The house he lives in with his parents is very small and it makes life difficult for Mitchell while trying to get around in his wheelchair. Mundane tasks like preparing a meal, going to the bathroom, showering, or brushing his teeth are overly complicated and take up much of his day.

Despite his limitations, Mitchell is an extremely generous person. He volunteers hours of his time every week to a local organization that helps those with drug addictions overcome their personal obstacles. 

So a group of people got together to help Mitchell overcome some of his own daily obstacles that are due to his debilitating physical condition.
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They have converted the unfinished basement in his parent’s house to a fully handicap-friendly living environment for Mitchell.

The basement is complete with wheelchair-height counters, refrigerator, and remote control doors and windows.

And here is where I come in.

While they had lots of donations for labor and materials, not much had been done in the way of furnishings etc.

After helping with paint colors, counter-tops, tile – I got on the phone to local and online businesses asking for donations or discounts on furniture and accessories.

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Thankfully I had great success. Almost everyone I contacted was so generous.

We are finalizing all the finishing touches on Saturday. Next week I will post the DIY desk project that my husband made and after photos.

They are still short on funds for finishing up some of the construction. If you would like to give click on the photo above for the gofundme site. 

*photos and description taken from the Mitchell’s Project facebook page.

Back Problems, My Undiet, and Fitbit

I started working out again on a semi-consistent basis back in May 2014.

Since then I fell off the bandwagon twice and changed gyms once.

Mid September I hurt my lower back (because I just overdid it at work) but ignored it which is never a good plan.

By mid October, I was in so much pain. I could barely walk for two days, and I missed several days at work.

I am not a wimp when it comes to pain, but it was SO BAD. I cried as I tried to get off the sofa.

After about 5 weeks of therapy I am pretty much back to normal.  (Thank you, Dr. Shride!)

But it was a huge wake up call. I need to take better care of myself.

And at this point it’s not really about losing weight, I just want to feel healthy again.

So since December I have been working out 4x to 5x a week (usually only 30 min).  I mix yoga, Pilates, cardio, and weight machines so I don’t get bored during the week.

And eating wise I am not on any sort of “diet.”

I am simply watching my calorie intake, increasing plant based foods, and reducing animal fats in my diet (dairy and meat).

Some days I do really well and other days we go out to eat for dinner and all the calorie counting goes out the window.

But for the first time in my life I am not stressing about it.

And the reason why is because I am using FitBit.

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It has been life changing.

Instagram: Christmas arm candy #fitbit #citizenecodrive #baublebar

Seriously.

I have used pedometers in the past, but I was never really happy with the ones I owned.

Tracking food/water consumption and exercise has never been easier. All the info downloads to my phone.

And it makes me SUPER aware of how much (or how little) I am moving which I have found is really important when you sit at a desk all day.

I am actually excited to to grocery shopping because I know I will be able to get more steps in:)

It even tracks my sleep habits.

If you are looking for assistance at getting healthier this year, I highly recommend it.

Kudos to my husband for gifting it to me for Christmas!

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I will try to give a monthly update for at least a couple months to let you know how I am doing.

What I Bought My Husband for Christmas

While I would consider my tastes rather high maintenance because I like what I like and rarely stray, my husband’s tastes are a whole other breed of high maintenance.

High maintenance in the sweetest way.

Beware, this is going to get a little sappy.

He prefers the familiar which is difficult when buying gifts because how can I buy something new that is also familiar too?

I am a poet and didn’t know it.

Anyway, this is especially true when it comes to clothing.

The longer he has owned it the better. Holes in garments does not mean they are no longer worn.

And he will only purchase one brand and style of socks. No other brands are even under consideration.

But I digress.

I realized two years ago that the best gift to him would be to find new versions of the same shirts he loves so dearly but I refuse to let him wear because they have SO many holes.

So I set out on a ebay quest to find and replace his shirts.

So the long story short is I bought him gently used shirts for Christmas.

Shirts that he already owns but without holes. Thankfully most of them are the Columbia brand so they aren’t too hard to find.

And I loved the look of confusion/delight when he opened of box of what looked like his laundry on Christmas morning.

And he said, “Hey the shirts won’t even need to be washed a bunch to be comfortable because someone else has already broken them in.”

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Happy Birthday to Me

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I was fine turning 30 without a party.

I even planned to celebrate it in combination with my sister’s birthday in two weeks.

But little did I know that when I showed up at Nancee Lee’s house on Thursday night to “work on Thanksgiving table decorations” that my entire family was waiting inside for me.

Thanks to my sneaky husband, siblings, parents, and grandparents, I was definitely surprised.

We had a BBQ dinner, 30 gifts to celebrate 30 years, and mocha chocolate chip cheesecake (thanks Holly and Mom).

I will be honest. I might have teared up several times. I felt very special.

Frightened and overwhelmed, but special too.

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I hope I can still sit cross legged at my next milestone birthday.

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 My gift opening assistant, Bailee. :)

The funniest part of the whole event was that before I headed to Nancee Lee’s house I thought “maybe I will just put on my pjs before I go, she won’t care. And then I will be comfortable for our crafting.” But then I got distracted and never put them on.

And boy am I glad that I did not show up for my own surprise party in my pjs.

That would have been a little too memorable for a 30th birthday.

Monday Randomness: My Weekend Trip All By My Lonesome and All The Things

First of all, I got a new niece this week. She is just as precious as she can be.

Mackendrick Grace. 6lb 5 oz.

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In other news, I had 6 inches of hair cut off.

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And almost immediately a fog seemed to clear. I think I had been living with a perpetual headache for months because my hair was so heavy.

On to the main point of this extremely long captivating post.

Back in during the summer I read on Melanie Shankle’s blog (BigMama) that she and Sophie Hudson (BooMama) would be speaking at First Baptist of Charlotte. I immediately thought “I want that for my birthday.” To turn 30, go on my own and hear them live in person. I followed them for years and love both of them.

My weekend started off with a bit of shopping in Gaffney on the way. To shop by myself was the greatest thing ever. Apparently I did not realize how in need  I was of some alone time.

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And of course because I was on my own it was perfectly acceptable to have a Parmesan soft pretzel and frozen cappuccino from the QT on my way to Gaffney because my love language is bread and cheese.wpid-img_20141107_160613.jpg

Big and Boo were exactly what I expected. They love Jesus and sarcasm, and those kind of people are my kind of people.

Appreciation for sarcasm with a southern accent must also be my love language.

After the conference Friday night, I went back to my hotel and ordered room service.

It was delightful. I enjoyed eating in bed so much I ate breakfast there too:)

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During the lunch break on Saturday, I ran up to the South Park Mall.

I have always wanted to go through the Crate and Barrel.

It was amazing. LOVE their product lines and furniture. I wanted to live there.

After the last session, on Saturday afternoon I ran through Ikea with list of things I needed to pick-up.

Let’s just say that was not the wisest plan, because everyone in the Queen’s city had the same idea.

The parking lot was full of cranky people with their cheap goods.

Sunday, we went to church and heard a great message on suffering well, which immediately made me feel slightly guilty for my indulgent weekend.

But only slightly:)

Then we brunched with family at a local restaurant.

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Overall it was the best weekend I have had in a long time.

I feel refreshed and no longer want to strangle everyone.

That’s pure honesty right there.

Have a great week.

Happy 2nd Anniversary to Us

(I apologize that this post also posted on Saturday unfinished, apparently the WordPress app hates me and cannot be trusted)

Well we made it another year without killing each other.

And isn’t that what marriage is really all about? :)

Sometimes I think that as long as I don’t end up on an episode of Snapped I have succeeded in life.

But seriously marriage is hard. Not necessarily harder than I thought it would be, but hard nonetheless.

Simplified, its a daily decision to love and serve.

But thankfully its been a great year, with hopefully many more to come.

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We  celebrated by (skipped church, don’t tell) spending Sunday hiking in NC and had Taco Bell for dinner because we are high rollers like that.

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Pretty Place, YMCA Camp

Tuesday we will go out for an actual anniversary dinner.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.

Another Wedding Weekend- Rodney and Alyssa

Someone asked me today, “So you don’t have anymore single siblings, right?”

No, I still have two more that I assume will get married eventually.

But they will need to wait until we all recover from this past weekend.

My brother Rodney married Alyssa Saturday. (I posted their engagement story here)

That makes five weddings for my parents in the last four years.

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It was a fun wedding held at Furman University’s Daniel Chapel.

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The reception was held at the church my family attends.

My only real part in this wedding was helping my parents’ with the rehearsal dinner for about 60 people which they hosted at their home.

It was definitely a group effort.

We have done this so many times that it seems like everyone knows their job.

My mom and sister Annie made huge batches of coleslaw, baked beans, triple chocolate cake, and banana pudding. (recipes here and here and here)

I made five fresh strawberry pies (recipe here)

And then everyone pitched in with the set-up.

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How cute is my mom’s pallet menu sign?

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rehearsal dinner set up, photo by sister-in-law Holly
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plenty of desserts at the rehearsal dinner :)

And my niece Bailee almost managed to steal the show.

Almost.

Gabrielle Grace Photography

 

Monday Randomness: Celebrations Galore

We had a very busy weekend filled with wedding bliss.

And we have even more next weekend, and then three in May (two of which I am helping with). Tis the wedding season.

In other words I didn’t do much cooking or even much cabinet painting, but here are a few pics from our weekend.

A country wedding in Piedmont, SC
brother-in-laws chatting it up at the reception

Then I also attended another personal shower(aka lingerie shower) for a friend of mine getting married next weekend.

My sister hosted the event, and she did a great job.

And then apparently the finches in our neightborhood don’t know that when setting up house location, location, location is important because we discovered this in our garage Saturday morning.

Finch Real Estate

Happy Monday everyone!

Monday Randomness: Falling for Vacations, Cabinet Painting, and the State of our Front Porch

So apparently I have I started a tradition of falling when on vacation which I am going to attest to the fact that I become so relaxed that my legs just decide not to work.

And when I say “fell,” I don’t mean a little trip. I mean head and body on the ground (or riverbed).

I fell when we were in MI this summer (in a river no less), and then again over the weekend.

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Both led to sore ankles and bruises (both pride and body parts).

Last Sunday while walking up to the cute bed and breakfast we stayed at I miss stepped in my 3 inch wedge shoes (I mean really, who wears heels on vacation).

My husband was still unloading the car and didn’t see me, but one second I was walking along and then next I was laying prostrate on the ground.

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So much for trying to appear like sophisticated people staying at a B&B.

Anyway, we came back to the reality on Tuesday and I immediately started painting cabinets again after work on Wednesday. I am on coat three of the cabinet frames.

I am hoping that three coats will do it. Hoping, crossing my fingers, looking for four-leaf clovers (got my St Patrick’s Day reference in), and wishing upon a star.
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And then I will start on all the doors and drawer fronts.

And while I have been working on the cabinets, my husband has been doing a lot of maintenance stuff outside, cutting overgrown tree limbs etc.

And we thought he would be building a new front porch here in the next month or so, but we got the quote back for the composite decking(option #1) and the concrete/brick work (option #2).

Composite decking -$3,500 in supplies, no labor included

Concrete/Brick porch -$3,100 gravel, brick, poured concrete and all labor

So we have decided to go the concrete route because #1 they will do all the work and #2 they will do all the work.:)

But seriously, I would not have believed that the brick work would be cheaper than composite decking materials.

And we actually preferred the look of a brick porch similar to the one below except on a much smaller scale.

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I am so glad we did the research before we firmed up our plans.

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So we will be pulling out the over grown shrubbery, and tearing down the rotting/sinking deck, working on the water drainage problem that causes the sinking deck, and then the masons will come in and do their thing.

I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL IT IS ALL DONE! I think our goal is to be done before summer, hopefully beating the heat.

Do you have any spring projects going on?