Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Family Room


We wanted to hammer out our family room before our friends came to visit (yes, we need deadlines in this house!) and so hightailed it to the mall/Target/Homegoods a couple of weeks ago for those finishing touches. And now it is done. Woo hoo!



It is our strategy in this place to concentrate on one room before moving on to others. It feels way less overwhelming that way. Our next stop? My office. Then our bedroom. Or maybe our half bath. But back to the family room for now.

And of course, this post wouldn't be complete without some before/after pictures.







If anyone is curious, here's where we got our stuff:

Mirror: Target
Rug: Homegoods
Vases: Crate and Barrel
Couch/Sofa Table/End Table/Coffee Table: Hand-me-downs from Josh's parents
Desk: Target
Chair: Borrowed from our dining room
Lamp: West Elm
Wall Art: Bellcor (but inspired by Pioneer Woman, of course)
Basket: Homegoods
Other Accessories: Hobby Lobby, Target, IKEA

The one piece of this room we hadn't originally planned on is now one of our favorites. We pulled our main computer down from the upstairs office and put it in the family room. This is the computer where we store all of our pictures and music, and when either of us were using it before it just seemed so isolating to sit upstairs. Now, since the computer is in our family room, we can be part of the action when we're using it. Plus, we found a cheap desk at Target that matches the mission style furniture we have in other parts of this room. Bonus!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aww, Thanks.

Our friends Chris and DeeDee came to visit us this past weekend, and they brought along this delightful little red head:


Did you catch that?


Love it.  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

MLS, baby!

On our new-to-the-area exploration of Columbus, we've had fun checking out new restaurants, areas of town, and shopping centers. And we've also made it to the zoo and a minor league baseball game. So far, so good. And now can check off another community experience -

The professional soccer game.

Josh in particular was excited about the fact that Columbus is home to its own Major League Soccer team. For one, the man loves soccer. He follows Liverpool (English Premier League) in a major way - reading British soccer news, listening to beautifully accented soccer podcasts, and of course, watching them on TV via the extra cable package we got for that purpose.

In fact, the Liverpool game is on right now and shouts of "COME ON! THAT'S GOTTA BE A PENALTY" are coming from the man sitting ten feet away from me. Anyway.

Also, soccer is a local sport that we can join the community in supporting. This certainly can't be said for any other sport, since we arrived here with already-established sports allegiances.

Baseball? Detroit Tigers
Hockey? Detroit Red Wings
Basketball? Detroit Pistons
Pro Football? Detroit Lions
(is there an echo?)


College Football? Michigan Wolverines

So that puts us in the position of rooting against our neighbors in almost EVERY. SINGLE. SPORT. Especially when it comes to those darned Buckeyes.

But not soccer. We have the Crew to cheer for, thankfully. Our community team.

So we went, with our six Columbus friends. To save on parking we piled all eight adults into one couple's Previa. Man those minivans come in handy!

I'm not really a fan of soccer, but was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had. It helps to sit with girls and chat about houses, paint colors, and the little cheerleaders out of line at the halftime show.

So I'm curious.

When you move, do you support whichever the local sports teams happen to be?
Do you stick with the teams that you grew up watching?
Does it depend on the sport?
Do you even care about sports, local or otherwise?

And do you see these big, non-pixelated pictures on this post?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Constant Carry-on?

Earlier this summer I spent a night at my grandparents' cottage in Michigan, and a few of my teenaged cousins from Florida were there as well. Throw in a couple of aunts, plus my mom and grandparents, and we were probably looking at dozen people spending the night at "the lake."

What was striking to me did not have to do with the reality of cramming all of us in a 3 bedroom cottage. We do that all the time. The cottage has a number of extra spots for sleeping, so we were all set.

What did catch my eye about that evening was the sheer number of computers around the place. Mostly white Mac laptops, plus my work HP laptop. There couldn't have been less than 8 computers in that cottage. Everywhere I looked, there was one plugged into the wall. Otherwise someone was at the kitchen table looking at facebook, or someone else was sitting on the couch playing online Scrabble.

At first, I thought, Come on, folks. Can't you leave your laptops at home when you come to the cottage?

But that, let me assure you, was completely hypocritical. If faced a week at a cottage somewhere where I knew they'd have wireless, I'd probably bring my computer, too.

I don't know when it started, but a while back Josh and I began to take along a laptop when we'd travel. At first I thought it was ridiculous - I mean, couldn't we survive without the internet for a couple of nights? But then it became nice to check email, search for good restaurants, look at a map, etc. from the comfort of our own hotel room in the evenings. Having a computer with us became the norm. We wouldn't be on it all day, every day, when on vacation, but it would definitely be referenced from time to time.

Well, taking one laptop with us slowly but surely stretched to taking two laptops with us. You see, we'd sometimes get cranky with each other for "hogging" the computer at night. Both of us like to unwind sometimes by doing a little internet browsing. Josh likes to read about sports, and I like to check blogs, and they can't really be done at the same time. Solution? Just take two computers.

Is it ridiculous? Maybe. Should we just take one and learn some lessons about self sacrifice and patience? Probably. But for the sake of marital harmony, it is sometimes worth it to just lug two computers around. Especially when we're going somewhere for longer than a night or two. And, granted, sometimes that is a work-related necessity. I travel for work, and Josh sometimes comes with me, but has work of his own to do. So we'll have two along, for legitimate reasons.

At first I thought that maybe we were weird-o's for taking two computers with us when we go places. But then my grandparents spent the night with us a couple of weeks ago, and they each brought a computer with them, too. So maybe it is just the norm.

And now I'm all curious...

Do you travel with a computer? If so, how much do you use it when you're gone?

If you're married or have bigger kids, do you guys end up travelling with more than one computer? Do you feel weird about it?

Is there something to be said for just cutting yourself off from the lures of the internet when you're away from home?

Or do you feel like your left arm is cut off when you're parted from your machine?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Question

No, this isn't the deep, meaningful, spiritual post you may have been expecting.

But I will quickly say that I was deeply touched by the outpouring of comments, emails, and other messages regarding my last post. Thank you for those messages - they've meant so much to me. I was so encouraged, and I feel that God used so many of you to shower me with His love and tenderdess through your honest and heartfelt words. And I must say that I was surprised by the most common response I received:

I feel the same way.

Or, I'm struggling too.

It was and is so comforting to know that I'm not alone in this.

And now for my completely unrelated, unspiritual question:

Does anyone know how to either:

A) Load pictures into blogger any quicker or easier than the standard method? Loading pictures is the bane of my bloggy life. It takes forever. I wish I could just copy/paste or something.

B) Get my pictures to appear larger on the web page without making them look all pixelated? For this post, I went into the html and expanded the dimensions. But I wasn't pleased with the result and haven't done it since.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On Transparency

I'm not good at being transparent on this here blog.

I generally keep things light - weekends with friends, our trip to Europe, house projects, etc.

And when I get serious about things, I tend to keep it positive. If I talk about faith, it is usually about something I'm learning or something like that. If I talk about a struggle, it usually involves some kind of clean wrap up at the end.

A while back I was reading the blog Stuff Christians Like (which in my opinion, is often spot on in its snarky, satirical way) and came across #560: Writing twitter messages that sound 14% holier than you usually are.

I don't really twitter. I tried, and then failed. But this post still made me smile because that is certainly a temptation for me when it comes to blogging. And, alongside that temptation is the one where I make out that everything is going well for us at the Brown home.

And it mostly is. We're happy. We're healthy. We're thankful for our marriage and our dog and our home and our jobs. We know that we're incredibly blessed to have what we have. But I worry what you all will think if it is clear, really clear, that I don't have everything put together or figured out. And if I admit that I'm struggling with my relationship with God, will those people in my life that don't know Jesus view this as reason why they shouldn't bother?

But I want to be more honest in this space. I always appreciate it when other bloggers are. I mean, who wants to read all about a life where the writer is always happy, upbeat, and growing in her faith? That's boring - and fake.

And yet there are certain things that are, and should be, private. I'll keep them that way. You won't get detailed information about my checkbook balance, my latest argument with Josh (well, unless it was a funny one), or my anxieties about relationships with friends or family. It is also not my intention to be whiney or complainey.

But - deep breath - here we go.

I'm a bit lonely these days.
I worry that somewhere, someone will figure out that I don't know what I'm doing.
I want to help people. But I don't know where to start.
God seems distant.
I know that He is a God of redemption and hope and love. But I don't feel it right now.
I'm unmotivated to spend time with Him.
I feel guilty about this. And frustrated.
I'm thankful for, and dependent on His grace. If it were up to me to merit God's favor through my good works, I'd fail every single day. Praise Him for this. I'm trying to cling to it.
I'm not a disciplined person, and wish I was one.

And that's it. I don't have a neat-and-clean ending for this one. But it feels good to get it out there.