Wednesday, May 26, 2010

“Curb Appeal” Before and After Shots of our Yard Makeover


 

Front Yard Before



After!

We installed a sprinkler system about a month back and are still waiting on a few areas of grass to recover so just pay attention to the beds J



 

Before…

After!

I personally planted all that bright green sweet potato vine you see! I did not, however, plant those little mushrooms. Those will be taken care of ASAP!


Love the new Japanese Maple! One of my favorite trees


Before… (all of those lovely pansies had since died so it was really a big dirt bed, but I didn't have pics of that)

 

After!



 

Now for the Backyard!
Please excuse that most of my before pics are from the deck building time last summer…it still shows what used to be there!
Before…


After!!


Before…


After (pay attention to the back corner)


Before…


AFTER!!!


Before… (best angle I've got)


AFTER!! With my favorite addition..the hydrangeas…and our dog model we hired to make the backyard look more "lived in."



And a random shot of my fave new additions to the yard


 

Also, not pictured is my very first attempt at an "herb garden." I planted mint, parsley, and cilantro and they are all doing great!

We're looking forward to lots of summer fun with friends in our newly remodeled yard this summer. Feel free to come over anytime.


 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Blooms

A couple of weeks ago the Spencer house, or more specifically the Spencer yard, underwent some major transformations. We added new beds and TONS of plants both in the front and backyard and it's amazing the difference it makes.

As soon as I find my camera charger, I'll take pics of everything and so some before and after shots, but for now, I'm posting a pic I snapped last night of my FAVORITE of the new additions...the hydrangeas! They are pretty high maintenance but worth all the effort when they already look like this after only 2 weeks! Get excited for the full story coming soon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cruisin'

Saturday morning, William and I returned from our week-long anniversary cruise! I was going to write a post about it this weekend but our camera died completely somewhere around day 3 so I was looking for the charger so I can include the 4 pics we were actually able to take on our trip before the juice ran out! (I still haven’t found the charger but did discover I can put my memory stick directly into the computer and save the pictures so all is not lost!).

After a 48 hour battle with food poisoning, we loaded William, our luggage, and some sprite and crackers in the car last Monday morning and headed to Galveston to board the Carnival Ecstasy for a one week Mexican cruise to celebrate our first year of marriage. By the time we made it to the south edge of Houston, William was finally conscience again and feeling hungry and felt fully recovered by the time we had our first dinner seating on the boat Monday night.

Our first day was a full day at sea so we set out to explore all that the Ecstasy had to offer. After enjoying the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, we headed to the pool and spent a few hours napping, reading and catching some sun. William went to the gym at one point to get in a workout but had to abandon his hopes of getting in intense daily cardio after experiencing the sway of the boat while trying to run on the treadmill. I didn’t believe him that it was that bad and had to go see for myself later that day. That was my last trip to the gym for the duration of the trip.  We had a late lunch at another all-you-can eat buffet and headed inside to meet up with some friends we met earlier for the daily bingo game.

Not very long into the second game (I think small diamond is what we were going for, for all you bingo enthusiasts that know what that means,) William looked over at my card and said, look you have bingo. I wasn’t sure but he appeared to be right so I stood up and shouted bingo. The two older women behind me (who had brought along their own daubers might I add) started to fuss at me that there was no way I could have bingo because they hadn’t called enough of some column or something and I soon found out they were indeed correct, I did not have bingo. This is normally where I would explain that we had punch out cards instead of markers and you had to unfold and refold all the numbers between games so it got confusing as to whether or not they had called each number, but I’ll spare you those details and move on to the part of the story where the theatre full of people began to boo me. I think that’s the first time in my life I’ve actually been boo-ed. I was pretty unhappy with the entire crowd at that point but quickly got my revenge. The next number called was the one they found to be missing in my first bingo claim, so I had a real BINGO this time!! I stood up and shouted BINGO…FOR REAL THIS TIME…which was quickly verified by our fabulous cruise director and I was awarded $120. So then I yelled, “Boo me all you want, but I got $120 and you didn’t!”…ok, I didn’t yell the second part but the first part is word-for-word. I will also leave out the part of the story later in the week where William lost my…I mean our… $100 winnings in about 10 minutes at the blackjack table, but I guess losing money that wasn’t yours to begin with is the best way to lose money. Tuesday night was formal night on the ship so we dressed up in the nicest clothes we brought and headed out to have some cocktails before dinner. Here’s one of the few pics we were able to take during the week of us on formal night.




Wednesday we docked in Progresso, Mexico on the Yucutan Peninsula. We had heard there wasn’t a ton of great stuff to do in Progresso so we decided to book a “beach party” excursion with some of the friends we met on the ship on Monday. They took us to a private area of the beach w/ drinks and a restaurant and we hung out there for awhile before heading out to the market to browse for some souvenirs. We didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without so we headed back to the beach and spent the rest of our time on Progresso swimming and laying out. We headed back to the boat around 4pm and took the 2nd of what would turn into daily naps and prepped for our night on the boat. I can’t remember the specifics of each night but most of them consisted of a late dinner and then heading to our favorite “club” on the boat where they had nightly karaoke. We never actually made it on stage but it was always entertaining to watch. There were also a couple of really funny late night comedy shows that we went to and laughed harder than we should have at somewhat inappropriate jokes.
Here we are at the "Port of Progress" (Progresso)



Thursday was our day in Cozumel, Mexico and we had booked a “boat, kayak, and snorkel” tour. We got up early and met up with our tour group on the pier. We were happy to see that another couple we had befriended on the boat was on our excursion so we had friends to hang out with for the day! The water was gorgeous and the day was perfect and we hopped on a boat where they took us over to a private beach to kayak and enjoy some lunch and activities. We kayaked, looked for conch shells, ate a really good Mexican lunch, played some “water balloon toss” and then got back on the boat to head to the snorkel spot. The tour guide didn’t seem to understand the challenges that snorkeling close together in a group of 40 posed, but despite a few fins to the face, we had fun and saw some really cool fish. We headed back to the boat and decided since we were already wet, it was the perfect time to check out the water slides. They proved to be much better than expected and we ended up returning more than once before the trip was over.

Here's a pic of William relaxing in the hammocks on the beach in Cozumel.



Friday was our last day at sea so we decided to get all the sun we could before our vacation ended. This was our view while laying out on Friday, looking out over the ocean.



When we felt like we were about as burnt as we could handle, we headed in for another round of bingo. This time the game was “blackout,” and there was a $1,000 prize at stake. I kept watching my card and noticed that one of them was getting very close to being blacked out. I got down to needing just ONE number to win the $1,000. After waiting excruciatingly through 4 more numbers that weren’t the one I needed, someone else called bingo and I watched my $1,000 slip right through my fingers. But, you win some you lose some, so William and I went to play some shuffleboard to ease the pain. We enjoyed our last dinner and some entertainment that night as well as karaoke and a comedy show before closing out our last night on the ship. We came back to our room to find our nightly towel friend waiting (this pic was actually taken earlier in the week before the camera died).


We got off the boat on Saturday morning and headed back to the real world. We had an amazing time and both decided that we really enjoy the style of cruising and we’ll have to work more cruises into our future vacations. I’m so happy to have a husband who makes me laugh and who I always have fun with no matter what we’re doing. It was a great ending to a great first year!!