Ten years come and gone

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ok, so listen. Something really does happen when you hit your thirties...all of a sudden the clock speeds up and before you know it, you're referring to teenagers as "kids" and you find yourself sounding more and more like your mother. Yep. 'Tis a sad, sad truth.
Another thing that happens? You realize you've been staring at the same man day in and day out in your house for TEN years. Lucky for me though, I happen to like the man I get to stare at day in and day out. Alot. Whew. Ten years can seem like a lifetime or it can arrive in the blink of an eye. Daily, I am thankful to be on the latter end.

Ten years had me nostalgic last week, so I took a peek upstairs in the attic at a box of our wedding stuff. What tickled me the most was finding this big white binder that I took everywhere with me the seven months before we were married. It really is like a trip down memory lane and a peek into my thoughts and ideas during that time. There are sections for cake, music, ceremony, dresses...you name it, it's all there in that binder, along with the cost of everything down to the last cent and what our budget was. I didn't realize until the last few years what a detail-oriented, planner I am on many levels. How can you go 20 years of your life and not grasp this about yourself, I ask you? I can obsess on a detail like nobody's business!

So, anyway that thoughtful man of mine took me to the beautiful and historic Nottoway Plantation for the night. The weather could have been better, but once we checked in and we were able to take a look around, thoughts of the weather fell by the wayside. This mansion was incredible! Ok, I will confess to you now, before all the photos, that I have a serious affection for all things historic. And if I'm able to physically touch any part of it, I. Am. Blown. Away.

I think I've probably already mentioned my slight obsession with the idea of time travel. Well, this being the closest I'll ever get to it, the little hairs on my arm were standing on end as we walked around the home. To be staying in someone's home that lived more than 150 years ago was mind boggling to me.
Dubbed an "American Castle", Nottoway really is breathtaking when you see it driving past the river road, especially at night. The sheer size and grandeur of it is incredible. And to think that it was built during a time before modern building equipment is no less incredible.

Now, having taken the tour and grabbing hold of every piece of historic knowledge that I could during that hour and researching the home online, I could share bore you with all the painstaking details and timelines....but I won't. I will refrain. (Heck, I just know I could sub for that tour guide on a moment's notice now.)
 But, I figure I already bored shared all the details with my less-than-impressed hubby the hours after the tour, so you're in luck.

BUT, what I will share and what impressed me the most is the amount of thought and symbolism that went into the design. From the plastered camelias lining the dining room ceiling (Mrs. Randolph's favorite flower) to the thousands of "praying hands" upon entering the main entrance done in plaster as well to let guests know how important their strong episcopalian faith was in their family. So much thought went into every detail.

Photos in the main hallway I snapped of the original owners of the home, John and Emily Randolph.
They were married in 1837 and had 11 children together. 


There are cottages and rooms on the grounds of the mansion, but we stayed in the actual mansion on the third floor.
You can imagine my husband's delight when he uncovered the cable tv inside the armoire in our room. I couldn't help but wonder if this was what the Randoph's imagined for their home more than 150 years later....cable tv, wi-fi and complete strangers coming and going in their home. Ha! Certainly made it more palatable for my husband, that's for sure! 

I was completely enamored of all of these 12 foot high original cypress doors with the glass windows above for light and ventilation in the 1800's. I covet them. I must have them in my future home. Hubby, take note.

Some of the furniture in the home, while original to the time period, was not original to the home. But, I had to snap a photo of this crib. It was one of the pieces that was originally in the home. It would have been a crib for one of the youngest daughters. Also, that door in the photo is attached to our room. Having curious guests pulling on it to open it was a bit unsettling at 10 o'clock at night. Thank goodness for the lock on the other side.

This baby stroller was just outside of our room door. Ahh...I just adore old things.

And the window in the second photo there was called a "windoor" back in the day. The tour guide pulled it up for us and let us walk out onto the balcony. Two people could easily walk through it side by side, it was so large.
Ok, I just want to stop and say now that I was seriously born into the wrong class. I was meant to live like these folks. I just know it. Ha!

The white ballroom. All white to reflect the light, especially crucial for night time social gatherings in the home. I didn't get to check it out for myself late at night, but I was told that even in the dark hours, you can still see in this room, all due to the open windows and the all white decor and walls. 

 The view from our balcony. Looking to the left, that would be the master suite.

Looking straight ahead from our balcony is the pond and some 200 year old oak trees. I love the south.


Ok, I was kind of fascinated with the doorknobs. I know, I know. BUT, they are those dainty skinny doorknobs(you know the ones) all original to the home. The keyhole is under the the matching white cover. It kind of looks like porcelein and it slides open and closed.
Again, I found myself getting all wrapped up in the romanticism of Mrs. Randolph turning those knobs a thousand times a day,  Pre Civil War

I'm a big nerd, I know it.
This is me being transparent...showing you all my nerdiness that I work hard at hiding on a daily basis.


All original shutters and hardware to the home. Paint is the only thing new on them in more than 150 years.


This is the view from one of the master suite windows. It's actually in a little side room nursery inside of the master suite, which I thought was really sweet and shows the heart of a momma(gotta have our babies closeby).
The view overlooks both the "girl's wing" and a garden section. So I like to imagine Mrs. Randolph peeking out of her window to keep a protective eye on her daughters' rooms.


The family grave site just beside the mansion. When you stepped out on the balcony from our room, you could see it just ahead to the left. These headstones belong to Mr. and Mrs. Randolph.

And by the look on his face, my husband is clearly over all my photo-taking and my guided tour. 


The sweet anniversary gift I received during our stay...
I do

We had a great time, just the two of us....even if we did both secretly worry about being away from our little ones overnight for the first time. A couple of wimps, we are. But, by my calculations, I figure we'll both be over that feeling in another ten years. Maybe.


Now, as soon as I find someone to transfer that VHS copy of our wedding to DVD, I will be tying him down to the sofa to watch it in its' entirety...the good, the bad and the ugly. Oh yeah, there are some less than stellar moments that make me want to dig a hole and remain there from embarrassment(um, hello, future husband, YES, that microphone IS, in fact, ON!). But in the end, it's our day to look back on and remember the carefree days before diapers, late nights, sick kiddos, house maintenance, etc., etc. 

 So, Happy Tenth Anniversary to the man who always has my best interest at heart and always puts our boys' (and my) needs above his own. I couldn't have asked for a better man to spend this life with. Looking forward to the next ten big ones!  

MOPS Ministry Fair {And Other Happenings}

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

***UPDATE: MOPS Cupcake toppers and water bottle printables can be found here in this post!

Our church held a ministry fair this past weekend and since I'm part of our local MOPS group, I got the opportunity to help our group coordinater put together a little informational table for any new moms looking to get out of their sweats for the morning(or not!) and come join us for a couple of hours of girltime with other moms. Motherhood is hard, ya'll. A little girl time once a month eases the pain.

So, anyway, I got to create an informational poster and some cupcake toppers to grab some attention and wake these tired mommys up! I figured if we could draw the kiddos to the table, then the moms would certainly have to follow, right? It's simple logic.
Our group coordinator{and friend}, put together a photo board displaying various playdates and group events we've had this past year. See my little ones in the top right corner? That was our Family Easter Picnic. Fun times.

Oh how I love a cupcake...

....and some cute toppers

Some little coordinating chocolates for the ladies to enjoy sneak in the church service following the ministry fair. The perfect sneaky purse size.

In other news, I've been busy inbetween orders creating some new things for the shop. Here is a little sample of what's new in the shop this week:

Baptismal/Christening ornament keepsakes
 {Wildy} Fun First Birthday keepsakes
Princess invitation block keepsakes 

I'm really pleased and happy with the response for the invitation blocks thus far. I see many more design options for that coming in the near future.
I also have some other new things lined up this week for the shop, including some adorable Wizard of Oz cupcake toppers, Sock Monkey cupcake toppers and a lavender zebra print cupcake topper that coordinates with the newly listed keepsake in the shop. So, there are lots of fresh new things on the horizon and I'm excited to get them listed in the coming days.
Another thing I'm also really excited about?

In celebration of ten years married this week, my thoughtful husband is taking me there this weekend! I'm getting really excited about it and will hopefully be able to share some photos of that when we return.
Until then, enjoy the rest of your week and weekend! I'll be back with more soon!

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, March 1, 2012

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