Sunday, June 30, 2013

6th Anniversary

It is our the wedding anniversary today.  I looked up the traditional wedding gift for a 6th anniversary and the historical gift is iron or candy (huh? Those two things are completely different!) and the modern gift is wood.  How fitting. I think I will request the wood this year.  Specifically, I will request the wood in a form like this...

You don't even have to buy it!  Just make it available for us to buy for a reasonable price!  OK thanks!
Today we are going to have a pleasant afternoon of fun activities like golfing, having a leisurely dinner and drinks on a restaurant patio by the river somewhere or perhaps sampling beer from the new brewery that opened here recently then going to a movie...hahaha yeah right we aren't doing any of that.  Obviously I am on the Internet and Justin just got back from arguing about billing issues at the Verizon store.  Babies don't do well on golf courses, at breweries or in movie theaters.  It's OK though, we will be doing something fun.  In a few weeks I am going to Oklahoma City where Justin has to be for work for the week and then we will go to Dallas from there for a baseball game and some general sightseeing.  I leave July 17th.  Ben is not coming! 
We had the twenty week (actually more like 19 weeks) ultrasound on Friday.  And, although most people reveal the gender at this point, this baby is going to be a surprise!  Hahaha.  Everything was good.  Although you never know what the future holds it is reassuring to see limbs, organs and bones where they are supposed to be.  The technician had difficulty seeing some organs (each chamber of the heart, etc.) due to the baby's position so we will be going back for another ultrasound later in July.  The same thing happened with Ben and it was fun to get another ultrasound.  It sure is crazy seeing all that activity happening inside of you.  Based on the ultrasound my due date is November 21st.  Hopefully we will be out of the hospital by Thanksgiving which is the 28th this year!  If I go a week past the due date like before it could be a Thanksgiving birthday! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Big News

What could it be, you ask?  You already know I'm pregnant, I already said it's not twins, so what else could it be?!  I know many people did not even know we were talking about this but we have been thinking about the need for more room and a better bedroom situation and other amenities like an attached garage since we found out about the next baby on the way.  The housing market in Bismarck is going insane and we calculated that with our equity from this house we could move to the next bracket without spending much more.  We saw some promising houses online, Justin called the realtor so we could look at some (which were not the right ones) and she told us that in order to qualify to buy we had to have ours on the market.  This has all happened in the last few weeks since I returned from Las Vegas. 

There have been very few houses comparable to ours on the market in this city (as in less than five on any day) and another house on our street sold a few months ago for a price that seemed outlandish compared to what we paid in 2009.  We started preparing and filled many boxes and bags with clutter, toys and personal effects and stashed them in the garage.  Justin resealed the windows and touched up some peeling paint.  After this work the house looked so great and felt so spacious and wonderful that we had second thoughts.  It is amazing how invigorating it is to not have crap covering every surface and closets so jammed full that you can't fit another item inside.  Back when Oprah was still on TV she would always have episodes with this designer (Nate Berkhus I think?) about how Americans have houses full of crap they don't need and it drags them down in other areas of life.  She would shout "It's all too much!" to the audience.  I was always been annoyed by these episodes because I thought that Oprah could tell me I had too much when she lived in a campus apartment or a house with 1500 square feet and not a 50,000 square foot mansion (yes seriously...I read it in People Magazine) and didn't spent $3,000 on cashmere beds for her dogs (yes, also true).  But there is truth to what they were carrying on about and it does feel great to have a more pristine environment and forget about the garbage bags and boxes full of excess in the garage.  It is easier said than done to just "get rid of it" and there was one box of many that I filled with things for a rummage sale or thrift store but it is nice to be free of it for awhile. 

So, back to the story of how we have sold the house.  The realtor came over on Monday and took pictures and it went on the market on Tuesday morning.  I was warned to be ready for showings at any time and two were scheduled that afternoon.  They both made offers which their realtors presented to us yesterday morning.  They both offered to pay our asking price and agreed to everything we wanted.  One was slightly less good because the buyer had a house they had to sell in a small town first (in oil would have sold pretty quick but we had two options!)  While we were at the realtor's office I had three calls from realtors wanting to do showings and one more yesterday afternoon.  I had another one this morning.  I hope all those people find "the one". 

I admit that I caught a glimpse of the future owners when they were having their showing...I thought they would be gone but when I drove by they were standing out in the yard and I was very relieved to see two young and normal looking people who could have been just like us back in 2009.  And that is just what they are, from what their realtor told us.  They are getting married soon and have been looking for their first house and seen nothing but dingy crap (I second that sentiment!)  They knew as soon as they walked in that it was the one.  They like that it was modern but also had character and was clean and not outdated.  Which, of course, I remember thinking when we walked in before we even knew about the hardwood floors under the carpet and regardless of the 90's "old lady" d├ęcor.  It was at the top of their budget but they are making it work.  I was so relieved to hear about them that I knew I wanted them to have it and I don't know them but I am so happy for them.  I imagine the girl looking on Pinterest  for ideas and filling a bag with paint samples at Menards and Lowes like I did (the paint samples...I wish Pinterest had been around when we bought this place!).  But then I get sad thinking about it looking different.  I think about them driving by here when they are on thier way somewhere else, not believing that it is theirs.  I did that quite regularly before we moved in.  I know, I am a creeper!

We have not shared this on Facebook or told the world because we are both still processing it.  It is not a secret or anything but it just happened really fast.  It has been a hard decision and we keep reminding ourselves why we wanted a new house in the first place and how chaotic it was in here before we packed half of our belongings in boxes and plastic totes.  We purchased this house while I was having a hard time preparing for the bar exam and I found out I passed right after we took possession and having the house to look forward to helped me get through it. I keep getting hit with nostalgia remembering little moments that have happened here.  The previous owner had lived here since the house was built so I knew we would take care of everything here and not let her down.  We recently found out she died in 2011 so I am glad she knew her house was in good hands. 

I am excited about the idea of a new house but the problem is going to be finding a new house.  The same crazy market that allowed our house to sell in one day with no negotiations will challenge us as the buyers.  It is hard to stomach the idea of moving into a place that might be bigger but is not as high quality as our house now.  We have seen yucky carpet, horrible kitchen layouts and very cheap construction.  It seems like as the houses get newer (the newer houses we have seen have been mass built development homes) the quality gets worse.  Other houses we have seen have been built in the 70s and are just so dated it is hard to decide what would get our attention and time and money first (gross carpet? horrible bathrooms? awful deck about to fall off the house?)  Many people in Bismarck are buying houses in the process of being built from various developers but they usually don't have finished basements which would leave us with less space than we have now.  We have some requirements that we are not compromising on (attached double garage, four or more bedrooms, not too much to ask, I don't think!). Our realtor keeps saying the one for us will come on the market and I hope it does because these new buyers understandably want their house since they gave up their lease when they started house shopping and are living in their parents' basement and we don't want to be moving when I am eight months pregnant. 

I want to flash back to 2009 and 2010 in the blog archives but I am not ready for that yet!  Too sad!  I know I will feel better when there is more certainty about where we will be living next so I will do that when the time comes.  There will for sure be a layout change on the blog because it is creepy to have a picture of someone else's house (not yet!)) on your website.  I am really happy that I have this first hand account of life with our first house.  I think It will be something to look back on for years in the future. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Flash Flood

There was a pretty intense line of thunderstorms that passed through here on Saturday.  The day was beautiful all day and then all of a sudden, around 9:00 p.m. right after Ben went to bed it got very dark all of a sudden.  We had heard thunder and seen some warnings on TV but it was like instantaneous darkness.  Bismarck is right on the Western edge of the central time zone so you can still see light in the sky near 11 p.m. this time of year so the darkness that early was noticeable.  All of a sudden there was strong winds and a torrential downpour and the street in front of the house looked like a river.  Since Bismarck is not flat like the Eastern cities many people associate with N.D. I have grown used to the water draining fast down our street when it rains but I have never seen it like this.  It was looked white water rapids and it sounded like them too.   I tried to get some pictures but they didn't really turn out.  You can see the raging water in front of Justin's old Ford Escort, which gets a street parking spot in the summer.  

In this one you can kind of see how high the water was around the front tire. 

Here you can see the line of debris where water ran through the yard.  The carpet in the car was wet.  This car is pretty old and often won't start after having a wash so we will see how this affected it whenever Justin decides to drive it again.  It hasn't moved in over a month since he took it out of the garage this spring. 

I actually forgot about the flash flood until this morning when my mom called and said that someone from there had been here over the weekend and had to get a ride home because his car had too much water damage to drive.  I guess it's a good thing we live at a high point in town. 

Here are a few recent pictures of Ben.  He is getting really naughty.  He figured out that he can climb on the kitchen chairs and get on the table and also he climbs on the toilet, using the lock that is meant to deter him as a handle to pull himself up, and stands on it and gets busy emptying out the cupboard.  It is only a matter of time before he hurts himself. 

Here he is setting off my car alarm.

After a particularly unruly lime yogurt snack. 

He has started carrying his riding tractor around the room and putting it in my lap.  It's not that heavy but it still looks funny.  It has wheels for a reason Ben!

Oh, thank you!  I wanted to hold that riding tractor in my lap!

In his toy basket, which is usually empty of toys because they are all over the floor.
Oh, and if you were worried, the mice have been caught.  I have been avoiding the area of the garage where they were living and yesterday Justin was going to try to catch them again and found that two of the traps had caught two mice each.  Four mice with two traps!  I know that the bait was gone when I looked last so they must have just gone back for more.  A fifth one had died on its own.  There was a hole in a bag of fertilizer that was clearly made by mice so we think it poisoned itself by eating fertilizer.  Way to go, GENIUS!  Haha.  We figured out that they have been eating corn out of a bag of dried corn that Justin has for the purpose of attracting deer to his trail camera. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Peony Season

Ahh...I wish it would last longer.  They are so vibrant and beautiful in their prime blooming days.  We have two plants here.  We used to have many peony bushes in an overgrown flower bed that Justin could not live with, so they were removed in 2010 although I protested.  They were all different shades of pink, from almost white to deep magenta.  He kept two and transplanted them after the blooming season had passed so we didn't know which colors we had. 
I love this bright pink one. 

The other one is a light pink. 
  I guess this one was a bit ahead in blooming because the flowers were starting to spread out. I like the darker pink color better but for some reason the light one is more fragrant. 

I believe the next flowers to bloom will be the day lilies and asiatic lilies. 
I am dissapointed and disturbed to announce that the mice in the garage managed to eat the peanut butter off the traps without releasing them . What the H3LL...I have seen this happen with cagey and experienced farm mice but I thought these lazy drawer living rodents would be easy targets. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


After living here for almost four years, rodents have never been a problem, a worry, or even something that crossed my mind.  That is, until yesterday evening.  Don't worry, don't worry, there is no evidence in the house, but I saw mice in the garage.  Justin was at class and I was going to water the garden.  I opened a cupboard in the garage and grabbled an extra hose nozzle and noticed something move.  Then I realized that there were several mice on the shelf!  Blleeeeeehhhh!  I saw three.  I quickly closed the door and backed away slowly.  Then I went to Runnings to buy mouse traps.  I made Justin set them since I have never done so before and I wanted to keep my fingers intact.  We placed two in the cupboard and one in the drawer above where we saw them in their nest which is made from a piece of landscaping fabric.  This morning I tentatively opened the cupboard and the drawer only to find the traps still set and the peanut butter (the bait of choice that I recall from the farm) untouched.  Crap!  Actually, I was kind of relieved because Justin is going to be gone all week and I don't want to clean the traps if we do catch something. 

I am kind of embarrassed about how disturbed I am about this.  After all, a mouse here and there is unavoidable when you grow up on a small grain farm, where grain residue and spillage is everywhere.  I guess I was caught off guard since this isn't a small grain farm and we don't keep anything edible in the garage.  I forgot that the standard for "edible" is different for mice.  Fortunately, at the farm we had outdoor cats, also known as nature's serial killers, on constant patrol so rodents were not that big of a deal around there.  Of course, cat food attracted other pests like skunks and raccoons but that is just life I guess. I will never forget seeing the mother cats coming home from the woods in the evening with their kittens trailing behind after a day of hunting lessons.  Once, I saw a mother present her kittens with a almost dead mouse to finish off, which they quite enthusiastically and skillfully did.  Poor Allan is reading this right now and saying that he is a cat so why don't we let him spend the night in the garage and take care of the problem?  Ha!  Although Allan's basic mousing instincts still come through when he plays with his toys he never had the chance to roam the countryside with his mother learning to hunt.  In his dreams!

Yeah, I can tell he's a real killer of rodents...
I hope we get this problem taken care of quickly.  Of course, I worry that next we will find one in the house.  This is one situation where I am glad that the garage is not attached. 

Speaking of farms, I have been informed by my dad that the weeds growing in the flower pots are pigeon grasses and that a pint of Assure (a herbicide used to control volunteer corn and a variety of problem grasses) per acre is the remedy.  A pint an how much would I need for a two gallon watering can?  A milliliter?

This is pigeon grass...the picture is huge and Blogger won't let me reduce it for some reason...

Yes, that is a common one...when it dries out at the end of the summer it is really fun and satisfying to pull the seeds off...the pods disintegrate and spread to the wind.   Just what farmers want!  I kind of like the use of prairie grasses as decorative landscaping.  Maybe next year I will just fill a bunch of pots with soil from a field and see what happens! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flower Tower Fail

A few weeks ago I told of the flower tower project we tried, inspired by a Lowe's commercial.  Well, it didn't go very well.  Unless, perhaps, you enjoy black cylinders of dead petunias sagging with dried mud caked into their leaves and streaming down the sides of the tower.  

We went wrong in a few ways, although we followed the directions as given.  First, I sliced the fabric openings for the flowers too big.  I make an X about two inches high.  That is how the directions said to cut the opening!  As soon as we watered them, mud came pouring out the openings, eroding the soil around the flowers.  Soon, we realized that the water was just pouring down the outsides of the tower inside the fabric and not actually soaking into the roots.  It didn't take long baking in the sun with that black fabric for the flowers to wither away.  Then there was a downpour of rain which eroded a huge hole in the top of one of them.  Yikes.  It was too sad to take a picture of them.

This weekend we tried again.  We (Justin) cut new fabric, removed the plants, bought new plants from a picked over greenhouse and changed our strategy.  Justin made a watering pipe to go inside the towers.  The pipes are punctured with tiny holes so the water can gradually soak through.  I don't know why the instructions did not recommend this.  I don't know how else water could reach the bottom layer of flowers.  The openings in the fabric are much smaller.  Hopefully the combination of these measures will prevent the erosion issue as well as the lack of water issue.  Maybe it would have made a difference if we had used the more spongey bagged potting soil instead of farm field soil but who knows. 

The new watering pipe!

New plants!  Now they just need to fill out and cover the fabric!  We were able to salvage a few plants from around the tops of the towers that looked pretty bad.  I placed them in planters and on the tops of the towers where they would fit.  They seem to be recovering nicely. 
By the way, don't ask Justin to help you make a flower tower any time soon...he has had it with flower towers and has sworn off making them ever again!  We will see about next year...we will see...
The rest of the flowers are doing OK.  I suppose it has been close to a month since I planted them and they are finally getting exposed to more hot weather which I could tell they needed.  They are filling out nicely.  I have one problem.  We used field soil from one of my dad's fields instead of buying several bags of potting soil.  Well, it saved money but what comes with rich Eastern ND soil are very persistent Eastern ND weeds which farmers spend lots of time and money battling every year. 

I don't know what these little weed sprouts are...Dad?  Do you know?  I will be weeding my flower pots, I guess, since I don't think these annuals are Round-Up ready.  Now there's an idea Monsanto...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Industrial Accents

I have recently (as in the last few years) taken an interest in decorating and furniture that has an industrial aspect to it.  I have always like wierd old stuff but became more interested when I first saw a "Restoration Hardware" catalogue.  Then this fall I came across this series on the National Geographic Channel called "Abandoned", where these guys who own an antique restoration business scrounge around in abandoned factories, churches and schools try to find unique items such as furniture, tools, signs, and interesting parts and objects which they use to make other furniture.  Then they have to try to negotiate a price with whoever owns the abandoned building and they never want to part with any of it and instead leave it in there to deteriorate even more which always confuses me. 

This show really made me interested and I even made a Pinterest board called "industrial accents".

My dream industrial accent will always be an old library card catalogue.  I am surprised I don't see these around anywhere.  After all, every school and university in America has a library and most towns of a certain population have a public library too.  Until about ten years ago every library had a card catalogue.  We all learned to use it.  I also loved pulling the little card out of the envelope in the book cover and writing my name on the list and seeing which other kids had read the book before me when I checked out books!  Now you just type the name you are looking for into a computer, find the book, and they scan it and that is it.  There has to be many old library relics out there though.  One day I hope I encounter one. 

I stopped at a rummage sale this morning and this stool was sitting there in the driveway. 

An industrial accent!  And it is in great shape too.  It is very solid and stable because the little feet rotate like a school chair to hug the floor.  The wood seat is so smooth and the height adjustmnet mechanism works.  The metal pole under the seat looks like it might be rusty in the picture but it is actually a different color of metal.  I think the grey paint is worn off there and also around the foot rest. 
Justin is not going to be impressed with me bringing home furniture that we don't have room for but this is one item that I knew I would regret if I didn't take it.  It could be used for lots of things since it is adjustable.  On the lowest setting it could be used at a vanity or desk or even in place of a piano bench for the piano that I am going to get eventually when we have a bigger house!  Or it could be used as an end table although it spins so maybe that wouldn't work. 
Oh look, here is the Restoration Hardware costs $249.00. 
One more random thing...a book recommendation.  I have no time to read anymore (I used to read a book or more a week in the summer and now that is not happening) so when I do I get really worried about making sure the book is worth it.  I chose a book to read on my Vegas trip after reading many reviews and I have to suggest that everyone reads it.  It is called "The Son" by Philip Meyer.  It is a family drama set in Texas beginning in 1836.  It is much more substantial than "chick lit", a term which I hate but I admit I indulge in a book like that every once and awhile. This is definitely not in that category.  It is anything but boring even though it is historical.  Just trust me!  I insist that it will be worth your precious reading time!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Las Vegas 2013

I returned from Vegas yesterday afternoon.  The return trip is always tough because it is a buzzkill to be done with a fun vacation and also because on the way there the time zones jump back two hours so you arrive an hour after you leave and on the way home you have to go ahead two hours so, for example, my plane left (it was actually half an hour late) at 8:30 a.m. and I didn't leave the airport until 1 p.m.  Then, although I was excited to see him, I had to spend the afternoon with Ben who had already had a nap at his babysitter's house and had no consideration for the fact that I was exhausted and had four hours of sleep the night before. Babies!  When will they learn?  I feel much better today, though.  That crazy place seems so far away, with all the action just carrying on, day after day. 

The same as every year, this year it was very hot.  As in, highs of 110 degrees hot.  It was extreme but felt pretty good in moderation, especially after the sun went down at night.  I did pretty well at avoiding sunburn even though we spent all afternoon at the pool on Saturday and Sunday.  On Saturday we had a cabana at the pool so I had some shade.  It also had an unlimited supply of free water, which is a hard commodity to come by in Vegas.  There is not a drinking fountain to be found but there is a plentiful supply of $4.00 bottled water anywhere you go.  I made sure to get a free one whenever I played the slots. 

No one brought a real camera this year and instead we all used our phones to take pictures and sent them around.  These are not really in any order. 

I took this when we were eating on the roof at Margaritaville. 

Here is a view of our hotel of choice!  Bally's is not the fanciest or newest but it is affordable and has a decent pool and restaurants.  It doesn't have the over the top themes that the other hotels have but we still like it.  It is connected to "Paris" through an interior walkway lined with shops and restaurants so we spent a lot of time there too. 

On Friday night I won some money!  I started with $20!  That is always a good way to start a trip!  I won close to the same on Saturday night.  It's not much to some but it was pretty helpful for my trip! 

This was the view from our room. 

On Saturday we went to the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show.  It was pretty amazing.  Those are some talented acrobats!  The music was good too. 

Here we are in the casino at Bally's.  (Me, my cousins, my sister, and a friend who was my cousin's college roommate).  The picture looks a bit distorted! 

Here we are at the pool on Saturday.  I was pretty self conscious about looking pregnant.  I tried to hide it but you can tell now for sure.  I did see some other pregnant women here and there but I would have felt better if I just looked obvious and not just thick in the middle.  There are so many cute young girls walking around everywhere you look and I had to remind myself that there are also lots of not so young, not so perfect women of all ages and sizes in Vegas.  It is a mass of humanity and most people don't really care about what anyone else looks like. 

Here we are out walking after the Beatles show.  It was about 99 degrees out in the dark and I am wearing that cardigan to hide the angry red streak of sunburn on my back from a mediocre sunblock application at the pool.  The sun and I have always had a rough relationship.  I love it, it wants to destroy me...
On Sunday we went shopping and got a limo instead of a few cabs.  The hotel guys said it would cost the same.  Aren't we fancy!  We were back in the cabs for the way home though!  We saw the Bellagio water show, which we had all seen before but it is a fun Vegas experience.  We ate in a traditional Las Vegas dining room at the Bellagio with the grandmothers for our last dinner on Sunday night.  It went way too fast, like all vacations do.  I'm already looking forward to next time! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blast from the Past

This morning, for some reason, I went to Bing to search the Internet instead of Google.  I usually default to Google but I chose Bing this time (fascinating fact about me!).  Bing is fun because every day it has a new exotic or interesting picture with trivia about the place.  I don't know why I don't look at it more often.  It has been a long time since I went to Bing and I was thrilled to see that this was the picture on the home page.

I have been meaning to write this all day so most readers probably won't read it until tomorrow and then it will be a not applicable picture on Bing but today's was a picture of Nyhavn, a canal street in Copenhagen, Denmark.  This is it.

This picture is the picture I took when I visited that street back in 2006!  I am not sure the date but we visited Denmark by taking an overnight ferry from.  I looked back at my Norway blog and we returned on June 6.  I have been remembering it all day.  Copenhagen is a very magical city.  We only spent a few days there but I will never forget the atmosphere.  Those European cities, at least the ones I visited, felt like being in a fairy tale.  I hope I can visit again one day. 
At least I will get to satisfy my travel urges this weekend.  On Friday I leave for Las Vegas for my annual ladies trip with my family.  My aunt and her mother-in-law are already there, sipping free mixed drinks at the slots most likely.  Some leave tomorrow (lucky!)  and my sister and I leave Friday around lunch time.  I say this every year but I cannot wait to feel that desert heat.  It has been so cold and damp around here that I truly look forward to it being 100 degrees.  And yes, I am pregnant and that will diminish some of my fun but I don't even care!  Ben has been waking up during the 4:00 a.m. hour pretty frequently this last week and I am very excited to sleep in (sleeping in defined as waking up when I feel like it which will probably be around 7:00 a.m.)!   And we have a Groupon for a cabana at the pool one afternoon so I can lay in the shade and read and drink lots and lots of water! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Garden 2013

We finally planted our garden at the park district community garden plots this weekend.  We were happy to find out that we were given the same plot as last year, which is nice because it is on the edge and we can drive our vehicle right up to it.  It was cold and windy and we had to wrangle a maniac toddler who kept trying to eat grass and dirt and tear through other people's gardens the whole time but we got it done and Justin returned later to lay grass clippings over the soil to help prevent weed growth.  We planted tomatoes, jalapeno and bell peppers in various colors, onions, carrots and zucchini. 

It doesn't look like much now.  It is hard to imagine that in a month it will have multiplied exponentially in size and productivity.  We put a fence along the end for the zucchini to climb so hopefully it will grow up and not vine out all over the garden. is hard to see them in this photo because of the neighboring plot's fence, but we caged the tomato plants first thing this year in order to avoid a repeat of last year...
I never want to repeat "Tomato Jungle 2012" again.  That was a disaster.  They were no less productive, I guess, but it was a big mess and many tomatoes were lost because they ended up laying on the ground.  Also, we didn't plant as many plants this year.  It is hard not to remember how much one plant can yield when they look so small at the greenhouse. 

We also stopped at a few rummage sales where I came upon a rare find...a large assortment of Fiestaware!  It was $60 for the set and they didn't want to break it up.  Justin was waiting in the car and he wasn't really encouraging of me bringing this huge quantity of dishes into the house since we have no room for anything in here.  Also, I don't think I had $60 in cash with me even if I wanted to get the set.  But now, it still haunts me...a purchase that I should not have left behind.  I just counted the individual pieces and it would have equaled only a few dollars per piece. 

Eeeeehhhh....OK, must stop thinking about it...too sad...especially that cute round covered dish on the second step...I try to reassure myself by reminding myself that I prefer the brighter colors to that apricot pastel but is pretty...
I have a very nice china cabinet which belonged to my great grandparents that is in storage at the farm just waiting for something like this.   One day it will be filled with color!