Sunday, January 09, 2011 far, so good

Christmas was a bit different this year, since we only visited one side of our family whereas in years past we have, as I recall, managed to visit both my side and my wife's side over the Christmas break. But this year we did things a little different, spending time only in Montana over the break with my wife's mother and stepfather. We had a very enjoyable visit, and helped them with several projects around the house too. It's cool to go from the relatively flat plains of the midwest to the mountains of the West, and seeing them covered in a blanket of brilliant white snow made the view even more impressive. It is probably the last visit we will make to Montana for quite some time, as her parents are hoping to move a little closer to home in the coming year. But life has a way of changing things when you least expect it, so as always, we'll just have to see how things pan out.

After we got back from the visit we managed to take care of one little project that has been on my wife's mind for a while: frosting over the bathroom window. We have a big window in the master bathroom that is almost always covered by (hideous) pink blinds (that were there when we moved in). But my wife found some information on covering existing windows with a pane of frost, similar to how one might get windows tinted in a car, without having to buy an entirely new window. So last Saturday we went to Lowe's and picked up a bunch of supplies to try our hand at adding a little privacy and lot of light to the bathroom.

Not pictured: ugly pink blinds fully extended.
The hardest part about the project was doing the initial measurements, as the bathroom window was pretty large which made cutting the piece of frosting kind of difficult.  After we had everything measured  we went into the bathroom and doused the window and frosting treatment with this adhesive solution and then set out to actually apply the whole mess to the window.  The only difficult part of this process was smoothing out all the bubbles in the frosting, which we did with a couple squeegies and a lot of elbow grease.  The final result actually looks halfway decent, and it's basically impossible to see in or out of the window but it still lets a ton of sunlight in.
We like this version much better.
While we were in Montana we helped my wife's parents change out four light fixtures and a chandelier, which gave us a bit of confidence in replacing the chandelier in our dining room too.  I'm not sure when we'll get around to that project, but like so many home improvement ideas, I'm sure it'll happen one of these days...

This weekend I took down our Christmas tree and all assorted decorations, which was kind of a bummer since I think the tree just adds a nice bit of decor to the living room.  But it's gotta come down sooner or later, and even though in college my buddies and I left the tree up until March (or whenever Evan's girlfriend took it down) I figure we might as well get it taken care of now rather than putting it off for months.  I should have taken a before and after picture of this too, but, well, the "before" picture is a Christmas tree.  I mean, there's not a whole lot of variety for an indoor fake evergreen tree.  I thought the "after" picture was kind of funny though.
When fully assembled it's actually pretty cool.
And yes that is a rack of VHS tapes.
Even though the tree is down, though, it's just a decoration to begin with and not that important in the grand scheme of things.  The real meaning of Christmas, the birth of our savior Jesus Christ, needs no tree or ornaments or neatly-wrapped presents to be felt throughout the year.  And so as we forge onward with all the new trials, challenges, joys, and celebrations of the new year, we must not forget the rebirth and renewal that comes now from a simple advancing of the calendar, but from the surpassing greatness of the grace of our Lord and His sacrifice for us.

So here's to 2011.