Thirty Three.

33rd Birthday Cake | Life In Beta

I’m a week late now, but I turned 33 on February 24th. Mike informs me that 33 is supposed to be the happiest year of your life. That sets up some pretty high expectations for the coming year! I do feel optimistic about this year though. I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot to be excited about. It’s a good place to be.

Birthday Surprises | Life In Beta

We have a house (albeit a tiny one with some ice dam-induced leaks at the moment) and a budget and plans to build on in the spring. We have a beautiful family. I have fulfilling, exciting work that keeps me busy and puts food on our table. We are surrounded by family and friends. I have very little room to complain (except for maybe about all that ice and snow).

Thirty three is going to be a great year. I just know it.

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Staying In and Staying Warm

I’ve lost track of exactly HOW cold it is here in Erie right now. I’ve seen friends posting photos of their cars’ external thermometers and weather clocks that have said anywhere between the negative teens all the way to -27ºF (about -33ºC).

TL;DR: It’s freakin’ COLD.

Erie vs. North Pole | Life In Beta

We spend a wonderful weekend at home. I’m growing to really love these “snowed in” weekends (even when you’re not really snowed in). It feels good to be a homebody and slow down; it forces you to pay more attention to your home and family. Sometimes typical weekends just feel like a gluttonous binge of consumerism — movies, restaurants, shopping — is it really necessary? By Sunday I feel burnt out and my bank account is suffering from all the abuse. Instead, today I feel like I really spent the weekend reconnecting with my family, and it didn’t cost me a penny.

Some snippets from our weekend:

  • I made this cheeseburger soup recipe for dinner. It’s EASY and made with ingredients you very likely have on hand. (I love recipes like that.) I highly recommend it.
  • We tried to get Ben interested in the Harry Potter movies this weekend. He wasn’t having it. Mike was so disappointed. I think he really was hoping to have someone else to geek out over HP with. (Heehee.)
  • Ben and Myles played together ALL weekend. They abandoned their toys in favor of empty cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. I love seeing them be so imaginative! Our tiny house was practically shaking from their running and shrieking as they played together. I joked with Mike that it just makes me want more children. (He thought I was a little crazy.)
  • Our bath tub drain froze again, despite my best efforts with salt and boiling water from our teakettle. (Sigh.) Our tub backs on one exterior (cement) wall, and one semi-exterior wall (a closed-in, unheated porch) and sits on a cement slab. It’s kind of a recipe for disaster. When I was a kid, my grandmother had a wood stove on the porch to heat the house, so frozen pipes were never an issue with that. But as grandma got older, the wood stove was ripped out and a regular furnace was added, and no duct work heats the porch anymore. I’ve debated on putting a little heater out there, but it just makes me nervous. (Fire hazard, ya know?) Thank goodness once our remodel is done, the porch will be made into a heated room, so we shouldn’t have the problem in the future.
  • The cold has left me daydreaming about adding a wood stove to our remodel plans, though. There’s just something about heat from a wood stove that’s so cozy and comforting in the dead of winter. Plus, it would be nice to have in case of emergency. (This also falls into the “Mike thinks I’m crazy”-bucket, however.)
  • I watched the original National Lampoon’s Vacation for the first time with Mike last night. I insisted I’d seen it before, but after watching it, I realized none of it seemed familiar. I was pretty ashamed to discover I’d never seen it because Christmas Vacation is one of my very, very favorite movies.

How is the weather where you live? How are you keeping busy while you stay indoors and warm?

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Snow, Snow and More Snow…

Valentine Snow - Front Yard | Life In Beta

Valentine Snow - Back Yard, Looking to Road | Life In Beta

Valentine Snow - Paths Through the Yard | Life In Beta

Just when I thought we might be out of the woods for a bit… more snow. The weather reporters were calling for 7-14″. I think (thankfully) we got the lower-end of that estimate added to the accumulation already on the ground, which is still more than enough!

I got all Carhartt-ed up and snow blowed early this afternoon. I was halfway done when our neighbor came to the rescue with his snow plow. (Have I mentioned we have fantastic neighbors?)

All Suited-Up | Life In Beta

I finished up alongside the house and did our sidewalks, but I left the heavy stuff to the neighbor’s plow truck. He got us scraped down pretty close to the pavement, so we’re ready for the next storm now. (Sigh.) I also made some paths through the yard to our outbuildings. Our back-garage (a pole-building type structure) is falling in from the weight of the snow. It’s been in need of repair for years, long before we moved here, but it’s definitely looking like that will be on the to-do list THIS summer.

It’s been a rough winter. As for Valentine’s Day today… we’re staying in and enjoying a Harry Potter marathon, homemade burritos for dinner, and then snacks and hot cocoa later.

Tomorrow’s high temperature is -2°F and the low is supposed to be -15°F. I’m planning to stay indoors and make some soup. Hope y’all are staying safe and warm too!

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