I was looking through some old pictures.
Here's what I found from August 2001:
And from July 2009:
Like ... wow!
I know what changes have been made, because, mostly, *I* made them. In picture two, I set, filled and planted those raised garden beds (I had a lot of help building them). I put up the clothesline. I planted the apple tree.
But I'd never seen the before and after pictures side-by-side. It's kind of fun to see the huge difference.
If I had to pick one thing from the pictures of which I am most proud, I would choose the fact that the little window AC unit we had in 2001 was only here for that season, and it's been gone ... with a long before it for eight years, and from the second picture, I'm most proud of my lovely clothesline.
It's not your imagination, either, and it's also not the poorer quality of the camera used to take the 2001 picture. The house actually is brighter. In 1998 we used a transparent stain on the untreated wood siding. It gave the house that orangish color, and the guy at the paint store insisted the house would look like a pumpkin. Fast forward seven years, and we're restaining the house, but we can't use the transparent stain, because it's not covering like it should, and so we went with an opaque stain. Ha! And the paint guy thought it looked like a pumpkin before! He should see it now, eh?
And the grass really is greener these days, too, especially right in front of the house behind the clothesline, because that's where the (new in 2004) septic tank is ;).