Friday, November 30, 2007

bone chilling

This morning the kids were up at 6:15. "It SNOWED outside! MOM! MOM!" From my cozy, toasty bed, I groggly said, "please go back to bed!". They were not to happy with me.

I like snow. I like looking at it from a sitting position. Inside the heated house. With a steamy cup of rich hot chocolate topped with bobbing marshmallows.

I'm becoming less and less a fan of the cold weather. It hurts my bones. Especially those days where it's SO cold out, when you breathe, it instantly freezes your nose hairs.

The kids on the other hand don't care how cold it is. And they don't care that I don't like it. So I suck it up and go outside. Of which I need to do right now. Alina is walking around with the bag of carrots (for the snowman's nose) saying, "come ON mom! Let's go get my snowsuit! MOOOOOOOOOOM!"

So off I go to the frozen outside. The driveway is calling to be shoveled and we'll see if we can make a snow man with the little snow there is.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

startling discoveries

With home improvements ramping up on the interior, we thought about taking down this fairly large light in the kitchen and putting up a regular light/fan. Ed called from Lowe's and asked what the ceiling condition was like under the wood. I uncovered interesting facts in the process.

#1: The plastic light covering is all one piece on the left side from top to bottom if you will and one piece from left to right (like the shape of an L). With this being found out, you can't change the light that's in the middle small square (very smart on their part!) and it makes it very, very difficult to change the long fluorescent lights when you can only get to 1/2 of the light (again, very smart light-covering-planning on the installers part). And you can't slide the larger pieces b/c of the ceiling fan box above the ceiling fan.

#2: When I found a small plastic covering piece, that I could actually slide back, low and behold, there was wall paper on the ceiling. All wallpaper was removed up to and around that point, leaving a beautiful square of blue floral wallpaper left. Right around the ceiling fan box. Why not just finish the job completely? Welcome to our house.

#3: A finding Ed made concerning the light, but in a different location. The light switch for this particular beast was lovingly CEMENTED into the tile. So if we wanted to change the switch, we'd have to regroute/cement the tile again and who knows what kind of a mess that is.

#4, speaking of the tile, after exploring the possibility of replacing the counter top, the unique and yet beautiful fruit tile back splash was installed over top of the counter and grouted to it.

So......the counter top is staying. The light fixture is staying. The blades on the fan, however will be removed and painted.

Now the dining room light/fan however is being completely replaced as it exploded Saturday night when Ed turned on the light. The fan blades even jammed up. It was quite exciting.

Are we surprised at any of this? Not one bit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I've been itching to get our Christmas tree up (have to wait until the drywall is finished and painted around the fireplace first). I think the past three years, it has been put up a week out from Christmas. The first year we lived here, it was put up Christmas morning (we had moved in a few days prior). I always envision having Christmas music playing, not being rushed, painting ornaments, try to string popcorn, baking cookies. Course everything in my head is a lot grander than what happens in reality. The music does get played, though the kids get bored after their ornaments are on. I rarely get around to making cookies. The ornaments I bought last year to paint are still in the cupboard. And popcorn stringing will never happen. Why I envision stringing popcorn is beyond me as I never did it growing up. I just want life to slow down. To enjoy the aroma's of the Christmas season and recreate/create memories for our kids. For us too. Maybe this year that will happen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

new pictures

So I braved the snow and decided it was time to go out and take pictures of the house.

Here's what the house mainly looked like when we bought it. Wood shakes were also on the brown parts around the front door. There also was a brick planter that went under the front window. The back and left side of the house was blue wood siding and the right side of the house was also wood shakes.

Here's the house neeked. Ed removed the shakes above the garage and on the side of the house. He also sledge hammered the brick on the front of the house and around the garage (along with the help of some friends). The steps and driveway were also removed, along with the retaining wall by the turn around.

And here's the final outcome. Front and back. New driveway and steps, new siding thanks to Mr. Bill, a new retaining wall thanks to Ed, and new wood chips in the front bed thanks to the willow tree.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The countdown!

Five days and counting!!
Until what you may ask?
The end of NaBloPoMo?
Well, yes, but that has been fun and I hope to continue posting daily even after it is done (now that I'm in the habit). :)
But in 5 glorious days, the Let It Snow Reading Club begins at the local library! I look forward to this each year. A goal to fill up my bingo sheet! To read books that I usually wouldn't read. I have yet to fill up a sheet, but this year is the year.
Ooooo (rubbing hands together in glee) I can't wait!!
In the words of my friend Hillary, "SQUEEEE!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

2nd 1st

Besides doing the around the circle prayer for the first time this year, another first was buying a farm fresh organic turkey. It was a bit more expensive than the store bought frozen turkeys, but I was ready to make that sacrifice. I have to say that this was one very juicy, amazing, close to perfect turkey that I have ever had.

Sam also wanted in on the action with the electric knife and did an amazing job cutting the bird for dinner.

It was also the 1st snowfall of the year on Thanksgiving morning. Which meant the kids wanted to be in it. So the snowsuits and all paraphernalia was brought out so they could play in it before it all melted.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Here are a few pictures from our trip to Seattle last weekend. It was hard to choose from the plethera that we took, but I finally narrowed it down.

Here's the school that our trip was fitted around. We were turning a corner when I took this, hence the blurriness..

This was what we saw when we turned the corner to the baggage claims area at Sea-Tac. What a great, unique idea. The suitcases are threaded through a pole which turns and you could hear the leather of the bags creak and groan.

From the airport, we drove into the city, went to the fish market, went by the school and headed to the hotel and crashed.

Friday started bright and early with Ed's interview. At lunch this is where we went with two other couples (hi Jason, Mandy, Rick and Jennifer!). Salmon fish and chips with malt vinegar. Mmmmmm. What look like windows are actually large garage type doors that open during the warmer months so it's more of an open air restaurant right on the sound.

The sun did come out during Ed's interview and I captured the Cascade Mountains from the window of the school.

We went to dinner with 16 other people to this tiny Thai place where the food was amazing and very filling (I was sad to leave my food behind as it would've made excellent leftovers).

This is Ed and I Saturday morning before going into the school for the final sessions of the weekend.

After we were done with our MHGS Experience Weekend, we took a car ferry over to Bainbridge Island with Jason and Mandy to peruse the little town. We stopped at a tex mex restaurant for dinner and then headed back to the city of which you could see all the lights twinkling from the ferry's deck.

It was a fantastic weekend and a great city to experience.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving prayer

How was your Thanksgiving?

Ours was a great day spent with family and friends. Ed decided instead of doing a prayer before dinner, he was going to shake things up a bit. Half an hour before dinner, he passed out a piece of paper to everyone which read as follows:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is
God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Prior to our Thanksgiving meal together, we are going to give thanks in a new
traditional way. The passage above says to "give thanks in all circumstances." Think back on the last year. What seemed hard, but in looking back you can say, "Thank you, Jesus. I can see that you really had my best in mind."? That is what each of us will get to do. Just before the meal, we will each pray. Thanking Jesus for one specific event or events that was hard, and the beauty that resulted.

Ed will start the prayer of thanksgiving. We will pray around the circle. When your turn comes, you may simply say, "pass" and the next person will pray their prayer of thanksgiving. After the last person prayed, we will read a passage of Scripture together.

We then all read/responded Psalm 136.

Everyone prayed, even my teenage nieces. It was awesome to hear the struggles/hardships and how God sustained/blessed/grew each person. To stop and take a different angle of thanksgiving was a great new tradition that I hope we continue on throughout the next years.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

For sure

Things I am for sure thankful about.

Jesus who sustains me every day and is so ever patient with my wandering heart.

The amazing husband who I am blessed to be married to who has never ever given up on me and continues by my side through life's crap and wonderfulness, loving me from the depths of his being even when I'm being unlovable.

My on-loan kids (who I have to keep giving back to Jesus) who teach me about child like faith day in and day out, live life to the fullest every moment and bring laughter and life to our home.

The peeps in my life who push me, stretch me, love me and stand by me. Life would not be the same without you!

Living and breathing: something I need to be more thankful about. How many times I have seen this past year life whisked away in a snap and on the flip side watching new life grow and blossom.

An amazing year full of blessings, adventures, valleys and tippy top mountains.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

by the skin of my teeth

I thought for sure today's post wasn't going to happen. With our internet being down since Monday afternoon, after several calls to Comcast, they could get someone out here on Saturday. I knew I could scream and stomp my foot and whine, but it wouldn't do any good in getting someone out here sooner. Plus, I really wouldn't do that. So, the secret weapon was used.


He has a way of making things happen. I'm too soft and squishy and don't want to be a bother. He's tough, uses a firm voice and doesn't back down. Heck...he fires and hires people at his job.

For some reason there was a spot open for today (why that spot wasn't open yesterday, who knows). And the guy was here two hours before the scheduled time, was speedy, fixed the problem and was on his way.

Thank you my handsome rescuer! I can now squeak in my post, talk to the outside world, and of course work. Right on!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today finds me (and Alina) sitting at the office conference table getting ready to work. The internet and tv have been down since 2:30 yesterday afternoon. I don't mind not having television, but internet is another story. Knowing I am not able to work is hard and not having communication to the outer world is also hard.

No pictures today as they are on Ed's computer and with no internet, he can't send them to me. But come they will.

Our house is also done on the exterior and pictures will come of that too. I still pull up to the house and always question myself if I'm pulling in the right driveway.

Work beckons and I need to heed the call.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Last night our eyes saw the back of our lids at 7:30. I didn't think it was going to be so hard dragging myself out of bed this morning at 7:15. Ed even slept in until then (and those of you who know him, know that is REALLY sleeping in for him).

I will have pictures of the trip on tomorrow's post.

I don't think I'm going to have any problem going to bed tonight. I told myself no naps as then I'll be up until 1:00 in the morning wide eyed and rearing to go.

I also need to get back into eating a bit better. I wouldn't be surprised if I gained all the weight back that I lost when I got sick.

So to start off the better eating kick, I think I'll mosey into the kitchen and make some hummus. (Have to offset the Jolly Rancher Screaming Sours that I just ate).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

running on fumes

Not quite sure how I'm functioning right now. It was 9:30 (MI time) yesterday morning when we got up. It was 9:30 (MI time) when our plane landed this morning. I thought I'd get some sleep on the plane from Seattle to Minnesota (it took off at 3:55 a.m. MI time), but it was SO turbulant, I vowed never ever to fly again. At one point the plane dropped, so did my stomach and all contents that were in it (which wasn't much). I prayed and prayed more and prayed some more. I was shaking as I was so nervous but kept continuing to pray. The stewardess' had to stop serving drinks and had to sit down and buckle in as it was so bad. The landing couldn't come soon enough.

Thank Jesus the flight from Minnesota to home was SO smooth I even fell asleep during take off that when we were in the air, I thought we were still on the ground. It was the smoothest flying I have ever experienced.

We got home and two hours later the kids were here and life has continued like we never left. Though...did we ever leave?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

brain has popped

I think yesterday felt like one of the longest days of my life. It was a good long day though. Ed had the interview process from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do during that time. All the interviewees went into the room and there was one girl and I left standing alone. We introduced ourselves to each other and sat down on one of the couches and started talking. Her husband was interviewing also. The next hours flew by with chatting and scouring the internet for places to live and before we knew it, our husbands were done and it was time for lunch. The guys had also met another guy whom they asked to go to lunch with us who is engaged. So us three couples, one from Michigan, one from South Dakota, and one from Miami moseyed on down next to the Puget Sound to Anthony's Fish Bar for lunch. Great conversation and awesome food.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with more head stuffing, some phrases that shook me to the core of my beliefs and scared the begeebes out of me, making me wonder "what in the heck is this school teaching?!?", more questions and meeting more people. (But now I'm no longer shocked or my beliefs curled in a fetal position as the phrases were explained and after chewing on them, realized they did make sense and weren't so scary after all).

Dinner found us at a Thai place. Ed and I have never had Thai food before and all I can say is that I am now hooked. It was amazing. We met another couple looking at the school from Tennessee, a single guy and a couple who are students at the school, from North Carolina, and another student who is from Nebraska.

It surprised me that I had not met one local person who went to school there. Though we were told there are some. I have also gotten my introduction phrase down. "I'm Jean from Michigan and yes I do know of Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids and yes I've met Rob Bell and have friends that go there." I kid you not. Every. single. person. I have met (student and prospective student) has asked me if I know Rob Bell and Mars Hill Church.

It has been an amazing trip so far and the sun even came out yesterday which let us display Mount Olympus from the windows of the school.

I still have more questions to be answered and hopefully that'll happen today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's 6:30, woke up at 5:00. Body says it's 9:30 and actually slept in until 8:00 :)

Todays a busy day of having our brains stuffed with information of which we'll need to munch on later when we can poke them to let it all out.

Really short post today. Time to head back over to the non-smoking Denny's for a Moon Over Mi-Hammy. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

ins and outs

Some things that I observed and did today:

Saw a lady carrying a bag, which I thought was her small purse over her shoulder, but it was actually a dog carrier (dog included) that fit under the airplane seat in front of her. bizarre.

I don't like the sound of the airplane putting on it's brakes to slow down while we're still in the sky.

It is raining in Seattle right now. No surprise there. :)

Drivers in the city are actually very friendly and no honking occurred (except the guy who was in a HUGE hurry to get to the red light in front of us).

Trying to keep my eyes open and stay awake until 8 tonight (11 home time). Only one more hour to go.

Actually just finished eating at a Denny's which did not see or smell of smoke.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This is, or should I say was, our lovely willow tree. The tree where bees liked to hide and jump out to sting Ed when he was mowing (resulting in a trip to the ER). The tree that we didn't mind if it fell on the house (when we weren't home that is...that's how much we liked our house).

But we're starting to like our house. Especially our new siding, steps and driveway and we don't want the tree to fall on it. So the tree met its demise yesterday. I didn't realize how big this tree was until I took the picture below and saw the guy standing straight up next to the cut down trunk and it was taller than him.

I will not miss the tree. Or the bees. Or it possibly falling on our non Adams Family looking house. Good bye tree. We did save some of it though. It'll be displayed in the front garden bed. As wood chips.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a super find

One of my favorite foods are cheese puffs. Not curls mind you. Too crunchy. But I would will myself not to buy them as they aren't the best thing for you.

Then I found these

Oh cheese puffs! Now I can eat a lot and not feel guilty or bad about eating them. Yes, they are a bit more expensive for a smaller bag. I'm learning how to ration and enjoy every single mouth melting bite.

Monday, November 12, 2007

new found word

Roil: To be in a state of turbulence or agitation.

I thought roil was something between boil and rumble. But turbulence or agitation much better describes the state my stomach was in at 3:30 this morning.

This has happened before. When I ate steak. It knocked me off my feet the next day to the point where I was living in the bathroom thinking there was nothing left to come out of me, but stuff somehow managed to be found.

This time it was meatballs. And this time I told myself to throw up as that would make the sick process go much faster. And it sure has.

I also told myself to suck it up as I needed to watch the little one year old today and that I had to make it through and was already praying for strength. 10 minutes later my phone rang and it was her mom saying she was staying home today. I was floored, humbled, in awe and so very thankful that my prayer was answered and not like I expected it to be. I went and crawled back into the toasty bed.

So today I have been feasting on GU2O and Pepto tablets. My tummy is now rumbling with hunger instead of agonizing pain. My back started hurting (just like it did last time), so I knew everything was almost over.

I think my body is telling me not to eat beef. It's not something we eat a lot of, maybe once a month, hence the reason it rejects it in the most horrible way possible.

Of course my favorite treat is prime rib. Oh how I love thee and will miss thee.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

mold breaker

Remembering back on growing up, every Sunday was, well, predictable. Church, home to a tantalizing pot roast aroma wafting through the house, eat around the table as a family, nap, homework, church, home for a snack, bed. No tv during the day. No chores. Skirts to church. This was how it was for 20 years. It wasn't bad by any means. That's what was ingrained in my being and the mold that was made for me.

Then I got married.

Today I think I broke almost every Sunday mold. We didn't go to church (but went last night). I did laundry. We watched football. Ed went to the store. I wore pants to church. On some Sundays we eat downstairs. I've cleaned the basement and the kitchen. Ed's working on the car in the garage. I sanded and washed down the front door in prep for painting. He even mowed and de-leafed the lawn.

All this to say that it has been a good day. No rushing around. Taking our time. The house was filled with smells of hamburger (chicken to be exact) soup and skillet corn bread. It's been a restful day even with doing things. While I treasure the memories of growing up, I treasure the new memories being made with my family.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

face lift

Awhile back we gave our laundry area a face lift. And by awhile...I mean awhiiiiiile. Here's what our laundry room looked like before:

This was the beautious wall paper and the lovely shade of green paint that was behind it:

With the left over paint from the bathroom, it cost us $4 (bottle of wall paper remover) to redo our laundry area.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Step #2

Today the driveway was poured, rolled and cooled. It took a total of an hour to do the entire thing. Sam can't wait to ride his big wheel on it!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

memories for 25 cents

Yesterday on the way to drop Ed off at work, a sign snagged my eye. MOVING SALE. Course sale signs always catch my eye. But this one screamed at me. I dropped Ed off and set a course for the moving sale. One minute later I was flooring the gas to make it up the driveway to the house. There wasn't much of anything special at this sale. Nothing spectacular or a great find. I really didn't even look once I got out of the car. A man came out and said hello. I said, "I saw the moving sale sign and had to come. Honestly, I didn't come for the sale. I wanted to see the house. I grew up here." He was really surprised and said he was so happy I stopped by and would I like to see the inside? Well sure I would! He was the man who bought the house from my parents back when I was 10 years old and actually remembered them. For a split second worry crossed my mind that if I entered the house, all memories would be confused with the current way the house was vs. the way I remember it in my childhood brain. I took the tour of the house. No memories assaulted or rushed forward. There was only one thought. The house had shrunk. The hallway seemed to have been cut in half. The living room was a fraction of the size I remember. My room didn't look the same without the over sized flowers on the wallpaper that I loved. The family room/breezeway didn't go on forever like it used to. The willow tree that we swung on was gone, along with the sandbox I played in for hours. The pine trees that my parents planted had grown so tall and in contrast made the barn look like a shed. I called my parents while walking around and told them where I was. I took a picture with my phone. The memories are still there. I can barely recollect the way it looks now as the 20+ year old pictures seared into my memories over rode a quick walk through years later. I'm glad I did it though. I always wondered if memories could easily be wiped out and now know that they'll always be with me. The time I dropped the bucket full of sand on my big toe and the nail fell off, when I tried to take the dog bone away from the puppy and it bit me in the forehead, rescuing the baby bunny only to find it gone when my brothers "threw it behind the barn as it was dying", picking double headed daffodils, going snowmobiling in the fields behind the house, being left on my own for the first time and sobbing as I was so scared, getting lost in the swamp next door, eating dinner as a family every night, hitting baby mice with a shovel, being terrified of worms, have my own pet chicken (Chicken Little) riding my big wheel, coming home from school one day to a kitchen splattered with chicken noodle soup and hearing my mom was in the hospital from being burned by a pressure cooker full of soup being unpressurized. The list could go on, but I won't bore you.

Oh...and I did buy a 25 cent flour sifter. I've always wanted one of those.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Do you know the muffin man?

In our home, if I make a loaf of bread, be it banana, zucchini, or any type of muffin, with in two days, it has disappeared. Yesterday I made pumpkin muffins (I figured the muffins would last maybe a day longer than when I make the pumpkin bread). 30 to be exact. 7 are left. Though two went with my aunt and uncle to enjoy with their spot of tea while on the way back home to Northern Ireland. One went home with the little one I watch 3 days a week and the rest have gone into our tummies to be digested. A bit more healthy than the recipe called for with whole wheat flour and organic sugar so I feel a bit better letting the kids snack away on them. All this to say, we love bread in our household. And the aroma was pretty nice too.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

step at a time

It all started with the steps. The culprit of all things to come. Steps sink, brick pulls away from house, sidewalk crumbles, brick needs removed, house needs sided, driveway needs redone.

The first step has been successfully completed.
What was there before:

What is there now:

Monday, November 05, 2007

it's not about the money...

There is no other feeling like that of witnessing how a simple gesture can touch someone's heart. This happened on Saturday when Ed handed a check to the man who was making our front steps. It was more than he quoted Ed and the gratitude I heard in Larry's voice turned my insides to mush. It also turned my heart to mush seeing that my husband sensed that this man could use the extra money and followed through on helping him and in turn helping his family. Ed was blessing someone else and in turn was blessed himself. There really is nothing like being able to help someone else.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

We're back from a busy weekend at the parents house. The kids had a great time with aunts, uncles and cousins.

Now starts another week. Conferences are this week as are two half days for Sam. More construction will be taking place on the house of which pictures will be soon coming.

Not a very exciting post, but I wasn't going to miss a day!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

current state

This is the current state of our house. No siding, no driveway, no steps, no retaining wall..
It looks better already!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fun Friday!

Seems like Fridays turn out to be the busiest day of the week. Take today for example.
6:45 wake up and take shower
7:15 make lunches and get Sam breakfast
7:30 everyone loaded into the car to take Sam to school and Ed to work
8:00 drop boys off at respective places
8:05 trip to Meijer for supplies for a meal
8:40 home to make the meal
9:00 work
9:10 start meal
9:50 out the door to deliver meal
10:20 drop meal off and stay a bit for kids to play
11:15 off to drop Alina at Miss Kari's house to play
11:45 meet mom-in-law and take to Sam's school for Grandparents Day
11:50 stuff Friday folders
12:40 leave to go get Alina
1:00 pick up Alina and chat for a few minutes
1:30 stop to get a bite to eat
1:40 drop mom-in-law off at her car
1:50 go into office to work
2:50 back to school to pick up Sam
3:20 pick up Ed at office so he can have the car tonight
3:40 home
3:41 crash

Thursday, November 01, 2007

1st time for everything

I'm going to try the NaBloPoMo for the momth. We'll see if I can actually do this. :)