Friday, January 29, 2010

My Sewing Career So Far

In about 1983, I took a home economics class at my junior high. My main memories of the class include a handwashing seminar (probably review from Kindergarten); baking a pineapple upside down cake (which is disgusting and I haven't had since); and (attempting) to sew a shorts outfit from white fabric with tiny red polka dots (sure to give most people over the age of nine a migraine headache).

The pineapple upside-down cake turned out fine. The shorts outfit, if I remember correctly, was never finished and I flunked.

In spring of 2008, my neighbor got the bright idea that we should make Easter dresses for our daughters. She promised to help me. We chose patterns and fabric and ribbon for trim and zippers. The next couple months were spent carving out time to sit at the sewing machine and try to piece the dress together. It went better than I expected, but I had a LOT of help.

This Christmas I got a sewing machine from Kevin. I love it! I didn't expect to (thanks to the home ec experience and a few other issues with my expert-seamstress mother), but I do.

So far, I've sewn sheets for the girls' dolls (my first "project"); some dress-up capes, and a flannel nightgown for Bethanie's doll, Emma. I can tell Emma appreciates it. Bethanie certainly does. Now I have fabric for some gift items, a NY Giants pillowcase for Joe, and a jumper for Cayna's doll, Julie. We'll see if I have the courage to move on from 18-inch doll clothes and simple rectangular items.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Potatoes for Breakfast and Other Strange Happenings

Last night at 9:00 I started scrubbing potatoes and wrapping them in foil and Kevin looked at me like I was a little weird.

After they were baked, I let them cool and wrapped 'em up in plastic wrap and put 'em in the frig.

This morning, I cut up a half a potato and sauteed it in butter. For breakfast. It was beyond odd. Yes, I've had hash browns before, but normally prepared by someone else, and most often at a restaurant. It is unheard of for me to cook anything for myself other than eggs before noon.

Potatoes may be a new staple. And eggs, probably hard-boiled since I can do them ahead of time. And when I start getting really exotic, perhaps I will try scrambling them in coconut oil, as I have recently learned from a sugar-free friend. In fact, the health benefits of good coconut oil were twice shared with me yesterday, from friends in different cities.

It is Day 5 of the no-sugar plan. I had a twinge of longing yesterday when my kids each had a rootbeer candy from a store we went to and the van was filled with the sweet aroma. But aside from the expected grief, I'm doing okay.

One big benefit I can see, aside from no longer acting like a raving lunatic, is that I'm going to have to get better at cooking. I could slack before since all I really cared about was dessert, but no longer. I think this week's meal plan reflects my efforts to branch out a bit --- and some selfishness is reflected as well. For instance, no one in my family likes shrimp, but it's going in tonight's Jambalaya because I love it and I gotta have something to look forward to. Plus, there's chicken in there, too, so they'll survive.

Our meals this week:

Monday - Tortellini, from a DELICIOUS recipe including spinach, ham, peppers, and butter.
Tuesday - Quesadillas, easy-breezy since I had moms' group.
Wednesday - Salmon. Very few members of the family ate it, but I thought it was scrumptious!
Thursday - Crockpot Jambalaya - I can't wait!
Friday - Adobo Chicken. I've never had this before. Another experiment. Out of Sam Zien's cookbook. I like him. Hope I like his adobo chicken recipe.
Saturday - Artichoke chicken. Potentially yummy.
Sunday - Hamburgers (my kids have to eat sometime!)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beautiful, beautiful rainy day

And we went out in it. To do errands. The combination of errands and rainy day might make some people near-suicidal but we actually enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong, I at first tried to get the kids to go to either one of two neighbors, but it didn't work out. And now I'm actually glad. My children were freakishly good. In line at one stop, there was a school bus driver observing my children and she said something to the effect of: "They're freakishly good!" She observed they must be on track break and Joe told me later he almost told her they were homeschooled but didn't.

In other news, Moms' Group is going great and in our first meeting of the year we had a whole slew of new women!

This weekend we will be hosting the National Evangelization Team while they lead retreats at our church.

Friday is a "field trip" to see some religious sisters from the Carmelites coming for the weekend from So Cal.

I'm reading a weeeeeeeeeeeeird book. Born to Run. It's bizarro. I'm only a few chapters in, so I can't wait to see where this thing is headed. I'm glad I know a wonderful someone in Georgia who has read it so I can discuss it with her when I finish.

Still awaiting the arrival of Potatoes Not Prozac in the mail. Come on, USPS!

It's weird, I admit, that I remember this - but today would have been the 41st birthday of good ol' Jay, my high school/early college boyfriend. Except that he was fatally electrocuted outside the dorms at UNLV in 1996. How's that for wacky? Now go have a nice day!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Aw, shucks...

I'm actually typing with tears in my eyes. Thanks, friends, for the words of encouragement. I needed them.

I had a pretty icky headache that started late yesterday afternoon and was still there when I went to bed. Also some mild nausea, but I'm not sure if the nausea was a withdrawal symptom or just stress-related since this feels crazy right now.

Haven't even received Potatoes Not Prozac in the mail yet, but I started reading Lick the Sugar Habit (which I ordered instead of Suicide by Sugar as I'd said in my post). I finished the book in one day. Quitting sugar scares the living crap out of me. I ranted to Kevin, "This is impossible! It's ridiculous!" after I reviewed an "eating plan" suggestion toward the end of the book. His reply: "Why do you think so few people do it?" To his credit, he told me he would give it up too (at least around me) and that means a lot.

And standing at that ice cream freezer I felt like I was (please don't roll your eyes) staring at my best friend and trying to come up with an explanation for why we can't hang out anymore. It sucks. Plus, that "best friend" will be nearly everywhere and I'll have to constantly ignore her.

Funny how I try to backpedal and justify things. "Well, maybe I'm not THAT bad." But I can't think of any other reason for out-of-the-blue rage and depression. We'll see if it works. Thanks for the kind comments.

(Amy, it thrills me to know even one person who has done this. I may be calling you.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 1 --- Ugh.

This is it, folks. Day 1 of no more sugar.

Did you watch "Friends"? If so, remember Fun Bobby? Fun Bobby was not so fun once they figured out he was an alcoholic and he stopped drinking.

I picture myself becoming not-so-fun Teri if I don't eat sugar. What will become of me? I've never tried such a thing. Even in the remotest parts of India, I found candy bars and sat eating them on a stone bench.

New parts of my personality never-before revealed will appear and it is yet to be determined how favorable they will be.

In a move of excruciating irony, we had to bring dessert to friends' house for dinner. Decided to pick up a box of ice cream sandwiches for the kids, so I found myself standing before the freezer section at the grocery store. The ICE CREAM section of the freezer section. With hundreds of ice cream choices arrayed before my eyes the thought of giving up sugar seemed preposterous. And so it is. But I'm willing to try preposterous in the name of my mental health. One note: If, after a year, I am not a new woman free of rages and mood swings, I am going RIGHT back to the ice cream section!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Twitter Trial

Last night I was looking up a writer I like and found she, like everyone else, is on Twitter. Me going over to Twitter is like a gambling addict "just browsing" in a casino. And of course I signed up to see what it was all about. Near as I can tell, it's Facebook without the faces. The best part about it was reading my artist friend Jelaine's description of what she does: "sniff paint".

Yes, I signed up.
No, I won't be going back.
I'll cut out the middle man and just tell you what my tweets would be for the next week:

*Ahhhhh! What a joy to have Twitter. Now I can get my fix without going back to Facebook.

*Ponderous heaps of Pachyderm Poop! (No one says that enough.)

*Going out for a walk. If I'm not back in an hour, send a posse.

*Speaking of posses, I saw a funny bumper sticker the other day that said: "Support your local search and rescue --- Get lost!"

*It's good to see old friends. Hope they think the same of me.

*Where the heck is that elusive sippy-cup?

*Where's my Amazon shipment? Where? Where? WHERE???

*My armpits itch. Maybe just the left one. Why is that?

*When did I have four kids? And where are they, anyway?

*We need t.p., Kleenex, diaper wipes, large quantities of juice, and construction paper. Off to Costco!

*Dang that's a lot to spend in one warehouse.

*Should I wear my jeans or my black boot-cuts?

*Did Liza Minelli have these same problems?

*We judged "Parks and Rec" too soon. It's actually quite funny.

*Kevin looks really good in his Batman shirt. And I don't normally have a thing for superheroes.

*Is it bad to tell the kids their tilapia is chicken?

*Armpit still itching. Maybe it's time to go back to the Crystal.

*How often do you wash your bedsheets?

*I'm Googling "bedbugs".

*Going out for a run! Why have the satellites been slow lately?

*Imagine if I'd married Ray Derryberry. My name would be Teri Derryberry. Wouldn't have happened. But I did really like Bryan McCrary. And Teri McCrary is nearly as silly as Teri Derryberry. I've never since met anyone with the last name Derryberry. But I swear I'm not making it up.

*Google my name sometime. It's shocking.

*Nothing puts me in a rage faster than having just cleaned the huge mirrors in my bathroom and my part daughter/part schnauzer shakes her wet head all over them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Most I've Laughed Tonight

And that's saying a lot since we just watched all our fave sit-coms.

Watch this. (Real Preachers of Genius: Seeker-Sensitive Mega Church Guy)

Here's to you, Jason Morton!

Day past

Never did get out into the drear (much). Traipsed next door for lunch. Ran (literally) to the mailbox in the downpour. It rained for hours. We're going mildly stir-crazy, but soon the sun will shine again and everyone will be healthy (did I mention most of my children were ill yesterday?) and we'll make our way out into the world.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting anxiously for my new mental-health books to arrive and - as I love to do - analyzing the heck out of my average day to see where I want to make changes.

Things I observed today:

Journalling is VERY good for me. I am overly introspective and I need a place to spew all those thoughts and analyses. Putting them in a book just feels good. And getting stuff OUT of my brain and onto the paper is like taking a deep breath and relaxing. As if having it in writing gives me permission to quit ruminating on it.

Praying the rosary is almost vital. When I pray the rosary, I HAVE to focus on Jesus! In my regular prayer time, it's uncanny how even my prayers for others have a way of wandering back and focusing on me. But the rosary isn't about me. Another breath of fresh air.

Cleaning the bathtub makes my back hurt. (Well, it IS something I observed today.)

A little quiet built into the day is also worth the supreme effort it takes. During John's nap, the older kids all have to play quietly in their rooms for an hour. After I talked to a friend on the phone and prayed the rosary I rested on my many pillows and listened to the rain fall. It was only for a minute or two, but it gave me the boost I needed to move into the evening of dinner prep and other assorted responsibilities.

That's it for the observations, as I am observing how worn out I am. It's time to crash on the couch for a while.


Dreary is a word. Is drear? When I opened curtains this morning and looked outside, I thought, "drear". I'm not complaining. It's just a fact. Rainy and gray. In fact, I like it because of its uniqueness around here.

We have nowhere to go today, but I'm going to have to come up with something so we can get out into the drear.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm Firing Elvis

It's true. Time to can my psychiatrist. We gave it a go, we had some laughs, and I spent a lot of money on the relationship - but it's just not working out for me.

I'll spare my beloved readers the sordid (read: boring) details of the breakup, but suffice to say I will no longer be taking any prescription medication.

So... in the grand tradition of all the other wackos out there who "graduate themselves" from therapy, I went online to try to find another solution. At the lovely, I ordered a copy of Potatoes Not Prozac, having heard about it years ago on a mothering website I used to be a part of. Then, thanks to Amazon's clever marketing, I went ahead and ordered Suicide by Sugar and Sugar Blues as well.

Even if it's a longshot, this is in an effort to be proactive and find something that works for me. I ordered the three books above, plus one on running to get me going again, and I'm still coming in cheaper than one visit to Elvis (who I posted about back here). Note: Elvis did eventually prescribe a total of three medications, all of which I tried for many months.

I fully expect this to revolutionize my life, and I will turn into one of those extremists who goes on an on about my own life changes and insists everyone else do the same. I will rename my blog "Sugar Sucks" and while I will no longer be prone to anger and moodiness, those will be replaced with narrow-minded nutritional nonsense and a teeny bit of arrogance. Plus, there's always the slight chance that, failing to live up to my new ideals, I'll revert to my practices as a preschooler when my parents found a shoebox of sugar under my bed.*

*Totally not kidding. This may really explain some of my problems!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

First Day of College

Me and hundreds of other students converged on the dorms and I was reading the names written on hanging tags above all the beds to try to find mine. My name was spelled "Terry" on my tag and I'd been mistakenly placed in a room with three guys. I put my suitcase down and set off to find the woman in charge of room assignments. She was quite busy, so I went to the communal bathroom and took a shower. Gave myself a walking tour of the dorm area, including the exotically foreign-looking mall adjacent. There was a beauty parlor, a bookstore, and room after room of bunkbeds. Finally I ran into the room assignment coordinator and she acknowledged the problem but was on her way home for the night. She told me to sleep in the room I'd been given just this one night and she'd straighten everything out tomorrow. It was minutes before eight p.m., which was when dinner was to be served, so I dropped by my room to check on things. There were four guys napping in their beds, one being mine - and one had his son there napping on an air mattress on the floor. He told me they'd be out tomorrow, but this didn't solve the problem of where I would sleep that night. Other than the bed problems, I was quite excited to have this chance to live in the dorms for one semester while finishing my doctorate degree. I was worried that all the young students would think it was weird to have a 39 year-old among them, but then I saw another older woman with pictures of kids older than mine decorating the desk in her room and she seemed to be getting along quite nicely.

And all this after reading about Vietnam right before sleep. Wouldn't you think I'd dream of something else entirely?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oh no

Kevin and I have been asked to give a talk - together - on Communication for the Pre-Cana group.

Kevin remarked we might as well learn to juggle flaming swords for the talk while we're at it.

Grape Soda Jesus

Wouldn't you think I would have something God-breathed to share on a Sunday? I'm sure I could come up with a topic, God's always at work in my life --- but maybe not in ways I care to rehash in my blog. At least not every Sabbath.

So, instead, I want to share that yesterday I got to drink a Grape soda. I love Grape soda, and I haven't had one since I lived in Hanford and was pregnant with Cayna. My good friend Colette had one on hand when I was having a craving. Bless her.

Bought a whole 12-pack yesterday with a friend who recently confessed she, too, loves Grape soda. And her family growing up, like mine, rarely had soda in the house. So Grape soda was for her a treat they got when they took family camping trips. While the guys went out to BWW for football and chicken last night - the girls (and many many children) had dinner together. Dinner included Grape soda (for the grown-ups - the kids had water -- they have to have the same experience of soda being a rare treat, right?). It was sooooooo good. Even with the freakishly unnatural bluish-purplish foam forming at the top reminding me of a nuclear accident, it was delicioso!

Jesus gets mentioned in the post title because it's still His day...even if I decide to blog about other things. Amen!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We worked well together

Recently, I gave a talk on Marriage at church. I've given a similar talk before, but this time the format was different. This time, I gave my portion of the talk following our pastor, Father Mark. Father Mark is a canon lawyer. He's also funny, and those two qualities made me look forward to hearing what he had to say on the topic. After he spoke, I got up to share what largely amounted to a testimony of my experiences with the annulment process and learning what the church teaches on artificial contraception and why.

Today I saw him and he told me he thought I did a good talk and that we worked well together. I thanked him and agreed that we made a good team. Canon law compliments a newly-Catholic woman in the trenches, and vice versa. And the cool thing is we'll be repeating it for a different group in the near future.

Just chalk this up as one more new experience for me in my Catholicism - sharing a podium with a Priest! I'm honored, and it was just darn fun, too.

Stay tuned for reports on how my first talk on Mary goes. It's a couple months away, and I have a bit more reading and some serious prayer ahead to get prepared.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Walk, don't run

I do like running. But I like having company better, and I can't find running buddies. So I'm walking. Walking terrifies people less than running. And now I have two friends willing to go out walking a few times a week. We go just over three miles, and we end up jogging a bit because one walking buddy (Kristi) is convinced it's easier on some of her achy leg muscles. Fine with me! Maybe this will catch on and I will have developed running buddies accidentally.

I'm afraid their interest in exercise is going to fizzle out, so I feel this need to make it as exciting as possible. You know, pointing out the beautiful scenery, providing stimulating conversation. And, once last week as we set off onto a scary dark path I blurted out the line from Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "I have a gun! And a scorching case of herpes!" It worked. No one attacked us. Apparently I scared Sharon Anne to death, though because I yelled so loud.

Our next walk involves flashlights, off-roading, and mountain lion repellant. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One of the stranger memories

Very shortly after Kevin and I were married, one of the students I knew well in InterVarsity said her grandfather was in town and wanted to meet me. He was a high-stakes gambler. I'm sure there is a more polished word for that, but I don't know it. So when he came to Vegas, he was given a room, as was his granddaughter. Kevin and I dressed up and went to meet them at a fancy restaurant in Caesar's.

The grandfather was short, well-dressed, curt. His chauffer/attendant and two other men accompanied him. We all sat around a large semi-circle booth and he ordered our food. We began with shark fin soup. I was torn between the tense formality of this dinner and the urge to giggle that Kevin had to ingest shark fin soup.

I have no memory of what we talked about. What would a twenty-something newlywed Las Vegas missionary say to a Philippine gambling grandfather? At the end of the meal, he gave us three hundred dollars. It was after he left that his granddaughter handed it to us. We used it to buy dining room chairs, as we had none. I believe he loved his granddaughter, knew of her involvement in this "Christian group" and wanted to check us out.

Stranger things have happened, I suppose.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Four Women*

* Names have been changed to protect me.

Leigh - Born in a rainy part of the country, the oldest of more than half a dozen children. A bit resentful of her upbringing, for a million reasons, big and small. Her dad was abusive, though not tremendously so. Abusive is abusive, though, right? Married young. Just one child. Then a divorce, and more marriages and divorces. For decades, she has worked in a job she isn't happy with, but it mostly pays the bills. Friendly as all get out. She'll smile and talk to anyone she meets. Has a penchant for shopping. Likes to be shopped FOR, as well. Doesn't like herself in pictures, and rolls her eyes a LOT.

Natalie - Moved around a lot in her childhood, even out of the country. Father was an alcoholic, but he managed to (mostly) hide it during Natalie's young adult years. Married right out of high school and into a military life. Relocated internationally again. Close relationship with her mom, so she missed her while overseas. After years of being unable to conceive, she (they) adopt children. Then the marriage falls apart and she quickly marries the opposite of the first husband. Unsure of herself, but given a few raw materials, she can make beautiful things.

Summer - From a very broken, confusing family in the Midwest. Not a lot of money. Still makes it to college a little uncertain how to make it in the world (aren't we all at that point, probably even with good family background?) Marries. Works. Has kids. Divorces. Marries again. Divorces again. Marries again. Not quite ever sure where she's going. Turning to God, but burdened with guilt over those divorces and even things before the divorces. Has a deep, almost tragic desire to reach out and be needed at the same time.

Bridget - Hardworking Catholic parents. Kind of a gray childhood. Marries young. Husband takes her for granted and even cheats on her. Two children. Many years, then divorce. After all she's been through, she's more careful the second time around. Also, way more focused on herself, and this probably doesn't bode well for the children. Stays married, but some part of her past makes it difficult for her to just sit down and breathe sometimes. People like her and are drawn to her. She's fun, and generous. And longs for a part of her past that it turns out she never really understood.

These are women in my life. Some of the closest. And I'm pulling their stories together into one big story, and wondering how some of the common patterns have affected my life.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Comfy School

The school my kids are enrolled in provides me with a "consultant". Our consultant lives on a dairy farm in the midwest. She told me once that when she was homeschooling her daughter they would occasionally, in the winter, stay under the warm covers in the morning with some books and tackle a few subjects in their pajamas. That always sounded fun to me, but it didn't happen until today.

Joe woke up earlier than the other kids and asked if we could go downstairs and do some school before the girls woke up. I was enjoying being lazy on my bed, so suggested he bring books upstairs. He did. We finished history, Latin, geography, and poetry before eight o'clock a.m. Granted, three of those subjects demand only a few minutes each for memory work - and I was dressed and lounging on my already-made bed - AND we don't live in the cold midwest. But our house is at least a bit chilly and my bed is comfy even when it's made and it was nice and felt VERY productive to cross four subjects off the list before breakfast. So I had my homeschool fun for the day.

Join us later this afternoon when we plant TWO cactus/succulent gardens for a science experiment.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jump on the Furniture

Ready... set...


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Linger or Mop?

I read a book in college called Reclaiming Friendship by Ajith Fernando. One of the big concepts from the book was "Lingering" and how it's a forgotten skill. I have a hard time believing that among college students - all they DO is linger (i.e. "hang out"). I probably remember that concept because I thought it justified giving more time to relationships at the cost of studying, grades, showing up for my part-time job, etc.

Really, Mr. Fernando, I am a FABULOUS lingerer. I actually had to develop the discipline of not being the last one at a party, and I still struggle with that. I once got fired from a job and the boss told my friend, "All I ever see her doing is talking to everyone." Yes, that's a problem when you're supposed to be doing payroll - but it makes for a great dorm Bible study leader. Good thing I figured that out and moved toward campus ministry rather than accounting.

Anyway... Ajith Fernando's point, if I remember correctly, wasn't to forsake your job - but he emphasized how important it is to give time to your relationships. As a stay-at-home mom, I notice all the other stay-at-home moms have very little time to linger, what with baby's nap schedule, housework, and those pesky meals you have to make magically appear three times a day. Add to that holidays, hobbies, computer time, nail-filing, sleeping, laundry, going to the bathroom, minor home repairs, and trips to the store, and it's a wonder we even HAVE any friendship time. When I get to hang out with friends, it's like GOLD, I tell you.

It happened today. It was chilly outside, but the sun was shining and all the kids were playing and there was always a neighbor-friend to sit and chat with. But my floor needed mopping. Desperately. And yet I couldn't tear myself away. We were out there for easily four hours. No problems were solved, or diseases cured. And my floor is still filthy. But I'm going to believe that Ajith Fernando would be proud.

And tomorrow is Sunday! Mass and then MORE relaxation. Gotta find someone to linger with.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Document this.

6:11 p.m. Friday, January 8th, two-thousand ten.
Christmas decorations at the Loves are put away.

Less than a week after Epiphany, that's pretty good, no?

Interior ones, that is. We may officially be the last ones in the neighborhood with the exterior lights still shining.

Those stinkin' photo frame ornaments

Years ago my mom gave me several beautiful photo frame ornaments. A couple years later, mother-in-law gave me four more. This year, another from a friend. AAAAAAA!!! They collected in a box because I don't have/take the time to sit down and print out teeny-tiny photos to go IN them.

Last night I sat down and did it. Took me less than an hour (shocker! how many dreaded chores would take WAY less time than I fear if I just tackled them?). I put a "first Christmas" baby photo of each of the kids in a frame, and a photo of Kevin and me in a "Love" frame. Still had a "Joy" one, and it was a no-brainer what photo to add there - one of our house covered in snow last December - still one of my favorite, most joyous days ever.

So the "chore" turned out to be not so tedious.

But, please, no more photo frames anyone. I can't handle the pressure.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Darned if you do...

...and darned if you don't.

I love chili. No one else in my family likes it, but I keep hoping if I tweak it just the right way, I'll trick them into eating and liking it.

But then, when I go through all the effort to make home-made and they barely touch it, I'm annoyed. So I got a bag of Fritos and some canned stuff and tried again tonight. Didn't go over well. It honestly looked like dog food. I don't blame anyone for not loving it, but I put the Fritos right into the bowls with the chili, so they had to eat just a little bit to get the Fritos.

Put forth effort, get annoyed at the waste of time. Buy canned chili, get grossed out. I give up!

P.S. I have a stomachache.

Me and C-SPAN

I'm in constant search-mode for activities that remedy my occasional moodiness. Today, I sat down with an open-faced pb&j (to savor the marmalade) in front of C-SPAN. Haven't tried this before.

Not sure it helped. What it DID do was send me to the computer to look up a bunch of words not in my current vocabulary and almost convince me that I need to spend MORE time in front of the TV to get filled in on all the stuff going on that I heard of for the first time today.

Let's see what else I can come up with...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Dollhouse

Over a year ago, I blogged about the oodles of dollhouse furniture my dad made my girls--- with no house!

This year, dad bought the house, but we had to assemble it ourselves. Or, rather, Kevin had to assemble it. I was the designated painter - a much easier job.

I love dollhouses, and I hoped as it came together that the girls would love theirs. I will say that Kevin didn't love putting it together. Here is some documentation.

It was a frustrating endeavor at times. I could tell by the swearing, the tantrums, and the breaks he had to take to keep from throwing it into the dumpster. So the expression he's wearing, and the knife threat above are accurate depictions of the experience. Good thing he's a construction manager, and not a worker in his career world.

Putting the siding on. By this point, there was an end in sight so Kevin was much more calm. Also, we had adjusted to the sleep deprivation of working on it late nights after the kids were in bed.

Christmas Eve I painted the thing and sealed the roof (we don't want leaks in rainstorms). Yes, the downstairs smelled toxic. No, I didn't care. It was finished!

I got the paint on the "oops" shelf at the hardware store, so I had to take the shade of pink that was available. Turns out to be the exact color of my childhood home - no joke. And here it sits in the girls' room. Well loved, well played-with, well finished! Hallelujah.

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Post of 2010

Too many unrelated things are going on in my world to comprise a coherent post. So you get an incoherent post. Lucky you!

I wrote to my current favorite blogger, Mark Shea about his writing (including his Mary books, of which I've finished one volume). And he wrote me back! Granted, his reply was brief, nothing to hang on the wall and exclaim about, but still...

Step-mom bought me leggings for Christmas. Nice ones. But I have nothing to wear with leggings. Last time I wore leggings, I paired them with my boyfriend's sweatshirt and some Esprit shoes and the year was 1987. Today, all my other pants were in the laundry, so I wore the leggings. All day I have felt like a nerd. I'm wearing them wrong --- not in keeping with 2010 style. Either I need to purchase an appropriate tunic, long sweater, or use them solely for running pants (and probably still feel dorky in them).

Today is the feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Bethanie's favorite saint. Normally we have dessert and invite neighbors over for special saints' days, but tonight it's Rice Krispie treats and a little reading of her biography. Here's a good quote of hers: "Live simply, that others might simply live."

Joe Peterson is a long-time friend of Kevin's, stood up in our wedding, and is currently living and working in Kenya. Read a touching (and wild) story of how he spent his first hours of 2010 in this post.

We're back to school around here after two weeks off (and a weak week before that) so I was anxious about getting back into the groove. Today went well, though. Hoping for the same the rest of the week.

And perhaps I'll get my thoughts together for future posts.