Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On turning 30

I've been trying to blog about this particular topic for the past three days, but nothing has sounded quite right. 

I'm not upset about turning 30, per say...but I'm not supposed to be that old yet.  Can it be possible that it's been a full 10 years since I protested turning 20?!  How is it possible that time has moved this quickly when it took a full 10 years to get from 15 to 16?

A benefit of adulthood, I suppose.

I guess I thought things would be different at this point in my life--but then, who doesn't expect that?  When I think about all of the things people I know have accomplished at this point in life, I feel behind somehow.  My mom pointed out that I will likely feel that way at every stage of life, and that's probably true.  The funny part of those feelings is the fact that I'm not really jealous; I don't want all of those things at this point.  I just didn't think I would have so far to go when I reached this point. 

That's probably funny to say.  I'm sure I'll be 60 and saying the exact same thing.  Prepare for a blog about that in another 30 years.

But despite the fact that there are things I haven't accomplished, there are so many things that are wonderful in this season of my life.

For instance, there's this guy.  I have a hundred pictures of him in funny hats, and I can imagine that I'll have a hundred more before we meet Jesus face to face.  At his funeral, I fully intend to put them all together on one board so people can experience the man I've known over the course of my marriage.

He is my supporter.  He encourages me and knows my weaknesses and strengths.

He's always willing to participate in activities (even when it means he ends up in some silly get-up), and he makes me laugh like nobody's business.

We've been married for seven years, and, as he likes to point out, some days it feels like seven days and some days it feels like seven decades.  But, for better or worse, I can't imagine what kind of person I would be without him.  He was with me through almost ALL of my twenties (we started dating right before I turned 22 and married when I was almost 23), and has allowed me the opportunity to grow and change in those seven years. 

When I was interviewed at A-J, one of the pricipals asked me what I felt was my greatest accomplishment outside the professional world.  I thought for a minute, then I responded, "My relationship with my brothers."

Maybe it doesn't sound important to a lot of people, but I'm thankful, at 30, to have, not just a functioning relationship with my brothers, but a close relationship with both of them.

Ronnie (top) is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met, and I've learned a lot of random things from him over the years (though math isn't on that list).

Tim (bottom...in this super-awesome coat) knows how to have a good time and shares my love of karaoke.  He also shares my mutual interest in Shakespeare...or he's at least willing to discuss it with me.

Although, I will believe that I have truly arrived when I manage to make Ronnie read The Kite Runner.  So far, I'm at a loss...but your day is coming, Big Brother.


There's also these two people.  At 30, I'm grateful to have an awesome relationship with both of my parents.  I was actually thinking recently about how much I've needed them in my 20s.  You would think that you'd need them less and less as you get older, but I'm finding the opposite is true.

My dad still stops by my classroom to check up on me, and it's not difficult to see that he gets a little proud when students hug me at graduation.

My mom has become my confidant and sounding-board.  I never would have believed it when I was a kid, but she and I are a lot alike.

And there's nothing like having a couple of people who have been there/done that to talk you through the building process.



I've been a part of the same singing group since I was 19.  That's right, we've been singing together for 11 years (ELEVEN. YEARS. OH. MY. GRACIOUS.).  But after 11 years, we still can't agree on a name so we're not called anything.  We are simply "The Girls" and we sing together because we love Jesus.  It's really that easy.  Our harmony is probably a little nicer this far down the road, but we aren't nearly as interested in that as we are in giving people the opportunity to praise their Lord and Savior.

And, while I don't have a picture of them, I feel it's necessary to mention my Bible Study Women.  Their impact on my life has been phenomenal--and humbling.

I discovered teaching.  I made friends with some awesome people at school (Looking at you, Morgan, Kerry and Schmeig!).  I learned that I love my job, and I really appreciate co-workers who are willing to hang out outside of the classroom.

I still haven't gone to grad school (and I'm not sure I plan to in the near future).  I don't have children.  I feel like my Deliverer is having to teach me the same lessons I should have learned at 23 (even though I feel like I'm in a different place with him).  My goal of becoming the Proverbs 31 woman is probably more than 50 years from being realized.  I still can't play the guitar.  I'm not at my ideal weight, and I have never managed to shave my legs with any sort of regularity.  So when I say I feel behind, I mean it in a lot of respects.

But it turns out that 30 isn't so bad.  I'm a little older (but I think I look really good--thanks for those genes, Mom & Dad!); I may not be wise, but I've certainly learned things to this point:  mostly that it's not all about me and what I want. 

In the past few years, I feel that I HAVE managed to learn that I am not my own.  I have been bought with a price.  God is gracious enough to allow me all of these things.  He has been gracious enough to give me 30 years. 

As I trek into the next stage of my life, I hope I'll stop feeling behind and start realizing that there will always be so much more to learn and/or accomplish...that He will direct my path...that the Proverbs 31 woman probably never had to wiggle into spanx...

But I digress...

Thirty isn't just another day for me.  But it doesn't scare me anymore, either.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Birthday: My Wish

I realize it's really unlike me to post twice in one day, but I was feeling good and avoiding laundry ;)

Just kidding...sorta.  I really just wanted to take this opportunity to share a few things with those of you who wondered what it is I might enjoy for my birthday this year.  Frankly, I don't have a lot of wants, but I thought I could share a few things for those of you who would be interested.


Have I mentioned that I would like a cookie cake with icing in the middle and another cookie on top of it for my birthday?  No?  Well, take a look at the picture.  This is totally what I want.

On a side note (for those of you who think I'm nuts about now), the diet I've been on completely cuts out carbs, sugar, etc.  I figured since it's my birthday (and the big three-oh), I should be able to eat what I want.  Well, this is what I want.  Make it happen.


I've also been staring pretty hard at this little momma.  This would be the Coach Sydney purse that I fell in love with the first time I saw it.  Don't get your panties in a ruffle--I'm not expecting anything here.  The purse is, after all, $800.  I would be afraid to take it out in public...or I would make everyone in public appreciate the gloriousness of this beautiful piece of handbag majesty.  (I like purses.  What can I say?)


On a real note, I'd like a new backpack/messenger bag.  My Swiss Army backpack has held up really well, but I'd like to graduate to something a little more professional looking.  This is the SwissGear Saturn. 

It looks roomy enough to hold a variety of grading as well as my laptop, iPod, etc.  I think I'll have enough room to tote myself to and from school.


I don't watch a ton of television (even though my set is always on).  I generally use it as white noise when I'm home alone because Chris works evenings.  But there are a few shows I like, and some I'm sorry I missed.  I love Debra Messing (because I think she's beautiful and I loved her article in Shape about losing her baby weight).  That said, I'd like to watch The Starter Wife...and so far, I think there's only one season.


I'm always cool with Barnes and Noble gift cards because I read a lot.  A.  LOT.  During the summer, it's one of the things I love to do the most.  I don't get a lot of time to read stuff during the school year, and there's nothing I love more than settling down with a good book.  I like to read fiction and non-fiction, fantasy and science fiction, and I would never turn down a good children's book (or YA).

For those of you feeling particularly ambitious, I'd like to look like this for my birthday:

I wish you luck.

In little items, there's a magnetic necklace at Hallmark that holds charms.  I'd like one with a yellow gem inside it (or maybe 3 yellow gems...or 2...just whatever.  I don't particularly care for anything other than the little rhinestones, though).  I also like shoes, so gift cards to Macys or Penneys are always options.  I like Vera Bradley, but I'm not sure there's anything of hers I want at this point in time.

I'm also interested in this:

I'd prefer to have a leather one as opposed to a hardcover (in case you were wondering).

I'm sure there are other things that would make me equally as happy.  Feel free to try your hand--I'm not hard to please.

But I'd mostly prefer to have my friends and family hang out in the pool and have a good time.  You are more than invited on Sunday afternoon, July 4th to float, sit and eat with the best of us.

And, to make my older brother happy, yes, I realize I'm turning 30.  I'll have more to say about that at a later date.

Simple Joys

I happen to think that ordinary life is exceptionally fun when one is willing to embrace it for what it is.  I say that realizing that I will never walk down the red carpet and knowing that no one is going to chase me down because they absolutely MUST copy my hairstyle.  But, for me, that's perfectly fine. 

I have had the privilege of appreciating the simplest of joys.  Sometimes it's getting your toes done just to make a bad week a little brighter.

I don't have the prettiest feet, so every now and again I try to get a pedicure so the callouses on my heels don't take over my entire leg (how's that for gross?!).  This time, I went with a classic red. 

Sometimes simple joys mean walking through the mall to see five boys who have crammed themselves into the hurricane simulator.  Of course, that feeling escalates when you realize that all of those students are from your high school, and many of them were your own students.

Who wouldn't enjoy this?  To add to the madness, one of the guys in this very small space was the heavy weight for our wrestling team.  Surely you can see the problem with this picture.


Simple joys might mean finding the perfect jewelry to go with a new dress.  Again, that joy is magnified when the jewelry is a lovely shade of yellow.  Yellow is my favorite color so when I found a black and white dress, I knew I would be able to accessorize with sunny brightness :)

And who doesn't love shiny, gem-like beads when it comes to jewelry?  Seriously.  Every girl wants to sparkle...in an acceptable fashion.


And name me a girl who can't find joy in a new pair of shoes.  Since my friend Michael was getting married in the heat of June, I didn't feel daring enough to wear a pair of heels.  I love to rock peep toe pumps as much as the next girl, but when it's a hundred degrees outside, I sweat.  My feet sweat.  Then, my feet slide in my shoes.  It's not pleasant.

With that in mind, I decided a fun pair of flat sandals would do the trick.  Aren't they fun?  And they're a nice pewter color that will match a variety of clothing choices.  Feel free to applaud my taste.

But joy is most often found in the happiness of others.  Today I had the privilege of watching a dear friend (he was my bestie in college!) marry a wonderful woman.  Even though it was hot (Seriously.  So.  Hot.), it was hard not to appreciate the sense of joy that filled the hearts of those who witnessed two hearts as they were stitched together as husband and wife.

So ordinary life isn't so bad when you look at it through a certain lens.  Those simple joys offer me more than any People cover ever could.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Progress in the form of walls

Hubby has been way too cool these days.  He "found" his sunglasses (he forgot he had any) and has been using them to up his gangsta ante when we drive around town.

In his defense, it's been really hot in these parts.  I can't blame him for wanting to do something--anything--to keep the sun at bay.

We've been making quite a bit of progress on the house, but Hubby's been torn in more than one direction.  Not only does he have house stuff to care for, he has farm stuff that requires his attention...plus his regular job.  Pray for him.  I get worried that he takes on too much.

I have a few things you need to see before I get you to official "updated" status.  First of all, they poured the footers for the basement last week.  I got a few pictures, but all of them were in the dark so I figured you could do with one.  Those are rods sticking out of the concrete. 

At this point, Hubby started asking me if the house was looking bigger to me now.  He was increasingly frustrated to hear that my answer was still no.



Not long after the footers were poured, those ambitious concrete guys (I LOVE THEM!) started putting up the forms for the walls.  What you're looking at here is the inside of the basement.  It has outside forms and they were tying horizontal rods at this point.

I wish I had pictures to show you the number of concrete trucks that came through to pour the walls, but I'm at a loss.  I can tell you that my little barker consistently warned me that someone was outside.  Good thing they weren't trying to rob us, because I'm pretty sure one concrete truck could demolish this trailer.

Hubby was so excited about the forms for walls, that he decided to climb on top of the dirt mountain that is our front yard and discuss the view.  I'm not sure how much you can really see in this picture, but he is really right--the view is going to be gorgeous.  Keep in mind, however, that I live in a really beautiful part of the country.    Every season brings an entirely new array of colors.  I don't think we will lack for scenery from our front porch.

On another note, look at my man.  Isn't he really impressive?  If you don't think so, it's because you're not looking at that picture closely enough.  He's a magnificent display of health and vitality.  Makes me jealous.

Which brings us to today.  This is the first official look at my complete basement walls.  To the left, there is a gravel pile, and what you can't see is the beginning to the garage.

This weekend, Hubby and a variety of help will be digging in the plumbing and getting that stuff situated so the next group of concrete guys can come in and pour a floor.  After that, we welcome the carpenters and an actual look at the house.

I'm excited, but apprehensive.  Looking at a plan on paper is a different animal than seeing it live and close up.  Again, Chris keeps telling me how big this space is.  Again, my spatial problem keeps me from seeing it.  I know we won't be disappointed, but I'm a little stunted at this point, I guess.

One more picture at the bottom of the whole she-bang (which is a little difficult to get a picture of considering it's all in the ground), then stay tuned.  More updates to come.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Golden Pen Award: Nanny wins!

In case you didn't know, Hubby's Nanny was up for an award the local paper gives away to people who write compelling letters to the editor.  She was nominated along with three other people, and ended up winning with 53% of the votes (which was really exciting for us!). 

For those of you who voted, we really appreciate your support.  The paper ran a nice little article about her along with her picture, and I thought I'd repost it for your viewing pleasure.  FYI:  I will be changing specific names and places for the sake of privacy.

State Lawmakers: Beware of Nov. 2 Voting


June 19, 2010

It was tough to pick a winner of the Golden Pen Award for May. The letters to the editor written by three finalists were out-standing.

I finally picked the strong letter written by Shirley K. and so did a majority of the readers who cast votes online or through the mail. If their vote is an indication, our incumbent lawmakers shouldn't plan for a party after the Nov. 2 election. It might be wiser to plan a "moving out of Springfield" sale.

Shirley was pleased to win the award. "This just made my week," she said.

Shirley's letter suggested cutting lawmakers' pay and the trappings of elected office instead of slashing funds for education. That made sense to me and the 86 others who picked her letter as last month's best. Letters from Robert Harper of C-dale and Carol Conder earned 54 and 11 votes, respectively.

Shirley resembles my first grade teacher, a lovely and patient woman. I wondered if Shirley got worked up about the educational budget slashing because she was a retired teacher.

Nope. Just concerned about state government. Very concerned.

"It irritates me that they've raised taxes for schools and it didn't go to schools," she said. "They have asked people to take furloughs. I don't see any of them taking furloughs. I don't see any of them saying I don't want the last raise I got."

Shirley worked briefly in the office at International Shoe Co. after graduating from high school. She married her high school sweetheart, Willard K., a few months after getting her diploma and worked as a homemaker, wife and mother as he worked for the Illinois Central Railroad. He died last September, but Shirley's love for him is alive.

"We were married for 55 years, 10 months and 24 days," she said.

Shirley lives near her 95-year-old mother, two grown daughters, four grandsons and one great-granddaughter. It's a close family, she said, and they are able to see one another daily - a rare blessing in our move-to-get-ahead world.

When she's not helping her mother, Shirley said she enjoys being outdoors on her acreage, which includes animals, a barn and pond.

--G. METRO
 
For a glance at Nanny's letter, continue reading:
 
To the editor:


I was reading Gov. Quinn's report on raising income taxes to pay funding for schools. It seems we are sacrificing our children's education. I didn't see anywhere in the article where all of our elected people, from the governor on down, were going to take a 10 percent to 15 percent reduction in pay to help out the budget.

Why does it seem logical to raise taxes and cut school funding? Excuse me. The taxes are supposed to go to schools.

Those of us that are on fixed incomes have to budget out money every month. If something comes up unexpectedly, we have to adjust our budget. We do not cut out our major expenses.

Our children are our leaders of tomorrow. They need the best education possible. That doesn't mean closing schools and putting children in already crowded classrooms. It doesn't mean putting teachers out of work.

Slash at the top and cut out vehicles, trips and other non-essential expenses.

SHIRLEY K.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In honor of Father's Day

Meet my father--he loooooves pictures.  I realized the other day that I'm not very faithful with the camera, but I've made a resolution to fix that problem. 

Thankfully, I have plenty of pictures to make this post worthwhile for those of you who do follow.

My dad was/is an iron worker.  I can't say that his career is entirely in the past, because so many things he learned or loved on the job still carry into his every day life.  Want an example?  When they were tying rods for my soon-to-be basement, he came out to my house to make sure they were doing it "correctly."  Thank heavens they were!  I'm not sure they would've wanted to see the wrath of the iron worker ;)

Of course, iron working (and other house ventures) isn't his only talent.  Until this year, he was a playground supervisor at a local grade school, and he really found his niche.  He loves little kids.  So when we decided to dress as the cast of Peter Pan for our church's annual Trunk or Treat, he agreed to dress as youngest brother, Michael--complete with onsie pajamas and a teddy bear.

Unfortunately, his job as a playground supervisor didn't last due to lack of funds in education.  But did it stop him from enjoying students or praising their accomplishments?  Absoutely not.  As a member of the local high school board, he still makes time to know what's going on in the lives of students.  At graduation, he hands out several diplomas so he can hug the ones he's known since they were little.  In fact, some of them, at the mere age of 9 or 10, consistently invited him to their little dances and he wouldn't have been short dates.  No siree.  His dance card would've been completely full.

In spite of all of his skills, he's not always camera-ready.  Can you tell?  I think he was deeply involved in some conversation about NASCAR, because he's a huge fan. 

He's always liked sports.  In fact, I have a couple of stories about really pushing my older brother and I to become track stars.  It didn't work out.  AT.  ALL.   But, these days, NASCAR seems to be at the top of the list of his sports loves.  He and my mom have been to Daytona a couple of times for the race, and he always looks like a little kid at Christmas.


Can you see Dale Jr. in that picture?  Doesn't it look like he's sitting right next to Dale Sr.?  Well, if you don't think so, you're blind.  Because on top of loving NASCAR, my dad bears a striking resemblance to the former NASCAR star.  The look-a-like thing doesn't stop there.  My dad also looks a little like Tom Selleck (Magnum P.I.) and apparently a baseball player named Wade Boggs (it's entirely possible that this guy is retired now.  I don't follow baseball).  When my little brother was in high school, one of his buddies walked outside the gym to find my dad waiting for my little brother to finish practice.  The conversation when a little like this:

Silly Boy:  Dude, WADE BOGGS is standing in the foyer!
Lil Bro:  Um...yeah...that's my dad.
Silly Boy:  DUDE...YOUR DAD IS WADE BOGGS!

I guess there's no convincing some people.

This is my dad and my mom.  I won't tell you how they met, because the story is a little disturbing.  But an apparently non-romantic start led to three children and a relationship that has lasted 35 years on December 12!  They were married in 1975.  My older brother was born in 1978; I came along in 1980 and lil bro made his appearance in 1984. 

Today, their relationship has made it easy for me to determine the way my marriage should work.  They've set a fantastic example.


This is the only picture I have of most of us with my father.  Unfortunately, lil bro was still in the AirForce at this point in time, so he couldn't be in the picture.

From left to right:  Hubby, Me, my dad, Older Bro and his girlfriend, Sheena (who also blogs).

My dad's heart is really big, and he loves us unconditionally.  He and my mom have opened the doors of their home to countless numbers of non-homeless "children" in the community, and as a result, I have several non-biological brothers and sisters.  To date, Kate, Amber, Jake, Brad and countless others count my mom and dad as their "second parents."  I only wish I had a picture of my dad with all of his "kids."  I'm just not sure it would be possible to get them and all the dogs in the same photograph ;)

I hope this simple post goes a long way in showing you what a fantastic person he is.  If I had pictures of him on the roof of the house, or iron working, or spoiling his shih tzu, etc., I would totally post them.  But you'll have to use your imagination to know all of his wonderful qualities.

Hopefully, it will not take a rocket scientist to figure out how much I love him.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!  I love you!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just Another Day

I guess I could post the pictures I took last night, but I just don't feel like it.

It's been one of those days--crappy, rainy and boring.  I haven't done much and, frankly, I just don't feel like doing much.  I should be happy and thankful for what I have, but tonight I just keep revisiting things over the past months and some things just make me sad.  I guess we all have days like that.

So, tonight, if you need a blast of happy, head on over to my friend Kate's blog and enjoy the heartfelt feelings of a sister toward her little brother right before his wedding.

And enjoy what you've been given.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Surprise! We're here!

I can't get too many pictures of what is going on today at the house site because I am seriously afraid that some of those trucks would run over me if I got in their way.  They are large and they are carrying quite a bit of equipment.  I wouldn't stand a chance.

None-the-less, I have managed to get a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

First of all, I don't think I've shared what a beautiful area I live in.  I haven't given you too many pictures of what surrounds us out here, but this is part of my drive home from C-dale.  I went to a Zumba class with my friend, Morgan, yesterday (Am I feeling it today, you ask?  Ha.  Understatement of the moment!) and decided to take a few pictures of what I see on my way there and home.

In the fall, the area is even prettier because all of the leaves change.  All in all, it's just a beautiful drive.

It's really nothing to see several different types of wildlife as you drive, either.  We see turkeys, deer, the occasional skunk, etc.  A couple of times, Hubby and I have seen mamas leading their babies across the road.  And while they smell horrible, baby skunks are about the cutest thing in the animal kingdom.  Baby turkeys?  Not so much.

You can also see that there isn't much that surrounds us.  It's true.  We have few neighbors, and traffic is slim unless it's a weekend.  On the weekends, people travel the Wine Trail, and I'm just a stop along the way (well, I would be if people wanted to stop...but since I don't know many of them, we're good).


Yesterday, a ton of equipment started to show up at the house.  There was this thing (some sort of conveyor belt?).  Hubby wasn't much excited about it and didn't try to find a way to use it, mostly because he doesn't know what it's for.  I guess I should be thankful that some pieces of equipment fall into this category.  Otherwise, we would have a farm covered with large pieces of machinery that would only serve to ruin said beautiful piece of property.



A bunch of these showed up in the yard.  They're for the basement walls, and I'm pretty sure my dad will be over tomorrow to ensure that they tie the rods correctly.  He is a former iron worker and has something about how carpenters aren't as interested in this part of the job than iron workers are. 

Frankly, if he wants to be involved, I say more power to him.  I don't really know much about this part of the house-building process so I walk around like a big moron the majority of the time.  And had I my camera at home depot last night, I would've proven it to you.


This morning, this guy showed up.  I have no idea what all is on that trailer, but it looks important and it's parked directly in my front yard.  But BECAUSE it was parked in my front yard, the next guy had some navagation difficulties.


He showed up on a huge tractor trailer and freaked the dogs out to no end.  Barky thought we were being attacked by some alien life form and felt the need to warn me for the entire hour the guy was out there.  I tried to explain that unless the Transformers franchise is based on a true story, we were safe, but he felt it was his canine duty to keep me safe at all costs.

Later today (like, when everyone has left), I have every intention of getting some more pictures so you can see the actual progress at the actual house site.  The basement people have informed us that they will be pouring walls tomorrow which means that all the concrete work will be complete by early next week.  Then, on to the fun stuff.

As soon as I have the chance to get more pictures, I have every intention of showing you what I've been looking at for the inside of the house (because all things pretty is my department).  Stay tuned...and pray for our sanity.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Someone pressed pause, but it wasn't me.

Those of you who have been waiting on a house update won't have to wait much longer.  We've been sitting at a standstill since the dirt-work-guy finished the big hole because the rain makes it next to impossible to pour footings and subsequently the actual "big hole" walls.

Yet again, I am reminded that at this point in the process it goes very quickly.  Yet again, I maintain that we shall see.  I'm going to try to get some pictures today of the massive amount of material that has been dropped off at my house starting at 9 this morning (which led to my dog barking like a mad person and me sincerely contemplating a bark collar).  Want a picture of my little offender?

He looks sweet and innocent, doesn't he?  When I take him on walks, people always want to pet him because he's so furry and darling, but there's a beast inside that furry outside, folks.  And there's a reason we call him Barky.  If anything unusual comes into the yard (or if people are simply headed down to the tomato patch) he barks until you could see how a beating might be the best choice for all invovled.
Despite that, I love him.  He was my wedding gift from Chris, born on my birthday and my personal pick.


I meant to blog about my weekend activities--not that they were interesting, but this blog is called "A Life in Ordinary" so you were adequately warned before reading.

For Mother's Day, my brothers and I got my mom a gift certificate so she could buy a new Vera Bradley.  She's a big fan of the bags (so am I, but I'm holding out for the $800 Coach purse), and has been staring at this one for quite some time.  For all of the admirers out there, it's the bowler style, holds all sorts of stuff in an organized fashion, and the pattern is called Purple passion.  It took her a while to decide that this was definitely what she wanted, but she was pleased with her purchase.

That evening, we headed back to mom and dad's for dinner and swimming.  Everyone is really trying to be supportive regarding my new set of dietary requirements, but I'll admit that some days it's all I can do to avoid eating ice cream.  What sort of diet would keep me from eating ice cream every now and then, you ask?  Well, it's a little long and complicated, but I'll try to break it down simply.

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  This particular syndrome accounts for a variety of symptoms I've been dealing with for the past 6 or 7 years, but the diagnosis doesn't end the frustration.  Women with PCOS have a lot of difficulty losing weight, and even if they are eating the same diet and exercising the same amount as a regular, lean woman, they will likely gain weight.  So you can see the frustrating part of this equation.  There is no medicine to fix the problem.  The only "fix" is a carefully monitored diet, and that won't even cure the disease.  It simply causes many of its tell-tale signs to retreat.

I've been reading a lot about PCOS and how to control it with diet, but the plan is absolutely rigorous.  No dairy.  No carbs.  Only meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and eggs.  It's the hardest thing I've ever done, but when you have people who are willing to go the extra mile to make it easier, it's not so bad.  So on Saturday night, my mom fixed fare that I could eat without kicking the diet to the curb (because, let's face it, it's not really a diet.  I'll have to do this for the rest of my life...yay, me.).


There were mixed veggies with a great seasoning.


Filet mignon and ribeye (which are on the outer skirts of this diet, but worked for me).


And of course, fresh/frozen fruit with no added sugar.

Anyway, like I said, it was nice to have the added help.  And afterward, we spent time in my parent's awesome pool.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to swim.  My love might even override my hatred of swimming apparel.  Here's the oasis:


I had hoped I would have time to blog about a few more things that night (or a couple nights before), but I have to get ready for my first Zumba class in a year.  I'm meeting my friend, Morgan, and we are PUMPED.

I'll let you know how it goes.  I'm seeing ambulances and muscule relaxers in my future.

--Crystal

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's a hole--in the ground and in his leg.

Yesterday was my first experience including several pictures into one blog.  So you all are going to have to stick with me as I get better at this process.

Today, I thought we'd take a brief look at the big hole everyone continues to refer to as a basement.  I refuse to call it such.  A basement is a room or series of rooms sitting underneath A HOUSE...and until I have one of those on top of mine, we shall refer to it as big hole.

Ok...so let's get started, shall we?

If you were staring at what would be my house, this is what you would see currently.  To your left, we have big hole.  To your right, we have solid land that will hold a garage.



To your right, you will see the complete hole.  Hubby keeps telling me how enormous it is.  According to a a survey I took during mentoring courses for teaching, I am not a spatial person.  Which makes total sense when you consider that I can stand over the top of this hole and tell him that it doesn't look very big to me.  And it doesn't, honestly.  But I keep hearing how big this house is, so I guess I'll trust the expertise of someone else.

This is the trackhoe that is sitting beside what will be my garage.  Hubby has also thoroughly searched this piece of equipment for keys, but to no avail.  I'm pretty positive he would give up our house and everything we have to own it and destroy pretty well any piece of property we own, along with his parent's property, his brother's property, the hippie neighbor's property, his uncles property, etc.  You get the picture.  I see enormous holes all over the farm.  Anyone else?  And I'm pretty positive that we don't have gold or anything in them there hills...  Quick thinking of the dirt work guy to take the keys to this one, too.

Yesterday, Hubby worked all day tying tomatoes.  Have I mentioned we have a small tomato farm?  We are currently sitting at 6,000 plants with a few peppers (about 4,000) here and there.  We run commercial vegetables to local stands and grocery stores.  And by we, I mean that someone does it.  Typically, my involvement is limited to occasional packing.  In my defense, however, my MIL told me when I got married that girls only pack.  So here we are.

Anyway, Hubby was hot and tired so we decided swimming sounded really great.  We went to my parents' pool, and it was freezing.  As a former swimmer, I've sworn I will no longer get into water under 92 degrees because I don't have to (it's similiar to that never running a mile thing...but that's for another day).  So we ended up just hanging out in the hot tub and talking to my dad. 

We left, and decided to grab some food in C-dale, but Hubby only wore his shorts and a shirt and we didn't want to go all the way home for him to change.  So he went to Applebees in his sexy orange swim trunks.  And if you think I missed a picture of that, you don't know me at all!

Now that's a sexy man, no?  In the picture, it probably doesn't look horrible, but it was hard to get a great picture in full light.  Please note the weird blue shirt he's wearing.  I'm not really sure where that came from, and I think he chose it just because we were going swimming and no one else would see it.  Well, joke's on him.  Maybe next time he'll make better clothing choices.  Actually, I'm pretty sure I make all of his clothing choices...but rest assured, I didn't buy that thing.  I promise.

We continued our trip by looking for tamari which I have needed for several new recipes I'm trying.  This new diet thing has been really difficult for me, but I've really been trying to pay attention to how I feel, and I've noticed that I really do feel so much better than I had in the past.  And my cravings for bad stuff are really down to a minimum.  I can already tell you that I won't be able to stick to it on special occasions, but I think I can probably maintain some sense of dedication to it throughout the week and on most weekends. 

Wow...that was a tangent.  Tamari isn't sold at regular grocery stores so we ended up at International Grocery to get what we needed.  While at a new grocery store, we always look for cheese variations to take to Hubby's Nanny who LOVES cheese.  In the process, we found this:

It was amazing.  It's a sharp, white cheddar that has been flavored with port wine and brandy so it's bright pink (Appreciate, Morgan.  I actually bought it because it was pink!)  At any rate, it was wonderful.  I really enjoyed it.  Hubby also purchased some sheep cheese which he and Nanny ate this morning.  It smelled strong, so I decided to pass.

This morning we had to head to the doctor to have Hubby's leg checked out.  Seems he was bitten by a brown recluse and the spot on his leg has gotten infected.  It also has that tell-tale black core that makes the whole thing look decidedly less yummy (if you can consider legs yummy).  The doctor said there was no need to consider amputation which I thought was good, because he's roughing in plumbing this week--one foot or two.  Thought you might enjoy a picture of his leg:

Ignore that shadow on the bottom.  That has nothing to do with the spider bite.

We ended our night last night with a trip to Barnes and Noble and the funniest book I've ever read to date.  You can check out parts of it at a website that I will be glad to give out to individuals who ask (because the site has a lot of vulgar words and I don't want to insult anyone). 

This evening I'm going SugarBean's t-ball game and I'm sure that's going to be loads of fun for everyone.  I understand she's a pretty good hitter, but loses interest in the field.  I'm looking forward to watching her hunt rabbits instead of baseballs.

May your day be spider bite free!

                                                        ~Crystal

Monday, June 7, 2010

You don't need to squint, there is no house.

In the name of keeping everyone up to date, I thought I would show you the stages my land has gone through in the last week or so.

So this is what the land looked like before we ever did anything to it.
To your left is the view from what will be my front porch.



This would be the view if you were staring at the front of my house.







And this is what it would look like as you are driving over to my house.








Now...let's see if I can manage to show you what it looked like before the basement was finished.  I haven't taken basement pictures yet, but I have a couple of days because they aren't pouring concrete until Wednesday.  I will say that I really like the concrete guys because they don't mess around.  Everyone else may take their sweet time to make things happen, but not these guys.  The only reason they weren't out on Monday was because of two rain days last week.  But they have informed the dirt work guy and the contractor that things need to be good to go by Wednesday.  I understand things go very quickly at this point.  I'm not a believer.

Ok...so this is kinda part of the drive over to the new house location.  My garage is actually going to be on the left side of that tree line...oh, and that's hubby's thumb.  Everyone wave :)




This is the view from my front porch after dirtwork.  We don't get to keep the dozer.  Apparently, it doesn't matter if the guy showed up two and half months late, we can't keep equipment to make up for the time loss.  Chris was extremely disappointed.  (I should also tell you that he thoroughly checked the thing for keys after the guy moved it in.  I had visions of a dozer in the pond and trying to explain how that happened.  Thank the Lord the guy was smart enough to take the keys with him.  I think he's met men like my husband...)


If you were staring at my house, this is what you would see.  Well, hopefully, you would actually see a house, but this is a process and I can't have things instantaneously.  Unfortunately.  Which usually means I whine. 

Actually, I haven't really whined about any of this stuff (except when that guy took 2 1/2 months to get here), but it is a lot more stressful than I would've imagined. 

Don't believe me?  Go buy windows.  When they read you the final total, see if you don't hyperventilate.  And we didn't even order the most expensive ones on the market.  Actually, my choices were rather reasonable...and I feel the need to point this out because right after I picked out the windows, I found a beautiful interior door.  I showed it to Chris and the sales guy said, "Yeah, isn't that gorgeous?  That's the most expensive door in the building."  Stupid sales guy.  But I guess my tastes have remained consistent.

Next on the list:  I get to pick out siding, roofing and accents for the outside of the house.  I already have my heart set on a dark gray siding with a dark gray roof.  And Chris and I have picked a front door.  Check it out:
Isn't is wonderful?  I've always wanted a red front door.  And I think it'll pop nicely against the dark gray siding.


Well, stay tuned for tales about plumbing, footings and basement pouring.  I'm not really sure how that's going to go, and it has us a little nervous.  I have been told that after the basement is poured, everything will go very quickly from there.  We'll see.