Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Ode to Such & Such

      Click here to read about my favorite purchase this Christmas! 

Yours Truly Asks:

     I believe that part of being a good blogger stems from reading good blogs.  One of my favorite things about my favorite bloggers is their willingness to respond to their readers.  I think this is one of the most important issues regarding the care and keeping of a blog.  


This is something with which I often-often struggle.  


Sorry. I'm trying to do better.  


So, my question to you, on this frigid Wednesday is: 


As a reader, how do YOU prefer bloggers to respond to your comments?
*By commenting on the same post/"under" your comment?
*via email
*visiting YOUR blog and posting a "return" comment?


As a blogger, how do YOU respond to comments?
*do you use a third party system like disqus? 


Suggestions?  


Love and a very practical post, 
H.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finally, something about Christmas or a Post about Justin

     I have not had nearly as much time/energy/gumption to post as much about Christmas as I'd like which I guess just goes to show you can't control the nature of a blog anymore than you can control the nature of the weather or what that crazy Miley's going to do next. At least I can't.  


I suppose.  And yes, that was all one sentence...and probably minus a few commas.    


     Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with my friend Justin whom I have not seen in almost three years (yikes!)  


     I was nervous.  I don't know why.  I spread my napkin across my lap even though I had not really expressed an interest in eating and avoided eye contact for a good ten minutes. I also had roughly nine cups of coffee...which I'm sure didn't help.   


     I feel as if, when I met Tim, all the relationships I had with boys-who-are-just-friends scattered like overturned chess pieces.  Justin is one of the three or four that managed to land upright, and I am so very grateful for that.  


     And as for the others?  Well, its not anyone's fault, really.   Those lines are so hard to draw.  As a wife...a friend...a 20-something, you want to be hip and cool and fun. You don't want to come off as awkward (too late!) or old-fashioned or picky... but let's face it, especially in this day and age, no one else is going to protect your marriage for you.  


Which leads us to now.  


     Sitting across from him, I couldn't help but think about(and perhaps awkwardly point out) our differences.  Democrat (I think?)...Republican....work-at-home....9-5er...City....Country...and the list goes on.  At one point, I even compared us to Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth...and later invited him to a movie (which in hindsight was probably creepy.  I promise I won't shoot you in the middle of the film.  I will at least let you catch the end of it. Ha.)


    The world will tell  has told us that we should, in a sense, be enemies.  We are standing on two completely different sides of a long, unwavering line.  


Yet, one thing remained glaringly obvious...  


how much we still have in common.  


     You see, we are a world full of people who want to be understood.  We want to be accepted.  We want to be loved.  No amount of cornfields or train rides or speeches from politicians is going to change that.  


And now on to Christmas.  


     Recently, I was thinking about the wise men and the shepherds.  Which is pretty basic, I know.  I'm not going to get into the logistics of Christmas...dates and astronomy and speculations about geography and history and religion.  


Snoozefest.  


     I do believe that something special happened and that someone came to Jesus who represented The Poor, being the Shepherd, and that someone else came representing The Wealthy (The Wise men).  I think there is such value in that, and it's such a matter of perspective.  


     I think the Shepherds represent making sacrifices that aren't tangible...our time...our effort...our own personal agendas...while the wise men's sacrifices represent what we have to give that is valuable to the world.  


Complete opposites... different sides, same coin.  


And now back to Justin.  See how I did that?  (J, you can be one of the wise men.  Being from the country, I've kind of got a way with sheep.)  


     Yeah, it only took me nearly an hour of staring at a blank screen...not to mention the 6 days I had to actually sit on that in my brain.  Ha.  
     
     You know, I spent some time on a recent online blogging forum in which people expressed a general disdain for blogs that mention God/religion.  


     My heart ached just a bit, and I thought about the voice in my head that sometimes says, "Don't mention God/religion too much.  It will isolate people."  


Meh.  


     But I am proud to say that voice rarely wins.  


     This blog is sometimes about Jesus.  
     
     If that's not your bag then don't sweat it.  You are welcome here, and I hope you find something you like because I also tend to ramble about how much I love coffee and my dogs and cooking with my crock pot.    


For some, this season is about Religion and traditions and Jesus.  


(I hope) for all of us, this season is about finding love, peace, hope, and joy and I pray all those things will be evident for you this year.  


Love, 
H. 







Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hurry up, there's no title or Running in Heels

This is exactly what I have been feeling like these days, and you want to know the truly scary thing?  Between snow days, and a pre-scheduled personal day, I only had a 2 day work week last week.  Where does the time go?  You don't even want to see my dining room table right now.  I better get busy or Santa is going to be horrified.  All I need is a bulldozer, a shovel and a really big dumpster.  On an unrelated note, how much do you love Rachel McAdams?  My guess is lots.  Lots and Lots.  

I've missed you. Meh.  Tis' the season, right?  Raise your hand if you are so incredibly busy.  

(((hand in air)))

Love and holding-out-till-break-starts-on-Wednesday, 
H.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Actually Isn't About Christmas At All

     Tonight, I took a bubble bath, more as an attempt at finding motivation than out of a desire to unwind. I sat for a few minutes, tugging at a strand of hair that had sought refuge on my left knee.  
 I also thought, a bit, about Christmas* and babies.  


     One of the things I love about having a niece is seeing what motherhood has done to my sister.  She is now absolutely insane.**  


     All joking aside, it has made her so incredibly honest and courageous and vulnerable.  


     The truth is, so much of my lack of interest in babies right now is born from fear.  I don't know that I will ever feel fill-in-the-blank-enough to be a capable mother.  Organized enough-brave enough-disciplined enough-punctual enough. No, that is not self-depricating.  That is me.  At my most honest.  We all worry about being fill-in-the-blank-enough to do or be something, and if you don't then you need to tell me your trick. I will pay you five dollars. I will.  


     I talked to Sweet Heather Marie about this.  She said motherhood does something to you.  It makes you more brave.  More efficient.  She couldn't explain it, but I heard her.  Really. I did.  


     And so, during this bath of mine, Scarlett came in and attempted to drink the water (gross, right?) and licked my nose (not gross...right?).  And I decided that motherhood must be a calling.  


Motherhood must be a calling, and The Bible is heavy with stories of people doing things even though they aren't fill-in-the-blank-enough.  


Holy Cow.  One of Moses' first complete sentences to God after being called to save the people of Israel was, "I stutter."  (Exodus 4:10)


Excuses, excuses, right?  


     It is hard for me to have conversations about babies with people who add, "You know you're never really ready to have a baby, right?"  


     I get it. Really. I do.  Tim and I are never going to look at each other and say, "What are we going to do with all this extra money in our savings account? I know! Let's have a baby!"  Or "Isn't it getting really old?  This thing where we sleep all night every night?  I know! Let's have a baby."  


However, when I am met with this answer, it makes me feel as if people aren't really listening.  


And, I know, some of that is my fault.  


     Like I said, it's a calling.  Perhaps on my days when I am not feeling quite as brave- the days when my coffee gets cold before I have time to finish it or I can't find my favorite pair of earrings...those are the days I get defensive.  


     I think the most important thing we can do is stay open- lay in the belly of the whale or let go of the basket and give The Whole Thing over to something that is greater than ourselves.  


     I will tell you this much.  We are not trying to have a baby.  I don't want to give you the wrong impression.  However, our time frame isn't really a bean I'm willing to spill.  I doubt you'll ever hear me say, "Today I had a really good turkey sandwich and quit taking my birth control." 


I give credit to bloggers who are able to be that bold- that honest.  


Me? I don't really like that kind of pressure.  I don't want people looking at my oven as if there is a bun in it.  


But I will also tell you that we are getting there.  We are building the ark.  We just haven't gathered the animals.  


Love and a thousand random-bible-story-references (all that was missing was the felt board), 
H.  


*This had absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.  It was going to at first, and then it got long.  Stay tuned.
**You are not insane.  Please don't get hormonal and tear my eyes out. I love you. ((nervous laugh))


Hey! What smells so good?  Click the picture to find out! 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This is My Husband

Sometimes, he sits on the brown, whicker trunk in the corner of our bedroom and plays me to sleep.  It's ok to swoon just a little.  I'll let you.



Thanks for listening.  I'm one proud peach.

Love and a mighty good husband,
H.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tender Mercies or, "It's called Propane, Bobby..."

     I sort of feel like we are graduating- like we really aren't "newlyweds" anymore.  That thought used to make me a little sad, but now- I am reveling in the fact that Tim and I have, to a certain extent, caught our stride.  During the first year of our marriage, I had a really, really difficult group of kiddos.  One with cancer, one with vision loss and a rare, terminal illness, two with developmental issues, the list goes on. Did I also mention that I was in the middle of earning my Master's degree?  


((sigh))


It was a tough year.  Tim was working a lot.  We had each just lost a grandparent.  We were merely surviving. 


     The second year, I think- was the hardest. Perhaps, it was the hardest because we finally had time. He had time to think about how annoying it is when I load the dishwasher as if a tiny grenade has gone off inside it.  
     I had time to overanalyze and pout over absolutely everything that came out of his mouth.  Yes, for six months or so, I became THAT wife.  Yikes.  


We usually called that "being cats & dogs" because that was the way we were "fighting."  


But now?  


Well, now that we are rounding the corner on year three, I think we have both managed to sync up.  When he's a cat, I'm a cat.  When I'm a dog, he's a dog.  


Thank you, Jesus.  (and I mean that with all sincerity).  


With that being said, maybe when you "graduate" out of newlywedishness,*  mastering the wood stove is yet another benefit.  


     In case you were wondering, the majority of our credit card debt stems from the fact that our house is was heated with propane, and in case you were also wondering, propane must come from five carat diamonds or the bones of exotic, endangered animals because propane.is.expensive.  


We were not prepared to spend that kind of money on something so stinky and expensive. 


     So, for a while, we tried heating our entire house with space heaters and a wood stove.  The house would sink to the low fifties while we were gone during the day.  It would take hours to creep into the low sixties at night.  


I did not know how cold we were keeping it until I saw how many "Photobooth" pictures were of me wearing my coat.  




Ha.  See?  


Oh, the life of an impoverished and (somewhat naive) newlywed.  


I used to hate our wood stove.  I think I even have that fact listed somewhere in my profile on an obscure, social networking site.  


But this year?  The wood stove has decided to play nice.  I think it has to do with the fact that we've had an outpouring of fire wood these days.  It seems as if, for a while, people were constantly coming up to Tim and asking if he could come get a fallen tree out of their yard or pick up a few miscellaneous logs...a family friend, a cousin, a choir member at church.  


So, now we have wood.  Lots and lots of dry, seasoned wood (and a few more baseboard heaters to boot).  


I think in mormon culture, they call those kinds of things "Tender Mercies."  Times when God just totally throws you a bone.  


What can I say?  I've said it once...ok a lot, and I will say it again.  


The Lord provides.  


So, if you have a wood stove or something else in your life that is being particularly dastardly, hang in there.  


You'll get the best of it in the end. 


See- here's living proof.  This is a picture of me NOT wearing my coat in the living room.  The current temperature is 70 degrees, and if the stove wasn't so incredibly hot right now, I'd hug it...and kiss it on the cheek.  


Look mom, no coat! 


Love and NOT being able to see my breath in the living room, 
H.  


This was wayyy longer than what I had intended.  Thank you for reading 9 paragraphs about my wood stove.  


Seriously.  Thank you.  


*Oh yea, and newlywedishness is not a word.  Don't really try to use it.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh, we own kmart now.

       I think I accidentally dressed like Liz Lemon yesterday.  You know what?  I was super-comfy.  Perfect for this rainy weather we've been having.  That Liz Lemon.  She's one step ahead of me every time.  

Jack Donaghy:"I'm Jack Donaghy. New VP of development for NBC-GE-Universal-Kmart."
Pete Hornberger:"Oh, we own Kmart now."
Jack Donaghy:"No. So why are you dressed like we do?"

Love and extra behind-the-ears-scratches,
H.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So Inspired

    I think in light of Everything...the horrible economy, the crummy weather, the fact that there is absolutely no chocolate in this house...we needed something to lighten the mood and perhaps get our creative/motivated juices flowing.  But first, a story.  


     In college,  I spent some time in California student teaching at a school that was very culturally diverse (which was the point of going to San Diego in the first place).  I loved every minute of it.  


     I had the amazing privilege of working with an adorable gal' named Alisa.  She is incredibly hip and fun and just so very "California."  Her husband burned me My Very First Deathcab for Cutie CD and I have never been the same since.  


Magic, I tell ya.  


     Anyway, her husband's company recently created and released this video, taken on the streets of San Diego.   (Her husband, Cam is the one who's board says, "Evan, Vivian, and the baby in the oven).  


     Watch it. You must.  

What Inspires You? from LJGPartners on Vimeo.


Maybe later I'll post my own list.  Feel free to leave a list of your own! 


     And in case I haven't been clear enough.  The colder it gets, the more I ache for California.  Something fierce.  


Love, 
H. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

     This is where we are choosing to spend our Black Friday.  If you've braved the crowds, have fun and scout out some good deals...or just eat eggos and watch Friends re runs in your bathrobe.  Whatever works.  
Love and The One Where Underdog Gets Away, 
H.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Chase is All You Know

     I have been posting a lot of fluff lately.  It's ok.  I can admit.  Craft projects.  Random photos and the like.  I figure it's about high time for a Post.  With a capital P.  


     Tonight, Tim and I had A Talk.  That's right.  A Talk.  It was hard.  But it was good.  I didn't cry.  But I did find myself asking him, "You're not....unhappy...are you?"  He politely said, "no."  God bless him.  


     So, he put on his p.j.'s because tonight's chat was particularly exhausting, and I made something very un-professional-like for dinner (hot dogs sauteed* with peppers and onions), drank warm fresca out of the can and tried to get all my thoughts to move in single file.    


     I worry about the failing marriages in this country.  I think the danger lies in getting married and thinking that the other person is automatically going to be able to understand and follow every little crumb we throw down.     


     There are times when Tim will refer back to something I've said, and I think to myself, "THAT'S what you got out of that conversation!?!?!"  Not as a criticism of him, per se, but more as an observation of how terribly inaccurate our points can sometimes come across.  


     I don't ever say, "He gets me." when I talk about Tim because the truth is, I hate to sound unromantic, but he doesn't.  He doesn't GET me. (If you are one of those people who says this about your significant other, don't sweat it.  It makes you no less adorable/compatible, but just hear me out.) 


     Does he understand my sense of humor?  You betcha.  Do we have similar upbringings?  Spending styles? Parenting ideas?  Of course.  He supports my faith, my hobbies.  He drowns out my fears.  
But does he "get" me?  Not a chance.  


     We had two completely different childhoods.  Different upbringings.  Different kinds of relationships.  As man/woman, we use different parts of our brains, function with varying levels of chemicals in our bodies (estrogen/testosterone- not, you know, drugs).  The list goes on.  
     The truth is, I did not realize I would have to fight for my marriage.  This is not a bad thing, just something I had yet to discover when I said, "I do."  


     Because, let's face it.  There are days where we don't necessarily fight each other.  There are just days when I think we are fighting for each other...and it's exhausting...times when we are talking seriously in the hallway, and I notice that my newest craft project has lost a letter and now reads, "TRUE LOVE WILL FIN YOU IN THE END."  


Meh.  


     So I have to drive off to the craft store and spend entirely too much time in the yarn aisle, just waiting for The Glumps to subside.  


     I just wonder if the state of marriage in this country is in such disrepair simply because people are tired.  Or they just don't know that all that fighting for each other?  It's okay.  


     So, I don't say all this because we have all the answers (we don't).  Or because we are perfect and wonderful and happy all the time (um. we kind of are).  :)  


     I just say all this because I think if you catch yourself fighting for something... shoot, if you catch yourself just fighting, I want you to know that it's going to be okay.  


He's not ever going to GET you.  But he sure is going to try.  
Love and unwarranted advice, 
H.  


*Next time you fix something un-professional-like for dinner, just use the word "sauté."  It makes everything sound so much fancier! 


Photos via: 
papersponge.com
theblogofrecord.com

The Knifty Knitter

       I have no idea what magic has fallen upon us, but lately, I feel like I have had some more time for crafting which really makes me happy.  Last weekend, some girlfriends and I purchased some knifty knitters and got together for an evening of pizza, baby-cuddling, and knitting kniftily!  


     We had SUCH a great time, and I was able to finish my scarf by the end of the weekend.


      If you are looking for an easy (CHEAP), quick-fun craft, then I highly recommend purchasing a knifty knitter! You can purchase them at Wal-mart, Hobby Lobby, Michael's or various other places online.  It took me a while to get started, but once I got the hang of it, the yarn and fingers started flying!  I think you could easily finish a scarf in one weekend.  Plus there are all kinds of youtube tutorials, patterns, and fun sites to help you along the way.  I added some brown ribbon for a more finished look, but you can also add fringe (with the right pattern/tutorial).  


     Although I didn't get too fancy, provocraft.com was one of the best pattern sites I found.  When I finally get around to adding  a little more pizazz to my stitches...look out world! 


     This is a close-up of the loom.  This is a scarf I'm working on as a Christmas gift (hence the super-secretive black & white).  


Linking up to the following sites: 



Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

www.bluecricketdesign.net
http://thetrendytreehouse.blogspot.com/search/label/Share%20Wednesdays


     Let me know if you purchase one or are into knitting/crocheting! I'd love to see some more projects and hear your stories! 


Love and quick fingers, 













Monday, November 22, 2010

Reason #672

This is why I don't fill the blog with a lot of full body shots...ok ANY body shots.
  (Taken with the self-timer whilst* sitting the camera atop our box of energy efficient light bulbs, no less)  
And also why I'm asking for this for Christmas.  
*Try to use the word "whilst" in a sentence this week.  It's fun.

Love,
H.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Make it yours day: sweater to pin in five seconds flat

   Hello!  Last night was so cold and rainy...I decided to make the best of it by getting a little crafty!  I pulled two sweaters out of my winter bin with the intention of of goodwilling them when I stumbled upon these adorable scarflettes at I am Momma...


     Well...I have yet to get to those...however, I couldn't stand the thought of wasting all that good extra material so I decided to go from sweater to pin in five seconds flat (hence the title).


Want in on this action?  




Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden



     All you will need is an old sweater, scissors, a hot glue gun, safety pins, some embellishments (optional) and an ounce of courage (a must)!
     Cut the sleeves into thin strips- equal to the number pins you want to make ( I ended up layering two colors for a couple of the pins).  First, you will have an "o" where your wrist/arm would go...cut the "o" so you have one long strip.
Roll them like a cinnamon roll ( a few of my strips had to be tossed- be careful because the yarn starts to unravel, but don't give up)!
Secure the end with hot glue
Add desired embellishments and safety pin onto anything that's not moving!



***Disclaimer*** I am still learning a lot about how to photograph my crafts! Our house is super dark so even with lights on, I can't seem to get a good shot...the color is either a funny orange or everything is blurry.  I welcome any and all suggestions (and am considering asking for a new camera for Christmas!)


Love and better shots next time, 
H.  






All the way from San Francisco as I chased the end of your rope

Call me overly-dramatic, but....





sometimes my entire body aches for California.  



Pictures just can't do it justice. 


What do you find yourself aching for these days?  


Love and feeling 'home'sick, 
H. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't be sad, I know you will*

As promised, here is a post about my piano quote from yesterday.  (Do you like how straightforward that intro. was?)  
     
     Well, I love that Melissa at Dear Baby uses the Pablo Neruda line, "Love, Love, here we are." Sort of as her family's "motto" and again, I wanted in on that action, too.  As much as I LOVE hers, I just couldn't live with the idea of being a copycat (remember, I spend my days with second graders).  So I let my brain sit on that whole idea for just a little while.

     Yesterday, I was petting Scarlett, and I remembered how long it took us to find her.  It felt like we searched for The Perfect Puppy for months.  Lo and behold, there she was.

True love will find you in the end.

     One time, I was in a really weird, really dramatic accident.  Around the same time, Tim was in the middle of his own heartbreak.  I think we both left those experiences worried that we had lost a part of ourselves forever- as if we had missed Every Important Chance Regarding Love That Ever Possibly Existed.  He was hurting.  I had gone crazy.  As individuals, we were both a bit of a mess.  If I could go back and tell That Old Version of Me any one thing, it would be this...

True love will find you in the end.

     As you may already know, I think a lot about babies.  I think a lot about babies because well, babies are cuddly and squishy and fun.  I worry sometimes that it will take us years to get pregnant and we will be too old and shrively by that time to make very many babies in the end, but then I think about our new motto and tell myself that if such is the case, we will just be uber trendy like Brad & Angelina and adopt some ethnically diverse babies.  

See?

True love will find you in the end.

So, there you have it.

Love and Mates of State cover songs, 
H. 

*Did you know that about 99.9% of my titles are song lyrics?  I'm so un-creative when it comes to titles. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This is a Promise with a Catch

In my last post, I mentioned a project I wanted to work on and asked for your help.  You all came through like champs, and I had such a hard time deciding exactly what quote I was going to use.  


     Watching a video from nieniedialogues, I noticed she had some adorable patterned letters on the front of her piano (Watch the Friday I'm in Love video from Nov. 4th).  


Seeing as how Tim & I admire ours more than we actually play it, I wanted in on that patterned-letter-piano-action.  

 After a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, I ended up with this...

     I also added a framed picture of binoculars that came from an old Sears Catalog.  I cracked up at the connection between "finding" love and the binoculars.  Maybe I'm just easily amused.  I have one or two things I'd like to move around (I'm not crazy about the blank space between the records and the phone).

     One of the things I dread about winter is moving around about 3/4 of our living room decor.  The wood stove makes everything next to and above it SO HOT that it makes even the simplest of things a potential fire hazard (or melts them completely as we learned the hard way our first winter).  I'd also like to mention that the heat from the wood stove killed my favorite houseplant, and yes- I'm still getting over it.


Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden


All joking aside, I'm pretty tickled with it for now.

     Why'd I end up with that quote, you ask?

Well, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Love and patience, grasshopper.
H.

  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'll Play Along

     Olivia k Carter at "For Me" always posts "Wish I was Here" Wednesdays.  Her photos are always so clean and classic.  Not to mention inviting.  She's encouraged others to link up.  Seeing as how I took a sick day today (a nasty stomach bug) I thought a similar post would be fitting.  

     I am a decent swimmer, but I have always been a sucker for amusement park lazy rivers.  Give me some sunscreen, a yellow raft, some good company and a winding concrete maze filled with water and harsh-smelling chemicals (haha), and I'll totally get my money's worth.  





Love and extra ginger ale,
H.


photo courtesy of Marigold Holidays