Thursday, June 30, 2011

L loves S

Even though it was 9 o'clock in the morning, it felt Very Early.  I did everything I possibly could before getting dressed.  I ate a bowl of Cheerios. I fed the dogs.  I checked my email.  And then, I could put it off no longer.  We were leaving for the beach at 9:30, and my clock read 27 minutes after.

For the first time in almost 10 months, it was time to put on my swimsuit.  

Bah.

That's right. Bah.

Ready to toss on my cover-up, I glanced in the mirror to make sure nothing was sticking out in weird places or had mysteriously gotten lumpier or yickier or flatter or rounder over the winter.

In passing, I thought, "Hey, this looks kind of good."  It's a cute swimsuit, if I do say so myself.  It is a fire engine red one piece with a halter top, a gathered waist and wide bottoms- just like the 50's.
And I almost wanted to deny it.  "This does not look good."  In fact, I almost felt weird for thinking it did.  I'm not saying I walk around thinking I look terrible all the time.

I'm just saying I worry about what the world is teaching us.  You know, The Things We Don't Realize.

I'm not knocking reality t.v.  I'm not. Really.  That is not a battle I'm willing to fight.

I like my Clean House and my Hoarders and my America's Best Dance Crew just as much as the next guy.

I just wonder if shows like American Idol, America's Next Top Model and The Bachelor are teaching us that we have to fit into an extreme.

We're either Amazing or we're terrible.

We're either Gorgeous or homely.

We're either "pretty" and worth fighting for or "pretty" and bat-bleep-crazy.

Example A.  I'm assuming this girl didn't "win."

                                                                             source

Can't we just be in the middle?  Really?  It sounds strange, doesn't it?  Or better yet, can't we just be in the middle- yet fill our lives with people who make us FEEL like we aren't?  Can't we be their Carrie Underwood or their Tyra Banks or their whatever-girl-has-gotten-the-last-rose-on-The Bachelor?

Yes.  I'm saying yes.  Yes we can.  I pray that's true in my own life, I pray I'm that kind of woman for Tim, and I'll pray that same prayer for you, if you'd like.

Tonight, on our way out the door, I told Tim, "There simply aren't enough pictures of just the two of us."

Without missing a beat, he assumed the position like all good husbands do.

Click-snap.

Upon inspection...

"It looks good." I replied.

And you know what?  It did.

So, here we are.

My Luke Skywalker.

His Scarlett Johansson.

Love and there are about 1,000 images on Google for "Girl crying on The Bachelor." It's just sad. Really.

H.

Linking up with Casey.  
Having a bad day?  Here. This will help.  :)

Love and fast forward to 1:45,
H.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sushi for You...shi

     One of the funnest things about being married is falling in love with something only to find out that your spouse also loves it!

Enter: Sushi!

      Over time, I've discovered a small circle of pals who also love it. However, I'm fully aware that part of the appeal has to do with Dancing Wasabi, our favorite Sushi place.  On the outskirts of the city, there is a teeny, tiny neighborhood called Mt. Lookout that seems as if someone took a sprawling town square and squished it like play-doh.  The traffic is horrible.  The buildings are super close together.

And we happen to love it.

     Dancing Wasabi is in the heart of this little nook- of- a- neighborhood.  They feature 1/2 price sushi on a regular basis along with some good tunes and an inch and 1/2 of elbow room.  Whenever I'm there, I always swoon over the couples sitting at the little sushi bar looking very trendy and urban.  It just looks like fun. Right?

The other night, 5 o'clock hit, and we had no plans.

I raised my hands like an evil genius who has harnessed triple molecular energy (or something like that) and proclaimed, "Tonight, we will have 1/2 price Sushi!"  

Ok. It was more a suggestion than a proclamation, but I think you know what I mean.

You guys.  It was an absolutely perfect evening.  We had no trouble parking.  Traffic was light, and the weather was gorgeous.  We hit the door, and a small man with a mustache waved his hand and said, "You can sit at the table....or...you can sit at the bar."

I tried to play it so super cool...like, "Sure, yea...I guess we'll sit at the bar..."  Like I'm so inconvenienced by the mere thought of sitting at the bar with its...its...interesting things to look at and its coziness and good proximity to the bathroom.  How dare they suggest we sit at the bar?

 I was overjoyed.  Overjoyed, I tell ya.'

So, we sat at the bar and had fried rice and way too many Philly rolls*.  I didn't take too many pictures.  I know some places are weird about restaurant pics.  Like, BLATANT restaurant pics. and I didn't want to upset my new best friends at Dancing Wasabi.

Here's a few I did manage.


 You can kiss a sheet of paper and hang it in the frame.  How cute is that?
      I don't know what it was about that night.  Other than sitting at the bar***, and finding good parking in Mt. Lookout, of all places, nothing overly-spectacular happened.  However, it was one of the best dates we've had in a long time, and we do have some good dates.  :)

Love and some ginger on the side,
H.

*Did you know that some sushi is COOKED?  Overall, we prefer the cooked stuff.  We watched an episode of Monsters Inside Me that changed our lives and our stomachs forever.  Next time you're feeling brave, you should try it!  Here's a link to an article you might find helpful!  California Rolls & anything "tempura" (or deep fried) are among our favorites!

**I'm sure my 3rd Generation Nazarene parents would be horrified to know I celebrated "sitting at the bar," so I feel a need to tell you that it was a bar that specialized in SUSHI.  I did not imbibe.  Plus, I just wanted to use the word "imbibe."

Monday, June 20, 2011

In case you wanted to know...

     These are the most comfortable shoes I think I have ever owned.  I already told Tim I'm getting another pair  3 new pairs and saving them for the fall.  Since chasing 5 year olds all day is the new name of the game, these puppies will be my first day of school shoes.  Maybe with khaki's and a polo.

     Yes.  I'm getting my game face on for the first day already.  There is no celebration like preparation.  Or something like that.

     I bought them at Payless.  I love it because the style name has the world "Ahoy" in it!  I used to avoid Payless, but I think the store overall has come a LONG way!  They are currently having their buy one get one 1/2 off sale.  I think there's a pair of boating shoes calling your name! I know they are shouting my name pretty loudly!

Click here to get your own! 



*I know this totally reads as a "sponsored" post, but it's not- I just love my new shoes. I think good, comfy AFFORDABLE shoes are hard to find- so when I find a pair, I have to announce it to the world.  Yes.  My clock reads 10:43, and I'm STILL wearing them!

Love and a pair in every color,
H.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Craftsperation!

     Our church is putting together a quilt that represents the families in our congregation.  We have a quilt hanging in the foyer from years ago- I think Heather & I were in Elementary School at the time (?).

     It is neat to look at the old one and see how we've come full circle.   We've gone from watching our mom put together a square for our family of four to sewing our own squares for our respective families!

     This is a huge part of the reason why I slacked on blogging so much this spring.  It doesn't look like it would take that long, but yowza! It was pretty time-consuming for a newbie like me. It is kind of a crummy picture because I took it on Tim's phone, but you get the gist.

     Embroidery/counted cross stitch is something I've really gotten into lately.  I think it is currently one of my favorite hobbies.  I didn't use a pattern (except for the lettering), and I think my favorite part is the little bird's nest!  ***Editor's Note*** I added 3 eggs because I hope we have 3 kids someday, but don't tell anyone else, ok?


     Here are some links to some embroidery blogs I'm currently loving, the site that provided my lettering, and the book that sparked my interest in cross stitch!  The funny things is, I found both of these blogs by Googling, "Cool cross stitch" in an act of desperation.  I was tired of only finding grandma-esque patterns, and I'm totally loving these two sites!  Delving more into the online cross stitch scene is definitely on my summer-to-do list!

www.feelingstitchy.com
http://sewlovelyembroidery.blogspot.com/
Free Patterns Online

Miss Wooly's mini-cross-stitch book
(sorry about the color/quality of the photo, that's all Amazon gave me to work with!)



















What have you been working on lately?  Any other stitchers out there?
Love and what's next?
H.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tips for Buying Your First Home

     Here are a few things I jotted down about first-time home ownership!  I am not an expert, by any means. However, these are some "if I knew then what I know now..." ideas that I've been sitting on for a while. If you're starting this new adventure, then I hope you find this post helpful!  Feel free to email me with questions!


In your mind, picture how much storage space you think you'll need and then multiply it.

By 100.

Just kidding. Kind of.  All joking aside, think about how much storage space you have now vs. how much you think you'll need in the future.  This is a biggie.  Take it from the girl who bought a house with no linen closet.  If you have a linen closet, give it a big hug.  A good linen closet is not something to be taken for granted.

       A house comes with lots of extra "stuff."  When we bought our house- an artificial Christmas tree, 2 lawnmowers, 2 ladders, 'nice' suitcases, and a piano (we inherited from Tim's grandparents) all followed suit shortly after.  Having a house means you are an adult.  Sorry. Maybe you should have been sitting down for that part.  This means you're going to get some grown-up stuff.  Stuff no one bequeathed you, loaned you, purchased you, or expected you to have when you were in an apartment or your parents' house.  You will also be required to use words like "bequeath."

Know what you'll be doing there.  Do you plan on having kids in this house?  Do you want to do a lot of entertaining?  Will you be getting a dog?  From what I understand, babies take up a lot of space and dogs NEED a lot of space.  Is there a big yard?  Is there a big enough eating area for a high chair?  Is there ample parking for when friends and family come to visit? Is the master bedroom upstairs while all the other rooms (and possible nursery) are downstairs or vice versa?  You don't want to constantly be traipsing up and down the stairs every time you need to get to your wee one.

Don't get caught up with appearances.  I'll admit, our house is a bit odd looking.  When we pulled into the driveway for the first time, Tim's first response was, "...No..."  However, once we noticed the big maple tree in the front, the open floor space, the fancy light fixtures, 2 FULL bathrooms, and the huge backyard, we were hooked.  We've had fun landscaping and re-doing the driveway.  I think the exterior of our house has become like those squishy-faced dogs.  So odd-looking that you can't help but love them.

Think about the small stuff.  We have a front door and a back door (nifty, huh?).  With no garage and no basement, we have to work super hard to keep our front yard picked up.  Things like sidewalk salt, potting soil, wood-cutting tools (for the wood stove that is located right next to our front door) and other items we need for the front of the house all have to have a place.  It would be nice to have a side entrance with a covered porch or deck area where we could neatly stack things in a corner somewhere.  Things like this may seem minor, but several seemingly small annoyances could add up to one big, fat NO when it comes to what you want in a home.

     Location is another seemingly small detail that could mean BIG things.  Our road is not a through street. I love it because it's quiet.  I hate it because there is only one entrance and exit...and we are within walking distance of the Catholic church.  You'd have better luck trying to get Taylor to cover a song with Kanye than getting out of our road after Mass on Saturday.  Bah!

    If you've got a house in mind (and it's empty), take a look at the yard after it rains.  If it's collecting lots of water, this could be a sign of a drainage problem- which could mean bigger issues in the future, especially if there's a basement.


Ask yourself, "is it move-in ready or MOVE IN READY?" We ended up adding some things to our house when we moved in...or at least within the year.  A garbage disposal, a ceiling fan, an outside water spigot, a dimmer for the dining room light, hardwood floors, new blinds- those may seem like small details, but the expense adds up after a while.
  
    Something else you need to consider is how much work still needs to be finished?  We looked at a house we really liked, but the sellers had bailed on the unfinished downstairs bathroom.  It was unsightly and a bit of a mess.  As busy newlyweds with no plumbing experience, that was a project we knew we weren't ready to tackle.

Be brave.  We ended up saying "no" to several houses I LOVED.  Unfortunately, buying a house is no time to be optimistic.  Yes, that crack will get bigger.  No, that family of possums living under the porch won't agree to pay rent.  No, that horrible scent you smell isn't "coming from outside."  Get to the bottom of it.  Divide & Conquer, whatever you have to do...and then be prepared to say no.

Be realistic.  If you have student loans, if you are driving the same car you drove out of college, if 1/2 price sushi is your idea of a night out then good for you.  I think we're soul mates.   Don't get me wrong, there is a small percent of 20 somethings who are making BIG BUCKS and swaggin' it up in million dollar townhomes.  However, for every high rollin' newbie, there are 5 who made the same types of purchases and are struggling to make ends meet.  Sure, they've got 5 bedrooms, but they've only got enough money to put furniture in one.   Oh, that in ground pool you see?  It's empty because they can't afford the chemicals to treat it.

How much fun is that?

     Chances are, you're looking for your starter home, and that's great.  Don't let that get you down.  Websites like Google Advisor have great home loan calculators that can tell you, roughly, what your monthly payment will be (don't forget about things like taxes, insurance and interest!)

       Your realtor may try to get you to look at a few houses that are somewhat out of your price range.  Remember, at the end of the day, they've got commission on the brain, and you can't really fault them for that.  However, stick to your guns.  You'll get your laundry shoot/walkout basement/moat filled with crocodiles eventually!  Remember, your starter house will also have a lot of good qualities that your next house won't!  You'll miss those when they're gone.  Trust me, I'm already mourning the loss of our giant maple tree!


Don't be afraid to negotiate.  You'll be surprised by what sellers will agree to- especially if they've been sitting on the house for a while.  When we bought our house, we insisted that the leaky fridge be fixed and inspected.  My best friend from college purchased a condo with a really sweet fish tank/wall-insert-set up. She not only landed the fish tank and gorgeous accessories- she also go the fish to go with it!


Look at the foundation.  We found a house I absolutely loved.  Hardwood floors.  Garage. Large Windows, quiet street... and a big, fat crack in the foundation of the basement.  I wanted this house so badly, but in the end, we decided against it.  A crack in the foundation wasn't something we were prepared to deal with, and no amount of hot glue or duct tape was going to fix it.

Consider the source.  Our house is heated by propane.  For the love of Pete, propane is expensive.  If you are heating with propane or fuel oil, make sure you have a hefty amount in your savings for when the time comes to have your tanks filled.  Unfortunately, my friend, this means adding money to your savings all year long!  I know it's hard to fathom when it's 98 degrees and sunny outside, but eventually, the world is going to get quite chilly again.  To the best of my knowledge, our company didn't have any kind of payment plan or even billing when it came to filling our tanks.  We now use electric baseboard heaters, space heaters, and the wood stove, and we're much happier.


For the love of Pete, know what you're doing or find someone who does!  Tim constantly amazes me with his knowledge when it comes to the business-world.   He uses words like equity, A.P.R., and Escrow.  I teach little kids how to read.  Ask me the difference between zaner-bloser and d'nealian, and I'm your girl.  I don't know about home loans.  Do the research or find someone to help you along (a trusted friend or relative, not someone who is trying to make a buck off you).  You won't regret it!

If you are the praying kind, then by all means, pray.  Tim and I had a specific price in mind.  When our realtor asked our price and called the sellers, the first words out of Tim's mouth were, "We should pray." One of my favorite memories of those early years involves us kneeling together at the foot of my bed praying that the sellers would take our offer at a specific price.  It hasn't been an easy road, by any means, and I don't know what the future holds, but (fingers crossed), I think we found a winner.
Love and don't forget a good home inspection,
H.

My Sentiments Exactly

Love & Record Player = top 5 purchases ever,
H.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Click the photo to find out my next possible career move.  Just kidding. Kind of.
You have to scroll down to get to the good stuff.  I can't get that random space of nothingness to go away.  Thoughts?

Love & html is my nemesis,
H.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blessed Trinity or something like that.

      I have had a few thoughts sticking with me lately.  The other day, I read an email from Focus on the Family.  I have no idea how I got on their mailing list, but I heart James Dobson, so I'm good either way.  

In this newsletter, it said, in short- 

Accept Reality.  

And I just really loved that.  The other day, I was driving home from work wondering, "How is it that I have been 'out' of school for 8 days, and I'm STILL driving all the way to Georgetown?"  

Out of nowhere, I just started breathing deeply, and repeating my own combination of God, Dr. Phil & Oprah.  

I accept reality....

The Lord is working in my favor....

I will live in the present...

I am at peace...

I think it was the equivalent of my "Lord, I've gone crazy."  prayer.  

But you know what?  It worked.  I felt, significantly better.  

I have accepted reality. 

The Lord is working in my favor.  

I am living in the present

and I do have peace.  

You should try it next time you are feeling extra distressed. It worked like a charm.  

Love and this is so going to be our kid someday, 
H.

Linking up here

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wish I was Here Wednesday

Mark my words, in the next 48 hours, Tim and I will read in our new hammock.  And, there will be pancakes involved.  And probably some kissing, but you didn't really need to know that.

Did I mention that OliviakCarter is lovely?
source
Love and I imagine it's hard to eat pancakes in a hammock,
H.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On knowing Your Moment

In case you didn't know this,  I am moving to Kindergarten.  In case you also didn't know this, moving a classroom is like trying to move a small country.  There are 1,000 things.  1,000 times 1,000.  


After a week of cleaning/packing/unpacking/cleaning, believe it or not, I'm better now.  


Circa...one week ago....     


     There is something very emotional about cleaning out a classroom.  I fell in love with Tim in that room.  I moved out of my parents' house in that room.  I went from "Bierly" to "Young" in that room, and I don't know that I'll ever be back.  I pitched and sorted all kinds of things- things from college, things from my early years of teaching (or am I still IN my early years?  Please say yes).  Things that really, truly needed to be sorted and pitched.  But they were still Things.


You know?


I'm excited about the idea of teaching kindergarten.  I'm nervous.  I'm excited because I love to read, and that's what we do in kindergarten.  We learn to read.  Words like look.  go.  see.


I see a...


I see a...


I


SEE.


Think of all the things those kiddos will see in their lifetimes, and I will teach them how to get it all down on paper.


However, in these anxiety-filled early days of getting used to my new position, I go from a day-dreamy state of...


"I will teach them how to read."


 to a panic-stricken...


"I will teach them how to read!?!?!?!?"


     It's not that I don't have confidence in my abilities.  I do.  It's just that I'm very aware that we have a lot of work to do in a 9 month school year.  Very aware.


     I have come to realize that whether it's pre-school music class or 11th grade chem. lab, teaching is a lot of pressure.  It is hard, and it is important, and it is hard because it is important.
     Yesterday,  I thought to myself, "I am going to put on a record and clean the kitchen."  In The Young House, when the mood strikes to CLEAN THE KITCHEN, you take advantage of it.  Honestly, that mood doesn't come about very often.  Sometimes, it gets done because it needs to get done* and sometimes, it decidedly...doesn't.  


     The first few measures of Hey Jude rang out, and at that moment, I very well could have cried Lake Huron. 


 But I held it in.  


I held it in because I knew that if I started then I might not ever stop.  And dinner wasn't going to cook itself.  Isn't it funny, how we can sometimes control it like that?  


Or so we think?


Stress.  The truth is, change is stressful.  Even the good kind.  


This morning, I got in the shower, and I thought to myself, "Now would be a very good time to cry."  I thought it was My Moment.


But, it was too late.  The tears were, as Sabrina Ward Harrison would say, "stuck too far down."


And they have yet to come out.


So, Dear-Future-Maybe-Daughter, I encourage you to cry.  When Your Moment presents itself**, take it. Because, "I'm crying and I just can't stop."  is a whole heck of a lot better than, "stuck."  Take it because, the truth of the matter is- Yes, my love.  Eventually, you will stop.  


All my love, 
Mom


*Sometimes, I like to use the word, "done" even though I know it is supposed to be the word, "finished."  


**And in case you were wondering, Your Moment will appear when you are alone or with someone you have trusted and loved for a long time.  Be brave.  Be bold.  Do not cry when you don't get your way at work or your boyfriend won't hold your purse at Target and claim it is "Your Moment."  That's a lousy excuse to behave badly.  Do not abuse the incredibly cathartic "thing" that is Having a Moment.  Then again, I'm sure I'll have raised you better than that.



Saturday, June 11, 2011

A year ago on Yourstrulyh

Click here to find out what I was up to a year ago to the date!  Interestingly, so much of it still rings true.

Love and some things never change,
H.

Happy Saturday!

You're welcome.  I think the music is cuter for the 'bing' video, but 'grandma' couldn't figure out how to embed that one.  Youtube to the rescue.  Anyway, take your pick.

Love and I heart dogs,
H.



http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/time-lapse-puppy-to-full-grown/20nf23ew?rel=msn&cpkey=ed102a58-b2f2-453f-ab08-fa749f85a8ab%7Ccats%7Cmsn%7C

Friday, June 3, 2011

No time, no title

     Long ago, I read a book called Letters to my Daughters by Mary Matalin. Recently, I listened to it on CD during my daily commute.  I love Mary Matalin.  Truly. I do. She worked as a White House Advisor for Dick Cheney, among other conservative, Republicans.  She has two daughters, Matty & Emma, and she is married to Ragin' Cajun, James Carville who is, decidedly, A DEMOCRAT.  


     Sometimes, when I really like a book/movie/real,live person, I get a little obsessive.  I Google it/them.   A lot.  I cross reference and ask around and wikipedia the heck out of everything.  It's super nerdy, I know.  


However, I have been sitting on this quote all evening, and I couldn't help but share.  This is Mary Matalin, on juggling marriage and politics.  


     Since leaving the White House, I feel that I'm finally nurturing our marriage. We never talk politics—I believe what I believe and I think he is utterly, totally, completely wrong. But we agree about everything else. We run and work out together, we're food snobs, wine snobs. Recently we went to pick out cabinets, and then I went back and spent a half hour looking at knobs. I told James last night, "I'm in nirvana." 


     There are days where I feel as if I'll make it.  I can feel my grip loosening- just a little and then there are days where I fear I am absolutely, positively losing my mind.  


The worry and the stress and the excitement of late August/Early September can be fantastic, if you let it be.  It's all, "I've been up since 4am, this is my 8th cup of coffee and my 3rd phone call in 2 minutes, let's get this party started."  


Whereas, the END of the school year is very much the opposite.  


     The end of the year is very, "Walk out the door with my keys in my MOUTH, one shoe on and my hands full of 4th quarter reading grades, birdseed (for a project, of course), and a banana (for lunch, of course).  Fishtail into the parking lot, drop keys, birdseed, and...other shoe on otherwise cluttered table...where's the attendance envelope?  Where's the attendance envelope?  


Where.is.the.attendance. envelope!?!?!?!




     Have you seen Diary of a Wimpy Kid?  You should watch it.  The kid's kind of a brat, but if you can get past that, it's cute.  The movie starts with The Older Brother announcing that the poor main character is late for school. I have looked all over the interwebz for a preview or a video or a picture or what, but I just can't find anything.  Well, get it on Netflix and watch the first 3 minutes or so...life right now is kind of like that.  
Love and 34 Diagnostic Screening Measures to grade, 
H.