Friday, August 31, 2012

Much exhaustion and plenty of excitement, too

What a week!!  I'm so glad it's Friday.  Lots has happened this week, and I'd like to type it all up, but y'all, I'm so exhausted.  Plus, The Husband and I picked out a movie at the Red Box down the street, and we swung by DQ and got some yummy ice cream treats to go.  Date night! :)

So, here's the brief recap of this week.

Last Saturday, our friend Hank treated us to lunch at a Japanese Hibachi restaurant.  I had never had Japanese cuisine before, so it was a neat experience.  I had the Philadelphia roll and the shrimp friend rice.  Yum!!



Monday I started back to work officially.  All week we've had in-service (lots of meetings, a little time working in our classrooms).  It's exhausting.  My classroom preparation was a bit different this year since I don't technically have a classroom.  I have a library.   A library that houses over 20,000 books and several thousand textbooks.  There's been an issue with the software that keeps a record of those books and allows me to check them in and out.  Without it up and running, I'm stuck in a holding pattern.  I was able to tape and barcode textbooks this week (cue the killer headaches each night).  Lots and lots of textbooks.




I'm really looking forward to this school year.  It's going to be another exciting chapter in my teaching career.  When I began teaching eight years ago, I had dreams of one day becoming a school librarian.  I looked into it, but at the time, the prerequisites were not attainable for a brand new teacher.  Instead, I took some extra night courses toward a different certification.  I never really thought that one day I would actually get to call the library my classroom.  But it is.  And, though I never thought it would happen, God certainly knew.  It's really neat how He's allowed me to come back to that dream that was buried so long ago.  Right, Cousin Harry?! :)

Y'all, I can't wait to dig in to beautiful, classic, funny, adventure-ridden books with those kiddos!  I'm almost finished with my eight trimester plans for the eight grade levels visiting me each week (that's eighteen different classes), and I know I will heave a DEEP sigh of relief when those are complete.

Today, my parents stopped by to see the renovations from our recent modifications journey.  We met them for lunch at a local Mexican food restaurant after I left work.  We then came back here for a bit for them to take a tour.  My mom suggested that we might go look at lamps (I think she was just getting tired of me lamenting, both here and in person, over those hideous, maroon, skinny, bedside lamps that matched NOTHING in our bedroom, haha!).  We headed over to the local craft store, and after MUCH (think an hour of looking at the same twenty lamps over and over) deliberation (and maybe a lampshade swap or two--that's not illegal, right?), we picked out the perfect ones.   We really like them, and they add a whole new bit of loveliness to our bedroom!  Thanks so much, Mom and Dad, for our early Christmas present!! :)  They look great, don't you think?




Off to enjoy our treats and our movie! Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Our girl

Thursday, The Husband got a call from the funeral home saying that the grave stone had FINALLY arrived as well as the vase that my mother-in-law purchased.  The Husband didn't tell me where we were going until we got to Hobby Lobby that afternoon, and he asked me to pick out some flowers for the vase.

I NEVER thought I'd be happy to hear the words, "the funeral home called..."

We chose the sweet bouquet of green and white flowers (and they are similar in color to both her birth month stone--May/emerald--and the stone for the month in which she was due--August/peridot.)  I saw the butterfly in a separate part of the store and thought it would fit just perfectly.

An innocent, charming reminder of our girl.

A few minutes after we arrived, we found that we had that part of the cemetery to ourselves.  We stood quietly, lost in our own thoughts for quite a while.

And, then we went home with her still on our minds.

For the most part, we are doing well.  There are still days when I think about her often.  Moments, lately, when I realize that this last week in August was supposed to be the kick-off of our parenting journey.  Those moments are tough, but our God is amazing, and He guides us through those heart-stopping moments just beautifully.

And so.

We continue to move forward.

But.


Today was your due date.

And, we miss you terribly.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Surrender

I just ate slices of plum and dark chocolate chip morsels for a snack.   It's 6:30pm, you know, the "typical" dinner time, but The Husband isn't home yet, and I was hungry.  So, I fixed something that was both tasty and healthy!  I'm sure he'll walk in the door any minute and will want to eat dinner...maybe he'll settle for slices of plum and dark chocolate chip morsels, too?

This past Monday night, The Husband and I began a Bible study with a group of sweet friends.  Here's what I posted on FB when we arrived home.

"We just returned home from a wonderful, thought-provoking, encouraging Bible study with a small group of dear friends. I'm already looking forward to next week's meeting and to each day's lessons this week. I can't wait to see how God is going to work in and through us all these next five weeks and how we will grow closer as brothers and sisters in Christ. Going to sleep extra thankful tonight."

It's a six-week study, and it's entitled not a fan: completely.  committed.  follower.  If you're interested in learning more about this particular Bible study, you can visit their website.  

What I've taken away from it so far, what has really struck me to my core, is that I want to be a follower of Christ.  I don't want to simply admire Him, esteem Him, think He's a neat guy who wants to be my friend.  I want to see, to know, to believe with my heart and shout with my lips, who He truly is:  holy God, forgiver of my sins, savior of the world.  

I want to pick up my cross daily and follow Him.  
Y'all, DAILY.  
Moment by moment.  

While sitting there, surrounded by our friends, speaking about the video we had just watched and answering the soul-searching questions, it hit me.  This means that I if I am to do this thing, this being a follower and not simply a fan, I must start LETTING GO of all of the things that I hold sooo tightly.  Those dreams that I tuck deep down so that I can CONTROL them.  I have to stop pretending that I am some god. 

Because, you see, I have NO control.  Not really.  Trusting God with my dreams, my worries, the people I care so much about, requires me to daily ask Christ to interfere in my life (you know, the one He created).  

There's a journal that goes along with this study.  It has three parts that the participants work on daily for six weeks.  There are questions and challenges and thought-provoking statements throughout, purposely there to draw the student closer to Christ.  It's been heart-awakening.

I grow more in love with my Savior every day. 

I've been listening to a Beth Moore hour-long Bible study my sister loaned me on my iPod whenever I've gone to work out at the gym the last couple of weeks.   Today's was a "Hello?!" moment, if I ever had one.   The title of today's lesson was "Who Do You Trust?"  Y'all I can't make this stuff up.  The message focused on what we're holding onto, that thing or things that we wrap up in a nice little box and bury in the back of the closet so that we have control.  We think that if we stop clinging tightly to that thing or things, then it's over . Done.  But, my God says He knows the plans He has for me.  How could my earthly human plans be better than the plans my Father in heaven has had for me since the beginning of time?  

This song popped into my head that first night and has stayed with me all week.  
The words are so very true.  
I want to surrender.  
  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The bedroom

Would you like to see the changes we made to our bedroom?
Well then, come on in!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Modifications--Part ThisIsAlmostOverRight?

A sweet gal at church (I also sing with her in choir!  Hi Charlotte!) asked how the renovations were going this morning.  I've been quiet (not literally...The Husband can attest to this!) for a few days because
a) we threw our friend Bethany a surprise birthday shindig on Friday evening, and
2) most of Saturday, we worked more on this source of frustration project that we started over a week ago.

We are officially (I say that with a touch of hesitation) finished (*cough* except for minor paint touch ups) in our bedroom and the sink area.  We are officially (more hesitation) finished (*clears throat* except for hanging ALL of the wall art) in the living room.  The office (formerly known as the nursery, the office, and the guest bedroom) has become the resting place for all wall decor pieces and a few other miscellaneous items (random computer parts strewn about the room in disarray...I suppose it's technically not in disarray if "someone" here knows what exactly those parts do and where they can be found in the mass of chaos), so it needs a massive overhaul.  Other than a "minor" project (painting the doors and fixing up my bathroom in the *crosses toes* near future...and maybe doing a few things in the kitchen), our modifications journey has almost come to a close.  Hallelujah! Do a little hand-raising in praise with me for a moment.

I thought I'd give a sneak peek of the only area that's ready for viewing:  
the sink area in our bedroom.


I took a few photos with those lights on, but the color on the walls kept coming out yellow. The color we chose is called water chestnut, and it is a light tan (probably has a yellow base though).  Anywho, I took a few shots with the lights off, and voila! The water chestnut looks far more water chestnutty than the golden color that kept appearing.  I think it looks so nice with the white cabinets/bead board/baseboards.  Kerry, do those crosses look familiar?  Your Emma gave them to me almost six years ago when I taught her in first grade!  I adored that sweet group, and now YOU get to teach them! But I digress.  The Husband asked if I would like the towel rod hung on that wall instead of the smaller wall to the left of the sink.  I agreed, and I think it adds a nice touch; that whole area seems to have opened up a ton just by moving that one piece!  Crazy how that happens!

Do you see what appears to be backwards writing on the wall?  It's a total camera/flash glitch because I promise that there is no writing on our wall.  There is, however, writing on that mirror as well as on the mirror in his bathroom.  It's our top 3.  His top 3 are written on my mirror, and mine are on his.  They are helpful reminders (at least to me!  I can't speak for him.  Haha, oh my, I just had an image pop into my head of him speaking but my voice coming out of his mouth.  Weird.) of the ways we feel most cherished.  I can look at those words and remember how to show him I care in his own "love language." His top one is appreciation (at least on that list...his numero uno could have changed since I wrote those words up there months and months ago), and I try to remember to thank him whenever he has done or is doing something that's helpful around here or for our family in general.  It's been super easy to throw out those words of appreciation lately because he has worked his tail off around here trying to get things looking good!  I'm sooooo proud of his hard work and for how lovely things have turned out!  Way to go, Babe!!

So, there you have it.  As the other rooms get their touch ups and their artwork hung, I'll post more pictures.

Happy SONday, dear ones, and have a blessed and beautiful week!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Modifications--Part 4

No, we're not finished yet. This seems to have become the project that goes on and on and on.

But, The Husband tells me we're close.  So close.  I have no illusions of finishing tonight, but I'm crossing my toes that we'll be finished by tomorrow afternoon.

We did actually get to sleep in our very own bed last night.
Heaven.
No more yowling cats for us.  Or squeaky springs.

Below are a few "before and after" shots from yesterday and today.

Yesterday

The Husband started peeling away the wall paper that the former owner painted over.  
The blue flowery wallpaper.  
It had started coming up in places, and therefore, we decided to redo the sink area, as well. 
So, here he is hard at work slicing into the wallpaper.  
  While pulling the wallpaper away from the wall, it also pulled off the white stuff below and left the cardboard-looking stuff.  
Y'all, it doesn't matter how many times he tells me the names of these things, I just can't remember them.
 In this shot, most of the wallpaper had been removed.
He then hung this old sheet so that we couldn't make the same mistake twice:  sheetrock and anything remotely similar to sheetrock is not what you want floating around your house.  
 He startled smoothing on the joint compound (I know it's called that because I am brilliant and looked on the container!) on this wall to the right and the small wall to the left of the sink.  
It had to dry overnight.
I peaked quickly under the sheet to snap a shot.  
 This was what our bedroom looked like yesterday afternoon.  It was still a huge mess with dust resting on every. single.  item.  
We cleaned well into the night just so we could sleep in that bed.

Today

This morning, he sanded down all of the joint compound.  A thick, white powder covered that whole area of the floor.  
The inside of our vacuum looks pathetic.
But hey, that electrical socket (with actual electricity) and that face place look smashing, right??
 I cleaned the baseboards and taped up everything so that it can be painted.  
Didn't he do a great job fixing that wall?!  He's incredibly handy and knows how to fix just about anything!  I'm so thankful and so very proud of how hard he's worked to fix things up around here.
 Well, the bedroom was "clean" last night, but it has since become the storage place again for all painting/remodeling tools and for all the things that had to come off the walls.

The Husband is in there now painting the rest of the hallway/entry hall into our bedroom.  Once he finishes that, he'll add texture to the paint and begin working in the sink area.  I'm hoping for an earlier-to-bed night than last night, but I'm not holding my breath! :)

My mom had her surgery yesterday, and though she's in lots of pain, she's doing well. Thanks so much for praying for her.  We're praising God for a successful surgery, and we're now praying that her recovery time is so short that it will amaze her doctors!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Modifications--Part 3

Do you know what your husband is doing right now?
Here's mine scraping away the shoddy workmanship of the builder.  

He's already scraped away the wall next to my sink and the windowsill that was falling apart.  When we get finished with this place, it's going to be like new.

He needed a mask for all of the dust/debris he was kicking up with that tool that-I-don't-know-the-name -of.  We didn't have a mask lying around.  Or a bandanna.  So that's what he chose.  He's pretty good at improvising, right?
I know you're jealous.

A continued list of things I'm learning:

4.  Electricity and The Husband do not mix.  Well, actually, they've mixed quite a lot these past few days.  Too much.  He's been shocked (and has the electrical cuts/burns to prove it) so many times that I've lost count.  But our brand-spankin'-shiny outlets, switches, and wall plates look great! :)

5.  Small painting projects that one might assume (Hello, my name is Joy, and I ridiculously believed that we would be finished by now) would take a matter of days, often turn into major undertakings that last far longer (though the cats are unfazed by the process, as you can see below).





6.  I have never missed my own bed so much.
I am SO very thankful that we have a couch bed to sleep on.  However, I will not miss the sounds of cats yowling at one another at 1:00am in either irritation or amusement.  Take your pick.  They sound the same.
Nor, will I miss the squeaky, squeaky mattress that lets me know every time one of us takes a breath, turns a head, or moves an arm.  No.  I.  Will.  Not.  For the record, my earplugs do help quite a bit, but even they don't seem to block that piercing sound all the way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Modifications--Part 2

Things I've learned so far in our house-modification journey:

1. When replacing pieces of sheet rock, don't expect the sheet rock dust to stay in a nice two by two area under the place being worked on.  Oh no.  Expect those particles to reach crevices that you often forget exist.  Across the room.


2. Scrubbing base boards, painting borders, and rolling paintbrush rollers is all painful/awkward with a sprained finger.  

3.  Wear comfortable shoes.  Then, when you notice those "comfortable" shoes aren't really all they're cracked up to be, don't insist on wearing them longer out of sheer laziness.  Toe cramps set in.  Not pretty.

Back to work.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Modifications

Can you guess
what major modifications we'll be making
to our home over the next few days?
Don't tell if you are already in the know ;)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New things in reverse

I'm working backwards as I type up this post of new things.  Just a heads up.  You know, just in case you are not one of those people that thumbs through a magazine and begins reading the last pages first.

Again, I'm seriously contemplating getting rid of my FB account.  If I do, it may or may not be a forever thing.  We'll see.

This isn't exactly new news, but my finger is still sprained, which means today it still hurts to bend it.  It also means things like typing, writing, slicing, and stirring are difficult.
My current penmanship looks like a toddler's.  Though not an impressive sight normally, the act of signing my name on something now has simply become embarrassing.

The Husband and I went to visit my parents last week, and when we came home from that trip on Thursday it was with a few extra items: two pieces of gently used living room furniture from The Best Friend, to be exact.  They wanted more floor space in their living room, and The Husband desperately wanted a coffee table for ours.  So, we took their coffee table and side table (the second side table will be here Sunday along with my best friend and her girls!) off their hands.  Generous of us, I know. :)  But, really, we are so thankful!  The pieces look great in our rearranged living room.  See?



Earlier in the week, Monday I believe, the aforementioned spraining of my finger took place.  Y'all it was so ridiculous, but because people keep asking, here's the 411.
There was a giant spider (I was told later by The Husband that it was not giant, but we'll have to agree to disagree) on the carpet in my parents' living room.  Y'all, I do not like spiders.  When I go to step on them, they have a tendency to jump at me (maybe in self-defense?).  So.  So, I took off my green flip-flop, gripped it tight in my right hand with all fingers wrapped around except the pointer, and slapped that shoe down with all the might I had in my right arm.  Unfortunately, the flip-flop was floppy (who'd have thought), and therefore, when my mighty right hand went in for the kill, the flip-flop curled backward along with my pointer finger.  It was tear-inducing painful.  And, the stupid spider survived.  Stupid spider.

We saw my sister's family several times last week, one of which was to help celebrate my niece's seventh birthday.  A great time was had by all.  P.S. The piñata would not die either.




The day before we got to town, we went to a surprise engagement party for my sweet friend Leah and her new fiancé Ryan.  Ryan proposed to her earlier that evening, and she was riding that sweet happiness high for all to see.  We wish them all the best!!





The night before that, The Husband and I had a date night.  Dinner at Chick-Fil-A, entertainment by our good friend Michael and his group The Bus Kings (check. them. out.), and then a movie.  We don't have date nights often (almost NEVER), so this was a really, really nice treat.




Two weeks ago, we celebrated our first anniversary.  This first year of marriage has had its many ups and downs, and we are all the stronger for it.  We had saved a gift card we'd been given (by one of my sweet pre-k students) to an Italian restaurant called Carrabbas for that evening.  So we got all dressed up (The Husband wore the outfit he proposed to me in haha!), and headed out.  Our meal was delicious!  We picked up a movie at the local Redbox on our way home, dug in to the top layer of our wedding cake we saved (it was still yummy!), and settled in for the night.  We ended our anniversary evening by watching our wedding video one more time.  We LOVE that video! :)





There's one more bit of "new" news.  I put it in quotes because it happened a little over a month ago now, but things needed to be finalized (at least in my head) before I put it on here.
The headmaster of the school I've worked at for the last five years offered me the librarian position.  I will be running the library three days a week, and I will be working in the office the other two days like I did last year.  My new role as librarian has my head spinning trying to create trimester plans for eight grades, but I'm excited to be doing something new.  Something not in the typical classroom setting.  I'm very, very grateful for this school and the large part it has played in my life thus far.  It has been a blessing to work there each year, and I have met some of the kindest people who have become some of my closest friends along the way.

Ok, I think I'm all caught up now.  I can't believe how quickly this summer has gone by.
If you feel led, and selfishly, I hope you do, please pray for my mom in these coming weeks.  She will be having major surgery next week (as a result of the cancer she was treated for months ago).  Six weeks after this surgery, she will have one more major operation.  She's standing firm in her faith, as are we, but we know prayer is a powerful thing, directed toward an even more powerful God, Who is mighty to save.  Thanks y'all!