Monday, July 30, 2012


My family went to Pennsylvania this weekend for a family reunion, and since neither I was pretty sure neither me or my oldish truck could handle two four-hour drives in one weekend, I was left home with the dog, the cat, six guinea chicks, three guinea hens, and the tank of tilapia (i.e. fish) in the basement.

The bad news was... yeah. The good news was that since I was not - I repeat, not! - staying alone in the huge creepy house by myself, Chris and Natalie let me stay overnights with them this weekend. Proving once again that they are the ultimate aunt and uncle. I've lost track of the number of times I've crashed with them this summer; this is definitely not the first time I've thanked God for them!!! :)

 But before my family left, Maggie and I went out on a dinner/shopping night. I was in the mood for something a little special, so we headed over to Outback so I could introduce Maggie to the wonder that is their Seared Ahi Tuna. They didn't have any allergy info online, so once we were seated we asked about it, and the manager ended up coming over and answering all our questions, giving us some tips, explaining how things could be altered, etc. Took great care of us! He even checked on us periodically through the meal to make sure everything was good.

We ended up getting an appetizer of the tuna, then splitting the seasonal special - steak and snowcrab - and a side salad for each of us (I'm ridiculously in love with their blue cheese wedge salad). Even though it was only one entree between us it was way, way too much food, but it was so, so good. :) The only sad thing was that because their drinks are "pre-batched" (?) they couldn't get me a virgin mojito, which was too bad because they looked so good.

Friday I had a babysitting job that took up most of the afternoon, so that morning and evening I was desperate to get a bunch of stuff knocked off of my infamous to do list. I got the truck cleaned out, put aside the stuff that's headed for the tailor/cobbler, cleaned my room so I could unpack in it, and ran some errands that had been long neglected. Then I headed over to Abby's house, where we played alphabet tracing games on my tablet and watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

On Saturday, my friend Becka came over to help me unpack stuff into my new room. She helped me lug 8+ bins, boxes, and totes full of books from the basement up two flights of stairs to my room, then organized and shelved them all while I worked on unpacking clothes, shoes, etc, and got that all settled. We got most of it done in less than four hours, which absolutely amazed me, and it feels so good to have my stuff around me again. :) Definitely still have some stuff to unpack, and some furniture to find - I'm on the hunt for a leather storage bench and some matching nightstands - but it's definitely getting there.

We picked up Abby on our way to dinner so that Chris and Natalie could go see The Dark Knight Rises, and after a yummy dinner at Olive Garden, Abby and I headed up to my grandparent's house to go swimming. She's starting to swim like a fish after a week of swim lessons - I can't wait to see this next week! We chatted with Meemaw and Grandad for a little bit, then on the way home we stopped at the new frozen yogurt shop to get a treat!

Our new froyo shop!

Cooling off with a cool treat after a very hot day :)
Abby's ice cream - chocolate with some gummy candies. She keeps it simple.

My froyo - half vanilla, half peanut butter, with strawberries, brownie bits, coconut, and caramel syrup. Clearly, I have no editing skills when it comes to froyo.
We came home and crashed on the couch to watch Open Season 3, then on my bed to play more tracing games on my tablet til Mommy and Daddy got home. I think we were both worn out from all the fun cuz as soon as they got home we went to bed! :)

This morning we skipped church in favor of spending time together as a family (lol) and headed up to my grandparent's house to go swimming with my grandma. :) After our swim, I picked up take-out for lunch (dragon wings - yum!) and came home to check on the animals.

This was the point when I realized that even though his food was gone, I hadn't laid eyes on the cat since the family had left, so I went on a cat hunt which proved entirely unfruitful. Feeling uneasy about this, I went to check on the dog, who was chilling out in front of his fan, and then the fish, which is when I noticed that a) all the fish were hanging out on top of the tank, b) all the snails (which are in the tank to keep it clean) were abandoning ship and climbing up the sides as fast as they could, and c) there was a dead fish floating around on top. I called Allen to let him know the situation, and went back to hunting the cat down. No cat. By now I was pretty sure I had lost the cat and killed the fish, though I couldn't figure out how (I followed the instructions to the letter!).

Eventually my family came home, and my sister (the cat's mommy) had barely set foot on the ground before the "lost" cat was in her arms, thoroughly proud of himself for scaring me half to death.

The fish weren't so lucky. Although it turns out I had nothing to do with it, Allen had in fact lost nine fish :( because apparently the tank had overflowed at some point. Fortunately, now the fish are moved out into an exterior stock tank so our house smells less fishy.

All in all, I had really been dreading the weekend all alone, but it turned out to be a productive and relaxing time, sort of like my own mini staycation. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I don't always like change, but some change is just plain exciting. For instance, as of this week the twins are bona fide enrolled students at the local college. I was sad for a few days, when realized that this is it, I don't have to worry about curriculum or lesson plans for the fall, or prepping for college anymore, because they are as prepped as they're every going to be. And while I'm sure in about a month I'm going to get peppered with lots of college-level-work-related queries, right now it tastes a little like freedom. And success. I know they'll do great, and I'm excited to see where they'll go from there. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Recap

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I feel like I could use another lol cuz I didn't get half as much accomplished as I wanted to, but oh, well. Here's what I did get done off of my list:
  • Shelving - got one set of shelves hung. I even cut them with a saw myself and didn't have to recut any of them! Yay me - it's like I'm becoming accomplished with power tools, or something. :) Unfortunately, it looks like the other set of shelves will be harder to hang - my dad and I spent forever hunting for the studs, only to drill a hole and discover that the stud wasn't there. Something about the insulation inside making it hard to find the actual stud? Gr. And until these shelves are hung, no books can come out of storage, which makes me sad (the other shelves were for office supplies and storage). Maybe next weekend!
  • Hand washing - sort of. I ended up running a lot through the washing machine on a delicate cycle, with a wing and a prayer.
  • Clean out my truck - um, yeah. I think it's dirtier now than it was on Friday...
  • Cobbler/tailor run - didn't happen. Maybe this week.
  • Altering my dress - flunk.
  • Bulletin board - I scored an old frame for it! Now I just have to paint it, replace one panel, and attach clips.
  • Shopping trip - well, I did go shopping, I didn't get hangers and bins, though - I got curtains! Yay me! :) Have to say, they make way more impact.
I did go to the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, which was amazing! I've been pleasantly shocked and surprised at all the Batman movies - such a great worldview, many fascinating philosophical discussions, and a really relentlessly conservative view of the world, which I appreciate - and if Rises really does end up being the last one (although I'd so love at least one more!!!), it was a good ending.

I also learned how to do a DIY french manicure sort of by accident! I'll post picts later this week.

Here's to a more productive week... :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

To Do

I have so much to get done... Grr! Little things are just piling up all around me. I hate that. Luckily, this weekend looks like it's free of any major commitments (except the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises - woohoo! - with Mags and a friend), so hopefully I can get a lot done. Including rest. I've been feeling kind of "off" all week and I'm hoping I don't come down with anything. :(

Things to do this weekend:
  • Install shelving in my new room. Cuz I really can't unpack any books without shelves to put them on, and apparently books make up about 2/3 of the boxes I have yet to unpack.
  • Do a load of hand-washables/delicates. I hate hand-washing. I wishwishwish we had a front-load washer so I could throw them in there! But it has to get done, so I figure I'll knock off #47 on my summer bucket list and try to make it fun.
  • Clean out my truck, and take it to the car wash place to vaccuum it out and wash it.
  • Take things to the tailor/cobbler - my gladiator sandals (need reheeling), and my denim dress (sleeves need shortening).
  • Also - fix the straps on my new black dress. Not worth taking it to the tailor for, but annoying because "my" sewing machine is broken, so I have to figure out how to use someone else's.
  • Figure out what I'm going to get to replace my old boring magnetic bulletic board. I'm thinking something with some dry-erase space and either a magnetic or ribboned section for tucking scraps of paper, photos, etc. Probably going to end up making my own, but I should at least sketch out what I want.
  • Buy hangers and bins for my closet from Ross.
  • Download Matched on my tablet - I picked this up at Kmart this weekend and read a few pages, and I was hooked.
So... that's my weekend. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


It's summertime, and that means vacation Bible school, and drama! (You know, the good kind, the kind you get to rehearse and practice and alter) :) Though it's always hard work, our hard work has payed off both years.

This year's VBS curriculum was from Answers in Genesis and was amusement park themed. When I was given the script to read through and modify, the youth pastor warned me that it was nowhere near as much fun as last year's Wild West-themed script. I had figured as much, simply because I'd pretty much been thinking that topping last year was an impossible task. :) However, after reading through it a couple of times, I was pleasantly surprised - I could work with this!

As usual, our beautiful set was designed, built, and painted by the amazing Mr. Owen! :)

Mr. Owen has built many sets for church dramas over the years, and every time he just amazes me with how perfect his designs are. I so appreciate the hard work he puts in! This year I especially loved the bright colors. :)

Now on to the actors. I "hired" Sam on when I realized we were gonna need another strong male lead, but I was honestly a little bit worried about how much he'd be able to get into the character, cuz Sam is a pretty dignified guy. I don't think I've ever seen Sam look awkward or out of place, and his character - Millard Grover, an employee of a rival theme park who is sent in to Incrediworld to sabotage it - this character is definitely not dignified.

Shouldn't have worried. Sam took to acting like a natural and never looked back, even though his character was by far the zaniest and most demanding character in the play - lots of faux falls, leaps, trips, and even a cheesy dance scene. :)

The good thing about getting Sam to play Millard is that he's been taking Tang So Do for awhile now, so he's good at falling. :)

Nathan's (right) character was Mr. Peterson, the harried and stressed park director for Incrediworld, who stumbles (literally!) over Millard and assumes he's his new employee.

Maggie played Miss Ryan, Mr. Peterson's ultra peppy, very enthusiastic, highly dedicated secretary/assistant. She really took the character and ran with it - initially I told her to mix the dedication of Jane Hathaway from The Beverly Hillbillies with the pep and sunniness of Amy Adam's character from The Muppets, and she pulled it off perfectly. :) During the play, we made a big deal of sticking pens, bows, etc, into her hair, and the kids LOVED it! In fact, one day we had a contest to see who could dress up like a character from the drama the best, and you wouldn't believe how many girls showed up with their hair all dolled up.

We also had our "Extreme Team" of "Cody" (George - not pictured, he was absent this day and Ben stepped in for me) and "Gabe" (Chase).

And, of course, we had my character, Victoria Hathaway, TV executive for Adventure TV, who deviously (?) tries to lure Gabe and Cody into signing a contract with them. And, yes, that is a REAL leafblower Sam is blowing me with. It was quite the scene. :)

And last, but definitely not least, we have Mabel Magoo, played by the beautiful Mrs. Shirley! Mabel Magoo, aged 80, "somehow" wins the "IncrediKID Contest" at Incrediworld and ends up spending a week at the park. :)

Maggie and Mrs. Shirley, hanging out "backstage" before their turn to go on.

The good thing is we get to perform all five day's dramas in one long drama for the church next month, which is always fun!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Busy Busy Busy!

So much has been going on and I have so many topics I want to blog about that it seems a little overwhelming. Guess I'll just jump in and see how far I can get! :)

Our Vacation Bible School (VBS) ran this year June 25-29, which meant that June was chock full of rehearsals, and the last week was crazy busy. But it went well! We had 98 kids our first day (which I think dropped lower throughout the week, but oh, well) and they were a great audience for us. I have to admit, I was iffy right up until the first day of our drama - I kept finding little things I wanted to work on - but after the first day I realized we were going to be good, if not great, and as the week went on I was pleasantly surprised at how well we did.

As you can see from the pictures above, it was pretty zany. :) I was psyched to get to hang out all week with Maggie, and our friends Sam and Ben Henry (Sam was in the drama with us, and Ben ran our soundboard.

Abby also got to go to VBS that week with Lilly, which worked out well - I dropped her off in the morning, and Anna would pick her up at noon, bring her home for lunch, and put her down for a nap, and I'd get home shortly after.

At the same time that VBS was going on, my family finally, after twelve years, got flooring put down on the upper level. Eight people evicted from their bedrooms, crammed into two rooms downstairs, my mom watching TV in one of them til late at night, and my dad left for a week on a business trip, so no one was home to mediate the house. Ack! I fled. :) Chris and Natalie graciously and generously let me move into their spare bedroom, so I was able to sleep and keep my sanity. Maggie even joined me one night when she couldn't take the conditions at the house anymore!

Luckily for me, on Saturday night Rebekah and Rachel drove up from where their camping trip had gotten rained out, and on Sunday morning we hit the road, bound for Alabama!

My week in Alabama was too short - as usual, lol - but it was just what I needed after a stressful week. I love being in Alabama, and if my life had taken a different path it's not too hard to imagine myself living there and getting to be a bigger part of Rebekah and Khy's life. Since that isn't possible right now, I treasure these times when I get to make memories with them!

I loved getting to hang out with Joe and get to know him better. Everything I see confirms to me that he's "the one" for her and Khy, and that makes my heart amazingly happy. :)

I was not ready to come back home at all, but come home I did. I came home to the news that the floors wouldn't be able to hold furniture for another week (bleh), but I was desperate for my bed, so Lizzie helped me push aside some stuff around in the basement to make enough room to flip my mattress down on the floor. I scrounged around for an extension cord, and I was set. On Friday or Saturday, we get to move our stuff back, and I will never, EVER take having a bedroom for granted EVER.

In the meantime, my garden is going great!

I've collected more than a dozen cukes so far - the first dozen went into my first ever batch of refrigerator pickles! They turned out great and I've enjoyed snacking on them. I can't wait for more cukes to pile up so I can make another batch of pickles, this time to can. I've also got a bunch of tomatoes ripening on my vines, so I'm looking forward to learning to make my own pasta sauce. I even have one teensy little green pepper growing. :)