Friday, December 18, 2009

My (soon-to-be) Husband Rocks

So, I know we're not married yet, but who couldn't use a little validation? What a great, inspiring blog trend! On Fridays, they are encouraging you to share a story about why your husband rocks. Check it out here:

So, why Chris rocks today:

I may be frustrated that I got up 4 times last night, and he got up once, with a puppy that has some tummy trouble, but Chris has done a wonderful job with her. I may be nervous about what this means for midnight wake-up calls from a baby, but he has been nothing but nurturing, concerned, and attentive to our new little girl. The second something goes wrong, he's on top of it. Being the engineer, he goes into research mode for how to "fix" it. He always has a million ideas for solutions, and is willing to try new things. Therefore, Chris rocks.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A to Z Challenge

Well, I'm not always good at sticking with these, but I'm joining the A to Z challenge for 2010. I have both a list for Author or Title picked out, but I haven't decided which I'm doing yet. Check it out here:

Thursday, November 12, 2009


There's a facebook meme challenging everyone to be thankful for something every day until Thanksgiving. These were/are my postings:

11/10 I am thankful that Chris is so hardworking, so that renovations have gone quickly.
11/11 I am thankful that my generous father, who was doing Hurricane Katrina relief on the gulf coast, was protected from the current hurricane.
11/12 I am thankful for successful call-backs. Michelle you rock!
11/13 I am thankful for our miraculous bodies that are so strong and resilient...even if I overdid the abs yesterday (ouch!).
11/14 I am thankful that most schools can cheer for their teams with class. Pitt, however, is not one of them.
11/15 I am thankful for all the wonderful people with birthdays today. TWO bridesmaids, and the fabulous twin of one of them!
11/16 I am thankful for beautiful, sunny days that let us be outside in November!!!
11/17 I am thankful for professional organization meetings. Great way to break up the day.
11/18 I am thankful for the food on my table...especially when the fiance prepared it b/c you were getting home late!
11/19 I am thankful for my family. Both immediate and extended, and psyched to see the crazy, huge Diven bunch next week!!!!
11/20 I am thankful that BOTH cars are now paid off. Take THAT recession. :P
11/21 I am thankful to be done with continuing education...maybe...need to check.
11/22 I am thankful today that I woke up this morning feeling my normal self. Honestly, quite surprised. As, I'm sure, are all of you that were betting that I'd be dancing on the breakfast bar.
11/23 I am thankful for books. I love being able to see others' perspectives, learn things, and escape into other worlds. Wish I was curled up on the couch at home, snuggled up under a blanket, with a big cup of coffee and a book right now.
11/24 I am thankful that it is so easy to help others. However, doesn't mean I'm not a little frustrated that I just got roped into playing 4 concerts when I'm so out of practice... So, anyone who wants to hear Christmas music, I think the 18th and 19th are open to the public. (as is the 11th, but I'm not playing)
11/25 I am thankful for never having had to need to worry about having something to wear on my body or feet. I need to remember that the secondary concerns of being too snug, worn, or out-of-fashion are wonderful to have as concerns in the grand scheme of things.
11/26 I am thankful for mostly safe travels for the family. One minor fender bender, but aunt & uncle are fine. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

So, I listened to this as an audio book while at work, so didn't catch everything. What I did catch, was incredible. Certain things would be considered a little off-color and not PC in this day and age (as the books like 1/2 a century old), but generally it makes articulate, clearly laid out arguments for every aspect of Christianity, and spoken about from the perspective of a former cynic. I'd highly recommend it, and may make a point of sitting down and reading it on paper. Grade: A+

Monday, November 2, 2009


Someone thinks the dog crate is for him....

Mission Bathroom: Complete! (mostly)

Toilet fixed, hand towel hanger hung, medicine cabinet installed

Towel rack, Still need the transfer piece between the tile and wood

Tiled, new fixtures, new curtain and rod

New vanity, lights, fan, paint job, still needs curtains

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

100 Mile Challenge

So, I am floored by the book, and the television show challenging people to eat locally, and to limit their consumption to 100 miles. We try to be conscious of eating seasonally, getting US-grown foods, and shopping our local farmers market, but to get EVERYTHING locally? I think I'd fail in a few seconds flat. I think spices would be my downfall. We live in an area that has a vast selection of fruits, vegetables, and quite a lot of the country is fed by things that are local...however...I'm just not that optimistic. I think I'll continue to try and make better choices, but I think a strict adherence to the 100-mile rule is just not in the cards, as much as I'd like it to be. If you think you can do it, here's the books:

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Prayer

On an entirely personal note (though what about a blog isn't), I have one thought, prayer, whatever you wish to call it that frequently runs through my mind. And, I just had such peace today with this wish, hope, plea. What is it? "Lord, help me to see your light in all people I meet, and let your light shine through me." I just was able to follow what I always seek to today, and for that I am truly thankful. I hope everyone else's day was as fulfilling.

John 1:9 "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Announcing another Marriage Confessions Giveaway

Katie at Marriage Confessions is giving away an iPod because she loves her fans. You should check it out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Title Meme

Got this from Find Your Next Book Here

What To Do: Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: Eldest (Christopher Paolini)

How do you feel: Baby Proof (Emily Griffin)

Describe where you currently live: Dune (Frank Herbert) --Um, not at all, but it's all I've got

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Magic Study (Maria Snyder)

Your favorite form of transportation: Like Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen)

Your best friend is: Stone of Tears (Terry Goodkind)

You and your friends are: The World Without Us (Alan Weisman)

What’s the weather like: Shadow of the Wind (Carlos Ruiz Zaffon)

You fear: The Assault on Reason (Al Gore)

What is the best advice you have to give: Every Good Boy Does Fine (Tim Laskowski)

Thought for the day: Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind) --"People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool." (This IS the 1st rule, from p. 397)

How I would like to die: Poison Study (Maria Snyder)

My soul’s present condition: Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

Reading Lists

So my reading wish list has gotten out of control. My Amazon list is up to 136 or something crazy like that and I have MANY books on my shelves that I have not finished. Many GOOD books. Ranging from the last few pages of The World Without Us, to one of Gregory MacGuire's recent ones, to the Idiot, and on and on and on. I need to make a point of sitting down and reading more often. But of course, needing to exercise, finish house projects, and all of that get in the way. I WILL start reading and letting all of you know what I think again soon. For now, I'll review a book I'm ALMOST done with...c'mon I'm on 921 of 979 pages, it's taking me awhile, but I'm close.

The Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind
Enjoying it a LOT. It's the sequel to The Wizard's First Rule (The basis for the television show Legend of the Seeker...which I have never watched). It's kind of the standard fantasy, journey epic, but not entirely predictable. It's not like the blatant rip-off of Tolkien that I discussed in the past (and won't bother to name again). This doesn't really involve other species (e.g. elves, trolls, the like), but does have a magical element, and is more political. Highly recommended for those of you that enjoy this sort of thing.


So, our baby girl was born a week and 1/2 ago, and we just got pictures last night. We don't know which puppy is ours yet, so here's just a few pictures from the litter. They are TOO frickin cute. Eyes aren't open yet, but they're so BIG.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Price We Pay

Well...the bathroom's not done. We hit more snags than anticipated. A pipe was in the way of the vanity, an outlet was behind the sink and mirror, the toilet seals...oh the toilet seals...the first one was missing the bolts, the second we screwed up, then the 3rd we got in...but I stepped on the 2nd one in the process, which is INCREDIBLY disgusting.

So...we've figured out the pipe situation, the outlet got moved (though we now have a patched drywall area that needs to be sanded and repainted), and the toilet can be used. The grout has been sealed, the room is VERY purple (yay! looks great!), and we're getting close. Still not the "done" we were hoping for, but close.

The price? I'd like to claim that I hurt my foot working, but I'm just a klutz. Fell up the stair between the family and dining rooms and cut it/bruised it badly. Looks nasty, and feels about the same, so I thought I'd share.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Congrats Quynh and Kyle!

So, last weekend we did something startling, amazing, write-on-the-calendar worthy...we did not work on the house. Well, not on Saturday (we did when we got home on Sunday, we're hopeless). We went out of town, and celebrated two fantastic people getting married. Quynh "what's in fun coke" and Kyle "that's what she said". Oh, I could go on and on with favorite moments from these lovebirds, but I probably want to keep them as friends. Maybe. Oh, alright, I'll give you another one from Quynh that she posted in her status message for awhile.

One night Quynh and I were walking back from a pub when we were living in Ireland, with but slightly ahead of a large group of people. Quynh, per the norm, had had a few drinks, and was wearing giant heels. Crossing the campus lawn, she WIPED out and fell flat on her face. She popped up, turned to me, and asked, "Did anyone see that?" ...And of course no one had. That's Quynh, embarrassing herself and getting away with it for 29 years.

She did NOT embarrass herself with choice of husband, however. Even if he became king of the dance floor (which we were not anticipating). Kyle is that poem "Love is patient, love is kind, etc..." He is the yin to Quynh's yang. Where Quynh is the cheerleader with the bullhorn, Kyle is the male cheerleader holding her up. Though slightly less flamboyant. And hopefully not looking up her skirt. That's just tacky.

Anyway, we had a great time at the wedding, and here are some pictures to prove it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tiling Queen

It's not grouted yet, but I'm very proud of my handiwork. And, yes, I laid 99% of the tile. Chris cut, but decided he did not like masonry. So, pretty much, I rock. And my nails are shot. Oh well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Homegoods/Marriage Confessions giveaway!

Katie over at Marriage Confessions has a giveaway for a $100 Homegoods gift card going on. Now, we all know that Mrs. Hoekstra is a decorating goddess, and she HIGHLY recommends Homegoods to everyone she knows. She even got my mother to take me there when she was in Philly last time! And I didn't get lost driving there! (truly a miracle) So, head on over to Marriage Confessions, and join in the fun!

Monday, September 14, 2009

We have a family room!

Yay! It was painful completing the floor Friday night while I was sick, but we did it! And now the furniture's back in! And we can use it! Woo hoo! Bob's replacing the window's some time this week, so we're waiting on the last couple of rows and the molding, but close enough.

The bathroom is coming along. We've spackled everything once, and are sanding tonight. We've purchased the tiles for the floors, put up all the lights, and ordered the vanity, sink, cabinet, and mirror. So, most of the money that needs to be spent has been. At least that's a relief. We have some hope that we can finish it in the next couple of weeks and have people over for the Iowa game. It was great having Matt over on Saturday. It felt like a real house when we could entertain in it. Not just a disaster zone.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baby Hands

Owwweeee. Ok, yes, I do not have callouses built up as my co-worker pointed out. But that's not ALL of it. My thumb is torn open from drill vibrations, but my pinky is pained from the stupid guy at Home Depot dropping 5 sheets of concrete board on it. Surprisingly, it's not really discolored, even if it hurts like the dickens still. Maybe I'll have a nail for the engagement photos yet!

Progress has been slow. Since the last update, we've....completed nothing. There have been steps made on the bathroom (quite a few, has a light, and a vent, and fixed plumbing, and drywall, etc...), steps on the family room (Bob the Builder is fixing the joists today. Yay!), steps on decor (curtains made, fabric for cushions bought, etc...), and much, much cleaning. Just wish things would get FINISHED so that Chris could quit being Mr. Cranky-pants.

And, btw, concrete board (cement board, rock board, backer board, etc) is a creation of the devil. Yes, it smashed my hand, and that started my hatred, but it also stinks, is crumbly, hard to cut, dries out your hands, and I could go on for the rest of the page. Long version of complaining short: hire someone, kidnap someone, bribe someone, do whatever you can to avoid the blasted stuff.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Diet desperation

Ok, engagement photos are in 2 weeks. And...I am not the skinny little thing that I used to be. That's not to say huge. Just...I don't want pictures taken like this. So, attempting something called the 11 Day Diet. I'm on day 3. It's a little extreme, though somewhat similar to South Beach. Going well so far. We'll hope that this puts me on track for some stellar photos. So, for lunch today, I had 1/2 a cup of oatmeal and 1/2 a chicken breast. (I know, weird.) And Chris had Chipotle. How is this fair? Sigh. Obviously, not so much following the vegetarian thing at the moment.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Penn State Man Cave

Here is both my shame and my pride. Getting close to being a shrine... Yes, I painted the logo, the Irish plate, and embroidered the paw on the curtains. Chris's mom did the OSU and PSU quilted hangings.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

House update

Oh my, oh my, oh my.

Good news:
- Almost unpacked
- Most outlets switched
- Fan up in kitchen
- New washer and dryer
- Handles on drawers in kitchen

Not so good news:
- Bathroom still demo'd
- Water damage and evidence of termites under the family room floor. Termite people coming out tomorrow, then we need to repair from the ground up before laying the hardwood we thought would be a 1 day project.
- HEAVY condensation on the central air ducts. They're not wrapped. Need to do that.
- Light on new fan not functional yet.
- NEW lawnmower quit working 4th time we tried to use it. Fortunately, Sears swapped it out.

So...the joys continue.

Books, books, and more books

Quick rundown on books I've read recently:

Poison Study - AWESOME. 1st book for Snyder. A+
Magic Study - 2nd book in the series. Still pretty darn good. A
Fire Study - Yeah, read reviews that kinda warned about this...not so great. Too many "reminders" of what already happened. Still a good story, and obviously, want to remain in the world! B
Elfstones of Shannara - HATE this book. And this is my 2nd time. Why? Dunno. C-
Eldest: Inheritence Series, Book 2 - Pretty good. I guess. Pretty standard fantasy, journey book. B-
Cherry Cheesecake Murder - Cute. Fairly predictable. Lightweight. Good plane or beach reading. B

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mountains of Money

Now it comes as a shock to no one, including us, that houses are expensive. But how QUICKLY they become expensive has been a little daunting. Of course there's the mortgage, and the utilities, and the insurance, and all that. And there's the little things, like realizing you need a different kind of light bulb to relight your dining room. Then there's the slightly bigger, but equally anticipated renovations, like painting, and door repairs, and stain, and handles, etc... BUT, what has started to kill us is the stuff that has pushed its way up the priority list. Did we plan on eventually renovating the bathroom? Yes. Did we think it would be now before we realized the drywall was shot, and the wrong type was installed to begin with? Not so much. Did we plan on buying a washer and dryer? Yes. Did we mistakenly think they were on the home warranty? Yes. Did we have to buy them last night because the washer has entirely quit working? Yes. Then, to not feel left out, our little appliances have been dying. And not the microwaves. Oh, no, they know we have 3 of them, they're replaceable. My blow dryer, Chris's alarm clock? Yeah, dead.

It's still a great process, and we'll work through it, but if the coffee pot goes on strike? I'm out. Oh wait, we have 2 of those, too. I win, Mr. Coffee!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moving Day Pictures

Yes! I'm finally posting them! Took me long enough!

Kyle worked hard.

How many people does it take to put together a table?

Mike and Kyle and the disaster of a kitchen.

Chris and the ladies (Amy and Kelle)

Monster didn't work so hard...

And thanks to Tim, Jen, and Matt, even if they didn't make it into the pictures.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I know, I haven't posted pictures yet of the house, but we finally have one of the many wedding dramas resolved. We have a church again. Now THEY better not decide to do renovations or anything. St. Peter's. Near the reception hall. Same date, same time. Check it out here:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quick Rundown

Pictures will be up later today, but HUGE thanks to: Tim, Random Dude, Mike, Matt, Kyle, Kelle, Amy and Jen!!!

Random Dude was named Pat. He walked in asking if this was the moving party. Well, yes, but who are you? He's from God's Hysterics, duh... Um... Random Dude, while very nice, was supposed to be moving someone else in the apartment complex. Bye, Random Dude.

Accomplished items since we last spoke:
- Master has 1 coat of paint (still needs another)
- Lined about 1/2 the kitchen cabinets, put more of the sticky little bumper things on them
- Cleaned/rectified enough of the upper bath that it's semi-usable until we renovate it
- Chimney and roof are both progressing
- Some stuff has been put away, but we're still living with a lot of boxes
- AND the washer died. Totally. Kaput. Currently shopping for a new one. Sigh...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Countdown Begins

Now that we are TWO DAYS away from moving in, you might think I'm close to regaining my sanity...and you'd be wrong. We're moving towards having a renovated house, but not quite done. Since last update, we've accomplished the following:

- Touch ups on blue man cave trim
- Master is primed, and trimmed out in the color
- Cleaning has started
- Chimney is started
- Roof is started
- More things are getting moved from the apartment

However, as we get closer to renovation bliss, we get closer to d-day. And by that, I mean decorating. Having spent most of our money, I am looking for inexpensive ideas.

For instance, this mantle by Lucas Allen is beautiful. I love the paper butterflies. I may try and recreate something like them in a wall-hanging.

However, for now, I'll worry about furniture placement. Doesn't cost a thing!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Don't Sleep and Renovate

So, I may have pushed myself too far. Aside from just getting cranky, my exhaustion has caused more than a few mishaps.

Two days ago, when trying to finish the family room's second coat, there was a ladder-meets-fan incident that I hinted at. I was moving the ladder, the fan was on, it hit the ladder, and the blade went flying across the room. Not pretty. Good thing we were planning on replacing it anyway.

Yesterday, my hot streak continued. Small issues, like dabs of paint where they shouldn't be, but then I managed to WHACK my head on the miter saw when bending for a paint can. Still hurts nicely today.

Next, when returning from the grocery after reno work, I confused the gas and the brake. Yeah, brilliant. Rammed the car into the parking block, and busted part of the bumper. Hasn't fallen off yet. Thank God.

Finally, after fighting with Chris because "I shouldn't be tired" according to him, ...umm..., I curled up with a book in bed at like 8pm. Then proceeded to puke my guts out. But will I be back tonight to do more? You betcha.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

House in Progress You wouldn't even believe. It was another LONG weekend at the house, with more wonderful helpers, and it's finally starting to look like a home. We're pretty close to wrapping up most of the projects we want to do before moving in, and will be mostly packing, cleaning, and moving stuff this week. And...I still have to paint our bedroom. Minor little detail. Anyway, here's what you came to see. Pictures.

Monster isn't fond of moving.

I lost my mind and painted Chris's Penn State man cave.

The bar.

The kitchen.

Other finished projects: family room is painted, den is painted, door to laundry is replaced, dead air conditioners are removed and the walls are patched, ugly kitchen light is replaced, hardwood floor for the family room is purchased (but not installed yet), some outlets replaced, holes in laundry room closed so Monster can't hide in them. Think that's it. A lot.

- Paint master
- Install floor
- Rehab chimney (mason coming next week)
- Replace roof (contractor coming next week)
- Ground electric (electrician theoretically starting sometime soon)
- Logo on bar wall
- Repair or replace washer
- Fix dining room ceiling where roof leaked
- Replace ceiling fans in master and kitchen (there was an incident with the ladder)
- Renovate the upstairs bathroom (currently demo's done...)

Only a couple things in the next month or two, right? Doh...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Change in diet

So, here's the irony...I've been pestering Chris for awhile that I've wanted to be a vegetarian again. We've tried limiting the number of meat meals, and recently agreed that I would eat poultry and fish around him, but limit it otherwise. I also am lactose intolerant, so I eat limited dairy. I am not overweight. I am active. I eat Cheerios every day. I don't have a sweet tooth. All that being said...I just found out I have high cholesterol. Damn you family history! I have an even better reason to go vegetarian. And to knock off the 10 lbs I've been meaning to lose forever. (While not overweight, I am at the upper end of the recommended range. Plus, want to look good in the wedding dress I just bought!!!) Therefore, the battle begins. In the past, I have lost the war to wonderful things like BACON. I know my cousin, Peter, is a big fan of the fake stuff, so we'll see.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Take a Chance Challenge: Random Book Selection

For my random book selection, where I had a plan on where to go in the library, I ended up with "Every Good Boy Does Fine" by Tim Laskowski. Admittedly, I finished this quite awhile ago, but completely forgot about posting it. I REALLY enjoyed this book and don't think I would have picked it up on my own. The main character had been a concert pianist in his "real life." That is, the time before his brain injury. In his early twenties, he had gone rock climbing, fallen, and lost most of his short term memory, inhibitions, and some physical function. His struggles to deal with his new "real life" were fascinating, and based off of the author's relationship with a brain-damaged patient in his own life. Grade: A

Adventures in Renovation was a very long, yet very productive weekend. We put in two very full days and had a WONDERFUL crew of 3 extra people helping us out. And there was very little arm twisting. Two of them even showed up two days in a row! We have taken lots of pictures of the current status, and those will be uploaded later today (hopefully).

The most exciting part involved an "I told you so moment." I really dislike hot feet. REALLY...DISLIKE. Therefore, I am not a fan of working in sneakers. Yeah, I know, it's a construction site, and there is all sorts of crud on the floor, but my feet are tough. Right?!?! Anyway, my feet weren't the problem. I stepped into the kitchen, onto a wet floor, in flip-flops and WIPED out. No graceful Gene Kelley kind of choreographed fall, either. Smack. Boom. Arm right into the railing leading down the stairs into the bathroom. Chris walked in to see me writhing in pain on the floor, and, to his credit, did ask me how I was before telling me I shouldn't be wearing flip-flops. Fortunately, no broken arm, no trip to the emergency room, any of that. Just a pretty bruise.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our version of Easter

I just ran across another blog, discussing their crazy Easter egg hunt, and I truly believe that no one can out-do ours... I regularly kick butt, and make upwards of $75. You have to understand, while some of these eggs hold candy or change, some hold up to $20. Unfortunately, at least one of the $20 is usually sunk at the bottom of the pool, and since I have to drive some ways afterwards, I don't usually go for THAT egg. Also, what is crazy, is that more than one of these participants is or was a college athlete. (Including myself. Water-polo. Real sport.) However, I am SUBSTANTIALLY smaller than everyone else. Not in weight (at least not anymore), but in height. Bobby's got about a foot and 1/2 on me. I'm the little one in the purple 1-strap tank. This was our "ghetto" year. We wrote all sorts of fun slogans on our bodies. Yes, mine says, "Two schools smarter." We're a little proud of our institutions of higher learning, can you tell? I hope it happens again this year. It hasn't since Jim and Sara moved away from NC and her parents. We need more 20-somethings running around like fools while I'm still a 20-something!!!

See some other people (also named Katie and Chris) who participate in such mature activities.