Monday, December 31, 2012

Best and Worst of 2012

Please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.

Looking back on 2012, I'd say it started out pretty rocky, and was a bit of a roller coaster ride.
On one side of the family, we endured two losses and a couple pretty serious hospital stays- the kind where a person is never the same again. On the other side of the family, we celebrated the births of two new nieces.
I personally had a pretty scary allergic reaction, landing me in the ER and racking up some medical bills our budget could've done without. This summer, we got to visit with some friends we hadn't seen in a long time. And, we put our house on the market.
The year is ending, and the new year beginning, with the sale of our house and no idea of where we'll go from here.

The only thing constant this year is God's continued provisions and constant blessings, the biggest of which is Dinah. She has grown and changed so much this year, and continues to bring us so much joy and laughter. We're thankful for every minute we get to spend with our sweet girl.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Long Cold Moment

I hate cold. I very passionately hate cold. This is no secret. And, I hate snow. I am definitely not of the mindset that if it's going to be cold it might as well snow. I will admit that snow can be very pretty, but that moment of beauty is quickly over as soon as you start walking and driving in it. It then just becomes dirty and messy and ugly and inconvenient.
I realize I'm in the minority this time of year, when people start dreaming of a white Christmas. Although around here it really is a dream. I think we've had snow for Christmas twice in my lifetime. And the last time was dubbed "snowmageddon" because it was pretty well blizzard conditions (that no one around here is prepared for or accustomed to) wreaking havoc more than anything else.
For me personally, I can pinpoint the exact moment that all of my hatred for snow and cold came to a head. I loved snow as a child. I could play in it, and then go inside and get away from it when I was ready. It didn't hurt that it held the prospect of a day of no school. I think I probably gradually grew less tolerant until it finally peaked to the point that there was no going back.
My parents were arguing as we drove away from the nursing home. My Grandpa had been there a week, but after this visit I knew it would be the last. The light he had always had in his eyes was gone. We didn't stay all that long, because it was starting to snow and we needed to get home before the roads got too bad. I was awakened the next morning with the news I had dreaded all night. He was gone. My greatest encourager, my biggest supporter, my best friend. I had spent my entire life, all but those last few months, within walking distance. It was my first time to lose someone close. The next couple days were spent braving the cold making the arrangements. And then, as I stood at the graveside, the wind picked up and it began to snow again. It was the coldest I had ever felt. My brother later told me that people talked about how cold it was that day, but that he didn't remember it. He was just numb. I think it made me feel the cold more. And ever since that day, I dread the cold and I hate the snow. It doesn't matter how many layers I put on, I can never get warm. It hurts my whole body, inside and out.

Favorite Things

The list of things Dinah enjoys is, of course, ever-evolving. Here are some of her favorite things right now- age 2.

Color- purple

Christmas song- (so far) Where Are You Christmas

Movie- Tangled, The Jungle Book, The Princess and the Frog, The Aristocats

Food- green beans, noodles, okra

Drink- chocolate milk

Toys- stuffed Curious George, sock monkey, baby dolls, balls, Giraffe pull toy, dog-shaped guitar toy

Activities- dancing, swinging, playing outside, reading, painting

Other favorite things- helping, animals, bubble baths, her belly button, picking her own clothes, doing things herself, looking at pictures of her cousins

Monday, November 12, 2012

Family Resemblance?

I love seeing old pictures and being able to see a family resemblance. It's funny how one picture can look similar to one family member, and another look similar to a different family member. Some pictures of Dinah look a lot like me, and others she's a little mini-Dean. And, of course, some don't look much like either of us. Then again, some people just look much more alike than others.

I posted pics of both Grandpa's on Veteran's Day. When I posted them on Facebook, I wondered if anyone would think my Grandpa, Jack, looked like my older brother. I've always thought they looked alike, and this picture shows it especially. I first saw this picture of my Grandpa when my brother was about the same age, and it blew me away. In fact, some of my brother's friends came over and happened to see it and asked how we got the picture of Josh to look like that.

So, what do you think? Twins?

A Greater Impact

Have you ever noticed that people seem to think Memorial Day and Veteran's Day are the same holiday, just two different days? It's kind of a pet peeve of my husband's, and I tend to agree. All over Facebook on Memorial Day, you'll see people thanking veterans. While I think it's important to thank our veterans anyway, I know that Memorial Day is for those who died while in service. I don't want to take away any due respect for those who gave it all by lumping the holidays together under one meaning.

That being said, yesterday was Veteran's Day. A day when we celebrate all who have served. Equally important, just not the same thing. I'm grateful to all the people who have served (or are serving still). I know several. My Grandpas on both sides, my father-in-law, my cousin, friends of all ages, great-uncle, co-workers. They are pretty well everywhere I go.

I put a photo on Facebook yesterday of the two that had the greatest impact on my life. That would be my Grandpas on both sides. Both of whom served in the Army during WWII. One in the infantry, fighting in several of the major battles (including Normandy, and the Battle of the Bulge). The other serving in the 12th Army Air Force as a mechanic and driver. Fun Fact: The Air Force wasn't established as a separate branch until after the war. I think in 1947. He had plenty of stories of his own to tell. Both of them were forever changed by their experiences in the war. I should also note here that my Dad's parents already knew each other and were dating. For my Grandma, waiting for my Grandpa to come home was another kind of experience. Those men shaped me into the person I am today. There's no way I could go accurately describe that here. I've written separate blog posts about each of them in the past (neither of which do them justice, but are more specific). The other impact they had on me and my brothers was a desire and a sense of duty to learn about WWII. It seems more real, like its not just a story from a history book the more you learn, especially when you can add in firsthand accounts. My brother feels like he owes it to them to learn as much as he can. And believe me, you could learn just as much from him about different battles, machinery and weaponry than you could from reading a textbook.

One other veteran, who I neglected to mention on Facebook, but has impacted my life in a big way is my father-in-law. He served in the Navy in the 80s and 90s. It's important to mention him, because he (and his wife) are responsible for raising the man I would marry. Their direction and teaching, along with living half of his childhood on a Navy base, have shaped him into the person he is today. My life would be vastly different if not for him, and for his willingness to serve his country and his family. And although my Grandpas are gone now, my father-in-law is still here loving and supporting us and helping to shape my daughter just as my Grandpas did me.

**disclaimer: the little girl in the photo with my Grandpa is my cousin Belinda, not me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Fun

A few weeks ago, my sweet girl turned 2. I have been waiting to do the post on that until I have time to do it up right. In the meantime, here’s an adventure we had recently. My employer hosted a family fun day at a local farm/park. Fall is a good time to go, because they do some extra fall things this time of year. It turned out to be a pretty chilly day, but we had fun anyway! They had pony rides, a petting zoo, panning for gemstones, pedal cars, a play area, a hayride and a pumpkin patch. Dinah loved it all. She was pretty pumped all day about seeing the animals. When she laid down for her nap, I told her that after she woke up we’d go see animals and get to pet them. She responded, “I want pet goat! I want see sheep!” Once we got there, she fed a goat but was much less interested in the sheep and goats than she was in the pigs and the bunnies. She went in to pet the bunnies multiple times. We had planned to do the corn maze, and for Dean and me to do the zip line, but it was just so darn cold that we gave up and called it a day before we got to that. It was a great fall activity, even if it was a little cold.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cool Job

Do you have an imaginary dream job?

What I mean is, is there a job that you think sounds incredibly cool; but that you aren’t sure you would/could ever do it? I’ve had one for years. Sometime in high school, or maybe it was even upper middle school, I decided that being a fighter pilot would be crazy cool. I’ve been fascinated by aviation for a long time. My husband even proposed to me from the air. So, obviously, there’s the whole flying aspect that makes it appealing, but it’s more than that. It’s the adrenaline, the skill, the attention to detail, the quick-thinking. I just think it would be awesome. I also think I’d never have what it takes.

Earlier this week, my husband and I were driving through town, and we saw a crew demoing a vacant building. How cool would it be to take a wrecking ball or some other piece of heavy equipment and destroy something? I realize there are other forms of demolition, but I think it would have to involve heavy equipment to be fun. I mean, you have to take the manual labor aspect off the table to achieve this effect. It may not be quite to the caliber of fighter pilot, but it would still fit in the category of something fun that I’d probably never do.

What job do you love the idea of, but that you would never or could never do?

30x30-ish: Follow up

In March, I entered my last year of my twenties. I had this grand idea of coming up with a “30 by 30” list, or 30 things to do by the time I turned 30. I thought about it for a couple weeks, and because I’m neither creative nor blessed with loads of free time, I only came up with eight. Well, 8 by 30 doesn’t sound as good, but it was a little more realistic, probably. Baby steps. So, now that we’ve reached the halfway point, here’s an update on my list.

1. Potty train Dinah –
We’re working on it. She was really interested and doing really well at the beginning of summer, and now all of the sudden she has no interest at all.

2. Pay off a debt-
Nope. Not much progress. In fact, after an ER visit on Easter I’ve actually accumulated more.

3. Visit friends or family not seen in awhile-
Check! Visited family over the 4th of July to meet our newest niece. A couple weeks later, met up with some friends as they moved cross-country. We hadn’t seen them in about a year and a half.

4. Go to an MLB game-
No. But, my hubby and I went on kind of a late anniversary date to the football home opener of my college alma mater. It’s a good trade for now.

5. Do/see something in my home state I’ve never experienced before-
Check! Dean and I went to POPS on Route 66 for one of our dates this year. It’s kind of a neat place, I’m sure we’ll go back.

6. Learn a new skill-
Dean taught me how to throw a football. He loves it, because he has someone to throw a football around with. He used to want a son to do that with, and then he realized Dinah would be happy to learn when she gets a little bigger. Then one day he asked me if I wanted to throw the football around and I said sure. Now he’s wishing he’d asked me a long time ago!

7.Sift through old pictures with Grandma.

8. Read 2 new books in their entirety-
Check! I finally got around to getting to the library and checked out a couple books last month. I read them both in less than a week. This week, I checked out a couple more, so I’ll have doubled this goal in no time.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Birthday

As of early this year, I have one remaining grandparent. It’s a weird realization, still. I figure, since she’s still in my life, and since she’s kind of awesome, I should celebrate her. What better time to celebrate someone than on their birthday? So, here are some random facts about my sweet, stubborn, sassy, hilarious Grandma.

• On my 17th birthday, she told me, “This will be the best year of your life; it’s all downhill from here.” That’s what every 17 year old wants to hear. I don’t know why she wasn’t a motivational speaker.
• Every birthday for the next few years, she updated me on where she was at that point in her life. She got married at seventeen, so I heard things like, “I was married when I was your age,” or “When I turned 21, I had two kids.”
•She used to threaten to hang me by my toenails.
•She broke her toe as a preteen, because she was plowing barefoot. (As in, a plow pulled by a horse.)
•She thinks she’s boring, with no sense of humor. Truth-be-told, she’s one of the funniest people I know.
• When I was little, she would get out her old sheets and let me make forts in her living room, or help me carve out cucumbers to make sail boats.
•We used to watch the show Walker: Texas Ranger together. However, she never called it by that title. She just called it “Kick Butt.” (“You want to watch Kick Butt?”)
• I’ve probably spent more time fishing with her than with anybody else in the world.
•She thinks Bleach is a cure-all for anything.
•She treats poison ivy like the plague. If you have poison ivy, she won’t go near you.
•The woman LOVES peanut brittle, and I can’t stress the word ‘love’ enough here.

Happy Birthday to my Grandma!
And, Happy Labor Day to everybody else!

Friday, August 31, 2012


I wrote this last year at this time. I'm just reposting the link, because it fits today just as it did that day. The feelings of apathy last night as my Facebook newsfeed was popping up with posts about the high school rivalry game. The feelings of excitement as college football starts tomorrow.

Fun With Fingerpaint

Parenting. In all my experience, you know, all 23 months of it, it's largely a great experience. It's full of wonder and excitement, love and laughter, but nobody said it was always rosy. No, some days I teeter between feeling immense joy and wanting to pull my hair out. Having kids is a roller coaster ride sometimes. Recently, we had one of those days when Dinah was getting on my last nerve. Between her not listening to a word I said, and her frequent whining, I was getting pretty irritated.
So, what did I do? I decided to put off the housework, and change things up a bit. I whipped up a batch of homemade Fingerpaint, taped some wax paper on the kitchen table, and let her go to town. It was a great way to redirect our attention and adjust our attitudes. She had a blast, repeating "I painting" over and over, pointing out the different colors that she knew and even painting on Mom's hand. By the end, everything was covered so I asked if she was ready to clean up. She replied, "I want bath." Great idea, kiddo! So we moved our party to the bathroom and got everything cleaned up.
Sometimes you just need a change in activity to change your attitude.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Life Is A Highway

In the summer of 2006, I went to the theater with my roommate, Leslie, and my friend, Dean to watch the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. We had a good time, and really enjoyed the movie. It's really funny to me to look back at the progression of one movie in my life.
Leslie was always burning us mixed CDs back then, and one of the volumes of Summer 2006 included songs from the Cars movie soundtrack. A few weeks later, Dean asked me out and we jammed out to that mixed CD, particularly one song from that soundtrack, Rascal Flatts' remake of the song Life Is A Highway.
I never would have guessed the night I watched that movie that a few weeks later I'd be jamming out to the soundtrack with the guy beside me on our first date. I really never would have pictured being married to him, and having an almost two year old, who would bring us that DVD and ask to watch it. That's exactly what happened this weekend, though. I couldn't help but sit there watching that old familiar movie, thinking about how it all unfolded.
Tom Cochrane was right. Life is a highway.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


A week or two ago, Dinah and I went to work with Dean. He was putting a few finishing touches on some work he'd done on someone's house.

Dinah enjoyed running around in their yard. I was most taken with one of the dogs, Red. He spent the majority of the time wherever we were, and preferred that we be petting him and loving on him whenever possible. I wanted to take him home with me, but you can't just kidnap someone's dog...and he wouldn't fit in my car.

He was a Giant Alaskan Malamute. And, they don't call them giant for nothing. Dinah could've easily fit inside him. He could walk up and look straight in the trunk of my Malibu. And, as you can see by the pictures, his foot was nearly the size of mine (about an 8 1/2 women's).

He was awesome.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Don’t Be So Cheap

It’s been kind of a dry year, in more ways than one for a lot of people. I’ve tried to switch up a few little things for the sake of being frugal. Last year sometime, I started making my own laundry soap. My sister-in-law had been doing it for quite awhile, and I finally gave it a shot. It’s been a great success. It gets the job done, I don’t have to worry about remembering to put it on the grocery list, and it saves me money. That worked out so well, it made me want to see what else I could do myself. And then, things got a little tighter still, and I crossed the line. Yes, there’s a line, the line between being frugal and just being cheap. I’ve learned that lesson more than once this year, usually in small ways, but enough that when all added up, it made me take notice.

First, I made my husband cut my hair to save on the cost of a haircut. It worked out pretty well. He did a great job. So, the next time I needed a haircut, I convinced him to do it again. He was a little more nervous the second time, but still did well. By the third time, he was even more nervous, and really didn’t want to, but he gave in and did it. He made one snip too much, and lost it. I told him it would be fine, that I would go get it fixed the next day. He told me not to be so cheap the next time. So, I went to get it fixed. The problem is, I went to someone I hadn’t personally been to before, just because it was convenient. I ended up with a much shorter cut than I thought was necessary, but I could deal with it. I let it grow out for a few months, and then cut it again. This time, it was necessary to cut it super short again so that it wasn’t shaped weird when it grew. In other words, I wouldn’t have a mullet. Mullets are not good, never have been and never will be…for anyone.

That was the main example of my crossing the line between frugal and cheap. The next couple weren’t so major, but still enough that I’ll not do it again. I went to buy deodorant, and just went with the plain, cheap scent. It still works fine, because I still bought a decent brand, but now I’m stuck with a smell that I hate. I could replace it, but I’m too cheap. Then, I bought some eye shadow at the dollar store. Sometimes dollar store products work just fine. Eye shadow is not one of those products. Well, not unless you want to put on the eye shadow first, then have to wash the whole rest of your face, because you’re covered in it. I got tired of the extra washing, and finally chunked it.

It could’ve been bad. I could’ve been walking around with a Bieber cut, entire face covered in eye shadow, and arm pits smelling just like cheap soap.

So, the moral of the story: being frugal = good, being cheap = bad.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pin Me Some Food

If you’ve been outside of your house at all in the last few months, and you have internet access, then you are probably on pinterest. I’m going to guess you’ve at least heard of it. I, like many others, signed up to see what all the hype was about, didn’t get it, and moved on with my life. Then one day, I signed in again, and something clicked in my brain and I’ve been pinning ever since. I’m not crazy about it, spending every waking moment pinning and repinning, but I do enjoy getting new ideas and being able to keep track of things I see and don’t want to forget about.
Most of what I pin is food. And, I’ll be honest; I haven’t tried half of the things I thought were interesting. But, I get some good ideas from there. I’ve tried a couple recipes that were just so-so, and I’ve tried a few that have become staples for us. Someday, I’ll get around to trying the other recipes I’ve pinned. But, in the meantime, I wanted to share my favorite recipe that I found on pinterest.
The recipe I pinned came from a blog called Pennies on a Platter (, but she adapted it from a recipe from
It’s super easy and pretty delicious.

Here’s the recipe:
Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

· 3 oz cream cheese, softened
· ¼ c green salsa
· 1 T lime juice
· ½ t ground cumin
· 1 t chili powder
· ½ t onion powder
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 3 T chopped cilantro
· 2 T sliced green onions
· 2 c shredded cooked chicken
· 2 c shredded cheese
· Small tortillas
· Salt
· Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder and garlic. Once combined, stir in the cilantro and green onions. Add the chicken and cheese; mix thoroughly. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto tortilla and roll tightly.
Place tortilla, rolled side down, on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture.
Spray lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes.
*in case you don’t know much about cooking, T= tablespoon, t= teaspoon, c= cup.
** I omitted the cilantro, because I absolutely loathe the stuff. And, I serve it with guacamole, because it seems fitting and because I’ll take any excuse I can get to eat guacamole.
So, there it is! Make it. Eat it. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
What is your favorite pinterest recipe? Please share!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Weekend with Grandma and Grandpa

Last weekend, Dean’s parents came to visit. Dinah had a blast with her Grandma and “Papa.”
Here’s a quick recap:

Friday night, they took her out for hamburgers and ice cream while we went to dinner for our anniversary.

They came bearing gifts. The original plan was to take her to the zoo, so they had brought her a hat for the day in the sun.

They brought new sand for her sandbox, and Papa cleaned out the box, refilled it and cleaned up the toys.

We all went to work for a couple hours with Daddy on Saturday morning. She loved exploring the empty house, “helping,” and playing in the sink. Afterward, we went to lunch and the splash pad.

After church on Sunday, we went out for lunch. Dinah was asleep when we got there, but after she woke up she laughed and played and talked and had a great time. Then right as our food arrived, she threw up all over her daddy and the waiter brought her a t-shirt to wear. Then she felt much better and laughed and played some more.

We had a great visit, and when we got home Dinah and Daddy both crashed.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Years

On this day, five years ago, something big happened. No, I'm not talking about the news helicopters from two Phoenix stations colliding while covering a police chase. I'm not talking about a particularly great prank on National Sleepy Head Day in Finland, either. That sounds like a fun one, though. Oh, but do me a favor. Don't ever let my husband know that day exists. Okay? Thanks.

Speaking of husbands, have you figured it out yet? That's right! Five years ago today, I got myself one. I married my best friend. And you know that whole cliché about it being the best day of your life? It kind of was. I mean, the day Dinah was born should probably be in the running too, but that whole labor and delivery part makes it ineligible in my book. That was a good day because of the end result; the day in general wasn't that fun, but my wedding day? That was a fun day!

I stood on a beach beside my best friend; our feet cooled by the ocean waves, and promised to love him every day for the rest of my life. It was a gorgeous day. The weather was slightly overcast, which only made the colors in the sky and the sand and the water seem that much more vibrant. Nature tends to speak of God’s glory anyway, but for me, the ocean is where I seem to feel it the most. The landscape magnified the joy that day of knowing I was being joined with the man God had created for me. What I remember about that day is beauty, joy, laughter, family and friends, and a sense of peace. I can honestly say I never got cold feet, not even for a second. I knew I was right where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was meant to be doing.

And now, every day isn’t perfect, but I’m convinced that we’re perfect for each other. We may not be back on that beach today where we’d like to be, and we may not be able to do anything extravagant to celebrate this year. In fact, we are both working on our anniversary. Nevertheless, I’m still excited to go home to him at the end of the day and enjoy a weekend by his side.

But man, do I ever miss that beach!