Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Our buddy Brian, often found on Sunday evenings on our couch watching football and eating snacks with Matt. Who knew he cleaned up so well?
Matt and I. He looked so handsome in his suit. I might make him take me out to fancy places more often just to see him looking so dapper.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The tree was beautiful, as were the lights and decorations around the city. Next stop was the American Girl store. Three big stories of over priced dolls and about 500 people. Elie and Addilyn loved it. Annabelle put up with it as long as we kept feeding her snacks.
Then off to the worlds biggest Toys R Us in Times square. Also three stories, with a massive Ferris wheel in the lobby. Of all the things we saw, I am pretty sure my girls were most impressed with the T-Rex in toys are us that moved and "roared". With small children spent, we headed back to our car. We parked in an underground lot and were charged $50 for special event parking. Still not sure what event was the special on. Christmas? Oh well, nothing say "Merry Christmas from New York" like getting ripped off.
Monday, December 12, 2011
We live in a very quaint little Village, complete with main street, library, post office and town hall. They are big on celebrations here. For Halloween they closed down the street and had all the shops open booths. For Independence day they do a huge parade. And for Christmas, a tree lighting. Main street is a short walk from our house, so we went to check out the festivities, complete with the high school choir and band and Santa's arrival in...get this...a FIRE TRUCK!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
This is Eliana and Addilyn's bedroom. Not a great picture. Bigger than there room in Colorado with lots of floor room to play and almost NO closest. Not great for two little girls with a TON of dresses.
Our room. Also not much closet space. I use under the bed roller drawers for some of my stuff and you can see a closet rack for Matt to the right for Matt's stuff.
Annabelle's room. Very tiny but somehow just right for her. A very large closet to the right of the rocker that we use for...well...everything. Linnins, extra bathrooms stuff, nice dishes, it all ends up in that closet because it is the ONLY closet.
This is the view from the front door if you look right. Stairs to upstairs bedrooms.
Kitchen. One day I will own a gourmet kitchen, but it won't be at this house. By-fold doors at the end left are to the laundry room and downstairs bathroom.
Living room. This is the view from the front door looking left, the stairs are behind me. Don't mind the basket of laundry, we can pretend it isn't usually there, but I am always doing laundry.
Family room. Door to the left goes into front entryway. Door to the right goes into dinning room. Most of the toys live here. Fireplace isn't working, which makes me sad.
Dinning room, more toys. Door to the left goes into the kitchen and to the right into the family room. Another door to the far right goes into the living room. And that is our house. Except I forgot to take pictures of the guest room and attic. I will get on that, it should only take me another couple of months.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Matt with his "who drank my beer?!" face.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Dear Women's Ministry:
The world can give me cute cupcake designs and decorating tips, scrapbooking parties, casserole recipes, and other ways to pass the time. But truly, with my respect and love, may I be honest? If I wanted to learn how to decorate cupcakes, I would take a class in it. If I wanted to be educated on strategies for decorating my home inexpensively from Winners, I would just, you know, go toWinners. Or Pinterest.
But I'm here with you tonight because I want what the world cannot give me. We're choking on cutesy things and crafty bits, safe lady topics, and if one more person says that modest is hottest with a straight face, I may throw up. We are hungry for authenticity and vulnerability, not churchified life hacks from lady magazines. Some of us are drowning, suffocating, dying of thirst for want of the cold water of real community. We're trying really hard--after all, we keep showing up to your lady events, and we leave feeling just a bit empty. It's just more of the same every time.
The women of our world aren't looking for a safe place to cry about housework and ooh-and-ahhh over centerpieces. We're not all mothers, some of us work outside the home, some of us have kids, and others don't or won't or can't. Is womanhood only about wifehood and motherhood? What about those among us that are not wives and mothers? We're not all in the same season of life.
We are - or should be - diverse image bearers of a Divine God. We need Jesus. We are seeking deep spirituality. We are seeking fellow travelers. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen to another, to love well. But above all, point me to Jesus--not to the sale at the mall.
You know what I would have liked tonight instead of decorating tips or a new recipe? I would have liked to pray together. I would have liked the women of the church to share their stories or wisdom with one another, no more celebrity speakers, please just hand the microphone to that lady over there that brought the apples. I would love to wrestle with some questions that don't have a one-paragraph answer in your study guide. I would like to do a Bible study that does not have pink or flowers on the cover. I would have liked to sign up to bring a meal for our elderly or drop off some clothes for a new baby or be informed about issues in our city where we can make space for God. I would like to organize and prioritize, to rabble-rouse and disturb the peace of the rest of the world on behalf of justice, truth, beauty, and love. I'd love to hear the prophetic voice of women in our church.
Please, may we be the place to detox from the world - its values, its entertainment, its priorities, its focus on appearances and materialism and consumerism?
So here is my suggestion: Please stop treating women's ministry like a Safe Club for the Little Ladies to Play Church. We are smart. We are brave. We want to change the world. We run marathons to benefit our sisters, not so that we can lose weight. We have more to offer to the church than our mad decorating skills. I look around, and I can see that these women can offer strategic leadership, wisdom, counsel, and even, yes, teaching. We want to give and serve and make a difference. We want to be challenged. We want to read books and talk politics, theology, and current events. We want to wrestle through our theology. We want to listen to each other. We want to worship, we want to intercede for our sisters and weep with those who weep, rejoice with those that rejoice, to create life and art and justice with intention.
Let's be a community of women, gathered together to live more whole-heartedly, to sharpen, challenge, love, and inspire one another to then scatter back out to our worlds bearing the mandate to be women that love. Idelette McVicker wrote:
Let us RISE to the questions of our time.
Let us SPEAK to the injustices in our world.
Let us MOVE the mountains of fear and intimidation.
Let us SHOUT down the walls that separate and divide.
Let us FILL the Earth with the fragrance of Love.
Let us be women who Love.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
We looked at a lot of houses out here. Big ones, small ones, expensive ones, close to work and further away. I told Matt that if I had to live all the way out on the freakin' east coast, away from everyone and everything I loved, I was going to at least live in a house I liked. This means a house with, you guessed it, character.
I wasn't very old when I discovered the phrase "it builds character" was synonymous with "it really sucks by you might end up being a better person if you make it through". I quickly decided I don't really want character, the price tag just isn't that appealing. And really, is it so bad to go thorough life "character-less?".
Recently I have discovered that there is a lot in common with houses with character and character building situations. Basically, if you survive it, you might be a better person because of it. This occurred to me as I was standing in the shower watching my neighbor mow his lawn and his wife cooking dinner in their kitchen. All from the shower. Because nothing says "character" more than a randomly placed window in your shower.
Unless it is the fact my toilet flushes with hot water. Free hiney steam bath with every flush! And if you, like me, generally use the toilet before your shower, be sure to adjust the temperature accordingly. I can't tell you how many times I have jumped shrieking, damp and naked from the shower because the toilet tank was done refilling (with hot water) and the temperature of my shower just suddenly increased by 20 degrees. Note to self: flush after the shower.
Character also means that there is no such thing as "level" in this house, which, of course, saves time when hanging anything on the wall. Don't bother using a level, it will just make the straight picture look crooked if it is hanging straight in a crooked house. It is fun for the girls, you don't even have to push your hot wheels car to make it roll across the floor, just choose the highest corner in the room!
When heading to the basement, be sure to watch you head. Don't spend too much time down there or you will have to visit the chiropractor for the crick in your neck and the emergency room to fix the gash in your forehead from the exposed pipes or random bare wires that hang down. And I sure hope your remembered to put on your shoes before you went down, it always feels a little nasty to step in the stream that runs across the floor in bare feet.
The random wet spot that shows up on our bedroom floor every time it rains is a great conversation starter. No, there isn't a leak from above nor is the ceiling below it ever damp. There is no pipe below and and isn't wet all the way to the wall. Its a real "character building" head scratcher.
Nothing like randomly leaking pipes and clogged plumbing that pops the main line cap to keep you on your toes, and everyone knows you can't build character flat footed! Having to keep matches by the stove since my ignite never works reminds me to always be prepared. Have no closet space keeps me thinking outside the box (and under the bed). The funky smell in the carpet on the stairs helps me remember that while pets may come and go, their stench remains.
I have learned that I am not really as big of fan of character as I once believed myself to be. Character, like life, is messy and unpredictable. I will never again take for granted that just because an outlet exists, that it works. I will be able to say that I once lived in a house over a hundred years old, but I will say with pride that we were smart enough not to buy it.
Friday, August 26, 2011
To prepare for the insanity, the girls and I hit Costco yesterday, along with about 500 of our closest friends. We got some water, non-perishable food and stuff like that. Today Matt is heading to Home Depot (with, no doubt, 500 of HIS closest friends) to get a tarp to cover the cellar.
Oh, didn't I mention? The cellar has no doors, and for those of you who are not familiar with cellars, this means it is open to our basement. Well, there is an interior door at the bottom of the stairs, but it is so warped from weather and moldy, it doesn't shut. It just seems like a bad idea to have a lot of rain+ gaping hole in your house= big mess to clean up.
This afternoon will be spent moving anything we wish to keep dry up from the basement, taking everything (mostly kids stuff) from the back yard and putting it in the garage, buying ice, getting gas and cash and trying to be prepared for the storm.
I will keep you posted on the Apocalypse.
Friday, August 12, 2011
I am not a yeller. Even when feeling blue my default is quiet and introspective, not loud and abusive. Matt might disagree, but not to my face, not today.
There is no one reason for my mood. I am just sick of living in the in-between. Even now that we have a house I don't feel settled. Nothing about this place feels like home except the half-eaten blueberry coffee cake in the kitchen. My children's needs don't get put on hold just because I have 10 billion other things to clean and organize, and my home remains unsettled.
I am so excited to start the adventure of school with Eliana and feel like I don't have the time to devote to the planning of it like I would like to. It isn't planning I have to do, but that I want to do because I enjoy it, yet everything else takes priority to me spending several hours pouring over books and sitting with my laptop.
And now, the irony is not lost on me that the time I could most use a good friend in my life, I am thousands of mile away from them. What I wouldn't give to watch my girls playing with there cousins in my dads back yard while the grown-up sit and drink wine and talk. Hy heart longs to meet a friend for coffee or at the park for lunch while our kids play, to have my in-laws stop by for the day just because they can or have my mom over to have a tea party with my girls. Now is when I need to be meeting friends for happy hour to talk about how hard it is to leave everything that matters to you, when I need to be able to drop my kids at a friends while I figure out where my eye doctor or grocery store is. But there is no one.
My children know me enough to read my mood. This makes Annabelle clingy, Eliana ever-present and trying to please and Addilyn chatty. And I want space that doesn't exist when your a mother of three. I want to sulk, pout, bitch and moan, but instead I make peanut butter and banana sandwiches and tuck babies is bed for naps.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
- Everything is expensive out here. The power company wanted $700 to put the bill in our name.
-People out here take everything very seriously. You can imagine how well that goes over with someone like me...who takes nothing seriously. The next time I have to listen to someone lament about how someone "disrespected" something or someone I am not sure I will be able to keep the snarky comments to myself.
-I actually heard someone use the phrase "Fo getabout it". I had to suppress a giggle.
- I saw a woman at Target with big hair, a glowing "tan", daisy duke denim shorts, a net top over a leopard print bra. I so wanted to snap a picture, but couldn't figure out how. And she was remarkably fast in her 4 inch platform stilettos.
- Good hair days don't exist for me out here. My normally "fluffy", slightly curly hair that I can straighten with little effort is unmanageable here. I am considering shaving my head. I put Carrot Top to shame. If I had no pride I would post a picture of the insanity.
-What they say about people out here being rude is true, sadly. No one makes eye contact or smiles. Cashiers don't even acknowledge you with a "hi". People don't bother with common courtesy's like returning carts, granting "right of way", or picking up their own trash in the park. On the other hand, people are responsive if you are friendly, so maybe there is hope.
- I take 3 different highways to get to Ikea, which is less than 10 minutes away. I get on a highway to get to my grocery store, which is less than 2 miles away. I have no idea how people navigated this state before GPS.
-I am pretty sure the people of southern New Jersey have nothing in common with the people of Northern, where we live. Which explains my Colorado friends Jen and Jodi who are formally Jersey girls of the southern variety.
I will keep you posted with other lesson I learn in this state :)
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of paying taxes. I love our country. I am happy to pay for my freedom, protection from those who wish to take my freedoms. I love that our country happily educates all who are willing, I am glad to drive on roads that are cared for, I love our national park, library's, monuments and other things my tax dollars fund. I also have nothing against helping out those who find themselves in a tight spot. The government does a lot of good things.
Here is the kicker: we can't pay for it.
When Matt was finishing up school and we were living in Missouri, we were broke. Shopping with $20 for a week of food broke. Scrounging up change so we could share a slushy for a date broke. We had lots of conversations around the kitchen table about how to spend what we had. We had lots of good things we would have loved to do like give to missionary's, help pay for stuff at the church, buy from local farmers, all good things. But if we had chosen to do those good things, we would have found ourselves in a bad place, much like today's government.
When looking at our budget, I find we lose money on the small things. Matt and I are not really the type to go out and refurnish our house on a whim, but we will go out to dinner. Or buy a shirt. Or take the kids to the museum. Or all of the above. This adds up. The government does the same, slowly leaking money. Read this if you want to be really mad. Our government is past the point where the slow leak is the problem, it is now at the "sell your stuff and move into a smaller house" point.
When looking at the American budget, it is good to understand where your money is going. Let me break it down for you in bite size pieces:
You pay $100 in taxes and it is spent as follows:
Social security, welfare, unemployment: $22
Medicaid and Medicare: $20
National defense/public safety: $20
Education: $16 ($12 would go to primary and the rest to college and library's and such)
Cost of running government: $4
Interest on loans: $9
Miscellaneous: $10 this is your roads, parks, and everything else the government has its hands in
Defense spending is equal to the expenditure of 15 of the next top spending countries, but our GDP is higher than theres too. Our spending makes up 47% of the worlds military spending while our GDP makes up only 21%.
I am the one in our family who works the budget. This in no way qualifies me to figure out the national budget but here are some things I would do:
-Reduce time limits for welfare and public assistance from 5 years to 3.
-Empty prisons of anyone who isn't a US citizen. Give there counties notice that they will be shipped back in 30 days.
- Make the food stamps program more like the WIC program. Coupons for a few, specific, healthy types of food. No other.
-Put a 2 year halt on defense development spending.
- Up the retirement age
- Stop all bail outs, you can't give away money you don't have
- No more "stimulus". To much spent and to little to show for it.
- Make a 30 day time period where illegal immigrant can become citizens just for showing up at a Social Security office with the understanding that they can not get any public services (Medicaid/foodstamps and such) for 36 months. Digitally finger print everyone so there can be no fraud. We are now collecting taxes on thousands of new citizens!
-Sell off all the empty buildings the government holds and pays to care for. Money made in the sale and no more paying to keep them up.
-Responsibility. If you are in charge of a program that wastes money or commits fraud, your required to pay back every penny times 2. It comes from your states budget.
A wise man once said "you can't borrow your way out of debt any more than you can drink yourself sober". So true. Stop passing the buck, everyone added to this problem.
The last year of president Bushs' leadership the debt was 1/10th of what it is today, with tax cuts and while funding 2 full wars. But we kept spending like we had money to spare. Time to start digging.