Sunday, February 27, 2011

a new bathroom

From the moment we got our house, Brennan and I knew we didn't like the bathroom downstairs. But with just the two of us, a second bathroom isn't really a necessity so redoing it wasn't a priority. Seven months later, the job is done. About a month or so ago we woke up one Saturday and decided it was time. So we headed to the stores to pick out some of the decor. Then we went to Sherwin-Williams and searched and searched through their "miss-tint" paint. It is only four dollars a gallon and therefore, much more affordable! But looking through the miss-tint is NOT very easy. They just sort of throw it all in a pile and it's just a chore to go through it. We were there for what seemed like hours and hours. I felt so bad for the guy working as the time crept closer and closer to closing time. He eventually told us that he could change the color of any of the miss-tint paint if it wasn't exactly what we wanted, and it would still be the discount price. Say what??!! So we found some nearly colorless paint, and he was able to make it whatever color we wanted and we were able to get out of there just a few minutes after closing. Thank you Sherwin-Williams man! Although it was a lot of work, it was also kind of fun to go through all that paint (not having any idea what were doing) and it gave us a lot of laughs.

Fast forward more than a month to this last week. We finally got around to actually doing something with all the stuff we got. My mom came over the last two Fridays and helped me put two coats of paint in the bathroom. The bathroom isn't that big, so I suppose I could have done it myself, but it's always more fun to paint with company.

Here are the befores, durings, and afters:
I'm sure that with the right shower curtain and towels this color could have been fine, but we weren't feeling it.

My mom hard at work. She's a little messy...but she gets the job done. ;)
Brennan was kind enough to come and get the spots we couldn't reach.
The finished product.

We can't decide about the rug. We like it, but we wonder if it's too much. We have been thinking about just getting two plain black rugs for in front of the shower and the sink. If you have an opinion, please share!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Teaching me to fish


For my entire life I have eaten homemade jam. I am embarrassed to say that growing up I don't think I really knew how jars and jars of homemade jam appeared in our freezer, I was just happy to consume it. Somehow I was oblivious to the what I'm sure were many hours spent in the kitchen making this jam. And then I moved away from home...what was I going to do when I wanted a good old fashion peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I couldn't eat store bought jam or jelly! Really, I couldn't. Eating homemade jam all my life made me hate that stuff. Lucky for me I had a wonderful mom and a fantastic sister-in-law who kept me stocked with jam for the four years I lived in Utah. Since we have been in Iowa, we regularly raid mom and dad's freezer so that I can have peanut butter and jelly every day for lunch. Yeah, I'm weird.

Well I guess my mom finally decided that giving me a fish only feeds me for a day, and it was time to teach me to fish so I could feed myself. :) She and my dad came out to our place last night and among other things taught me how to make jam. It actually wasn't as hard as I assumed it would be!
The master herself, teaching me her ways.
My assigned work station. Mom said I was slow at filling the jars, but I think I did alright for my first time haha.
Waiting for the rest of the jar lids to arrive.

I'm so excited about all the strawberry jam we have now. Thanks for teaching me, I might need a refresher course though. :)Align Center

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mother Dearest

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday so I thought I would wish her a happy birthday on my blog. The woman deserves so much more than anything I can come up with to say on here, but I guess my best will have to do. I would say my mother raisED five kids, but I think it would be more accurate to say she is raisING five kids. Past tense just doesn't work, once you are a mom, you are always a mom. At least that's how it is for my mom. She is just as much a mother to me today as she was ten years ago. All her kids are grown, but she doesn't take her job any less seriously. Just today she came out to our house and helped me paint our bathroom. Even after sustaining a painful tailbone injury earlier in the week. Now that is a devoted mother. It is just so obvious when I speak with or interact with my mom that she wants the best for me and my siblings. And if there is ever anything she can do to help us have the best or to make our lives easier she is sure to do it. I am fairly certain that I have the best mom in the world :) and I really, truly wish that everyone in the world could have a mom as wonderful as her. She could not have loved me any better or been a better example to me. But mother is just one of her many titles in this world. Over the years I have watched her be a fantastic wife, a caring friend, a devoted visiting teacher, and a faith relief society president. Unfortunately, I have not always treated my mom like the amazing woman that she. Like so many things in this life I take what I have for granted. But I hope she knows that I appreciate all she has done for me and I admire her.

If I can grow up to be even half the woman she is, I will be content.

I love you mom. Happy birthday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

pity party

It's just one big pity party around here. Sometimes it is remarkably easy to feel sorry for yourself. At least I find that is. The last couple of weeks Brennan has had to put more hours in at work than normal. The other day he figured out that excluding weekends, he spends an average of 2 to 3 wakeful hours at home every day. That's not very many. :( His more frequent absence has made it easy for me to feel very lonely. And when it rains it pours. Or rather when you start feeling sorry for yourself you tend to think of plenty of reasons as to why a pity party is deserved. To add to all my crummy feelings of the week, I decided to head to a Church activity tonight. Don't ask me why, because I usually leave those feeling more depressed than before I went. Tonight was no different...except for my drive home. I started thinking about the conversation I had with my sister yesterday. We talked about how lucky we truly are. How it's so easy to complain about all the little things, or to feel sad that things aren't exactly the way we want them, but so many people in this world don't even have the basics or the essentials in their lives. We mostly discussed physical needs like food, water, and shelter. But what about a loving family or faith in a Heavenly Father? We really are so blessed. But we become so accustomed to our many blessings, that we stop seeing them. Today I had a speech kiddo tell me that he had a birthday this week. As I asked him questions about it I discovered that he received no presents and had no party. I have had such an easy and good life that I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to not GET things for my birthday, to not have an elaborate party as a child. But for this student, it's just life. He has to wear the same few outfits to school over and over again and he has shared some not-so-pleasant things about his home life. And here am I being all "woe is me" because I don't have many friends and I don't see my husband as much as I would like. I think it's time for an attitude change, Rachel.

I am blessed. And I am happy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

it's in the genes...or not.

We have received many homemade items from people related to us in the last few months (Christmas presents and such) and I have been struck at the talent and creativity possessed by so many people I am related to. For a moment I thought surely it must be in the genes. But then I realized...I'm related to them...doesn't that mean I should be talented and creative too? But alas, I am not. So either it isn't related to genes at all, or I'm unlucky and missed out on that awesome gene. Either way, I'm trying my unskilled hand at a few crafts these days. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have some photos of my own work to share, but in the mean time here are some wonderful items crafted by others.
The neat wooden table that my dad made for us. It folds up nicely for storage and is perfect for doing puzzles or crafts.
Some beautiful wall art that my sister-in-law Marci gave us for Christmas.
My mom made me a quilt for Christmas using old significant t-shirts of mine (tennis, races, concerts, girls camp, softball, etc).
Another H that Brennan's step sister Kellie made for us.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Will you be my Valentine?

Yesterday at work I went to get one of my favorite little first grade speech kiddos.

As he sat down at the table with me he said, "Will you be my Valentine?"

He didn't even give me a chance to respond.

"I want everyone in the whole world to be my Valentine. Except the bad people."

Well how could I say no? I couldn't, of course. Most days I am really glad I get to work with kids. And it just takes one short interaction like this one to make up for those days when I'm not so glad.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Two years

Two years ago this very day, I met the pizza-crust-throwing man pictured above. As this anniversary of sorts approached and Brennan and I had a few conversations about it, I realized that I have never really heard of other couples making note every year of the date they met each other. (I'm sure there are others, it's just not something you see people writing on Facebook or anything:)) For a moment, I wondered if we were strange to do it ourselves. But as I thought about it I realized that my life changed on this day two years ago just about as much as it changed on our wedding day. I woke up on February 8, 2009 not having a clue who Brennan was and with no idea that my life was about to change. I went to bed that night with butterflies and thoughts of seeing him the next day. After that fateful Sunday we saw each other every single day for the next year and a half (until last fall when I visited Mara in Arizona). That day definitely brought one of the most sudden and significant changes I have ever experienced. Sometimes it is hard to believe that it has already been two years since we met, but then at other times it seems like it has been much longer than that, it is hard to even remember what it felt like to not be together. It has been a crazy two years that is for sure. We have definitely had our bumps in the road, but you know what, I think I'm okay with that. He makes me want to be a better person and I love him. I love him for walking into my life two years ago and never walking back out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Libraries, cakes, and falls.

Our local library has something like 50 cake pans available for check out. These aren't just plain Jane cake pans, they are in all sorts of shapes (mostly characters). When Brennan and I first went there to get accounts set up we weren't all that impressed by the selection of books (it's a pretty tiny library), but the cake pans all over the tops of the shelves were unique enough to grab our attention. It was just too funny that we could check out cake pans from our library, we knew we had to check one out at least once. This last Friday Kelbie, Caden, and Macy came and stayed with us. So we headed over to the library to pick out a pan. We got there exactly four minutes before the library closed and the librarian continually reiterated that if we could not choose a pan in four minutes we were out of luck. So with just a few minutes to peruse the pans these were the possibilities we left with:
Under such extreme pressure we couldn't commit to just one, so we brought Batman and Oscar the Grouch home with us. Oscar won in the end.
We were all so excited about the awesome cake we were going to make and then this came out of the oven....huge crack down the center and all. And it really wasn't as easy to see what it was supposed to be as we thought it would be. But then we set the cake decorators to work....and that unrecognizable Oscar above turned into...
Brennan and Macy with their creation. Not only did it look great, but it tasted delicious as well!

We also made pizza and Caden hates having his picture taken so I just had to share this. :) He looks happy, doesn't he?
On a bit of a separate note, I have to tell a bit of an embarrassing story. One for me and one for Brennan actually. We had to make a quick stop at the grocery store after the library and as we walked in we saw none other than my mom and my sister Crystal (who had also stopped at the store after they dropped the kids off at our place). They were just getting in line as we walked in and even though we walked right in front of them, they managed to look right at us without seeing us. So we hurried to get in line behind them to see if they noticed. I was in front of our group and was speed walking. In hindsight I can see that speed walking in old shoes that have no traction on naturally slick floor probably isn't the brightest thing to do. But anyway, bright or not, I did it. As I went around the corner in the produce section there was a wet spot on the floor and I immediately knew I was going down. Similar to how falls frequently occur, this one was in slow motion. Giving me plenty of time to be downright horrified by the fact that I was wiping out in the middle of Fareway. Plenty of time to reach out and try to catch myself on the bin of oranges beside me. And plenty of time to decide that maybe if I got up quickly enough no one would notice. Unfortunately, there was no way to make it so Brennan and the kids wouldn't see, and boy did they get a kick out of it. Brennan said it was like I bounced off the floor. One second I disappeared behind the oranges and the next second I was back up, red face and all. Apparently it was quite impressive. Oddly enough in my slow motion fall I never thought about how falling might hurt. But boy did it ever. I was hobbling around for the rest of the night and today my knee still hurts if anything touches it.My embarrassing wound a couple of days after the fact. You can't really see much, but trust me, it's pretty.

One fall just wasn't enough for us. When we got home Brennan and Caden ran outside to put the pop in the snow so it could get cold. The steps out our front door weren't very well cleared of snow and suddenly the girls and I heard a very loud noise followed by Caden's shocked voice saying "are you okay?"....yes, that's right Brennan fell down the steps outside. When I asked Caden what happened he said "He just fell from like six steps up! And then he jumped up and walked away!" Hahaha, apparently he was trying to walk it off. He came in with snow all over his pants and a pretty impressive bruise on his back. OUCH. Clearly, we are not graceful people. But at least we give entertainment to those around us.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Getting creative

Sometimes you have to get creative. That can be hard if you are like me and completely lacking the creative chromosome in your genetic make up. In our ward lately the talk has been about cheap date ideas. And if you want to go on a date but you don't want to spend money, creativity is a must. If you are really a creative person, all you need is a small plastic wheel from a children's game to have fun (see above.:)). A few weeks ago we were at my parents house for dinner and I was inspired to be more creative by those around me. Caden and dad started blowing the wheel back and forth across the table. After the rest of us saw how much fun they were having it quickly turned into a table long game with all six of us. Three people were on each side of the table and we tried to get the wheel to roll off the opposite side of the table.

Check out the determination on their faces. It was seriously entertaining. Who ever said that you have to spend money to have fun? I guess it's time for Brennan and I to get in touch with our inner creativeness and think of some fun things to do during the long and dreadful winter.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowed In

Our mailbox nearly buried by the snow.

We got hit last night by the blizzard that swept across the country. The school I was at yesterday closed early, as well as Brennan's school and work, in anticipation of the storm. After my school let out I decided to go to the agency's office to finish up my hours for the day, even though Mara strongly advised against it. She was insistent that I just go home before the storm hit. I assured her that the roads were fine and that I wouldn't be staying at the office for long. I am happy to publicly admit that she was right. :) I left the office about an hour later and the weather was much worse. My drive home was not fun. And then last night we got great news! Kirkwood was closed for today and so were both of our work places! Yay for snow days in adulthood. We got to spend a relaxing (minus the huge task of shoveling the driveway, which Brennan tackled) day at home together. It was great! The only downer was that Brennan had to go to his second job tonight. :( I guess people still want ice cream even after a huge snowstorm. Lame.

Here are some pictures of the incredible snow:
That one little trail through the middle of the driveway must have taken him 15 minutes and that was only the beginning. We got at least a foot of snow.
The wind made some pretty cool looking drifts.
Happy snow day!