Friday, December 30, 2011

The Ministry of Silly Kitchens

We are moving in five days. FIVE DAYS. And for three of those days we are going to be visiting my aunt and uncle, so really only two days of preparation.

Part of the reason we got the house for such a good price was because of this:

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Really, the rest of the house is lovely,, although you wouldn't guess that by looking at this picture. It has got to be one of the silliest kitchens in the world. What you see in the picture is all there is. It's a big room with six doorways and no wall space for cabinets or counters. There is a very old fridge and no other appliances. And just check out that wallpaper!

This kitchen is making me lose my mind. In a good way, though. I love designing stuff. We sold our second car yesterday (thank goodness for Cra.igslist!) and we are going to be using the moolah to redo this disaster area.

So here's the plan:

Phase 1: Preparation
Update electrical
Repair wall with water damage
Remove wallpaper
Close in pantry (It's got to be done in order to have enough wall for some cabinets. We plan on accessing the pantry from the bathroom at a later date and making a cleaning closet)
Install new lighting
Repaint walls and ceiling
Make the floor level (exact plan as to how to make this happen hasn't materialized yet)
Lay tile

Phase 2: The fun stuff
Install cabinets, sink, counter top, and appliances

Done!

Realistically though, I see this project taking six months or longer. That's a long time to live without a cooking range.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Prayer Buddy Reveal

This Advent season I had the privilege to pray for Alive in Hope. We have a lot in common. I was involved in law enforcement before I made a rather dramatic career change, and I also have an interest in writing. However, it will take a lot of hard work for me to be such a contemplative and expressive writer as she is. I really admire your abilities! I enjoyed reading through your archives and learning more about you.

God bless you an keep you, and have a very merry Christmas season!

Friday, December 23, 2011

7 Things I'm Thankful For

This Christmas I am thankful:

1. That Nemo is good at working with his hands. I wanted to buy CJ a toy chest on Etsy for Christmas, but Nemo suggested that he make one instead, and that really is so much better! I can't wait to see it.

2. For a family that doesn't look down at me for having a sleep deprivation-induced meltdown or two.

3. For being blessed with caring friends. I have always struggled to be social, and thanks to my wonderful friends I have (partially) overcome many of my insecurities.

4. For Advent Prayer Buddies. I love taking part in this, and thanks to all of the blogger ladies that put it together!

5. For a new perspective on Christmas. When I was younger I was intensely materialistic and I knew it. I recently came across an old journal entry from when I was in my early teens in which I wrote about how much it bothered me that I craved and expected presents at Christmas. The more I got, the more I wanted. This made me reflect on my current expectations and I was happy to find that, if faced with receiving absolutely nothing, it would not bother me a bit.

6. That God has graced me with the desire to know him better and to try to follow him as best I can.

7. For my faith community, both in real life and online. Without the constant support and teaching from these groups I think I might leave my faith by the wayside. I am a much better Christian and Catholic because of you. Thank God for you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A One-Car Family

I'm from metro Detroit, which means that I grew up in a culture that views cars as a status symbol. Cars are an absolute must-have, no matter what kind of financial situation you are in (this might also have something to do with the laughable state of the public transportation).

When Nemo and I first started getting to know each other and I found out that he didn't have a car, I remember thinking to myself, "What is this guy, some kind of deadbeat?" Charitable is my middle name. As it turns out, he wasn't a sponger, he just didn't need a car.

He did eventually get a car when he went to grad school. Then for our second anniversary we got another car, a station wagon. In retrospect, it was a pretty silly purchase. Nemo took public transportation to school and work, and we never really needed to be driving anywhere separately. We put less than 15,000 miles on it in the 3 1/2 years that we've owned it.

Thanks to Nemo, I am no longer scornful of people who don't have cars. In fact, I idealize that lifestyle now. The area that we are moving to in two-and-a-half weeks (yikes!) is very walkable. Nemo can walk to work, I can walk to church and shops, and there is an affordable bus for most other things. We will be keeping our original car, but only for bulk grocery shopping and you know, getting to the hospital if we need to. I don't envision us using the car that often really, and that makes me happy.

It's not about pollution or the crazy price of gas. We just want a simpler life, and we are lucky enough to have to opportunity to simplify in this way. I'm so thankful!

I am going to miss driving, though. I'm from the Motor City, where driving is a form of recreation:)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Prayer Request

Please pray for a friend of mine, Christine, and her son Sly. A few days ago she was standing on a street corner with Sly in the stroller when a tractor-trailer turning the corner jumped the curb and hit them, running over Christine's feet and dragging Sly under the wheels. Their injuries are not life-threatening, but Sly's are severe and require a lengthy hospital stay and a long recovery at home.

He is the sweetest little boy. Please pray for a swift and complete recovery and for peace for his family during this very difficult time.

You can read the news story here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 6


1. So, CJ's roll-over from last week seems to have been a fluke. He has done it a couple of times since then, but by accident and/or with help from furniture. Sigh. He will be six months on December 26 and then he will be officially behind in that department.

2. Yesterday I ran a mile without stopping. It was agonizingly slow, but that is the first time I have done that in over a year. I've been working for two weeks to get to this point!

3. But I think my running days might be over for a while because this morning I was hurrying down the stairs in my stocking feet to get something out of the laundry room and my foot slipped out from under me and I fell really hard and slid the rest of the way down the stairs. I have various cuts, scrapes, and bruises but its nothing a few band-aids and some ice can't fix, but man, this isn't how I thought today would go.

4. I am going to have a bruise the size of Texas on my leg. My upper leg. Ok, fine, my butt. I am currently sitting on an ice pack.

5. I am thankful that 1) I wasn't holding CJ at the time and 2) that Nemo is at home today, because I definitely needed help getting on my feet again.

6. Tomorrow we are having a Christmas get-together with two of our close couple friends. I'm really excited!

7. That means I really should wash the Christmas outfit that my mom sent for CJ but...kinda scared to go to the laundry room again, if I can be honest. Ii guess Nemo is on laundry duty today. So much for working from home:/

Thursday, December 15, 2011

To-do List Queen

What I've done today so far:

Picked up the family portraits from the Jcpenny a kajillion miles away from home with a fussy baby

Listed a bunch of cloth diapers I didn't like on diaperswappers.com with a fussy baby

Went and picked up a movie for date night from the library with a fussy baby

Did 1.5 loads of laundry

Ran on the treadmill with a fussy baby (in the swing, not actually on the treadmill with me)

Tried not to lose my mind when my fussy baby was refusing to nap

Called a bunch of electricians about getting an estimate for getting the knob and tube wiring at our new house taken care of (fussy baby finally asleep)

Called a moving company about getting an estimate (still asleep!)


Still to do:

Clean stove

Dust

Get the oil changed in the car

Return some emails


Ahh, forget it. I'm going to drown my sorrows in hot chocolate.

Friday, December 9, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 5


1. It has been an exciting day so far. CJ woke up a little bit after 5am, and I had Nemo bring him to bed with us since I was too tired to actually get up. Nemo left for work and I almost had CJ back to sleep when I heard barking and someone yelling for help right outside my house. I ran outside and it turned out that someone walking their small dog was being accosted by two enormous German Shepherds. They weren't attacking, but they were barking and circling and definitely too close for comfort. I tried to distract them from the safety of my porch so the dog walked could get to her house safely, but I don't think I did much good. I told her I was going to call animal control, which I did. But, man, she must have been scared out of her mind. I know I would have been.

2. Then: My baby, whose inability to roll over from front to back was making us both miserable, finally rolled over today! Twice! So it can't be a fluke, right???

3. I firmly believe that Loreena McKennitt's Midwinter Night's Dream is the best Christmas album ever. Period. No argument. I've listened to it 1-3 times a day since Advent started and I am no where near sick of it yet.

4. Oh, and we are buying a house in the town where Nemo works. And we will be moving--get this--in EARLY January. As in four weeks from now. It all happened pretty quickly--my head is spinning!

5. The house has a lot of old world charm and gorgeous original woodwork. On the second floor it has two big bedrooms, a small bedroom, and a tiny office. The attic is finished, has lots of windows, and will be perfect for a sewing/play room. It's perfect for us.

6. Except that the air conditioner is broken, the floors are warped, all the wiring needs to be replaced, and there is nothing in the kitchen but a sink and two cabinets. But that's why we got it for the price we did. And we are pretty enthusiastic DIYers, so it all works out.

7. Given this new development, Prayer Buddy, could you send a few up that our current home will sell quickly? We just reduced the price so hopefully that will bring some more people to look at it. We just need the right one!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday #6



This week I am thankful for:

1. Finding a house that we love and having our offer accepted! More details on that later:)

2. My lovely parents. We have our differences and drive each other bonkers a times, but they are always there for me.

3. For Nemo's technical know-how. He just rigged a speaker system on the treadmill so that I can actually hear my laptop when I'm running. It is awesome. He's not bad either.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Do You Want to Hear a Yucky Story?

A few weeks ago Nemo and I were preparing to go to bed after a long day, and when I turned back the covers I saw this:Actually, several of those. Bugs. In my bed. The place where I live a third of my life. You can't tell in the picture, but they are very small, about half the size of a grain of rice. But the fact remained that there were bugs in my bed. My natural reaction was to freak out, which I did with gusto. I stripped the bed and threw everything into the wash, and while I was waiting (and freaking out) I turned to the internet for answers.

It turned out that what was in my bed was the larvae of a carpet beetle, apparently a very common household pest that feeds on stored fabrics, kind of like moths. The only way to get rid of them is to find their food source and get rid of THAT. Well, it was midnight at this point and I had no idea what their food source was, and once the bedding got out of the wash I decided to go to bed and deal with the problem in the morning. Except I didn't know how I was going to go to sleep knowing that my bedroom was overrun with gross little insects.

Nemo, always the level-headed one, said, "Just think of what Les Stroud (host of TV's Survivorman, for those of you who don't know) has to put up with. It's not like we're sleeping among scorpions in the Kalahari".

He had a point, and somehow I managed to go to sleep.

The next few days I spend systematically cleaning the bedroom, looking for what they were eating, and I didn't turn up anything. Then I remembered the wool sweater that had been in the bottom of the laundry basket since last fall (I didn't want to bother cleaning it since I didn't like it anyway, but still couldn't bring myself to throw the darn thing out).

Yup. That was it. There were more holes than I remembered and a few of the little buggers chomping away. I tied it in a trash bag and threw it out. I thought that was the end of it, but alas there is more to tell.

Last night, two things happened. First, I thought to myself, "I wonder what happened to my other favorite wool sock? I haven't seen it in months. It's probably lost under the bed somewhere."

Then, we found another bug in the bed.

Then, I put two and two together.

Today I bit the bullet and cleaned out the under the bed area, and it was horrifying.

They were indeed eating my favorite wool sock. And one of Nemo's socks. And a towel that somehow got under there. And a handkerchief. You get the picture.

I've been doing a lot of wash/throwing things away, and I hope this truly is the end of it.

I learned my lesson, that's for sure. Never again will I let things languish under the bed, or they will most certainly be found by things that go chomp in the night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday Vol. 4

1. I broke my last sewing machine needle yesterday afternoon, just as I was attempting to make my first handmade swiffer wet pad out of one of Nemo's old t-shirts. I'm just dying to finish it and see if it works...we're off to the store as soon as CJ wakes up from his nap.

2. I made it to daily mass three times this week! That's a record for me, I think. Next week, my goal is to get to a holy hour.

3. My brother, who is in the National Guard, is graduating from Advanced Individual Training (AIT) today. Yay for him!

4. Older Sister, who just went back to work after having her second baby, just found out that the baby's daycare is closing down mere weeks after opening. Now she is kind of in the lurch trying to sort out day care. She just can't seem to catch a break:(

5. In preparation for Christmas, Nemo and I are reading from Advent with the Saints: Daily Reflections every evening. Ok, we just started last night so it's not a trend yet. But I am going to try to keep it up!

6. Family pictures tomorrow. I am a mess. Nemo and I had some done last year too, but it is so much easier coordinating two outfits than three. Fashion is not one of my intelligences.

7. We have another house showing tomorrow as well. It's the second one this week, which is good. All I want for Christmas is this house to be sold. I am so ready for the suspense to be over.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday #5



1. I'm thankful for a sunny day, finally! I get to dry the diapers on the line for once...although it is so cold I'm a little worried that they are going to freeze solid! But also the sun is doing wonders for my attitude.

2. I'm thankful that we had the time off, the gas money, and a place to stay so that we could visit my folks in the great white north this Thanksgiving. I'm thankful I got to meet my new nephew!

3. I'm thankful that Nemo is able to work from home one day a week. Even though he probably doesn't get much work done because he always ends up watching MASH with me:)

4. I'm thankful for audiobooks. They make the chores go so much faster!

Thanks to Rebecca for hosting!