Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My Babes

These two little people are an awful lot of fun.
They keep our hands full.

They love each other so much -
and sometimes they even act like it!

As Calvin said, "Ruby, we are two peas in a pod."

They'll have plenty of stuff to deal with as they get older, but they'll always have eachother.

Oh, and Silas. They'll also have their little brother, Silas.

Silas, we cannot wait to meet you in person. Our hearts already love you. We pray for you every day and hope you are happy and safe in Korea. We miss you. We'll see you in about 4 months.

Daddy, Mommy, Calvin and Ruby

Monday, June 29, 2009

This Guy Here

This is typical Calvin du jour. Here, you'll see him clutching his new favorite companion, his brief case, gifted to him from Nana and Papa. It is stuffed with all manner of scribbled-upon paper scraps, as many ink pens as he can sneak from my desk, a broken calculator and a pack of gum.

This guy here has been cracking me straight up. Tonight he informed me that Ruby was "causing confusion and delay". (A line from Thomas the Train, I believe...)

Here's a transcript from a recent bedtime chat that the two of us had. I ran down immediately and documented it, because it was too good not to. Please keep in mind, there was literally no pausing between questions. It was like the rapid fire bonus round of Pyramid.

Calvin: Can we talk for a little bit?
Me: Sure.
Calvin: Why does the earth never get hit by one of those huge, huge rocks?
Me: Oh, like an asteroid?
Calvin: Yes. An asteroid. How big is the Universe?
Me: Um...it's very, very big. It goes on forever. Actually, Daddy is a better person to ask questions about the Universe.
Calvin: Is it dark in the Universe?
Me: Well, it depends on how far away something is from the sun. If it's far from the sun, then it would be dark.
Calvin: What makes a light bulb burn out?
Me:There's a little wire called a filament and when it breaks, the light burns out.
Calvin: What is a sin?
Me: Well, it's when we do something that we know we shouldn't do.
Calvin: Oh, like when we sneeze on someone?
Me: No, that's just an accident. A sin is when we act mean or naughty.
Me: OK, you get one more question, so make it a really good, important one.
Calvin: Tell me about throwing up. How does that happen?
Me: If we eat something rotten or get a germ in our tummy, the tummy doesn't like it and has to get rid of it, so it sends it right back up so it can feel better.
Calvin: But why do people cry when they throw up?
Me: It doesn't feel good to throw up. It's a bad feeling and it's not fun. I even cry a little when I throw up.
Calvin: Why do big people cry without making any sound? They are totally, totally silent? But little kids go [imitates crying]?
Me: Goodnight, Calvin!

On the Mend

Mother Nature caught wind of my plight and sent me flowers!

My very first hollyhock blossom ever, in the history of my life. I have been looking around at all of the ten-feet-tall hollyhocks in the 'hood and biting my nails over the fact that mine still hadn't bloomed. It turns out, they were waiting until I needed them most. I cannot properly impress upon you how happy this made me.

While we're on the subject (sort of?) thank you all for your well wishes! I was hopped up on a pain-killer cocktail the last time I posted, but by 4 a.m. that night reality had come to call. Yesterday was iffy, but today is a brand new day and I am most definitely on the mend. The doctor even said I can shower today! Hoorah! Perhaps I'll really celebrate and slap on some deodorant while I'm at it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Friday/Saturday Adventure

Last evening we hit Brooke's 30th birthday party and had such a fun time! We arrived home around 9:30. By around 10 pm I was having stomach issues, on top of a scorching sunburn on my back, courtesy of the deceptively strong Silver Beach rays. I retired early and proceeded to toss and turn for the rest of the night. My stomach hurt SO bad. It did not feel pukey sick, it was just very literally sore and painful.

5 a.m. - Stumbled out of bed and took a Gas-X, because it was the closest thing I had to tummy medicine.

7 a.m. - We decided to cancel our Saturday plans in Indy.

9 a.m. - Called my nurse Mama to whine about my tummy.

10:45 a.m. - Washed my face and brushed my teeth, since I was too ill to do it the previous night. Made an unsuccessful attempt to put on a pair of jeans, opted instead for a loose-fitting skirt and t-shirt.

11:00 a.m. - Stopped by the Waky clinic. Closed.

11:05 a.m. - Stopped by Dr. Foster's office. Closed.

11:10 a.m . - Made an urgent coffee run (for Cory) to McDonalds, then headed to the Goshen ER.

11:30 a.m. - Received a call back from Dr. Foster. He said we were smart to go to the ER.

1:00 p.m. - Had 6 tubes of blood drawn and peed in a cup.

2:00 p.m. - Had an IV put in, along with the most wacked-out drug I've ever taken.

3:00 to 4:00 p.m. - Felt like I was out of my mind and like I could not care less if another person came in an poked and prodded my tummy.

4:03 p.m. - Realized that this is how some people end up with prescription pain killer addictions.

4:30 p.m. - Officially admitted into the hospital, complete with my own room.

5:00 p.m. - Wheeled down to surgery.

5:15 p.m. - Had to ask a nurse to itch my nose/upper lip/chin 3x because both arms were strapped down.

5:18 p.m. - The last time I looked at the clock, in the OR, just after noticing that someone had turned on a radio. Not enough time to process the concept of surgeons listening to pop music while they operate.

5:50 p.m. - Wheeled back up to my room, with a newly repaired Strangulated Umbilical Hernia.

7:00 p.m. - Wheeled out to the car. My eyes still aren't focusing properly, but I am starting to care again.

8:00 p.m. - Home again. Very tired. Very hungry.

Am I in the Twlight Zone? More importantly, am I 83 years old?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bathroom Unveiling

Friends, I honestly thought this day may never come. It has been nearly 7 months in the making, and this is by far the smallest room in our house. I guess what I'm trying to say is, the house should be finished by roughly 2013.

When we moved in, not quite 2 years ago, the upstairs bathroom looked something like this:

Sponge paint! Peach and mint green! (Did anyone out there use those colors for their wedding? I remember that being all the rage around 1990.)

Puffy toilet seat alert! They really creep me out.

This past Christmas, the room took a real turn for the worse.
Once everything was torn out, the real fun began.

I've always wanted to try installing horizontal paneling and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. We installed it backwards, so it had more of a rough-hewn finish, and we did not sand it smooth. It has a rustic presence, in person. And it was very cheap.

Sidenote: For the first time ever, I painted a room, hated it immediately, and painted it again. We are kind of cheap-skatish around here and I thought I could get by with using the bright turquoise paint from the toy room, but it just didn't fly in this tiny space. It was jarring. It screamed "Clown Bathroom", which wasn't the look I was going for.

This bathroom was challenging because it is small and has a very odd shape. It will mostly be used by the kids and guests, but I didn't want it to have a "little kid" feel. I wanted it to be something that would grow with our family and flow with the rest of the house.

Look closely and you'll see that the "wall" behind the vanity is super short. I have to duck down to look in the mirror and I have hit my head on the "ceiling" more times than I can count. Old farmhouses have character, right?!

The vanity cabinet is very tiny. We looked at Lowes and Home Depot and found a couple of stock cabinets that were made of particle board and cost around $200. We almost went with a "scratch & dent" model that was marked down, then my brain kicked into gear. We called a local cabinet maker and they were able to custom build a solid wood cabinet with a perfect, glossy finish for under $150. Score! The faucets were found inexpensively on Ebay.

From the start, my inspiration for the room has been vintage maps. Specifically, I was inspired by the bathroom designed by Heather Chadduck (my FAVE!) for Cottage Living magazine (R.I.P.).
A light and airy remodeled bathroom
We quickly discoverd that decoupaging maps to the wall would be a very permanent fix, and I was a little concerned that they would be too busy in such a small room with only one tiny window and not much space for other items to break up landscape.

Instead, I decided to decoupage old maps into old, white frames. For a personal touch, we used maps of Korea (for Calvin), Africa (Ruby is half Malawan), Indiana and the USA.

No clue what that round thing is, but I love it! The blue shelf hung over Calvin's changing table in a previous life.

The white shelf brackets came from Ikea for $3 each and Cory cut the actual shelf to fit, then painted it all. Galvanized bucket? Anthro!

The numbered tags are enamelware and came to me from Germany, by way of Ebay.

I bought a bag of random, black letters several years ago. They were dusty and cruddy and I nearly forgot about them until exactly 2 weeks ago. I dug them out of the garage and hoped I would find the right combination for a bathroom-worthy word. I was hoping for "SCRUB", but I think I'm even happier with "CLEAN"! Maybe it will inspire me to keep it in tip-top condition?

The lack of vanity space and the general lack of storage space required some creativity. I found the wooden crate to hold towels at HomeGoods a couple months back. The metal rack is actually from Bed Bath & Beyond ($4) and was designed to hold flatware on a drying rack. Cory cut the hooks off the back and screwed it into the wall. It will soon hold tooth brushes, toothpaste and maybe even a bottle of liquid soap, if I can find a soap holder in the right size.

Last but not least, the trash can! I've had it for years and planted flowers in it last Summer. Nothing excites me more than discovering that I already own what I am looking for!

Ahhh...it feels so good to have this finished! Now, on to the real bathroom.......

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rose Confusion

My truest, bluest gal Sarah gave me a rose bush and a hydrangea for my birthday last year. I promptly killed the hydrangea despite my best efforts, which included moving it into a more welcoming neighborhood.

As for the rose bush, well, it's taken a turn toward the curious.

Have you ever seen anything like this? The flowers were all white last year and 90% of them are white this year, with the notable exception of a few blushing beauties. I have no idea how this happened, but something tells me it has to do with science. And botany.

I looked right at this bloom and thought, "I don't blame you one bit, honeybee. I'd pick that one, too."

Speaking of roses and not knowing what I'm doing when it comes to gardening, let's talk about my new rose garden!

Jung Seeds had a blowout internet clearance sale a few weeks ago and I picked up a few things. Specifically, I picked up 10 rose bushes, 2 lilac trees and a lone peony for less than $90, including shipping. The catch? 6 of the rose bushes were "grab bag" style, meaning they probably threw in whatever remnants happened to be the closest to them in the warehouse. I mean greenhouse.

I must say, it's a bit of a thrill to not know what color or type of roses will be growing come next year. I'm typically semi-well-planned and uniform, so this is a bit of a stretch for me. On the other hand, I'm a girl who loves surprises. On the other hand, it will probably look a tad chaotic. On the other hand, they are roses! You cannot lose.

I'll meet you back here in roughly 10 months with the results.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Never a Dull Moment

Anyone who knows me well knows that I suffer from a chronic inability to sleep through the night. I am basically a colicky 6 week old in a 33 year old's body. I wake at the slightest sound/movement/feeling. I have dreams that would make the Dream Doctor himself run the other direction.

What is my point?

My point is that last night I woke up to the oddest scraping noise. My first reaction was, "It's a mouse." I thought about waking Cory up, but didn't see the point since the mouse would only run off as soon as it heard us approaching. Instead, I opted to lie in bed and further dissect the situation. The noise was not a typical mouse noise (please don't ask how I know this), but there was no other good explanation.

Finally, the noise subsided and I fell back into fitful slumber.

This morning, I noticed that an ant trap (seriously, please, don't ask) that is normally near our front door was in a new location, in the kitchen. I spoke with my mom and shared my fears - that an abnormally playful and dexterous mouse had frolicked through the house David Beckham-style, in the midnight hour, sliding the ant trap a good 30 feet into the next room.

She assured me that no mouse in its right mind would waste a perfectly good evening in a perfectly good house - especially one with foil-wrapped cookies on the counter - engaging in such nonsense. Plus, it's Summer! Mice don't typically retreat indoors in June.

I went on my merry way and forgot all about the mouse.

Over my lunch of chips and guacamole I noticed the loveliest view from my seat at the island.

I think I'll sit there more often for lunch.

Later, still forgetting about the mouse, I chopped some veggies for dinner and decided to take a picture because 1. I am all about photographing veggies and 2. I wanted to initiate my new bowl from HomeGoods into this nonsensical hobby (see #1) of mine.

At some point, during my chopping and stirring, Calvin ran in from playing in the other room and asked, with a certain air of calm, "Mommy, do you see that mess?"

"Yes." I replied, absentmindedly. I wasn't exactly sure which mess he was referring to, but there were several in my line of vision, so I assumed I was covered.

"No", he said, "Do you see that mess? By the door?"

I glanced over, roughly 6.5 feet away, to see a chunky mouse sitting contentedly on the floor, making direct and meaningful eye contact.

Now, I'm no stranger to mice, but I squealed and hopped up on the counter, all the same. You may not be aware of the attraction wild animals have to me, but it is well documented here. There was also the time, 5 years ago, when I awoke from a Winter's nap in my childhood bedroom to a mouse perched atop my clavicle.

My entire life, my mom and dad have told me that mice and the like are more afraid of me than I am of them. And I believed them!

Not anymore. I knew for a fact that the mouse was heading straight for my flip-flop-clad feet. It wasn't a risk I was willing to take.

A chase ensued between the mouse and the men of the house. Ruby consoled me, saying, "It's OK, Mommy! He's a cute mousey!"

At last, he was captured.

And thrown to the wolves, er, cats. I won't even go into that.

The moral of the story: Mice are more afraid of you than you are of them. They are, however, infinitely less afraid of me than I am of them.

Count yourself blessed.

And for those of you who made it all the way through this post, I have a gift:

Sunday, June 21, 2009


These are the two luckiest kids in the world. Don't even try to argue with me - I'm steadfast.

Calvin and Ruby have a Daddy who loves them - who cannot get enough of them.

He is the World's best tickle monster.
He talks about toots with Calvin but says that they shouldn't discuss it around girls.
He tells Ruby every day how pretty she is.
He gets the importance of discipline - he's Good cop and Bad cop, all rolled into one.

He talks to Calvin about being brave and courageous.
He encourages him to pick up the snakes.

He takes Ruby on dates to get ice cream - just the two of them. (Shhhh!)

He has convinced both of them that taking trash to the dump on Saturday is a privilege and a treat.

He is a great provider and a hard worker.

He's a handy guy and plants flowers for me whenever I ask him. (OK, that one was about me, but I had to include it because he planted 4 more things for me tonight.)

We love you, Daddy.

PS - Remember my Dad? The John Deere tractor guy? Well, he just got back from the Iowa JD show early this morning and he brought back the medallion. He's been working on his Baby for nearly two years now and we were all sweating bullets over whether or not he would bring that puppy home - not that we really had any doubt in our minds. Way to go, Papa! I'm really proud of you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Big Three-Three

Happy June 18th to me.

I have big plans to take a nap while the kids are at VBS, go eat a bagel with my hubby, tackle the finishing touches on the bathroom, make guacamole, find something fun to do with the kids this evening (Cory is working late) and read a decorating magazine after the kids are in bed - NO work for me tonight. I'm putting my foot down.

I'll let you know how it all pans out...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reason I love The Dented Can - #2

I've said it before and I'll say it again: You just never know what you might find at The Dented Can.

I strolled in seeking cheap cereal, but with no guarantee that I would find my poison. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. On this day, I found a row of my all time favorite cereal, Basic 4.

I also found this:

Monday Cookies.

In Hebrew.

For $1.50.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My favorite kind of rainbow

We are in full bloom around here and I cannot get enough of it. Of all of the months, June is definitely my favorite, and not just because it finds me blowing out candles midway through.

It makes me curious - do you find that your birth month is your favorite month? Is it something that is hardwired into our DNA? Or is it just a fluke, in my case?

Here are some other things I love about June: strawberries, peonies, homemade guacamole with cilantro from the garden, the kick-off of the Summer reading program at the library, perennial sales....

...open windows, flip flop tan lines...

...celebrating the end of the school year - even though none of us are in school...

...weeding my flower beds and gardens (weeding is the new eyebrow-plucking, you know)...

I could go on and on, but you get the point. I'm a girl who loves June.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday in Review

It's that time of Summer again - berries galore. They seem to be a bit squattier this year, and not quite as plentiful, but I'm still experiencing the subtle panic of realization that they are growing faster than we can eat them.

The best solution? Freezer jam.
(That fly wants in so badly. It's that time of year, too.)

There is nothing better than pulling a jar of this out of the freezer mid-February. If Summer were a flavor, it would be strawberry jam.

At least, that's what I tell myself while I'm mashing berries and ladling it into jars...

In other news, my two rose bushes are both in full bloom. Once again, something is chomping the leaves into oblivion, but the blooms are still positively swoony.

Who doesn't love a yellow rose?

Here's the thing about me: I'm no photographer. I know how to use roughly 2.5 functions on my not-too-fancy camera. I don't know the "rules" about flash, so I take some with and some without and pick the winner out of a hat. My husband shakes his head in my general direction. (Yes, I do occasionally feature his shots on my blog and I almost never give him credit. What's his is mine, right? Here's the best way to tell: If I'm in the picture, he took it.) What I know for sure is this: If you have a beautiful subject, it's pretty difficult to take an ugly picture. (Incidentally, I have a similar philosophy about food. Use fresh ingredients and learn how to pick a decent recipe - that's 90% of the battle.)

Back to my lack of photography skills, the above picture was taken last night, as the sun was setting. No flash.

Fast forward to this morning, when I found this:

Cory put the last coat of paint on some frames for our upstairs bathroom. (Hoping to have the big reveal sometime next week!) He must have plopped the frame right over the roses, which shed their petals overnight. I just thought it made for the loveliest scene. I snapped a few pics, no flash. This perfectly illustrates the difference between morning and evening light, not that any of you photography gurus needed me to illustrate such an elementary concept. Still, I can't get over that washed out, blurry-around-the-edges view. I think I'll keep it just as it is, until the last petal falls.

Now, click here to see how other people are living a beautiful life and here to see what other people are hooked on today.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

We Know How to Party

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about this. Yeah, yeah, I'm a few months behind, but it's only fair for all of you to see how truly exciting is this life that I live.

Community fund-raiser suppers are all the rage around these parts. I don't think they're quite as common in other, more citified parts. We have fish fries, haystack suppers (always "supper", never "dinner"), and until last year, this very same church hosted the fabulous Strawberry Supper, prompting Calvin to refer to the church only as the "Strawberry Church", forever and ever amen. I tried to tell him that we should really call it the "Noodle Church" now, but he won't hear of it.

This time around, my sister Keisha and my best gal Sarah joined myself and the kids. Sarah flirted with the noodle-scoopers (no surprise there) and I begged off repeated offers for assistance in carrying the food to the table. I was a little flustered in that moment, because Calvin and Ruby were both somehow free and I knew that Calvin would end up eating the church out of house and home. I wanted to just say, "Please, let me pay for him", but I knew they would think it was strange, so I didn't. I don't know why, but things like that always send me into a small, internal tizzy. I just like things to be fair, ya know?

Calvin ended up going back for seconds, thirds and fourths. (It's all-you-can-eat.) The blue-haired ladies could not get enough of him.

There was some type of miscommunication between Keisha and Ruby through which Keisha ended up eating Ruby's lime jello salad with pears. Ruby was not amused.

I nearly forgot to mention - the meal came with pie. Keisha and I both chose what we thought was the most divine looking slice of peach. The peaches looked SO ripe and the filling was thick and abundant. Only problem was - it wasn't peach. It was apricot. With pineapple tidbits mixed in, for good measure. It was basically fruit cocktail pie. Ever heard of it? Want the recipe? Me either. But in truth, it wasn't half bad. My dad would have been in heaven.

Following our life-on-the-edge supper, we came back home, put the kids to bed and sat down for a quiet poetry reading.

You think I'm joking, but I am not.

I had recently discovered an old book at an estate sale entitled, "Farm Ballads" (Will Carleton - 1873). Hello. I had no choice. It has turned out to be the most charming little book. I'm not all the way through it, as I like to save the poems for rainy days.

I'll leave you with a few lines from one of my early faves:

"Draw up the papers, lawyer, and make 'em good and stout;
Things at home are crossways, and Betsey and I are out.
We, who have worked together so long as man and wife,
Must pull in single harness the rest of our nat'ral life...."

"...And the next that I remember was when we lost a cow;
She had kicked the bucket for certain, the question was only - How?
I held my opinion, and Betsey another had;
And when we were done a-talkin', we both of us was mad..."

"...And one thing put in the paper, that first to me didn't occur:
That when I am dead at last she bring me back to her;
And lay me under the maples I planted years ago,
When she and I was happy; before we quarreled so.

And when she dies I wish that she would be laid by me;
And, lyin' together in silence, perhaps we might agree;
And if ever we meet in heaven, I wouldn't think it queer
If we loved each other the better for what we quarrelled here."

Sigh. Smile.

And best of all, the very next poem is called "How Betsey and I Made Up."