Sunday, February 27, 2011

Don't Worry About It. We Use Recyclable Clothes Now. Wear Them Once, Then Eat Them

As promised, more information about my church calling:

First off, as I have mentioned before, I love my calling. I am the ward bulletin coordinator, which means I make those paper programs. Before I was called, I remember looking at the ward program every week, seeing the full page folded in half, and trying to calculate how many trees died so we would all know who was speaking. Needless to say, I was excited when they gave me my knew calling, and right away I asked if I could make a few changes, starting with shrinking the program down to half a page.

"As long as you can get all the information on there and the font is still big enough that the elderly in the ward can read it, you're good." was the response.

So, I put the schedule on one side, the announcements on the other, and left out the directory (hello, it's online now!) and the cute little picture. Alas, I was told that the directory HAD to be included every week. After a few weeks of struggling with this, I came upon a very old program from a BYU student ward. It was amazing. It was a quarter page, with one side having a nice picture, and to the side of the picture a simple schedule. I mean simple as in, instead of this across the whole page:

YOUTH SPEAKER...................................................John Smith
CLOSING PRAYER..................................................Jane Smith

It had this:

Speaker: John Smith
Prayer: Jane Smith

indented to the right. It was simple and beautiful. I loved it. The next week I adopted it. Not the quarter page, ours is still half a page, but all the info is there, it looks awesome, and the bishopric approves! Hooray!

My next task was to collect a few buckets from grocery store bakeries, label them as recycle bins, and post them outside the doors every week. I started this three weeks ago and this last week I got some real results! I'm so excited! I feel like I'm making a difference! I love my calling!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

With Water the Temperature of Lava, One Side to be White Hot Heat for Scarring, the Weight to Cause Blunt Force Trauma...

When Drek went to school, and later, when he worked from home, he lived in shorts and T-shirts from DI. Now that he has a "grown-up" job with an office and everything, we made an effort to go to a store and buy new dress pants, button-up shirts, and belts. He wears these new clothes to work and he looks good. Really good. My husband is amazingly good-looking. Those clothing companies should pay him to wear their clothes, he looks so good.

The only drawback is now that he has nice clothes, we're supposed to keep them nice. That involves sorting laundry, reading tags and (gulp) ironing.

I have ironed before. I iron creases when I sew and for a while I ironed a boyfriend's BDU's. But I've never really learned how to iron.

A friend let us borrow their ironing board and iron and I set about watching YouTube ironing instructionals. I was kind of having fun with it. It made me feel all wife-y. As I was ironing I thought to myself "And my husband will know I love because his clothes are all nice and wrinkle-free. And everyone who seems him looking so nice will know he has a wife who loves him." And I was happy to be learning a new skill and taking care of my husband.

After a few pairs of pants, I switched to shirts. At this point, I made the mistake of reading the comments. I HATE online comments. Especially Youtube comments. People are so, so stupid. Anyway, the very first comment I read was "That women knows her place." (referring to the women in the ironing instructional) Suddenly, my attitude changed. I thought to myself: "What am I doing? My lazy husband can iron his OWN freaking clothes. How dare he take advantage of me like this! I should NOT be learning how to iron, I should be learning how to dismantle a nuclear warhead. How DARE my husband force me to iron. He makes me do EVERYTHING for him! I'm amazed he even gets himself dressed in the morning. Stupid men, always taking advantage of us women. Stupid, lazy, good-for-nothing men."

You see why I hate comments?

It took me a good three hours to calm down. My poor husband.

But I learned how to iron! I am ironing again today. I think I like it. I will continue to iron my husband's clothes to show my love for him. Just don't make any snide comments or I might iron your face.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tuesday Ash came down with the flu. In three hours, I had been thrown up on four times and pooped on once. And then Drek came home from work. Ah, the joys of parenting.

Wednesday Ash was sick with a fever. She needed to sleep, but wouldn't sleep unless I was holding her. So, all day we cuddled, napped, and I watched six episodes of Next Generation. I was supposed to be cleaning; Drek's family is coming into town, but instead I just enjoyed that fact that my baby was actually cuddling with me. Is it horrible of me to say I loved her being sick? It was like having a newborn again. It was like having a baby that likes me to hold her. It was fun to push all other obligations and responsibilities aside and just give her exactly what she needed, no exceptions. I loved that.

Today she is better. Not back to her normal self, but she is back to hating cuddling and is well enough to scream when she doesn't get her way. I'm grateful for her good health, but I can be grateful she was sick, too?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pop! Goes My Heart

On Saturday we had a big Valentines party. It went really well. Anna and I decided do the same thing for food that we did last year, so we had a chocolate fountain (Hooray!) and cheese fondue. Instead of doing all the food ourselves, we asked the guests to bring different things, which worked out really well since the food we needed was super easy: a bag of pretzels, a box of graham crackers, steamed broccoli, bread, fruit...

I made the cookies to dip in the chocolate fountain. Peanut butter, mint chip, and chocolate:
Everyone brought food and it turned out amazing:

Anna decided to do an Alfredo sauce instead of a cheesy sauce, and it was perfect! Everything was delicious and there was way more food than we could eat.

I planned the games, so I asked every couple to send me a story about how they met, or how he proposed, or their first kiss, or something romantic like that. i read the stories out loud over dinner, and everyone had to guess which story belonged to which couple. After that I gave each couple a list of couples from books, movies, TV and real life and they had to name where they were from.

Mandy brought Valentines day crafts for the kids, which was amazing. All the kids had a great time at the craft table. We tied a balloon to all the kid's legs and they chased each other to try and pop the other's balloons while protecting their own.

We played a game where as a group we had to answer Valentine's Day trivia questions and race to the correct room. The kids LOVED that game, with all the running around. It was great.

Then we played a sort of soccer game, where the individuals in a couple were handcuffed together and we played with an enormous exercise ball. We had to end that game a little early since the little kids wanted to play and it go really dangerous. I was afraid one of the babies would be trampled. But all in all, it was a great party.

For Valentine's Day I made eggs in the shape of a heart for Drek and Ash. That night we went on a picnic to the park and swung on the swings. It was very nice.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

That's a Lot of Hair. She's Growing It Out

It is a dream of mine to have waist ling hair. I have had this dream ever since I was a little girl, but, although most people would say I usually have long hair, it has never grown as long as I would like, due to a series of hair disasters: my five year old older sister finding scissors and deciding to give me a hair cut, going swimming so often my hair turned green, dying my hair black several times for several months then trying to dye to brown, resulting in a clown-orange horror... All of this is not helped by the fact that my hair does not grow fast. I don't know the average speed of hair growth, but I'm sure my hair grows slower than most. I KNOW my hair grows slower than my amazing cousin, M. Rose, who has grown her hair out, cut it all off and donated it to Locks of Love SEVERAL times. Really, she is amazing.

Anyway, the point is I've been trying to grow my hair out. After a year and a half with no cuts or trims, my hair was looking... hirsute? Is that redundant? Fine, we'll say disheveled. So I asked my amazing sister-in-law if she would trim my hair. She did, and it looked great. She cut off around three inches, but my hair was still long and looked crisp and clean. That was last week. This morning as I was doing my hair, I looked at the length and thought "my hair looks great. It looks even and long. Hooray."

So you know disaster was about to strike.

For five weeks now, I have been doing the paper programs for my church. I am the person who collects announcements, the names of the speakers, the hymns we are going to sing, and then arranges them nicely on paper, makes a hundred copies, and hands them out before church. That is my calling. I love it.

One of the reasons I love my calling is my ability to implement change. instead of giving each family a full sheet of paper folded in half, I have rearranged the program to be a half-sheet of paper, thus reducing the amount of paper used and saving a few trees in the process. I'll save the details for another post. The point is, for five weeks now, I have printed off the copies and then used the church's huge paper cutter (those things were you lay the stack of papers down, and then pull the blade down, leaving a straight, clean cut through your stack of papers) to cut the papers in half.

Today I used that paper cutter again. It can't handle fifty papers at once, so I do five stacks of ten. While I was doing this, I moved the cut papers off the paper cutter and placed new papers on, when I noticed a lock of hair on the side. I thought "Huh. strange. I wonder who's hair that...oh no."

Somehow, a thick strand of my hair had managed to sneak under the blade without me realizing it. It cut off about four inches. Of my hair. MY HAIR. So now I have a chunk of hair missing. I can either try to hide it everyday, or cut the rest of my hair by four inches.

Not cool, paper cutter. Not cool.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Told the Elephants to Forget It, But They Can't. The Cheetahs are Hard Up, But I Always Say, Cheetahs Never Prosper

Yesterday we went on a walk. When it came time to cross the street we had to wait, not for cars, but for this:

Okay, okay. So the walk was in a zoo, not just out in the town, but still, that is so cool!!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

It's Like He's Doing His Crazy Boot Stomp Dance Every Night.

I've been renting my housing for a while now.

I've rented a room in the dorms. I've rented a room shared by five other girls, one of which was a crazy, OCD, psychopath. I've rented an apartment with no heat and holes in the walls that let the sun shine through and holes in the porch that threatened to capture you every time I left for work.

When Drek and I were first married we lived in a tiny apartment with no water pressure and a broken bathroom sink. It had no parking and you could easily hear the neighbor's conversation. It was actually a great place to live: waking up every morning to the sound a the next-door rooster, super-cheap rent. I'm grateful we lived there, but also grateful we moved.

We moved to the next town over, where we rented a delightful townhouse that had no yard, and a horrible heating/cooling system. It was too expensive, too big, and looking back, we really shouldn't have bought a washer and dryer, but I'm so grateful we lived there. We had awesome neighbors, lots of space and that is where my LO was born.

Next is was off to Burgville, where we rented what I now refer to as our "luxary apartment." Three bedrooms , two bathrooms, a garage, and by far the largest place we've lived. The basement neighbors were the best neighbors ever and it was heated by radient flooring, which is pure genius if you ask me. We didn't live there long, and the landlords were dirty rotten crooks, but I loved living there.

We currently live in our smallest apartment ever, square footage wise. It's also the most expensive, rent-wise. It's two bedrooms and two bathrooms with the smallest kitchen I've ever seen, let alone used. It's infested with ants, has no lights and no functioning electrical outlets. There aren't washer and dryer hookups, the sun can't find it's way inside, our house shakes when our neighbor watches a movie with surround-sound, and the upstairs neighbors are boot-stomping screamers with a dog that won't shut-up. And yet, the location is unbeatable. It's next door to a park, around the corner form a grocery store and the plants smell so good that whenever you walk down the sidewalk you think the air itself is perfumed. We have access to a grill, a swimming pool and a hot tub, our ward is awesome, landlords know us by name, are in love with Ash and are always friendly and helpful. I'm grateful we live here.

And yet, I am hoping for a bit more. I would like to stop renting. I would like to own. It's time to move into our very own house.

After six months of looking, I've found it: our perfect home. I'm not sure we can get it, but I want it.

I've never owned a house before. Any tips? Does anyone have any home buying/home owning advice?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Green-Blooded Hobgoblin

I love my CSA box. I love it because it's organic, local, and fresh. I love it because the fruit, vegetables and herbs taste better and are more nutritious than store produce. But here is the big reason I love my CSA box:

Last week in our box we got a bag full or oranges. Three or four small ones and three or four big ones. I put them in the fridge and forgot about them. This week we got another bag full or oranges, so I decided that since we had so many, we should have fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. I got out my juicer, sliced the big oranges in half, and then cut into a smaller orange. This is what I saw:
I paused. Is it a grapefruit? I tasted it. No, it's very much an orange. This must be a blood orange! I have heard of them, but never seen one. And now I have around eight blood oranges sitting on my counter. So for breakfast we had juice that was half orange, half blood orange. Today we had the same thing. It tasted AMAZING. I'm sure a lot of that is due to the fact that it was fresh squeezed and organic, but I'm also blaming it on the blood oranges. They taste sweeter. Also, they look really cool. I think I want to plant a blood orange tree now.
See? Without my CSA box, I never would have known how much I love blood oranges. So great.