Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Another thing I can't wait to get done: Painting my basement. Any color suggestions? The entire upstairs is a neutral light brown and the master bedroom is green, so I'm wanting something a little different without being too crazy. Dark brown? Red? A nice warm yellow? A medium blue? I want to paint the downstairs bedroom the same color as my current office {seen here}. Here is the space in question.

Also, an update {well, a picture} on the ditched combine. Check out the marks left in the ditch after it was removed. I didn't have my camera with me while it was in-process so this will have to suffice. The crane operators said they were surprised that it didn't tip over. I'm just thankful no one was hurt.

Peek into my week

As I'm living in limbo, neither at my old house or my new one, I've somehow managed to spend a ridiculous amount of time at work. In the past three days, I've already been there for 35 hours, and I'm going back for some more tonight {Playing a mass dedicated to the parish volunteers. God Bless them!}, after which, I'll finally head back to our old place to clean it up before our buyer's final walk-through tomorrow.

Let's factor into the work equation, all the preparations I've been handling for our move to the new place: lining up phone/cable/internet, switching utilities {Did you know that in a small town you actually have to go to the respective offices to fill out paperwork? We did it all over the phone when we moved to the QCA!}, picking up a recycling bin, working with the post office so that our new address is in fact a verifiable delivery address {since it's a new house, apparently we weren't even in the USPS system}, setting up our home owner's insurance, and doing our own final walk-through.

Speaking of our final walk-through. We discovered a mis-connected water pipe in one of our bathrooms when we moved everything into the garage last weekend, so we let our realtor know. Today, I discovered that they fixed the pipe, but had to cut a hole in the wall of one of our bedrooms to do it {+1 additional fix}, there is also a slight hammer hole in our bathroom wall, where it looks like someone mis-fired will fixing something else, hitting the wall instead {+2 additional fix}. They were also supposed to put up our mailbox outside, but I discovered it today still resting happily in the garage {+3 additional fix}. I discovered, on my own, that I'm thinking our pretty washer and dryer won't fit in our laundry room on the pedestals because right now the cabinets are mounted just a little bit too low. There is plenty of room to move them up a bit, so I'm wondering if I should take that route? In the famous words of the interns at Seattle Grace Hospital {Grey's Anatomy}: "Seriously?" I'm sure they'll get everything done, but that is not what a buyer wants to see a couple days before they move in!

And, I may have another great working opportunity coming my way soon {Yet another thing I've been busy with in the past few days}. This does not include the Wizard of Oz accompaniment, my current job, weddings, or piano lessons. This is going to be a wonderful step with my career if everything works out well. The best part is that I would not have to sacrifice my current job. The downside is that I will officially have no free-time for a little while. I'm weighing my options, but I'll keep you updated as this develops.

Tomorrow night, our buyer wants to do her final walk-through, and she has requested that Blake and I be present because she has some questions about the garage code, thermostat, etc. Typically the buyer doesn't see the seller until closing, so I find this a little awkward. Especially because I'm just planning on handing her the instruction manuals {which were going to remain with the house} with everything she needs to know in them. Anyone else had their buyer go to the final walk-through with the seller present?

On top of everything, while my poor dad was driving his combine to the implement dealer to have a small problem fixed, a bigger problem popped up. His back wheel {the one that controls steering} fell off, and he ended up in the ditch with his combine. We're not sure how it happened. The implement people came out to fix it to drive it out of the ditch, but only found themselves further in the ditch. There is now a crane coming to lift it out. Which is why I suddenly found myself with enough time to update. I came home to see if they needed any help, and now we're waiting for the crane.

Seriously, I can't wait to move in, hang up my pretty curtains, find spots for all of our stuff, and just decorate so I can post pictures here for all of you to see! We'll see how long this takes...

Friday, November 23, 2007

End of countdown

We move tomorrow! Posts will be spotty next week as we prepare to close on our new place next Friday {So sad about the posts because I was really trying to do the NaBloPoMo thing even though I already missed 11/5}. Here's a look at all of our progress. Our fireplace is buried somewhere behind all of those boxes. I'm still sort of in shock about how many things we had; moving presented the perfect opportunity to clean out and simplify our lives, so we donated quite a bit of our things to Goodwill. However, at last count there were still 42 boxes to move + furniture + one fish tank + whatever is in the garage.

After some early-morning packing {Not too early though! I wasn't one of the people crazy enough to be out waiting in line at 4 a.m.}, Blake and I decided to brave the black Friday sales and got a great deal on our washer and dryer {seen here}. I can't wait to do laundry next weekend! Aren't they pretty? Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. Here is my Thanksgiving in a couple of pictures {it snowed!}.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A family birthday

Ben is 17 today. Happy Birthday little bro! I know I'm getting old when my baby brother is 17. Wah.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Keeping busy

Outside of packing and work. This has now consumed my life. I must learn 188 pages of music for the musical, "The Wizard of Oz" which begins rehearsing in early January. Also on my "to-do" list: Learn accompaniments for 10 pieces for the high school Christmas concert on Dec. 16. The challenge is finding time to do it in the midst of the move and the holidays. Yippee Skippee.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why am I hungry?

I forgot to eat breakfast in the midst of my busy morning {some maddening news came our way}, and didn't even realize it until my stomach started growling. It hit me when I started wondering why I was hungry on my drive. I didn't get my Raisin Bran!

My realtor and I measured our windows at our new place today. Next item on the list: buy curtains or blinds. I like this pair from IKEA. I'm putting them in the master bedroom. We've got pretty over-sized windows in our new place {bedroom windows measure 83 1/2" X 64"; main basement window is 97" X 64"}, which means a lot of natural light {yay}, but also a lot of window treatments. I'm putting sheer curtains on most of them. Simple, but decorative.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas came early

...for my dad. Since our beloved Teddy-2 passed away last week, Dad has been pretty lost without his cow dog around. So, my siblings and I decided to start looking for another. Brian prompted the search with this very heartfelt e-mail:

In the wake of the passing of our dear lovable Teddy, maybe we should look into a Teddy III. The farm just won't be the same without a manly Sheltie named Teddy.

I felt a little guilty looking at first because Teddy-2 had just died. I soon realized it was more of an honor and a testament of our love for the dog that we should find another worthy to fill his shoes {paws?}. Let's face it. Every farmer needs a good cow dog, and both of our Teddy's have been damn good ones. Usually, Sheltie pups are not common this time of year, but we got lucky. In fond remembrance of Teddy-2 {and the original Teddy}, say hello to Teddy-3.

He was a complete surprise for Dad. Blake and I picked him up, bathed him, and even decorated him with a bow {we safety pinned it to his collar. In the midst of all of the moving boxes, I couldn't find my cloth ribbon!}. I brought him to my parent's house this afternoon. Dad is in love. He even greeted the new pup with a "Hi, Teddy. Aww. Hi." See the events unfold in the photos below:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Free Rice

A friend sent me this {click here}.

It's a word game. For each word you answer correctly, Free Rice donates 10 grains of rice through the United Nations to help end hunger. It's a win-win situation. You get to test your vocabulary and practice a little philanthropy while somewhere in the world, someone is getting the grains of rice you donated by expanding your knowledge. You can't beat that. Don't forget to come back on a daily basis and donate as much rice as you can. My total today is 1400 grains of rice.


Blake and I headed to Chicago today to see The Phantom of the Opera with our friends Colleen and Demetrius. I love that Blake has become interested in musicals. He's seen a handful of high school productions {5} and two professional ones {Wicked and Phantom} since he met me; not bad for a city kid who had never seen one in his life! This is the third time I've seen this particular show on stage, including the modified Vegas version. I also own the movie. What can I say? I can't get enough of this stuff. It's a thrilling and enjoyable experience every time!

I sometimes wish I lived closer to these productions. I would make a habit out of them. Phantom is in Chicago until January. If you're headed there, it's definitely worth springing for the tickets! If you don't like Phantom, go to Wicked!

Other shows and productions on my "to see" list:
1. Jersey Boys
2. Wicked {for the third time}
3. The Lion King
4. Avenue Q
5. Blue Man Group
6. Cirque de Soleil

Friday, November 16, 2007

Farewell home tour

Blake and I move a week from tomorrow. Below, a little tour of our current place before there were boxes everywhere! When we first moved in, every wall was white, and there were only blinds on the windows. It was just begging for someone to make it feel a little more homey, and I was up for the challenge. :)

I love the color we picked for our living room. It reminds me of a Wendy's frosty. Delicious. Our rug is also a favorite {only $60!}, and I've already picked a spot for it in our new home. Blake's fish tank is always a conversation starter because he has some pretty impressive fish. However, it's usually an eyesore because it doesn't get cleaned as often as it should. Our fireplace {in picture 2} wasn't something I planned on having when I moved here, but it was nice for really cold winter nights. We would start it up, drink hot chocolate, and work on a puzzle nearby.

Our kitchen - complete with apples in our fruit bowl. I hate decorating above cabinets, and I love a refrigerator with lots of mementos on them. I actually cleaned mine off for this picture because my mom doesn't agree with my love for a well-decorated fridge {she thought it would turn a potential buyer off to our place}. Some things you will always find on my fridge: magnets from places visited, pictures of family and friends, shopping list, and one of those "Today I feel" mood magnets. I think someday I'd like to add magnetic alphabet letters or magnetic poetry. One other fave of my kitchen: my microwave. I didn't purchase it, but it's amazing. It defrosts food better than any microwave I've ever encountered, and it has the most wonderful popcorn button. Our microwave popcorn never comes out burned and almost all the kernels are popped!

This is my favorite wall in our office. The other walls are white (I went for the white curtain to pull the room together), and I didn't think it was necessary for you to see our ridiculously unorganized computer desk, which is the only thing in the room besides Blake's Bowflex. It's a shame we didn't spend more time in there. I love the picture AND the color.

This is our bedroom. Nothing too special, but I love our down comforter in red, and I love the curtains. I picked the curtains for two reasons: 1. Because they were cheap 2. I love the warm glow on sunny mornings when I'm still tucked in beneath my beautiful comforter!

When we first painted the bathroom yellow, I wasn't very fond of it. Once I added my little art project, the color grew on me, and now I find it's especially cheery on gloomy mornings!

The only things I've neglected to show you are closets, and our "laundry room" behind a set of folding doors. I know that Blake and I will miss our little place dearly. At the same time, we're ready to take on the responsibilities of a new house! Yay!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I miss marching band

This is probably one of the coolest marching band shows ever!!! The show is upside down, but it will be familiar to all of you. It's only 5 minutes. Watch the whole thing. :P Ben, you will love it the most.

Thanks to my buddy, Nate, for sending it my way!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

About blogging

After talking with Jennifer tonight about all the blogs we read {more her than me}, I've devised a little list of people that I think need to get a blog for my own personal reading enjoyment.

1. Brian
2. Blake {I realize he's my husband, but I'd just like to see what he would write about}
3. Lola {and Mike}
4. Chad W. {and Tara -- I'm talking about one that you'll actually update!}
5. Deb
6. Meredith

I realize blogging isn't the most personal method, but it is a great way to share things with lots of people. And, the best thing about blogs: they are fun to read! :)

I'm dreaming

Of this new washer and dryer set. This pair from LG was ranked best in Consumer Reports, and have some killer features including the new steamfresh technology. Now, I'm hoping for a killer day after Thanksgiving sale.

However, I don't want them in navy. Here's just a little glimpse of the glorious red version! It's so pretty, I'm always going to find a reason to do laundry! :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Every now and then...

I come up with a pretty good idea.

Here's the story:
My children's choir is supposed to sing at Mass once a month. They were scheduled to sing this Saturday, but because of a last minute visiting choir, they got bumped. I couldn't re-schedule them to next week because we are moving! AH!

I felt terrible for canceling on them, and wanted to make up for it by finding another opportunity for them to sing before their big Christmas Mass. That's when I came up with the first annual Front Step Christmas.

After the Saturday night mass on 12/8, the kiddos are going to line up on the front steps of the Basilica and sing Christmas carols for about a half hour. Each student will bring cookies or bars beforehand, which we will serve to the crowd as they listen to the carols. The church will be providing hot cocoa and water, and all of this will take place outside. I hope people love this idea as much as I do! I had them practicing some of the carols inside today, but without the piano accompaniment, and their voices are so angelic. You would never guess that they are actually really naughty most of the time!

For some reason, I picture them each holding little candles, wearing red and white little choir robes, and singing as there is a softly falling snow. It's really all in my head, because 1) I would never trust any of the kids in my children's choir with a candle...I can already see some girl's hair starting on fire. 2) They don't even have choir robes, let alone red and white ones, and I would be far-fetched to find 90 of them before 12/8. 3) I hope it snows, but if past years are any indication, I should schedule this event for late January if I want snow to be falling.

I can't wait for this event. If you're in town, you should come! :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

An unexpected loss

I learned today that Teddy {or Ted-Ted, as I called him} was killed. It's a very unexpected and sad loss for our family. He was actually Teddy-2, replacing the first Teddy who died of old age in 2003. Both were Shelties. In between the two of them, there was a rat terrier named Penny who also met an unexpected death {though in a different manner than Teddy-2}. Unfortunately, it seems that dogs on a farm seem to meet similar fates. Whether it be the milk truck, the salesman, or a random car passing by, they all seem to fall in their paths. The original Teddy somehow wizened up and managed to avoid that particular, horrible, fate. Regardless, it's always sad to lose a pet, and my family has lost many in the same way. You would think it would get easier over time, but I think it gets worse. As I get older, I become more and more attached to these animals. They have such personality. Such spunk. Such loyalty!

Teddy-2 was a splendid dog. A little hyper, but yet always listening, he made sure the cows were out of the barn when Dad wanted them out. He guarded the yard, even barking at vehicles that were driving by a little too slowly. Sometimes, he would bark at nothing, but you had to admire his effort. He learned tricks quickly, though no one really spent the time to work with him since he was always running after the cows, or cats. He caught mice better than any cat, and would even catch rabbits, birds, or any other animal that had become a nuisance. Once, he nabbed a possum. Ok, I know they're not fast {in fact, it probably played dead}, but you could tell he was proud of that catch. He walked around with his tail fluffed up for the rest of the day!

Mostly, he was a playmate to Sophie and Zoe (the other dogs, who will be looking for him incessantly for awhile!), and one heck of a loyal companion around here. He will be missed. Farewell, Teddy -- here's hoping you find a mouse or two in "doggie heaven."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The show won't go on

I'm praying that they work this out really soon. What is New York without Broadway?!

Some info from the article:
"It was a second day of dark Broadway theaters and disappointed audiences as striking stagehands reaffirmed their commitment Sunday to remain off the job until producers started acting "honorably" at the negotiating table.

Twenty-seven shows remained closed Sunday, the day after stagehands went on strike, shutting down such popular productions as "Wicked," "The Phantom of the Opera," "Hairspray," "Jersey Boys" and "Mamma Mia!"

Among the shows canceled Sunday was a gala 10th-year anniversary performance of "The Lion King," although a party celebrating the Disney musical's decade-long run was still being held." --MICHAEL KUCHWARA, AP Drama Writer

I hope this doesn't affect Chicago. Blake and I are going to see Phantom there next weekend! Too bad, I couldn't make it two musicals in one day. I'm dying to see Wicked for the third time!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lucky lady

Last night, there was a fish fry for the parish. I had been watching all the lovely donated raffle prizes come in the door, and gathering in the front office. I spotted a couple that I liked, handed over $10, and had one of the ladies in the office buy me chances since I knew I wouldn't be in town to attend. I only had her put my chances on three items. One that I chose, and two at her discretion.

I won two of three. Not bad huh?

The first, was a plate featuring all of the local parishes. It seems like everyone in town has one of these plates, so I suppose it's about time I got one {the best part is that I didn't have to pay $20 for it!}. The second, was the one that I most wanted: a beautiful Nativity set complete with custom-made wooden stable. It's going to look great in our new house this Christmas!

Friday, November 9, 2007

A tree room

Ever since I started my tree project a year ago, I've been mad about a tree room, or at least a tree theme. It's reflected in the current large piece of art in our office {I'm also a fan of the color of the wall behind this piece of art...I may try to incorporate it into our next tree room!}, the night light in our bathroom {from the Muir Woods gift shop and probably my favorite souvenir from San Francisco!} , and various other pictures around our home.

I've also recently discovered these lumen candles that are positively beautiful! {Hint hint to those of you looking to buy me something for Christmas! Help me complete my tree room!}

This post is a small milestone for my blog, as it is post #100.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Countdowns and countups

Blake's final national board tests start tomorrow and end Sunday. Say a prayer of luck for him!

His date with Dr. Destiny: 5 days
Days until the big move: 16 days
Amount of boxes I've packed so far: approximately 20

Does our place look like I've packed anything at all? Absolutely not.

I'm getting more and more excited to move into our new place {pictured below}. Farewell tour of our current home to begin soon! Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I love my Ninendo DS

My current obsession: trying to beat The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass.

The best part about the game is that it's a puzzle. You have to find clues to get what you need to continue on. I had to call my video game genius little brother to figure out a couple of the things...Thanks Ben!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Random acts of kindness

I love random acts of kindness! It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that someone was thinking of you. Today, my choir's organist brought supper to me at church, knowing that I otherwise would have nothing to eat until after my hour and a half drive home after choir rehearsal {which would have been only 20 minutes ago - 10:00 p.m.}.

It was delicious. Homemade chili {still hot!}, some crackers, lemonade, and a couple pieces of chocolate candy. She even pulled up a chair and set it up as a table next to my director's podium, complete with cloth napkin. It was adorable.

Side note: I can't believe I didn't know about NaBloPoMo. I should have signed up, but now I missed posting yesterday. Boo.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Tree project

Many of you are aware of the tree project that I've been working on for a year. For those of you who are not familiar with it, here is the basic outline: There is a lone tree near my parent's house that I love. My dad also remembers it, just as it is, from his childhood. I decided to take a picture of it in every season.

Finally, it is complete! I'm going to print them in 5X7 or 8X10 each, put them in identical frames {or one frame with four pictures spots...see this post} , and then prop them up on a picture rail or shelves like these. This will make a perfect addition to my parents' Christmas presents this year!

Help me choose...

I am currently debating which of the pictures below I should print in an 11X14 size, frame, and hang on a wall in our new home. I'm thinking perhaps a wall in the office or in our family room. I'm definitely printing the first picture, which Blake took in Brazil. Which ones do you like best?









Saturday, November 3, 2007

Random comment

While leaving a restaurant and laughing at a good joke, some random guy in town for the Toy Show approaches Meredith and me and says, "Have you been dipping in the joy juice?"


Friday, November 2, 2007

Vote vote vote

Alright all you UNI fans, let's help Coach Farley win the coach of the year award. For those of you who are out of the loop, UNI is currently one of only a handful of football teams in the nation with an undefeated record, and the team has been nothing short of a success under Mark Farley's direction. Just click on the button below and vote, vote, vote!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy All Saints Day

I love this photo. It portrays such humility before God and is a constant reminder to us of the never-ending mercy and love God shows for all of his people. It also reminds me of the ordination at the Basilica last weekend.

Lord Have Mercy. Christ Have Mercy. Lord Have Mercy.