Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Good-bye July...

Wow! I can't believe that July is almost over! This summer will be gone before you know it. I can't exactly say that it has flown by, because when I think back to my last day of preschool, or even back to our Disney trip, they don't seem like that recent of occasions, but I am sad to see the summer dwindling down to just another month, nonetheless.

I've been working at the daycare here and there, which has been nice, if for nothing else than to make a little money and get out of the house. The little rascals, who were constantly testing my patience at the end of the school year mind you, actually seemed thrilled to see me and they asked where I've been all summer :). On Friday, I get to go swimming with the little guys (ages 3-4) at the YMCA, so that's exciting!

A couple of weeks ago, I also had the opportunity to go home to my parents' house in central PA and help out at the huge multi-family yard sale. It was a moving sale of sorts for Gregg and I, so I was VERY excited to see that, when all was said and done, we had made about $150! It felt good to get rid of so many things. At the end of the two days, we only had about three plastic crates of stuff left, plus a box to give to Goodwill. My mom and I got to go out on the first day and do some yard-saling of our own, which was great. I LOVE yard sales because you just never know what you will find. Sure, there are a lot of sales that are just pure junk, but you'd be amazed at what you can find if you try. I got a corn-ear shaped cast-iron cornbread pan for $4. I got a Kenneth Cole handbag (which I think I'll use as a school bag) for $4. I got about 30 items for my prize box at preschool (dinosaur action figures, toy cars, princess crowns, etc), most at either $.05 or $.10 each! And then, at one sale, I hit the jackpot!!! There's a sweet woman who I know from church when I was growing up. She's petite like me and very stylish. She had a ton of small clothes and I had my arms full, just planning on buying it and then trying it on at home, and selling what didn't fit at our own yard sale. Well, she wouldn't hear of it - she took me inside her house and had me try on everything so that I wouldn't have to bother with it later! It was so nice! I got two pairs of dress pants, a pair of Levi jeans, a sweater, 3 shirts, lounge pants, and four books...our grand total for the day was about $20!! I was happy as a clam!

Anyway, enough about my semi-obsession with yard sales...and on to my other obsession...the Bloggy Giveaway carnival! I love it and I'm so excited that it's back! I've made it through about 300 of the giveaways so far and I'm still going strong!

Finally, in other blog news, I've been sad reading through friends' blogs and realizing that I haven't been able to do a Menu-Plan Monday in a very, VERY long time due to moving. Now, of course that means that I'm not responsible for cooking as much, but after cooking yesterday and today since it's just hubby and I at his parents' house, I can honestly say that I do miss it...Yesterday, we had steaks on the grill (olive oil & some grill seasoning) and I marinated some squash, zucchini and onions in balsamic vinaigrette dressing before grilling them as well! They turned out awesome! Today, I made this Easy Creamy Chicken and G and I loved that, as well! I served it with brown rice. It was super easy to prepare and really full of flavor. Yum-o! :)

PS - thanks to all of my wonderful bloggy friends (new and old) who have come out to offer their words of encouragement and support in my recent faith crisis. Rest assured that I do plan on thanking each of you individually, as I can. Please continue to pray...and if you have any suggestions on where to go (scripture passages, books, etc) I would be most grateful!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's our Anniversary!!

Exactly four years ago today was the happiest day of my life! I married my best friend and things have only gotten better since. We've survived a lot of ups and downs lately (although it seems like the downs just keep on comin'), but we've remained strong and unified...and hey, we've lasted longer than half of Hollywood, so we must be doing something right, right?

To celebrate the special occasion, Gregg and I went out to our favorite restaurant, the Japanese hibachi steakhouse, and were entertained by our hibachi chef, Ferry. Thank goodness he didn't throw food at me to catch in my mouth...tonight, Gregg's mom is making crab cakes for dinner! We were originally supposed to go out to dinner at the hibachi tonight, but when we heard that crab cakes were on tonight's dinner menu at the house, we quickly changed our plans and decided for an anniversary lunch instead! Otherwise, we decided to keep it very low-key since money is tight right now. We exchanged cards and he bought me some flowers (yay!).

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Kitchen Tip!

I haven't posted a WFMW in a while, so I thought today would be a good time to get back into the swing of things!

I was recently preparing a veggie tray for a friend's bridal shower. I quickly became frustrated with the cauliflower and broccoli bits being strewn all over my kitchen counter until I thought of a great (but almost-too-simple) solution! I simply laid my cutting board down inside my sink and cut on it as usual! No more veggie bits all over my countertops! This also works great for super-juicy fruits (or veggies) like tomatoes, watermelon and pineapple! It's so simple, but it Works For Me!

Friday, July 11, 2008

What is wrong with me????

I've been spending some time over the past few days reading through the blogs of friends and acquaintances that I've known from my time working on a youth & children's ministry team back home, as well as fellow Christian bloggers that I've met along the way since I've begun blogging myself. Their blogs are full of inspirational life events and stories of how they can feel God leading them through life's journey and the plan that He has set out for them. Their faith is so huge and so real. Some of their stories are so compelling and transparent that it's plain to see that there's definitely great things happening through them...

On the other hand, though, their stories make me so incredibly sad. Sad, because that used to be me. I used to be that girl with the fire for Christ and the insurmountable faith. I was the one who people came to for help, a listening ear, and Christian advice. I was the one who everyone thought had everything all worked out. And then something terrible happened that shattered my faith and broke my strength...and that something is called infertility...and I've never been the same; my faith has never been the same.

I see all of those wonderful people with their huge faith, their huge hearts, and their huge smiles and I feel angry because I wonder what happened to my share? Where's the justice and the equality? If He really is a just God and a good, loving God, how can He continue to watch my pain and suffering for THREE LONG YEARS and do NOTHING? I know that no one, Christian or not, is free from hurt, emptiness and loss, but I can't help but feel like Dorothy when she says that she's certain that the Wizard hasn't got anything inside that black bag for her...My wizard has, it seems, given out his fulfillment of prizes and I'm left to watch all of the others relish in the joy and wonder of their new-found gifts.

Then, of course, the more (or possibly less?) rational side of me pipes up and tries to convince me that I somehow did something to deserve this fate. I mean, after all, my faith was never as big and convincing as theirs. Maybe God felt that somehow my faith was all a show & an attempt to get a shot at that better life that He promised me would come...but then I read my old journals and realize that no, my faith was indeed real...big & convincing, I don't know, but very real and very personal and heart-felt.

But, the past doesn't matter at this point. What matters is that my faith is small, weak and dying. I haven't prayed or read my bible in the entire two months since my IVF failed. I've been mad at God and waiting for some sort of sign that He cares. I do WANT that huge kind of faith back, but I don't know how to get it. I WANT to believe that He's got something inside that black bag for me, but it hurts to stand by and watch. I WANT to have that relationship with God again, but I also want Him to heal my broken heart, and it just doesn't seem like I can have all of that all at once...please pray, because I truly still do believe in the power of prayer, whether the ones of my heart and mouth are answered is beside the point...

Please pray for my faith...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

decisions, decisions...

The past two days have been filled with decisions...more decisions than I've probably made in the last year of my life actually...and for an indecisive person by nature, let's just say it's been tough. It's not that I don't LIKE making decisions or having an opinion, but rather that I am constantly second-guessing myself and worrying about committing to something that is so permanent. And, since I've already mentioned that interior design just isn't my forte, you can imagine how much that added to my "I-don't-know-ometer" in the last couple of days. I think the hardest part of making these decisions is that we've had a tough time visualizing the layout of the home & what will be going where. It makes it rather difficult to choose things for a home that you don't really know yet, you know? That said, we've tried to go pretty neutral with all of the different things that we've chosen so far, figuring that we can add color through accessories, window treatments & wall colors at a later date. Please let me know what you think!!

dining room & foyer hardwood (kind of an in-between shade - not as light as a standard oak, but not as dark as a cherry): http://www.bruce.com/resflram/na/bruce/en/us/prod_detail.asp?itemId=97483.0&lineId=4913.0
carpeting in family room:
it's a frieze called almond, it's a light tan with flecks in it - it looks similar to this (maybe a little darker) http://www.worldfloorexpo.com/displayprod.php?p=12054
carpeting in the rest of the house will just be a standard beige similar to this: http://images4.shawinc.com/is/image/Shawfloors/Q1493_00201_swatch?wid=375&op_sharpen=1
vinyl in bathrooms & laundry room: looks similar to this http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=125734-79508-21092&lpage=none, but it isn't in 12x12 squares. I picked it because it was the vinyl that most closely resembled actual tile & grout

Here are our cabinets - the above-the-counter ones will have the same arch & the bottom ones will be rectangular on the inside, but this is the same finish we chose: http://www.wellborn.com/images/sfk/wva_med-detail.jpg
We just got a white-marbled counter-top for the vanities & tubs

We still have yet to choose the appliance color (tell me what you would do based on the granite and cabinet colors) & the tile flooring for the kitchen, so input on either of those would be appreciated!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Vacations, the house, jury duty & the doctor's office

We officially returned home from our Disney vacation on Saturday night. We flew into Atlantic City & then drove out to the IL's shore house to pick up my car, where it had been for the week since we had been there for SIL's engagement party the previous Saturday. We then drove to DH's friend's apartment (who went with us to Disney) to drop him off & we finally made it back to the IL's house (our temporary housing) around 2:30AM. We succeeded in scaring the be-jeezers out of the house-sitters & then fell into bed around 3AM. We set our alarm for 8:30 & headed out to central PA to go to my parents' house for their Independence Day celebration (on the 6th instead of the 4th). We got there with just enough time to spare so that we could both get showered & I could inject the second turkey with marinade before it was deep fried, because my mom hates that job. By the way, if you have never experienced deep fried turkey, please go out of your way to do so. I can guarantee that it is NOTHING like you expect (not greasy and gross at all) & super moist & full of flavor - even the white meat - which is not typically the case with turkey. There was so much food, and I didn't even make any myself, which I usually do, since we were short on time! Besides the turkey, we had deep fried potato wedges (made in the same way as the turkey), potato salad, 3 pasta salads, deviled eggs, cornbread casserole, crock pot baked beans, fruit salad...and then a million desserts...cherry crisp w/ home grown cherries, blueberry cheesecake, apple pie, chocolate brownies, pineapple popsicles and more things that I'm sure I'm forgetting. Let's just say that after a week of vacation-eating in Disney & then this...I definitely need to use the wii fit for at least an hour or so tomorrow...and the next day, and every subsequent day for the next 4 years or thereabouts.

In other news, some of you may recall my rants a few posts back about having horrible luck in the fertility world...not only did IVF attempt #3 not pan out, but then I had to wait 2 ridiculous months for a follow-up, which would surely take no more than 5 minutes, which THEN had to be cancelled/postponed due to being summoned for jury duty. WELL...last night, I logged on to the court house's website to find out if I did have to report for jury duty & I discovered that I did not. We decided to stay at my parents' house one extra night since I no longer had to be back this morning, but I kicked myself all night last night for making the wrong decision concerning the doctor's appt. and jury duty. What I should have done, I told myself, was not tell the doctor's office about the jury duty until I knew for sure what was going on & then I could have still had my doctor's appointment this morning, since I didn't end up having jury duty. They certainly couldn't penalize me for upholding my civic duty, after all, if I did have to cancel last-minute. Well, DH & I get home this afternoon & I go check the messages on the answering machine & what do I hear? Lo & behold, it's a message reminding me of my appt. with the RE for THIS MORNING at 8:15!!! I was SOOOOO upset, because I specifically called them to postpone the appt since I assumed that I wouldn't be able to be there due to the jury duty. They told me that they would put me on the waiting list, which they obviously never did...so I called them and KINDLY told them of their mistake & magically, I only have to wait another 2 weeks for an appointment instead of the month or more that I was originally quoted when I told them that I would need to reschedule in the first place! Just add this to the list of frustrations with my doctor's office...they are well aware that we're seeking another opinion because I asked for updated copies of my records, as well as DH's & I'll be calling the new doctor's office tomorrow to get the ball rolling on a consultation there & hopefully we'll become patients very soon.

And finally, the house...we've got appointments this week for choosing the flooring (tomorrow), the kitchen options (Thursday) and the design options (Saturday). I'm excited, but also nervous, since I'm not known for my interior design know-how & I am so worried about making wrong decisions that are so permanent. So far, we know that we are only upgrading the carpet in the living room & I'm thinking of going with a nice neutral dark tan/light brown, since we think we are going to model the living room color scheme around a chair that we got from DH's parents, which is tan, navy & maroon plaid. We are hoping to get a navy, leather sectional & then I might do maroon accents and light tan walls...ok, someone out there, tell me how that sounds?? What color window coverings would you do with that? Would dark brown end tables and credenza be ok? It's a very open space, which leads into the kitchen & breakfast nook, so I'm not worried about it being too dark or anything, which I don't think it would be anyway... We are planning on doing an oak-finish hardwood in the foyer (since the bannister, etc is that color) and then possibly a cherry finish in the dining room (thinking about buying this set for each other for Christmas). We'll also be picking the vinyl flooring for the bathrooms & the laundry room, which will just be the basic stuff - nothing fancy there. I would love ideas if you've got any! I'll give more house updates & maybe put in the builder's sketches as we receive them!

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!