Sep 30, 2012

i hate shopping.

I shall clarify...
I love shopping for boots, jackets, clothes in general, home decor, yummy food, and gifts for friends.
I hate shopping for clothes for Matt, printer ink and lightbulbs, craft supplies, and furniture.
I loathe shopping for churches.

Matt and I started this shopping trip by making a list of churches that seemed like they would be a good fit for us and then started checking them off one by one each weekend.  
Well, until this weekend.
Last night I actually "attended" two churches simultaneously via my computer...while shopping for home decor.  Yep.  Live stream baby.  It was a great way to get a feel for the worship and message to determine if I really wanted that particular church to take up one of my Sunday time slots for a visit.

Of the two I sat in on last night, both seemed like a possibility so we headed on off to church A for the 10:15 service.  I must admit I walked in the door in a bit of a funk.  We followed the directional signs to the kids area and stood looking at 3 computer screens telling us to check-in.  Electronic check in has been available at almost every church we've attended so I know the drill.  Wait for someone to register our kids in the system, print out a tag, drop off kids, go to church.  The problem here was there were 3 computers and no people.  After standing there for a few moments looking confused and hearing the church service start, we turned around and walked back to the foyer.  Here I asked Matt in a very snobbish bratty tone "do you really think we are going to attend this church?"  Poor Matt.  We then started discussing what to do.  I wanted to leave.  Matt was indifferent.  Gabe still didn't know what was happening and Eli voted to go back to the last church we tried out.
After a calm cleansing breath we decided that we will all go into the church as a family.  This decision was based on two vital factors: first we didn't know how to get our kids registered in order to send them to kids church and second we could easily escape if we decided to mass exodus out of that place.
We walked into the sanctuary after being greeted by lots of friendly people.  There were 15 people choir-like getting their swing on, a vibrant worship leader, and contemporary band on stage.  The meeting area was half empty but since the area isn't large it felt cozy and then (cue screeching record needle) we saw that all the seats, minus the first 5-6 rows in each aisle, were combat engineer roped off.  I'm not talking about that little golden tassel braided rope laying across the chairs to block them off.  I'm talking some serious rope with a little retractor gadget probably equipped with alarms and booby traps.  There was no ducking under or crawling over this thing.  So our only seating option at this point is to try to squeeze into the mostly full rows that were right up front, risk SWAT team invasion by breaching the rope, or leave.  We left.
That 15 minutes drained me.  Am I being to judgmental?  What if this is our church but my bad attitude caused us to leave before we could experience the good in it?  I asked Matt what he thought.  He quickly responded "heck no, I wouldn't want to ever attend that church".  Not only was the kids church and seating a cluster, it just didn't feel good, didn't feel right at all.  So we moved on.
We went to Starbucks, grabbed some pastries and located another church to try that had a later start time.
Church B was actually a church that we attended here many moons ago when we were stationed here our first time.  It wasn't our first stop on the church hunt because there are some things about it that we were not really excited about.  We knew we wanted to try that church but we were making our way through the other ones on the list first, mainly because we knew what to expect at church b.
Our visit went fine, the message was good: biblical, relevant, engaging.  The service was contemporary but didn't have strobe lights and fog machines (not judging, just not a fan) and the worship was good.  When we got back in the car after service we had our family chat about what we liked and didn't like about the church.  Matt and I were both willing to come back for another visit, Gabe liked it because he got a popsicle and the music was fun, and Eli hated it because "it wasn't like church it was a party".  
So here we go again.  I'll spend this week trying to see if I missed any potential churches out there and then decide what one to try on next week.  I am planning a back up church with a later service time just in case we have a repeat of today's tantrum.
They haven't all been bad.  There is a church that the boys go to for AWANA that seems good.  It is of a denomination that drives me a little crazy... but other than that, the message was good, the worship was fine, and they have an incredible children's ministry.  Matt and I didn't love it.  We didn't feel an overwhelming since of "oh this is  home" so we are still looking and still praying that we'll find our place soon. 

Sep 28, 2012

Dear Mom...

Last night was Curriculum Night at the boys' school.  This is similar to Back to School Night, except the entire focus is explaining what curriculum is used and what the kids are expected to learn.
After I sat through the presentations for each of the boys, Gabriel's teacher showed me his writing notebook.  In it was a special letter from Gabriel to me.
It said "Dear Mom, Thank you for coming (bringing me) here.  I like it a lot.  I have lotsa friends.  This school is the best. xoxoxoxoxo"
I had to hold in the tears that were trying to escape my eyes.  Each day on the way to school I have been praying for the boys.  We pray for good days, to learn a lot, have fun, and to meet new friends.  I've worried about how hard this move is for the boys.  They came from such a closed community where they were surrounded by friends and so many people to love them and care for them, to this place where we have not yet established a community.
The kids are still working on meeting people and getting involved in different activities.  
To read Gabriel's note thanking me for bringing him here made me so happy!
We continue to pray over the boys, that they will find their place here and will grow to love this place as home.

Sep 27, 2012

Not So Martha

Darn.  I really was hoping this would be a success story.  This is my "door turned into desk" turned into disaster project.  Here it is in my garage, where it was born and where it will die.
I bought the brown stained door at the Restore, legs at Ikea and I have a little faux wood file cabinet with a few other drawers that was supposed to go in the center of the desk, or door whatever you want to call it.
I was planning to paint the legs and the cabinet a color yet to be decided but before I put all that effort into the project I wanted to make sure the legs worked, which they don't so I'm really happy about my choice.
Anyone see the problem?
Look closely.
There are screws on the ground by that left front leg.
My cousin Mike alluded to this as a problem, but I missed it.  Hollow door.
Screws don't really stick all that well in a hollow door.
I could have used this exact door if I were just setting it nicely on shelves and cabinets but I cannot use it with screwed in legs.
Possibilites for project regrouping:
1. Go back to Restore and get a door that is not so hollow. A solid door will be heavier, will these legs support a big hefty door?  The table legs say "max load 55lbs".  I interpreted that to mean per leg but now I'm not so sure.
2. Ditch the legs and get the sawhorse kind that allow this door to just sit on it.  I'm not sure I can return these legs so that might put me out the $40 I already spent plus new legs.
3. Buy a desk and leave this DIY stuff to more skilled people.

Rain, Sleet, Snow....

So we live in a new neighborhood, not just new to us new but altogether entirely new.  We are the 4th family to move in to this neighborhood. There are about 3 other completed houses that are either sold or  for sale and the rest are all under construction or waiting to be built.
There are some benefits to moving in to a new construction community: balloons to mark the entrance to the neighborhood, the constant sound of music, sawing and hammering during the week, random people looking into your house and parking in your driveway, the sound of trucks barreling past my house at 0600, and lots of dust in the air.  (The parking thing is weird, whether someone lives here or not, why does it seem like a good idea to just park all catawampus across the front of my driveway?)
My very favorite benefit to the new community is that we are completely hidden and non-existant to everyone else in the world, to include my mailman.
Every single person who was supposed to come to our house for a delivery or installation required detailed instructions by us over the phone or they end up somewhere else in Olympia and call for help to find us.  I expect this from regular delivery folks, but silly me, I thought the post office might actually know about this place.  In fact there is a big shiny silver mail box system holding 65 mailboxes for everyone in the neighborhood right on the corner of the main street and ours.  Often someone who appears to be a mailman puts...mail in the big shiny mailbox.
However, some group of people back at the post office cannot figure out how to get packages, and who knows what other forms of mail, from the post office to my mailman to put in my shiny box.  I've had 3 packages arrive in Olympia, hang out for a few days and then be deemed "not deliverable - incorrect address".  These packages then get sent back to the shipper and I am sitting here without my goods. The items are credited back to my account and the whole incident is forgotten.  By everyone except me!
So far the items that have been on a little tour of the Olympia post offices have come from big companies who absorb the cost of the non-deliverable item, but those $12 shipping cost or more, is a little more significant if any of my friends or family try to send something to me and it gets returned.
The address is correct people!  Deliver my stuff.
So, I had a little pow wow withe a supervisor at the post office who assured me he would solve the problem.  However, one week later another package is enjoying a round-trip vacation thanks to the USPS.  I phoned a friend, dad, and asked for advice.  He gave me the run-down on the inner workings of the USPS and handed out a free tip as to try and get the problem solved.
So, I'm a little cranky right now with my new 'hood problems.  I can handle all the building and home shopping and random bursts visitors asking me how I like my new house, but this mail situation is on my last nerve.
They may deliver is rain, sleet, and snow but they sure  as heck can't deliver to the new neighborhood!

Sep 24, 2012

Found Baby

I was reading an article online a few moments ago about a baby abandoned on the side of the road in Afghanistan.  The child was found by Polish troops, taken to a local military hospital and is now safe from harm.
When I read articles or hear stories about abandoned, abused or aborted babies it makes me so sad.  Not just for the babies, that their life began by being tossed aside like trash, but sad for myself and the thousands of people who would have loved to take that baby off someone's hands.
Matt and I have often talked about wanting to adopt but we just haven't been in the position financially or shall I said we didn't want to make the financial commitment to pursue it seriously.  I have honestly had fleeting thoughts about just walking up on a baby and the powers that be decide it should be mine.
I realize people have all kinds of excuses for treating these precious miracles so horribly wrong, but none of them are good enough for me.  I remember looking at my boys when they were those precious little babies and not wanting to look away because of how amazing they were.  Not because they are particularly awesome, but because they were knit together by a unfathomable mix of God's hands and splitting cells.  As I read all the books about what was going on with the baby throughout the pregnancy, I recall being baffled at just how each of the tiny organs and fingers and eye lashes are formed.  It still astounds me that any conception occurs when all the odds are stacked against that little ferocious sperm making it up stream to connect with that egg at just the perfect time.
It is amazing.  People often take pregnancy and healthy babies for granted but each one truly is such a miraculous work.
Today Gabriel prayed over dinner.  We celebrated his birthday on Saturday but since today is his official birthday he planned our dinner menu and prayed for the meal.  He prayer started like this "dear God, thank you for letting me be born 8 years ago..."
It is a simple prayer, but I so appreciate that my sweet little guy acknowledges that he was allowed into this world by the awesome power of God.

Children are a heritage from the Lordoffspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3-5

Sep 22, 2012


To command the interest of; to transfix or hold spellbound.
What am I fascinated by?  I have a hard time trying to answer that for myself.  I doubt an easy answer would come if someone asked my friends or family what I was fascinated by and I honestly couldn't answer this about most of my friends either.
Fascinate.  Such a dramatic word.  Not like "interested in" or "proficient at".  This word holds a meaning that goes deeper.  Transfixed and spellbound.  
My friend's brother was killed in an accident a few weeks ago.  The circumstances of the accident are under investigation and recently charges were dropped against the driver to caused the accident.  The local paper published an article about the accident, the dropped charges, and about my friend's brother.
The article describes him as such "He had a fascination with God, family and the sun".
As I read this passage, I paused.  Perhaps the writer was just producing a good article, but I assume that this man's life, speech and actions reflected the things that commanded his interest enough that after his death the most concise way to sum up his character was to say 'he had a fascination with God".
I never had the opportunity to meet this man, but I want his passion.  I want the one sentence summary of my life to reveal what I was fascinated by and I do hope that by the time my life is over those who knew me would be able to say that I too was fascinated by God and family.

Sep 20, 2012

On Deck: A Desk

Although I currently have 3 started yet incomplete projects around the house (framed places we've lived, travel cork boards, and repainting all of Gabe's furniture) I headed to the ReStore today downtown and picked up a door for project number 4.  I have decided to make my own super long desk for the office.
I bought the door for $12 and it will serve as the desk top.  Now, I just have to find some legs and a cabinet.  For now, the door is in the garage with other projects I haven't started like my old windows, bed repair etc.
Now on to the ReStore. Habitat for Humanity runs the Restore.  It is basically a thrift store for building supplies.  Windows, doors, cabinets, shutters, fence parts, nails, paint, cleaners and the list goes on.  Some stuff is new, some stuff needs a little tlc and a bunch of other stuff needs a whole lot of love.  Definitely worth a look if you have one in your area.

Not So Martha

Spray painting a frame without properly covering the glass.
It takes a genius.
You may ask "why didn't you just take the glass out?"
I wanted to, trust me I did, but the glass was stuck in the frame.  Out of the 8 frames I bought, 3 had glass seriously stuck in the frame.  The first one that gave me a challenge ended up breaking.  I don't have a photo of that, but you get the idea. Shards of glass all over.  No fun.
So I tried to cover the glass but since I didn't have any painters tape and I was in too much of a rush to wait until I could get some, I put paper over the glass and sprayed away.  
The end result is painted on glass.  
Now I need to google how I'm supposed to get the paint off so I can finish my project and add Washington and Korea to the collection.

Underwhelming Response

My dear friend Allison is the only person in the whole universe that cared enough about the condition of my poorly decorated home to enter my lame home decorating contest.  She wins the grand prize! And just because I like to mix it up a little, I'm sending her something extra too!

While I was holding my breath, waiting for the millions of ideas to come pouring in, I came up with a few projects of my own.  Here is a preview of one of them.
I call this "Home is Where the Army Sends You, modernized and de-countrified."
If you have ever been to a craft fair on a military installation or perhaps wandered into a military family's home, you probably have seen some type of wall hanging that says "Home is Where the Army Sends Me" and then in some form or another it lists the different duty stations the family has lived.  These ditties have been very Americana/Country in the past, in fact I am describing the very one I have.
Th Americana colors no longer fit my decor style so I decided to switch it up!
Enter my project.
I ordered typographical prints of each State or Country we have lived and then bought some white frames to put them in.
My thought process for the frames was twofold.  First, I'm tired of only having black frames in the house and second we have white millwork so I thought it would look good.  I didn't.
Matt tried to support the idea but he too couldn't embrace the white frames.  I was on the verge of returning the set of frames when I decided to spray paint them instead.
So, here are most of the frames.  There is one more gray one and another orange one.
I'm not exactly sure what wall these will hang on but eventually I'll narrow that down and hang my new and improved, I think, wall of where we have lived.

Sep 19, 2012

Easy Habit to Break

Habits are weird.
Bad habits are so hard to break, but good habits easily fall to the wayside.  What is up with that?
Let's take something simple like, taking prescription medication.  I am in the habit of taking my medication in the morning before breakfast, usually during the 32 seconds it takes for my coffee to brew.  Take me out of my house and throw me in a hotel and this habit is broken.  Just like that.  This deeply seeded habit is like a leaf in the wind when I am not standing at my kitchen sink at 7:30am to take my medication.
On the flipside the bad ones are hard to eliminate.  Nail biting, stopping at Starbucks for a mid-day Venti Passion Ice Tea Lemonade, donuts, waiting to plan dinner until 4:55pm and so many more.  I can stop for a few stays, but the bad habits like to creep back up on me swiftly.
Now that you have endured my course on Habits 101, I shall get to the point.
I think what makes the good habits and bad habits stick around is predictability of and environment.  When I'm home and my schedule is predictable it is easy for me to stick with things I desire to keep in my life and, unfortunately, continue with things I'd rather not have in my life.
This means that my current situation is extremely vital.  As I am new to my home, my schedule, my area, well my whole life here, I have an amazing opportunity to eliminate some of the bad habits of the past (tossing freshly cleaned laundry in a laundry basket rather than folding them right away where they then will sit for days or a week) and starting new habits.
My environment has changed as so as I recreate my daily routine I am at a pivotal point where I get to decide what I want to make a habit and what I want to allow to fall to the wayside.  I'm a builder laying the foundation for my home.  Once that cement dries it is going to be hard to change things around.  I need to draw the lines, make sure my foundation is following the Plan, and then commit to the building.
I think it is a pretty fabulous opportunity, one of the many benefits of military living, but it is also a lot of pressure.  If I leave the dishes in the sink, the clothes in the dryer or the shoes in the hall even one time, I'm confusing my brain.  It doesn't know what my habit is supposed to be.
So this is where I'm at.  I'm trying to decide how I desire to spend the hours in my day.  I need to work out how to accomplish the things I need to as a woman, wife, mother, and friend most effectively and efficiently.
Each action I take, I am thoughtfully considering if it is something that I want to become a habit.

Sep 17, 2012

No Need for a Stable, There is Room in the Inn

Over the past 16 years Matt and I have been blessed by visits from many family and friends.  I'm not talking about "come on over for dinner" visits, I'm talking about overnight guests who travelled hundreds, to thousands of miles to see us.
In that time our guests have slept on the living room couch, living room floor, the kids' bunk beds, air mattresses (some that deflated in the middle of the night), futons and a few times in my bed.  We often had to do some serious rearranging to get enough beds set up for our guests.  On a few occasions we farmed out guests to a local hotel, our unfinished basement, and once a friend's house.
We are really quite blessed to have guests come and stay with us, we have many friends who never receive visits from family when they are stationed far away, but I always wish that I could provide a more comfortable place for our guests to stay.
Enter: our new house.  Barely moved in, we had the pleasure of having my aunt and uncle come stay with us this past weekend.  It was so nice!  They had their own guest room, with an actual door and closet, and there was plenty of room in the house for everyone to enjoy whatever activity they wanted to engage in.  The kids could do their thing in one place, while the guys did their thing, and my aunt and I enjoyed our time together.  I would have liked for there to be curtains hung, pictures on the walls and some more warmth added to our home, but for the first time in ages I felt like our home was big enough and welcoming for house guests.
As I walk through the halls and rooms of the house when it is empty, I marvel at the blessing that it is and that it will be.  My cousin once commented that God has blessed her with her home and property and it is her response to use it to serve Him and serve others.  That is my prayer for this home.  It is big enough, it is in a fabulous part of the country, and I truly love hosting friends and family in our home.  Whether it be for an afternoon visit, dinner, or an overnight stay, I pray that our home will be a blessing to all who enter and that I will use this place and my abilities and resources to provide love, laughter, peace and comfort.

Sep 12, 2012

Home Decorating Contest

Send me your ideas, or photos of ideas that you think will work for my naked spaces in the new house. If I choose your design, you will win a free night stay including parking, breakfast and free wifi at my house.  I know, its a sweet prize and millions and millions of people will enter.
Join the cause, save me from decorating ruts.

This is the entry area in need of assistance. I'm not concerned with the stairs at this moment so focus on the wall on the first floor side of the stairs.
It is just past the main entryway on the way to the kitchen and family room.

This is our family room. The couches will have grey covers and that coffee table thing is way too small.  We are open to adding a chair or two.  Oh and the clogs and piles of junk in the corner will not be staying.  They are just evidence that our house is still topsy turvy.

This area is located in the eat-in area of the kitchen on the border of the above pictured family room.  There are currently a bunch of bottles and crates there, they don't have to stay, just needed a home in order to get stuff out of boxes.  The crockpot is also just hanging out waiting to be returned, darn thing was dented and I noticed upon unpacking it last night.  

And the grand poobah of decorating  disaster - the office.  This space needs to incorporate 2 computers and this book shelf.  This is where the boys will use their computer and I will use mine. Everything else is just hiding in here.  My first thought is to buy another similar desk to the one on the right but I don't feel like that will really look complete.  Large old door as one giant desk?  I really don't want to spend a fortune on this desk situation but I do want it to look presentable.

Have fun decorating my house!

Sep 10, 2012

A Typical Day at the Office

The drive was uneventful.  Well, as uneventful as driving a beat up, piece o wreck can be.
I came to a stop at a red light just as I entered into Dothan city limits.  Almost to work.
The DJ announced that a small plane hit the World Trade Center.  That is exactly why I will never get into a small plane.  They are so dangerous. The light turns green and my car sputters through the intersection.
And here we are.  At the office, in my cubicle all geared up to sell "performance apparel".  Oh dear, how is it I came to find this job? Its a temp, hang on for a few more months.
Someone came in to my office, late, and said they just heard on the radio that another plane hit the other tower of the Trade Center.
This is a little freaky.
Of all the days to be stuck in an office with no access to the internet, television or radio. I was in a black hole of information.  The only updates I got was from random people walking in relaying what they just heard or watched.
Denise walked in and practically yelled "they just hit the Pentagon".
My mind spun.
Uncle Dave works in the Pentagon.
I whipped out my cell phone and called the house.  No answer.  Of coarse no answer.  Dave and Tina are both at work. I leave a message telling them I'm praying Dave is fine.
I spun back around and started taking in the conversations of the room.
There was a lot of babbling but Angel's words were loud and clear "you know this means our husbands are going to war".
The owner asked my manager if anyone felt like they needed to leave.  He suggested I go.  I headed out the door and blazed up to Fort Rucker as fast as I could.
What is going on?  Not a single aircraft in the sky.  At a place were hundreds of pilots are training every day to fly, this is an eerie silence.
I made it on post just before they locked down the installation.
And that was the last day I lived without war in my life.
Nearly 3000 people died on US soil on 9/11.
Over 6500 US Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have given their life in Afghanistan and Iraq since that day.
Thousands of families have lived their life in a year on year off deployment schedule.  Marriages are tried, families are tested, lives are shattered.  Soldiers are wounded physically, emotionally, mentally. 116 US Army soldiers committed suicide in the first 7 months of 2012 while the military as a whole is averaging one suicide a day.  The death continues.
The first plane hitting that first tower was just the beginning of over a decade of loss.
Dave made it out of the Pentagon unharmed and still works there today.
Matt did go to war, but by God's providence he only deployed one time in over a decade.
A few days ago Gabriel asked me what he thought was an easy question "mom, who is winning the war?  Us or the bad guys?"
My response was simply this "it is hard to say we are winning when people are still dying".
I'll take a moment this year to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11, honor those who died fighting this war on terror, and pray for those who are still fighting.

Sep 9, 2012

Digging Out

The past five days feel more like 10 or 15, so much has happened.  Here is the non-creative run down.
Tuesday of last week we found out that the van was not going to be in Seattle as promised.  We were really counting on the van being here to transport all of our stuff from the hotel to the new house.  Since the transport company failed to meet the deadline, the Army will reimburse us for up to seven days of a rental car.  So, the good news is that we have another car, the bad news is that it is a car, not a van, truck or semi and therefore moving from the hotel to the house would require multiple trips.
Wednesday morning we left the hotel bright and early to drop the kids off for school in Olympia, returned to Fort Lewis to pack up the hotel room, went back down to Olympia to sign for the house, went back up to Fort Lewis to pick up and load the rental car and then head down to Olympia to pick the boys up from school.  Whew.
We finally got the keys to the house around 4pm and emptied the contents of both the rental car and my car into the house, grabbed some dinner and headed back to the hotel room in Fort Lewis for one last night.
Thursday morning we loaded up the rest of our stuff and checked out of the hotel after 29 nights.  Good riddance. Once our moving company finally found our house, they brought us 8000+ pounds of household goods from Germany and I swear another 2000 pounds of cardboard and packing paper. So much stuff!
By 10pm we had most of the kitchen unpacked and all the beds made so we could sleep in our own house for the first time.
Friday morning was hook up and delivery day.  The fridge, washer, and dryer were delivered and installed, the internet and tv guys came and did their thing and the furniture store came and delivered our new super comfy bonus room couch.  In between deliveries and dropping off and picking up the kids, I unpacked a million boxes and Matt broke them down.  We were 90% unpacked by the time we went to bed on Friday night.
The weekend brought more unpacking and organization.  At this point I think there are only 3 boxes in the house and 2 in the garage that need to be unpacked.  The boxes are unpacked and most things have found a home but there is still piles of stuff all over waiting to be put away.  We are desperately in need of two dressers and a shelf unit.  I could go buy said dressers but I have no way to get the items home because . . . circle back around to the top, we don't have our van!
We improvised in Eli's room and put a shelf we had in his closet and neatly folded his clothes on it.  My closet is a different beast.  It looks like the returns pile the day after Christmas at Walmart.  Yikes.  The closet is huge but it only has hanging space no drawers so my stuff is literally all over the floor.
Monday the blinds guy is coming to install all of the blinds.  So, excited to have some window coverings in my room.  Thankfully, we don't have neighbors yet but still, big open windows facing the street is a little challenging.
So the big task for the rest of the day today is to make sure the blinds guy can actually get to all of the windows: time to clear a path.  The challenge for Monday is to get every last thing put away to make room for the stuff the delivery guys are bringing on Tuesday, another 500 pounds of our stuff from Germany.
At some point the delivery of our stuff that was in storage should show up and eventually my van should get here too. 
I'm telling ya, it is such a process.  You'd think I'd have this all down and mastered by now but you'd be wrong.