Monday, January 31, 2011

Pillow Talk

A nice hotel pillow is pretty hard to beat. And, by "nice", I mean "likely to be found at a middle-of-line-chain, a place with no bed bugs in sight and where one doesn't feel the need for a shower after just sitting on the bed". That kind of "nice". Ignoring the fact that, yes, other people have had their heads on the pillow (which, as someone who doesn't handle germs terribly well, has surprisingly never bothered me all that much), most of the hotel pillows I've encountered lately have been plush, comfortable, and "where can I get one of these?!" wonderful. Such was the case at the Homewood Suites by Hilton where Bobby and I stayed during one of his business trips this fall. 

See? Here's the bed.

Now, I recognize that it makes me seem more than a little bit lame to have taken a picture of the bed at a hotel in Arkansas. I assure you, it was not the only photo I took of the hotel. (Okay, that doesn't really sound like it's helping my cause to seem less lame. Oh, well.) Really, though, I took a few pictures, purely in the interest of capturing some of the decor details that I was loving while I was there. The wallpaper, the artwork, the lighting fixtures...all so lovely and inspirational. But, for now, lame though it may be, having a random picture of the bed with its' pillows in all their lofty grandeur is coming in quite handy!

The pillows at this hotel were so pleasant, in fact, that I actually checked online to find out if I could buy them. (Also lame, I know. Cut me some slack, I didn't have much to do with my time down there!) As it turns out, I could! For $60 a pop, however, I decided against it at that point...but my dream of having high-quality pillows was reinvigorated.

I am not one to spend extravagantly, by any means, but I have no qualms about living a bit more luxuriously when it comes to bedding. After all, going to bed is something I do daily (nightly, rather) and there is nothing more comforting than being able to crawl into a bed that makes the tensions of the day melt away. A good night's sleep is totally worth it. For Bobby and I, anyway.

We have our high thread-count sheets, down comforters, and several pillows...but the pillows have been a problem. In fact, Bobby has not been sleeping very well lately, in large part due to the lack of support of his current one. (In smaller part due to my late-night "fidgety-ness" that has come about recently, but that is neither here nor there.) So, we decided to take advantage of the January "White Sales" and finally made the move to becoming down-alternative pillow people.

I wish we hadn't waited so long.

We have both slept wonderfully for the past five nights, and attribute that primarily to our latest luxury. These pillows aren't quite Hilton quality, and I'd love to upgrade down the road, but we have certainly taken a huge step in the direction of pillow perfection...and it feels so great.

It's the little things, you know?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Glimmer

The sun came out today! The temperature was near 50 degrees! I went shopping...and the birds were chirping when I got out of the car. And, I didn't even wear my big winter coat into the store. (Which, may or may not have been a wise decision given my recent illness, but it just felt so nice.)

By this time of winter, I start to get anxious for any glimmer of spring on the horizon. (Christmas is over, and the cold just really isn't all that much fun after the holidays, you know?) Sure, there is a lot of cold weather...and likely, snow...left in the season. (Those birds are going to be very disappointed.) But, if I'm looking at the forecast correctly, it appears that we should have a few more sunny, "warm" days ahead of us before we get reminded that it is, in fact, still only January.

Regardless, I'm thankful for the sunshine today...and the happy memories of warmer days to help get me through the chilly ones.

The tulips we enjoyed at our apartment in St. Louis last spring.

As long as the earth endures, 
seedtime and harvest, 
cold and heat, 
summer and winter, 
day and night will never cease.
Genesis 8:22

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Okay. It's time to get serious.

Confession. I haven't worked out since before Thanksgiving. Maybe not since Halloween.

I know! It's terrible!

To be fair, I have had a lot on my plate. Packing, moving, unpacking, holidays, etc. (These only sound like excuses...actually, they...okay, yeah. They're excuses.) But, then again, it isn't as though the packing and moving (not so much the holidays) can't be counted as exercise. Hello! That's hard work. Plus, there's been the lugging heavy laundry to my parents' house, and carrying groceries into the house, and chasing 1st graders...all exercise from my point of view.

But, also, still not a good excuse.

I'll admit it. I've been slacking. The reality is, it's been winter and even though I can literally see the apartment's gym from my living room, the cold, dreary days have been too strong a force for me to overcome. I have had literally no desire to venture outside "unnecessarily". Which doesn't explain why I haven't even been able to bring myself to pop in my favorite workout DVD's.

Basically, my willpower has been minimal and my laziness great.

More motivation. I can do that again.
After giving my lack of motivation to workout ample consideration, I realized that it boils down to exactly that. Zero motivation. Without my impending wedding and honeymoon (Workout Motivations 2009) or pool season and tropical anniversary trip (Workout Motivations 2010), I'm basically without great cause or incentive to get off the couch.

The reality is, and please don't be mad at me for saying this...I'm blessed with excellent metabolism, which means that I can still feel pretty good about how I look, minus having to exert much effort exercising or overly watching what I eat. That fact makes it pretty darn easy to avoid the gym when it's too cold and I just don't feel like working out. Which, has pretty much been the case for the past six or so months.

But, like I said, it's time to get serious. Enough is enough. (Or, more appropriately, not enough is enough. Does that make any sense?) I have found my motivation!

Workout Motivations 2011

#1: Spring is practically here! Warmer weather! And, then, summer! And who doesn't want to look good during tank top and bathing suit season?!

#2: I'm planning to wear cute dresses for the four special upcoming weddings this year, and it just makes sense to have good-looking arms and legs to go with. With so many photo-ops ahead, why wouldn't I want to look my best?

#3: I should just face it. My days of having a pre-baby body are numbered. I really do owe it to myself to push my body to it's 'early twenties, tip-top, prime shape' before, well, you know.... And, who knows what babies will do to my metabolism that has thus far been so helpful. Oh, yes, I'm trying to prepare myself for that.... (And, I know you're smirking, you who wanted to smack me after reading my previous comment about my excellent metabolism. Not nice.)

#4: It's the healthy thing to do. End of story.

Well, okay then. After thinking through those factors, it really seems like my motivation to workout this year should be greater than the years past! Sure, my wedding and tropical vacations were huge life events, worthy of looking good for, but truly, this stuff is pretty big, too.

So, what am I waiting for? Here goes nothing! Beach body, wedding body, baby I come.

Sick Days

Truly, substitute teaching has been such a fun experience. I love being around the students, I love surprising them with my energy, I love the confidence I have in front of a classroom, I love being in charge (it's true), I love hearing myself talk (I can admit that!), and I love feeling as though I'm making some sort of difference (albeit, likely a small one) and doing something worthwhile.

I haven't gotten to play with use an overhead projector yet, which really would be the fulfillment of a childhood fantasy. (You think I'm kidding? I'm the girl who asked the teacher for the "instructor's copy" of the Scholastic "Weekly Reader" so I could 'play school' with it at home, bought old textbooks at a used-books store on a number of occasions greater than one, and hoped Santa would bring an overhead projector on Christmas morning. Get it now?) Sure, the Smart Boards are cool...but, it's just not the same.

Spending time in the classroom has given me the chance to get the teaching bug out of my system a bit, since I came thisssss close to going into education (but didn't), and you might say it's been somewhat of a lifetime "dream" to teach. So, I'm very thankful for the chance to do this.

WITH THAT SAID (speaking of the "teaching bug"...), I have just about HAD it with being sick. I have succumbed in the past 2 months (the same amount of time I've been subbing, mind you), to a cold that knocked me flat on my back for a solid 2 days, a 24-hour flu bug, and another 24-hour bug-of-some-sort that has now morphed into a chest cold.

Coincidence? I think not. Especially given that I don't believe I've had this many "sick days" in the past several winter seasons combined. (Given, last year's flu season was spent in St. Louis, somewhat in isolation given our somewhat anti-social nature there. Still....) My immune system is usually very reliable, but it's apparently no match for the germs that large sums of children bring to the table school.

Part of the benefit of subbing is saying 'goodbye' to a group of kids in the afternoon, and not letting work come home with me. The problem is, the germs are.

(And then, there's my mother. Who, as a veteran teacher of many years, has not used a sick day in who knows how long?! My theory is that she's been around long enough to be immune to just about every bug that students throw (up?) at her. Or, she's just far more tough in the face of impending illness than less-seasoned teachers. Which, wouldn't surprise me a bit. Whatever her secret, I'm impressed.)

Now, it's probably not fair to blame my illnesses entirely on the student population. There's the grocery store, the mall...germs are pretty much everywhere this time of year. (Gross.) But, it does make sense that schools are infested. (I mean, they're needing substitutes for a reason, right?) You don't have to be "smarter than a 5th grader" (and boy, let me tell you, is it ever humbling to be asked a seemingly simple question by a middle-schooler about a vocabulary word or geography lesson and really have to think about it for a minute?!) to realize that all these precious children bringing their germs to school in the morning, sitting in an enclosed building all day, and leaving said germs behind to multiply overnight, can only spell disaster (read: a few sick days) for the rest of us....

Having a cold and a round of the flu is only slightly more than annoying with medicine and an otherwise healthy body. Things could be far worse, and I'm so thankful that they're not. But, for someone who hates being sick (and who doesn't, really?), this stinks.

Substitute teaching, although largely enjoyable and satisfying, will likely not be my career path forever. But, until an acceptable substitute (I couldn't help myself) comes along, I'll continue to help keep the hand-sanitizer industry going strong, and hope this bug quickly runs its course.

Class dismissed.

Random photo from St. Lucia.
Seemingly-irrelevant, except that honeymoon pictures always make me feel better.

Friday, January 14, 2011

"I'd Settle for a Slowdown"

Whew! What a busy, busy few weeks this has been. Between packing, Thanksgiving, moving, unpacking, shopping, holiday preparations & celebrations, Christmas, New Year's, Bobby's surgery, and a trip to Minnesota, there has simply not been a lot of time to just be. And, truly, I need that.

Here's hoping the next several weeks slow down a bit, and allow for a bit of downtime and regrouping. Because as much fun as all that activity has certainly been, I'm really ready for a bit of routine and simplicity, time to get coffee with my best friend and talk "wedding" with my sister....

We shall see! 

In any case, it's Friday. Welcome words, indeed.
Happy Weekend, all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Minnesota Marriage

We spent the past weekend in snowy Minnesota for Ashley's wedding! There aren't many people that I would travel to MN for in January, and Ashley is one of

It was painfully cold up there, and to be honest, I didn't care for it. I can safely say that I will never move to choice, anyway. I am so impressed that people do choose to live there, and that they are able to deal with the weather as well as they do. (A native Minnesotan at one point referred to the piles of snow on the ground as a "dusting". HA!) Anyway, it was 9 degrees on Ashley's wedding day, and I applaud her for being so bold and so brave as to get married (in a strapless dress, mind you!) during one of the coldest months of the year. What a woman!

In all seriousness, though, the wedding was breathtaking. Ashley was radiant, and had an absolutely perpetual smile! She was stunning and her entire day was truly magical. I'm so, so thankful we made the trip. I couldn't imagine not being there for her big day!

Weddings are such fun, and this one all the more so because so many elements of Matt and Ashley's celebration reminded me of my own!

It's impossible for me to be at a wedding, surrounded by such love and anticipation, without reflecting on the day I married my groom.

What a blessing to share in a friend's joy, a new bride...while at the same time being reminded of, and motivated & encouraged by, the love I share and enjoy with Bobby as his bride. It is so very special to celebrate a new marriage, knowing from experience how completely incredible marriage can be. Experiencing that firsthand makes me all the more thrilled for the new and wonderful things ahead for her, and all the more thankful for my husband...and the wonderful things ahead for us.

The true heart of a wife [is the] preciousest gift 
that man hath in this world. 
--William Tyndale on the Seventh Commandment--

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

"Phillips' Anatomy"

Bobby had surgery today. 

Long story short, the poor guy broke his ring finger playing flag-football at the beginning of December. (And he'd been so looking forward to playing football with "the guys" on a regular basis, now that we're back in town. Boy, was he ever bummed....) The broken finger led to a visit to the orthopedic surgeon, MRI's, and the discovery of a (thankfully, benign) cyst growing inside of the bone...which is actually what led to the break in the first place. Talk about a surprise! 

So, suffice it to say, the cyst needed to be removed.  The bone needed to be set. And that is the extent to which I shall discuss henceforward the medically-interesting, but not-for-the-faint-of-heart, details of what was done to my husband today. 

Surgery is not fun for anyone, not for the patient (clearly) nor for the family who can only wait patiently and trust the doctors who have their loved ones in their care. I learned that today while I waited for Bobby to come out of surgery. (And, goodness, this wasn't even what I would consider a "life or death" procedure! Not by any means. Sure, there were risks, but it was a small surgery, relatively-speaking. I can only imagine what it would feel like to watch the clock tick by as a loved one underwent a much more serious surgery....)  My sweet dad kept me company, which I was very grateful for, but I've decided that there's nothing quite like the anxious, nervous emotion I experienced...knowing Bobby was in good hands, but wishing he were in mine....

I think I shall always remember those initial moments when they wheeled Bobby back into the recovery room. Coupled with the immense relief of seeing him awake and knowing the worst was behind him, was the sadness at his vulnerable, "I've been through the wringer" expression and miserable demeanor. I'll spare you the details of the post-op experience, but let's just say that I hope I never have to see him in such a pitiful state again. He was as brave as one could be, to be sure...but he wasn't firing on all cylinders, either, and it hurt my heart.

The anesthesia wore off safely, and he got the "all clear". We left the hospital 4 hours after we got there. 

Modern medicine is fascinating. They do this on a daily basis, and the "get-you-into-surgery-and-then-get-you-home" process is like a well-oiled machine. I was very impressed! But, I don't want to go back for a long time, either. You understand.

Do you know what my incredible husband did? (Of course you don't, but I'll tell you!) Ever the gentleman, he opened my car door for me as we were leaving the hospital. (With his good hand, of course.) I can't say that I'm surprised, but if ever there were an occasion where he could have let that loving gesture slide without so much as a second thought, this would've been it. But, like I said, he's a gentleman. And, I love him for it. 

The patient is now resting peacefully on the couch, and the medicine is keeping his pain at bay. I'm so proud of how he's handled all of this...what a trooper. 

At the end of today, I'm thankful that my husband is okay...that he's healing and strong and courageous. I'm thankful that we live in a country where we're able to have surgeries that would be far less than feasible elsewhere. And, I'm thankful to serve our God...who can heal Bobby's hand...who guided those of Bobby's surgeon...and who holds us all in His.