Thursday, August 25, 2011

Twenty-Five and Golden

Today is my 25th birthday!

To be honest, I have always wanted to be twenty-five. My sweet husband thinks that I have forever looked forward to this birthday, which has put him under a bit of self-imposed pressure to make the day "perfect". I've tried to assure him that although this birthday is fun, it's really not the birthday I've looked forward to. I've truly just always wanted to be twenty-five!

To be fair, I suppose I'm somewhat partial to the number itself. My birthday is on the 25th (which makes this my 'Golden Birthday'!), and December 25th is a pretty fun day, too. What can I say? It's a good number. 

Besides that, though, being twenty-five just seems like such a great time of life!

I'm old enough to feel sure of myself, knowing confidently that I have some things figured out, mature enough to know that there are some things lots of things that I don't, and young enough to feel great excitement and anticipation for all that life has in store in the years ahead.

I think I'm really going to enjoy being twenty-five.

Some highlights from my day so far....

  • Pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, courtesy of Bobby, who got up early to cook just for me!
  • Having the "birthday cheer" performed in my honor by a cafeteria full of elementary students: "Happ...yyy...happ..yyy...birth-day!" (repeat) (Think, "we...will...we...will...rock you!")
  • Listening to Miss Baer's 4th grade class sing "Happy Birthday" to me in the hallway before class (Is that a great way to start the day, or what?!)
  • Spending the day around my mom, who played a pretty huge role in giving me life in the first place
  • Mrs. Hockman's 2nd grade class joint birthday wish
  • Several texts and facebook well-wishes from friends throughout the day
  • Being the recipient of multiple hugs and well-wishes by kiddos and teachers at school
  • My sister's lunchtime birthday phone call, complete with the "Happy (Golden) Birthday" song (yes, Rachel, you're still the only one to have thrown that in creative thing, you!)
  • Being given a stack of surprise, hand-written/hand-colored birthday cards from Mrs. Miles' class of kindergartners, who were oh, so excited to deliver and show-off their well they should have been!

It was such a blessing to be around children today, who know more than anyone how special birthdays should be. They were so tender in wishing me a special day, and I could tell it was heartfelt.  What a gift, to have the reminder of the children's innocence.

And, the day is not over yet! I'm looking forward to...
  • Bobby coming home from work!
  • Not having to go to Parent Orientation at school tonight (Whew! Close one.)
  • BBQ chicken on the grill...Bobby's specialty
  • Blowing out the candles on my birthday cheesecake (homemade, by Bobby! I know, he's amazing!) with my husband and my parents
  • Enjoying the beautiful weather outside this evening
  • Tomorrow! It's almost Friday!
I am blessed. 

If today was any indication of what twenty-five will be like...then I was right all along! 

Twenty-five feels good.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Happy 30th anniversary to my parents, 
who are creating such a legacy of love.
Mom and Dad, your marriage is a blessing and an inspiration.

And, happy 2nd anniversary to my groom. 
Thank you, Bobby, for making the past year one that I'll treasure. 
You bring me such joy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Ready.

Last night at Walmart, I spotted a former kindergarten student from Willard that I had the pleasure of spending a few days with in the spring when I subbed in his class. I recognized him immediately...the whipper-snapper had left quite an impression. We made eye contact in the snack aisle, and I could tell that he knew that he knew me...from somewhere.

I waved. He eagerly said "hi". Then...

Me: "Hi! Are you ready for school to start?"
Alex: "Yep. ... Look! I get to get these!" (holding up a box of Cars fruit snacks) "They're a snack!"
Me: "Yum! Those look tasty!"
Alex: (brief pause) "Are you a Willard?" 
Me: "Well, yes, a substitute teacher." 

It was then that the little guy's eyes doubled in size...he'd figured it out! His mouth opened as if in complete and utter shock, and excitement, that a teacher (so to speak) could be shopping at Walmart...and he had seen her!

Alex: "So, I'll see you there?!"

That child caused a couple of headaches for me (and likely a few dozen for his teacher), but getting to see him yesterday and his happy anticipation of being back at school made me ever so much more excited to be back there myself.

Substitute teaching isn't where I ever would have expected my career path to lead me, and admitting that it's what I do "full-time" these days has taken a bit of time for me to say with confidence. But, truly, subbing is perfect for me right now. I enjoy it. I'm good at it! I get to be in the classroom, I get to have new experiences every day, I get to face constant challenges that keep me on my toes, I get a flexible schedule...and, it's a job that I can step away from easily when I'm ready for the one job that I've ever really wanted: motherhood.

I'm not a full-time teacher, and I don't pretend as though my subbing commitment is significantly comparable to the efforts that certified teachers achieve in their classrooms on a daily basis. But, I do believe that I can make a difference by doing this job well. Whether or not it's a particularly admirable job (it certainly isn't glamorous!), it makes me happy. I get a chance to do my best and make a meaningful impact. And, really, shouldn't that be the goal of any job or responsibility?

A new school year is about to begin. Between that brief encounter at the store, and the slight crisp in the air that's making it feel just a bit like fall...I'm ready.

Me: (smiling) "I'll see you there!"

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Finish Line

In anticipation of my two-year anniversary next week, I've been reflecting on our wedding day and moments of the day that made it memorable.

Here's one.

After the toasts at the reception, Bobby and I decided to say a few words of thanks to our guests. I went first, and it went something like this:

"This day has been absolutely perfect, all the way from the start. 
And, I know it'll continue to be perfect, 
all the way to the finish line...."

I didn't exactly realize what I had said, but I recognized my poor choice in wording quite quickly once the room full of our friends and family began to laugh and clap. 

Talk about awkward.

First of all, who talks like that?! It wasn't as though I used that verbiage in my day-to-day conversation.

--Hey, how was your day at work?
--Oh, it was great from the start. Pretty sure it'll be good all the way to the finish line, too.

I mean, really? I like to think of myself as a little less dorky than that. 

And secondly, what was I thinking?! 
Okay. I guess the answer to that was embarrassingly clear. 
But I didn't know that was on my subconscious mind!

Awkward though it was, I must admit that it does make for a good story. 

The getaway car decor, courtesy of Bobby's friends,
and thanks to my embarrassing inspiration.

Paint Progress

Using the file folders to aide in the trim-painting process in the living room worked like a charm! I ran a butter knife between the trim and the folders before removing them to ensure that the paint wasn't sticking. After that, the folders slid right out. The carpet was spared and the trim is now white, clean and bright...and looks happy to greet me. ('Sound of Music' reference...anyone catch that?)

Post-trim painting.
After the trim's facelift, it was time to paint the walls!

We used three colors of paint in the living room. The first, Valspar Khaki, is along the back wall and on the mantle (as pictured below). Second, we chose Valspar Colonial Beige for both walls at either end of the room, which is the darkest tone in the trifecta. Finally, we used Valspar Natural for the fourth and lightest-colored wall which continues down the hallway. (All color-matched to Olympic Premium No-VOC.)

This would otherwise be your run-of-the-mill, 'paint the four walls' of the room story, were it not for the incredibly-high ceiling situation in the front entryway.

Thanks to the ugly wooden shelf that used to live on this wall, we were left with unsightly scratches and holes...that left the otherwise-desirable option of leaving that really tall wall unpainted, as not really an option at all.

Getting to the top of the wall (even with the 8-foot ladder on loan from Dad, and a lengthy extender...also on loan) was not going to be possible. So, at Bobby's brilliant suggestion, we taped off a straight line (that is, as straight a line as one can eyeball from the very top of an 8-foot ladder) that was even with the third wall. 

See how high we're talking about?
That little line at the bottom is the top of the closet door frame.
Trust me. It was way up there.
The view, looking up, from the front door.
We painted below the tape and left the walls white above, which we think works well. We were definitely pleased with the result of what was most definitely a last minute, "what if we try this?" idea. (Don't you just love it when that happens?!)

So, this is where the living room stands now. I am quite happy with how it's turning out. The colors are exactly what I'd hoped for. The walls look different all throughout the day as the light shifts (which almost led me to believe that we'd made a very bad choice when we initially started painting on what was a dark, rainy afternoon), but I'm really enjoying that dynamic quality, and the changing moods that the room offers as the day goes on. 
As for the ceramic plate on the mantle.... Our guests signed that at our wedding, and the thing has been protectively concealed in bubble-wrapping at my parents' house for the past two years until we could provide a secure spot for it. It was such fun to open up the wrapping and look over the signatures of all the people who surrounded us on our big day and helped make it such a meaningful one.

And now, we get to be reminded of all those special people every day! Thanks to the Heavy-Duty Velcro pieces attached to the plate and to the brick, I think we've found the plate's permanent home. I'm about 99% confident that it'll be safe up there...but I'd be lying if I said that the above photo (and the ten others I took that look just like it) wasn't taken in the interest of preserving its' memory, should the unthinkable occur. If you ever see a post titled "Royal, NO!: A Lesson in Plate Tectonics", you'll know what happened.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Royal, NO!" - Part Four

I'll admit it. I've developed a bad habit of taking pictures of Royal's bad behavior. The behavior continues until I've gotten the pictures I want, and then I discipline him. 

It's not good. (I know, I know. I've got to get it under control before it's a small child of mine that's misbehaving. So noted.)

He's just so stinkin' cute! Anyway, I'm working on it.  I must say, as he's destroyed more things, it's gotten easier to look past the cuteness and just see the trouble he's causing. 

But, for now, back to his cuteness....

You should have seen him that afternoon...rear in the air, dirt clumps flying, his little nose snorting around, paws going a mile a minute. He was as happy as could be!

There are holes all over our backyard now. This was one of several that he dug in the span of a few days. (He did unearth a very old dinner plate in one of his excavations. Impressive, right?) He does seem to have largely worked through this hobby of his since then (see? I discipline!), but it wasn't before he wreaked havoc on the lawn. 

Dirt on the tongue and everything...he's a mess.
I can't blame him entirely. I like digging in the dirt, too. 

Here's my garden these days. It's been a busy spring and summer, so I only had time to weed a small section of the overgrown garden, and plop in a few tomato and pepper plants. 

At this point, there's only one lone tomato. (Which is especially sad, since this photo was taken over two weeks ago...and there's still only one tomato.) I did get a late start with my planting, so I'm trying to stay optimistic that the rest of the plants will follow suit.

But, wait. This is about Royal...who has clearly also taken an interest in gardening. After using an old pair of pantyhose to tie a tomato plant to a stake, Royal ripped it off...and broke off the top half of the poor plant. I'm hoping it can rebound.

(On a side note, the pantyhose seemed to work really well before Royal's intervention...a smart tip from my green thumb/pinky/& pointer-fingered father. Thanks, Dad!)

One pepper plant was taken out during the struggle, too, and sadly it couldn't be saved. 

I was not happy.

But, I also can't stay mad at this little not-so-little guy for very long, either. What can I say? He's stolen my heart.