"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure." Psalm 71:14-15

Friday, April 30, 2010

Things I hate about being 30

There are many things about being 30 that one can appreciate. Being more respected as a knowledgeable professional, an established group of good friends (if they've made it this far, they are likely to be around a long time), and a firm grip on reality are a few examples of what is good about being 30.

There are however, things that really SUCK about being 30. And I feel well qualified to write about these things since I've been 30 for 9 months.

First off, apparently your body gets some sort of cosmic memo when you turn 30. All this crap that has never been a problem starts going to hell in a hand-basket. Take say, your metabolism. In your teens, you are in the best shape of your life. You eat anything you want and still have an amazing figure, yada yada. I've accepted that reality as GONE. However, I had no idea that the instant I turned 30 my body would SLAM ON THE BREAKS of my metabolism like the metabolism train is about to plummet off a proverbial cliff! It's ridiculous! I'm having to work so much harder than I used to to stay a size 8. A SIZE 8 PEOPLE!!! I've never even had kids and I'm struggling to stay a size 8! I have a tiny frame, TINY. A size 8 is at the TOP of my healthy weight range, just before being overweight.

Secondly, you begin to have problems sleeping. If sleeping were an Olympic sport, I [previously] would have earned a Silver metal. The Gold has to go to my cousin Erika, she's the champ. I was SUCH an awesome sleeper, my mom had to wake me up on EVERY Christmas morning of my childhood to see what Santa brought. SERIOUSLY. I love sleeping, sleeping's my favorite. Too bad I can't fall asleep to save my life these days. I actually have to have a set bedtime ritual, executed to perfection, in the hopes of falling asleep. RIDICULOUS.

Thirdly, and this is just for women in my situation (married near or after 30 who are not pregnant or do not have children yet), people think it is their place or business at all to remind you of the age of your uterus. Those well meaning ladies at church who are friends with my mother-in-law ask me, "So when are you all gonna have us some babies?" [insert my polite answer as to why we are waiting that is truly none of their business] Followed by their response, "How old are you?" I'M THIRTY, [THANKS FOR THE REMINDER, LADY]. While raising their eyebrow they respond, "hmm." AAARRRRGGGGG!!!!! Thank you for not-so-silently judging me, my life and our family decisions. I'm KEENLY aware of how old I am, how old I will (or hope to) be when our children graduate from high school, and what the risks are. But really, it helps for you to remind me with your raised eyebrows.

So there you have it, my top 3 things that SUCK about being 30.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baby Industry Soap Box

**WARNING** This post is likely to offend you if you are now, or have ever been, pregnant. I love all of my friends with kids, and most of this blog post is driven by the industry not you. However, please read with caution.

If any of you have had a friend or TEN go through the pregnancy/registry/shower/baby process, you will know what I'm talking about. With new technology that allows us the opportunity to discover the sex of babies before they are born, the baby industry has gone over the deep end. I call it the baby industry*, because that's what it is.

*It's very similar to the wedding industry, making brides feel like they HAVE to have this and that for their wedding. It is exactly the reason that the average wedding in the US now costs between $21,000 and $24, 000!

But I digress. Admittedly, I do not have children, and have never been through the pregnancy/registry/shower/baby process. I do have some sort of idea that babies need a lot of stuff. However, I don't think they need as much stuff as some people are convinced that they need!

Like I was saying before, the baby industry has gone nuts with gender specific baby gear. I can understand wanting to know the sex of a baby before it is born. You are able to buy gender specific clothes and decorate a nursery. I get that part. What I don't get is the compulsion to get everything you "need" for a baby in gender specific colors.

I have a family member who is expecting their first child, a girl. Everything on their registry is pink, DOWN TO THE BABY BATHTUB! What will they do with the bouncy seat, highchair, bathtub etc that they could have used with their next baby if it happens to be a boy? I've seen people out in public with a pink stroller and car seat (and it was obviously a first child)! REALLY?!!?!! Those are big ticket baby items that could be reused with a second baby if the parents hadn't lost every sense of practicality that they previously possessed before being handed a scan gun in the baby store!!

Of course, there are always exceptions. If you are having multiples of the same sex and your hubby is going in for the snip-snip the week after you deliver, fine. Buy/register for all the pink or blue crap that you want. But I just don't understand not wanting to, or having some understanding that you could, reuse some things from one child to the next. It's more crap you have to buy (which I guess is why all that stuff comes in pink or blue). I understand that some things wear out and can't be reused, and I get being excited about your baby. But I really don't understand wanting everything in your house to be pink/purple or blue! I'm sure even if your gear is gender-neutral, that people will know what sex your baby is by the pink/purple or blue clothes they are wearing!

Although I have heard from many moms that this is not always the case and people are totally oblivious when saying how cute "he" is when "he" is wearing a pink shirt with purple flowers all over it!

Clothes are a whole different matter all together. I've heard from the older generation that baby and children's clothes were much cuter 15-20 years ago. Baby clothes were all in soft colors of yellow, green or white with baby type designs. That may or may not be your taste. But apparently the older kids' clothes were much more diverse in color, not just pink/purple or blue. Because parents get so used to buying pink or blue for their infants now, clothes makers aren't even trying anymore. I know parents who get excited if they can find clothes in any other color (and I'm sure I'll be one of them some day)!

So there you have it. I've finally owned up to my #1 baby industry pet peeve. Maybe it's the hippy in me not wanting to over-consume or be wasteful. Maybe it's the frugal wife who sees all the other things that can be done with money that is spent replacing every piece of baby gear between children. I don't know. But it is my absolute NUMERO UNO pet peeve about the baby industry.

If I've offended any of you, I am sorry. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, or piss anyone off. If you bought a pink car seat, that's your prerogative. It's just something I don't understand.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Waiting...

I'm tired of waiting. For this house


to sell. So that we can get on with our lives.

Speaking of getting on with our lives, Matt has 2 more days of grad school left.

FINITO!!!

Which is making both of us a bit more antsy about the ONE THING that's holding us back.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And we keep trying... and praying

Look at those beautiful azaleas in bloom!!!

The Open House on Sunday did NOT go well. We had one couple, one single lady (who wasn't sure if she wanted to move or not) and 2 ladies from the neighborhood come. No real potential buyers. The ladies from the neighborhood were nice and complimentary. They said now that they had seen the property, they would refer anyone they knew to us.


So after lots of crying (me), and prayer (both), we've decided to pay more $$ and upgrade our online listing to include an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listing. By doing this, all property searches that use MLS will now return our property in their searches, for hopefully more exposure. We are also offering a 3% finders fee to the buyers agent, so that agents will show our property to their clients without fear that we may not pay them.


For those of you out there that are praying folks, please pray that we find our buyer soon. It's not about the money, but the emotional burden. I've blogged about not being able to sleep, chronic exhaustion, sadness, feeling overwhelmed, etc. It's all STRESS from this HOUSE. Stress can do nasty, nasty things to a person, physically, mentally and emotionally.


Luckily, since God and I had a heart-to-heart on Sunday evening, I've felt much better. Add in my exercise accountability and walking buddy helping me MOVE and work out some of that stress, I feel like a new lady. But it seems cyclical. I'll do well for a while, then get overwhelmed or sad. It's the WAITING and NOT KNOWING and being POWERLESS to do anything that is so BURDENSOME. So those who are so inclined, please send up a prayer for Matt and me while we wait!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Seriously Cool DIY find of the Day!

Confession: I'm addicted to the DIY Network. All of it. Sweat Equity, 10 Grand in Your Hand, and Yard Crashers (more for the host than anything, WHEW Ahmed is hot!) top the list. Because I'm constantly watching DIY, I'm constantly coming up with crap to do to our house(s) UGH!

Our NEW home has a fantabulous bathroom,



with original 2" black and white tile floor



expertly made classic cafe curtain in a lovely damask print




we'll overlook the little sewing accident while making said curtains




and some kickin' artwork (if I do say so myself) courtesy of the LOVELY Melody Hood



One of our projects on the list is to ditch the ugly CREAM (no idea the thought there when the tile was "aged" white) tub and shower surround, replace (if needed) underlying tub, and tile the shower in such a way that pays homage to the rest of the fabulousness in the bathroom. I'm thinking white subway tile with a banded inset of 2" black and white checkered mosaic tile that matches the floor! Ugly tub and shower surround not pictured, because no more people than HAVE to look at it while showering should suffer.

That's a longterm project goal that may never get accomplished if we don't sell THIS house!

However, something that I'm considering doing fairly soon was inspired by the Seriously Cool DIY find of the Day. Obviously being over 70 years old, the original tile and grout on the floor need some TLC.

The era of the home dictated that the tiles were UNsealed, which means that they are stained in some areas. I'm going to try this cleaning technique and pray it works on MOST of the stains.

Then I'm going to PAINT AND SEAL the grout in one step with this product in the Natural Gray color, because that's the main color (other than the stains that are present) that the grout has aged to over time. And with this house, we are doing everything we can to keep the integrity of the Craftsman Style and period in which it was built. It will be labor intensive considering the floor is 2" TILE (think tiny art brush and hands and knees), but will give us pretty, clean grout that is stain-resistant!

The LAST step is to go ahead and seal the tile to prevent further stains. I know this will take away a little from the authenticity of the floor. But it will prevent further staining of the tiles over time, and make the floor a bit more slip-resistant (which is important for a bathroom!). Hopefully by choosing the "Natural Look" Penetrating Sealer they won't look too glossy for the period.

So there you have it! For all you DIYers out there with old, dirty, unsealed (or OLD-sealed) grout, I wanted to share this project. This also may be good for those of you out there trying to breathe life into your grout in order to sell a home! I totally wish I had found this project a month ago or I would have done it in our old house before the Open House tomorrow. OH WELL!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It feels like I'm cheating Weight Watchers recipe of the evening

Hi all! I thought I would share this yummy dish I just whipped up in literally 15 or 20 minutes with what I had in my house! I had some left over asparagus from an Easter casserole that was about to go bad, 2 TBSP of 1/3 less fat cream cheese from a Sip-N-See I hosted a couple of weeks ago, a lemon that was about to spoil from the punch at the same shower, and an opened box of whole wheat spaghetti. Then I remembered a yummy recipe from a cookbook of mine to adapt and voila! Since my husband hates asparagus and I love it, I made 2 servings - one for dinner and one for lunch tomorrow. :)

Here is the adapted recipe:

2 servings of whole wheat spaghetti (8 points)
1/2 bundle of asparagus cut to 1-1.5 inch pieces (ZERO points)
1 TBSP olive oil (1 point)
1 garlic clove (ZERO points)
1/2 cup skim milk (1 point)
2 TBSP of 1/3 less fat cream cheese (2 points)
Zest of 1 lemon (ZERO points)
dash of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of salt
ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (3 points)

2 servings = 15 points, 7.5 points per serving

1. Cook spaghetti until al dente

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and asparagus and sauté, tossing constantly for 2 minutes. Pour in about 2 TBSP of water and cover pan. Cook until asparagus is just tender, about 5 minutes. Combine milk, cream cheese, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over asparagus and bring to a boil, let simmer until preferred consistency.

3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour on the asparagus sauce, toss, and stir in Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

YUMMY! It feels like I'm cheating, but I still have 3.5 more points for the day! Time to raid the Easter candy ;)

Under Attack

So I'm ready to completely acknowledge that I am under attack. For those of you who feel that spiritual warfare is "wierd," you may want to skip this post! We Methodists don't really talk about spiritual warfare often if at all, but I grew up in a Methodist church in ALABAMA. Truly, it was more like going to a Baptist church where we said the Apostle's Creed, but I digress.


It took a textversation with my girl Christie for me to realize that the devil has been really working me over lately. She texted me at 11:20pm to make sure I was ok, because she had been thinking of me all day. Luckily, I was able to "talk" because I'm having trouble sleeping... I was telling her about how much that our house not selling was weighing on me. She was telling me to "COMPLETELY give it over to God," so that I could quit worrying about it and "pray for God to take it everytime it crosses your mind. Because if you've really given it up to God completely, and you're still thinking about it, it's the devil trying to take control of it."


I was amazed that I had been on her mind all day. Matt and I had a rough night the evening before, really talking over how emotionally burdensome this house has become. And I woke up meditating on Matthew 11:28, "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." The Holy Spirit is cool like that. He gave me the words I needed, and encouraged a friend to pray for me all day. Because He already knew what I discovered while texting with Christie, that I was under attack.


I told Matt before he went to bed (and before Christie texted me) about the verse I woke up meditating. And I told him, "I know the scriptures. I have the answers. I just need to be reminded from time to time. The Holy Spirit and I are cool like that." Talking about the Holy Spirit kinda wierds Matt out (he grew up in the church we now attend, which is more like an actual Methodist church where you don't talk about spiritual warfare). It brought me comfort to be reminded in such a direct and obvious way that God is with me wherever I am, whatever I'm going through. As much as I KNOW that I am under attack from the evil one, I am reminded that GOD is fighting for ME, so I need not worry!

Cool, huh?

Friday, April 2, 2010

New landscaping!

No, not on the house we live in. We can't do anything there until THIS house sells:

And why wouldn't it sell? There is nothing left to do to it!


I will admit, I had lots of fun at the nursery picking out the flowers for the window box. Hopefully in a couple of weeks you will be able to see them well. There are dark pink geraniums, light purple torenias (clown roses) that will cascade, and 2 vinca vines that will cascade as well. We also got pink petunias for the hanging baskets, and of course the azaleas went in last week (they are a dark pink/light purple like the torenias).

I'm not really a fan of pink, but flowers come in limited colors! I could have done some red today in the window box & hanging pots, but the azaleas were already in and they were PINK so I had to stick with it. I can't have my flowers clashing and looking all crazy.

So now we are officially finished with all the improvements at 146 Lynda Circle. The landscaping was the last thing left to do, and it's finished. I'm so glad. Now if we could just get someone to come look at it! Hopefully our open house on April 11th will go well. If you are in the area, come check it out & bring a buyer with you!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Struggling...

So, obviously I've "fallen off the wagon" with Lent, so to speak. It started out so well, and I was so enthusiastic, but here lately I'm struggling. My Lent was about something that I should be doing all the time, not just for 46 days. I should be focusing on the blessings that I have and the things that are going my way, instead of selfishly obsessing over the things I don't have. I know all of this in my head, but my heart is stubborn like me. And so I struggle.

My struggle is ambiguous. It's hard to describe or pin down into one thing. But it's real just the same. I have a job that I LOVE. I have family and friends that I LOVE. I have the most AMAZING husband that I LOVE and adore with all that I have in me. I have a gorgeous house that I LOVE, with a front porch and a rocking chair that I get to enjoy while I'm working (in a job that I LOVE). I mean look at what we're doing this afternoon:





I am blessed beyond measure, but still I struggle. I'm having a hard time falling asleep, even when I'm exhausted. I'm trying to stay positive about the house we're selling, but look at how long it's been since we started trying to sell it! That's right folks, over 7 MONTHS. UGH. We had it listed with a realtor for 6 months to no avail, and now we are doing it on our own. We've worked really hard in the last few weeks improving the one thing that was consistently lower on the feedback from our showings, curb appeal. We are hosting an open house on Sunday, April 11th 2-4pm. Hopefully something good will come of it.

This is before:

If you can't tell, the foundation and trim are a "country blue" color that I've ALWAYS hated!


This is after:

Taupe foundation and black trim, with landscaping and shutters (those teeny bushes are azaleas). Tomorrow we add a window box under the picture window & hanging plants!

If you know ANYONE in the Chattanooga area looking for a great starter home, that's close to downtown, in an awesome neighborhood in Red Bank (that's county not city taxes people), please send them our way!!! I loved living in this house, and am very attached because I bought it as a single girl. It's a great house that I spent lots of time and money updating and, if I do say so myself, it's a fabulous buy! Here's the link to our listing!!!

In the mean time, I'm going to continue to remind myself how blessed we are that we could even MAKE this move and afford 2 houses so that we could get the house of our dreams while we wait on the perfect buyer (or ANY buyer) for our first home. I'm also going to try and pull myself up out of this funk, with the good Lord's help. Prayers are appreciated, buyers welcome!