Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Extreme Makeover Edition

round button chicken
Capturing the context of contentment ~ Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter
Ok, I exaggerate just a skosh.  But if it works for TV...okay, fine, I probably should not do it...moving on...


We are in the thick of renovations here this week.  It has not been fun.  We've had at least three meltdowns from various family members, more evenings eating take-out while standing over the kitchen sink than we care to remember, piles of tools and debris everywhere and countless nights ending with us flopping into bed exhausted and sore.  But it's getting done.  At least, that's what The Viking says.  I can't see it; all I see is the mess and the endless list of tasks still ahead.  That's why he's the leader!

That being said, Pretty has been hard to come by this week.  Of course there's been beauty to behold: I live with three very beautiful people, after all.  And we did have a particularly beautiful and tantalizing day (in that "Spring won't be here for months yet, but this is what it will smell like" kind of way) that made us all stand with our faces turned toward the sky, close our eyes and breathe deep.  But I was not able to document it.  I've been particularly busy.  For reasons we've already discussed.

BUT.  I did find some Happy, Funny and Real (heck--I am lousy with Real).  And this is why we're here!


Yes, this is bread.  Bread makes me happy.  Why?  Because I made it!  I have been begun to realize a long-time aspiration of making my own bread.  I haven't worked up to making it every day, but I'd say I'm up to half of each week.  Most of the time.

I'm still working out the kinks, but if nothing else, it's helping keep Calvin fed each day.  He was always complaining of being hungry and wanted me to buy all kinds of horrifying snacky stuff.  And when I'd say, "Have some bread and butter or bread and cheese," he'd wrinkle his nose.  But then I found that he's wild about homemade bread and now our lives are forever changed.  I don't even have to suggest he get some bread and butter.  And he's not complaining much anymore.  At least about that.


You may have to look a wee bit closely, but this is what I see out of the corner of my eye every time I'm slicing something Nutmeg is particularly fond of.  Usually it's when I'm preparing or slicing meat.  This time it was her absolute favorite: carrots.  She's a dog who's mad for carrots.  Calvin has recently used them to train her to do a new trick.  She'll do anything for a carrot!

Funny (and a pretty decent segue into Real)

Here's some of that demo I told you about.  It was all about bathrooms this week.  And this was what we found when we tore out the shower in the upstairs bath.  This photo does not do it justice.  Yikes.  Even scarier was Redheaded Snippet going, "I like the colors.  And the stripes."  Heaven help us.


The downstairs bath and laundry room.  This is mid-project.  It is now finished, but I am just too dang tired to walk in there and take photos.  We replaced the floor, pulled wallpaper down and painted everything.  It looks great.  Maybe I'll have photos next week.

This is what happens when you have to replace the floor underneath your washer and dryer: they squat in your living room.  Delightful.

We also decided to finally fill in the door to nowhere.  Long ago it was a closet.  Now it's a gaping hole in our living room wall with debris in front of it (and a pretty cute future vicar).

And, apparently, when you fix up your house, your tools and other gear tend to overflow from the area being fixed and into every corner and everywhere you need to look and walk.  I spent hours cleaning and packing our bedroom today because it was the only space I could find that was semi-peaceful!  All of this clutter is making me nuts! spite of it all, I'm still content.  And I thank this weekly exercise for that.  Have you found any contentment this week?  Why don't you share it?  I think you'll be glad you did!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Vicar of Wits' End

So, I've been trying for months now to think of a clever way to make a big announcement. And I've not been able to come up with anything so I've put it off. Plus, we've just been really, really busy around here

But the time has come and I think I'm just going to have to come out and say it.

The Viking is about to start a new job.

Thus, we're moving. And everything is about to change in big, scary ways.

This is not just any job change. He's leaving his corporate job in the city after 17 years to go into full-time ministry. He is going to be the new Pastor of Worship at our church and I am going to be a pastor's wife! It's a very long story, but it is an exciting one full of revelation and epiphany and tears and fears so it's a pity I can't share it with you. BUT. Suffice it to say we have never been more sure of anything in our entire lives. We are learning wonderful lessons in submission, leadership, trust, stewardship, community and obedience and the job hasn't even begun yet!

The job comes with a parsonage, hence the move. We're only going to the next county, about a 30-minute drive away from our current home, but it's still a bit of an uprooting. The children are not happy about having to pack up all their things and leave the only home either of them have known and, I admit, it is going to be hard to leave all our memories behind. But there are so many benefits to the new place God is taking us.

And, truly, the house is adorable (which is really unimportant in light of eternity but it does help to make the move a little less wrenching)! It's a Cape Cod with huge windows, three bedrooms built under the eaves and an extra room on the first floor to be used as a fourth bedroom, office or library. It also has many features we have always wanted, like a fireplace, two full bathrooms, a proper foyer, and a finish-able basement. The church has been fixing it up for us and so we've been choosing paint colors and light fixtures and such.

Meanwhile, we've decided to keep our house and try to rent it out while we live in the parsonage. So to that end, we are doing some fixing up of our own. The bathrooms have always needed to be spruced up and the carpet in the living room is rather shabby so we're taking care of those things. And then just about every surface is going to get a fresh coat of paint and a good scrubbing. And hopefully, this will all come together at the right time and we'll manage to get everything packed up and moved out and no one will have a nervous breakdown!  Do you see how we've been busy?

So, very soon The Viking is about to become The Vicar. And we're leaving our beloved Cottage at Wits' End for the Wits' End Vicarage.  And while it's hard to leave home, we're looking forward to making a new home and new memories in it.

Stay tuned!


Thursday, February 07, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: With a Generous Glug of Thankfulness

round button chicken
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

Another quickie, but I've really been wanting to get back into the PHFR swing of things so quick will have to do!

Ignore the anachronistic packets of artificial sweetener!

This is the spread Mom had waiting for us when we came to watch Downton Abbey at her house a few weeks ago.  Ok, so it's not something pretty from this week, but I have been wanting to share it.  So I bend the rules a little...


Yesterday was National Signing Day for the NCAA.  Redheaded Snippet (third from the right in the back row) was one of 24 student athletes from her high school who signed with Division I colleges yesterday.

This is the Field Hockey Nine as they were being called.  Nine girls from her team have committed to play at the collegiate level and signed yesterday.  That's quite a record, from what I understand, but not surprising when you remember this team's record and rankings.

What an exciting day and what a relief to have it finally be over!


Perhaps you can't tell, but The Viking is attempting to tie a couch cushion to Calvin's torso.  When I asked what was going on, Calvin said, excitedly, "We're tying this to me so he can hit me!"  Boys.


This morning, on the way to school and work, not two blocks from home, The Viking and Redheaded Snippet had a car accident.  The Viking hit a patch of black ice on a turn and skidded into the curb and then a telephone pole.  Everyone is fine!  Redheaded Snippet escaped completely unscathed and The Viking walked away with a very sore thumb.  Apparently, he broke the gear shift with it.  Not good for either man or truck which, incidentally, did not fare so well.  We may have to shoot it.

Anyway, being the manly man he is The Viking wouldn't go to the ER at first.  But after a few hours his thumb was really bothering him and had limited range of motion and, being a pianist (soon by profession--more on that later), he finally decided to be prudent and listen to his wife!   It's not broken, thankfully, but they had to put a cast on until he can get to an orthopedic hand specialist and see if there's damage to ligaments, tendons or what-have-you.  I just had to get a photo of him looking all burly in his cast and hospital gown.  He's not fond of being maimed (he is right handed, after all) but he's fine.  Thank God.  It could have been so much worse!

Have you captured any contentment this week?  Join in and share it with the rest of us!