Sunday, February 27, 2011

Welcome to Holland

When I was cleaning out our garage, I came across an article called "Welcome to Holland," that we read in grad school.  It's a really touching article written by Emily Perl Kingsley about raising a child with a disability.

"I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to help people who have not shared the unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel.  It's like this...

When you are going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip- to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands.  The flight attendant says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?" you say.  "What do you mean, Holland?  I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But, there's been a change in the flight plans.  You've landed in Holland and must stay.

The important thing is that you aren't in a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It's just a different place.

So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks.  And you meet a new group of people you would never have met in Italy.

After you've been there awhile and catch your breath, you begin to notice that Holland has windmills.  Holland has tulips, Holland has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, I was supposed to go.  That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is very significant.

But, if you spend your life mourning that you didn't get to Italy, you might never be free to enjoy the very special, very lovely things about Holland."

Spring Cleaning: Yard Sale Preparation

When we first moved into our house, we didn't know where we wanted to put everything... so whatever didnt' have an immediate place, got "temporarily" stored  thrown into the garage...  We had all intention of eventually organizing it.... but, 3 years later, it still looks more like a dumpster than a garage.  Where did all of this stuff come from?!?

I know what you are thinking, and no, a tornado did not go through our garage....  just my dear husband, who I'm convinced has some mild hoarding tendencies. 

So, in prep of the yard sale, I decided it was time to re-organize and de-clutter.  And that's what I did - for 13 hours last Saturday, and probably 10 hours during the week.  I threw away 10 trash bags worth of junk that was too horrible to try and sell, took three car loads of sell-able junk over to a friend's house in Clearwater (location of the yard sale), and donated 3 bags of old clothes to Goodwill.

While Phelps was comfortably watching the cleaning chaos from the couch, Lochte was very anxious about all of the mess.  Poor guy gets so stressed out.... just didn't know what to think.

Of course some of that time was going through old childhood boxes and finding things I hadn't seen in YEARS- like old yearbooks, scrapbooks, toys, etc.   I decided to take pictures of some of my favorite things before I pitched them in the trash.

"RE," the name of my childhood blanket.  Carried this thing EVERYWHERE for  many, many years....much longer than I'd like to admit.  Very hard saying goodbye to this beat-up piece of fabric.

I really wish I could post an "after" picture of the garage... but I'm not sure you could tell much difference.  It looks significantly better, but is not quite photo-ready....yet.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Florida State Fair 2011

It's that time of year: the FL state fair is back in town!   And what a difference a year makes.  LAST February, we went in coats and gloves and FROZE (okay, so, it was proably 50 degrees, but it FELT freezing... our Florida blood is thinner).  We were practically the only people there. THIS February it was PACKED.  Probably because it was sunny and HOT (high around 80 degrees).  I think mother nature is confused....

Regardless, another fair, another fantasitic food adventure. This year we tried: red velvet funnel cake with cream cheese icing, french toast burger, maple cupcakes with bacon, and waffle ice cream sandwiches.... 

Hilarous watching people trying to stand up in these things... looked like hamsters running in the wheels!

That's us, can't you tell?

Bacon makes everything taste better... even cupcakes!

Phil enjoying a french toast burger with a side of beer

Friday, February 18, 2011

Home Improvements: Part 2

We have two more major house projects in store for 2011:  our bathroom, and, our backyard.

Our backyard is destined to be HORRIBLE, thanks to two, very large, digging machines, combined with sandy soil, and harsh weather (lots of heat, not a lot of rain). So, I'm not sure how many of our beautiful backyard dreams are realistic, but the hotel's landscaper is coming by sometime soon to give us "suggestions" of things/plants that we could plant that are resistant to all of the above mentioned things.  I can't WAIT!  Right now I have a black thumb... nothing I plant survives!  Hopefully, with a few gardening 101 tips, I will be able to turn my black thumb green.... or at least green-ish.

Our other main goal is to have the bathroom done by fall.  I love our little house, but we honestly made a HUGE 1st time buyer mistake... we bought a house with only 1 bathroom...and it's not a huge bathroom.  Honestly, I didn't think it would bother me...especially since it's just me and Phil...but after 3 years, I'm ready for more room... and privacy!  Especially when we are entertaining house guests (which we do ALL the time).  It's TERRIBLE when we have 6 people needing to shower and get ready at one time.  ARG.

Oh well, lesson learned.  Our next house will have PLENTY of bathrooms!

We have contemplated putting in an additional half bath somewhere... but really can't justify that anywhere.  So, we are thinking about just upgrading the one we have now to make it much nicer.   Obviously our space is limited, but I'm still getting a lot of inspiration online:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hallmark Holiday

Happy Hallmark Holiday!  I mean, Valentine's Day!  There are many people in my life that I love but I want to send my husband a blog shout-out today with this very special Valentine's day poem, by Carlton Cards.

"For telling me how good I look
And keeping down the food I cook

For sometimes putting down your beer
Those times I need to bend your ear....

For when you make me satisfied
And also take the trash outside...

For letting me inside your heart
And cracking windows when you fart.

For all the things you always do...
I'm awfully glad my husband's you!"

Thank you, Carlton Cards-  I couldn't have said it better myself!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Home Improvements: Part 1

In this post, I will be referencing some of my old posts... remember this post from June 2010:  GUILTY?

Well, we obviously had to replace the door.  ASAP.  So, we replaced our wood door with a puppy-proof steel door.  But, during the eating of the door, Lochte also damaged the wood frame on the sidelight panel, which we did not fix right away.  We (meaning Phil), wanted to replace the single glass pane with glass blocks... but, like any other house project, it ended up being a major project.  Not only did he have to custom cut the glass blocks, he also had to do all the wood work to re-frame the door, and add the decorative glass and a peephole to the door.

Now everything is done, except the painting.  It's way too vanilla right now but I am being very indecisive about the color.....I'm very open to color suggestions. 

And then there was the roof.  Remember this post: House Updates?  I mentioned a water spot in our kitchen and needing a new roof back in APRIL. 

Well, we decided to put it off for awhile.  And awhile turned into 9 months!  Opps!  But I insisted that it must be done before spring (rainy season in FL).  So, last week, we finally got our new roof! 

After three long days of our dogs FLIPPING OUT, the roof was done!  It went from BLACK (who puts a black roof on a house in FL?  Not smart)...

..... to "Weathered Wood." 

And, of course, I forgot to pick the color trim, so my COLOR BLIND husband made an executive decision while I was at work.  Thankfully, he went neutral, with white... I probably would have done something in the beige family to bring out the brown-ness in the off-white house, but, thankfully, the white trim really doesn't look bad.

So glad it is finally done.  Onto our next projects!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Heatlhy Habits

I hate men.

You might be asking, "Oh no, what did Phil do now?."  But honestly, NOTHING.  And that's the point! 

With the start of 2011, I decided to get healthy: eat out less, cook healthier, and exercise more.   I have made a HUGE effort to do all the things I know I'm supposed to do on a daily basis.  I've been eating lots of fruits and veggies, cutting calories, avoiding fried food, and enjoying adult beverages in moderation.  And, I've been hitting the gym 4-5 days a week... insert back pat here. 

But, despite all of that hard work, I'v only lost 5 lousy pounds... in 6 weeks...(we won't mention the fact that I gained 3 of them back last weekend during the beer and fried food frenzy AKA the Super Bowl...). 

Phil, who really hasn't modified his lifestyle very much at all, has dropped 10+ pounds in 4 weeks. 

So not fair. 

Which brings me to my first statement: I hate men... and their speedy metabolisms! 

Monday, February 7, 2011

A SUPER Sunday

Was it really hard fo anyone else to wake up this morning?!  I could have used an extra hour or two in bed today!

We had a great time at Bret and Leanne's Super Bowl party... made even better by tons of food, home-made sangria and a GB win   (I refuse to cheer for ANYONE from Miami of Ohio.... but especially a criminal like big Ben).

I love football... but to me, the Super Bowl is all about the performances and commercials... Can you believe Christina Aguigulera botched the National Anthem lyrics?  Instead of singing "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming," she sang "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming."  Opps!

I had very mixed opinions about the halftime show.  I'm a big black-eyed peas fan... but they didn't really do it for me last night.  Visually, I liked the look and the choreography, but auditorily (is that a word?) they weren't too impressive.  Fergie (who I love) sounded TERRIBLE.  I thought the halftime highlight was the Usher singing/dancing cameo.  He is amazing!!!

I did think there were some really cute commercials... I don't remember them all, but I really liked a few of the Dorito, Volkswagon, Pepsi and the Bridgestone ad...

College Gameday

Saturday, Phil and I ventured up north to "the swamp" AKA Gainesville, FL, home of the University of Florida Gators, to watch the big UK vs. UF basketball game.  This game is much anticipated-- as they are one of our biggest rivals in the SEC.  It was also College Gameday, which meant the fans were on steriods and ESPN crew was everywhere (including our hotel... we got to meet the REAL Digger Phelps in the lobby after the game!  And, we also saw the UK players getting ready to go to the game). 

I have been SO nervous about this game.  UK has not been playing very well the past few weeks of SEC play... and especially not on the road.  The Gator arena only holds 12,000 people,  which doesn't even compare to 26,000 at Rupp... but the 12,000 that were there were plenty loud and created a very "hostile" environment. 

TWO agonizing hours of back and forth basketball...ties, lead changes, ties, lead changes... but, in the end, UK LOST by 2 in the last 10 seconds of the game.  BRUTAL!!!!!!!!!!!  Especially since that was our 2nd loss this week by less than 2 points.  ARGGGG!

But, we really had a great trip despite the loss. 

Coach Cal and Terrence Jones

Phil can't wait for the game...

DeAndre Liggins

ESPN Game Day crew

The Swamp

Almost game-time


Of course we had to check out the pool...

Ryan Lochte!  And, to the right, a former KY swimmer friend/Olympian, Caroline Burkle

Givin' Lochte a kiss!

Checking out the nightlife