Saturday, May 29, 2010

7 things about me...

A few days ago, Amanda over at 5 miles 2 empty tagged me in the “7 things about you” blog. I’ve thought about it off and on the past few days trying to come up with seven interesting, little known facts about myself. It’s harder than I thought! Not sure if I hit the mark, but this is what I came up with…
  1. I have travelled internationally quite a bit over the past 13 years. Places I’ve visited include South Africa/Zimbabwe/Zambia, Singapore/Thailand/Malaysia, Italy/Germany/Belgium, England/France, and Australia. It was a combination of work, play, leadership studies, etc… that took me to all of these places. I am blessed to say I have white water rafted the amazing Zambezi River, snow skied the Swiss Alps, rode an elephant in Thailand, ate Belgium chocolate right in the candy maker’s shop, and chased wild bulls in the Australian outback. These are just a few of the cherished memories that I will always have of my traveling days!
  2. Related to #1, I worked on an Australian ranch for nine months right after grad school. While there, I was thrown from a horse which resulted in a broken leg/shattered ankle and an hour ride to a small town so I could be flown out to a bigger city for the first of three eventual surgeries. Not many tourists get that experience but I made the most of it and continued to travel in a cast for the rest of my stay.
  3. I have a Master of Science degree in Reproductive Physiology of Beef Cattle. That means I know a lot about the birds and the bees in livestock and my kids are way too well versed on the subject. They will tell ANYBODY about artificially inseminating a cow or semen testing a bull so don’t ask unless you are prepared to listen with a straight face.
  4. I was born and raised in Indiana. I miss the basketball/Hoosier Hysteria, the trees and the “easy to grow” beautiful landscape, the sledding in winter, and my family and friends. I left right after college graduation and have been living out west ever since.
  5. In high school, I lettered in basketball and softball. The only time I ran track was in junior high and was part of a school record setting relay team. I didn’t really even like to run so I have no idea why my recent love of running came to be. The thought of running even a mile 20 years ago was dreadful. Not it’s dreadful to NOT be able to run more than a mile!
  6. I love to bake! Everything from cookies and brownies to breads and pies… this is possibly because my mom and Grandma L are the best bakers in the whole entire world. Unfortunately, I also love to eat it. I like to experiment with healthier versions of things but sometimes a good old fashioned recipe with sticks of butter and cups of cream is just too hard to pass!
  7. I hate cancer. Not sure why or how this has affected my so deeply but I am passionate about raising money, supporting survivors, and serving on the Relay for Life Committee in our area. I think it is from seeing all the sadness, suffering, and broken lives left behind in its path of destruction. I’ve seen friends lose their mom, young children lose their dad, wives lose husbands, parents lose a child… and it breaks my heart every time. There isn’t a week that goes by at church that there isn’t a new name on the prayer list for a cancer diagnosis. I hope and pray that we see a cure for cancer in my lifetime!!!
So there you have it… 7 things about me you may or may not have already known. If you haven’t already done this, consider yourself tagged. It is a thought provoking exercise that encourages a little down time for reflection (which is always a plus in my book!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More destruction.... kitchen style!

Just last week when we were finally getting settled into the new part of the house, things were looking up. I was a cleaning machine, organizing queen, and anti-hoarder neat freak all wrapped into one. And then they came back.... the construction workers that is. They are like members of our household after nine months. We've decided it's been too long when we no longer worry about strangers in the house and we quit rushing around every night when we get home to see what new and exiciting progress they have made. It's nice to feel comfortable in your pj's among non-family but seriously... you reach a point in a remodeling project when you just want it to be over. Now is not a good time for that feeling as we just began PHASE II: the kitchen. Hopefully we are on the downhill slide but I'm smart enough to know not to hang onto expectations whether they be completion dates, financial estimates, or mental pictures. They pretty much go out the window with the remains of the 1980's wall paper. So here are a few before and "during" shots. I'd love to wait for a dramatic before and after feature but that could be months and you know how I hate to keep you all in suspense!

This is the tiny "hallway" style kitchen we have used for over 10 years.

A view from the living room looking toward the kitchen. You'll see the same view in an "after" shot below. (That is the remains of the original wallpaper in an area of the wall to be ripped out.)

Standing in the new addition looking toward the old entry - this space was our hall closet, washer/dryer, kitchen entry, and general catch-all area!

And now the BIG reveal from the same views shown above... (insert drum roll here)...

We are grateful that the old cabinets along the walls can stay until the new cabinets arrive. Hopefully we can somewhat function until that time. Be sure to stay tuned in about 2-3 months to see how it turns out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Spring Fever???

We started off in April with some beautiful, warm days this year. The early rain and unseasonably warm temps brought about some amazing landscape. Here are just a few of my favorites that I wanted to share. Keep in mind we are in Southwest Nebraska so it doesn't compare to the landscape back east or the orchards out west, but for our part of the country, it is absolutely breath taking.

(The babysitter's flowering crab tree)

(volunteer creeping phlox)

(this is a shot of what awaits us at the local nursery)

But what happens when a late freeze threatens your backyard beauty? You do what any smart, sophisticated American might do at 10:00 at night....

You cover every living thing in sight with sheets and blankets and buckets and plastic... and then you pray it is enough to keep the frost demons away! This is a harsh climate so you stop at nothing to spare a season's worth of growth on your landscape!!! (Not to mention it was some fun family time in the middle of the night rushing around in the dark trying not to fall off the ladder or step into an unforeseen rut in the yard!) And now I must sign off as I'm headed to the laundry mat to do about 10 loads of dirty sheets and blankets from our little landscape adventure last week!
Today I am thankful for:
1) The closets being finished (or almost finished) so we can start moving our stuff!
2) Goodwill to take all the crap we don't need anymore!
3) A 4-year old who has slept in his OWN bed ALL night for nearly a week!
4) Sunshine after a week of cold, wet days!
5) A chance to get a good long run in while the 4-year old is in preschool!
6) A husband who takes good care of us and always knows just what to say!