Saturday, May 29, 2010

here's your sign...

You might be are absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt a redneck IF you have ever found yourself in the following predicament...

I really want to buy this rusty old trampoline a neighbor decided to sell...but howEVER will I get it home?

and decided to solve it like this:

(all pictures are shot from my vantage point as the next-door-neighbor to aforementioned neighbor selling the trampoline...through my blinds, naturally)

Is any further commentary necessary? I think not.
Thank you, and amen.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

out with the old

In an unprecedented act of decisiveness last night, Mattie and I made a Grown Up (read: boring and expensive) Purchase last night. We finally replaced the mattresses on our bed.

A backstory: Our current mattresses are...old. How old? I'm not sure. Matt acquired them at some point during college from some person he knew who was getting rid of them...and that's all I know about their origin. When we got married, they were still useable (if I didn't think about where they came from). We bought nice fancy bedroom furniture with our wedding money, but didn't buy new mattresses. We've been fine up until the last few months. Suddenly we get NO sleep anymore. The thing creaks something really loud and creaky. Springs poke you. You roll toward the middle. And you get NO SLEEP. Time to suck it up and spend lots of money on a really boring thing...but potentially the one piece of furniture you own that can REALLY affect your quality of life, right? So, anyway, we did it. Last night was our first night in our New Bed and might I was some good sleepin.

However, it seems that mattresses have gotten TALLER since 1975 (or whenever our old mattress was born)! When we finally got the new one on the bed, it was rather shocking to see how BIG it was! Check out a pic with our old mattress (top pic) and the can't even see the headboard now since the thing holds our pillows up so much higher!

So it will take some getting used to, but I think it's a small price to pay for getting a decent night's sleep. Now my next big question is...what the heck do I do with the old mattresses? Can they be recycled? I heard that BP was using some kind of mattress things to soak up oil in the Gulf... can I drop them off at my local BP? How awesome would that be, right?

Next 'new' thing to show you: My super awesome Fuschia plant I got for Mother's Day! I have been lusting after these plants for years (literally. Even before I liked plants I knew someone with one of these and was obsessed with it) and Mattie made all my dreams come true by getting me one for MD. I simultaneously love it and am completely panicked that I will kill it (it has a reputation as being a difficult plant to grow) which would feel like murdering a family member or something. Well, maybe not that bad...but it would be very saddening. I mean, check this beauty out!

I'm not usually a pink-and-purple kinda girl, but I'll make an exception for this! If you have 5 minutes, you should run a Google Images search for "fuschia plant" and feast your pics aren't nearly as good, but you will see why I am so in love!

Squashzilla update: We will be eating our first squash tonight. Here is how big this monster is. (Please note that my hand is next to it for scale...but then, if you don't know me in person, you may not know how big my hand is. Look at your hand. Add 2 inches. That's how big my hand is. And yes I play the piano.)

I really cannot believe I am putting a picture of my hand on the inter-webs for all the world to see. I have been paranoid-self-conscious of my hands since like, elementary school. This is slightly akin to putting a naked picture of myself on here. Just so you know.

One last 'new' thing I wanted to share. The other day I was ordering something off Amazon and needed a $5 'filler' item so that I could get free shipping. I ended up ordering these Skoy cloths and they just came in yesterday and they are so cool!!

(note: NOT my hand in the pic, ha!) They are reuseable cloths you use in place of paper towels & sponges and they're SUPER absorbant. You can put it in the dishwasher or washing machine to keep it germ-free, and although they're supposed to last for quite a long time, when they eventually do wear out, you can just put them in your compost pile because they're 100% biodegradable! How cool is that? I've only used ours like once, but I'm pretty excited...mainly because I'll save lots of money and trees over the long run. And I got the ones that are neon colors, so...well, they're pretty. I'm a fan of pretty. Anyway, next time you're looking for a 'filler' item, grab these. They're fun.

I think that's about it. I hope I haven't bored you to death, but not a lot has gone on lately other than working, buying stuff, and watching season/series finales. Speaking of finales...did you watch Biggest Loser last night? Were you not FLOORED by how hot all the ladies were?? I was so impressed! And of course I was so proud of Ashley...I have been cheering for Pink all along!! But I was very happy for Mike to win...he definitely deserved it. I think I will probably end up watching Jillian's new show this looks pretty good, plus I need a weekly dose of Jillian to keep me motivated at the gym!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Wow. Three amazing things happened today.

1. My HSG. (This is a different link than the other day...what, you all don't speak medicalese?? Come on...) I'm going to upload the picture I so sneakily took when the doctor wasn't if you don't want to see an x-ray of the inside of my uterine cavity, then look away. But don't look away for too long because there are going to be some really super awesome pics later on in this blog that you do NOT want to miss!

You may need to click on the picture to make it bigger so that you can see the labels I wrote on the pic. Basically I am fine, uterinely speaking. :) This is what we had suspected and were hoping for, so...yay. This still leaves us in the "it will be extremely difficult for you to get pregnant on your own" category, but at least it's not any WORSE of a situation that it already is. Basically, from what I understand, we should be good candidates now for ART (assisted reproductive technology). I guess I will find out more soon. Edited to add: I just looked back at my labels on the pic and realized I wrote "ink" instead of "dye". It's not really ink. I don't know why I wrote that. It's dye. I would imagine shooting INK all up in a girl would not be the best idea.

2. To celebrate my successful survival of the HSG (and not freaking out and not crying like a baby or whining too much about it hurrrrrtttttting) we went and bought a somewhat-needed new printer! Since I'm a madwoman printing all my coupons now, my 10-year old printer has been getting a beating. But more than that...I've been wanting a scanner for several years now so that I could scan my (professional) wedding photographs. For some reason I never got the digital ones...and now I'd feel awkward calling and anyway, I've just wanted a scanner to get them on the computer. So we got a printer/scanner and it's all set up and I LOOOOVE it! I have already delighted in scanning lots of pictures and aren't YOU lucky now that you can see these never-before-seen-on-this-blog shots like this:
and this (personal fave, look how young Matt looks!): addition to all the beautiful wedding pics, I can ALSO scan in old pre-digital camera pics like THIS!

This would be from a pep rally my senior year of high school. And this brings me to the THIRD great thing that happened today, which is...
3. I learned how to (and why did it take me a million years to think to do this?) open pics in Paint and write on them/label them!! Brilliant!! Now you can look again more CLOSELY at the above pic (re-posted below with labels)and notice a few things, like the blue arrow that is pointing to me...did you know I was a drum major in marching band?? Well, I was, and it was freakin awesome. So this was at a pep rally or practice of some sort and that's me on the podium, doing my thang. Next, please examine the RED arrow/circle. This is highlighting my old friend the KNEE BRACE who was my constant companion after ACL/meniscus surgery my senior year. Awesome, huh? Thirdly, may I direct your attention to the green circle (arrow so nicely pointing at my booty) it any wonder I was frequently sent home to change because my shorts were too short? (Except I didn't have to go all the way home...I kept jeans in my car just in case.) Seriously, 17-year-old-Erika...what were you thinking?

Now I am really excited to go crawl up in the attic and retrieve all my old photo albums so I can scan those pictures in. Just let me know if you have any requests...prom pics? Eighth grade dance recital pics? Baby pics? "Fashion" show I put on for my family in fourth grade? Second grade spelling bee pics? The sky really is the limit when it comes to dorky pictures from my's kind of amazing, really.
Happy Friday!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

monday randoms

I have nothing of substance to say, just a few things I'd like to mention.

1. I washed my car this weekend. I have owned my Pathfinder since December 2005. This is the first time I have ever washed it. I know this because a) I remember and b) my memories were confirmed when I went to open the bottles of car wash/tire scrub/etc and they all were still factory-sealed. I remember my dad giving me that stuff the day he brought the car up. Now, that's not to say I haven't been through a car wash in the past 5 years. I have...twice. Once right before my wedding, the other right after we left the wedding to get all the crap off. So, twice in the space of about 2 days. That has to count for something, right?

2. There are wild blackberries growing in our back-back yard. Who knew? Lots of them, actually. I'm sure they were there last year, too, I just had no idea what to look for. When my mom was here a few weekends ago she was just casually like, oh hey, how are those blackberries doing?And I was like......uhhhh.....oh, you mean those blackberries? That I take such good care of? Oh, fine. Anyway. We'll see if those berries actually turn black and taste good. If they do...I mean, kids, I'm a mere few weeks away from making a three-berry pie (blueberry, blackberry, strawberry) FROM CRAP GROWING IN MY OWN YARD!!!! Someone should tell Southern Living about me.

3. I looked to see if I'd taken any interesting pictures lately and I kid you not-- the only pictures I've taken in the last week are of piles of things I've bought at CVS for ridiculously small amounts of money. I put all the things on the counter next to an index card that says something like "5/10/10 $1.65". So some people chart the growth of their kids. I chart the growth of my deodorant stash. Try not to be jealous.

4. We're going on vacation in a few weeks and we have a house/dog sitter!! This is a HUGE relief! I have been really stressed out thinking of what to do with Lola AND the garden/flowers. Now I can rest easy knowing that both are taken care of. I can turn my focus to the things that REALLY matter, like getting a base tan and deciding which books to take with me. The important things in life.

5. I'm having this procedure done on Friday morning. And yes, I think Wikipedia is the absolute best source of medical information...okay, no I don't. I just didn't want to link to a more scientific/medically accurate page that might gross you out with gory details. I prefer to save that for Friday afternoon when I'll give you the play-by-play with personal photos....hahahahaaha okay, so no I won't. I'm just full of tricks today, aren't I? Anyway, I'm not exactly looking forward to being violated in this manner on Friday, but I'm not totally upset/freaked out about it either. I am equal parts curious, nervous, and excited. It is a hospital procedure, but I shouldn't have to stay long (and by "not long" I mean not more than an hour)...but please don't let that stop you all from sending flowers/cards/meals/gifts/maid service/singing telegrams/etc. to my house. Really, don't. :)

6. I think I'm psychic. This afternoon I was walking Lola and suddenly I thought of this blog I used to read but sort of quit reading because-- let's face it-- I got tired of NOTHING but pictures of her baby (now 2-year-old) boy. This isn't anyone I've ever known in real life, just a random blog that used to be entertaining and then became really boring. Anyway, I don't know why it hopped in my head because I haven't thought of her or looked at her blog in six months probably. But I thought of her and then thought I bet she's pregnant again. And so I came in and looked up her blog and read it and sure enough, SHE IS! So, psychicness confirmed. If you want to take advantage of this skill, then please know it doesn't come cheaply.

7. I don't want to go to the gym. It's the ultimate tragedy that I love the results of working out but I still do not want to do it. Very sad. I try to convince myself that pulling weeds and talking to my squash will produce the same results just because I sweat the same amount. I'm not sure if my body agrees, though. Alas.

And I think that's all. If you've made it this far, congratulations. Your reward is this: 4--8--15--16--23--42. Those are your lucky lotto numbers for today. You can trust me-- I'm psychic.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

SUYL: Favorite Children's Books

This week at Kelly's Korner the "Show Us Your Life" theme is favorite children's books. I know I don't talk much about my job (other than to rejoice in making it through work weeks, which I did again, HOORAY!), but suffice it to say that I work for the nation's largest federal early literacy grant where I work with at-risk students developing pre-literacy skills. So it probably doesn't come as a surprise to hear that for the most part my days are consumed with children's books (and paperwork) (and tying shoes) (and snot).

And I would now like to issue an apology for the amount of parenthetical statements in the previous paragraph. I suppose I could have accomplished the same goals by over-using ellipses (...) but...I didn't...

Anyway, so I basically consider myself one of the world's leading authorities on children's books. Or at least I do in my classroom. I love TONS of books (I also HATE tons of me, just because you can draw cutesy pictures and rhyme words does NOT mean you can write kid's books) and it is impossible for me to pick an absolute favorite...but I can definitely let you in on one of my current favorites. I wanted to find a book that maybe you aren't already familiar with, and this one is definitely one you should pick up. And it doesn't hurt that my kids love this one just as much as I do.

This book is AWESOME. It's a pretty quick read (good for kids with short attention spans...or teachers) with giant text, fabulous illustrations, and surprisingly broad vocabulary. It's simple and really really funny. It's a book grown-ups enjoy just as much as kids, and that's a hard find sometimes. It even has a really funny author's note at the end. It's just great. I love it because although it's very short, it engages my kids so much that we can easily spend 20 or 30 minutes reading it in a large group setting...they want to talk about it, to connect with it, to point out the features they find funniest...and for us, that's really the goal.

So that's my quick pick for today. Please let it be noted that I do not actually own this book for myself (that is, outside of school) so if anyone would like to purchase it for me, I've so kindly included the Amazon link up above. :) Go ahead and get it for your own kids, your neighbor's kids...or anyone you know who dresses up their pets and needs a subtle clue. (Myself not included, of course. You'd be getting it for me because I like it, not because I think there's anything wrong with keeping poor Lola warm when it snows. Thanks.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

dinner for two

The weather was beautiful this evening. Breezy, high 60s, no mosquitos...perfect, basically. Eating dinner al fresco was more or less required by law. Unfortunately, we have no outdoor dining ensemble.

But what we lack in furniture we make up for in creativity.

Crappy hand-me-down plastic chairs? Check. TV trays? Check. Looks like we got ourselves a picnic, friends!

And all the food was prepared on the grill. No need to subject ourselves to the indoors any more than absolutely necessary. And the chives on the roasted potatoes...grew those myself!!

Speaking of growing things, check out the garden, a.k.a. the jungle.

Hello, squash!! Nice to see you guys are thriving there! Sure wish I could see the peppers that are buried somewhere beneath your many many vines and giant leaves! Bet those guys wish they could have some sun, too!

Squash. Such selfish plants. But what're you gonna do, right?

All four tomato plants have little green tomatoes on them! This is good news. Too much squash concerns me. Too many tomatoes excite me. Go figure.

So that was my evening. Tell me, though. If you were invited over to dinner by some friends and you got there and the dining arrangements were something like I've pictured above...what would you do? Pretend that's totally normal? Laugh and congratulate their creativity? Say nothing but use that as your ice-breaking hilarious party story for the rest of your life (so I went over to this girl's house for dinner and you won't BELIEVE where we had to eat...)? And what do you think our neighbors were thinking as they watched our romantic dinner for two? Haha...I think we're well on our way to being the Crazy Neighbors.

But at least we'll be the Crazy Neighbors who give away mounds of squash, right?

Friday, May 7, 2010


Earlier this week I had a great idea. I should MAKE my Mothers Day cards this year! That would be, cute. And economical. And crafty. All three of those things being things I'm pretty passionate about being. Well, except the crafty one. I have dreams of being crafty. Those dreams have never really come to much fruition.

About three years ago I had another great idea. I was going to scrapbook. What a fabulously crafty thing to do. I spent lots of money buying scrapbooking materials. I made about 3 pages of a scrapbook before I lost interest in cutting and gluing stuff together. So the materials have sat untouched in a bag under my desk ever since then.

So it was a perfect idea, this making-my-own-Mothers-Day-cards thing. I'll use my old scrapbooking stuff. That means my materials cost is zero, since I've long since paid for the stuff (and I practically got rid of it all when we moved, but decided to be a hoarder instead at the last minute) (sometimes hoarders really DO win). So last night I set to work crafting my very own cards.

It. Took. FOREVER.

So if we were doing some kind of time-cost analysis...well, I'd have been much better off just buying the cards, if I compare my "hourly worth" (pay) and the amount of hours it took me to make the cards (many) to what it would have cost me to just buy them at the store. However, I'm trying to convince myself that our moms and my two grandmothers will appreciate the hand-made-ness of the cards and that will make it worth it. I am also convincing myself that it was better for the Earth to just reuse materials I already had. Or really I guess it's just use materials, not necessarily reuse them. But whatever. So, here's the results.

That's the general idea. If you can't tell, the fronts are personalized (Meme, Nana, Mom, Mom). After all the card-making was done I was so creatively exhausted that the stuff I wrote on the inside was basically devoid of all thought, haha...Happy Mothers Day, Love M&E.

PS. Please never throw this card away or a little piece of me will die.

Something like that.

So it doesn't look like I'll be quitting my day job to go into full-time card-making, but it was semi-fun for a few hours. And I've used up like half of my scrapbooking paper now, so that's a plus too.

It's weekend, YAY! We're looking forward to a marriage conference at our church tomorrow morning and a college graduation or two tomorrow afternoon/evening. Sunday is Mothers Day (FYI Mothers Day is to girls struggling with infertility what Valentines Day is to bitter single people...aka NOT my favorite holiday) and so far the planned highlight of my day is going to CVS where I have big plans to score some major deals using coupons and ExtraCare Bucks. :) Seriously, sometimes my couponing is like the thing I most look forward to all week. Well, that and yard sales. And talking to the plants in my garden.

I was about to say "I need to get a hobby" but then, I guess I have one, right?? Can saving money be a hobby? I submit that it can. :)

Happy Friday!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Just a quick update to let you guys know (and remind my future self-- hello, self!-- you know, the one who looks back and re-reads her old blogs) that I haven't died or disappeared or forgotten about blogging or anything of the sort. I'm alive and more or less well and here.

I'm just tired. New depths of tired. I keep finding new depths. It's amazing.

I've had to work late several nights in the last week. I also have to go to work earlier in the morning. We've had family get-togethers and out of town visiters. We've had about 6 doctors visits between the two of us. (And 6 office co-pays, don't forget those!) I can't even sleep in on Saturdays because I get anxious thinking about all the yardsales I'm missing. I think that might make me a tiny bit crazy, btw. And it's 8:00 on a Tuesday night and I'm showered and in my PJs and I would love to go straight to bed, but I know that if I don't watch Biggest Loser and Lost live (or semi-live, as it were) I won't get a chance to watch them for potentially two days and I'm not sure I can go on living like that. I'm nothing if not committed to my Tuesday night shows. :)

Oh yes, I'm also committed to Amazing Race and I would just like to take this opportunity to say GO COWBOYS!!!

Back to your regularly scheduled blog.

So, in the interest of semi-full-disclosure (and shamelessly begging for prayers), our infertility medical updates. We have some test results in and they're not good. Actually they're pretty bad. Apparently it's no medical fluke we haven't gotten pregnant... to put it in the words of my tactful doctor, "it's not impossible for you guys to get pregnant. It just might take a lot more time and effort than you'd like." Well, duh. Seventeen months in, I already figured that much out!! So I'm scheduled to have some more invasive (read: painful and probably expensive) testing done in a few which point we will have a better idea of what our "next steps" are.

Of course, if by some miracle I got pregnant this week, then none of those next steps would be necessary, right?? So...pray??

It's funny...I don't really feel "old" enough to be dealing with all of this. When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I see my hair in its perpetual ponytail, my dirty (from gardening and four year olds) and wrinkled clothes, my makeup-free face (from sweaty recesses and too much crying) and I look like I'm 17 still. I usually feel like that I have about as much emotional maturity as your average high school student. I guess I've always thought that people struggling with infertility were much older, richer, and wiser than me. I imagine "them" having an emotional strength that I surely lack.

I guess I was wrong.

So this is why I'm so tired. In addition to work, play, yardsales, and gardening, I've had to grow up a lot this week. It's not easy. But I'm getting there.

So that's where I am. I really and truly covet your prayers. Lately I've found it nearly impossible to pray for just hurts too much... so I'm needing other people to fill in the gap for me. And let me be completely honest and just say that one of my favorite things to daydream about is the day when I will get to write out (because I've mentally composed it a thousand times) the blog where I announce that your prayers were answered and that I'm pregnant. I can't wait for that day. I mean, it's pretty much the only reason I want to get pregnant.

Okay, NOT. Just kidding. But seriously. It's gonna be great.

And with that, I'm off to my much-anticipated Tuesday night TV marathon!! Goodnight!