Tonight I went out with 2 of my college friends, Kristina and Jen, and 2 wonderful friends I’ve met through them over the years, Mandy and Deb. They took me to get a mani & pedi!! Thanks girls!! Followed by a great dinner at Abuleos!! YumO!
Here we are:
Here’s our toes:
Girls, thanks for always being great teachers and teaching me this valuable lesson…
I’ve learned a lot with my teacher friends from my college days. Much more than just anticipatory sets, QAR, or piggy back songs. A lot about boys, shopping, scrappin’, and mothering. Great road trips to Branson & Mall of America and just simply hanging around ESU. RA experiences that involve cleaning up nasty unmentionable messes (poop on door shall I say more?!?!), interrupting rooms with heavy fog of pot smoke billowing under their door, or knocking on doors of rooms where it was OBVIOUSE a boy was present (hmm…my neighbor on one occasion!!) We’ve been there through wedding showers and baby showers, and growing in our roles as wives and mothers.
I’m just deeply saddened that my most resent and perhaps biggest lesson has been learned by the mistakes I’ve made while knowing these girls.
Mistakes like having these friends within 20 minutes of my home for a very long 9 years and in no way taking advantage of that fact. Mistakes like settling in my home in Derby and getting over involved in my church and up to my eyeballs in my kiddos and only carved a tiny bit of time for them. Sadly it has taken the fact that the opportunity to see them will no longer be to learn this lesson.
I often times catch myself with sadness of leaving as if I’m dying and not just moving. All these emotions and feelings make me want to share with people why I love them and what they mean to me. I sometimes have to remind myself that this isn’t a forever goodbye. It is a point in our friendship where things will change, but not end.
So, to Jen & Kristina I thank you for being there for me and with me the last 12+ years! It’s always a good time together! I’m glad the drama of boys and crazy college experiences are behind us and that we can share in life as mothers and wives!! You are both a constant source of joy. So happy. So positive and the kind of friend I don’t deserve!! It’s comforting to know that no matter how long it’s been we can just pick up where we left off. It’s been a pleasure getting to know the rest of your family as well. I’m super sad to miss Ganza this year and will try very, very hard to make it in the future!!
Mandy & Deb it has been a joy getting to know you through Kristina and Jen!! It’s amazing how you can get a group of gals together and everyone just “clicks”!! That’s all of us!! We share our role as “mom” and a friendship with my dear Jen and K!!
So all friends out there…don’t wait and learn the lesson how I did. Get together with your friends!! Schedule it!!! Make it a regular part of your life…once very other month, every 3 months…something!! It’s time you will never regret spending. It will recharge you to be better in all the other areas of your life…DO IT!!! So girls…do it…for me, but unfortunately without me…
Love to each of you!!!
Here are the rooms we forgot to take pictures of on our first trip to AZ. Matt was out there for work last week and was able to get back to see our house!! No fair!! I was jealous!!
Much to my surprise I didn’t even know the layout of our upstairs!! I was mixed up on where the hall bath was. At the top of the stairs toward the front of the house is Laundry room and then bathroom on the right, front bedroom straight ahead, and spare room on the left.
Here’s the bathroom on the right and bedroom with the windows.
Hall bath. Sink & potty on the left, window straight ahead and shower on the right.
Shot in the mirror of the shower and window.
Laundry room. Matt says it is larger than he recalls. Has a built in shelf.
Another view of the master. Windows facing the back of the house behind camera. Toward the door and you can see the entrance to the master bath and the nook in the bedroom and bathroom.
Master vanity & tub.
Tub and shower. Master closet to the right of the shower.
We had just got situated in our booth (after ordering drinks and doing the balancing act that is helping a 3 yr old potty, change a baby’s diaper and mommy go potty as well) when I notice that the woman sitting next to us is detail cleaning the seat at her table. She had already used 3 wipes to clean off the table…not too uncommon as this particular restaurant has lots of kids there eating. But the 3-4 wipes used to clean all but the bottom of the chair raised my eyebrow a bit. Next her husband joins her at the table.
After exchanging a few glances I notice she is now standing beside her booth seat using wipes to clean any non-fabric portion of her seat. Hmm…germaphobia much?!?
As I sit there with my germy children I chuckle to myself as I see the drinks they ordered. Water with a lemon wedge. Didn’t she read the report on how nasty restaurant lemon wedges are?!?! Guess not. I begin to think about straws in restaurant drinks. At some point your server has touched a portion of the straw and then sticks it in your beverage. Hmm…kinda gross when you think about it.
Then to my complete amazement!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The woman proceeds to remove the nasty lemon wedge from her drink, pull the straw out from her drink and wipe the entire straw down with a wet one!!! She then moves on to wipe down the outside of her glass. Then on to her husbands straw and glass!!! You.are.kidding.me!! I almost can’t wait to see what happens when her meal comes!!
And then it does!! Guess what they ordered!!?? A salad!! A Salad!??!!??! The one meal in which all the ingredients are chopped and handled by kitchen staff!! Not to mention it’s not baked, fried or heated to remove any nasty germs that’s on there. That’s why I see no problem with fried foods…they’re kinda bad for you, but good in germ removal.
Now to prepare for the meal. She uses a wet one to wipe down each PRONG of her fork!!!! Her fork and knife do not lay on the table, but rather a baggie from her purse. But it continues….once the forks have been sanitized they each move on to wipe down the outer ridge of the salad bowl!!!
We are now at wipe count of…at least 25 for the meal!! (or more if you factor in the wipes she used on her hands between wiping surfaces) I’m so sad that my nasty, dirty kids got impatient thus we missed watching how they managed to pay for their meal…considering how dirty money is. :)
I’d call the lady crazy, but I’m sure them having the
privilege horror of sitting by us at a meal confirmed their fear of germs. You got Isaac drooling a steak fry to bits. All the mushiness spreading from his hands, face, clothing, highchair, table top/edge/and probably underneath, and don’t forget the floor. Then there’s Aidan. This was his first attempt at sitting on one side of the table in a booth by himself. His process of eating is similar to a breakdancer that is eating and dancing at the same time. If I had a dollar for each time I tell him to “sit on your goose”, “eat”, “don’t lay down”, “sit down”, “take a bite”, “up Aidan”, “get back on the seat”, “move your cup off the edge of the table”, “don’t go under the table”, “take another bite”, “no licking your ketchup”, “hands on the table- not on the wall, people behind you, all over the fabric backed seat, etc, etc” I’d have enough money to eat out for the rest of my life…and afford enough Wet Wipes to be germ free.
I wonder if she wiped down our area after we left….
This was the first weekend since the craziness of THE move that we had very little planned. Thought Saturday might be a day of getting little projects down here. So we thought!
Early morning email check informed us that our AZ contract should be starting on Monday!! Yippie!! We left early Sat. AM b/c we had a 9:30 showing. We went for donuts (Matt’s first time actually going to Squeeks! unreal!) and then headed to Cassoday to get Aidan as Camp Mimi was over which I’m sure Mimi was happy about! :) Before we even got to Cassoday we got a call for another showing for 11:30, the 9:30 people wanted to relook!!
While eating lunch I run into a friend from my teaching days and her family!! It was great to see them! Another one of those cases where I wonder why I haven’t made more of an effort to see them BEFORE we decided to move!! After we ate lunch with Mimi we got a call for another showing at 1 pm the people from Friday afternoon wanted to look again!! Yeah!!
Before we reached Wichita- another showing at 4:45!! Crazy!! We enjoyed a nice dinner with a fellow QT Arizonian family that was back in KS visiting. After dinner we stopped by to see Matt’s brother and his family in town from Chicago for the week.
Church Sunday was sad to say good bye to a MOPS friend who’s one of those people that is always a joy to be around. Her enthusiasm for life and passion for God is amazing. She has mad skills as a designer of blogs (my makeover to come soon) and T-shirt designer for her shirt company. It will be sad to follow her adoption journey via her blog and facebook, but will be exciting none the less!!
Church was followed by a good ole summer family gathering in Atlanta. We had just walked in the door at the in laws when I get a call from our KS realtor. !?!?!?!??!?! He was calling with the 2, yes T.W.O. as in 1, 2 or dos (as Dora would say) offers!!! All I can say is thank goodness for there being 2 to chose from. The first was sad and pathetic to be honest. Wanting thousands off the house price, us to pay all closing AND remove the playset and all the rock under it!! Really??!! The second was right where the realtor thought we would sell for.
This is the first time since last August that all of Matt’s family had been all together. Enjoyed the standard Stout taco salad dinner, lots of swimming and yummy strawberry shortcake. Got home with just enough time to wash up some laundry to get Matt packed for Arizona. His first day working there. He will fly back in Thursday just in time for the festivities in Melvern.
Funny how the weekend unfolded. We had just been discussing on the way to meet mom Sat. AM how discouraging it was that no one had made repeat visits to the house and dreamed of how wonderful it would be if we could wake up Monday morning with a contract rolling on each house.
God’s timing is perfect and everything in this entire journey has supported that truth! I feel myself getting anxious about the timing on different things and it seems the more calm I remain not only does everyone around me suffer less, but things almost seem to happen faster.
The buyers for KS house wants to close the 19th of July, we will probably not be able to close on AZ house until the 21st at the earliest. Not perfect timing, but doable. Very doable.
I’m a bit sad we’ll only be in AZ one week before Emma starts school, but much better than a week AFTER I suppose! So it appears Matt and Emma will both start work and school the same day! Emma and change don’t go well together so she’ll need lots of love and support to keep the drama and nervousness away!!
**This post was typed on Monday morning, however my “God’s timing is perfect” idea was strongly being challenged. My attitude has been adjusted and now ready to post this!! :)
I think it’s safe to say this is our new home. Our offer has been accepted and the first inspection (second one soon b/c utilities weren’t on at the time of the first!!) gave good results. Here’s the tour I can give with the photos I have…we were so overwhelmed we forgot to take pics of some rooms!!!
Here’s the front. Notice the plush rock yard!! Several of the plants and bushes are actually very pretty, however with no drip system on right now most of them are dying and will certainly be dead by mid July!!
A closer look at the front. The big windows will be the boy’s bedroom and the smaller window in the spare room.
Ready for a wreath and a welcome sign!
Standing in the entry. Large windows to the right. Kitchen through the arched door way. Arched “nook” is in the dining area.
Dining area with french doors leading out to a side “patio”.
Shot from the living area. Front door to the left of this photo. Stairs going up. Den through archway. Doors in the hall are to the garage, hall bath and storage area that goes under the stairs.
Closer look at hall.
Half bath downstairs.
Kitchen!! Yeah!!! Doesn’t have as large of pantry I was hoping for but all the space under the island is storage!! We have new appliances on order. To the left is the living, dining, den area. To the right is the largest patio doors I’ve ever seen that lead out to the back yard.
Closer look at the kitchen area.
This is what I call the undecided room. It is connected to the kitchen. The photo was taken standing by the bar. I’d like to to be a smaller tv room with a loveseat, chair or something. (above fireplace is wired for a tv) To have the kids in the same room with me while I’m cooking is ideal. Matt thinks dining which the floor lends itself to with kids.
I know a fireplace in AZ!?!? :)
Now back through living and up the stairs…
At the top of the stairs is a loft which will probably be used as a second living room/playroom.
Standing in the second smaller loft area (scrapbooking space) taking a photo toward the top of the stairs and the loft pictured above. Down the hall on the right is toward the front of the house and has a linen closet, laundry room, hall bath and 2 other bedrooms. To the left is Emma’s bedroom door and then further to the left is the master bed/bath.
The master. Windows overlooking the backyard. Arched door on the right leads to the master bath.
My only picture of the master bath!! HA! That’s Matt and our realtor. Matt is looking at his first home improvement project!! EVERY.SINGLE.HOUSE down there has a little cheapy mirrored medicine cabinet right next to the monster vanity mirror!?!?! It has a full set of cabinets under the vanity…plenty of space for medicine to NOT need the little inset cabinet!! Luckily the mirror is broke on the cabinet so it needs replacing!! ;)
The master bath has a double vanity, soaker tub, shower, walk in closet and potty room. There’s a window facing the back of the house and the south side of the house.
Overlooking the back yard from the master bedroom. Half pool - half “grass”.
View from the master. Backyard, preserve lot behind us and the mountains are the “Stout Family Mountains” according to Emma!!
Spare room- only w/out a walk in closet...but has a nice BIG mirrored closet doors ;)
Boys’ room closet.
Boys room…hard to get an idea of the room with nothing in it…
Back downstairs. Patio that runs the length of the house. Patio doors into kitchen. Windows further down are in the “fireplace” room.
“Grassy” patch on one side of the yard. Hopefully we can squeeze a swing set of some sort on there…
My requirement…a fence/gate with lock…
A view from the back corner of the yard.
Wellp that’s it until Matt is back out there next week and can get some pics of what we forgot! (laundry room, hall bath, garage, south side of the house, Emma’s room…)
So the waiting game begins. We found the house we think is for us. However, it’s different when dealing with bank owned properties, so we won’t really know much until the middle of this week.
The house is THE house I found a few weeks back and wanted to buy sight unseen w/out Matt’s permission. I knew I loved what I saw in pics, but Matt was unsure. The first day of hunting took us to 4 houses and of those 4 it was our favorite. So, in true important decision shopping (i.e. Wedding dress…usually one of the first ones you try on is THE one, but you torture yourself by trying on 20 more!) we looked at 15 more houses on Wednesday.
Thursday was left open for a visit to QT, testing some morning driving traffic and researching towns and schools. Thursday night we picked 2 houses to re-look at and 3 houses to see for the first time. House one and two were busts. House 4 was our #2 pick. House 5 was one we hadn’t seen before and Matt liked…well maybe loved. House 6…the final house of the day was THE house. I’m proud to say w/out any major swaying on my part Matt loved it and decided is was just the house for us. We discussed an offer and headed back to the hotel to wait for the realtor to email us the offer document.
In the mean time we crunch numbers and I log on the computer. On a whim decide to look at any new listings or updates on our realtor website. GUESS-WHAT!?!?! They had dropped the price on the home!! This kind of stuff never.ever.ever happens to us!! I call the realtor so giddy he could probably not understand me. THEN I log into my email and there is a response from a gal I met on a forum online a month ago. I had emailed her about the very neighborhood THE house was in. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about the neighborhood and wanted to know when we’d be moving to give us a proper welcome!! Wow!!! How very nice!
So the downer…the official offer will not be submitted until Monday AM. Our realtor was worried if the listing realtor found out there was an offer he might tell perspective buyers of the weekend thus they would make their offer higher than the banks asking price and there fore higher than our offer. Very common practice in the market in AZ. Our realtor is confident that with us putting a higher % down and using conventional financing we would look like a more stable buyer than many others that might put offers on. We can only hope!!
I’ll share pics and the story on why our realtor thought we were crazy to buy in that area once we officially have an offer accepted. Let’s pray it is b/c Matt and I don’t agree on houses #2 or #3…pray for speed through all the buying process. The bank wants 30 days to close…and that’s about ALL the time we got!!
As an update Mimi survived the stay with the kids…poor lady was put through the ringer I’m sure!! I’m grateful that she as well as my in laws are here when we need a place for our kids and fur-kid!! Thanks!!!
Hoping I’m not breaking any copyright laws here. I received this on an email and it really spoke to me in my marriage and as I’ve watched others in their marriage. So, I post it here so I know where to find it when I need a reminder and maybe it will speak to you as well!
Let’s look at three steps to invite your husband into greater romance. Through these steps, you can provide your husband the safety and encouragement he needs to set foot upon the path of a more romantic marriage.
1. Trust instead of control. Do you struggle with a desire to control those around you? Most women, including myself, wrestle with control issues. The desire to control our husbands is a result of sin. God told Eve in the Garden of Eden, “You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband, he will be your master” (Genesis 3:16, emphasis added). The Hebrew word, tesuqah, translated here as desire, means the “desire to overcome or defeat another.”
To get a sense of whether you have control issues in your marriage, ask yourself: Do I correct my husband? Do I instruct my husband? Do I try to improve my husband?”
I have been guilty of all three!
When you correct your husband, you’re saying, “You didn’t do it right.” When you instruct your husband, you’re saying, “You don’t know how to do it.” When you try to improve your husband, you’re saying, “You didn’t do it well enough.”
We justify our actions by telling ourselves that we’re just trying to help, but our motive may have more to do with control than help. Control is often rooted in fear. Some women try to control their husbands out of fear that they won’t get what they want. Others fear their husbands’ actions will reflect badly upon them if they don’t step in to help. At the root of this fear is selfishness, and selfishness does not serve as an invitation to romance. Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others.”
What is there about the nature of control that blocks romance and intimacy? The best way to answer this question is with another question. Do you want to get close to a controlling person? No, of course not. It’s impossible to experience intimacy when controls are placed on you. Your husband feels the same way. It’s time to trust God and let go of control.
Controlling, instructing, and improving your husband carry him back to his boyhood, and little boys do not walk the path of romance. Trusting your husband will invite him to romance.
2. Respect instead of demean. In my twenties, whenever I blew out my birthday candles, I wished for the same thing: I wanted to respect my husband more. I had read it in the Bible, which instructs each husband to “love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy any consistency on this point. While the candle smoke wafted upward, I sat back, crossed my arms, and waited for Tom to do something that I could fully respect.
What was wrong? I thought I needed Tom to inspire me to take the action of respect. Instead, I needed to obey God and take the first step toward respect. It has been said that it is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than to think yourself into a new way of acting. We would be wise to adopt Nike’s motto and “Just do it!”
We live on a small farm, and the term “pecking order” has taken on new meaning for me since we added chickens to our stock. We observed that the dominant chickens chose a chicken to chase and peck. Every time she went near the feeder, they chased her all over the coop—keeping her from the food she needed for survival.
It didn’t take long to determine which chicken was at the bottom of the pecking order. It was the one with missing feathers and patches of puffy, bloody skin. When one of our chickens looked like this, it was only a matter of time before we found her dead on the floor of the coop.
Ever hear the term “hen-pecked husband”? A hen-pecked husband is usually at the bottom of the pecking order in the home. When you emasculate your husband to this condition, you reduce him to a state that is no longer respectable. You have become your own worst enemy because you truly want a respectable husband. Once again, you thought you were helping elevate your husband to higher and higher levels of manhood, but, in reality, you were diminishing him. His place is now at the bottom of the pecking order of your home, and he isn’t able to get what he needs for survival: respect.
What does respect have to do with romance? When a man is confident in your opinion of him, he can relax with you. He can drop his walls and let you in. He knows that with you, he is safe. He will be valued and respected. And where there is safety, romance can grow.
3. Appreciate instead of criticize. It is often easier to be dissatisfied instead of appreciative. When stressed, do you focus on appreciation or dissatisfaction? Your choice could make the difference between romance and remorse.
What does your husband do (or not do) that causes you disdain? Is it his paycheck? Is it how he performs tasks for you? Is it what he gives you or how he surprises you?
If a man feels unappreciated—if he feels your continual dissatisfaction—he may give up trying to please you and look for other opportunities that will satisfy his need for appreciation. Are you willing to risk this when the desire of most good men is to satisfy their wives?
As most women have experienced, the male ego is fragile. Your husband may come off with bravado, but inside he’s looking for your affirmation and appreciation. Most men can’t live without it and will seek validation wherever they can find it. Let your words of appreciation be something your husband can rely on.
Keep a running list of his positive traits and actions. It will help you in those moments when you are annoyed with, irritated by, or wanting to blame your husband; simply running through that list will remind you how much more there is to him than his aggravating tendency to come home late.
Focusing on the negatives will leave you dissatisfied. Appreciating your man will invite him to romance.
Adapted from Beautiful Womanhood by Sandy Ralya. Published by Creekside Publishing. Copyright ©2009 by Beautiful Womanhood. Used with permission.
**I found this in my blog drafts…forgot to hit publish, so this is from May 17th!!**
Emma’s school held an end of the year Kindergarten program last week. She was excited for weeks learning the songs and singing parts of them for me. We were lucky to get front row seats…although I think we were a bit close for Emma’s taste! :)
They started with the longest song ever…”Who Let the “A” out a, a, a Who Let the “B” out b, b, b, Who Let the “C” out c, c, c, Who Let the …. You’ve got the idea…Emma was the “Z” :)
Here’s some video of her 2 favorite songs…
This one she said would make me cry…for some reason the sound and video are off…
This was one Emma loved to perform…
I feel so sad her first year is over. I don’t feel I took advantage of the time. I have so many little learning games and activities that she literally out grew this year!! YIKES! I was warned time flies once they hit school years!
Hey kiddos (& anyone else that cares what we’re up to in AZ)!! Here’s what mommy & daddy have been doing all week…
Flying over the Kansas clouds…so pretty and puffy! Daddy had the window seat!!
Kansas from the sky…
The airline we got on in Colorado puts a picture of an animal on each of their planes…
Past the mountains of Colorado…flying over the mountains was much easier than driving through them!!
Look at the fields in Colorado!! They are in the shape of circles!!
Approaching the airport in Phoenix. Here’s one of the first mountains. From the air they look like big piles of dirt that have been swept together.
These are cacti!!! So strange to drive down the road and see them! Don’t touch!! Ouch!!
This is the view from our hotel. We’re on the top floor!!
Here’s where we’re staying…since I know you LOVE hotels!! The arrow shows our room! Daddy will save the key for your collection!
Here’s when you know you’re in the middle of the desert. Mrs. GPS didn’t even know what to tell us…she couldn’t even find the roads!!
Daddy turned around b/c all we could see was dirt and weeds…and we NEEDED gas!!
We were excited in our driving to see a tractor!! Reminded us of Kansas! There’s actually more fields here than we ever imagined!!
Here’s a picture of Daddy’s new work place. To the right of the picture is a HUGE corn field!! He has pretty view of the field and mountains from his office!
Outside our hotel (allll week) has been a car show of Studebaker cars. OOOOLLLLD ones, sporty ones, colorful ones, not so fixed up ones and even a golf cart that looked like one. I think Uncle Adam and Papa would have had fun looking. More and more cars (and old people ;) ) show up each day. This was Daddy’s favorite.
Tonight there was also a biker rally near the hotel in West Park I think it’s called. A shopping & eating area in walking distance from the hotel. We went to see a movie. Mommy actually got to pick the movie….and I must admit it wasn’t very good!
There was a big sign advertising the new movie we need to see soon…thought Aidan would like to see it! :)
Tomorrow we revisit these 2 houses and look at 3 other new ones. Then it’s decision day to figure out where we will live!!
This one is in a neat neighborhood with a school for you near by! The neighbors next door have 2 kids and a baby on the way!! This one has the space we need…an amazing mountain view in the back…and well…some other special things in the back yard you guys will LOVE. Not the best picture to show the huge front door and porch…
There’s also this one. Very, very nice on the inside. Not as great of view…and noting in the backyard until daddy gets here and works his magic…
Not sure about the other 3….2 are in areas we’ve not looked at yet. Prayers and prayers that we chose the right house.
We miss you very, VERY badly!! I hope you are all doing well for Mimi!! She’s probably tuckered out by now so take it easy on her! Can’t wait to see you all on Sunday morning!! Take care and love you bunches!!
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