Monday, May 21, 2012

Two Weeks

One night I received a frantic call from my son.  He was working on a job out of state and wanted me pick up his dog, Abby and watch her until he got home in a couple weeks.  He had heard through the grape vine that his roommates were not taking care of her.  My first thought was to pretend he had gotten the wrong number and hang up.  I didn’t want another dog especially a big dog.  We have a small house as it is and adding one more dog would make it smaller.  Besides, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out double the dog equals double the food equals double the poop.  So… of course I said yes. 

 Kevin and Kenzie went to get her.  She was filthy, her hair was all matted and boy did she stink.  I felt sorry for her but I also felt sorry for myself. You know me, I don’t do filthy and I certainly don’t do stinky.  In fact, I stopped serving my family beans because well you know beans/stinky but that’s another story.  First stop for Abby was the bathtub where she got a complete scrub down and a much needed flea treatment.  Once she was all spruced up it was time for her to meet Bailey. 

 Bailey is our brindle boxer.  She is about 80 pounds but thinks she is a lap dog.  She's got it pretty easy if I do say so myself.

 Bailey thinks Kevin is her husband.  I’m not sure how I fit into the picture but my guess is she thinks I’m the mistress.  Whenever I sit by Kevin, she does whatever's needed to get right in between us and puts her arm, paw, foot whatever it is around him. Then to throw salt in the wound she will look over at me with this giant smerk on her face as if to say “hahah I won and he’s mine”.  Needless to say, we are both jealous of one another.  You've probably already guessed...  she is pretty spoiled.  She has never ever “not” slept in a bed.  Not only does she sleep in a bed but she sleeps under the covers.  For quite a while she slept with Kevin and I (in between us of course) but she finally got too big.  Kevin wanted to get a bigger bed but thank goodness our room is to small.  There came a point when a decision had to be made...  one us was getting kicked out of that bed. We did the fair thing and Bailey and I drew straws.  Problem is we didn't have any straws so we improvised by using red licorice vines.  Oops... Bailey ate hers so guess what I won by default. Yep, I got to stay and she was banished to Kenzie’s room.  I don’t want to say I gloated but I FINALLY got to look at her with a big smerk on my face as if to say “haha I won and he’s mine!”
Abby it turns out is a really great dog.  She and Bailey took to one another right away.  They are in fact the best of friends. 

They love to play in the snow together:

They love to lounge on the couch together:

They love to go on walks together:

But most of all... they love to nap together:

We’ve had our “two week” dog now for 1 year, 3 months, 2 days and 8 hours but who’s counting?  Any chance anyone would be willing to watch her when we go on vacation?  It will only be for “two weeks”.

 Life’s better with butter" and lovable pets like Bailey and Abby. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see past the poop and to learn that two weeks doesn't always mean 14 days.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Came Home... a Piece of my Heart Stayed

In the summer of 2008 my husband and I were blessed to be chaperones on our Church’s youth group mission to Costa Rica.  I was very excited but I was also very scared.  You see folks; my idea of roughing it is staying at the Hampton Inn.  I knew the conditions weren’t going to be great but luckily I didn’t know just how “not great” they were going to be.  If I did, I honestly don’t know if I would have gone.

Before we left, we loaded up with tons of donated and purchased items.  Necessities like toothpaste, toothbrushes etc but also fun things like combs, hair pretties, coloring crayons, coloring books, play dough and so on.  The day we left everyone brought their suitcases to the church.  We weighed each one so we could juggle things around and not go over the limit.  It was a miracle how we were able to take everything we had collected with not an ounce to spare.

When we landed in Costa Rica, we were picked up in what I guess you would call a bus (it was no Greyhound that’s for sure).  It seemed like we drove for an eternity.  The driver kept saying “soon” but 2 hours turned into 4 hours and 4 hours turned into 6.  I wonder what the definition of soon is in their language? We finally arrived at the banana plantation which we would call home for the next two weeks.  It’s hard to explain but the plantation was so big there were different little villages scattered within.  We pulled up to ours and kids came running from everywhere to meet us.  They were dirty and their clothes were worn but they had the brightest smiles and whitest teeth I have ever seen.  For me, it was love at first sight. 

They helped us settle into our new abode which was in their “church”.  It was a pole building, not a nice one at that, with a concrete floor.  There were several pews which were some boards nailed together.  Have I mentioned yet that Costa Rica is highly populated with mosquitoes, spiders, fire ants and other nasty creatures?   At night we would put two pews together to hold up our mosquito nets.  Next would be the spraying of a bug repellent barrier around your sleeping area.  Then you would throw your sleeping bag in and crawl under the net as fast as you could to keep the scary things out.  Every night some would inevitably make it through the barrier and net causing the girls to scream which in turn caused the boys to laugh. 

Are you remembering the whole Hampton Inn/roughing it statement?  When I first saw our sleeping conditions, I seriously almost went into cardiac arrest.  I can’t even tell you about the bathrooms (which consisted of one for the boys and one for the girls) because there are no words to describe them.  I will simply post a picture and leave the rest to your imagination.

My routine for the next couple weeks was to wake up, gather enough courage to use the bathroom, eat breakfast and thank the Lord for surviving the night (and the bathroomJ).  After breakfast all the girls walked to the two room school to teach.  Insert…. The school was two miles down a dirt road which wasn’t too bad problem is we had to walk to school in the morning, walk back home to eat lunch, walk back to school for afternoon classes and then walk back home.  Let me tell you, eight miles every day is a lot especially for a person whose regular form of exercise is typing on a computer.  I soooo wanted to call a taxi but… there was not only no taxi but there was no phone either. 

 At school, we would do art projects, practice English, give science demonstrations etc.  My favorite was when we brought bubbles.  I think it was a first for most of the children and the look on their faces was priceless. Aren’t they cute in their little school uniforms?  The plantation provides those for them.

 The boys (except one had to go everyday with us to school as our escort) stayed home to put up steel beams which was the start of a community building.  They had their own obstacles.  The tools and equipment or lack of didn’t make the project easy.  They even had to fashion a ladder out of some scrap wood.  Thank goodness there is no “OSHA” in Costa Rico or this job would have been SHUT DOWN. J

In the evening, all the children would come around and check us out.  Since there was a language barrier, the first few nights we did the girls hair and the boys played football.  They turned out to be great icebreakers and towards the end of the first week their girls were doing our girls hair and even took a turn on Pastor Joel’s. J 

Many strong bonds were formed during our time in Costa Rica and God’s presence was felt by all of us.  On our last day it was so hard to leave… the boys the girls, even the men the women, every last one of us was crying. These people we had grown to love were poor, lived in huts with dirt floors, and had no indoor plumbing or electricity but you know what… they were happy.  They didn’t know what they didn’t have and they were thankful for what they did.  I have so much and they have so little yet I’m ashamed to say I’m probably not even half as grateful as them.  To this day, I still miss the amazing friends I met in that little village on that big banana plantation in a remote part of Costa Rica but I thank God for taking me there.  I came home but a piece of my heart stayed.
Life’s better with butter" and going where God sends you. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to see the beauty in a place that is far different from my world.  When I’m feeling sorry for myself, please remind me to be more like my friends in Costa Rica… grateful not greedy. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pillow Cases... Not Just for Beds Anymore

Deb from work came in with a dress she made out of a pillow case and I was blown away.  It was absolutely precious.  She’s been getting pillow cases at thrift shops and making them for a mission trip to Haiti. How cool is that?  I can just picture the little girl’s faces lighting up when they see them.  I wish I would have known about this type of dress before my mission trip to Costa Rica. 

Here is a picture of Deb and one of the dresses she made:

You know me, as soon I saw it I had to make one.  This could be a problem since I don’t know even own a needle and thread.  I pondered the use of duct tape but thought this might be the one and only time it wouldn’t suffice.  I immediately got on the phone with my Mama Bear whose middle name should be “sew’er” (had to use the apostrophe because if not it looked like another word… lol) and asked her if she would teach me.  She said sure come on down.  Within minutes, I was headed South with a quick stop at Wal-Mart for a pillowcase. 

She took me to her sewing room and I was like a kid in a candy store.  I picked out this and that to decorate my dress.  Then she showed me the sewing machine and asked me to thread the needle.  Huh? It was like she was speaking a foreign language. At this point, I think she may have been getting a little nervous… quite frankly I was.  The pain of getting my nose pierced was still vivid and I for one did not want to relive it with my fingers.  I finally managed to thread the needle with no bloodshed.  I was pretty impressed with myself, my first lesson and all.  I thanked her and said I would come again tomorrow.  I was exhausted.

Just fooling, we continued on.  She had me iron the pillowcase a certain way.  Really… iron?  I thought that was what a dryer was for.  Next I cut out the top , again used the iron (fyi… most I’ve  used an iron in my entire life) and sewed the part I ironed to put the ribbon through.  Then it was on to the rift raff (in case you aren’t a sewer, this is not the same thing as the scary people that hang out at the corner. It's squiggly ribbon) on the bottom.  Now folks this was the hard part.  I kept sewing the front of the dress to the back of the dress and having to take it out.  Mama Bear thought this was pretty funny.  When I told Papa Bear that Mama Bear was laughing at me, you know what he did?  Yep… he laughed too.  Just wait until they are rest home age… then we'll see whose laughing.  J

Once I finished, I was feeling like I was a master sewer rock star so I added some pockets, buttons and even made a little purse out of the pocket the sheet came in.  On on the way home I stopped at Michaels, bought some matching ribbon and made a bow.  Drum roll please… here is a picture of my final project:

Not trying to toot my own horn but toot, toot it’s pretty darn cute. :)  Next problem… no granddaughters.  I thought about putting it on Bailey but she didn’t seem too interested:

 Then I remembered… Logan’s friend, Auzha has a little girl, Kaedyn who is just about the right size.  I was sooooo excited to give it to her.  She is the sweetest, darlingest thing ever.  They barely walk in the door and I'm having Kaedyn try it on.  I asked if I could get a picture of her and she ran right up to the camera.

 HAHA… How cute was that?  I did manage to get a picture of the whole outfit: 

Someday when I have grandchildren, I’m sure I will be sewing these like crazy. I might need to go with a different color rift raff for the boys, but I’ll play it by ear. J  Who knows by then they might make some improvements on duct tape. If not, I’ll be off to Mama Bear’s for a refresher course.  Don’t tell her, but I think I’ve already forgotten everything she taught me. L

Life’s better with butter" and trying new things. Thank you Lord for Deb whose dresses, made with love, have brought many a smile to the children in Haiti, for Mama Bear and all the patience she has shown me and sweet little Kaedyn whose life has brought sunshine into mine.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Midlife Crisis... Who Me?

My daughter says I’m going through my midlife crisis.  Maybe I am, maybe I’m not all I know is I love the way noses looked pierced with those itty bitty sparkles. I really, really wanted mine done but my daughter threatened to run away from home and disown me.  I’m really going to miss that kid. J

When my one of my BFF’s, Sharon, was up visiting we stopped by a piercing place JUST to check it out.  We checked it out all right… next thing I knew I was perched on a stool ready to have my nose pierced with a sharp object that in hindsight felt pretty dull.  In fact, I wonder now if she used a screwdriver.  I have to be honest; it was the one time I wished I still drank. LOL I told the lady I was super scared (she may have guessed that as I was shaking like a leaf) and that I hoped I didn’t bite her.  Surprisingly, she said she hoped not too. J  Side note:  If you are considering getting yours done you definitely don’t want to read on.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance but when I say it hurt I mean it hurt like H E double hockey sticks!  When she was done she said “you warned me about the biting but not about kicking”.  I seriously couldn’t help it she jabbed me with the needle and I jabbed her with my foot… oops!  Sharon was toying around with the idea of doing it herself.  Funny thing is after that day she hasn’t mentioned it again.  Case and point here is a picture of beautiful friend Sharon notice no nose sparkly.

When it was through, I needed to get some pain reliever in my system.  I also felt like I should take some back to the piercer just in case her leg hurt along with some flowers and an I’m sorry card.  As bad as I wanted the aspirin, I was afraid to go home.  Now some might think it was because of what my husband would say.  They would be totally wrong, I was in fact afraid of McKenzie.  She is my funny one.  If Kevin and I get caught up at life group, at friends, out to dinner etc. and are out past 9 she is on the phone reminding us how late it is and that we need to come home.  My Mom may have been fooled by some of the things I did but not Kenzie she doesn’t miss a thing.  She definitely keeps me in line… God bless her. You are probably dying to know how she took it.  Well let’s just say she didn’t jump up and down with joy.  In fact, she wouldn’t look me in the face for the rest of the week.  The good news is she didn’t kick me.  Thank goodness because I’m sure I would have had to shell out the money for the flowers and card for her to give me. J  I do love to get her back though by saying “I’m now considering a tattoo” to which she responds with…  Never mind we don’t even want to go there.  LOL

Anyways here’s a picture of my midlife crisis, daughter defying, thought I was going to die, kicking the piercer sparkly.  Was it worth it?  You better believe it!

Life’s better with butter" and once in a while giving in to your midlife crisis.  Thank you Lord for my BFF Sharon, my sweet daughter Kenzie and of course the piercer who were all three part of this adventure even if they didn’t want to be.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Kindle to me

One of my favorite things to do is read.  The problem is when I find a good book nothing gets done… no laundry, no dinner, no favorite TV shows nadda.  I'm happy when I read… my family not so much. LOL

For my birthday, I asked for a Kindle Fire never expecting to get one.  Perhaps the last 5 words are false; untrue all right I will admit a down and out lie.   I knew full well I was going to get it because if I didn’t, heads were going to roll. J  And you know me, if you mess with the bull you’re gonna get the horns.  My horns are kind of soft, fuzzy and squishy but they are horns never the less. J

Much to my surprise… I came home a few days before my birthday to find a package on my porch.  If my husband is reading this, Kevin:  please skip to the next paragraph.  What could it be?  The box had AMAZON written in huge letters on one side and KINDLE FIRE written on the other.  When my husband came home, bless his heart, he saw the box, tucked it under his coat, ran and hid it.  Good thing, because I totally wanted to be surprised on my birthday!

The first book I loaded on my Kindle was a free one from the Amazon store.  It was "Hostile Witness" by Rebecca Forster.  Since it was free, I honestly wasn’t expecting too much.  I thought it would work to check out my new toy. Kevin:  I totally meant for you to skip to the next paragraph not this one so move it on down. J  This book turns out was the real birthday surprise. It was beyond awesome and I couldn’t put it down.

First you should know in the last couple weeks, I have read 5 of her books and just started on my 6th.  I seriously couldn’t be more hooked if they were dipped in chocolate and then covered in sprinkles. J  The first 4 books I read were the Witness Series.  When I was about 75% done with the last book, I started to feel panicked.  Was she working on more books?  What will happen with the characters I’ve grown attached to?  Won’t Josie, Hannah and Archer miss me?  I went to her website and I didn’t see anything about a new book in the series but several other books caught my eye so I started to calm down.  There was a section on the website where you could leave a comment.   I left one never in a million, trillion years expecting to get a reply.  When I got home that night and checked my email there was one from Rebecca Forster.  You should have seen me… I was jumping up and down, squealing with delight.  I’m pretty sure my family thought I had finally gone and lost my mind.  When I opened the email, I expected to see a form letter but it was a PERSONAL EMAIL FROM HER TO ME!  That sort of makes me famous right?

Well to make a long story short, since that time we have been corresponding back and forth via email.  I can’t tell you how blessed that makes me feel or what a special spark it has added to my life.  She is very humble and I truly don’t think she knows what an amazing, gifted, best of the best writer she is.  If you like to read, start with Hostile Witness.  But first… make sure your laundry is done, take out menus close by and favorite TV shows DVR’d because take it from me once you start you won’t be able to stop.

Life’s better with butter" and a little surprise now and then.  Thank you Lord for surprises...  If you keep then all good that would be great. I don’t want to be greedy so the bad ones feel free to give to someone else.

Friday, April 15, 2011

C is for Crazy...

Cake Class, Cupcakes, Colleges, Comedy, Cookie, Cherry all start with C but when you put them all together it's simply C for Crazy! It started Wednesday with my 1st of 4 Wilton Cake Decorating classes at Michael's. This is actually my 3rd attempt at this course.  The first one I couldn't get the Wilton Rose down try as I might so I made myself take it over again.  The next time I had to miss the final class so being the OCD person I am... I had to start the series yet again.  The class was lots of fun but I didn't get home until 9pm and I still had to make and decorate 48 cupcakes for the next day. 

The first 24 were for my niece Kelsey's 13th birthday.  She likes the colors green and blue so that's what I went with.  My newest cupcake thing to do is twirl the bottom part of the buttercream frosting in sprinkles.  I also added some royal icing flowers I had made and stored a while ago.  I think they turned out pretty cute.

Next up was 24 cupcakes for my friend Becky aka Cookie's birthday.  I decided on the same type of decorations except this time in pink and purple.  I'm not going to lie... I'm diggin this sprinkles on the side look.

I really enjoyed making these problem was I didn't get done until midnight and we were leaving on a road trip the next morning at 6am sharp. As I fell into bed I looked at the clock and calculated I had about 4 1/2 hours until my alarm was going to rear its ugly head.  At 1am I looked at the clock and calculated I had 3 1/2 hours until my alarm went off.  At 2am I looked at the clock and calculated I had 2 1/2 hours until my alarm went off.  Finally at 3am I looked at the clock, freaked out and went to sleep.  I swear it was only a few minutes later when that horrible beep, beep, beep went off but somehow I drug my butt out of bed and straight into the shower. 

At 6am sharp the Burt's came to pick us up and our road trip to tour a couple colleges officially started.  It was Kevin, Kenzie and I plus Kenzie's boyfriend Chris and his Mom, Jane.  First stop was Buzz Inn in Ellensburg for a little breakfast. I'm not sure what our waitress's name was but let's call her Agnes because that's what she looked like... actually Agnes with an Attitude would be more fitting. I don't know why I got the feeling she didn't like us... maybe the first tip was when she flung our menus down on the table. About halfway through our meal a convoy of Army vehicles rolled off the highway and into the gas station next door.  When Agnes caught that her whole demeanor changed including an extra bounce to her step.  I don't know much about Agnes but I do know what rocks her boat and it's not the Navy.  :)

We pulled into Cheney close to 1 and checked in for our tour.  There's not much to say about Eastern except it has a lot and when I say a lot I mean a heck of a lot of stairs.  Chris and Kenzie bought matching sweatshirts which was pretty cute but besides that the only other thing I came out of there with is blisters on my feet from all the walking up and down and down and up the stairs!!!

Thursday night we stayed at the Hampton Inn in Spokane.  We weren't sure where we were going to eat so we asked Bee.  Who's Bee?  She's the Burt's GPS device.  Apparently Bee gets a little upset when you deviate from her instructions hence the name Bee which is short for... well I guess you can figure that one out yourself.  :)  Anyways Bee seemed to be in a pretty good mood and suggested we go to the Old Spaghetti Factory.  I just have to give a big shout out to Bee because that was the best meal I've had in a long time.

The next morning we were Ellensburg bound to check out Central. We all loved it... especially Jane and I because there were no stairs... Praise the Lord!  It's a beautiful campus and the kids have decided to apply there in the fall. 

We got home Friday evening after dropping Kenzie off in Everett for a cheer conference.  While I had a great time with the Burt's on our little road trip it sure felt good to be home. 

Saturday night we had a birthday party for Joel, Becky and Sherry aka Joel, Cookie and Cherry. :)  First stop was the Improv in Bellingham for a little comedy.  After the show, we went to Jalapenos for some Mexican food.  Joel had to leave so we just had the birthday girls Cookie and Cherry.  We told the waiter it was their birthday and that they were twins.  It was pretty funny when he asked later if they were really twins... guess you had to be there.  After dinner we headed over to the Shell's for some games.  Perfect ending to a really fun night!

Finished the weekend off Sunday with having the Wasson's over for dinner.  Since it was Joel's official birthday, I made him some cupcakes and decorated them in Oklahoma University colors.  Joel was thrilled because after God, Family and friends... OU is his next love!

"Life’s better with butter" and lots of things that start with the letter C.  Thank you Lord for my crazy life... I wouldn't have it any other way and no one knows that better than you!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oh Baby Baby!

I just have to put this out there... how many babies do you think are actually conceived right after a baby shower?  Maybe it's just me but when they pass around those adorable little outfits, blankets, etc it just makes me melt and my first thought is... I want another baby!!!

My friend Sue and I hosted a baby shower for a couple gals who are both expecting boys in the next few weeks. On Thursday, I baked some sugar cookies for the party so I could decorated them on Friday with royal icing. I tried a new recipe which I wasn't really thrilled with but live and learn. As soon as I find the perfect recipe ... I promise you will be the first ones I share it with.:)  Anyways, here's how my little feet turned out.

I wanted to do something different for the cupcakes so a week before the shower I sat down with some paper, punches, glue and ribbon and made my own cake picks. They were actually really fun to make and I was happy with how they turned out. 

Saturday morning... cookies done, cupcakes done, presents wrapped. Time to get everything loaded up and head on over to Sue's to get everything set up. 

I have to admit I haven't been to a baby shower in ages but Ladies it's like riding a bike... you never forget.  As soon as I got my hands on some of that baby paraphernalia, I was a a baby making mama wanna be. All I've got to say is "Thank You Jesus" my husband is fixed because no matter how cute babies are I'm way to old  physically, emotionally and financially to be starting over again.

The shower was a blast but my weekend was so crazy busy I have to admit I was glad when it came to an end.  Now I'm anxiously awaiting the call to announce the two new bundles of joy have arrived as well as the announcement of what arrivals we will be expecting nine months from now!

"Life’s better with butter" and a whole lot better with babies.  Thank you Lord for the gift of life.  I love the thought that not only am I your child but I was also once your own little bundle of joy.