Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Make Merry Gift Swap

I'm taking part in the Make Merry Gift Swap being hosted by Mama at Kingdom Twindom this year. My contribution is a couple of these four-sided placemats.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

New Floors

On Monday of this week, our old floors (carpet and linoleum) started coming up and on Tuesday, our new wooden floors started going down. The crew that did the project (four different rooms) worked efficiently and very well - even aside from the fact that they're related to my brother-in-law. ;)

Our main floors rooms have really gotten a face-lift. So exciting! And here soon, our new counter tops will be installed in the kitchen. Hopefully, we'll be able to get all the household projects finished before Lindsey and Joe's move (which is very likely now)!


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Yesterday's BBQ

Yesterday, we had approximately 50 people over for a BBQ get-together. Thankfully, we were blessed with unbelievably beautiful weather! I had such a good time! It was a phenomenal group of friends, which made for a simply marvelous day.

Guests started showing up around 3 PM and the party broke up around 12:15 AM (11:15 PM after falling back). We consumed almost seven whole chickens, eleven of the twelve racks of ribs that were cooked, all of the three types of cole slaw, about half of the baked beans, almost seven pounds of corn (not on the cob), and close to 100 5-inch cookies!
We haven't had a big get-together like that in years and it was long overdue! We decided to do it this weekend, because Lindsey and Joe were going to be in town, Dad had promised some buddies that he'd have them over for ribs, and Joey had wanted to have some friends over. The time change was a bonus!
We're hoping to do this kind of thing again before too long.

I am so grateful for such a fantastic group of friends (and family)! Good times...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chloe Visits

Chloe is fast approaching 19-months-old and we are truly enjoying every bit of her and her mommy's visit!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cuteness Personified

Does it get any cuter than this?! :)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Apple Pie and Rainbows

visiting friends near Denver, Colorado ~ August 6, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Seven Quick Takes (vol 5)

I've been a little scarce around the Blogosphere lately... I've been really busy! To delve into the nitty gritty, although I'm slated for 20 hours a week, I've been able to pick up a few extra hours here and there and have worked closer to 50 than to 40 hours this pay period. Additionally, I've been working in my spare time on tying up loose ends for the old clinic. And I've started taking Spanish two nights a week. (And there's my Holy Hour once a week as well.) It seems like all I can do just to stay on top of routine chores, much less additional demands... I've been a little overwhelmed this week, to say the least. Thankfully, I'm feeling a little more sane now.

Independence Day was lots of fun for me! It was a day devoted almost entirely to relaxation and socializing - an occurrence that is entirely too rare. :) In the morning, we went to 9 o'clock Mass and ate a late breakfast. I made Jell-O and did some ironing, but all in a casual, I've-got-all-the-time-in-the-world manner. (I feel like I'm always running, running, running, so that was great. No pressure!) After lunch, we watched four episodes of a really silly, but funny, TV show.
That evening, AB and I went party-hopping. We spent two hours at the first place, visiting with good friends and eating dinner. About an hour passed at the second get-together was there was live music and I got to visit with old friends that I hadn't talked to in quite a while. Our last stop of the evening was a three hour stay at a family's house, where we did lots of great fireworks and got a kick out of their kids. :) We tumbled, exhausted, into bed about midnight.
Our garden is coming along really well so far. I'm generally QUITE happy with it. Our tomatoes haven't really started to turn red yet, but hopefully that will happen here soon. Our strawberries continue to produce steadily. And our peach trees are bearing a few small fruits... the likes of which I have never tasted. They are the sweetest, most flavorful peaches EVER!! Our okra plants have begun to produce as well. The green bean bushes are fairly prolific and our beets are so yummy! I can't wait 'til the leeks are ready to harvest in October. And I hope to get a fall crop of carrots, radishes, and maybe more beets in the ground here pretty soon.
In my previous post, I mentioned that they would be demolishing the bell tower today. That is scheduled for 2 PM. I doubt that I need to reassure you that I'll be there, camera in hand! ;)

I was recently directed to Johnson Farms' website. They are located in far western Missouri and currently offer pick-your-own green beans for $1 a pound. That sounds like a great opportunity and I hope to go sometime this summer! It sounds reminiscent of Gary's Berries which is another place I'd really like to visit.

Monday will mark one year since my first date with AB! "Happy Anniversary" to us! :)

Well, I started this post late Thursday night and now that it is 11:50 on Friday night, I'd better wrap it up! Since I began drafting it, they have attempted again to fell the bell tower of the Immaculata... without success! They tried twice this afternoon (after MUCH effort to get the cables in place) to pull the tower down, or at least the top of it as a start. On the second attempt, the $1500, 1.5" cable that they were using snapped! I don't know what their next step from here will be... But it's safe to say that we're all very well impressed by the prowess of the Jesuits' architecture skills 100 years ago!
An action shot... (Note the falling debris visible in the opening of the belfry.)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Out with the Old

July 5, 2009

At noon today, we got a call that the demolition of our decrepit, but historic, church (which burned in 1978 and hasn't been used since) had reached the point where they were going to be taking down the steeple. The steeple/belfry was put on in the early '90's when restorations efforts were begun (without lasting success). It has been a focal point and a well-known, much-beloved monument in our town for years. So it caused a stir when we heard that this was the day it was going to come down.

I grabbed my camera and ran out the door with AB and Dad. A small crowd had gathered and there were reporters and cameras from channels 13 and 49 present. After 30 or 40 minutes, word came that they weren't going to take the steeple down today after all! I'm not sure exactly why, but it will be coming down tomorrow instead.

Oh well! It was still exciting and I got some pictures of the demolition action. Hopefully, I will be free to return tomorrow when they do take down the tower...!

I found it fascinating to watch such a giant machine doing a job that is both forceful and delicate, large-scale and precise! If you'd like to watch too, don't miss the web cam which gives you a great real-time view of the proceedings.

It's a long road to a new church, but it's morale-boosting to see the process getting underway.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hope You All Had a Happy 4th!

Mine was filled with relaxing, socializing, good food, good friends, lots of fun, and lots of explosives! :)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

On Tuesday, Aaron and I went to our first ballgame of the season. (It seemed a long time in coming!) The Twins played at "the K" - and won 2-1. Very enjoyable and the weather was perfect!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jewels in the Garden

I discovered our first strawberries of the season (and ever!) in the garden yesterday morning. Hiding beneath the broad green leaves, they were like little sparkling red gems. They're really little for some reason, but it's awesome to get a few little strawberries fresh from the garden!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fostering Life

For one reason or another, the topic of foster care, orphanages, and adoption has come to my attention several times recently.

First, awhile back, there was this article on the Conversion Diary about how Jennifer went from pro-choice to completely pro-life. It is long, but excellent reading!

Then there was Mary's article at Owlhaven about the gradual development of her and her husband's desire to adopt.
This was followed very shortly by her post about how they afforded the adoptions of six children from foreign countries.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Jennifer published a superb blog post about her and her husband's burgeoning interest in foster care, in spite of the fact that her oldest is four and her fourth was born in March of this year. Coming from someone who had once been in the position of not planning to have any children at all, this is clearly a glorious, grace-filled progression!

This past Monday, Jennifer posted a question-and-answer session with the parents of a severely handicapped child, addressing the issue of whether or not it is a mercy to deny them life as pro-choice proponents claim. Interesting reading.

On Wednesday, she issued a very thought-provoking and eye-opening post, even for a "cradle Catholic" like myself, with the excellent (and, I think, very accurate) observation that Christians are open to life in a way that atheists and agnostics are not. They are willing to surrender control of their lives to God and demonstrate this in a willingness to accept the less-than-perfect aspects of human life.

Finally, yesterday, I received a couple of e-mails about two guys from the west coast who have set out to bicycle around the world as a fund-raiser for an orphanage in India! They have a website set up - The Orphan Ride - where you can follow their progress and make a pledge to donate. (Their application for non-profit status has been submitted and is pending.)
These two brothers - 21 and 29 years old - have worked for two years to save the money to cover all of their own expenses! That means that every single penny donated will go to the support of an Indian orphanage - 100% of the proceeds! Wow!
To read more on their gutsy undertaking, you can go to their website or read this article.
Rumor has it that they'll be traveling through our town this weekend!

I'm not sure why there has been such a convergence of articles on the subject of adoption and life lately, but it has definitely gotten my attention and I've been doing some thinking about it.

It seems to me that a course like adoption should not be entered upon lightly, with too little consideration. And it's clear to me that there are an almost infinite number of circumstances that play into such a decision... and every family works with a unique combination of circumstances, which influence their decisions. It is also seems to me that it really needs to be God's Will that one adopt, if it is going to go as smoothly as possible (with the financial requirements, with the timing, and with the transition and integration for all persons involved). Above all, there needs to be plenty of God's grace and a lot of generosity, understanding, and selflessness (as well as an accurate grasp on the possible speed bumps inherent to the process) on the part of the prospective parents!

If any of you out there are considering adoption, you have my heartfelt support and admiration. God bless you!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

This Day Last Year

One year ago today, Dad and I were in the Utah desert, soaking up the sun and loving the dry heat and the deep blueness of the sky. I wouldn't enjoy living there, but I sure enjoyed visiting!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Thought for the Day

The present day is given to you in order to gain the future day of eternity... Make a firm purpose to employ the day well for this intention.

~St. Francis de Sales

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Blogosphere's Got Talent

There's a talent show going on over at Kingdom Twindom! The deadline for entries was yesterday and I was too busy to get my blog post about it up in time, but Sarah was kind enough to include my YouTube link anyway. (Thank you, Sarah!)

I'd like to present my sister as a contestant. She has a naturally beautiful singing voice and nurtured it with a couple of years of singing lessons in high school. She's 21 now, but at the time of this video - in which she sings Se Tu M'Ami - she was 17. (I'm sorry that the video quality is poor - it is an mpeg from an old digital camera.)

So, what do you think? Is she a winner? :)

Good luck to the other contestants. Based on the entries I've seen, it's not going to easy for the judges to decide!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Seven Quick Takes (vol 4)

Merger complete, we started seeing patients at the new-to-us facility this past Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day. That first day on the job was a three-ring circus! A very, very busy day for us in times past (with two providers) would have been 40-45 patients. That would have kept everyone on their toes and exhausted us all by the end of the day.
On Tuesday, we saw 67 patients. Granted, this was spread over three providers - not two - but it was compounded by the fact that their office had been closed for three days (Memorial Day Weekend, of course) and ours had been closed for five to effect the move. (The phones rang off the hook!) This was doubly compounded by the fact that two of the three providers available, one of the nurses, and two of the business office personnel (myself included) were still very much in training and not yet up to speed.
Additionally, the x-ray tech who normally worked there (Mike, aged 62) passed away suddenly of heart failure on Monday afternoon - and a sub was in his place. (God rest his soul.) The final straw to the craziness was the fact that approximately two-thirds of the patients seen on Tuesday were new patients to the practice, requiring much additional paperwork to complete the check-in process. Miraculously, we still got out of there by 5:30 PM! Exhausted and overwhelmed might have been an understatement. :)

Fortunately, on Wednesday, we had only two providers at a time in the morning and afternoon. (Julia and Dad switched off morning and afternoon clinic, because Dad had a hospital delivery in the afternoon. Another nurse practitioner worked a full day.) This reduced the patient volume per force.
Both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, I worked at home on accounts receivable for the "old clinic."

Yesterday, we had two providers in the morning and three in the afternoon. I only worked a half-day, but when I left at lunch time, we had seen 15 patients in the morning and 30 were scheduled for the afternoon! Today we will have three providers all day, so I expect the pace to increase again somewhat. I get the impression that the "incumbent" staff with whom we have begun working are completely overwhelmed with the patient load. They keep hoping that it will slow back down, but I'm not sure it will... at least, not in the near future.

I am very thankful that it's the weekend! I'm tired!!
Don't miss this brief movie clip! Bob Hope's great. :)

Ordinations in Winona, MN are three weeks from today! There will be 13 ordinands!! Ten for the Society, two for the Benedictines in Silver City, NM, and one Dominican priest for France. What a day that will be! Will any of my readers be there? (Please chime in!)

We have tens of thousands of honey bees in our backyard. On purpose. ;) They're primarily my dad's project and I admit that I was very skeptical and wary of them at first, as I have a horror of all flying, stinging insects... But they've been extremely peaceable and they're fascinating to watch. I don't know too much about them, but we have an acquaintance who has 30+ years experience as a beekeeper. He came and checked on them on Memorial Day and was impressed by the vigor of the hive. I'm looking forward to the honey!

Have a good weekend, all!! Don't miss the other 7 Quick Takes participants at this fantastic blog.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset over the School

our picturesque campus at sundown: the view from our deck ~ May 25, 2009

More Wordless Wednesdays here!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Garden Update

Twenty-five days ago, we transplanted the plants that we had begun from seed indoors: bell peppers, tomatoes, and leeks. We also planted 100 bare-root strawberries that we bought from a local nursery.
Twenty-four days ago, we direct-sowed more seeds into our raised garden beds: lettuce, carrots, green beans, shell peas, beats, and more leeks.
A few days later, Mom planted 13 bare-root asparagus plants.
On May 9, we planted seven tomato plants that I bought in case our started-from-seed bushes didn't hang on.
About ten days ago, I planted more carrots and Mom planted okra, as well as some marigold seeds around the tomato plants.
This past Saturday, I planted another 1/2 row of "heatwave-proof" lettuce and another 1/2 row of carrots (by staggering the plantings, we hope to have a fairly steady harvest over several weeks).

Everything is coming along so well! It's too early still to know how good the harvest is going to be, but it looks pretty promising... I hope I'm not "jinxing" myself, but saying so. ;)

Allow me give you a tour about the place... :)

Asparagus poking through the ground...
Our carrots are still really little, but starting to get the characteristic "frilly" leaves.
Our bush beans are growing like crazy! They're bigger every day!
Leeks are very slow growers. They take about 5 months from planting to harvest...
I'm so excited about our lettuce! It's still relatively tiny, but also beginning to get the characteristic look for lettuce leaves. Ah... salads fresh from the garden. Yum!!
Our okra plants are doing splendidly as well. We'll need to thin them out a little bit soon.
My lovely lavender... I really like it. The fragrance is unbelievably strong and I'm looking forward to making a couple of sachets with the blooms this summer.
Our irises are at their peak. :)
Our tomato plants are looking healthy and growing pretty well. We need to get tomato cages soon!
Our strawberry bed is thriving. We've been pinching the flowers off the plants so far, to allow the plants' energy to go into getting bigger instead of producing fruit... but fresh strawberries are definitely a treat we're all looking forward to!
Beets (left) and peas (right)... The beets are about ready to be thinned and I thinned out the peas a little bit a couple of days ago.

Thank you so much for taking a virtual stroll through the garden with me. :) With a little luck, in a couple of months, I'll be able to post pictures of the fruits of our labors!

Happy Memorial Day!