Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This Vacation Thing...

I could get use to it! I took a few vacation days so that I would be off work from last Wednesday through this Friday. And I love it! I could get used to the not working. It's the paycheck I would miss! I've had lots of time to just sleep late and play. Yesterday, my Mom and I went to Neosho to see my Grandmother and Grandma. We discovered that Joplin still has a Charlie's Chicken, unlike Springfield. I was really excited! I may have licked my plate clean. Maybe. Here we are before the Charlie's Chicken Extravaganza.Today I used my new mixer to make bread and cookies. I used my new chopper to make bread crumbs and chop onions, then I mixed up a meatloaf in the new mixer. Yum! I can't stop! David just got home and we are heading out to a New Year's Eve party. I should probably go back to work soon - can't get too used to this leisure thing!
Have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to Normal

Notice anything missing? A Christmas tree maybe? Today it was beautiful outside. It felt very spring-like. Tuley and I took a walk, and it just seemed too warm to have Christmas decorations up. I was afraid if I waited for January, it might never happen. So, before I could change my mind, I started gathering up the decorations and hauling boxes out of the closet. How is it possible that it takes just as long or longer to take them down as put them up? And how do I always end up needing a different number of boxes?Jon and Kate and their 8 kept me company all afternoon. David will be impressed when he gets home - I even managed to wrestle the big tree into the box. I didn't get it back in the attic though. I was afraid he might be disappointed if there wasn't anything left for him to do - ha! It's nice to have the house back to it's normal state!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fun Old-Fashioned Family Photo

My cousin John took this picture on Saturday. Could it be? Everyone smiling? With our eyes open? :)

Gracie Rhymes With Crazy

Gracie has always answered to her name. You can call her from anywhere in the house and you will hear "meow?" and little running feet. She doesn't even mind when you say "I didn't want anything; I just wanted to know where you were." Recently, I discovered she will also answer to Crazy. I guess it sounds enough like Gracie that she doesn't notice the difference.

Yesterday, Gracie proved her craziness in a spectacular way. Most cats are stressed by a house full of extra people. They retreat to a safe place and just wait it out. That's what Henrietta does. Gracie is stressed by any stranger in the house, and she has a very broad definition of stranger. A stranger, to Gracie, is anyone who does not live in our house. My parents - strangers. Close friends who are here often? Strangers. One stranger is just as horrible as ten. Instead of retreating and hiding, Gracie insists on being in the center of the action. And announcing her stress by hissing at anyone who dares look at her. If they have the nerve to reach out a hand to pet, they're rewarded with teeth and claws.

No one who was scratched or bitten yesterday would have recognized the Gracie that appeared as soon as everyone left. I cleaned up the kitchen, then sat down on the couch for a bit of a nap. Gracie isn't a lap layer - she wants to lay vertically on your chest and stomach. And if you'll let her tuck her head under your chin, all the better. So Gracie snuggled up and slept and purred for an hour and a half. Could this be the same cat that cornered my 14 year old cousin just hours ago?

Gracie rhymes with crazy.

A Griswold Fun Old-Fashioned Family Christmas

On Saturday, we celebrated Christmas with part of my family. It was raining and yucky outside, but it was warm and fun inside!

As usual, there was lots more food than we needed, but everything was tasty. Visit my food blog for some of the recipes.

The groom tried to get a jump start on lunch, but I caught him with my spy camera. :)

Next time we host, we made need to arrange for cots for the afternoon nappers.

We even had a visit from Santa's teeny little helper, my cousin's new baby.

Even Kitties Love Christmas!

Christmas morning, I got up early to make easy cinnamon rolls and let Tuley out. There was a rustling sound coming from under the tree, so I went to investigate. It seemed that Henrietta was ready to open her gift from Grammy! :) Weird? Who me?

She managed to get the tissue paper out, which she promptly attacked. She wasn't able to open the bag of treats though, so I gave her a hand - er - paw.
Gracie pounced on Cocktail Wiener Dog, who has since disappeared. Wonder how many cat toys we'll find when we move someday. The Teeny Sardinie toy is still lurking around. His fate has not yet been determined.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

"No wonder we love those moments and want them to linger. But for now they can't, so we must let them go. They are the flicker of some holy flame, a twinkling of an eye wherein the dead come alive again. Remember them, thank the Lord for them, but move on into the next moment and be present in it. It is God's present to you."

- Rich Mullins

Monday, December 22, 2008

Kid Gifts

When you teach elementary school, you get all sorts of gifts. This time of year, the gift-giving really picks up. Instead of coloring pages done at home, you get cookies and ornaments and such. You've got to be careful not to make too big a deal about any one gift. The student who brings an ornament made of crayoned Popsicle sticks should feel just as good as the one who brings fancy hand lotion. It is a talent - this gushing equally over all gifts. They should never know if you have a favorite - gift or student. But I did. We all have favorites. My least favorite gifts were probably the most expensive. Nice things chosen by mothers and meant to impress. Kids who give these things shrug when thanked. They shrug because it didn't mean anything to them. They didn't even know what they were giving you until you unwrapped it that very morning. My favorite gifts are somewhat kooky or off-the-wall. But they are given with great love. A teddy bear purchased at a garage sale who has just a bit of unidentifiable dried goo on his head. A card made quickly at someone's desk because she is embarrassed that her mother didn't get you a gift. That's the other balancing act - showing enough gratitude for the givers, but not so much that the non-gift bearers feel left out or embarrassed. Thank you notes must be written to each student - even if the note says "thank you for finishing all of your work this week" instead of "thank you for that ridiculously expensive candle."

Over the weekend I noticed a picture that hangs on my bulletin board. It was the last day of school. The close of my very first year of teaching. One of the kids - okay, one of my favorites, but shhh! - showed up to school that day sporting a new hairdo.

That's right, friends, he had requested that his dad shave my name into the back of his head. Money spent on gift? None. Impact on teacher? Immeasurable. The kid is now somewhere around 20.

Today, I received my first kid gift since leaving elementary education. Now I have tech students who work with Kelly and me. A month or more ago, we were discussing an inflatable flamingo that used to decorate our office. He sprung a leak and eventually got thrown away. Today I opened a Christmas bag to find...TWO inflatable flamingos that are also can holders! No way! This is quite possibly my favorite gift since the head-shaving incident. It's not just that it is a cool gift, which it is, but because it took some effort to find such a thing.
Oh, and yeah, it totally floats.

Murphy's Law

You've heard of Murphy's Law, right? It states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong while David is gone. Low tire lights come on, dogs get sick. And this week's special? Frozen pipes.
The top reading is the outside temperature. And the bottom reading? That's the temperature upstairs in our house. While the thermostat is set on 64.While I was making pumpkin bread for the neighbors, I was suddenly without cold water. I found this out the hard way - while I was washing my hands. With a few tips from David and my Dad, I soon had running cold water again.

Almost Missed It

If I hadn't had to sit through upteen lights on my home from work, I would have missed this.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Vacation 2008

Last night was the annual National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation party. A few years ago, we decided it would be fun to dress as characters from the movie for the party. It's getting harder to come up with an original costume! There were lots of delicous things to eat, but I showed uncharacteristic restraint. Ha! Just kidding. I parked myself by the table and ate until I couldn't hold one more oyster cracker.Here's the 2008 group picture. There were some, um, clever costumes that hadn't been done before. David was dressed as Clark Griswold, and I was dressed as Frank Shirley, Clark's boss. Hmmm... :) I seem to be missing the 2004 picture, which was the first year that we dressed up. I am also missing the 2005 group picture, but here's David and I in 2005.

In 2006, Krista took over the hosting. I love having it there - I don't have to clean or cook! :) And her Christmas decorations are always gorgeous.

Here we are in 2007! As you can see, people get really creative with their costumes. Todd's silver suit is duct tape!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy HoliDAZE

On Saturday, we headed out toward the annual Springfield Christmas Parade. It was windy, but fairly warm for mid-December.
Here we are, bundled and posing for the camera. I can't even keep my eyes open when I'm taking my own picture.
You won't get any candy standing way back there!

Speaking of candy...the highlight of the parade was a verbal altercation involving two women and some candy. Apparently, someone stepped on someone else's foot while retrieving candy from the street. Mind you, the candy in question was only tootsie rolls and peppermints. Nothing to get one's panties in a bind if you ask me. The police officer, whose main job seemed to be traffic control, had to intervene. I like this picture, because it looks like there is a lot of Christmas love going around. Not soon as the officer would walk away, the woman in the tan coat would turn and start mouthing the much larger foot-stepping woman. We missed a good portion of the parade, just enjoying the street show taking place right in front of us.

Sunday evening, Christina and I braved the forecast and went to Silver Dollar City. It was really warm - strangely so. The lines for rides weren't very long, so we rode a few favorites. I also rode one that Christina had ridden before - the Barn Swing. It was something! We'd watched the lighted SDC parade (my favorite float is above) and finished riding. As we were headed into the Christmas shop, there was a huge gust of wind. Suddenly, it was really cold! It started to rain lightly, so we decided to leave. Lots of people thought this was a good idea, so there was a large crowd gathered waiting to ride the trolley back to the parking lot. We thought we'd just walk - after all, it was all downhill. We followed the walking path until it abruptly ended. There was a sign posted that said "No crosswalk. Traffic does not stop. Use park transportation." Um...would have been nice if there'd been a sign a little sooner. By now, all that stood between us and the parking lot was a road. Forever and always, you've been able to walk from that lot to the park and back, so we were ill-prepared for the abrupt end to the walkway. Not to worry - we darted across the road and made it safely to the car.

If I haven't bored you to tears yet, I have just one more holidaze story. After work today, I went to the post office. I got into the line for the automated stamp and mailing machine. As I eyed the box full of envelopes carried by the woman in front of me, a man joined the end of the line. He had been waiting in the regular line where you speak to a person when you reach the front. He loudly told everyone within earshot that he'd been in the line 20 minutes and only 4 people had made it through. He continued his monologue with minimal encouragement from his audience. The line moved, bit by bit, and soon it was time for the woman with all the envelopes. She weighed and printed postage for each one. One. At. A. Time. A postal employee appeared from nowhere to greet all of us and make sure we were finding what we needed. Mr. Loudmouth took the opportunity to tell the poor guy all of the flaws of the U.S. postal system. I felt sorry for the guy, but he took it well. I wonder how many times today he has heard the very same complaints? Soon it was my turn. I could feel the hot stares of the waiting masses behind me, so I hurried through as quickly as I could. When it came time to put my pin number in for my debit card, the machine wouldn't take it. I could feel the panic rising, so I backed through the menus and ran it as credit. Whew! I hope that my package reaches it's destination. In my haste, there is no telling where I sent it!

Thank You for Visiting!

Wow! Wedded Bliss Road has reached a record number of comments from BooMama's Open House. I had not participated in something like this before, and I never imagined we'd have so many new visitors. It was really exciting! Tuley and I would like to thank everyone for their kind words. Tuley is a bit smug that his house was just as popular as the people house. :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Welcome! Come On In!

Welcome! Step right on in - on our new steps.

We'll start in the kitchen. I bought the snowman after Christmas one year. He was supposed to be a gift for the next year. Um, over the year, the snowman and I grew close. :) I couldn't bear to give him away, so he is still here.

This was my favorite addition last year. This was the centerpiece at the family shower that my aunt hosted last year. I added the little string of lights and a few handmade ornaments. Then I searched and searched for little kitchen utensils to decorate it with. My friend Robyn came to the rescue and gave me the little old-looking kitchen utensils.

The Santa mug collection looks like it was built over years, but it was purchased as a pre-made collection after Christmas at an antique store one year. My favorite one is the second from the left with the striped handle. The Mr. and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper shakers were David's mom's. The box behind them is most of a set of Christmas cookie cutters.

On into the dining room. We were given this nativity last year as a wedding gift. Isn't it pretty? It's made of olive wood and comes from Israel.

The tree has been in the dining room the last couple of years. By some stroke of luck, the cats and the dog leave it alone.

Dining room is not quite accurate I guess, as it's really just one big room. Here we are from the living room part looking back at the dining room.

Here's the fireplace. My Grandad and Granny gave us the big crock for our wedding. I keep meaning to get some kindling to put in it, but as you can see I haven't done it yet. All of the wooden spools on the mantle belonged to David's mom. I noticed them the first time I was ever at his house. I thought he had such good taste! And he does. :)

Here's the other end of the living room. The Santa on the little table was a wedding gift, as was the advent calendar next to him. The light colored pillow is from my mom this year - it's embroidered with a cute and funny picture of a cat in a Santa hat. Based on it's girth, I think it must be Henny.

This Santa is one of my favorite decorations. I spotted him at a store several years ago. I went back for their after Christmas sale and decided that if he was still there, and on sale, he was meant to be mine. Silly, yes, but he was still there and I was pretty excited! It doesn't take much.

My office is decorated, and the top of the stairs, but those pictures didn't turn out so well and this post has gone on long enough. So, we'll look out the back door at Tuley's house. He chose bells instead of a wreath this year and asked David to put lights on his house. David obliged and here is the result. I think the neighbors think we are crazy!

BooMama suggested adding recipes for our Open House refreshments, so head over to the Fremont Kitchen for a few holiday treats.

Christmas Open House


I saw the link to BooMama's Christmas Tour on Keetha's blog and thought it was a great idea. I even told David about it. And then forgot. Oops! But I have a little bit of Monday left, and I am joining in the fun.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stick With Me and You'll Never Go Hungry

We've talked about all things cozy and homey. Enough of that. You'll find no kittens, no Christmas decorations, no warm fuzzies in this post. It's about Bacon. On January 2, 2000 (really - I remember the date), I went with a group of friends (including David) on a one-day culinary tour of Kansas City. We were to have lunch at a place called The Peanut. Some of the group had been before, but this was my first time. We arrived at the back side of a seedy looking old bar. We filed in past the stinky garbage cans and past the grungy looking kitchen. We found a large table in the tiny bar and sat down on chairs that were leaking stuffing through their torn vinyl seats. Really? We're eating here? I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Everyone ordered BLT's despite there being a few other things on the menu. We had come for the BLT's. The guys probably had wings, but that was before my wing-eating days. I looked around at the decor - very eclectic in a way that only 65 years in the same location can provide. Old pin up posters, bicycles, signs, you name it, it was tacked to the walls. Lunch arrived. Suddenly, the world was a better place. The ripped seats and tacky decor faded into the background as I bit into the world's best BLT.

Fast-forward almost 9 years. Yesterday, Todd, Kevin, David, and I set off for KC. Our main (and only) reason for traveling 3 hours? Lunch. Lunch and a short vacation from work. The Peanut did not disappoint. And now, I eat wings. With reckless abandoned. My fingertips and nails were orange with wing sauce for the rest of the day. The BLT was excellent as always. I would have taken a picture to share, but I skipped breakfast so that I would be really ready for lunch. It worked, a little too well. I jumped right into my sandwich and forget to take its picture. I was also going to take a picture of the VIP (ha ha) entrance to The Peanut, but I forgot that too. Next time. :)

As for the title of this post...David told me that once. And he was right! The scale I stepped on yesterday proves it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tree Tour Part Four

I got this ornament when David and I went to Santa Fe, NM. The picture isn't great, but it's a glass chile ristra. David could happily live in the dessert. I couldn't live there, but I love to visit.
My parents gave us this ornament last year with our engagement picture in it. I can't place the tune it plays, but it sounds very wedding-y.

We got this last year in Key West. Hmmm...wonder what the weather is like in Key West today? I bet it is not 32 degrees and misty/icy!

Monday, December 8, 2008

What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?

One year ago today, David and I were married in a sweet small church in Billings. The weather was yucky, but the day was amazing. We were blessed to have so many of our friends and family join us for the big day.
We look just silly happy, don't we?

It's been a good year, and I hope that we'll have many more.