Monday, January 31, 2011

Interlude

We're going to take a brief interlude from our usually Mundane Monday action to...well....Interlude.

The "Interlude Dance" was born at UNI during 2010 and has been spreading like wildfire. It's humble beginnings started as "The Gruff Dance", and later expanded in dance moves.

 

This dance craze has taken over Campbell Hall (residence hall), the University of Northern Iowa, UNI Panther sporting events, other college campuses, 


my 3rd grade class, 

video
  
and soon... the WORLD.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"I'd Rather Have My Life"

This past Wednesday night I went to Joker's Comedy Club to see a "celebrity" comedian. That comedian was Pauly Shore. You might recognize him from such films as Encino Man, Son in Law, In the Army Now, Jury Duty, and Biodome. You won't recognize him from anything else. Aside from some work on MTV in the early 90s, Pauly's five movies were his only flirtation with fame. His trademarks: acting stoned, waving his arms around, saying the word weasel in a high-pitched stretched out tone of voice, and calling people, "buddy."


I'm sure most of you who read this blog know who Pauly Shore is. I won't go into any more detail on his  movies or his personality. I went to see him on Wednesday night with two friends from work. We figured the show would go one of two ways: we would see a reinvented Pauly Shore show some maturity and growth while he tried to work on a new act/gimmick/routine OR we would witness a complete train wreck.

Crash.

The show started with Pauly stumbling to the stage, smashed out of his mind. He couldn't quite stand up straight. His eyes were half closed. People screamed in admiration as Pauly put his arms in the air and basked in the screams of people who recognized him. He then spent the next ten minutes asking us if we were all friends. Then he took a bit of a darker turn and talked about how, "I made five movies and then what the hell happened to me? I'm stuck here in Waterloo, IA (he was in Cedar Falls) in the freezing cold."


I'm not sure why he found it a good idea to insult his audience. I'm also not sure why he found it a good idea to come to the stage with seemingly no act prepared other than the slurred words of a fallen fraternity brother. He lamented on not being able to find work in Hollywood. He complained about not being married. He kept talking about stuff that is a little too disgusting to be repeated in this blog. He didn't seem to know where he was and kept rambling until a blond waitress went in front of the stage and wanted to take his picture. He then called her on the stage and started to awkwardly pet her hair and talked about her in ways that probably made her proud to be a woman trying to earn money in a bar that already objectifies her.


He wasn't entirely terrible. Once he started to sober up on stage and once his act turned towards actual storytelling instead of shouting out past accolades, he earned some legitimate laughs. He continued to talk about how he wished he was still loved, but it stopped being as desperate as the night continued.

Three of the four people in this picture are content and happy.
The next day at work I recapped the event with one of the guys I went with. We talked about how it was interesting to see a former celebrity, way past his glory days, wishing his life had turned out differently. We then wondered what would be better, having a few year period of fame, being on top of the world, or having a nice, sustained life with a wife that loves you and friends that actually want to be with you? Pauly clearly still yearns for the fame. He tasted the top once and knows he'll probably never get there again. He seemed lonely, sad. It doesn't appear that simply filling the void with a "normal life" is working for Pauly. After we talked about our lives and compared them to Pauly's, the guy I talked to said, "I'd rather have my life." I agreed.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Throw My Hands Up In The Air Sometimes....

We had our first assembly of the school year today.  The cafeteria was crammed with over 500 kids buzzing about this and that. While our guidance counselor made some announcements, someone blared the speaker system with the song "Dynamite" and a group of about 10 older students came dancing into the room. 

This often happens at the assemblies, the 4th, 5th, and 6th graders perform a skit about the topic we're about to address. Today I couldn't help but notice among the dancers, one a little smaller than the rest. After a few minutes I recognized the tiny dancer as Benny.

Meet Benny

I have, he's a great kid. He goes to my school. Full of energy, cute as can be, everything a kindergartner should be.  But you know what kindergartners shouldn't be? Sick with Leukemia. 

Don't get me wrong.  No one should be sick with leukemia.  But kids? Especially not kids. 

In the next few minutes I learn our school will be participating in our own Dance Marathon to raise money for Benny and his other little buddies at the University of Iowa hospitals.  Our kids will purchase paper hearts for a dollar and fill our hallways with their love.  Then for a day, we'll dance nonstop to celebrate our fundraising.

The music blares again and all of the students are now "warming up" for our Dance Marathon Day by practicing their dance moves.  I know they don't fully understand why we're doing this.  But they're dancing happily anyway, and Benny's up front bouncing around like the rest of the kids.  Just like he should be.  Not in a hospital bed.  Not having chemotherapy.  Just being a carefree kid.

I was stuck on that thought and my eyes were welling up with tears when one of my students shouted, "Mrs. Schmitz! You're not dancing!"

So I bust a move like the best of them. 

 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting Crafty

Confession. I'm in need of something to blog about tonight. I haven't done any projects this week other than some major "rid my house of all things winter,"and that's not really blog worthy.  (Yet apparently confessing to you the inards of our pantry was?)

The problem is "house projects" aren't top on my list of priorities right now.  I'd love to do them, I really would.  But I am running into the battle of What Should I Do? vs. What Could I Do?

The lines are clearly drawn.  Here are the contenders:

What Should I Do?: I've got a lot of papers to grade this weekend, and I need to get started on my report cards.  Conferences are looming.  And soon.

But when real work needs to be done, I tend to get very distracted by more enjoyable things that I'd like to do instead. 

What Could I Do? :  I could awaken my inner Martha and make these!
Directions can be found at the REAL Martha's website
I love these!! (2 exclamations for emphasis!!) They're made out of a 4-inch felt circle with a wire hot-glued inside the center of them. That's it! Then you bend them into fortune cookies and insert sweet messages inside. Unlike many Martha crafts, they look super easy to do.  I don't think I could find a way to screw these up.

How cute are they!?!?  I'd love to fill them with sweet words and happy thoughts and put them in a jar on my kitchen table. 
Substitute the felt for fun fabric!
 And then when I'm done making them for myself to enjoy, I want to make 22 of these and call them "kindness cookies" and give them to my 22 kookies at school.  And then they could write happy thoughts and kind words to each other all month long.

I really think they'd love them, too. Imagine a class full of kids taking time everyday for a month to make someone smile. Wouldn't that be so sweet?   Awww! (for you, Johnni)

Here's a sewing version if you want to get REALLY wild!
I'm sure there parents would love them come conference time as well.

"No, I didn't complete your child's report card... but we made kindness cookies!!!"

Hmm...what should I do?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Schizophrenia Diet

As it pertains to the title of this blog: my apologies if any of you are schizophrenic. I'm fully aware it's a largely misunderstood disease and is nothing to joke about. That said, I'm going to keep it in the title of this blog, and if that offends you: too bad. You'll forget soon enough anyway.

Enter the portal to our inconsistent and excessive grocery purchasing
Kelsey and I tend to diet in trends. The first time we fad dieted was in college when the Atkins Diet briefly convinced everyone eating large piles of bacon and porterhouse steaks would lead to weight loss. We'd planned all winter break to go on Atkins--read about foods we could and couldn't eat; enjoyed some old favorites for the "last time" (one day I had over thirty chicken nuggets combined from both McDonalds and Wendy's); and convinced ourselves we could actually make breakfast in the morning..not just pour a bowl of cereal.

After one bowl of Chex, we decided it was delicious and bought five more boxes. This was last week.
Once the semester started so did our Atkinsing. We lasted two days. More correct, Kelsey lasted two days. I quit in support of her.

Kelsey had an early Tuesday class that semester and needed food before rushing off to class. She quickly poured herself a bowl of Cheerios--an Atkins no no--because, "I don't believe in any stupid diet that says Cheerios are bad for you. Cheerios are good for you." I couldn't disagree because: 1) Cheerios are really really good and 2) Cheerios are probably healthier to eat in the morning than bacon.

Kidney beans from the "Farrell's Days" and fat free refried beans from the "only thing we know how to cook are plain bean burritos days" when we first got married. We've since become more creative and added salsa.
Of course the grocery store wouldn't let us return the plethora of Atkins branded snacks and meals we'd purchased in preparation for the diet. I believe the Southwestern Atkins wrap stayed in my freezer for two more years until graduation. Then I donated it to the Dumpster Diving Society of Ames (or, as you probably know them: DDSA).

Five packages of almond bark from this past Christmas when Kelsey was going to make me delicious Christmas treats and then did not. She basically ruined Christmas.
Tonight I cleaned out our pantry. I'm sad to report nothing has changed...we still gear ourselves up for a diet, or we find a treat we like, and we (okay--I) buy too much of it. We have boxes of Triscuits and cans of kidney beans from our "Farrell's" diet. We have boxes of Chex because we read somewhere that it is a healthy cereal, we ate one bowl, and we loved them (Chex equal awesome). We had five boxes of multi-branded graham crackers because we at some point made some healthy treat with graham crackers...I don't even remember what.

I'm not sure what this could be about. I don't think we've ever opened a can of Hunt's All Natural Diced Tomatoes let alone had any recipes that called for us to buy six jumbo cans.
What's no longer there: the three different canisters of protein powder; the varieties of rice cake snacks; 90-calorie Special K bars; Flax Flour (Huh?); and a can of tuna purchased at the grocery store down the street from our house in the Quad Cities four years ago. I don't think any of these items had anything to do with diets, but the origins of their purchases confused me.

Ain't she cute? Mama likes her Chex.
With the exception of the Chex...which we have been eating a ton of lately, we've been doing much better. We've been planning meals and buying groceries only for that week. Thus we actually use the food we buy. What a concept. Alas, our strange grocery quirks allowed for a trip down memory lane during what for most people would have been a monotonous cleaning of the pantry.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Back to School...(If you can call it that)

This blog post will be painful for me to write.  I have a pit in my stomach and the house is so super quiet that the dog growls at everything.  I hate that.  I am a person who has to force myself to embrace change.  And today marks a change that I'm having a hard time with.  I'm just going to say it.  Rip the band-aid off and get it over with.
You're cute, but you're a disgrace to ISU
Jay's an Iowa puke-eye Hawkeye. 

Oh gag, that was harder than I thought. Yes, it's true.  Jay started his MBA tonight and will be attending the University of Iowa.  I hope degrees from that university actually count, otherwise this will just be a colossal waste of time and energy.

Okay, all jokes aside, this is an exciting change for us.  Jay loves school and is really geeked-out to go back.  I love to see him get really excited about something and so I'm all geeked-out for him.
He read AHEAD last night for his class today - Who does that?
It will be a change for us, as he'll be traveling to Cedar Rapids two nights a week for classes for like, the next 2 1/2 years or so.  With some breaks, of course.  And since my love language is quality time (have you read that book? Read it. Now. Okay, finish this post and then read it. Ooo, that's another blog post idea!) we're going to have to get creative about carving some time out for each other. 

But really, I'm just so giddy for my man. This is something he's always wanted to do, and I'm glad we've been able to find a good fit for him and for us (me and Dottie of course).  I even made him take first day of school pictures.

Classic first day of school picture by the door. Complete with new backpack!
And I packed him a little coffee for his cold trip to Cedar Rapids!

You could be a part-time model. But you'd probably have to keep your normal job.
I'm such a good wife.  Hee hee.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And She's Out.

Kelsey was supposed to be on blog duty tonight, but after a busy weekend of organizing our entire upstairs, dog-sitting for my parents, watching a squirrel ski, and changing allegiances six or seven times between the Packers and the Bears, she's out cold:

Kelsey's blog will have to be posted another day.
I on the other hand worked and slept all weekend, so I don't have much to report. Though I did conduct a very scientifically accurate poll you might all be interested to hear about. Since I was the Duty Supervisor at work this weekend, I brought in doughnuts for the guys today. Hy-Vee (a grocery store) sold Packers colored and Bears colored doughnuts. I bought thirteen of each doughnut. I only paid for twelve of each. Hy-Vee's bakery considers "twelve" a dozen, even for baked goods. The cashier wanted to charge me for my thirteenth doughnut! I cried foul. I told them thirteen doughnuts was really a dozen and that everyone knows this. The cashier disagreed. He said twelve was a dozen.

I then looked up the wikipedia entry for "baker's dozen" on my phone and showed it to the cashier. He either appreciated this gesture or resented it a great deal, but he allowed me to purchase baker's dozens for the price of normal dozens. This is a small victory for mankind I believe. Anywho, I better get back to the science.

I told all the guys at work that the first team's doughnuts to be devoured will win the game. The Packers doughnuts were gone first. In fact, there were four Bears doughnuts left at the end of the day. Obviously, the Packers won the football game. I'm now Nostrajaydoughnutmas. Bears fans might argue my data gathering wasn't entirely accurate seeing as most of the people eating doughnuts today were people from non-English speaking people from Brazil who consider football to be that stupid sport with the white and black ball that people stand around a field and kick.

Either way, the message here is that it's late, and earlier today I talked Hy-Vee into giving me two free doughnuts, and Kelsey is sleeping, and I should be too. Good night.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'll Pray For You

I had a coworker stop in my classroom the other day while my students were in music class.  We were talking about the afternoon's upcoming math lesson when out of the blue she said:

"Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you."

"Oh my gosh... thank you! that's so nice of you," I replied.

"No, really, I mean it. I told my small group your story and we pray for you every week."

I knew she meant it. I could tell by the way she said it.

How cool is that?  We're on somebody's prayer list.


I'm definitely a believer in the power of prayer.  I think there is something really awesome about the idea of friends, families, and even strangers lifting a situation up to God and leaving the rest to Him.

It got me to thinking, though. I hope that every time someone says, "I'll keep you in my prayers" or "I'll say a prayer for you"... that they actually do.  

I've heard the phrase overused and thrown around to the point where it can almost seem cliche'.  Have you ever had someone who told you "I'll say a prayer for you" and it seemed like they said it because it's what they thought they should say?

I hope not.  I hope every time you say "I'll pray for you" you mean it.  Because prayer can be powerful. 

So powerful that the mere thought of it can bring a teacher to tears when her students are in music class. : )

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Loads of Fun

Ever have a sudden need to stash something out of sight? Or have that thing that just doesn't seem to have a place to go?  Let me introduce you to one of our more popular "hideaway" places....

The laundry room!
Jay is the only one in this household who has fun doing laundry.
For tonight's Thorough Thursday I tackled a job that I have avoided countless times, but has caused me much frustration.  I have walked by it for months thinking "Oh that laundry room is such a mess! I need to clean it some day!"  It looked like crap in there,  and it really annoyed me.
Ughhh. 
I thought this would be a huge undertaking.  I saved it for a night where I had nothing else to do.  It would probably take me all night. Seriously, it took me 10 minutes to clean.

So I have no big dramatic story about how terrible this was for me. But as to not leave you disappointed, and because our door promised you "loads of fun", let me show you what I found on this clean-out.

just part of the treasure
I spy with my little eye... MC the Hammer, a lint roller, marshmallows, a Christmas cookie container, a box of golf balls, chapstick, 25 unsharpened pencils, eyedrops, a lightbulb, an old checkbook, a koozie, Irish Spring soap.....

(Yes, mom, you raised me better than this. I'm sorry for failing you...)
                                                                                    
....a big bowl of Halloween candy!!!

 I recall a day when I told Jay, "Hide this candy, I don't want to eat any more of it!"



An ipod speaker....
What? You don't keep yours above the dryer?
 And for every ridiculous before, you need to see the after.  Ahhh, much better!! 

Neat and tidy
No more mess!! 
I feel so much better having it all cleaned out.  Makes me wonder why I don't keep it clean in the first place.  Please don't judge my sometimes slobby tendencies, I'm just keeping it real.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Magic. or how a slacker turned his sedentary hobbies into exercise and lost twenty pounds

When it comes to exercise, I have a problem. I don't mind the exercise, but I mind the time it takes to actually perform the exercise. This is mostly due to my undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder. I'll set my mind on performing a completely arbitrary task--finish all Stephen King books within a calendar year, gain 100% completion in Grand Theft Auto, know every factoid about every Major League Baseball player, etc--and I will need to complete these arbitrary tasks with gusto, interpersonal relationships and real responsibilities be damned!

Whoa Porky, lose the chunk.
The problem with these temporary obsessions is they take a lot of time. Stephen King has written a lot of books. To read them all I really needed to dedicate myself. To dedicate myself I really needed to sit around a lot on the couch and read. I didn't have time to exercise. I had to read.

"But Jay, did you have to do this?"

Yes. Yes I did. You might not understand. If not, good for you. You have willpower and can properly balance life's priorities. I salute you. But for those of us who have this strange nagging sensation that won't let us enjoy ordinary life without completing whatever "entertaining" tasks we've assigned ourselves, working out can be difficult--especially when ten times out of nine those "entertaining" tasks are couch-based in nature.

Baby gets angry when you take his food. Baby smash.
When Kelsey and I moved back to Cedar Falls in March of 2009, I was roughly forty-five to fifty pounds heavier than I am right now. I swore off working out and eating healthy foods while living in the Quad Cities. In May of 2009, when I tried on my shorts that fit the summer before, they were tight. This made me very angry. My favorite t-shirts were also snug. Someone had sneaked into my closet and replaced all my clothing with slightly smaller exact replicas! How dare they?

What else happened in May of 2009? The fifth season finale of the television program LOST aired. When the very excellent fifth season ended, it ended in such a way that made it seem like someone would have to watch all five seasons in their entirety to enjoy the sixth and final season. The, "I have to do everything right away" side of me wanted to burn through DVD sets of LOST immediately. I figured I could have all 100+ episodes rewatched in a couple of weeks.

It's shocking this kid grew up with a weight problem.
I went to bed the night of the finale fully intending to start rewatching LOST the next day. Then the next day I tried on my pants, and they were even smaller than they were the day before. It must have had something to do with the pizza, Dr. Pepper, and Skittles I'd consumed the night before. I realized there was no way around it: I had to make my body fit into my smaller clothes because I didn't want to buy all new clothes (in fear those too might shrink) and because the acts of breathing, walking, and stretching were becoming laborious.

Maybe skip the cake this year, kiddo. Or at least share it with others.
CONUNDRUM! How could I blow through five seasons of television brilliance AND exercise? Oh gentle souls, let me tell you: by actually turning LOST into exercise.

"But Jay, how? How could you do this? HOW?"

Calm down. I'm obviously going to explain how. That's sort of the point of this blog.

"I apologize. I am an American, and my need for immediate gratification overcame my patience."

Understandable. Anywho, if you don't mind, I'd like to proceed.

"Oh please do."

Why are there no friends in any of these cake pictures?
I created a makeshift workout area in my basement--a TV, a DVD player, an exercise bike, and a large supply of Cedar Falls High School Class of 2008 sweatbands (don't ask). I told myself: look dude, feel free to watch every episode of LOST if you feel you need to, but you can only watch the show if you are working out on your exercise bike. I drove a tough bargain, but eventually I accepted my offer.

Throughout the summer of 2009 I worked out for at least forty-five minutes (the length of an average episode without commercials) every day. On days I wanted to watch two episodes, I worked out longer. At some point in September, just in time to start phase two of my workout plan (to be covered another day), I finished all five seasons.

Twizzlers: 5 lbs. Hair: Awesome. Dates: 0.
I now have two minor obsessions I'm trying to get through: I'm trying to read Infinite Jest (a big big big big book that is turning out to be really good) and watch all four seasons of Mad Men (a TV show whose appeal is thus far lost on me). The nice thing is I can do both of these on my exercise bike.

Combining my hobbies with exercise helped ease me back into exercise. Eventually this led to me exercising without the aid of television or books and actually running outside or taking fitness classes. Sometimes the mere act of starting a workout regiment is the hardest part of the workout. I found my way around the fear or starting while also finding a way to make it fun for me. My LOST workout plan helped me lose twenty pounds. It also helped my clothes grow back to their normal sizes again, so I could wear them with pride. Assuming your hobbies aren't already health related, are there any ways to make them healthier?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wintery Weekend

K: We had a super-fun and kinda relaxing long weekend, and although I'm incredibly hyper at the moment, I'm in a lazy blogging mood.  Soooo... since a picture is worth 1000 words, we're going to let the pictures we took this weekend do the talking for us.

Friday:
We went to dinner with Jim, Vick, and Anne then met Justin, Allie, and Molly out at the bar. We didn't take any new pictures, but here's one we stole off Facebook. They have taken this same photo countless times since they've met.
Saturday:
We were on Maggie duty Saturday. The two dogs were not pleased we were leaving for...
...a Waterloo Blackhawks hockey game. It was John Deere night. Tickets were half price for John Deere employees. We didn't know this until after we got home from the hockey game, so we paid full price.
Jay caught a t-shirt during the t-shirt toss. He is such a huge hockey fan. This shirt will be forever treasured.
We took this picture outside the arena right before Kelsey fell in the snow in front of everyone.
Sunday:
We had a nice, normal day Sunday capped with watching the movie Despicable Me. Jay watched the movie. Kelsey and Dottie slept on the couch.
 Monday:
It was a snowy day today, so Kelsey and her dad...
...rode ATVs. Waterloo has a big ATV park.
Kelsey had fun, even when she rolled backwards down a hill.
Mike pulled a hamstring chasing Kelsey down the hill. Good times.
To keep with the Mundane Monday tradition, Jay spent all day painting while Kelsey had fun.
Pretty neat huh? We hope you like it...because Jay painted over this monstrosity with a nice earth tone.
There you have it! That's our long weekend! We'll be back tomorrow with our regularly scheduled blog.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What Gives Me Hope

Since Friday blogs will be about our successes and struggles with growing our family, I thought I'd start off by detailing what gives me hope and confidence that everything will work out.

It's no secret that Kelsey and I were engaged twice before I ultimately convinced her to make me the luckiest man alive. I won't dive into what I call my "dark period," but I will explain something most of you might not know about the "light period" that came about soon thereafter.

Kelsey and I decided to buy a dog. Our parents did not know what to make of this decision. At the time, we didn't even live in the same town. We'd just gotten back together. Kelsey wasn't entirely convinced she liked me again (she was actually pretty sure she didn't). She certainly wasn't convinced she was ever going to marry me. But sometimes two people have to do something that no one thinks makes any sense in order to bring them closer together.

We perused the Internet, looked on now defunct websites, and found the perfect dog. It was a bright red cockapoo. We emailed the breeder and sent her our deposit check. We needed to wait a few weeks to pick up our new puppy, but the breeder sent us pictures. The dog appeared playful, shy but curious. Her red coat had a nice shine to it, consistent, with small curls under her stomach.

We'd named the dog Ruby. We even gave her a theme song: the Kaiser Chiefs song of the same name.

As Kelsey and I continued to strengthen our damn bond...

(Another example of the secret language of a marriage. Within about three weeks of Kelsey's and my initial flirtation we did what most couples do: focused on our similarities. Every time we brought up a similar thought or a similar interest or something we'd both always wanted to do it became part of our "damn bond." We said it then like we say it now: with a faked sense of resigned dissatisfaction, dismissing it as ridiculous. But the "damn bond" is more than a tongue in cheek joke between us--it's very real, and we're very lucky to have it.)

...we went out to dinner one night when I visited the Quad Cities. We had a great time. Eventually we went back to her apartment to watch a movie. While she put on her obligatory sweatpants and sweatshirt, I checked my email. The breeder had emailed us. Ruby was dead.

If any of you have ever tried to repair a relationship, there is this strange period of rediscovery where imaginary signs and inexplicable thoughts take hold. Everything becomes a sign from God. A warning. A message. In this case, a dog breeder letting us know our puppy was dead wiped away the good of the evening and gave way to talks of, "maybe we're not supposed to be together," and "what if this is someone's way of telling us something." Somehow, after some soul searching and probably some tears, we went to the website to see if there were any other good dogs. I forced us to do this. I was determined to win Kelsey back and erase anything that would have her think it was a bad idea.

That's when we found Dottie, our strange and bizarre little puppy.

Six weeks after that, I lived in the Quad Cities, and we brought Dottie home. Fourteen months after that, Kelsey and I were married and on a honeymoon. Two weeks after that Kelsey and I learned she was pregnant. One month after that the baby stopped growing.

The weekend we lost the first baby was rough. We didn't know what was going on. Kelsey had to deal with a huge influx and then fast exodus of all sorts of hormones. I needed to console a wife through something I didn't understand and that didn't seem real. On a Saturday afternoon, as the sun started to sink outside and the auburn fall light sneaked through our blinds Kelsey was finally able to sleep. The nightmare was over. She went to our bed and laid down, piling on blankets. I laid next to her and rubbed her back. When I finally heard her snores, I got up to use the bathroom. Dottie quickly replaced me in bed taking "her spot" cuddled next to Kelsey's stomach.

Instead of going back to bed, I sat on our couch and looked at our TV. The TV was off, but the dimming light in our room allowed me to see my strange, adult reflection. I stared at it for awhile and thought about how impressive and strong Kelsey had been that day.

Suddenly Dottie stood up on the bed. Dottie shook and stretched. She jumped off the bed and ran over to me. She jumped on my lap, wagged her short tail, and licked the top of my nose four times. Then she jumped off of my lap, stretched again, jumped back on the bed, and curled next to Kelsey and fell asleep. Both of them slept through the night. At some point, I joined them.

Every miscarriage we have makes me think of Ruby and that sweet moment where Dottie told me it would be okay. Ruby probably would have been a good dog. There is no way of knowing. Each time a miscarriage occurs I think, "I guess we're just waiting for the perfect kid." And right now as I type this, and I look at Kelsey reading something very intently on her computer screen with Dottie asleep on back of the couch, I can picture the couch filling with more faces. I don't know if the faces look like a hybrid of Kelsey and me or if they look like small children from Guatemala or China or maybe the faces are both hybrids and foreign models.

I've seen sadness turn into sustained happiness. It took us a while, but we got married. It took us a couple of attempts, but we got our dog. I love both. I'll love my kids too, however they may come. The important part is that we have not lost hope. We can see and we believe that our couch will someday be more full, and it's pretty full now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

$8 Update

Since our Thursday blogger appears to be thoroughly (that's a Thursday pun for you!) exhausted, I'm taking over with a quick blog update.  I apologize that the photo quality is even worse than usual, I left my camera at school, so I used my phone for all of tonight's pictures. 

He's coming down with a cold, he's been napping for an hour
I'm not sure if you do this or not, but I often look around my house and find itty-bitty details I'd like to change.  This $8 update is one of those things. 

This summer, we purchased a new entertainment center for the living room.  I did a lot of shopping around to find something that would accommodate our large tv, but not fill the entire living room.  After finding nothing locally, I went online and found this:
Buy me! Buy me! 
It was exactly what I wanted, it got good reviews, and had a great return policy.  So even though I was hesitant to buy furniture online, I thought I'd give it a try.  Turns out, it's been a great purchase.  But like many projects or purchases in my household, I felt the need to make a little DIY tweek.

The hardware.  It came with these cheapo looking white wooden knobs.  You hardly noticed they were there, and I wanted something that finished the piece off a little more. So I went to Hobby Lobby to check out their knob sale.  (That's a weird sentence).
Hobby Lobby's Knobbys
I ended up with these kind of vintage-looking cast iron knobs.  I thought they were really neat and would add that little pop that I was looking for.  Plus, at 50% off, they were only $2 a piece!! 
Jay: "That looks like a metal boob"

 Here's the before.
Taken this fall - Barely-there hardware
 Here's the after.
Please focus on the knobs, not the mess around it  

Call me crazy, but I think it makes a difference.  We have a lot of dark furniture in our living room and I feel like it pulls it together a little more.

Or not, maybe I'm just the crazy knob lady.