Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's really going on

I've been covering the fun and periphery details of our current life. Maybe some of you wonder what is actually going on.

Hubs has begun the next chapter. He leaves at 7:30am and returns around 5:30pm. It's nice that we live so close. I can't imagine having found a place further in the suburbs. It seems to be going well; adjusting smoothly.

I have been at home all that time that he is away. Ten hours alone. I workout, clean, apply for jobs, work, read, do nothing, and more of the same. The job search has been tedious. Lots of resume's and applications, not so much response. A hopeful prospect crumbled last week. So it was back to ground zero. Sometimes I do fine. I keep myself busy and try to be one of those amazing women who can prep for meals, organize, and find tons of things around the house to occupy themselves with or come up with projects to do. [Turns out, I am NOT one of those great women. Bummer.] Sometimes, though, I get lonely, wishing I could go to coffee with a friend. Last week was hard at times. There are still moments when the loneliness washes over me, but it is getting better.

The city is awesome. I really love it here. [If only our friends could move here, life would be perfect.] I feel like there is lots to see and do - and being the adventurous sort - it fits me just fine. The parks are amazing, the stores plentiful, and the convenience is, well, convenient. The only bummer has been that I can't even enjoy most of the shopping. We've got amazing stores here. I mean, I've never lived within 15 minutes of an Anthropologie! Now that I do, I can't even go because I have no money to spend there. Instead I've been trying to figure out which grocery store I like best.

The house is wonderful. I really love it and am so happy with how it is turning out. I dream about adding furniture and artwork. A sectional for the basement, a few prints for the kitchen, all sorts of things for the mantle. But of course, I keep myself away from those stores, too. The house also has a few problems. Ones that mount into a story too confusing to share. We are getting them worked out, slowly. And no matter how it all ends, it will be great when it does just that. End.

We are still searching for a church to make our home. It's hard. The city is so big that a great church might be located an hour away. To find something close, may mean not as great. We continue to search for wisdom in this. We yearn for a church body so we can get involved and meet people. We have met a few, but because of the summer, Bible studies are on breaks and we haven't been able to get involved. We can still use prayer in this area.

But, this week has been better. Its been busier. I had interviews and call backs. And guess what?


God is so good and I am so excited! I get one more week to enjoy this extended vacation, and then I get to really start having a life again. Conversations with people. Getting out of the house. I'll miss having all this free time, I'm sure, but I've had so much time to prepare and be ready to work again.

So what is really going on is adjustments. Adjustments to a new environment, a new lifestyle, a new everything. If you've prayed for us, thank you. It means so much and will continue to as we keep adjusting.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Straight out of the 70s

Oddly enough, the kitchen has become one of my favorite rooms in our house. I will likely say that about all the rooms in our house. But, the kitchen color, the windows, the [future] decor...I love it all.

The reason it is odd that I love the kitchen is because I thought it would be the thorn in my flesh while we lived here. Just take a look at these spec pictures and you'll see why.

Check out that counter space...all 3 feet of it.

It isn't the most conveniently arranged, nor the largest kitchen I've been fortunate enough to have. But, it's amazing what some new appliances and paint will do!

But, I'm not going to show you the end result yet. Mainly because it isn't quite finished. Close.

You see, on Saturday we said good-bye to this beloved piece:

Before living here, I had never even heard of a "drop-in" range. But, they still do sell them [by "they," I mean only THREE companies]. Actually, there was only ONE model that would fit in the space, making the decision process easy. We only had to decide between black or white. And as it's name suggests, you just drop-it-in.

Check out these push-buttons.

HI - 2 - 3 - LO - WM - OFF: What more do you need?

Don't let its small size fool you though, this over puts out major heat and cooks quicker than anything I've ever used. It was actually quite fun to use. But its gone now and soon a much snazzier and more updated range will take its place.

Meanwhile, we've gotten to see the original floor laminate and cabinet color. It's a shame they covered that stuff up...

And until the new one is installed, we are grilling our way through Weber's Real Grilling cookbook.

And yes, the vintage hood is staying.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

St. Louis Sight: Music+Movie in Laumeier Sculpture Park

Our Friday night outing was to Music+Movie in Laumeier Sculpture Park. The have done this for the past few years throughout June. Although I had never heard of the movie before, it was the last week for the event. So, I packed up a dinner and snacks and we headed out.

The night was gorgeous. We've come to realize that wind isn't normal. Living in the midwest for so long, we started to think that a day without wind was odd. If it's windy here...well, it's just not.

There were all ages. Families, couples, singles, retirees...all sorts. And it was fun! The rockabilly band was upbeat. Kids and adults were dancing and playing outdoor sports, too.

We laid out a blanket and chairs and enjoyed our food with 1,200 other people around. They launched t-shirts into the crowd and had other free things too!

Unfortunately, we left early. The movie was not entertaining to us, so we headed home. It was still a fun time and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Invisible Fence

Moving into this house, we knew that the 3-foot fence would not keep Ransom contained [see: Homeward Bound and Great Escape]. One of the necessities would be an invisible/electric fence.

We researched the different options, professionally installed vs. self installed, brands, wired vs. not... You wouldn't believe the options! We found a very helpful website - - and we finally settled on the Sport Dog brand, wired fence, installed by us. We chose it because it has the strongest wire of the non-professional brands. The only "bad" reviews on this brand was that the stimulation box on the collar is kind of large and that it begins at a higher stimulation level than other brands. Since we have a large, stubborn dog...this was not a big deal. We searched the town for one in stock, but ended up buying for a great price on Amazon [of course].

On Sunday, Hubs and I - more Hubs than I - installed the fence. For anyone thinking about doing this - it  isn't that difficult. It requires planning, time, and a little hard work. And then the dreaded training began.

The advice in the book is : BE PATIENT WITH YOUR DOG. This is so true. That first day, I thought it would never click with him. After getting shocked twice, he just wanted to go inside. So, we backed off to the tone/vibration only and he finally came back into the yard on his own. [Hubs and I both felt the stimulation shock and it really is just that - a shock. Not painful at all.]

Then, I started seeing that it was clicking with him. When he heard the beep/felt the vibrate, he immediately turned around and came back into the yard. VICTORY! However, I knew that after he realized that there wasn't a shock anymore, the white flags would no longer be a deterrent. He may act like one sometimes, but he's no dummy.

So, yesterday the stimulation came back on. We hung out together for a while outside. He situates himself in the very center of the yard, with his wood. Far from the flags. So I keep on working on pulling weeds. After a while, he gets bored and starts sniffing around and I see him heading straight towards the flags.

I call for him. Multiple times. But he is in that zone and can't hear a thing. Sure enough he passes the flags and doesn't listen to the beeps. Right when he reaches the buried wire I see what I'm expecting - YELP and a run straight back into the yard. I then take him back to the flags and wiggle one so to remind him that he is supposed to pay attention to these. We walk the perimeter of the flags - reviewing.

And then he runs straight to the back door.

I am really happy with how it is working. He gets the picture and stays far from the boundary line. I think we will have to increase the stimulation again - when we get to the "distraction phase" of training [read: going outside when bunnies and squirrels are out]. But, I really think that with the right training, this will really work for him.

And so far, he has not jumped the fence.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coral is "in," right?

When we first saw the house, the bathroom was the biggest eyesore. Not only was it small and the only bathroom in the house, but it was outdated. Whether you call it coral, peach or salmon...the tile color was not exciting to us.

Nor was the black and teal strip around the room and the off-white [dirty-looking] walls. However, the tile is in great condition and we just weren't interested on spending money to update the bathroom.  So, we planned to leave it as it was. The former owners obviously thought they would make the bathroom soooo busy that you wouldn't notice the tile. I thought I would get a black shower curtain to distract from the tile and it might look decent.

(I apologize for the bad before pictures. In my haste on move in day, I snapped one picture of each room and didn't care what they looked like. Now I realize they are dark and dingy and can't do a think about it.)

As I have now learned, though, when one buys a house they tend to do more to it than originally planned in order to make it their own. Since painting was happening in most of the upstairs, we decided to also give the bathroom a fresh coat of paint. Simple. So we thought.

We had many difficulties in this bathroom. The walls are plaster - therefore uneven. A semi-gloss coat of paint only accentuated that fact. Plus we didn't clean the walls and tile before painting, so the paint just peeled off.

So, we scrubbed and repainted with texture (matching the rest of the house). I was worried that the gray we chose would make the room look too dark. But we added a white shower curtain and two light gray rugs to finish it off. I would like to find some prints for the wall with the coral color to pull in the tile and finish it off.

I'm actually really happy with how it turned out. While not the most modern of bathrooms, the coral seems to stand out less.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More lovelies popped up

It's fun to see what kind of new flowers pop up when you first move into a new home. In the front of our house, these puffs came out:

They come in blue, pink, and purple! And they are beautiful.

Again, I'm not sure what they are called, but they sure make me happy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

St. Louis Sight: Ted Drewes

Each weekend, Hubs and I are going to try to do something new in the city.  Now that I have a handy dandy smart phone, I will never forget to take pictures and blog about our activity!

This weekend, we went to Ted Drewes.

Ted Drewes is a local frozen custard place. Everyone asks us if we have been to Ted Drewes yet; it is a big deal around here. It is on the old "Route 66" road, and we happen to live less than a mile away. So, Hubs, Ransom and I walked to this local marvel for a frozen treat.

It's located on a pretty major street, but it's like they all know to slow down when they get to Ted Drewes. Lots of people honk as they drive by and people are crossing the streets very leisurely. To which the cars just slow down - even coming to a stop - to let people cross. At one point, the fire truck stopped by and let kids get up in the truck while they enjoyed some frozen custard. Although it gets so busy and jam-packed with people, you don't wait long.

Ransom was quite the hit. It's his stinkin' cute face that attracts everyone. He really wanted some custard. When we got to the order window, he jumped right up and scared the poor girl taking our order.

As for the actual frozen custard, it was pretty good. You can order as a concrete [toppings mixed together with custard] or as a sundae [toppings on top]. Hubs got a chocolate malt, while I tried one of their specialties: Fox Treat [vanilla custard, raspberries, chocolate, and macadamia nuts]. It was really good and perfect after a hot day in the sun.

I'm so glad we live so close. It will be a great reason to take a walk!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Outside lovlies

I have had some requests for pictures of our paint results inside our home, however, they would only be progress pictures. Nothing is on the wall and the rooms just aren't final yet. When they are closer to the final stage, I will definitely post pictures. Let's just say we are much farther than we were last week at this time.

We have done little to the back yard but it is another one of my "favorites" in regards to our home. We often talk of how richly God has blessed us. In this large city of many different areas, we love ours. It is convenient to everything, friendly, quiet, and safe.

But, back to the backyard:

Isn't it lovely? It will be so fun to sit on our patio and have dinner with this as our view. There are some fun flowers that were left in the landscaping, too.

An orange one:

A purple one:

A blue one:

And a pink one:

Obviously I am a novice when it comes to flowering plants and their names, but I can see how gardening can be so fun! We also have a little area where a garden was once planted. I currently have two tomato plants growing there - one that is mine and the other that was here!

I picture a great vegetable garden next year...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Visitors Already!

With the Hubs away, I knew I might get a little stir crazy. Blessings came in the form of two friends and a baby!

Expecting to help me around the house, they [hopefully] got to relax and soak in the city and all its fun and convenience.

We visited fun stores that aren't available in Kansas, the fun downtown area of Clayton, and some beautiful homes. It was great for me to get to explore the city, too!

Clark was a champ, chillin' in the stroller and attracting all sorts of attention. It's all that chubs.

We taught Clark about hills by giving him a little free-fall downhill. No worries. The stroller was stopped shortly after grandma's relief.

Turns out Ransom loves Clark, too. A little bit more than we would like. Between Clark's sounds and our higher-pitched voices when we spoke to Clark, Ransom couldn't stay away and really loves the way he tastes [ahem]. When forced to stay away, he cried along with Clark, even at one point howling to the sound of his cries.

It was so good to see them. It makes me think they don't really live a whole 7 hours away.

After a fun trip to Trader Joe's, Brenda cooked us dinner. It was amazing:

 Caprese Salad with kumatoes [brown tomatoes], creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and drizzled olive oil. Oh my, it was so yummy.

 Tandori naan and persian cucumbers with hummus and cucumber dip. This hummus was perfect and the naan so soft and sweet.

Baked salmon in a delicious sauce [sesame oil, cooking sherry, soy sauce, green onions and ginger]. Also really good, and I've never liked salmon until I tried this. This salmon was "meaty" and I couldn't taste the fish, so I will definitely try this on my own. Thanks Brenda!

I am so thankful for the visit. It was great to see friends and familiar faces and I know it will be a while before it happens again.

Thanks ladies!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Moving, Part 3 // "We are here"

It took a few days for it to sink in that this isn't just some vacation. We are here for good. And it is good. There are so many things I already enjoy about St. Louis.

 - Our neighborhood is great. All the houses are similar to ours and it is so quiet and calm. Considering we are a block from a very major road, its pretty impressive that we feel secluded.

 - Our neighbors are friendly. Never before have I had so many people come up and talk to us as we just move in. It is fun to have friendly people nearby.

 - Our location. I feel like we are in really good location - 3 houses down from St. Louis city limits. Close to the "Central West End" [just learned that this means the area where Richard will go to school], close to anything we could ever need, close to a running trail, and yet in a quiet area that feels far away from the city.

 - Since moving to Kansas in 1995 I have dreamed of living where there were trees. Here, there are trees and hills galore. I understood that more after my first run. The roads wind and curve through valleys and trees block your line of sight. Although this makes understanding the road layout a little tougher, it is lovely.

 - There is so much. It's hard to even know where to go shopping. So many different stores, from cute boutiques to large box chains. I've learned my way to a great shopping area already, complete with Trader Joe's, World Market... you get the point. I just need a job!

 - There is so much to do. Trails, parks, free movies in the park, museums, theme parks, and more. My idea is to pick a new thing each weekend for us to do as a date and blog about it.

 - The arch. It's crazy, but its fun to see the massive structure while driving.

I'm really just thankful. God has provided everything we need during this move and I forgot that amid all the stress. He provided people to help us move, money to get all that we needed, job interviews, and even a good church on Sunday.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meet Mopey

This is me and Mopey.

At least that is what I affectionately called him during the first two days in our new home. He fell into a "depression" especially if Richard and I left the house. But even when we were around, he moped around barely responding to anything except his meals.

Whether it is truly him reacting to the changes in our life or perhaps just feeling lousy after eating an entire box of treats [oh yes, I found him eating the rest of them later], it was definitely a different Ransom for a few days.

Now that he has the life back in him, he has changed his behavior a little towards people that approach our house. Neighbors, internet people, everyone really. He bounds towards the door with his most ferocious bark, hackles raised. Then, he won't shut up. We have found that leashing him will help, but we will definitely be retraining this craziness when things slow down.

Moving, Part 2 // Cicadas & me

Day 1 was exhausting.
Day 2 was worse.

It started out nice. A relaxed morning. Then we noticed a brand new, large, dog treat box was missing about 1/2 of its treats. And then we smelled it. Ransom had dug his face into his treats and now it was affecting his digestive system. In a way that we all got to share.

So, we went on a long walk [in hopes of movement generating...well, you know]. It helped, but didn't fix the problem. Lucky me. He was assigned to my vehicle.

Same view. Different day.

About halfway along the drive, I noticed a sound. It was a high-pitched squealing sound that continued to follow me as we drove. It was loud even over my radio station. So, after about 15 minutes, I made the call to those ahead of me to stop at the next exit.

We stopped. I turned the truck off and the noise was still there! So, I told Hubs it must be the U-Haul. He turned the U-Haul off and the noise was still there!

And then I knew I had goofed. Big time. The noise was the cicadas. To my defense:: it had crossed my mind that it was cicadas, but it was so constant and so loud. To my defense again:: Kansas didn't have as many trees, and therefore not nearly the cicada invasion that Missouri does therefore I was not used to the volume of cicadas in heavily treed areas.

I provided much laughter for the group and we were on our way again. We arrived to our new home and immediately I had a headache. The heat. The emotion. And the decisions were all starting to get heavy.  But, we [both sets of parents and us] began unloading.

From there it went downhill. It was way past my usual bed time. The enthusiasm to continue to work was too much. The questions and decision regarding the next day's tasks and paint colors and more were pressure that I was not withstanding. Then I did something stupid.

And the flood gates opened. Moving is stressful. It is overwhelming and tiring. And you don't even realize it until the moment you break. I feel like I am a pretty calm, collected, easy-going gal but I broke down and cried myself to sleep.

When a person tells me they are moving, especially a long distance. I will no longer just smile and offer help. I will pray. Daily. And I will offer support. Often.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Moving, Part 1 // "Leaving"

Our move started like most I think. Stressful. And as organized as you try to be, you feel completely unorganized on that day. Because more than likely that one thing you really need is in a box somewhere. That one box you didn't label.

In a U-Haul error, we ended up driving 1 hour to pick up our truck, instead of just 5 minutes down the road. And to make things more fun, we were to pick the U-Haul up by 7 am. So, our morning began at a very early 5:00.

I hoped that we would not fill the entire 26 feet of space, but as we packed on, I realized we would. Thankfully, friends from church took time out of their Saturday to help us. Some even stopped by Starbucks and brought me a much-needed frozen caffeine fix. That earns extra points in my book.

Some helped pack. Some helped clean. And one lovely person watched the dog, who was starting to get a little nervous about what was going on.

Have I said "THANK YOU" enough to you all?

It all ended much quicker than expected. And it didn't sink in that we were leaving this people and not coming back in a few weeks.

How many babies do you need at a "packing-up the U-Haul party?" About 3. 

We had to leave though. And for the next 3 hours I fought sleep while this was my view:

Don't worry. The story gets more exciting from here...