Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In the words of Gloria Gaynor...

I will survive.

They warned us that it would be extra challenging when foster kids come back from visits with their parents. Boy, were they ever right. I don't think we were quite prepared for just how challenging. Ever since the schoolbus arrived here this afternoon, it has been an exhausting day. It is twenty minutes after nine, and I'm finally getting a chance to eat some supper. It is going to feel sooo good to crawl between my cozy sheets tonight and close my eyes and just breathe...

But until then, I need to finish the things that I wasn't able to get done earlier tonight. For school: study for two exams and write a paper and an article summary. For work: transcribe a long transcript of the deposition of a German fellow from last week (whose accent, not to mention his tendency to slip into German every once in awhile, made it very hard to understand him). On top of that, I need to get the house ready for a showing tomorrow. And poor Winn is trying to stay afloat with work responsibilities, farmhouse renovations, and taking evening classes toward his MBA. I've said this before, but I'll say it again: God has blessed us with really great friends who always seem to be there for us at just the right time.

I love this verse from Psalm 55:22: Pile your troubles on God's shoulders. He'll carry your load. He'll help you out. (Message version.)

The Cradic Inn has enjoyed several guests lately. Winn's bro and his family were here over Easter weekend to help with farmhouse renovations. They left on Sunday, and some friends from North Dakota came on Monday for Mayo appointments. They're leaving tomorrow and will be replaced by my two sisters and their kids who are coming to visit. When they leave, a couple of my childhood friends are coming for the weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Jonathan informed me this evening that he kept getting pinched at school today because I forgot to have him wear green. Oops! Forgot all about it until it was too late. I'm such a bad guardian...

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

More snow.

It was a beautiful weekend! It warmed up, the sun came out, and most of our snow melted. But today...

Weather in Rochester, MN

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Done deal.

It's official. We now own a farm. (What were we thinking?!) Right away on Saturday morning Winn and my dad were out there ripping out old carpet, tearing off kitchen and pantry cabinets, and pulling down suspended ceilings. It looks better already! We had the electricity hooked up, and they'll be delivering an LP tank tomorrow.

We got a full-price offer on our house yesterday, after just two weeks on the market! Our realtor advised us not to accept it because it was a contingent offer, but we were encouraged by it anyway.

Winn and I are starting to get a bit snippety with each other lately. The stress of it all is starting to get at us, I think. Just too much going on all at once. Time to step back from it all and take a deep breath.

Time for bed. Jonathan will be up early. I'm excited to get up tomorrow--we bought a programmable coffee maker on sale this weekend, so the fragrant hot drink will be awaiting me when I step out of bed!

Guess I'm into collages lately...

1. Quadruplets, 2. Chiminea, 3. Lemon anyone?, 4. My friend, Mr. Fender, 5. Morning espresso, 6. Snowfall, 7. Neglected, 8. Crumbsnatcher, 9. Digger, 10. Untitled, 11. Chili King, 12. Shadows on the wall, 13. Taking turns, 14. Through my windowpane, 15. Chicken-broccoli ring, 16. Chipped, 17. Flannels, 18. Six-dollar shoes, 19. Cornbread muffins, 20. Tasty treats, 21. From my sweetie, 22. All ready for you, 23. Icycles, 24. The country, 25. Our silo, 26. From Anna, 27. Blue night, 28. Shiny sneakers, 29. Ragtime, 30. White on white

Friday, March 14, 2008

One month.

Today we have known you for one month. In such a short time we have come to adore your feisty little spirit and your big smile. You have already taught us so much with your good days and bad, with your bravery in tough times, with your innocent trust in us. The eagerness with which you begin your day, your love of music, and your thirst for stories at bedtime remind me to live more passionately. When you want me to teach you a song on the piano or put together a puzzle with you, I can't resist your request. And tonight when you reached your little arms around my neck to give me a hug, I felt so blessed to know you, if only for a while.

Down home on the farm.

We close on the farm today if all goes well. It has been quite an ordeal getting this thing done in such a short amount of time. There have been all sorts of hold-ups because of the agricultural zoning, the trailer on the property that needed to be hauled away, getting the electricity and the LP tank hooked up, getting insurance for all the outbuildings, etc. We've been sweating and fretting for about three weeks now, but it looks like it's finally going to happen!

By the way, we're looking for a name for our little acreage. Anyone have any ideas for us?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Love a good deal.

We found this end table at TJ Maxx the other day for 87.5% off! We wanted a bedside table for the guest room, and this one was clearanced because of a crack in the top. Winn glued the top back together, and voila, good as new! You can still see a little line where the crack was, but I think it adds character to the already aged look of the table.

Tonight while doing Jonathan's nightly "tuck-time" ritual that he loves (where we tuck the covers tightly around him like he's in a cocoon), I noticed that he had set out his clothes for tomorrow on the chair in his room (I usually do this before he goes to bed). I asked him if that was what he wanted to wear to school tomorrow, and he said, "Yep, I just wanted to give you the day off." And earlier when I came home from a friend's baby shower, he and Winn presented me with some flowers that they had picked up for me today. What sweet guys!

Late again.

We were an hour late for church this morning. We forgot about daylight savings time...again...for the third year.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Tulips for springtime.

The piano has been a wonderful tool to help Jonathan fall asleep at night. For the last three nights, after reading a story at bedtime, he's asked me to play it while he falls asleep. Worship songs, Jim Brickman, Lorie Line, and (my favorite) Carol Tornquist arrangements. You name it, he likes it. It's a nice and relaxing time for me, too, and it forces me to get some practice time in.

This morning we had a bunch of friends over for Saturday morning coffee and pastries. We love our friends. They don't mind when our kitchen is a mess; they like our dog (and sometimes, like today, they even bring him home with them to play with their dog); they play and visit with Jonathan; they have such cute little babies that they bring along; they would tell us if our shirt was tucked into our underwear or if we had a booger hanging from our nose; and sometimes they even do our dishes before they leave! And ordinary Saturday mornings (over a cup of white chocolate mocha) are just the perfect time to catch up on their lives and enjoy their company. The Ewings brought these lovely tulips (and a bundle of asparagus) over with them to wish us a happy spring. I hope that means that spring is on its way...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Getting into mischief.

Yesterday after school Jonathan had a sledding party, so Winn and I had a few hours to ourselves. We went to a new Mongolian Grill. You go through this line and choose all the ingredients you want for your stir-fry, first the raw meats, then the rice or noodles, etc., then all the veggies, then all the sauces (from mild to fire-hot). Then you take it to this huge grill where a bunch of guys cook your food for you (which only takes a couple minutes on the big hot grill). You can go back through the line as many times as you want to try all the different ingredients. It was good food, and it was so nice to spend the time together.

It sure is advantageous to have a mom who's a Panera manager. One of the perks is that we get lots of free bread when they have leftovers. Last night she gave us so much bread and bagels and other yummies that we had to freeze some of it. Usually our dog can be trusted, so we left it all on the counter while we went to eat last night...mistake. When we came home, all the croissants and bread bowls were gone. (And I was so looking forward to making soup tonight for the bread bowls!) Sajak knew he was in trouble when we got home, and when I scolded him, he went straight to his bed. He has this little spot at the window where he surveys the neighborhood (and he likes to line his squeaky toys and rawhides up on the windowsill sometimes), and we found this chunk of bread there that he apparently didn't have time to finish before we came back...

At least there were a couple loaves and some bagels left when Sajak got through with it...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Long winter.

Winter, I am tired of you. Pack up your clouds and your dirty snow and your depression and go away. Yesterday I loved you. I preached to my husband about how if you didn’t arrive, we could never look forward to the beautiful springtime and budding trees that is sure to follow you. I chided others for being wimps and complaining of your seemingly endless presence, and I admonished them to just enjoy you while you are here, to marvel at your snowfalls and breathe deeply your crisp air. But today I am tired of you.

I am tired of the bulky sweaters that I looked forward to unpacking last fall, and I‘m even tired of my beloved cozy sweats and slippers that I don whenever I get a chance. I’m tired of dry skin and cold feet, of short days and icy steering wheels, of salty roads and winter coats.

Spring, please come quickly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Photo 30.

At long last, here is the final photo in my 30 Days Project. It took a little more than the intended 30 days, but life happens. I had fun with this project. It really helped me to be more creative, to look at ordinary objects in a new way, trying out different lighting and angles and perspectives. This last picture was inspired by a series of all-white photos that I saw.

Day No. 30: White on white.

Click here to view the entire "30 Days of Photos" album.

Lil' project.

My friend Pita gave me a neat idea for a hoodie sweatshirt, and I thought it would be a fun project to have Jonathan help me with. I found the sweatshirt and t-shirt each clearanced for $3.00 (but you could use an old t-shirt for this as well). We simply cut out the Cars picture on the t-shirt and sewed it to the back of the hoodie, leaving the edges to fray and curl. I also added a little embellishment on the front with some of the extra t-shirt material. Jonathan was so proud to wear it to school and tell everyone that he helped make it.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Welcome back, Mr. Pasquini.

We missed you while you were gone.

After turning out thousands of mochas and espressos for us and our guests, as well as for various church functions over the past few years, our coffee machine finally needed to be taken into the shop for a tune-up and repairs. But to all of you who have been missing it, we're happy to report that Mr. Pasquini is as good as new and back in business. Please drop by for a cup of bean juice when you're in the neighborhood!

One thing we've learned...

...is that you've got to choose your battles. Yesterday I was on the worship team, so I had to be at church early for practice, which left Winn at home to get Jonathan ready for Sunday school. Earlier that weekend I had found some pants for him clearanced for $5.00, and when we got home from church on Sunday, I noticed that they still had the tags on. Winn said that Jonathan wanted to keep them there so that everyone at church would know that they were new. Being the wise man that he is, Winn decided that wasn't a battle worth fighting, and one handsome little boy strutted into church on Sunday wearing new pants, tags and all!

(Tug of War: Sajak and Jonathan's favorite game.)