Sunday, November 16, 2014

Struggles in a Vintage Era Kitchen

I've just about had it with my kitchen. Built in the 1940s I continue to struggle to keep it organized in the new millennium. While I love the vintage charm of the oak trim, the original metal cabinets, and enormous size I hate the layout. No cook's triangle in this space!  

Case in point, I came home from the grocery store just as the Hubs was putting supper on the table. He is a rock star in the kitchen and I must give a shout out to his culinary skills. 

Anywho, after supper this is what the kitchen looked like. (Be warned, it is not a photo for the faint of heart!)

In all fairness, this picture was taken was not long after I decided I couldn't take things the way they were organized anymore. I had actually put it on my brain dump list earlier today and was surprised myself when I got the burning desire to fix this mess once and for all. So with label maker in hand I got to work. 

The corner cabinet by the stove now has Babycakes' dishes as well as all of my baking tools and mixing bowls. 

This semi-circular cabinet houses the cat food, chips, and other miscellaneous food items. And the area I am most proud of....  Next to the refrigerator...drumroll please...

In full geek fashion I used my label maker in this cabinet. I'll label the others at a layer date but wanted to show off what's been done so far. It took me a little over an hour but I think it will save that time and more in the long run. 

Here's to an organized kitchen!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Thoughts on Having an Only Child

I'm going to tell you a secret...I didn't always want to be a mother. Between the ages of 18 and 20 I was going to be a career woman. No kids for me - just a smokin' hot husband! ;-)  

In my early twenties I decided that I wanted kids, but not until I was at least 30, so that I could travel, advance my career, and enjoy my youth.  This was not a bad plan for me. 

At 23 I got married and we decided to wait until we were married for five years before having children. Between the ages of 24 and 25 it started. That desire for a baby. I knew I wasn't ready, and neither was my then husband. We traveled, we moved around a lot (he was in the military), and we enjoyed our youth. As the years passed my desire for a family grew stronger while his desire grew weaker. Then, at the ripe "old" age of 30 it happened. 


By 31 I was divorced and living with my mom. I was devastated. Not one to be kept down I decided to earn my Master's degree and begin my new life. It happened while I was grieving the loss of my first marriage.  It totally snuck up on me when I wasn't looking. I met HIM. My soulmate.

We were both mourning relationships that had gone south. We comforted one another and talked about our dreams for the future. During this time of our blossoming friendship and companionship we fell in love. (Insert AWWWWWWW!)

We dated for more than three years before we got engaged. We were both gun shy - afraid of the pain from our previous relationships.

 I truly believe in God's perfect timing. I needed to go through the joy and the angst of the first marriage to truly appreciate what I have now. 

We agreed right away that we wanted to have children. Two was what we wanted. A boy and a girl (so cliched, right?) We waited until we had been married for two years before we started trying for a baby. Within three months I was pregnant. We were overjoyed! For six amazing weeks I rested and enjoyed the "glow" and attention given to me as a new life was growing inside of me. Then, like a light switch, it started. 

Morning sickness.

I'm not talking eat a couple of Saltines before you get out of bed you'll feel better in a little while. I'm talking nausea 24/7. I tried everything - vitamins, ginger ale, sea bands, Saltines - nothing helped. But because I wasn't losing weight medication was not recommended. People told me I would forget all about being sick once the baby came.  Four years later I haven't forgotten.

While the nausea subsided around Thanksgiving of that year, I still didn't feel any kind of blissful glow. I felt more of a wretching green. I wish I could say I just woke up one morning and it was gone. But it lingered throughout the pregnancy. While it wasn't constant, it would sneak up on me when my defenses were down. Like in the middle of the state mandated writing test I was giving. I won't give you the details of that one.

After 40 weeks and 3 days I went into labor...for 43 hours. No, I was not one of those women who wanted to have a "natural" childbirth. I wanted to give birth in a medicinal haze with a big, goofy grin on my face. Little Miss was ready to make her debut but my body was not cooperating. In addition to the contractions (which I don't really remember) I had back labor (which I remember in vivid detail). Worst. Pain. Ever. After the 43 hours of labor my amazing husband told them they had to do something. NOW. So off to the OR we rolled where, after just a few minutes, Babycakes made her debut. I was exhausted but I was finally in that medicinal haze with the goofy grin on my face!

I nursed that beautiful girl for 10 glorious months. I was tired all. the. time. Making milk is hard work. They don't tell you that in the books. I made the choice to do it because my mom did it for us. I cherished those times together. I also cherished the bottle times that followed. I still cherish the times when she lets me rock her in the chair.

I LOVE being a mommy. I can't think of anything I would rather do with my life. But I can't do it a second time. Physically or emotionally. I did get pregnant just before Babycakes turned 2 but God needed another angel. He took that sweet baby's soul on my late father-in-law's birthday. I know "Daddy Gene" is rocking that baby until I meet him/her one day after my work here on Earth is through. Many have asked if the miscarriage is the reason we have decided not to have another baby. The answer is, "No." 

I am now 41 years young and the Hubs is 47. We will be approaching retirement age when Babycakes graduates from college. I love our family just the way it is! While my "plan" was to have at least two children, God has led me to the decision to only have one child. Am I sad there won't be another baby? Sometimes. Do I wonder if Babycakes will be okay without siblings? Absolutely! But I have to trust in my heavenly Father and the choice he has led us to in this. I have a feeling He has other things in store for our small family. We just need to trust in His timing and His choices for our lives.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer in Review

I know I said I would write a post after cleaning up from the mayhem that followed our two weeks out of town. I also realize that was several weeks ago. But here is my excuse. Wait for it.  


Easily a crazy time of year but a good crazy.  We've been busy at Wilted Acres. 
From working on the dissertation... going to the dentist.

Organizing the bathroom closet...

...and heading to the doctor during a bout with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (nasty stuff by the way!). 

Making eggs with Papa during a weeklong visit...

And making blueberry jam. 

Visiting the splash pad...

...and having portraits made. 


Birthday parties...






Visits with dear friends...

Making "sour crap" (aka sauerkraut )

Crazy summer storms...

Going from this haircut...

To this...

More pool/cousin time...

Yard sales...

Plenty of goofing around...


So that's what we've been up to this summer. I head back to work on Monday to get ready for another school year. I hope everyone has had a great summer!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Aftermath

We've been busy here at Wilted Acres this summer. We just returned from a two week trip. As soon as I deal with this mess...

...I'll make some time to update you all on what's been going on here. 

Hope you're having a great summer!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is the End in Sight???

As another school year winds down our state mandated testing is in full swing. This means countless hours of watching kids sit on front of a computer screen while they show the world what they know. Unfortunately I am rarely in my classroom except to drop things off in between testing sessions because a.) I'm testing in another location, b.) my room is being used for testing, or c.) I am in my room but I am testing. Today it was option c and I had to look at this mess. All. Day. Long. 

Here's to two more weeks of school!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Week (and a little more) In Review

Ah, Memorial Day. The unofficial start of summer. While it is warming up, it is no where close to what I would consider summer here at Wilted Acres. To me, summer is 85+ degrees with a bit of humidity to keep it real. And while I love the current high 70s to low 80s we are having, it feels more like late spring than summer.

In my last post I shared that I didn't have to report to work because of a "flood day." Initially I had planned to go into work. However, I decided I that my work bag contained more than enough paperwork to occupy my day. I tried to get some pictures of the flooding, but was not as successful as I thought I might be. Anyway, below is a nearby creek. You can see the brown water just past the trees in the foreground. Tough to see how high the water was, but I can assure you it was worthy of a flood day...

Below is the rain gauge from my garden. We had nearly 2 inches of rain in a 24 hour time span at my house. But other nearby areas reported more than 3 inches of rain in that same period of time!!!

After a three day weekend I was back at work bright and early this past Monday, ready to conquer the week. It's a good thing I had some extra time because the week ended up being crazier than usual.

On Thursday, I defended my dissertation proposal. What this means is that I am now ready to begin the next step in my research once I make the required changes to my proposal. These changes will be due to my committee members mid-June. Once those changes are made and approved, I will move on to the Institutional Review Board of the University. Pending their approval I can begin working with the necessary agencies I need to work with in order to complete my research.

Prior to my proposal defense, I took this picture of the room where I was about to present.

After successfully defending my proposal I celebrated with a vanilla chai latte from Starbucks and took a quick pic.

When I got home the Hubs and I decided a little family celebration was in order so we headed into town to a favorite local restaurant with Babycakes. After a delicious meal of drunken salmon, crab dip, fresh garden salad, loaded baked potato, spring veggies (I had PLENTY of leftovers!) and a glass of chardonnay from a local winery, we headed back home so we could get Babycakes to bed. She was super clingy that night and I thought she was just exhausted from a big day so we wanted to get her home. Not to mention that I had been up until 1 that morning finishing my presentation. So I was ready for bed myself.

But before we left for home I took a couple of pictures near where we parked. I can not tell you how beautiful it is in the Valley at this time of year. Because many of you are scattered across the country, I wanted to share some of the local beauty:

I have no idea what these little flowers are but they are beautiful!  It's hard to tell, but they are a light pink color.

These flower baskets are throughout the town. This one is on the bridge that runs over a small stream in town.

The aforementioned stream...

This is an antiques shop but I just love the little side yard!
After we got home, Babycakes and I crawled into bed for some cuddles and I thought she felt a little warm but she wasn't running a temperature. She fell asleep shortly after cuddles began and I didn't have the heart to move her into her bed so I just enjoyed the closeness and did a little reading to unwind.  By 10:00 she was running a fever and awake about every 45 minutes.  It was a LONG night for everyone. The next day she went to the pediatrician and was diagnosed with tonsillitis. A round of antibiotics and she was back to her shenanigans.  Like this selfie...

That's all for now readers! I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day and take some time to remember those who have gone before to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fire and Flood

No work for me today! Our school division is closed due to flooding throughout the county. Babycakes is sleeping in, the Hubs is off to get a haircut and I am enjoying my morning coffee and the Today show. I am watching the news out of Southern California (my home state) and the irony of the situation is not lost on me.While I am home due to an overabundance of rain, Californians are desperate for a brief shower to get a leg up on the fires. My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted in any way by the horrible devastation. I am thankful today that my basement is flooded and my family is safe.

Despite being off for flooding, I plan on going into work to get caught up on some paperwork. I have a love/hate relationship with the month of May. I love the green trees, blooming flowers, warm air, and the light at the end of the school year tunnel. I don't like the impact all the greening can have on my allergies, the crazy behavior of the kids (hard to believe that middle school kids could get any crazier than they already are but trust me-it's possible!), state mandated testing, and the ridiculous amount of paperwork that must be completed. Alas, it must all be finished so I will head in for a couple of hours today in an effort to tackled the mound of paperwork that awaits.

Since I drive the bridge that spans the river I'll see if I can get some pictures to post of the local flooding. I hope this Friday is kind to you all!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April Showers Bring... an Overdue Blog Post!

So, I just looked and saw that the last time I posted to my blog was February (early February at that!). I had grand plans to write 4 posts in March but it just didn't happen.  Babycakes ended up very, very, sick.

She started with an outer ear infection. (Pediatrician trip #1)Then she ended up with a double middle ear infection and an infection in her trachea (which spiked her temp to 105 one night). (trip #2) When she didn't improve after a couple of days I took her back to her pediatrician where she was then diagnosed with bronchitis(trip #3). He got her on the right medicines and she is back to her wild self. :-)
So between being a mommy, a wife, a teacher, and a student I haven't had much time to blog. And to be quite honest, I haven't made it a priority. I need to change that because blogging brings me joy and it's an outlet for me to share little snippets of my life.
In my last post I shared what a tough winter we've had - like much of the U.S. It's finally starting to look and feel more like spring around here (despite the sleet that was falling when I arrived home from work this evening). I am ready for warmer weather and flip flops as well as the annual trip to get a "real" pedicure!
Anywho, here are some pictures of what's been going on at Wilted Acres...

Babycakes enjoying the Winter Wonderland

Babycakes and the Hubs

Babycakes and Mommy!

After months of winter and snow, we finally saw signs of spring...

In March, the Hubs took me to a WONDERFUL restaurant about an hour from Wilted Acres.

It was a real date -  we dressed up and everything!

Babycakes is getting so big.  I'm loving this age and her personality! I'm trying to treasure every minute because it's all going by so quickly!

I hope everyone is enjoying the early signs of Spring!  I'll try and post an organizing or cooking blog soon!