Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend in Review

Well, thanks to the very random Ohio weather most of the plans we had for this weekend didn't happen. I was supposed to go to Amish Country in Northern Ohio with Andrews mom, sister in law and our little niece, but there was a good 8 inches of snow up that way so we couldn't go. Andrew and his brother went to a farm equipment auction and the girls decided to do some shopping! We headed to some local antique stores and I found a few things (go figure) and then we went to lunch, the thrift store and the used book store. The boys came back around 6pm and Andrew and I headed home. Normally on Friday or Saturday nights we like to do dinner out, but the roads stunk both nights and we didn't get to go, money saved I suppose.

We must be turning into 90 year olds because by 8:30 we were in bed and I was passed out by 9....yeah we're those people. I've been a little stressed out lately by a lot of things (its kind of a long story that I don't really want to spill out on here) and I've had a hard time sleeping. Passing out at 9pm and not waking up till 7 the following morning was exactly what I needed. My mind wasn't totally clear when I woke up, but I felt worlds better and it amazed me what a good nights sleep could do!

I further relieved my stress on Sunday by doing some cleaning and laundry (yea that honestly makes me feel better believe it or not). Andrew went to a car parts store with my brother and I made a nice dinner for us - chicken fried steak (I am still trying to clean all this meat out and I'm getting closer and closer). Hope that everyone else had a good weekend and that you all keep praying for spring - I'm starting to see the snow piles slowly getting smaller!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Texting, sexting and digital harassment

photo from: here

I recently watched a special on MTV news about "Sexting in America" explaining the problems with sexual text messages being created and shared among teens. They shared the story of two teens and how sending these messages had a dramatic impact on their life. One girl ended up having a picture she sent to her boyfriend of her topless forwarded all over the school and eventually getting to the principle. The other guy forwarded naked pictures of his 16 year old girlfriend to everyone in his email address book and got arrested for distribution of child porn and is now a registered sex offender. As I kept watching I hoped that there were teens watching the special and that it was going to make them realize that their actions are not innocent and that they do have consequences. The laws for child porn have not caught up with the sexting phenomenon but they seem to be progressing and more and more teens (and adults) are being prosecuted for these crimes.

It blew my mind to think that kids this young are being pressured to share nude photos with other people and that for some of them the thought never crosses their mind that it will get around school. There wasn't texting or sexting when I was that age, but I do know that I would not be dumb enough to let everyone at PHS see me naked via my boyfriends cell phone.

Not only is sexting an issue but now there is cyber bulling as well, this can happen via text, facebook or myspace and its also occurring in record numbers. During the sexting special, MTV kept showing commercials about thinking before you forward a mean text about someone or write something mean in a facebook message or email (you can view the commercials here). There have been several teens in recent months that have committed suicide due to comments that have been made about them on the internet or in text messages. I remember there being bullies growing up and being made fun of, but really things just seem to have gone too far.

I know that we've all probably sent a naughty text (hopefully nothing that got us in trouble, I mean we are all adults here) and that maybe we've said something mean on facebook or in an email but maybe we all need to think twice. If you have kids that are teens, make sure that you tell them there are consequences for the things they say on the internet and via text message and those mean messages can be stuck out in "internet land" forever. I know that we all try to stay away from drama, gossip and things that can get us in trouble, but lets remind the young people we are around of these ideas as well.

So I wanna know, what are your thoughts, what do you think about sexting and digital harassment? Have you ever been a victim of a mean text or email, maybe even said something rude to someone on Facebook or Myspace?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Princess Dress

I haven't done something crafty in quite sometime that I have pictures of, and this seemed to be the only writing prompt from mama kat's that was inspiring to me this week. So I found a picture on my computer of one of the biggest craft/sewing projects I've ever done (with a good deal of help from my mom and one of our neighbors.

Yeah, that was me in 2003 off to my senior prom - and what I would give to have that body back! And yes, my mom and I made that dress! It had to be the most complicated pattern that I could have possibly chosen and of course it had to be pink (forever and always my favorite color). The top was almost like a corset, boning and all, something that my poor mother had never done. The skirt was 6 layers of chiffon and satin and was totally beautiful. We worked on that dress for two months solid until my prom in early May. I felt so bad for making my mom so frustrated with that dress, but at the same time it was fun and a learning process for both of us. I remember many pin stabbings, jammed up bobbins and broken machine needles but also lots of laughs and in the end a beautiful dress.

My mom made my homecoming dress that year too (far less complicated I might add) and my dress for graduation (which needed to be white = impossible to find for an 18 year old). I always loved doing sewing projects with my mom and hopefully once things are more put together here we can start working on window treatments and all kinds of fun stuff! And someday in the not-so-far-away future she is going to make my wedding dress. I've been looking forward to that project for most of my life, since we're making it out of my moms wedding dress!

What kinds of crafts do you like to do? Sewing, floral design, scrapbooking!?!?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My heart is full of fear.....

As most of you know, my dad has been unemployed since April 2009 - his position was eliminated from his company after he worked there for 28 years. He was not given the opportunity to be placed somewhere else in the company, but a person who was there a year longer than him was. He has sent out hundreds of resume and only had 8 interviews in the last 10 months and to make matters worse, on April 17th, his unemployment expires if he does not find a job.

I've been trying for days to hold back how much this is hurting me deep inside but I just can't do it anymore. I don't know what to do or where to turn. Congress is trying to pass another extension on unemployment, but who knows if it will happen since they only have till the 28th to pass it and they aren't moving quickly enough. If it does run out they will be living on the saved severance and my moms salary, which is not much. They've had a string of bad luck the last few months, their furnace went out and so did my dad's car causing them to have to tap into their savings account.

People from their church have been sending grocery gift cards and money to them about every other week which they appreciate more than words could ever express. They are not behind on any bills and are just barely making ends meet at this point, but once the unemployment is gone they won't be able to make it - their house is not paid off (but thankfully all of the cars are), they have a loan from my school and just general bills. I wish that I could do something, but I'm barely making it as it is....I cried myself to sleep for the last 2 nights over this and I'm just at a loss.

Some of my family has reached out to them, but my closest relatives act like its no big deal and that it will work out, well at this point I don't think it will. Just writing all of this is making me sick to my stomach and the tears are welling up in my eyes. If anyone has any suggestions or ways I can find to help them out please leave a comment with your email and we can discuss this further. Thanks everyone for listening, this has always been a good place to vent.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

On becoming a vegetarian

I've decided that as soon as more of these steaks and roasts are out of my freezer I am going to work on switching the food around here. We're going vegetarian (well mostly) and I think its going to be a good change. I'm frustrated with the way that I feel about my weight and I'm going to admit I haven't worked out really at all this winter. With Andrew going to bed at 7pm and my work hours changing getting me home at 5pm and an array of other things have caused a total lack of motivation. It probably doesn't help that in order to cure my seasonal depression I want to cook and eat horrible food, which seems to be the only thing that makes me feel better. If I have to see anymore snow or deal with another month of this weather I'm going to turn into a cookie by way of eating too many!

I've watched how much Andrews parents health has improved from cutting out processed foods and meats, but I don't think that I can go vegan, I'm not ready for that step just yet. They have also lost a considerable amount of weight and just feel better in general. Its going to take some effort on my part to learn to change my cooking methods and at least with being a vegetarian we can still enjoy dairy, eggs and fish. My first plan of action is go to to Amish Country where they have a bulk food store and I'll start with dried beans and grains, testing new recipes and maybe letting us splurge with meat once a week (plus the two of us sort of have an addiction to chicken wings). I have one vegetarian cookbook and I plan on looking for more and as I get better I will start creating my own dishes and get creative. I don't want this change to be a burden in our lives, I want it to be something that is going to better our health and our future.

I'm getting ready to start on a new book here soon about the benefits of certain foods so I'll be sure to blog about it as time goes on. If anyone knows of any good blogs on this topic (and thank you to the bloggers that commented and sent suggestions when I wrote about this before) please leave a link in my comments!

Nothing exciting to report from the weekend, went out with my old roommate on Friday night and slipped and fell on ice, busted my elbow and it made this horrible back pain I've been having worse, but thankfully I didn't hit my head. Got my house cleaned really well and cooked dinner with Andrew - did my big Sunday breakfast today and that's about it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Childhood Memories

I find myself thinking about my childhood a lot, especially now that the responsibilities of an adult seem to weigh hard on me at times (as I am sure they do with everyone else). There are hundreds of things I can remember doing as a child that I loved, lots of toys and games and it was hard to narrow it down to just one thing....but Barbies were my favorite (yes I am that atypical girly-girl).

I could play Barbies for hours, days, months - alone or with friends and making up new stories for their lives daily. I remember I only had two Ken dolls so they always had to be shared among the girls. We would make them pregnant by stuffing their clothes full of tissues and my mom, as I recall, once caught me and a friend making our Barbies lay on one another naked. I'm sure that in a way she thought it was funny, but was probably disturbed as well. My Barbies lived exciting lives, they had a 3 story house with an elevator, a car with a working radio in the trunk, really cute clothes, pets and kids. In the summer I would take them all outside with their pool, rafts and surfboard and play - those times seemed to be the most fun. I would act out pretty much any life activity with my Barbies and let my imagination run wild. I know that these days people think that Barbies give girls self esteem issues but I still think they promote a certain level of creativity.

My Barbie house basically looked like this one but the elevator was white. It was filled with furniture (I even made a waterbed for them with a ziplock bag and some duct tape) and always the center of the drama. Not only did I like to play with Barbies, but in middle school I started collecting the special ones as well. For each big holiday my Aunt Kathy would buy me a Barbie and she did so till I was 18. Yeah, I have a lot of collections for those of you who have read about my glass and other various household collections. I don't have my Barbie collection here, its still at my parents house in my old room (I don't think Andrew would want a bunch of dolls in here). Most of them are the Holiday Barbies from various years along with some special anniversary dolls.

I'd say Barbies were probably my favorite thing from childhood, what were yours? I'm participating in Mama Kat's writers workshop this week - so get on over there and do the same!

Mama's Losin' It

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Weekend in Photos

I always make some kind of dessert around Valentines Day, this year it was a made-from-scratch yellow cake with chocolate cream frosting. The last two years I did cupcakes but I wanted to make a cake since I finally got a pretty cake stand at an auction.

My lovely Valentines Day gift. I picked it out and Andrew ordered it for me :)

Bluebirds at Andrew's parents house, these pictures don't even do them justice. They are the most beautiful birds.

I finally got to bring my new piece of furniture home Saturday! This was before I put anything inside because I have so much cute glass and I didn't know what to put after I finally made up my mind, here is what I came up with....

Yeah, like I've mentioned before, I have A LOT of that is my weekend in photos, what did everyone else do!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Before and After

Major house projects in the before and after format. Trust me, there is a lot more to come this summer!

Align CenterDeck probably hadn't been stained in 3 years or more. We did the "deck cleaner" treatment first and honestly, it did NOTHING and then we moved onto power washing which removed all of that grey mess and made the wood look brand new. The staining process was a long one but boy does it look better now!

I still want to get new cabinet doors and a counter for the kitchen, possibly a new floor at some point but the blue is an improvement from the apple wallpaper (might be hard to see), which under that was pink, under that was owls and under that neon yellow! Yes this house was built in the 70's, its not my fault people had horrible taste back then!

The living room really wasn't horrible, just painted the walls and obviously put furniture in the room. Still need window treatments and a cushion for the window seat! The color of this room is my favorite, sort of a muted sage green from the Heritage collection from Valspar at Lowes. Apparently all of the colors are inspired by historical homes.

This was the backyard overhaul. We tore down the crummy shed (didn't really need it anyways) and then had to install drainage in the backyard to prevent the basement flooding. There are "tiles" that go through the back yard, along the side of the garage and next to the kitchen to catch the rain. You can't even tell where the yard was dug up now!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Do's and Don'ts of Homeownership

I'm participating in Mama Kat's writers workshop this week and I chose prompt 4. It took me a little while to decide what I was going to write about but since home-ownership is something new I've experienced in the last year why not write about that!

DO: Let people come and help you (it doesn't have to be professionals, almost everyone you know will have some kind of skill) - landscaping, drywall, painting, moving furniture, cleaning or whatever they want to help with! Ask you friends if they would be willing to help and your family too!

DON'T: Think you can do everything yourself. Sometimes you do need to call in a professional and let them deal with things....we had to for our furnace and some other issues.

DO: Take your time and do things the way you want them! If your house is a fixer-upper like ours don't feel like you have to get everything done right away, work at your own pace and take your time!

DON'T: Freak out when bizarre things happen, like say you turn on the faucet and the handle falls off or you blow a breaker and think that you broke a brand new appliance. A house is always a work in progress and no matter if its brand new, weird things are going to happen.

DO: Shop for items at Garage Sales and Thrift Stores, Craigslist is a godsend as well. There is NOTHING wrong with buying used. The only new appliance we have is our dishwasher, all of our furniture, lamps, stove, fridge, washer/dryer, curtains, table all of it is used! You'll save more money than you can imagine doing things this way! I don't understand people who have a complex with "second hand items" because saving money is something everyone likes to do!

DON'T: Hire a professional without checking their references, looking them up on the BBB website or asking friends and family who they have used. Then have 3 that sound good come out and give you a quote and pick the best one.

DO: Shop around at different stores (Lowes, Sears, Home Depot, Menards, local hardware stores) for the best prices on items. Sometimes they will match the sale prices of other stores if you find the same thing cheaper and don't think there is anything wrong with going to 3 or 4 places to get everything you need just to get a better deal!

I'm by no means an expert on this topic, but these are just some of my do's and don'ts.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter 2010 - White Death Returns

My day off on Friday was slightly ruined by a lovely snow storm that barred down on Ohio starting around 11am. I was 30 minutes away from home at (you guessed it) an auction and I ended up leaving early in fear of the roads getting bad. Yeah, lets just say that I am glad that I left when I did....this is what it looked like Saturday morning. The snowflakes were the size of small dinner plates I swear and it was a heavy, wet snow.

And just to give you a better idea of what the 12 inches we got looks like, compare to the shovel.

We've had some snow this winter but this was nothing like the last few times, it came down hard and fast with the biggest snow flakes I have ever seen. It stuck to all of the trees and weighed them down. Our power was out for an hour today but came right back on thankfully since its going to be 8 degrees tonight. Sure we have the generator but I don't know how to use it and Andrew is for sure going to have a long day at work thanks to the cold and the snow.
Needless to say this was all a mess to clean up but we still ventured out on Saturday so that I could go get my shiny new laptop! Yes I finally got a new computer after 5 years of suffering with my crummy desktop and I'm pretty pleased with my purchase. Its a little more than I wanted to spend but I got a good tax return and I wanted to treat myself. I never have the money to spend on something nice for myself.

Nothing else super exciting went on this weekend, just got my computer, went out to dinner and had a family dinner with mine and Andrew's families at my parents house!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Today its been 2 years

My love, it was 2 years ago that we stood in the kitchen of the house in West Jefferson and decided to be exclusive. I remember standing on your feet so you couldn't get away when I asked you to be mine.

I was so nervous I was on our first date, but that it slowly faded away since we had so much to talk about and so much in common. We went out again that weekend and from them on, we were inseparable. On our first trip to Hocking Hills, it rained the whole time but that was when I really feel in love with you, snuggled up on the couch by the fireplace, just talking. There was no TV, no one else around, it was just us. We spent that spring riding bikes, fishing, going to the Metro Parks, visiting with your family and mine, spending holidays together and having a wonderful time.

We started to look for houses and things seemed to be moving along quickly, soon it was summer and I told you I loved you for the first time on a park bench at Osprey Lake. You moved back home that summer to help out your family for a while and find a place of your own. This was when the rough patch hit and we were apart for a few months. My whole life didn't feel the same without you, but I left what happened in your hands and in God's hands knowing that things that are meant to be always work themselves out.

"Said woman take it slow, it'll work itself out fine - all we need is just a little patience" - I can't wait till we dance to that song at our wedding.

Over the course of Halloween and Thanksgiving though we were able to work it out and figured out we were meant to be. Christmas came and we spent time with both of our families and they were happy to see us together. We found out over the holidays we were going to have a niece in July and we were thrilled. By our second Valentines Day things were wonderful again. I was beyond thrilled to be a part of your life again, to be a part of your family and to have you in my heart.

Around that same time you found our house. I personally thought it was a dump but you saw the potential behind the flooded basement and moldy walls. We worked on that house for months, you let me pick out the paint colors and clean and decorate, it was a great bonding time for us. Yes, it was stressful at times, but its wonderful to have a place to call home. I moved in later that summer and for the first time in many years I felt complete.

Favorite memories: Hocking Hills, sitting on the porch and watching trains, riding our bikes to Hoover Dam, Pittsburgh, our island at Alum Creek, Osprey Lake, the boat, Bessie, a summer of garage sales every weekend, teaching me how to load a paint roller, pretending to be rich and British while walking around German Village with our Starbucks, you not knowing how to order coffee at Starbucks, Miller High Life (the champagne of beers), laughing so hard that we couldn't breathe, the first night at the house, summer nights taking long walks and all the inside jokes we have that no one else could ever understand. Sure there are things that you do that make me insane: throwing socks at me, leaving dirty coffee cups everywhere, snoring right when I fall asleep and of course your inability to clean (well sometimes).

2 years has gone by so fast! I can hardly believe that its been this long, although sometimes I'd swear that I've known you forever!

You make me smile when I feel like I could cry.
You don't care that I always want to do dorky things together.

You've fallen in love with Hocking Hills too :)

You're the best thing in my life.

I can't wait to see where we are this time next year, and the many years to come after that....

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vivid Dreams

Over the last two or three months I've been having very vivid dreams about my grandparents who live in Pennsylvania. My grandpa passed away in 1999 and my grandma has been in a nursing home for quite sometime. No one in our family owns their old house, but all of my dreams take place there. Someone bought the house about a year ago and I drove past while Andrew and I were in town this summer. I think I've been having these dreams because its coming up on the anniversary of when he died, February 6th - this coming Saturday. I can't believe that he has been gone for 11 years, that he won't be here to see me get married or to see his great-grandchildren. It makes my heart hurt deep.

The dream I had last night was strange. My grandpa wasn't there but my grandma was and she looked terrible, but her hair was long (its always been short) and tied back with a ribbon. The house was much the same as it was the last time I was in there, even down to the tiniest details. There was now an island in the kitchen and no table, but other than that all the same. In all of these dreams I am a little girl and my brother is young but my parents look just like they do today. They were all there, my family that is and my aunt who lives in Toledo. My brother and I were upstairs in one of the bedrooms watching a movie and my family was down in the kitchen. I walked down the hallway and started telling my mom, "You told me they changed everything in this house, but nothing looks different, there is no shower in the bathroom and all the rooms are the same." She just stared at me and followed me around. When we got back to the kitchen my dad was destroying the island the new owners had put in and I remember asking my mom why the new people were letting us stay there, she just kept repeating, "because this is ours Amanda, they said it was okay, this all belongs to us and they just live here."

The other dreams I've had my grandpa always appears in a strange place telling me things about my family and his life and their home, things there is no way I could ever dream up. A lot of times in my dreams too he is crying and I wake up feeling like he was just there, holding my hand. I've always believed in angels and I know that my grandpa is up there watching over me and helping me in my life and in fact with the date that his death falls on, I believe he brought Andrew to me as well. He knew that I needed someone in my life to love me for who I was and to take care of me. Although I didn't get to spend much time with my grandpa when he was alive since we lived two states away, I always felt we shared a special bond. He taught me to Polka, how to sing all the songs at church, what it meant to be Polish and how to love people unconditionally.

I miss you so much Grandpap, keep watching over me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Last post continued

As I had mentioned in my last post, I went to an auction on Saturday in Lancaster, about 30 mins south of where I'm living. My boyfriends mom and sister came with me and we were really pleased with the amount of nice things they had. Its nice to get to auctions early and browse through everything and get an idea of what you want to bid on. There weren't more than maybe 80 people at this auction as opposed to the last one where there was about 400 (it was a much larger auction than this though).

The piece I am the most proud of though is my pitcher and bowl. People used these before there was indoor plumbing and I really didn't come to this auction hoping to find one. For some reason it just struck my fancy and I decided to bid when it went up....and I was the only one that did. I got it for $5. When the auctioneers helper brought it over to me he told me what a great deal that was and that the set was made here in Ohio, I was even more thrilled!

I put it upstairs in my office on an antique dresser Andrew's mom gave us, it just seemed a fitting place and the colors go nice with some of the things I have in the office. After trying to do some research on the Akron Ohio China Company online I didn't find much, but I do know they were only around till 1908 so there is a good chance that piece is over 100 years old!

I got a few other items, a vase, fruit bowl, gold ware and a cake stand. Friday we're going to a more high end auction, where I probably will not buy anything but its fun to see how much items are going for.

Nothing else too exciting went on over the weekend, just some cleaning, relaxing and grocery shopping!