Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Working on holiday cards

It's a dreary rainy November day, and about the only motivation I have is for creating our holiday card. Yes, I know this is really productive when I am supposed to be packing, but every little item checked off our "to do" list is *something*, right?

A month or so ago I created and printed an adoption announcement for Baby E using Shutterfly, and that will go inside our annual holiday card. So now I just have the difficult job of choosing a design for the card itself! I have made collage cards many years in the past, but I am leaning towards simpler options this year. I really like the look where the photograph needs no frame, but then how much design do I want on top of the picture? That's the quandary I'm facing.

Maybe this one? I love the pink accents and mod feel, not to mention it satisfies my (admittedly somewhat picky) criteria above.

Or this one, with its simple layout? I love it!

Or maybe this one, because it sparkles. :)

I really don't know.

Then there's always the collage option, which opens up a whole other realm of possibilities. EEK!

Cool holiday giveaway from Shutterfly:

Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly. Learn more: http://bit.ly/sfly2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Noise levels

For a couple days last week a friend of ours watched all four kids so we could get some packing work done. It was amazing how much work DH and I got done with no distractions. It was amazing how quiet the house got. I enjoyed the work, but not as much the quiet. Sure, it was nice to go to bed at night without a baby monitor or have to worry about waking up before we wanted to. But I found, especially at times when I was doing dishes or working downstairs, that I missed the low rumble that seems constant around here.

I had a moment Saturday afternoon after asking N to come to the kitchen when I heard his feet pounding across the floor and realized how much that sound is part of the fabric of our life here and something I don't want to miss.

So today with Christmas instrumentals as my background music, I hear four children playing in a homemade fort in the other room and smile. It doesn't make me so crazy today, not the way it did a week ago before my quiet time. :)

Some of the things we did last week.... DH and I got some much-needed work done on the basement and stuff done around the house in preparation for the recycle party. We took a bunch of books to our favorite used book store and used credit from the last time we traded in books. We came away with a few gems, far fewer than we had traded in, so it was a success! :) We had a really great time!

The kids' toys are mostly packed up now. I have yet to pack a couple of items, but that will happen this week. Right now they're enjoying a homemade fort. It's a lot easier to clean up when there are no toys around, although they still manage to get into things. ;)

My parents and youngest brother will be here for Thanksgiving in the next week or so, so that will be great. I am excited! Mom and I plan to pack up most of my dishes--china and everyday Fiestaware--and just use the winter dishes she bought me last year along with the Christmas Pfaltzgraff I started collecting when DH and I got married for the time between Thanksgiving and when we move (we'll use china for Thanksgiving dinner). I think I have too many dishes. Better than too few? :P Have you guys had any luck with those china packing containers that have zippers and lots of padding? If not, how do you pack your china? Any tips? I've done this a few times, but I've wondered about the china storage, especially with keeping dust off and such in the event that we keep them stored like that for a while.

And with that...

T-5 weeks. EEK!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Canon in D

I remember the first time I heard Canon in D and recognized it as separate from other classical music. It was the first time I saw Father of the Bride (the Steve Martin version, not the Spencer Tracy version). Sure, I had heard it before; my parents had it on a CD in their classical music collection. It was not until Father of the Bride, however, that I realized what a beautiful wedding song it was. After that I started hearing it a lot at weddings. It was probably popular before that and I just didn't know it, because it had blended into the background music of my life.

Eight years after I first saw Father of the Bride, Canon in D played at my wedding. It had remained a hit in my mind through middle school and teenage angst, through high school and acne and crushes and homework (lots of homework), through my first love and college, independence, our engagement and finally wedding planning. It lasted. I realized this afternoon when I heard the song--this time as part of a Christmas CD--that I have now lived with this song longer since I married than I did between hearing it and marrying. Yet those eight years I described above, from when I was about 12 to just under 21, were some of the most formative of my life. That was when I made decisions, good and bad, that still impact my life. Thankfully the decisions that most impact me today were good ones, even if at the time they were not made according to popular wisdom. A girl in college just does not marry at 20 in this day and age, after all. What was I thinking? And to a boy who, at 19, had taken time off school to pursue full-time ministry? Clearly neither of us was right in the head.

Today looking back on that day, 10 years ago this December, when we said, "I do," no, of course we had no idea what we were walking into. Canon in D was the song that kept me to that day, and now I can tell you that all of the pomp and fanciness of our wedding day has been surpassed by the beautiful life God has built for us. The roller coaster is by no means at an end, but we have each other. I hope and pray we continue to live a life set to beautiful music.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And the house hunting begins

Yesterday I signed up for Westside Rentals. I haven't found anything earth-shattering that wasn't already on Craigslist, but who knows what will happen in the next month to six weeks?

We talked about having me fly out to CA to do some house hunting, but even with round-trip tickets as cheap as $150 (which is cheap!), it's money we don't want to spend if we don't have to. So for now, our friends out there will tour houses and take pictures for us.

As far as housing goes out there, it's kind of funny how we assume things sometimes. Sometimes there are two houses on a lot--this happens a lot in LA, partly because land is so expensive, partly because people in the front house built a guest house in the back to bring in rent. It's not illegal squatting or something, but it does seem a little odd to a Midwesterner not used to it. In one listing we looked into, the two houses on one lot share a washer and dryer. This is a lot nicer than a communal laundry where you share with a ton of other people, but it's still a communal laundry. The fact that it would allow us to have a free-standing house where we wouldn't be footsteps over anyone's head or have to hear anyone else's footsteps over our heads is really nice, though, so we're still looking into it. I wondered as soon as I heard about this laundry facility-sharing thing where exactly the laundry facilities are. The lady listing the house said they're in the garage. Aha! That's a new one for a Midwesterner for sure! Considering our laundry room is in a less-heated part of our house right now and we have issues with too-cold pipes every year, putting the laundry in the garage never occurred to me.

Another house we're looking at (technically a townhouse) has all of the bedroom space we want and bathroom space we want plus amenities like access to gym facilities and such. The only thing is, not only are the dining room and kitchen floors tile, but so is the living room floor. My children are loud enough. I don't know if tile is a good idea. Then I thought that maybe I could get a rug or rugs, but that is just more money... and when we're already stretching our budget, I just don't know. Still thinking about that one too. I do really like so many things about that one that it might be worth the rugs... IKEA still carries rugs, right?

My favorite house of all right now is adorable. It's not very big, and the landlord is not opposed to renting to us but has already mentioned that raising three children there was tight. The thing is, this house isn't much different in size than anything else we're looking at, so I told her it's not going to matter where we rent at this point; the space issue will be an issue everywhere. The house is free-standing, has an updated (and relatively large for the size of the house, from what I can tell from the pictures) kitchen, and is just so adorable! Did I already say that? I haven't seen pictures of bedrooms and such. I'm sure they're small, but with a decent size kitchen, a living room, and a separate dining room, we'll make it work.

T- 6w6d