Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Perhaps you thought that we had given up on our do-it-yourself projects after the desk took months to complete, but last Saturday we had yet another to accomplish. I wanted to paint the little white side tables navy blue to bring some color to our guest room. I also wanted to paint a mirror I had gotten on the clearance table the same color. Here's our before and after:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Cartoon Kitty

This photo is dying for a caption. Doesn't she look pasted into the picture?
I promise I will post no more pictures of Calla on Rob's head.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lovely Flowers

Gorgeous peonies from Debbie's garden:
A beautiful hydrangea from a church friend

Week Events

I don't normally post a "here's what I did this week" type of entry, but I'm feeling in the mood. Lots of little things have come up, so...here's what I did this week:

1. STAR Testing
This school week has been extremely busy as our students began their week and a half of STAR testing, California's standardized test our middle school students take. The schedule itself has been enough to cause chaos. Today, for example, I had the SAME group of students in my class from 8:20 until 1:28. Don't ask me to explain; just feel sorry for me.

2. Kitty Training
Our little Calla has proven to be very sweet at times but also a crazy hand and foot attacker. I decided to do a little research and found out it is possible to train a kitty to understand that human feet and hands are not kitty toys. It all begins with "scruffing" a kitty, which means when she becomes unruly, the owner gently grabs her by the scruff of her neck and holds her down for 3-4 seconds. It seems to be working, although she is a slow learner and must be retaught everyday.

3. Dinner with the Sario's
Steph and Will Sario treated us to wonderful homemade pizza at their home on Tuesday night. We had a fantastic time. They have recently been to our house and eaten dinner with us, but both Steph and I agree it's a lot easier and a lot more pleasant to do this at their house. The kids have their toys and their beds nearby, so kids and adults are kept happy. The highlight of the night had to have been playing play-dough with Molly. No, I take that back. The real highlight was when Molly said "You stay" to me when Rob and I started to get our things to leave. How sweet!

4. Backyard Eating
Since we now have a backyard lawn (and an adorable little table and chairs set gifted to us by Debbie), we have enjoyed drinking coffee and eating meals out there this past week. That is, when it hasn't been too hot. (We hit 90's!) It feels like our house has grown.

5. Lunch
We had the whole praise team over on Sunday (including their families) for lunch and had a wonderful time eating, hanging out, and playing Wii. There is always laughter with this group, so it was a nice way to begin the week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wondering about Calla?

We love Calla. She's cuddly and playful and just plain fun. She follows us around the house and likes sitting on our shoulders. We are nearly just as entertained by Calla playing with her jingle bell ball and cotton mouse as she is with them. However, we do not love waking up at 5:30 which is when she has decided to begin her day. We also do not love reminding her where her litter box is. Thankfully we have managed to get her to the litter box in time every time. No messes on the carpet yet! Besides the early morning wake up and the litter box concern, however, she is nothing but wonderful. It's funny how little things like a cuddly baby kitten can bring such joy to people's lives.

Thinking Green

For months, we have stared at a dreary dirt backyard and counted down the days when we would actually be able to look at a green lawn instead. About a month ago, we realized we had taken care of most of the major projects we needed to do with our new home and so could turn our attention to the backyard. The process first began with picking up as many of the rocks and pieces of junk we could. Seriously, it was amazing how much junk we found in the backyard, and it just continued to surface! We ended up with a whole pile of rusty nails, glass, wires, and even saw blades. The rocks created two huge piles along the side of the house.

We did the best we could, but with a job like turning concrete-hard dirt into lovely green grass, we had to hire the professionals. Here is what the professionals were able to do: dig trenches to prepare for the sprinklers! The second picture shows what the dirt looked like once the sprinklers were put in and the trenches were filled (topped off with the pile of rocks, which we appreciated greatly. What were we going to do with all those rocks??)
With the sprinklers complete, the sod could finally be put in. We did go back and forth between sod or seed, but ultimately with the type of dirt we have, sod was going to be a better fit. And the best thing about it? It's instand yard! The sod arrived at our house early in the morning in rolls. This rolls (which I said look like hohos) are very heavy! My dad said 40 pounds, and although I'm not sure each one is that heavy, it sounds good so I'll say it. I helped move 40 pound rolls from a pallet to a wheelbarrow to the backyard.
Piece by piece the backyard was created and finally, it was finished. I just love going green.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Wedding

My cousin Aaron was married on Saturday, and so we all celebrated with him and his new wife. It was fun spending time with the whole family. A lovely April wedding with no rain and plenty of good food and company...what more could a bride ask for?

New Friend!

Our new house was missing something, and this past weekend, we found it. We picked up our new little kitty, whom we have named Calla, from my Grandma on Friday. She has been adjusting very well and is taking over our lives already. It's been fun having a new friend around, and we think she will be a great addition to our home. Come by and see her!

Twins! (Sorry for the devil cat eyes.)
Cat napping with Robby
Fitting in with the dresser decor
All cuddled up for a nap
There will, I'm sure, be many more pictures to come :)

Steph and Kids

It had been way too long since Steph and I had a visit, so we scheduled a quick coffee time downtown on Thursday. Steph treated me to Starbuck's, and we did a mini-catch up while we drank iced tea and walked down Main Street. I'm amazed how quickly her kids are growing up! They're both a lot of fun now, and both have big personality. Too bad pictures just can't capture that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Night Out

I was hoping that Robby and I would be able to go to the coast during my spring break, but because of the busyness of church and our lives in general, that just didn't happen. The trade-off became a nice dinner out with us pretending to be somewhere really special, instead of just plain ol' Visalia. Robby took me to the Vintage Press, which is arguably the best restaurant in Visalia. Partiality aside, I do think the food at the VP is just as flavorful and creative as other "fancy" restaurants (not that we've been to many, but we have tried a couple here and there). I ordered delicious macademia-crusted halibut with an orange glaze, fluffy mashed potatoes, asparagus, and an absolutely fantastic cauliflower soup. Robby had a New York with a twice-baked potato, asparagus, and a lovely green salad. For dessert, we had my favorite: creme brulee. With a storm coming in, it felt as if we really were somewhere exciting, although it was nice to come home and crawl into our own bed.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekend Visit

We had a busy weekend with a visit from Deb and Nathan. We spent all day Saturday doing a marathon shopping trip since Deb needed some new work clothes. Nathan was a trooper, as well as Robby, who kindly watched Nathan while Debbie, Deb, and I took over the Calvin Klein and Banana Republic outlets.
Since Nathan's last visit, he has decided that playing ball is much more fun when played with someone else. He liked rolling the ball to us and seemed to enjoy even more just watching two people throw the ball back and forth. It was fun.
Because we won't be able to see Deb and Nathan for Easter, we coerced him into "hunting" eggs a week earlier. Debbie filled five little plastic eggs with cheerios and cookies, and we threw them about the front lawn and sent him to get them. He didn't like this too much, but he did humor me a couple of times by putting the eggs in the little tin pail we gave him. Thanks, Nathan.

Nathan could have gone without the egg hunt, but he could have played with his Uncle Rob the whole time. His favorite game:

Step 1: Toss head back as a signal to Uncle Rob

Step 2: Going down!

Final Result: Upside down giggles

Saturday, April 4, 2009

If you're happy and you know it...

...shout, "Spring Break!"

(Me:) "Spring Break!"

It is finally here. I had marked this week on my calendar months ago, thinking to myself, that week will never come. Never. I might as well plan my life around not ever getting to that spring break. But here it is. When I return to school, we will be in our last marking period out of 6. It's just the home stretch now. Soon I will say, "I made it through my first year teaching junior high students at a public school, and I survived!" I just might make a t-shirt and wear it, in fact. And to top it all off, I had some cute little flowers bloom in our front yard this week once again reminding that spring is here, new beginnings are here, and God is so so good.
Thanks to my mother-in-law, I am learning so much about flowers, plants, and gardening.
This plant is a type of rock-rose. It blooms these lovely white flowers with yellow centers. We have two of these, but only one has bloomed so far. The other one is almost ready.This is called a kerria. It's the biggest of our little plants we have, and it makes bright yellow flowers. It has only produced about two flowers, though. When I read about it, I learned that it should bloom on and off all summer. Nothing says "bright and happy" like darling yellow and white flowers. But nothing says "grace and beauty" like a calla lilly, a sweet gift from Debbie to celebrate Easter. These are my absolute favorite flowers, and were my main flower at our wedding. These deep purple ones (I think they're actually called red) are just gorgeous. I'm told I can try to plant them, but they may not make it, so I'm going to enjoy them inside as long as I can.