Choosing to see the extraordinary of "ordinary"

Monthly Archives: October 2014

A couple weeks ago, My Man and I traveled to Iowa to see Grace at college.  I’m so glad we got to visit her aaaand that we had an excuse to visit such a pretty state!  ‘Tisn’t like Kansas at all.  It at least has hills and trees and beautiful fall colors.

This is the first trip that I haven’t planned the bejeezers out of everything before I go.  I looked up a handful of interesting “what to see in Iowa” things, but I didn’t even book hotel rooms beforehand!  (Except for when we were at Grace’s college…I did get the on-campus apartment the day before.)  We took each day at a time, and then would look online for a hotel in whatever city we happened to be in.  I don’t think I will convert full-time to this new mode of traveling, but it was nice for a change.

So, here are the pictures of our peaceful Iowa days.

Touring around the capital of Des Moines.  We got there too late to go in the Capital building, but we wandered some of the shops downtown and ate at Zombie Burger, a treat, to be sure.



Oh, and it’s always so interesting to see what can be found in basements of antique shops…balls of panty hose, wigs, you name it.



And that night we walked miles (literally) to High Trestle Trail Bridge.  The walk was worth it to see the 2300 foot long bridge lit up.


Next day we drove to to see John Wayne’s birthplace because we are fans of The Duke (I have been since about 3 or 4 when I would insist on watching “old westerens” on TV).  Also caught one of the bridges from The Bridges of Madison County on the way.  Never read the book or seen the movie, but I might just have to now.






Spent lots of time in our campus apartment hanging out, watching TV and sleeping.


Had to leave Grace the third day.  Went to a coffee shop for the internet to plan where to drive next.  (Caleb brought his Monster in, because he doesn’t drink fruffy coffee, and doesn’t like the taste of manly coffee.)


Decided to visit the birthplace of Herbert Hoover.  Neither of us knew much about him.  He was pretty interesting, and the town he grew up in was beautimous in all its autumn glory.


The next day we went hiking at Musquokeeta Park.  It is chock full of caves that you could explore.  We ventured into the big one, but the others where you had to crawl and use major flashlights, we opted out.







And the leaves, I just died for all the beautiful leaves.


The end.



Ok, so the blessings have been piling up.  Good thing too, seeing that I haven’t posted in an eternity.  I REEALLY need to be more consistent or less busy or something…

(Not that I’m complaining about busyness or that it’s out of control.  I’m beginning to get severely annoyed with the typical response to the question of “How’s it going?”  “Ooooh, you know, BUSY” with a self-sacrificing, martyr-like smile.  Yes, I’m guilty of this as much as anybody, but really, we all need to stop.  Either stop being BUSY or stop acting like we have no control over it or stop acting like it’s a symbol of self worth.  Ummm, wait did I really step on that soap box?  Where was I?)

Oh, the piled up blessings, that’s right.  I shall choose one and save the rest for later. Eeny, meeny, miney, moe – and I don’t have a clue how to spell the aforementioned.

Friday evening at mom and dad’s house.  Yes, ’twas a delightful evening.  My Man and I had gotten back from a short vacation a couple days before, and we were enjoying the remainder of the week off.  Mom called and asked if we wanted to come over for supper.  “Why, YES, that would be marvelous!”

Sos, we went.  And we had steak and potatoes and all the marvelous sides.  You see, mom is old school (not saying that she’s OLD mind you, just old school).  With any meal, with family or friends alike, you must, you simply MUST have a main dish (with potatoes if appropriate), a salad, a vegetable, a dessert, and anything else that comes to mind.  Our arguments of “but mom, potatoes ARE the vegetable” or “there are vegetables in the salad!” fell on deaf ears.  You MUST have each thing individually.

Not only did we eat marvelously, we sat outside in the cool autumn evening on their newly built patio area in the back yard, with candles and fireplace a blazing.  And we visiting over coffee and baked apples and roasted marshmallows and huddled under blankets big enough to fit a king size bed.

There’s home – the place you want to sleep in your own bed at and decorate and hang out.  And there’s HOME – the place that will forever be where you grew up and where your parents will always be waiting and feeding you meat and potatoes and salads and a vegie and a dessert or two.


Yippity skippity doo dah day!!!  It’s been a year since our last house update.  A YEAR.  We’ve been working on projects, but they’ve just seemed to take forever.  At least, in my “let’s get it done yesterday” opinion.  (I really need to quit getting all a flutter about such stuff.)

Anyway, in the midst of renovating the family room, I had the urge to re-do the front porch.  It wasn’t really that bad, but afterwards, well, it makes me smile every time I come home, and I’m so glad we did it.  AND, it was a relatively quick project!  A nice change from the drawn out ones.

So, here it is!

A little before and after:

PicMonkey CollagePicMonkey Collageend PicMonkey Collageend 2PicMonkey Collagefront

A little more “before”:

Cleaning up the front and putting in flowers…



Tearing off the vinyl ceiling to find the beautiful blue bead board and tearing off the ugly tin to find perfectly wonderful wood pillars.  Seriously, WHY do people cover things like this up with cheap stuff from Lowes?!



And this is what happens when a weed eater picks up a rock and flings it into your glass door.  Good thing I didn’t want it anyway.  So much for selling it on Craigslist though.


The “before I start painting” pictures.




I can paint, but trying to figure out angles makes me start to twitch.  I tried doing it alone and wound up NOWHERE.  Aaaaaand, that’s why My Man is so wonderful.  His mind works that way, and he had the diagonals laid out in no time.


I was planning on putting up a railing all the way around.  Caleb didn’t like the idea though because it would block off access.  And thinking back to gatherings we’ve had where everyone likes to sit on the edge, I finally came to the conclusion that he was right.  (Don’t think my idea went down without a fight though.  But some ideas eventually need to go down.  And smart men need to win once in a while.)



And the “after” pictures.  I do so love sitting out there (the one or two times I’ve managed to do it).











With all the renovating and decorating and stuff, my number one goal is to make our home inviting to family and friends.  A pretty house is pretty empty by itself.  I want our home to be welcoming and a place of refuge.


When Caleb first moved into our little abode, his parents replaced their refrigerator and kindly gave him (us) their old one.  It was so nice to not to have to shop for appliances back then (the refrigerator was the only kitchen appliance that didn’t come with the house).  With planning a wedding in 3 1/2 months, self-publishing a book, cleaning and painting a house that had more than its share of nastiness, I was NOT in the appliance shopping mood.

Grace and Glorie helping me clean, and the old frig

Grace and Glorie helping me clean, and the old frig

The frig worked faaaaantastically.  It was big and could store loads of food.  Oh, did I mention that they GAVE it to us?

Well, now that we are wrapping up the family room and porch projects, our question of “Which room do you want to do next?” has been under careful consideration.  And, well, if you’ve seen our kitchen, the decision wasn’t that hard.  Well…if you’ve seen our bathroom, maybe the decision was a little hard…


…choices, choices, what to chose?

Anyway, the kitchen is next on the remodel list.  And while our used frig has been a blessing, ummm, well, it doesn’t exactly go with the design plan.  So I started scouring Craigslist.

Hmmm, stainless steel or white.  Oh, the choice; oh, the questions!  I was going back and forth, looking through my Pinterest kitchen file and magazine pictures.  And then, I stumbled upon this beauty, quite by accident.  And my refrigerator world was never the same.


I was NOT planning on buying a new refrigerator, especially when I saw the price.  But it just wouldn’t leave my head.  So, me thinks, “I shall do a Google search ‘discount GE Artistry refrigerator.'”  ‘Cause you know, where there’s a will, there is sometimes a way.

*sigh* And I found one…FOR HALF PRICE at a Sears Outlet.  (*Emotional high*)  I thought and talked with Caleb about it over the weekend.  His response, “Whatever you want, babe.”  Gotta love that guy.

There’s that moment – you’ve found THE perfect thing.  Then you think, “Well, wait.  Maybe I shouldn’t jump into this.”  Then you slap yourself and say, “What in the WORLD am I thinking?!  It is PERFECT!”  Then you immediately go online to buy it. Then you realize it’s gone.  (*Emotional low*)

Will I ever learn?

Not to be deterred, I called the store just to make sure.  The sales person’s answer, “Yes, it’s still on our floor.”  (*Emotional high*)

So I made about seven phone calls over the course of the weekend.  “You can’t purchase it over the phone; you have to go to the website.”  Well, it wasn’t showing up on the website.  “Well, wait a couple days, and the inventory should be up to date.” (*Emotional low*)

Finally, FINALLY, I was able to purchase it online, and the sweet little beauty was delivered to our little abode.  (*Emotional high*)

And one night, My Man and I decided to switch out the frig and install our new friend.  Aaaaaand, we soon saw that there was a manufacturer’s defect, and our new little friend was unusable.  Stupid outlet stores.  (*Emotional low*)

So, I called the store the next day to return it.  And they told me it was under warranty.  And a repair man came out and fixed it.  And *sigh* it is now sitting in our ugly kitchen.  (*Emotional high*)  Oh, but it’s so purdy, I can almost ignore the mustard colored walls.  Almost.


I’m thinking refrigerators shouldn’t send one on a emotional roller coaster.  My Man is thinking that too, I’m sure.