Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Reason Is

At church there is a couple who have been married for 30 years. They have 4 children and have always seemed very happy. Last weekend we found out they are getting divorced. Obviously, this is very sad and I have wondered why, after 30 years, some seemingly perfectly happy people would fall out of love. But, I have figured it out. It is obvious to me that they had to make the decision of whether to buy real hardwood or laminate. Because this decision is seemingly impossible and tensions get high very quickly, this must have led to their demise.

Yes, Ben and I are now in friendly combat mode. We are at an impasse. One of us prefers laminate, the other hardwood. I won't say which, so you can be honest in your comments without worrying about seeming to take sides. But, I will throw it out to the blogsosphere: Which is better- laminate or hardwood? Which is more durable, looks better, is better through wear and tear? We will take any and all suggestions- our marriage may depend on it! (I am totally kidding about our marriage being in jeopardy, in case you were worried- there is no need to worry, but if I "lose" Ben might have to sleep on the couch for a month:))

Tell flooring problems do us part...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It Comes In Threes

Have you ever heard the saying that bad news comes in threes? Well, I think we are now done with our bad news. Here is a rundown of April:

1. Worst flus of all time (Ben says we have already had Swine Flu- excuse me, the H1N1 Virus- and we should now be fine)

2. Bad french doors and damaged subfloors

3. Yesterday I accidentaly downloaded a virus on Ben's computer. He is not too happy with me right now....

We finally got an estimate on what it will cost to fix the door situation. We know we for sure need new French doors and new frame. We also know we need the contractor to lift the linoleum in our kitchen and replace some of the subfloor. We don't know how much. Because of that, we need to replace the entire kitchen floor because the linoleum will be destroyed. Since they have to redo the kitchen floor anyway, we thought we might as well get hardwood installed and have hardwood installed on our entire main floor- a project we want to do eventually anyway, so why not do it now when we have to do part of it anyway?

The answer of course is cost. We got our first estimate today. To do the entire floor exactly how we want it and never have to worry about it again will cost almost all of our savings. So, we would have the perfect floor, but virtually no savings. Bye, bye dreams of a mini-van (haha- as if anybody dreams of a mini-van, but the thought is we probably eventually would want one and we would like to be able to pay for it- another reason to stop having children with baby #2!). We can just put hardwood in the kitchen and dining room (the area where we want it most) and that would cost a little less then half our savings and then have the rest of the rooms done when we have money again. Or, Ben's brialliant plan: Get the door replaced and the floor fixed, and then just have them put a patch of linoleum where they pull it up. That wouldn't cost much money, but would cause great embarrassment everytime we had company over (Ben says we can put a rug on it).

I put a poll on the side so you can vote! What an exciting time (I say with great sarcasm- the apartment is looking better and better...).

I will post something fun about Audra later!

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Do You Wear in Colorado When...'s not too hot and not too cold? Answer: Nobody knows.

This is what we woke up to this morning. You all know we had a HUGE snowstorm last weekend, then by Sunday afternoon is was quite warm, and by Monday it was in the 70's- but felt like it was 102- and stayed that way the whole week until last night. Living in Colorado, you just get used to the unexpected and never put your snow clothes away!

Of course, this moisture adds greater concern to our water problem. I have one contractor coming out this morning to take a look, and I'm going to try and get at least one more out before we decide what to do. We need to act quickly, though, so hopefully these contractors will be able to tell us what direction we need to go!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Plea to All You Handymen (and women) Out There!

Ahh, the joys of homeownership: Always having to worry about your house (we might need to buy Mike Shanihan's house after all- sorry Arienne!).

Right when we bought the house, there was a soft spot on our kitchen floor. It was very small, and we realized the problem must stem from the doggy door that somebody put into the wall (the dumbest idea EVER) that leaked water. So, we sealed up the doggy door. Problem solved, right? WRONG! A couple of weeks ago, I noticed the soft spot on the floor was getting bigger. Ben didn't believe me, but I was convinced. We noticed our French doors didn't have a very good seal around it, so Ben opened up both French doors today and this is what we found:

I think we found the REAL problem! Talk about disgusting! Now, we have to figure out how to fix it. Any suggestions? I think we will take these pictures down to Home Depot and ask them for help! (And, I am sure, relying on Ben's dad who is an excellent handyman to help us out before we start falling through the water damaged floor!) But really- if you have any suggestions- send them our way!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Moving Again!

I know we just bought our house 8 months ago and I vowed never to move again, but once we saw this place, we knew we couldn't pass it up, so it looks like we will be packing our bags one more time!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


We went out and braved the snow today! We tried to take her in her little sled, but she fell over and after that she didn't want to go in it anymore. OOPS! But, don't try to tell me she isn't the cutest little snow Ewok you've ever seen with this outfit!Cautiously checking out the snow!
The snow plow FINALLY drove by, and left us with a lovely gift for Ben to try and get rid of right in front of our driveway. Oh, well.

Mom with the cutest little girl! Notice, it is still snowing- it's supposed to end by tonight. Maybe church will be cancelled tomorrow!

Here's a cute video of Audra helping Daddy move the snow. Once she started playing in it, she actually really enjoyed the snow and didn't want to go back inside. I guess she is a true Coloradan!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Winter's Back With a Vengence

It appears that because snow refused to fall during the winter time, it has decided to make a MAJOR comeback for spring! We have already gotten at least a foot, and I am sure we will get another foot or more- it just keeps on coming! I made Ben take off of work becaues I didn't want him to get stuck, and we're just trying to keep Audra occupied!

One way is for her to put on hats- her new favorite thing! She puts on hat after hat and then swings her head around to show it off laughing hysterically! What a cutie! (This is her still in her pajamas, obviously!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Easter!

Easter was pretty anti-climatic this year, what with Audra being too young to care and Ben totally and completely sick. But, I did take Audra to an easter egg hunt while Ben went to the doctor (and spent $50.00 just so the doc could say, "yep- you're sick." Happy times).

We went to a local Catholic church a friend of ours attends, and they were absolutely wonderful and nice and we had a great time! (Why doesn't our church do Easter egg hunts?!?) They divided the kids up by age and we went to our room and Audra pretty much stood there looking like this the entire time.

She wouldn't pick anything up- she just stared- so finally I put an egg in her basket trying to get her to catch on. She didn't. Oh, well! Here is the loot I got her! It's ok, though, since you all know we weren't going to let her eat the candy, anyway! It was more just to get her out of the house and used to the idea of Easter.

My friend gave us all of her sons empty plastic eggs, and Audra enjoyed playing with those.

She was actually pretty scared of the Easter Bunny. I do have a picture of her with him, but my friend took it so I am waiting for her to e-mail it to me. As I would hold her and carry her closer and closer to the Easter bunny, she would grab onto my arm tighter and tighter. So cute!!!

For Easter I got her a bunch of coloring items- all washable, of course! No candy this year- she didn't seem to mind one bit!

Here she is coloring- that is all she wants to do now. It's really cute, and keeps her occupied very nicely!

Oh, and Ben is finally starting to feel better, except he stays up all night coughing which is hard. But, at least now I can look at him and not be disgusted by his red monster eye (I still can't kiss him- it's been three weeks since I've kissed him! How weird!!!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Nightmare Continues- And Other News

For the bread recipe, see the next post- and let me know if you try it and how it turns out!!!!

On Wednesday Ben walked through the door and I knew our health problems were not resolved. He looked and sounded horrible! He only went to work for half days on both Thursday and Friday, and Friday he came home with PINK EYE- yes, you read that correctly- Ben has pink eye! UGHHHH!!! I am so incredibly frustrated and mad at this sickness- it just will not go away! So, not only was I completely out of it for well over a week (and I still have a runny nose and sore throat), now I have to be a single parent taking care of Audra and Ben and trying to get everything that needs to get done accomplished, etc. Tomorrow I will go to Easter Sunday without my husband and hope that Audra has a good day at church- if she doesn't, I am certain I will break down and cry all through the services. I know all of you have felt overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel, and that is how I am feeling now. When will this end?????

OK, enough complaining. Some day this will all be over. I just don't know when. In other news, yesterday was the 5th anniversary of me and Ben's first date. Ben reminded me and I thought, "what a sweet husband to remember!" But, then I realized that I had written it on the calendar I gave him for Christmas and that is how he remembered! It was still sweet, though. We celebrated by giving each other a very, very short hug because I didn't want any of his germs. (And, right now I don't even want to look at him because his eye is so gross- fun times!)

So, in memory of our first date, and to get me to think of something besides illnesses, here's a recap of our lives leading up to and going into our first date. (I won't be offended if you don't want to read this and you skip down to the recipe!!!)

In about Feb. of 2004 I was asked to chair a committee at church organizing a camp-out. One of our leaders told me, "Now, you can choose to have anybody on your committee you want"- obviously indicating that I could ask any guys I was interested in. I had met Ben the month before at an ice-skating activity and thought he was cute, so I asked to have him on the committee. Ben was already on 4 or 5 other committees and he had only been camping once in his entire life, but he was like, "well, Christina's kind-of cute so I'll do it." There were about 5 of us on the committee, and we all got to work. Ben was awesome to work with, not surprisingly, and that is how we initially met.

In March he called me to see if I wanted to carpool with him to another church activity. I was like, "OK- should I drive or should you?" I thought it was very strange, but oh, well. Even though it seemed completely out of his way, he said he would pick me up. At this point I really didn't know Ben at all. But, he was easy to talk to and we seemed to have a lot to talk about. I had just gotten back from a trip to Paris, so as he dropped me off I invited him in for some hot chocolate and to look at my pictures. So, he came in and we talked for a couple of hours and seemed to hit it off.

It took him about 2-3 weeks to finally call and ask me out on a date (he insists that the carpooling was a date- which I adamently refuse to acknowledge as a date, and that he tried to call me several times but I never was home- which is probably true because I was coaching track at the time and working 14-16 hour days).

There were 2 things that really impressed me about Ben in regards to the first date:

1. He called and said, "I would like to know if you would like to go to the movies with me on Saturday night." I was very used to guys being like, "hey, there's a party on Friday, and I was planning on going, and maybe if you go we could see each other" or want to do some group activity or something and acting wishy-washy. I LOVED that he was assertive and just asked me like a man! I was impressed. Then, we decided on a movie- Hidalgo- but when he picked me up on Saturday he gave me a second great impression.

2. He came in and he said, "I know we decided to go see Hidalgo, but it's only playing at the cheap theatre, and I don't want to take you to the cheap theatre, so I thought we could go see 'The Prince and Me' instead." Now, I would not have minded going to the cheap theatre, but I LOVED that he wanted to take me someplace nice- that made me feel special to him, and I liked that. Plus, he chose a chick flick so that was a plus. (Never mind that now he hates chick flicks and going to the theatre- this was still in the 'impress me' stage:))

So, we went to the movie and we had a great time, and then he took me to one of his least favorite places in the world- Cold Stone- because we didn't want the date to end, and then we even went back to his house (i.e., his parent's house) because we didn't want the date to end and the rest is history. Pretty much after that we were inseperable, I was able to get over my committment-phobia (almost a deal breaker for us, but that's another story!), and now here we are five years later- still happy in love, with a second baby girl on the way! A lot happens in 5 years, and we couldn't be happier or feel more blessed! I'm sure glad I asked him to be on the campout committee!

(On a funny side note, apparently Ben says- and I vaguely remember-
that we didn't meet at the ice-rink like I thought, but we actually met in Sunday School about 8 months earlier. He apparently came and sat by me to talk to me, but I was pretty stand-offish and as he says, 'obviously not interested' so he didn't give me a second thought after that. Looking back, I had just broken up with a guy from Utah I had been dating and was certainly in an "I'm soooo not into guys right now mood"- hence my being standoffish. Just goes to show the Lord's timing is often much better then our own- I don't think either one of us were in the right place at that time for a serious relationship to work out. Ben was still in school and school was #1 in his life, not girls, and I was still pretty committment phobic, so I don't think I was quite ready yet- but, it still makes for a funny story!)

By Popular Demand

Here is the recipe for the bread:

Heavenly Herb Bread Braid

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbl. dry yeast
2 Tbl. sugar
2 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. salt
6-7 cups bread flour
1 cup chopped fresh herbs

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of flour. Mix until well combined. Add olive oil and salt. Continue mixing/kneading while adding enough of the remaining flour to form nice dough. Let rise 45 minutes.
Divide dough into three parts and roll each part into long "snakes" on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle chopped herbs on surface. Roll each snake in chopped herbs, braid into a loaf. Allow to rise about 20 minutes, then bake on greased baking pan in 400 degree oven until golden brown.

**This recipe is actually really easy- I was surprised! If I can do it, anybody can do it!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Domestic Goddess

I think I have achieved the title of Domestic Goddess for today (don't worry, I am fully aware this is a once-every-4-year-achievement for me). I have been so unable to do anything for the past 9 days, so even though I am still not 100%, I am feeling much better and was feeling like conquering the world today! I started with my house.

I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. I washed the sheets and even changed my toothbrush- trying to do everything to get these disgusting germs out of our house! I want this illness to be banished to the depths of Siberia and buried 300 feet in the ground and then burned- never to be heard from again! So, I pulled out the Clorox wipes and got to work. And, because Audra was taking a nap- the house stayed clean for a little over an hour until she woke up! YIPPEEE!

Then (and this is the Goddess part) I made homemade bread- NO bread machine, everything from scratch AND homemade chicken noodle soup. Dang, I'm amazing! The bread is this delicious herb braid bread that I learned how to make at a church activity last week. It is absolute HEAVEN!!! I am a bread snob, and this bread I am certain is going to be served on gold platters to all of the angels in Heaven in the after life. Here it is before going in the oven (isn't it beautiful?):

And, after coming out of the oven:

You may notice there are fresh herbs in the bread. Why, yes, there are. And, guess where those fresh herbs came from. The grocery store? Not for this woman! They came from my very own herb garden that I am growing!!!I know, I am amazing. (OK, let's be honest- I am also very surprised I haven't killed the herb garden yet. And, I didn't grow it from the beginning- they were pre-grown and all I had to do was put them in this pot and water them once a week. I have had the plants for a week, and so far nothing has died so I guess I am doing alright so far).

Next came the homemade chicken noodle soup. For the first time in my life, I bought a small stewing chicken. Don't be too proud, I had to ask the butcher which one was a stewing chicken. But, I got it into the pot (though I left the gizzards in, is that bad???):

It looks so beautiful. After 2 hours:The chicken never had a chance! (Ok, yes it did- if you look closely, there is still a lot of chicken left on the bones that I couldn't get. Oh, well). Then, I made homemade noodles, and voila:Homemade chicken noodle soup!!!

And, what do the bystanders think of it:

Mmmm! Mmmm! Good! (Well, actually the only comment from Ben I got was, "That's the BIGGEST bread braid I have ever seen in my life!" I am sure he appreciated his wonderful and amazing wife in his own way, though!) And yes, that is a happy and healthy Ben- luckily even though his throat is a little sore, it is nowhere near as bad as mine was and he was able to go back to work today. We will see how tomorrow goes!

But for now- I am going to a take a much needed rest! In another 4 years I will attempt to accomplish such feats of greatness again!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Still Not Good

Not a lot to blog about here- it's still a pretty sick household. And, finally, our last holdout- Ben- succombed to the dreaded illness. We are pretty sure it is bronchitis, and it is awful! Ben had severe chills and a high fever all last night, we finally had to pull out the electronic blanket. We were hoping he wouldn't get sick because somebody has to go out into the world and bring home the bacon, but it was not meant to be. I'm still feeling pretty crummy, but I should at least be well enough to take care of the two invalids so that is good. Actually, luckily Audra never got very sick- a runny nose and slight cough, but that is it. I'm hoping to be 100% and no longer contagious around mid-week. We will see.

In Audra news, she is getting cuter and cuter. Now she'll say things like, "I want water, mama" and the way she says "mama" just melts my heart- she is so precious! But, she is also getting much more mischevious. We are now finding it quite necessary to baby-proof, even things we weren't worried about before. On Saturday she fell down the stairs and landed on the tile floor in the basement and got a big goose egg on her head (true to character, she cried for about 3 minutes and then started running around the house so we knew she didn't have a concusssion). Up went the baby gate. Audra is actually wonderful at stairs and we never worried about her, but she is getting cocky and thinks she is so good at the stairs that she doesn't need to hold on to the handrail or go down backwards like we taught her- hence, the big fall.
I have to say- if you are in the market for a good gate, this one by The First Years is AWESOME!!!

We got it as a gift from Ben's aunt and uncle Joe and Carla, and this is the first time we have used it- when we first opened it it had a couple of missing parts. I was scared to call their customer service because I didn't have the receipt, but I called anyway and I was shocked to speak to somebody who spoke FLUENT ENGLISH- WOAH!!!!- and I told them what was missing and they shipped the pieces right out without any questions. So, it is an excellent product and an excellent company- now I try to buy their products just because their customer service was so good!

Anyway, I sincerely hope all of you are faring better then we are right now!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Show Reviews

Here is an update on a couple of shows we watch- I thought it might be fun to discuss.

First- Amazing Race

For a complete look as to why I am NOT enjoying this season, go to:

I originally posted on the Political Moms site, but then realized that many of you watched this show as well so I thought I would post my thoughts here as well.

Basically, I HATE Victor and Tammy and they are ruining the season for me- they are so cocky-UGHHH!!! Anyway, I really did like this pair:Unfortunately, they were kicked off last week (yes, the miraculous event occurred and the stuntmen were spared one more week- well, actually 2 more weeks because next week will most certainly be a non-elimination round. Ughh, something else that annoys me- this show is SOOOO predictable). Anyway, I liked these guys for one main reason. Two weeks ago Mel yelled at the cab driver, and then he said, "Oh, I'm going to feel bad about that all day- 1 million dollars is not worth dehumanizing another person." WHAT???? A reality TV person admitted that their integrity was worth more than money?!? I couldn't believe it- what a breath of fresh air!

Anyway, I know many disagree, but I haven't enjoyed this season. I didn't enjoy last season all that much either. We've only watched two seasons- that isn't a good sign. If Victor and Tammy win, I am swearing off this show and never watching it again- that's how much I dislike them. But, Ben totally disagrees with me and LOVES the show- so I guess I am out of the ordinary, and I'm ok with that.

Next Show: LOST

I was really frustrated with the beginning of the season. It just got SOOO convuluted and confusing. Plus, I didn't like the whole time travel thing- I still don't, but at least now it has settled down a bit.

However, I absolutely LOVE Sawyer and Juliette together! I think they are wonderful together, and I am really mad at Kate for coming back. Now Kate just annoys me- she seems like this spoiled baby who can never be happy. Plus, she seems to use her men for her purposes and never gives back- so I'm glad that she doesn't get Sawyer. OK, she better not get Sawyer!!! I will cry if he leaves Juliette for her!

So, it's still confusing, but I'm liking the plot line better now. But, here's a question Ben and I can't figure out: What happened to Rose and Bernard?