Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekly Run-down

One of my friends does a weekly run-down of what's been happening in their household for the past week. I love it. I'm pretty sure that it causes me to dream about her & her kids every so often. So, I thought that I should start a little run-down of what happens in our lives on a weekly basis.

Well...we worked.

[It's not as cute when you don't have kids running around your household to take pictures of them, and let the grandparents know what's happening in their lives and the cute things they say/do.]

But the last week, we returned to working after a nice winter's nap (aka Winter Closure). During winter closure, the University shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Year's. No one works - except Dan. He has his first livestock judging contest of the 'new year' during that time (Arizona National). This year, we spent a week in Iowa right after the new year.

Highlights of the past week:
1) My bike came! Dan bought me this lil gem for Christmas:
26" Huffy Cranbrook Women's Bike, Banana Yellow
Soon, my neighborhood will see me cruisin' around this lovely lady. It's pretty flashy, so I hope I don't fall off. That would be TOTES embarrassing.

2) My New Year's goal is to increase my physical activity. So far, in the past week I've gone on 3 rosary runs and 3 walks...and I even 'lifted weights' (with my handhelds). I got hit on while on my 'rosary run' Tuesday. That was...interesting.

3) School started. I had so much fun teaching my 2 classes on Wednesday.

4) National Western Stock Show in Denver is happening. Dan has been traveling with his team. Yesterday, one of his students had a great day in the contest - only dropping 28 points!

5) With Dan gone, I have decided to tackle his ironing. Ironing is one of my least favorite things to do, yet, Dan love to have all of his shirts crisply starched and ironed. I hate paying for the dry-cleaner to do the ironing more than I hate, I won't let him take them to the cleaners. This week, I think I have ironed 15 shirts. I have 15 more to go. Maybe one of my New Year's goals should be to not let the ironing pile up so much....

The lows of the week:
1) My bike didn't come with all of the necessary parts. So, I haven't ridden it around yet.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January 14: Christmas?

In the Church, Christmas starts on December 24 eve and lasts through the baptism of Jesus - which was celebrated this past Sunday. So, technically, I have through this past weekend to leave my d├ęcor up, right?

Yes, I say! Yes! My friend Paige calls it laziness...I think I'll call it liturgical. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet, right?

This year was a little weird for Christmas decorating. 1) We didn't spend Christmas eve/day/or Days 2 & 3 in our house. 2) We didn't spend Christmas Days 5 & 6 in our house. 3) We didn't spend Christmas Days 9, 10, 11, 12 and beyond in our house. So, we didn't see any reason to buy a real tree - and because we'd like to buy real Christmas trees now that we can - we really didn't see any reason to shell out $100 on a fake tree. So, all of that effort on Black Friday to make Christmas ornaments was just pre-planning for next year.

I did get our Advent wreath up on the first day of Advent. I didn't get candles until the next weekend...and who would've imagined that the Christian bookstore would be OUT of Advent candles? Not this girl. So, I made do with some lavender scented tea lights for this year. On December 22, I found Advent candles at JoAnn's for 70% off - I am so ready for you 2014!

I finally made stockings 21? 22? I don't know. It was late in the year. I made them narrow - so they are really, truly St. Nicholas stockings (meaning only some nuts, oranges, chocolates, and enough gold pieces to pay for our daughter's dowry will fit). [See what my friend Lisa does with her family's stockings.] Whatev - they are cute, and they will work. We try not to go overly-gifty, so these really are great for our Christmas plans.

Also, on December 21, I busted out our Nativity scene. Our original set was in the trailer that got carted off on February 1, 2013. Our insurance replaced it! So, the Willow Tree set made it's way from Nazareth all the way to Tucson.

...and...all of that stuff is still up.

Maybe this week I'll put it away. It is, after all, back to Ordinary Time. I can no longer call my laziness, liturgical. :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Spread Joy–2013 Christmas Card

I present to you our 2013 Christmas card text (written by yours truly):

'Twas the night before finals and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring - we were all tuckered out.
With Dan in his bow tie, and I in my snazzy top,
we toasted 2013 - and just couldn't stop.
The papers were graded - presentations, too!
Students gave reasons till their faces were blue.
It's been quite a year, two-zero-one-three.
We bought a house; Dan started his PhD.
With a new home, there's lots of projects to do,
like keeping the grass green and the pool aqua blue.
Jessica dreams up DIY projects galore:
a headboard, a mantle, a bar -- and there's more?!
Yes, thanks to Pinterest, she has many plans for this nest.
Though this year has had trials, we are more than blessed.
We even snuck away for awhile; we don't mean to brag -
a day up in Mackinaw and a weekend to Flag.
In 2014, if you need to relax or just rest your head,
we've got a pool and a comfy guest bed!
So, raise your glasses, loved ones far and near:
Merry Christmas to you and a Blessed New Year!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

34 Thankful Things


Another year begins! [Note to readers: this list was written on my birthday – almost 2 months ago; it’s just taken me awhile to post this list. A friend of mine started this tradition on her mom’s 50th birthday – and it’s a good exercise to count our blessings on our birthdays.]

As I celebrate the start of my 34th year of life, let’s count out 34 things that I have been so grateful for this year:

1) Dan

2) Marriage to Dan – thankful for the calling to be husband and wife

3) My parents

4) My in-laws (in-love) Smile

5) My brother

6) My siblings-in-love, and my nephews and niece

7) God’s abundant and gracious goodness

8) My faith – being Catholic and the lesson of “both/and”

9) St. Thomas More/Newman Center

10) Ministry opportunities

11) My job

12) Dan’s job

13) My preceptors – past, present, and future

14) Anne Marie

15) Michaela

16) Dan’s students (judging team kids)

17) God’s provision of our house

18) Jerry – our neighbor, knowledgeable about everything, second-dad

19) Rosary Runs

20) God’s faithfulness to never give up on me

21) Sister Elizabeth

22) Father Don

23) Barb, Steve, and Joe

24) Quiet afternoons in the sunshine

25) My co-workers – that my co-workers are my friends

26) Pool parties

27) Lisa, Jina and Lindsay

28) Amy, Jason and the Z-boys

29) Larry & PJ

30) My aunts, uncles and cousins

31) My foundation of faith: Jesus, ancestors, my grandparents, my parents and the tree I’m grafted into and their faith

32) Good conversations with students!

33) Inquiry & Jerry Meyer

34) Dan and our life in Tucson – our Tucson friends, his co-workers, and our growing community


As you see, this year definitely has a Tucson bend to it. One of the recurring themes from Inquiry (a session that I help lead for people with questions about Catholicism) that Jerry, our leader, continually mentions is that in many areas, Catholicism is “both/and” – not either/or, and usually not black or white. This approach to “both/and” has really helped me embrace life here in Tucson in the past year.

I don’t know that it’s in any secret that I didn’t love it here. We moved 2,000 miles from most of my family (so thankful to have an aunt, here!) and friends…into a foreign land. Sure, it’s still the USA – but spend 3-4 weeks here and you’ll know this is not Iowa, or the Midwest, anymore, Toto. Everything is different. A year after we’d lived here, I travelled back to the Minneapolis/River Falls, WI area for a conference in late June. About 20 miles outside of the Minneapolis airport, I was bawling hysterically. I had gotten used to the landscape of Arizona – the brown mountains, the expanse of light brown dirt/scrubby trees. Suddenly, my senses were affronted with the green and I remembered just how far from home I was.

This year, I have embraced the “both/and” of life. I realize that January can be both 68 and –8. I realize that fall can be pumpkin patches/apple orchards…and quiet rejoicing for temps in the upper 80s instead of the upper 90s while the season SLOWLY and SUBTLELY enters. …and, really, I realize that “home” can be both Iowa, Michigan, and Arizona. Being happy in one place does not mean that I have rejected the other.

So, these are my lessons learned from year 33/year 2013. Here’s to seeing what 2014 will bring!