Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Helpful How-To: Weathering the Storm

If you live on the East Coast, you probably are completely aware of Hurricane Irene and the havoc she wreaked this weekend.

I personally think we were so lucky to have as much advanced warning as we had.

And overall, Techy and I were pretty prepared for this storm.

Thanks be to God for providing the technology that makes the national weather service happen!

I mean, we knew last Tuesday that something was coming and we needed to start prepping.

Which has led me to thinking...

Wanna know how we prepped for this giant storm?

Wanna know the things we did right?  (and nothing about the things we did wrong?)

1.  Safety First

There are a few things that Techy and I KNOW about our house - like the fact that just outside our bedroom window stands a very large oak tree.  VERY LARGE.

When we made plans for this storm, we opted to play it safe and head out of the way of the very large tree and into our basement.

With our child.  Lest you think we are terrible parents.

And to be honest, I am so glad we did.

Because at 10 p.m. on Saturday night, we had about 3 tornado warnings coming through our area at once.

And I would have HATED to rip Little Man out of bed at 10 pm to run to the basement and wait out the warning.

Nope.  For the sake of all of our safety, we were not willing to risk anything flying through a window or falling on our roof and we opted to keep it safe (if not comfortable) in our basement.

(For those of you who don't have basements, you could just as easily have camped out in rooms or hallways to the the interior of your home that don't have windows and closed the doors.)

And at the end of the day, we made the right decision.

2.  Know your area.

We live in Delaware.

Possibly the flattest state in the Union.

Ok, ok.  So not entirely.

Northern Delaware does have some hills.

But we don't live in northern Delaware.

Where we live is extremely flat.

And our drainage systems are less than ideal for hurricane conditions.

And our backyard likes to take on water.


Now, yes, it does drain away from the house, but based on the predictions we were getting last week, Techy and I were not taking any chances.

And with that knowledge, we took the necessary precautions to keep our house clean and dry. 

Battery backup on the sump pump, extra insulation and gasketing over potentially leaky spots, cleaned out gutters, extended drains....

All very helpful for ensuring that we would stay dry.
3.  Expect to lose power.

In a storm - any storm - the potential is there for you to lose power.

Go ahead and get ready for it.

Charge everything up - cell phones, lap tops, anything that has a battery - charge it.

Decide now that you will probably lose some food and keep a cooler handy with ice or ice packs for the things that you want to store as long as possible. 

Not to mention those shelf stable foods.  You want to have stuff you can eat without heating it up while the power's out. 

And water - plenty of drinking water.

And my mom's rule for EVERY potential power outtage: fill your bathtub with water so you can flush your toilets.

BUT - if you have the option of getting a generator - DO IT!

Techy and I have had a generator since the year that Little Man was born.

Currently, we have fired it up just under a dozen times for random needs - whether it be a hurricane, winter weather, or an opportunity to power something where there is no power, you never know when they can come in handy, and personally, we think it's well worth the $1000 you might pay for it. 

4.  Be evacuation ready.

Let's face some facts, shall we?

If you are in a coastal area, there is always the potential to be evac'd from the area you live in during a storm of this kind.


Whether it is government mandated or family mandated for your own safety....

And you never know when you may have to get out. 

So be prepared.

Fill your gas tanks before the storm hits.

And then fill your cars with blankets, water, and shelf safe food.

In case you get stuck in traffic.

Because these are the perils of evacuation. 

5.  Know your storm.

Techy and I have a distinct advantage, having lived in Florida for so many years.

We are well acquainted with the damage a Category 2 or 3 storm can do.

And we knew what was coming last week when they were still predicting that.

We were as prepared as we could be...

Only now we live in Delaware.

Not Florida.

Where the people, the terrain, and the general world around us is not equipped to hurricanes of that size or strength.

So although, we were ready for the storm and knew what to expect...

Roads were still going to flood due to inefficient drainage systems.

Trees were still going to blow over because of waterlogged rootbeds.

And lots of damage would be left in this storm's wake.

This is where knowing your area goes hand in hand with knowing the power and size of the storm system you have coming.

6.  Consider your "loot".

If I were using pirate speak, I would have totally called it "booty", but then I figured you would think JLo and the last thing I need in my hurricane post is a JLo distraction...

But seriously.

Your stuff.

Your outside stuff. 

We had to think about it.

Like our generator.

What if it was stolen?

Yes.  It happens.

An ugly but true fact.

Here's the thing.

If Bubba Gump, or some other monster truck driving - not scared by a little wind and rain - dude gets all of his teenage Bubba Gump friends squeezed into his monster truck and drives around a few neighborhoods during a storm that everyone else is trying to stay INSIDE during, he can land some pretty sweet deals.

Like a truck-bed FULL of $1,000 generators.

Especially at 4 am when everyone is asleep, the power is out, no street lights are on and no one can see him or his Bubba Gump friends. 

(hmmm, is that politically incorrect???  Should I apologize???  Ehhh, whatever.  You get the point, right???  And you wouldn't get the point if it weren't partially true, right???)

What I am trying to say is, we had to consider Bubba and his buddies and plan for how to keep our generator secure. 

And Techy, being a Bubba Gump-sans-monster-truck at heart, made a little fort with our cars -

Pinning our generator between the front wall of our garage and our cars.

Getting TO our generator was work.

Much less getting it out of our "corral"

The wagon train people would have SO high-fived us.

7.  Don't Panic.

At this stage in the game, it does you little good to panic. 

Whatever will happen will happen, and the best thing you can do is be prepared.

Which, if you have followed all the steps I have listed above, you probably are. (Cause I totally didn't leave anything out, right?)

Keep calm, keep informed (a battery powered radio sure does help...), and keep safe.

And when everything is said and done, if you managed to do that, you have a lot to be thankful for.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Apology

Dear Katy Perry,

A long time ago, I made a publicized & somewhat pointed remark about what a mismatched couple you and Russell Brand are/were.

I just want to say - I'm sorry for that.

For so many reasons.

Partially because, clearly, I underestimated you.

I mean, here I thought you were Katy Perry. 

Not a pink lemonade version of Lady Gaga.

Don't get me wrong, it's cute, but I have to wonder is that a wig?

Because I can't imagine your hair would ever recover from that color job.

Not to mention the hat.

What exactly does it represent?

I don't understand....

But maybe I'm not supposed to. 

I dunno.

But back to my point. 

This weekend, I watched Arthur.

And decided that if Russell Brand is that charming in real life, then I totally forgive you for not marrying based solely upon looks.

I mean, the part where he cooked Helen Miren Sauceeo's...

I die!

And can we just talk about the candy store scene?

Oh, Katy, I hope you enjoyed that scene as much as Techy and I did.

Because that right there clinched it for me.

If a man can make you laugh that hard, while pretending to be someone who is trying to make the best of his life???

Well, Katy, I guess what I'm trying to say is...

I get it.

Even if he isn't pretty to look at.

So, sorry about that snap judgment on my part.

I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me so we can move on with our friendship.

So I can ask you more questions about your style choices.

And your music videos.

And if you are jealous that Beyonce pretty much set the standard for most awesome pregnancy announcement ever.

I mean, I am totally jealous.


Forgive me.

Let's be friends.

That's all.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Things the Purge Helped me Remember

A few weeks ago, when I got the itch to start cleaning out my house, I realized something.

There is alot of stuff that I have forgotten about in this place!

And there is alot of stuff that I have just forgotten about in general.

So I thought I would share some of my random memories with you.

In no specific order at all.

One of the more laughable forgotten moments of this list comes from a family vacation.  4 parents, 2 college age girls, 3 college age boys, and one teenage boy.

I.e., 4 boys.

And a big screen tv.

That SOMEONE just needed to take apart for some random reason.

And that SOMEONE almost couldn't get put back together.

Note the sheer panic in the first picture.

The only picture anyone will ever have of my Nanny in a bar.

We got stuck waiting for a table at a restaurant. 

And I had to capitalize on the opportunity to snap a pic of my holy Grandmother sitting in front of Jose Cuervo. 

You know you'd do the same....

The day I graduated from college.

Techy and I had been dating for about a month.

Have I ever told you that I spoke at our graduation?

And that I was so nervous that I head bobbed through the entire speech....

I only watched the video once. 

And then I destroyed it from sheer humiliation.


The headbob is only more pronounced with a tassle hanging nest to your face.

The year we all chose our own Christmas stockings...from things we had around the house.

Left to right:  Daddy-Camo Pants, Sarah - Laundry bag, Me - King sized pillow case, Ben - Army duffle bag, Mom - her sewing satchel.

That was a fun year....

And then there was the time and my brother in law and I found the 3D National Geographic from 1985 at my grandparent's house.

Gosh, the things that I have forced my poor brother in law to do.

Like pretend to be entertained by 3D pictures of Mars from 1985.

He's pretty good for a brother in law.

There was a phase where every random (nude) statue or giant fish was a photo opportunity....

I'm thankful that phase is over....

My favorite dress of all time.

Secret:  I made it my sophomore year of college.  And wore it until it fell apart.

Sad, sad day.

Remember what I said about the random statues/large animals?

All photo op's.

All of them.

This was taken the day before I graduated from college.

My mother was not crying.  She has a problem with burning the tip of her nose when we go to the beach.

Did I mention that the college I graduated from was about 10 miles from the beach?

Um. Yeah.

Mom didn't come to visit me...she came to park herself on the beach.

I kid!  I kid!

Well, kinda....

Study group...

With some lifelong pals....

Christmas - Sophomore year.

My daddy with a mustache...weird.

My brother as a teenager...weirder.

My sister as a blonde...the age old battle between blonde or brunette....

Thank you, Britney Spears, for making the double pigtail look happen.

While I was in college.

Boy, was that a hot look!

The day after a hurricane at college.

We were brave Floridian's at the time.

We didn't know the difference between staying in or going out.

My brother-in-law's twin.  Who was possibly one of my closest friends during my (lonely) junior and senior year of college.

Check it out!

My BFF senior year. 

The only reason I know Techy.

Also appearing in this pic...the dress.  Again.

Told you it was a fave.

The world may never know what an ironic picture this is.

On so many levels.

But I do.

This is one of Techy's best friends.

Who I knew a good 2 years before I ever heard of Techy.

And who I never thought I would ever speak to again.

After my junior year of college.

Until I met Techy.

And now, he's pretty much an everyday name in our household.

And we visit him and his wife at least 2x per year.

And no, that girl is not his wife.


Purple lipstick.



One of my favorite people.


There was never a dull moment around this guy.


Little boys.

Who should always be little boys.

But according to Facebook, they just graduated high school, got jobs, got married and are having babies.

How does this happen!?!?!

And then, there was Techy.

Although all anyone sees in this pic (above) is the wedgie woman.

But what I see are the younger years.

When Techy didn't like to smile in pictures.

And again.


Why on earth wouldn't he smile?

He says nerves.

I say, blahhhhhhhhhhhhh!  SMILE!

But finally, 2 days before HIS graduation....  (and yes, a year after mine...)

A smile.

And the rest, they say, is history.

Oh wait!  How did this kid get here???

I say, blame it on the smile....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekly Weigh-In: Pregnancy Edition

I know, I know.

I'm crazy.

It's ok.

I know it. 

But I figured it was time to get down and dirty and all out honest about this pregnancy thing.

Since pregnancy is what caused the Weekly Weigh In's to start in the first place. 

My last legitimate, Pre-pregnancy weigh-in was something like 15 weeks ago.

When I would have been 1 week pregnant, also known as, not pregnant yet.

It's confusing.  Don't ask.

But at that weigh in, I tipped the scales at 138.4.

And today? 

Approximately 15 weeks later?

I weigh 152.6.

In the past 15 weeks, I have gained 14.2 lbs. 

(Well, if you wanna get technical, I lost a lb. and then gained a lb. so I have gained 15+ lbs...but who's really counting??)

Considering that by this point in my 1st pregnancy, I had already gained more than 20 lbs., I would say I am doing better.

And until a big game changer came up a few weeks ago, I totally was working out consistently.

But as of late, the only working out I am getting comes from putting closets back together and reupholstering headboards.

So, 15 weeks and only 14.2 lbs. with no working out in more than a month....

Not too shabby.

Hopefully, I can do better about keeping the weight off this time around.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Honest Opinion: The Adjustment Bureau vs. Source Code

You should feel so lucky.

Because my social life is killer, lately.

Meaning, my movie seeing has totally picked up.

Last weekend, Techy and I took time out to watch 2, YES TWO, movies.

No, neither were in the theater, but both of which, I recall having been interested in when they were in the theater.

Saturday night we watched "Source Code".

And despite the excitement of living life in 8 minute intervals to save people's lives, Jake Gyllenhaal put me to sleep.




The story line was pretty good.

I think.

But the whole relive every 8 minutes until you find a bomb and save the girl and say goodbye to your dad thing....

It was all just too much for this baby cooker, and out I went.

On the flip side....

Matt Damon, I mean, "The Adjustment Bureau" had me from, "Hello".

Aw, heck, let's just face the facts, Matt Damon does it for me.

He's a little (read: ALOT) adorable.

He's a pretty decent actor.

(Did I mention he's a cutie?)

But combine all that talent (and beauty) with a storyline in which he is defying all odds to find the girl of his dreams and keep her?

And throw in this guy.

In a hat.

Not to mention, this guy.

In a hat.

And man, do you have a movie that's worth seeing.

But that's just my opinion....

Oh, and for the record, I am totally buying Techy a hat like hat. 


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Helpful How-To: The 20 Minute Headboard

So this was a super quick and easy project I took on last week, while I had some down time.

I know, right?

What is down time?

Well, I'll tell you....

It's the time in between finishing cleaning a bathroom and going to bed. 

When you know you don't have time to do anything that takes longer than 20 minutes.

So, what I'm trying to say is this is a quick project if you have the supplies handy.

Which I do.

Or did.

What it requires?

-A piece of plywood cut to the width of the bed.


-Approximately 2 yards of fabric
(probably less - I just used leftovers from an old dropcloth)

And basically, 1,2,3, It's done!!!

First things first, I cut the batting down and stapled it to the plywood.

For this project, I would highly recommend at least 2 layers of batting.

You don't want any guests complaining of a splinter to the head from cheap plywood....

Once you have both layers of batting over your plywood, you will want to lay your headboard out and cut your fabric to length.

I would also highly recommend ironing your fabric before you start stapling....

Otherwise, you may become very friendly with the steam function on your iron.

Then tightly staple your fabric, with wild abandon.

I started with the corners, pulling taut, and stapled all the way down each side.

And viola!

All I have to do is hang this bad boy over a bed and call it a DAY!


20 Minute Headboard that's SKILLZ!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Heavy Heart

Today I have a heavy heart.

I just received word that my Aunt's mother, who has been battling leukemia for more than a year now, has been told she is losing her battle.

According to the doctor, her days are numbered.

She has been sent home to pass in peace.

He has given her 2 weeks...2 short weeks.

But it is not for her that I ache.

Her testimony is such that I am confident a far better destiny awaits her.

It is for her family that I ache.

Namely my Aunt's sister - Cathy.

Cathy is a fifty-something woman who has spent her life in the shadows of disability.

Cathy has Down's Syndrome.

For those of you who have never been touched by anyone with Down's Syndrome, I am sorry for you.

Their innocent souls are among the most untainted and beautiful things I have ever been acquainted with in my life.

But Cathy, despite the beauty of her innocence, lives in a world of fear and nervousness.

And over the last year, she has watched her mom leave the house numerous times to not return for weeks with no real understanding of the concept.

No one has told Cathy that her mom is sick, but she knows. 

But does she know how sick?

Cathy is anything but foolish....

I'm told that yesterday morning, as her church service was coming to a close, Cathy made her way from her seat - which has always been at the front of the church - to the altar.

Where she sat and cried praying for her Mommy.

My cousin went to sit with her and talked with her a few minutes to make sure she was ok, and then after praying together for "Cathy's Mommy" with tears in their eyes, they both walked back to their seats.

The next few weeks, as "Cathy's Mommy" begins her quiet descent into eternity, will not be easy on the family, but as much as my heart hurts for the family, my heart aches for Cathy.

I ask you, Friends, to join me in prayer for Cathy over the next few weeks and months ahead?

Please pray that God may comfort the family and make them all strong and ready to face the challenge of losing their wife, mommy, grandma, aunt, and sister.

Pray for strength for Cathy.

And please, pray for a peaceful passing?

And may we all be reminded that the God we serve is a God who promises beauty from ashes:

Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Yard Sale - Part 1

If you've been reading for any length of time, you know that Techy and I started a house-wide purge a few weeks ago.

So we decided to try our hand at selling it. 

Yard Sale Style.

Not that I am opposed to Craigslist. 

Just that I wanted to get as much out at once as we possibly could.

So we did it.

We advertized on Craigslist.

We posted on most of the free websites out there.

And we shamelessly posted it on Facebook. 

(Well, Techy shamelessly posted it on Facebook, I mostly just whined about it.)

Wanna see a general recap???

I knew you would....

(As if you didn't already, right Facebook friends???)


Who's totally sick of my yard sale posting???

Oh well....

We opted to make our yard sale signs.

And what a hit they were.

Designed in word and printed on neon green paper.

Then taped to plywood.

Cost us practically nothing. 

But according to my father-in-law, they were plenty brite and eye-catching.

Worked for me!

We have a BUTT-LOAD (yes, that is an official/unofficial term, thankyouverymuch) of Christmas decor up for grabs.

The shocking thing was...NO ONE was interested.

I know.  SHOCKING.

Above you can see the makings of a good ole fashioned Griswold family Christmas.

That could totally be yours for less than $20.

I can tell you right now, that's a deal you ain't gonna find at Wally World this holiday season.

Let me ask you, how is it possible that we have not 1, but 2 gas grills?

One complete with a built-in bird's nest?

We really don't know either.

UNsurprisingly, we sold both of these bad boys.

With less effort than I would have ever imagined.

Now I know you are probably asking what in the heck am I looking at here?

And that's totally normal.

Because most people's badminton sets don't come with SCREW IN STAKES.

Nor are they made of metal.

But this beauty - Techy's pride and joy - is.

It was not without a misty eye that Techy unzipped this baby and layed it out for sale on Saturday.

Lucky for him, it didn't sale.

Lucky for me, we are going to try again next week!

And let's face it, no post would ever be complete without a Little Man picture.

This is when he figured out that the badminton rackets could double as golf clubs.

What you don't see in this pic is the ball that he had just whacked across our neighbor's yard seconds before I snapped this shot.

What you do see in this pic is that my child has figured out that he is clumsy...also that our sidewalk isn't even...poor baby boy knew if he looked up, he would probably fall....

And this is our life....

Now, let's take this party inside....

Because that's where all the good stuff was....

Now, I know that what you are focusing on in this picture is the buffet.

But the picture says so much more about the stuff we had inside of our garage....

In the background you can see the table with all the other Christmas decorations on it. 

(I have enough snowmen in my house to make an eskimo happy for life.)

Not to mention a wing chair in the upper right corner

A Nordic track next to that

And a recliner that my father-in-law spent a good portion of the morning napping in.

What you can't see in this picture is the entire ROW of perfectly good skinny clothes that were packed away for an entire year without anyone remembering or noticing.

I.e., my cute clothes could be your cute clothes.*

What you also don't see in this picture is the basket filled to the brim with Partylite votives of every color and scent known to man.

Man, does my garage smell delicious right now.

And finally...

My beautiful corner bookshelf.

Man, did I love that thing.

But it was time to find it a new home, and that's exactly what we did.

A good one.

And that's what yard saling is all about....

All things considered, it was a semi-success. 

We got rid of about 40% of the crap goods we had set out.

And we made enough money to buy groceries for the next month or 2. 

Which is really not bad at all.

You won't catch us complaining!

*You should be warned, it's not all cute....