1959 bowling alley

In our neck of the woods there's a country club and it's getting torn down in just a few weeks to make room for a new one. I'm so sentimental it's hard for me to see the change. But the funny thing is, I haven't spent all that much time at the club. A few wedding receptions plus running and driving by it is really all the exposure I've had to the place. But still my heart is sad to see the old go. I don't know what it is: dislike of change, liking the history of old things, realizing I'm getting older.  

Imagine my excitement when we were invited as a youth group to bowl in the small bowling alley in the basement of the country club tonight. It was the last night you could bowl at the place and we had all six lanes to ourselves. Plus, they aren't rebuilding the alley, so this was the last night you could bowl at the country club forever! I couldn't get enough!  I love a good game of 10 frames. The place was built in 1959 but is as pristine as ever (well, as pristine as a bowling alley can be). And we had to keep our own score with wax pencils and everything. No neon lights or pixelated scoring screens with cheesy graphics (admittedly those screens are enjoyed by my kids). I was loving it.  

We had a great time. I'm sad to see it go but so happy we got to use it on its last night of use. 


These boys

The other day we went to Target. My kidlets love Target, as do I. They specifically love the red orbs and circles at the front of the store. This particular visit, Oliver requested that we take a photo of him with the Target decor to put on a birthday card for Ansel (the kid's two now!!). This is the stance he came up with. I was loving it. Where does he come up with this stuff?

Ansel had to get in on the action too. He has yet to learn the put-hand-up-to-chin stance, but all in due time. Look at that smile!

Gotta love kids' creativity and sense of fun.  Reminds me of the many hours I spent playing in, around, and under the clothing racks with my siblings at the department store.


The boy who loves dip

Ansel is almost 2! Wow!  This boy is one special kidlet. He talks so much and is using words that I didn't even realize he knew the meaning of. He runs so fast. So much so that he gets ahead of himself sometimes and then says to me, "too fast!" He loves to dip his food in sauces: fries in ketchup, chips in salsa, bananas in ketchup, oranges in salsa, and carrots in fry sauce. Sauce is king. He likes to grab our hands and tell us to "come on" and play with him. He loves to swing and listen to music at the same time. He could do that for days. He loves to kick the soccer ball and put on Oliver's soccer gear.  He wants to be in Kindergarten with his bro. The truth is, he's growing lots and its a joy to watch. He certainly isn't a baby any longer. He even refuses to sit in his high chair anymore and so it has been retired. We have a full fledged toddler over here and he's loving every minute of it.

Ansel climbed into the dishwater one afternoon and proceeded to play in it. No surprise here. 
Today he declared he was "an artist."
The boy likes us to read to him lots these days. One of his current favorites: The Man in the Moon.


Another post on home maintenance

If that title doesn't bore you, read on!  Otherwise, it really should be skipped.

It's been a bit of a maintenance adventure over here lately. It all started with our leaking toilet.  Then our dishwasher stopped working, the furnace started acting funny, the water to our kitchen sink had very low pressure, and the water stopped coming our of our refrigerator dispenser.  To quote my dad, "Your house is funny.  It's made and upgraded with the top-of-the-line stuff but there are all these little things popping up!"  True, especially the "things keep popping up" part.

The toilet continues to elude me.

As for the furnace, thanks to some excellent Google search results and some awesome YouTube vids I was able to fix the problem. Sanding an ignition temperature sensor never felt so good!

And yesterday I decided to tackle the low water pressure in the sink. The pressure had been low since we moved in and had since become worse. So I took to the net and found so much good info. After much tinkering and lots of wet towels, I discovered that the inner workings of the faucet were full of gunk and not cleanable/fixable (at one point Jess was going to take a hacksaw to the thing so we could discover what was going on inside). It was decided that it had to be replaced.  This photo shows my feeling of relief that I got the old faucet off.  And yes, I was so extremely excited about that feat (it took me 1.5 hours) I took a photo.

After more tinkering and running to the store to buy the extremely useful tool known as adjusting pliers, a new faucet is installed and the flow is soooo much better. After completing the task, I texted Jess, this was his reply:

On that note, I ordered a new dishwasher and am paying to have it installed.  No amount of tinkering (at my level) can find a way to fix the dishwasher without a hefty cost, and so I will end up with a hefty cost and a NEW appliance. 

Today, my dad came over to help me solve the refrigerator water dispenser problem and I've ordered a new replacement part to arrive in the mail soon.  Installation should take no longer than thirty minutes (I type with all the hope in my heart).

That leaves that toilet.  Arggh!  I may need to just buy a new one.


Great TED talk on the benefits of stress

While I watched this talk, everything this woman said came together so well for me.  I am a believer in 1) the power of hormones [wow! those things are powerful little molecules], 2) the blessing of serving others, and 3) the strength of unity and empathy [which I truly think the natural man is here is to develop and refine].


On resolutions

This year I want to...
...learn how to use Adobe Illustrator
...make a Swiss Roll
...visit someplace new
...change my attitude about vulnerability
...be better at planning activities and traditions for my family

Of course there are other goals I strive for but these are quick and straightforward and I'd really like to eat that Swiss roll :). 


Who's excited for Downton Abbey?

I am. Fifth season starts tomorrow.


Onto 2015

We've had a nice holiday. A white Christmas. A swinging New Year's Eve. We had family come into town and got together many times. As I was saying goodbye to my sister as she and her family set off to travel home I mentioned, "I didn't get to talk to you much."  She laughed and reminded me that we had had some good talks. She was right, it's just that I always have more things to say. I needed to ask her about her theory on teaching kids piano, tell her about my Pride and Prejudice binge, and ask her how she was doing with her latest sinus infection. It was the same thing with my two brothers who took off before the end of the year. What kind of car did my brother have in his garage (that I saw in a pic)? What does my other brother think of the new Alfa Romeo? And what do they think about the future of the postal service?  The list goes on.

Here's to a new year and new things and new conversations. Here's to 2015.


A fake mustache

The kids, Jess and I are currently in the midst of making a family film. It's full of intrigue and entertainment, and only 4 minutes long. We do this once a year to share our film at a family film festival and watch what everyone else comes up with. This year, for my costume I donned a magic marker mustache.

After a day of filming, I cleaned off the 'stache but after scrubbing quite a bit, there was some residual ink. "I'll scrub it hard in the shower tomorrow morning," I thought. It had been a long day and I was tired. The next day, I showered, and went about my business.  Out to breakfast with family.  A stop at Target. Dropping a meal off at a friend's. And finished it off with the customary bath for the kids. While they were playing in the bubbles, I noticed that the residual mustache was very residual but still there! It kinda looked like a very faint hint of a preteen boy mustache. What was I to do? Nothing but laugh and scrub that thing off like crazy no matter how red my skin got or how tired I was. And a very important lesson I learned: when getting ready in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror CLOSELY.