Sunday, March 30, 2008

Our Love Numbers

Here's mine:



Your Love Number is 2



Of all the numbers, you are the most caring and empathetic lover.

Unselfish and humble, you find it easy to forgive your sweetie's mistakes.

At times, your need to please can be come a bit too needy.

As long as you remain somewhat independent, your relationships are perfectly balanced.



Here's Mark's:



Your Love Number is 1



You tend to be a stubborn lover, holding your ground in every argument

You take your time falling in love. You aren't the type to lose perspective.

You are loyal (to a fault), and you require the same loyalty in your sweetheart.

At your best, you are a wise and inspiring partner - who sticks around.



See, thing is . . .

While I agree with most of them, I don't agree with Mark's first line. He can be stubborn but not ever at the expense of his love and respect for me and for us and our family. And I'm not just saying that because of my line that says I find it easy to forgive my sweetie's mistakes. I don't really think he makes any! :)

Yeah, yeah, syrupy, syrupy. You're reading our blog. You know what to expect!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Lots of Random Things

I've been wanting to blog all week, but it's been a crazy busy and fun week! So, here's a recap of random, fun happenings and thoughts (and pictures, too).

We start paying off our student loans this week! HURRAH! I know that might seem weird, but we're excited about this. We've deferred for so many years (residency, quitting residency, setting up our own business) that we're really pumped about getting going on paying those things off!! So, our first payment gets sent in this week! After that, 359 more payments to go! :)

We've gotten more out of the Easter Season than ever before. It's our first Easter since my Dad died and it's occurred to me that despite what truth we have, we have soooooooooooo many questions and so much we don't know. We've been very open to religious teachings of many around us and have appreciated how much they all celebrate the season and holiday. I think we get conditioned to look with a degree of disdain on crosses and things that remind us of his death (instead of his resurrection), but I think that can be taken to excess. It was all part of His sacrifice, so glossing over the crucifixion seems not a little neglectful. There is a beautiful stone church in town that has had a big wooden cross up on their lawn for the past few days. It has been draped with a purple cloth symbolizing how Christ was mocked. Today, that purple cloth was replaced with a white cloth. I think it's beautiful imagery. Anyway, it's been an interesting Lent for us and it's been neat to think about the significance of Passover, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. We've learned a lot. And we're enjoying it very much. And check out what my former college roommate (one of many) and cute friend Tess did this week--isn't that great??

This week has been NUTS, but fun! We've been doing lots of school and fun outings and errands. I love to get out once in a while. Well, this week has been quite full (as much as I love it, I like it spread out more so this was almost overload but FUN)! After a weekend of plumbing chaos--yes, our bathroom is still not together yet--it's been nice to have some fun. We got to watch some fun movies this weekend--Mark and I enjoyed "Dan in Real Life" and we've all enjoyed the very funny "The Bee Movie."

Monday, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a green breakfast! We also wore fun, green holiday pins, learned about the history of the day, and had lunch at the Irish Chippy in town (that was DELICIOUS--we had fish and chips and peas with malt vinegar, bangers, and corned beef and cabbage stew. We also enjoyed a traditional Irish breakfast that was AMAZING--eggs, Irish soda bread, baked beans, white and black pudding (everyone tried and likes it!), Irish sausage (more bangers), and Irish bacon). We also enjoyed some Shamrock cookies! Mark got home a bit earlier than usual and took the kids to violin lessons and Denise and I went out to Ruby Tuesday's to visit teach one of our friends. We've been having a great time talking lots with our other friends that we VT as well. That was really fun.




Tuesday, Mark met us at group violin lessons and I drove the Saturn back here and met Ruth for a very fun girls' night out! She took me out for my birthday and we had SO MUCH FUN!! I love hanging out with Ruth--I notice that she usually has me laughing within, oh, about 5 seconds! We are positively giddy, sarcastic, and chatty chatty chatty with no problem whatsoever. She took me out to see a movie (The Other Boleyn Girl--which, by the way, was visually stunning and superbly acted) and then we went to Duke's and gorged ourselves on a number of appetizers (yes, this is after having eaten movie snacks, too). What fun! We stayed out REALLY late and I got home and stayed up even later to watch American Idol with Mark. Fun, fun, fun.

Wednesday, one of our homeschooling friends came over to play in the afternoon and the kids had so much fun! Denise and I were going to go out that night, but we both decided not to and were both relieved about that (reference busy week). So, she came and watched the AI results show with us and slept over. :P

Thursday, I worked all day and had a very good day with my clients. That night, I got to go on a Parents' Night Out with amazing women from our homeschool group. I LOVE PNOs! We had our biggest group yet--NINE of us! We all meet at the coffeehouse in town and talk homeschooling, politics, funny stories, religion, the environment, starting our own island, etc. while we eat and drink until they kick us out. It's GREAT fun and one of the most rejuvenating monthly things on our calendar. I can't say enough how much I love our group--we all feel so very blessed to have one another!

Friday, a lot of people from our homeschool group were either out of town or unavailable, so we decided to bag our class and simply play. So few of us got together (about 4 families) that one of the moms invited us all over to her house and we played from 10am to 5pm!! Yes, that's SEVEN hours. We all had a really great time. The kids played so well the entire time while the moms got to sit and talk and enjoy tea, water, and loads of snacks. Christy is an awesome hostess. It was so fun! Friday night, we got the (very exhausted) kids to bed and Mark and I got some Chinese take out and watched some March Madness and some funny stuff together. I love hanging out with him. It's mutual. Have I mentioned that I'm head over heels in love? Well, I am.

Saturday, after cleaning our house, I attended a tea party! I wish I'd taken my camera!! I organized an outing as part of our girls' night out enrichment group--a group of 10 women (many women brought their moms/daughters along) enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea at a tea shoppe in the Amish country. It was lovely!! We enjoyed a delicious menu and ate off of the CUTEST dishes! We all enjoyed various teas and couldn't get enough of the Devonshire cream! We loaded up on herbal teas and all kinds of scrumptious finger and tea sandwiches, savories, and desserts! And every table has a theme and the cutest tea sets. Every single person there excitedly talked about who they'd like to take there next (though I think we've convinced the tea shoppe owner to move to our town--more on that in a minute). I'm so taking Terrie! My friend who, no matter what our purpose in getting together, always takes time to sit and have tea with me for a while. I love it. She is so great to talk to and I learn tons from her. And we can talk about anything with such depth and laughter at the same time. We love their family so much. Anyway, I digress (and by now I'm embarrassing Terrie).

So, the lady who owns the tea shoppe got to talking with us and we discovered that she's from MA (not far from my own hometown) and that they homeschool! Her daughter (who served us) is 16!! I about fell off my chair when she told me that her daughter has always wanted to open a restaurant so they run the tea shoppe! How COOL is that! I told her that we are seriously considering doing something similar for our daughter's 16th birthday--some get cars, some get sweet sixteen parties, we're thinking a restaurant/cafe. Something. Her wheels are ALWAYS turning about how to make that work. In fact, on Monday, at the Irish chippy, she looked around and couldn't stop staring and talking about how THAT is the set up she likes (where you can cook while you visit with your patrons). She loves to cook and loves to talk and loves to eat out. It's a great combination! :) So, the tea shoppe family is completely intrigued with moving to our county and our town and setting up shop here as they're unhappy where they are and are interested in our community, our area, and our homeschool group! She and I have been emailing for so long and we continue to be in contact. This is SO FUN!

So, Mark takes the kids to see Horton Hears a Who! while we're at the tea party and have a GREAT time! He's such a great Dad and they're SUCH great kids and we all have so much fun! I get home and Terrie has just called to invite us over for Tacos and an Easter Egg Hunt. So we grab some stuff at the store and get there and have a FANTASTIC time complete with egg hunts (for the kids AND the adults), a great meal, fun drinks, and GUITAR HERO! Yes, we've tried Guitar Hero and we love it!! So much fun!! Of course Mark does awesome on his very first try and is instantly great at it. It's a really fun game and we're excited to know what all the hoopla is about. Very fun. Almost makes me consider getting a Playstation. Almost. So, we totally don't notice the time (reference that we're having SO much fun and laughing hysterically the whole evening) and we get home after 11pm!! Exhausted, but happy.


















And today, we've had a great Easter. We did more Easter Egg Hunting at church--fun! Also, Mark got stuff at the store on Friday and surprised us with a fabulous nontraditional (big surprise, eh?) meal--browned chicken tenderloin in basil and oregano and spicy Italian sausage over roasted red potatoes and delicious Italian Pancetta with garlic and white wine together with buttered steamed broccoli. Yum! Tomorrow, an FHE lesson with yet another egg hunt and lesson and coloring Easter eggs and discount candy at the store! We're hoping our friends join us for that as well.







So, this after a week where I burst into tears, not once, not twice, but at least THREE public times about missing my Dad--while on our field trip (I saw a tennis court and then we were right by the railroad we've visited about a year and a half ago with my Mom and Dad), once with Mark when he astutely pointed out that it hasn't been that long and there is no expectation that I should somehow be "fine" by now (he's so good to me), and another time rather unexpectedly while talking with Denise and telling her about how I started crying on our field trip. :P I think there were other times as well--oh yeah, during all the plumbing stuff while on the phone with my Mom as I cried about how much I miss my Dad. So, yeah, it still hurts a lot and just like the stuff on grief says--it hits you emotionally rather unexpectedly at times.

Hospice is putting up a leaf with my Dad's name on it and we get to be there, see it, have a little ceremony/take pictures, etc. I think that'll be hard, but special. We're doing it when we're up there in a couple of weeks celebrating K's birthday and bringing my Mom back down for K's baptism. We and the kids are super excited as is my Mom! And we're very excited for Papa and Grandma's visit as well.

Our business is THRIVING. And I start doing groups this week--I'm so excited! We've had a goal for ourselves and we've figured we'd hit it after a year in practice. Well, we hit it this past week! That's less than 6 months in! We're thrilled!! We're so grateful and so blessed and so happy. We're living our dream and doing what we've been working toward for so long. Hurrah!

Another fun thing this week that is quite hopeful--my brother-in-law and new sister-in-law just found out that he got accepted to law school at Temple University! So, should they decide to come here, we can get together and have so much fun together!! They're excited as are we! I even completely blew my March Madness bracket in their honor! :) YAY!!

Okay, PHEW! That's a lot of stuff! See? I've been trying to get to blogging a bunch this week, but as you can see, it's been crazy. So, for those who have been checking and haven't had much to read, here's a bunch!

Here are some fun pictures of our field trip this past week to the Association for the Blind (very interesting) and to the AWESOME Railroad Musuem:
















Sunday, March 16, 2008

Checking Off My List

You know how "they" always have these lists where you're supposed to check off things you've "ever done" in your life? My list is Things I Thought I'd Never Do, and the item is "Be doused by gallon upon gallon of raw sewage." Seriously.

My wife has been hearing strange noises come out of our sink for a few days and I thought maybe the garbage disposal had something in it that may have been stuck and came free. It seemed to be the easy answer since plumbing and I don't get along much. In fact, if I were a superhero it would be my nemesis in some form or another--Dr. Sludge or Mr. Hairball. Then, yesterday morning while she was in the upstairs shower I heard gurgling in the same sink. So naturally I thought, "Hey! I need some Drain-o in there." Thankfully I never got to it. Anyway, we went about our normal plans for the day. Being a relatively nice day she and the kids went outside in the backyard to play and I was getting ready to do some work inside. I cleaned the bathroom downstairs next to the laundry area because some people were dropping by to play and we thought we should have a nice rest stop for them, just in case. We put a load of laundry in with plans to take advantage of the sunshine and hang our wash on the line. So bathroom's clean, washer's running, and I grab my computer and set up in the kitchen on the table to get to work. M comes in to wash his hands in the bathroom and I hear my wife yelling for me. She didn't need to yell that loudly since I was a few feet away, but I can't blame her for getting a little worked up over suds upon suds coming up through the toilet bowl, out from under the toilet, and out from the sink. Oh, and the drain pipe from the washer was oozing the white sudsy stuff, too. This is the washer that has new hot/cold water and drain hoses because of intermittent leaking.

So, we shut off water everywhere, slapped down towels and I went to work. Have I mentioned how I hate plumbing? I went to the basement, found the access to the drain pipes and saw it was dripping a bit. OK, let off the pressure and see what's going on. I grabbed my 5-gallon bucket and put it under the pipe and started to unscrew the cap. Holy crap! And I mean that literally. I don't know how much water came out, but my bucket didn't stand a chance. We're talking gusher here. Water was spraying everywhere. Luckily I'd changed out of my good shoes and into my sandals in case there was a little splashing here and there. I'm sure the rest of my clothes would have appreciated similar treatment.

We have some good friends that happened to walk by the house while I was underground playing human mop and he offered to bring over a snake. We fed it in about 15 feet or so and didn't make any difference. I called the plumber and as luck would have it the plumber on call was the same guy who came over to our townhouse to fix an issue a few years ago. Something about me drilling a screw straight into a drain pipe while I was hanging a shelf in the closet. Good times.

The plumber got there and used his monster snake, the one that plugs into the wall and takes two oversize men to control. We still didn't get it fixed from the basement so he asks me where the house catch is. If I knew I would have told him. Once he explained that it's the sewer access outside the house. I told him I didn't know where it since our friend had already looked. The pipes seemed to go straight outside to the backyard but the catch wasn't visible so the plumber thought we'd have to dig for it. He called the excavator (really, a guy with a shovel in this case) and he said he'd be out today. So we showered at a friend's house last night, received a meal from the friends with the snake, and all used the toilet before flushing once. The fun never stops here, I'll tell you!

Late this morning the plumber called and said he'd be over so I went outside to give it another look. Earlier some friends (different from the snake and shower friends) came on their way to church and gave us their house key in case we needed to use water and didn't want raw sewage backing up into our house. That was considerate. They mentioned that their drainage was in front of the house. So I went out and looked and there was a lot of bubbling ooze (I wish I could have said "oil that is") in the front yard that we (and by that, I mean "I") thought was excess runoff from the rains. My wife had seen it the night before and wondered if it was relevant. I figured it was rainwater, remember? It stunk like sewage and so I started digging. I soon hit metal and found the vent catch we were looking for. When the plumber came he said good thing I found it because we would have dug up the whole backyard looking for what was in the front. Yeah, good thing. I probably found it because the snake friends have a son who called to see how things were going and said he'd pray for us. He said this right before I found a spot to dig.

Now we have open sewage, a thing I've taken for granted to this point in my life. We also have a bathroom floor to repair and dried crap on the basement floor I need to clean tonight. My love affair with plumbing continues.

Emergency visit from the plumber: $110
Running the power snake on two consecutive weekend days: $298
Sunday afternoon fun with the excavator: $100
Being assaulted by a powerful flow of raw sewage: Priceless.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Almost.

Lisa called this morning to let us know that Chelsea Clinton is in town at our local university (yes, the one 2 minutes down the street). Lisa couldn't make it but thought Christy and I would love to go. I called Christy. Sure enough, she would have LOVED to go, but couldn't. I wasn't keen on going by myself with the kids (Mark's had a full slate of patients this afternoon). So, we didn't go.

I'm not a Hillary supporter, but I do like Chelsea and am impressed with her and I think it would've been neat to see her in person and learn more about her mother's campaign.

I'm still for Obama as a leader--I believe in him as a leader and don't feel he has to have answers on every issues on his platform so long as he has the leadership abilities to inspire and lead and make desperately-needed changes.

I'm so excited that PA counts in the primaries!! Mark's heard on the news that over 60,000 people have switched their registered parties in PA in order to be able to vote in this year's presidential primaries. How exciting! We've switched for that reason as well, though we'll likely keep ourselves registered as Democrats anyway. I mean, McCain? Hell, no.

So, anyway, we're on the hunt for an Obama rally. Who knows, maybe we'll even get T-shirts. :P Christy and Logan are joining us. Probably Lisa, too. So, if you hear of any local Obama stops, please comment or call and let us know! Thanks! :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sumo Kids!

So, we've been learning about Japan in History and one of the lesson activities is Sumo Wrestling. Omigosh, SO much fun!! And a big hit, too!! Here are some pictures and videos:













video

video

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Awesome Birthday Gifts

So, I enjoyed a very nice luncheon out with several girlfriends and we had such a nice time!! Once everyone RSVPed, we switched from Duke's to the Batdorf (it wasn't a huge group so doing something a bit more intimate/fancy sounded nice) and had a really lovely time!! Not everyone knew everyone else at first, but everyone quickly became friends and conversation didn't lag at all--it was really quite nice! :) And I got a fun coupon from Pat for a home-cooked meal (lunch or dinner) to be delivered or picked up! Yum! So, great time! I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture . . .

TANGENT: Oh! And the waitress said someone had just been in telling her about how much they love our clinic! We know the waitress from the pool this past summer and she took down our website because she's all excited and knows where we are and wants to come in! And today, our tenants told us that they overheard people saying nice things about us at the Farmer's Market this week, using our clinic by name. So, we're becoming a community name and with really great reviews! We're so thrilled!! :)

BACK TO BIRTHDAY STUFF: And I am LOVING my lunch/dinner/dessert dates out with friends (one of my very favorite kind of birthday gifts/celebration traditions is eating out)!! I've got a date next week with Ruth. We're both very excited. :)

This past week, I had SUCH a fun time eating out with Den! She came over and played with the kids while Mark and I attended a rather interesting HOA meeting (townhouse). Then we got back and Den and I went to Ruby Tuesday's and ordered FOUR appetizers and gorged ourselves on YUMMY delights--Southwestern Spring Rolls, Guacamole Dip, Tai Phoon Shrimp, and a yummy crabcake (which I usually don't like but this one was great since it was "more crab than cake!")--all with SUCH yummy sauces!! Omigosh, I so love food. (Robynne, we really miss you, by the way!! You're supposed to be HERE eating and celebrating with us--but you are so great and thoughtful even from all the way across the country). Anyway! Besides great food, great friends, great fun, I also got SUCH an awesome present from Den!!

She got me this AMAZING theme present--all things Hershey! She got me a HUGE, beautiful Hershey's Tote Bag and put a great (awesome and obviously very thought out) birthday card in the front pocket. I wish I'd gotten a "before" picture because the presentation really was beautiful. It was all full of red, blue, and yellow tissue paper and in and around all the tissue paper was LOTS of presents (including some wrapped ones, too!). Here's what was inside:

*An AWESOME (as in, I wear it every evening it's so cool-looking and snuggly!) periwinkle blue vintage long-sleeved Hershey shirt with a great design on it

*Some LOVELY-smelling and fancy Hershey Estates soaps (they don't smell like chocolate; they are really CLEAN smelling, which I love, and made from silky cocoa butter)

*A really cool 1000-piece Hershey puzzle (full of old-fashioned Hershey logos and such, my favorite kind of jigsaw puzzle)

Chocolate Stuff:
*2 boxes of my favorite Hershey's Mayan Hot Cocoa
*2 Cartons of the most awesome and indulgent Starbucks (Hershey has teamed with them for some of these amazing products) Hot Cocoa (Double Delish and Marshmallow Dreams)--really, you have to taste it to appreciate how AMAZINGly yummy these are, plus the cocoa is made of mini square chocolate nuggets, not powder, so you can snack on the stuff that makes the cocoa (and we do!)
*3 different kinds of absolutely DECADENT truffles
*3 different kinds of bags of Hershey's Bliss (Hershey's delicious answer to Dove)
*2 different kinds of boxes of Starbucks Chocolate Tasting Squares--SO YUMMY!!

Spa Stuff (the kind of stuff you can't get in stores--I love when we get to try the most awesome Hershey stuff she knows about before they hit regular stores or this awesome, unique stuff that just isn't available in regular stores)--oh, and this stuff does smell like chocolate and isn't edible; we checked :P
*Hershey's Moisturizing Bath Soak (in such a cute container--looks just like the baking cocoa containers!)
*Hershey's Gentle Body Wash (with a rich, chocolate scent)--looks like chocolate silk
*Hershey's Shimmer Body Lotion (with a rich, chocolate scent)
*Hershey's Exfoliant Body Scrub (with a rich, chocolate scent--this one looks like THICK fudge!)

I may even be forgetting something, I'm not sure. LOADS of great stuff!! I love, love, love this thoughtful and fun gift. And omigosh, it's so yummy. Den, you're awesome. You already know that even without all this great chocolate stuff, I'm so glad we're friends--the chocolate is bonus. ;)

Every single thing was obviously so thoughtfully considered, from the colors of the bag to the size of the shirt to the kinds of chocolates to the cocoa she knows I love to the kinds of puzzles I love to the beautiful sentiment of the card. She is truly an awesome friend.