Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grandma Lucy's 80th Birthday

A couple Sundays ago we celebrated Ryan's Grandma Lucy's 80th Birthday!  It was a fun time spent with family, and I think the birthday girl enjoyed herself.  :)  Grandma Lucy is one of sweetest, thriftiest, and fittest 80 year olds that I know!  She loves the Lord, and she's a big prayer warrior. 

We enjoyed lunch together at the River House and I made cake balls for dessert! Grandma opened her gifts, we shared some of our favorite memories of her, and we snapped some family photos before we took a boat ride on the Channel Cat (water taxi).  It was the most perfect, summer Sunday afternoon.  Side note: There were 15 of us all together, and can you believe that our waiter did not write down a single order???? We were a little nervous and wondering if the birthday meal was going to be a disaster.  As far as I know there were no mistakes and everyone got what they wanted!  Wow. That guy has a good memory.

cousin Erik's monster burger.
he somehow was able to eat the whole thing.  we told him he had to. 

Grandma's "cake" :)

great grand kids

grand kids

two of her kids!

with her daughter in-law and son
and finally....this photo captures what was by far the funniest moment of the day.  We were all walking to our cars after lunch and Caleb (my BIL) was responsible for carrying Grandma's birthday balloons.  As we were about to get into our jeep, we heard some commotion at the other end of the parking lot and looked up to see the giant bouquet of balloons floating over the parking lot and up, up, up and away into the vast blue sky! Hahaha!  Poor Caleb.  It wasn't his fault.  He was simply holding onto the weight at the bottom of the balloons, thinking it was securely attached.  Once he realized what happened he took a leap into the air to grab them, but they were out of his reach. We told Grandma that the balloons were "set free" in honor of her birthday.  :)

Speaking of Grandmas....I've been missing my Grandma Jeske lately.  She's my only living grandparent.  I wish I lived closer to her so I could spend more time with her.  If we lived closer to each other I'm fairly certain we'd bake together all the time.  I must have inherited my love of baking from her.  She makes the best pies.  I think I also inherited my fear of talking on the phone from her.  ;)  Yes. It's true.  Talking on the phone isn't one of my favorite things.  I don't know why.  Most girls love talking on the phone, don't they?!

Anyway....the other day I wrote my Grandma a letter just to say I was thinking about her and praying for her.  I need to do that more often.  So,  here's my encouragement to your grandma or write her a note just to tell her you love her.  Doesn't matter if she lives in the same town and you see her almost everyday, or if she's miles and miles away.  Just do it.  :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

a bat...a rat...and a gnat?

It was Wednesday night. Caleb and Mel had just left, and Ryan and I were hanging out in the living room together.  I walked down the hallway to get a pen from the other room when I saw something FLY through the kitchen.   I didn't need to investigate the situation to know that it was indeed a BAT. Ugh. I know bats eat bugs, and they aren't out to get me.....but they don't belong in my house! I immediately spun around and ran back into the living room screaming "there's a bat! there's a bat! there's a bat!" at Ryan, who thought I was joking! He soon found out it was no joking matter when the bat came swooping into the living room and right over our heads.  It then flew back down the hallway and into the kitchen.  Ryan grabbed the dog gate for a shield and I followed behind him as we entered the kitchen. I think we thought maybe the bat would still be flying around, but of course it was nowhere to be seen. Awesome.  We searched the whole house and came up with nothing.  All the while I'm walking around in a hunched over position, convinced that the bat is going to come out of nowhere at any moment and dive bomb me.  We tried turning off the lights and opening the front door (apparently that's supposed to work?), hoping to coax the bat out of wherever it was hiding, but the only thing that came out of that was a whole bunch of moths coming in.  Great. Bat food. 

We finally called my father and brother in-law to come help us find the crazy thing. 

This is how Caleb showed up: 

After an extensive search of the house (again) and much talk of how on earth the bat got in the house in the first place, we still couldn't find it. Just when I was preparing to spend the night at my in-laws' house, my FIL suggested that Ryan check his office one more time, and look behind the things sitting on the speaker that hung on the wall.  Sure enough, the bat was there.  It was in a ball with its wings covering its head. I must have scared it with my frantic screaming. 

The guys shut the door of the office and developed a plan.  Thankfully the bat was near the office window, so Ryan opened the window making it as easy as possible for the bat to escape. He then turned off the light in the office and we all went outside to wait for the bat to fly out.  Yeah right. That would be too easy.  Plan B?  Ryan put on gloves, pants and a hoodie and braved the bat himself.  He threw a towel over the bat and picked it up, planning to just toss the bat and towel out the window.  I was waiting on the other side of the office door, when I heard Ryan say "I got it!....oh, I don't!" I later found out that he thought he had the bat in the towel but quickly realized that he didn't when he heard what he describes as a high pitched electronic sound just inches from his face.  He turned his head and saw the bat sitting there with its mouth open and eyes glowing.  He threw the towel over the bat again and tossed it out the window as fast as he could.  Don't know what happened after that, but I can only assume it flew off somewhere, and I hope it doesn't come back!

The "bat busters" as my dad called them. Ryan is holding a fake C4 bomb that he made. That is what the bat was hiding behind. haha.

You may be wondering about the reference to the rat in the title of this blog post.  While we were looking for the stupid bat we were all kind of laughing about the irony of the situation.  Caleb and Melissa were having their own issue with an uninvited creature in their home and were staying at my in-laws' until the thing was either trapped or killed.  We're assuming it was maybe a rat, but nobody knows.  Whatever it was, it chewed a hole through their wall, and ate dog food.  

As for the gnat in my blog title.....I found out the next day that when my father in-law was trying to fall asleep that night he had a pesky gnat buzzing around his head.  I thought it was funny. And it rhymes with bat and rat. :)

The whole bat fiasco took me back to my Ruth Harbor days.  There were three during my time there.  I won't recount the stories now, but they are all pretty funny. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

back deck beautification

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we finally got our patio table and chair set put together.  July was a scorcher, but August has been absolutely lovely so far, and we've taken advantage of it by eating a few meals on our back deck already.  A couple mornings ago I started my day out there with my bible and a cup of coffee.  It was so peaceful.

Gilbert likes hanging out on the deck with us too. Especially when things like this fall out of the tree. 

I moved it up to the railing to save it from being pawed to death. 

the back deck is also the perfect location for making sun tea!

french toast and bacon for supper one night, and iced coffee in a mason jar.  YUM!

last night we strung lights on the awesome arbor that ryan and my dad made for some added ambiance.  warm light makes everything more inviting, don't you agree?

little lanterns left over from our wedding, and of course I'm putting all my mason jars to use wherever I can!
this pretty little thing was a gift from my mom for my birthday. love it. it's also my favorite color.

the birdbath was also a birthday gift.  I'm not sure if the birds have discovered it yet, but Gilbert has. :)  He thinks it was put there for him to drink out of.

so it's a work in progress, but it's coming together!  I'm hoping to host a little back deck party before the end of the summer.  Our next big project is to work on taming the jungle that is our backyard.  That will be fun. 

Now, I must go do some ironing that I've been putting off.  If I had to pick one of my least favorite household chores, that would be it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog Park Day

This past Sunday, Ryan, Caleb, Melissa and I took our dogs to the dog park.  They needed some exercise and we needed some entertainment. :)  We had never taken Gilbert to the dog park before.  I was a little worried about how he would behave around the small dogs, but he did great.  However, I'm sure many a dog left the park that day with some of Gilbert's drool in their fur.  He likes to share his abundance of slobber with everyone and everything.  My dad nicknamed him Gildrooley when he was visiting last weekend. Gil earned that nickname since apparently some of his slime landed on my dad's laptop screen during one of his head shakes. :)  Sorry if this grosses anyone out.  It's the facts of life, my friends. 

It was rather interesting seeing all the different kinds of dogs at the park.  It was equally interesting to observe the dog owners.   
this dog hung around with our dogs quite a bit

love this face

this is not our dog.  there happened to be another great pyr there. it was a boy, but his build was much smaller than Gilbert's.

we quickly learned that this dog was a little kooky.  it was staring at a tennis ball for a long time.

  the black pug in the background was following Ryan around and circling him while he walked.

you know that dog was gifted with some of gilbert's drool

gilbert, duncan and penny.  Duncan and Penny belong to Caleb and Mel. They are the sweetest collies.

Monday, August 15, 2011

another year older

Last week I turned 28.  It was a week long celebration filled with family, friends, good food....and God blessed me with the most perfect birthday weather!  :)   Needless to say, I feel very loved. 

On Sunday we celebrated with the Peterson/Barsness fam by going to The Machine Shed.  It was a fun time together, and of course the food was delicious.

I love this family. :)

On my actual birthday I went to my favorite consignment shop and scored some amazing bargains.  They already have great prices, but that day they had a dollar rack and everything else was half off!  It was awesome.  I came home to find flowers on the counter from the sweet and handsome mr. red beard. :)

the card says "on-shon-tay. that's french for happy birthday, hotty. I love you!"  I love my husband's sense of humor.  :)

Ryan and I used a gift card for Olive Garden to go out for my birthday dinner, and then we went to Starbucks for some after dinner coffee, which I could barely even drink because I was stuffed! I was "surprised" by the lovely ladies below who were waiting for us when we got there. Really, I knew they were going to be there, but they didn't know I knew, so I acted surprised and then ended up telling them anyway. :)  It was so great to see them and spend a little time catching up with them. 

My parents arrived at our house later that evening to spend the weekend with us!  Unfortunately I had to work both of the days they were here but thankfully I still got some good time with them.  We finally got our patio table and chairs together and since the weather has been absolutely gorgeous, we enjoyed breakfast with my parents on our back deck on Friday morning! 

pictures of people eating are always funny.

 On Friday evening we had yet another birthday celebration! When I got home from work there was a familiar car in the driveway.  Ben and Kristi had come from Dubuque celebrate with us. :)  What fun! We went to Osaka (one of those Japanese steakhouses where they cook the food right in front of you) Of course they banged on the drum, sang happy birthday and made me wear the birthday hat with my name on it which was spelled "Chrissa".  haha!  Ah, memories. 

I have to point out my father in-law and my dad in this photo.  Aren't they cute?  :) 

We all played the game "Things" when we got home, and devoured Kristi's famous cake pops.  If you've never played "Things", I suggest you check it out. It's hilarious.  It was great fun playing with my parents.  My mom laughed so hard that she cried.  I love when that happens. 

I had to work at 9 on Saturday morning, so I figured since I was getting up for work I might as well get up a little bit earlier so I could go to the Farmer's Market with my mom.  I bought some fresh fruits and veggies that Ryan had requested to use in our juicer.  We were given a juicer recently, so we've been experimenting with some different recipes the last couple days.  I'll blog about that later.  :) 

While I was at work my two favorite guys were building a lattice arbor/shelter thing for the back deck.  It is just what I wanted and I cannot wait to hang some lights from it!  Our back deck is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots.  We've enjoyed four meals out there already!

a group self portrait before my parents had to head home.  :)

What a great week and weekend! : ) I am tired, but happy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

something about birds

A couple months ago I got a job at a bird store. And when I say bird I'm talking about the wild, backyard variety. I sell bird seed, feeders, and all sorts of other bird and yard related things.  A lot of people look at me funny when I tell them where I work because they wonder how I ended up there.  They were hiring, and I needed a part time job. That's pretty much it.  Even though my knowledge of birds was practically non-existent other than being able to identify common birds like cardinals and robins, they still hired me.  It has certainly been a character builder.  Did I ever expect to get a job that required me to lift 50 lb bags of bird seed, and sift through thousands of live meal worms in order to pick out the dead ones?  Nope.  Sure didn't!  It's not so bad.  :)

I don't know how long I will work there, but I do know that God has me there for reasons other than selling bird seed, and making money to help pay the bills.  I want my life and attitude to be a reflection of Christ to those I work with.  There are some tough things going on in the lives of my co-workers right now that are causing them to really seek and question God and I am praying for boldness and opportunities to share the gospel with them. 

I have learned a few things about birds since I started working there, but yesterday I learned something about the bird world that really fascinated me, and I wanted to share it with whoever happens to read my little ol' blog.  :)  We had a customer come in and tell us about a cardinal that was hanging out in her yard.  She described him as having a bald head, bugged out eyes, and just looking altogether sad and pathetic.  My co-worker told her that it sounded like he had mites.  I guess it's common for birds to have mites, but the unfortunate part is that the reason he looks the way he does is probably because he doesn't have a mate. Birds preen with their beaks to rid their feathers of bugs, dirt, etc., but the one place they can't reach by themselves is the top of their head....which is usually done with the help of  their mate.  Isn't it like that for us too?  Whether it be our spouse, a friend, our church family, or spending time in prayer and in the Word, we often need help getting rid of the "mites" in our lives, whatever form they may be in.  I hope that cardinal finds a mate soon.  :) 

Other life happenings this week....

Ryan and I sat down last night and created a prayer list, giving each day of the week a specific category of prayer.  We're looking forward to spending more concentrated time in prayer together each day.  

I turn 28 tomorrow.  I am looking forward to the day off, beautiful birthday weather, a date with my husband, and my parents are coming into town later tomorrow evening!  We'll see if I can get the house cleaned a little before they come, but I was assured that they would still love me even if the house isn't clean. ;) 

Now, for your viewing pleasure I have inserted a photo instead of the video of our surprise performance at Deluxe Republic's acoustic show from last week.  I was going to post a clip of the video but I am too tired to figure it out, and it really wasn't that great anyway.  haha.  we need to practice a bit more.  :) 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

the visitors and a day trip

We've been busy!  Last weekend we welcomed my dear friend Amanda (also a former roommate and best personal attendant ever!) and her fiance, Nate into our home.  It was a fun time, although much too short.  We had a great time getting to know Nate a little better. Amanda and I talked about wedding details and plans while the boys got in a little video gaming time, and of course we made puppy chow, which is tradition whenever we're together.  We also subjected them to some of our favorite stupid you tube videos. :)

On Saturday evening we went to Fireworks, a local paint your own pottery place.  When we looked online to see what time they closed, we discovered that they were actually closing for good the very next day and everything was half off!  Sad that they are closing, but nice for our wallets! Since Amanda and Nate had never done anything like that before we thought it would be a fun experience for them. I hope it was more fun than stressful! They picked out a plate to paint together.  :) It was cute.  Ryan and I painted a whale shaped piggy bank. What we'll do with it, I don't know....but it's going to look awesome!  I pretty much just let Ryan work his magic. He is much more creative and artistic than I am. There is a coffee shop conveniently located in Fireworks, so you better believe we took advantage of that.  We have to wait a couple more weeks to pick up our pottery, but I can't wait to see how they turned out! 

I love watching my husband when he's concentrating very hard on something. :)

Nate & Amanda!

Do you see my dog?  He wanted to be in the group photo too and is actually standing/sitting on the couch behind us, and is about to bite my head.  He is crazy.  

My work schedule was different this week, and my mom and I had the same day off.  It was the perfect opportunity to take a little road trip to Dubuque for a long overdue mother/daughter day.  We had the best time shopping and getting lunch together. Unfortunately, I have no pictures. :(  That night we went to see a movie with dad.  He chose Cowboys and Aliens. :) It was nice to spend some time with my parents. I love them. With work and our different schedules we haven't been able to see each other much lately.  The only bad part was spending the night away from my husband.  That's never fun.  Talking to him on the phone before I went to bed that night reminded me of our dating/engaged days.  Haha. 

Before I left town I got to spend the morning with Kristi!  It's fun living near each other again! We went for a 3 (or was it 4?) mile walk while we talked and enjoyed each others company.  Near the end of our walk we stopped in at One Mean Bean for some iced chai. :)  We spent many hours there while in college (and after) talking about boys and life and being single.  It's one of our favorite places, and we love the owners.

Tonight we got to meet my friend Becky, her husband Jeremy and their two boys for supper as they were in town buying a desk they found on craigs list.  It was a quick catch up, but we're so glad for the time we had with them!  They used to live in the Des Moines area and Becky was a great friend, and encouragement to me when I was house parenting at Ruth Harbor.  We would meet for bible study, prayer and heart to hearts while I was living there.  She is truly a blessing, and she has one adorable little family. 

attempt #6 of a family photo. :) 

Ryan is staying busy with work and music stuff.  This past week was the annual chapel canoe trip, which I didn't get to go on because I was working, but Ryan did, and he had a good time floating down the Maquoketa River.  Also this past week,  Deluxe Republic did an acoustic show at a coffee shop and somehow I got roped into getting up on stage with Ryan and singing the song we wrote together.  Thankfully it was a small crowd. :)  we have a video of this surprise performance.  maybe I'll share it someday.  maybe. 

ok...that's enough for now.  good night!