Always, Katie: 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's the Little Things... in the midst of some big things

Between my Clomid and the extra estrogen I'm on, I have been having a hard time keeping a brave face.  I have been sick, throwing up or getting pretty close to it... not sleeping, or having nightmares when I do sleep.  I had another rough doctor's appointment this morning, too... found out that we may not even know the extend of my infertility problems, and am looking at the possibility of surgery in another couple of months if I'm still not pregnant.  So, this week's "Little Things" link-up was too timely to pass up!  

I made these yummy cookies the other day... I got the recipe from the lovely ladies at Our Best Bites, and had to make them the same evening.  I also got to take them to my in-laws' house for a bit of a pitch-in dinner, which is another smiley thing :-) They are so easy, and cute... and don't require any rolling or flour-sprinkling.  Which always results in a huge mess on every surface of our home!  I used orange candy melts from Wilton, melted them in my little melter pot, and dipped the bottom of the cookies in.  Added jussssst a tiny bit of something extra, so the plain sugar cookies were less plain. :-)

Our brand new iPhone 4S phones came this week!  Wheeeee!!  These puppies are quick and powerful.  I thought the 3GS was amazing... this model makes it look like a rotary phone!!!!

I've been really into wide, stretchy belts lately.  They've updated a couple of my sweaters, and give me an instant hourglass!  Makes me feel a little prettier on days when the hormones make me feel like an ogre.

Speaking of ogres... watch out.  This next photo is me with almost no makeup and no glasses, bedhead, and a tear-stained face and tear-swollen eyes.

Ethan took this picture of Charley letting me hold him and cuddle like a baby, as I recovered after my appointment today.  Aren't I a lucky girl? :-) These are just a few o the little things that have made me smile through tears this week... how 'bout you?


PS: Linking up to my cousin, Lindsay! 

Aisle to Aloha

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pin Cushion Cuteness!

I just made the niftiest little sewing accessories for my mom-in-law and myself!  Hobby Lobby's facebook page recently posted a link to a PDF containing several delightful crafts using canning jars, and I fell in love with a few of them.  This is the first one I tried, but I am SURE there will be more in the future :-)

We had some pretty tiny canning jars (I think officially jelly jars, maybe?) hanging around from the gifts we gave our fathers and grandfathers for Father's Day, so I used those.  (Have I shown that project yet? I ought to. Whoops.  Back on topic...)  I think they would probably work out better using larger jars, but I'm still kinda enamored with the ones I made!

Gather your materials, and if you have jars (like me!!) you should pretty much have everything laying around.  My FAVORITE kind of project!

  • Jar(s)
  • Fabric... can be pretty scrappy, you only need a bit.
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Poly-fill... just a small glob will do.
Cut a rough circle a little bit bigger than the flat piece of the lid.  (Anyone know what that's called?)  It doesn't have to be pretty, but make sure you have in the neighborhood of an inch, inch and a half extra fabric all the way around.

Put a sting of hot glue most of the way around the lid.  Unless you're sitting under your in-laws' ceiling fan, in which case this gets a little bit more complicated :-)  And be careful... I yelp a lot when I'm using hot glue.  Or an oven.  But, I digress...

Stick the fabric to the glue!  Yes, the fabric changed between shots.  Sometimes I get so excited about a project, I finish it up and forget to take pictures of the steps!  Bear in mind that the looser you leave the fabric, the more room you'll have for poly-fill, and the poofier your pin cushion will be!  It is kind of hard to remember not to pull it snug and smooth...

You're going to have a little opening, where you should be able to stick your finger between the fabric and the lid.

Yay!  Now stuff a  wad of poly-fill in.  It will hold a little bit more than you probably will expect... but pack it nice and tightly.  A firm cushion will hold pins and needles more securely.

Glue the little gap closed.  Stick the newly-cushy flat thing into the ring.

 Screw the lid on!  Easy as that! 

With a jar this tiny, I'm picturing it as the perfect container for cross-stitch Christmas ornaments.  I can cut my canvas, pop it in, pop in some skeins of embroidery floss and a pattern, have some pre-threaded needles in the cushion, and have my own kit ready to go when I wanna grab a project for a doctor's waiting room or car ride, or whatever!  With a bigger jar, you could store bobbins, spools, pins, chalks, bias tape, zippers, buttons... sky's the limit!  

This would make a darling gift for a sewing enthusiast, or especially a sewing rookie!  Never too early to start on Christmas gifts, you know... :-)


Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's the Little Things: Road Trip Edition

We have had a weekend of driving, driving, driving.  And some panic, panic, panic.

Hubby got out of open house at school at 8pm on Thursday... I picked him up and we drove 8 hours to Lynchburg, VA for him to take a class.  He went to class for 4 hours yesterday, and 8 today.  So, the little things that have made me smile this week are the little (and not so little) blessings that have made our hectic, stressful weekend a little bit easier.

First... I made snickerdoodles.  A few for us for road food, and a few dozen for a friend I got to hang out with last night while Ethan was in class! So, this picture represents the yummy cookies, and the girl-time :-)

I had a "go bag" of toiletries ready a month ago... travel sizes of everything we were going to need, including a pill sorter of my meds, a vial of insulin and a bunch of pump supplies.  And I left it at home.  Our hotel had a few things on hand, and these little things were such a nice gesture.  I know we MORE than paid for them when we paid for the room, but it was still just... nice.  

Is there anything better at the end of a long car ride than a set of crisp, cool sheets waiting for you?

We also, after phone calls to insurance, CVS, and my doctor's office... and a panic at the pharmacy... managed to get some insulin.  But not just some insulin--a three-month supply.  It's way too early to refill, but the insurance overrode the rule... and we didn't have to pay an exorbitant amount for a single vial.  Since I don't have supplies to refill my pump, I'm letting it run the basal (I had plenty for that, just not to cover any food or highs), and taking all of my boluses by syringe.  Kicking it old skool, yo!

I had to check us out of the hotel while Ethan was still in class... so Charley and I are hanging around Lynchburg in our air-conditioned rental car.  This face always makes me smile :-)

And last, but not least... free Wi-Fi at McDonald's!  That's where I'm writing this--in the parking lot, with the puppy and a big cup of Diet Coke!  And it's a beautiful day (but HOT), and I get to pick up my darling husband in about an hour and a half!


Aisle to Aloha

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ridiculously Decadent Cupcakes

--or, "I'm not pregnant, so for a few days, I'm eating nothing but chocolate, SWAG bolusing, and blood sugar be danged."

I have been doing quite a bit of woe-is-me indulgent baking and eating this past week... I have a pinterest board of recipes that look sublime, so I baked up one little beauty that I knew would make my husband and me very happy.  I got the recipe from the amazing girls at Six Sister's Stuff.  They are incredible!  I really encourage you to check this blog out--they have a huge linky party every weekend that enables me in my crafty/baking addictions, plus their own posts are always fun!  And they really are six sisters--not like, sorority or sisters-in-Christ--and cute as coordinated buttons. 

Any way... without further ado, Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes.

I totally stole this picture from their blog--I was in too big a hurry to eat these, I forgot to take photos.  Bad, bad blogger.

These are a little bit more work than I usually like to put into my baking-on-a-whim desserts, and the ingredients are a tad expensive and not really standard on hand... at least not in my fridge!  But.  If you have any kind of occasion, or company coming over... these will make a HUGE splash! 

You can follow the link above for the recipe... I really have nothing to add to it, lol.  I followed it exactly.  I was amazed at how easy they were--even the ganache!  And they weren't THAT much work or that time-consuming, but they're not a half-hour batch of cookies, either.

I did have about half of the cream filling left over, and stuck it in the fridge.  I thought I might bake a chocolate bundt cake later, halve it and channel it, then fill the channel in with the rest of the filling.  Like a big, cakey, fabulous Oreo.  Or I may try my hand at a flakey pastry and fill those with it.  Ohhh the decadent possibilities!!!! 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe... EVER

This year, I got to make my husband's birthday cake, which was pretty special... 

Okay, HE actually made the buttercream icing, because he recently learned how and is still tickled to do it.  So, I am MORE than happy to let him :-) 

I got the recipe here.  I figured, who better to tell me how to make something chocolate than Hershey themselves? It's your basic, no-frills chocolate cake, but... better.

I followed the direction for the three-layer cake, because I have 2 8-inch pans and 1 9-inch.  I figured, either way I was going to have to reserve some batter, dump a layer on a cooling rack, and bake twice anyway.  May as well be three layers :-)  I had Ethan make a double batch of buttercream icing, and spread it on niiiice and thick between all of the layers.  

Among my goofy little quirks (like, an irrational fear of leaving voicemail messages) is that I get all nervous when I have to cut cake.  I don't know why!  So, I used a bit of embroidery floss and pre-scored the top. Then, I decorated each "slice" with a little chocolate swirly thing.  I melted some chocolate chips in a plastic baggie and snipped a corner off... drizzled a funky design on some waxed paper, as well as the script words "Happy Birthday."  I popped 'em in the freezer for an hour, peeled 'em off, and stuck 'em on the cake.  It made a very elegant, but easy cake :-)

I do have one nifty little tip for melting chocolate in a baggie... I use a mug, and tilt all of the chips to one corner.  Then I stick that corner into the mug, leaving the rest of the baggie out, and microwave away.  Of course, that's also the same corner I snip. 

I showed this yesterday, but here's another look--I must say, I'm pretty proud of myself!!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Quiet, But Still Around

Sorry I've been so quiet for a while. (Ha!  Nobody's EVER accused me of THAT before!)  I've kept up on all of the blogs I follow, but haven't gotten around to posting myself.  Lots of stuff is going on, and I'll try to post in more detail about most of it later, but... here's a list...

  • My husband had a birthday.  I made a cake.  This is a big deal, because cake bought at a certain grocery chain used to be the gold standard by which he and his family measured cake.  (And it WAS amazing--we even used their bakery for our wedding cake.)  But the recipes there have changed, and we've been shopping around for a new bakery.  I think I got the job ;-) 
  • The lovely bride I made some jewelry and a bouquet for got married... and I have permission to share pictures!  
  • I have been nauseated and exhausted for four days now.  Still too early to POAS, but... we're hopeful.  Funny... if I felt like this at any other stage of our lives, I'd have seen a doctor three days ago.
  • I also started two new online graduate classes... one of which just might kick my butt.
  • My bff gave me a super-cool jewelry project to work on... a little bit of modernization for a piece of her mother's that she has "adopted" recently :-) Here's a sneak peek at the "before"... you can't see all of the "afters" until Kate has!

  • I have committed to having yummy home-cooked meals ready when my husband comes home from work (most of the time).  To that end, I have started freezing meals, and tried one fantastic easy recipe I'll share later.  And, yes, I'm doing pretty well so far.  Of course, it IS only the first full week of school, and I HAVE used Tuna Helper once.
  • My  Grammie was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma... I'm a little scared, of course, but my Grammie is tough and has faith that she'll be okay.  With her determination, how can I be anything less than optimistic?  But we WOULD REALLY appreciate prayers for her... the treatment includes chemo, so she has a tough journey ahead. 
  • I'm doing another wedding!  This one includes necklaces and earrings (or hair decorations for an un-ear-pierced girl) for a bride, a junior bridesmaid and FIVE bridesmaids!  I am SO excited... especially since the bride is someone I've been getting to know pretty well, and I'm beyond excited about the wedding, marriage, etc... not just my sparkly part. :-)  This will be the kind of family feel-good books are written about!  This is the bridesmaid dress--doesn't she have wonderful taste?
David's Bridal
  • I do intend to finish the Proverbs 31 series... eventually.  It will definitely not be the next ten(ish) days or the next blog posts... but eventually. 
  • I promised a giveaway when I discovered I'd written my 100th post... haven't forgotten, and it's gonna be cool... just been a bit preoccupied!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birthday Weekend Recap!

I turned 24 on Sunday!  We started celebrating on Saturday night, with my in-laws.  The four of us went to a beautiful, yummy French restaurant nearby and had a delicious dinner.  

I wore this yellow dress, and on a whim, through on my red stretchy belt and red shoes.  I was surprised--it was a LOT of fun to wear!  Not a color combo I'd usually be brave enough to try, but motivates me to try more bold outfits...

Then, I got to open gifts from my precious husband and his loving parents.  Let's just say--I am ridiculously spoiled :-) 

This is the second box of gemstone stud earrings I opened... to go in the new-ish second holes in my ears. :-)  I got amethysts and blue topaz.  Like I said--spoiled! 

I also got a shiny pair of red boxer shorts--in Ethan's size.  WooHoo!


And, of course, I got some puppy play in, too!  

Ethan got me a beautiful cake from Sam's, with yummy buttercream icing... mmm...

On Friday, my Aunt Tami called and invited us to come over and see my grandparents who were going to be in town from West Virginia, so we spent Sunday afternoon at her house among wonderful family.  It was so much fun!!  It had been years since I'd been able to see my grandparents for my birthday, so it was definitely a birthday to remember!  And, Aunt Tami has the COOLEST koi pond in her backyard... her fish are like pets!  They all have personalities and stuff... and I spend a long time on my belly on the little bridge, letting them nibble on my fingers and feeding them fish food.  It's the little things ;-)

Annnddd yesterday, I went shopping with one of my gift cards, to JoAnn Fabric.  I got some beading supplies I've never tried before, and some fabric.

Here is what I did with the fabric, in about an hour and a half:

Based on a tutorial I found here!

I also made a few new pieces of jewelry... I'll show you later :-) 

All in all, I can't imagine a better birthday weekend--so much fun, so much love <3


Friday, August 5, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 19: Comfort Food

Day 19. Write about your favorite comfort food (we are women- we ALL have comfort food!)

FOOD is my comfort food!  I love to eat :-)
Macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes are two of my favorite pick-me-ups... mmm carbs.

And of course, sweets.  Especially ice cream!  Plus, if it's something sweet that I've made, I get the double benefit of the stress-relief of baking AND eating something yummy. 

But, most randomly of all... the food I want when I'm sick--even throwing up!--is...

Believe me, I know.  There was a time several months ago when some of my medicine made me nauseated every day, and I literally lived on this stuff.  Ate it for every meal... lost 10 pounds!  I would get out of the hospital in Oxford (DKA, felt awful even after I was "better") and head straight to the Skyline on High Street.  As savory/spicy as it is... it is the only thing I crave when I'm sick.  As a matter of fact, I just made myself want it so badly by writing about it... that Ethan is going to take me to get some as soon as I publish this post.  Sooo... bye!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 18: Loaded Question!

Day 18. Describe your personality.


I'm a bit of a firecracker... I feel and express feelings in BIG ways!  I need organization and structure to be happy and effective, but I am a bit too free-spirited (nice way of putting it...) to stick with an organizational scheme for very long.  I love to laugh and tease, but my humor is a little bit sarcastic and wry.  Very stubborn...  

I don't know!  Does anyone else think this a really tough question?


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Interview with Diabetic365

Hi friends!  VJ at Diabetic365 interviewed me a couple of nights ago, via Skype.  These are posted to his website... along with some tips, recipes and exercises to try.  Check it out and give him some love!

And please don't laugh at the silly faces, "umm"s, or any of my other dorky quirks ;-)


PS: OHMYGOSH, this is my 100th blog post!!  Thanks for being amazing, and watch out for some sort of celebratory giveaway!

Proverbs 31: Day 17: Three Things that Make Me Smile

Day 17. Write about 3 things that make you happy.

1.  Snuggling under layers of comfy covers in bed with Ethan (and Charley across our legs outside the covers).  I love to pile on lots of sheets and blankets and quilts and just hang out, awake or asleep.  Bonus points if it's thunder-storming!   Ahhh...

2.  ROAD TRIPS!  It's a good thing I love road trips, because we've been taking a lot of them, and have a bunch coming up!  Zooming down the interstate, singing along to the radio and laughing and chatting with hubby.  Bliss!

3.  Ice. Cold. Diet Coke.  Ohhh yeahhh... 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 16: Dear Daughter

Day 16. Write a letter to your daughter, or a young girl in your life. Tell her what beauty means.

I decided to take this opportunity to think about my future daughter, and to write her a letter.  I hope someday, I can show her this post.... 

My dearest, darling daughter,

I haven't met you yet.  Your daddy and I have been married for two years, and we are working hard to be able to have you (or your brother?).  I'm taking a medicine right now that we're hoping helps us start growing you, so maybe we can meet in the next year or so... that would make Daddy and me so happy!

While you aren't even in my belly yet, I have been dreaming about you for a long time.  I want to be a momma so much, and I want to raise a daughter--you, my sweet girl--to be a beautiful princess.  Not a spoiled brat, like some people think princesses are, but a beautiful, loving, daughter of The King.  I look forward to teaching you how to love God, and how to show His love to everyone else. 

I know when we meet you that you will already be a fighter.  I can't imagine that time in a diabetic momma's body is going to be easy on a tiny baby, so you will have already passed hurdles when you are conceived and when you are born.  You have to keep fighting.  Not us, not other people, but for what is right.  Don't you ever give up.  Ever.  Be beautiful and fierce when you need to be, and beautiful and gentle when you need to be.  

I will do the best I can to show you how to be beautiful, and your daddy will show you how a man should treat a princess.  He'll be the best example of what you need to look for in your husband (but don't forget--Daddy and I are both EXCELLENT shots), someone to appreciate and encourage your beauty and strength.  I hope you can be proud of us... because I know we'll be proud of you every day.  We're so excited about all of the possibilities for you.  You can do absolutely anything, can make any of an infinite number of choices, and we look forward to teaching you how to make the best choices and watching the beautiful princess you grow up to be.  

We're going to keep trying to meet you soon, but in the meantime, rest up!  There are millions of things here that I can't wait to show you! Starting with your "brother," Charley... his ears are soft and long... you're gonna love him!   


This is me, at age 18, holding your cousin Will right after he was born... I can't wait to have you snoozing in my arms like this!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 15: Beautiful Momma-in-Law

Day 15. Write to encourage a friend. Inspire her beauty.

Dear Mom,

I want you to know how beautiful you are... I respect you so much.  Your home is warm (figuratively, you know... Dad's A/C habit!) and inviting, and we always know where we can come to feel safe and loved.  Even after long days at work, you are willing to cook a delicious meal of our favorite dishes, and listen to us "debrief" from our days.  

I love your spunk!  Your playfulness helps me relax, and made me feel like part of the family almost immediately. And the fiery way you respond when anyone threatens someone you love is inspiring and comforting.  

I also find your love of genealogy beautiful--such a proud connection to your past!  Your roots are deep, and make you that much more of a strong, grounded matriarch for our family.  We can't wait to see you as a Grandmom to a human baby. :-)  We hope our girls are as beautiful and loving as you are.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 14: Outfit Photos

Day 14. Style 31. Post an outfit pic!

Well... as you can probably tell, I'm "live" again.  All out of pre-scheduled posts!  So... sorry about the lateness of the hour :-)

I got these dark skinny jeans and the shirt (both on clearance!) at New York & Co.  I so love that store :-)  I kept trying to keep the ties in a bow, but they didn't cooperate well. 

This was a pretty basic necklace to make... I bought the Swarovski pendant (crystal-colored crystal and mother of pearl) and popped some pretty chain on it.  Easy-peasy :-)

And the earrings are about as basic, just added two little coordinating crystals under a pre-made pendant.  Easy, dressy, simple... love 'em :-)

Charley was feeling a little left out of all of the picture-taking... isn't he precious?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 13: Changing for the Better

Day 13. Write about something you would like to change about yourself for the better.
I am actively trying to adjust to being happier.  Because of the recent changes in my medication, the oppressive, heavy wet blanket of depression has lifted from my brain for the first time that I can remember.  It is hard to explain to someone who has never dealt with it, but I can be happy--OVERJOYED, even--and still depressed.  I had always wondered what it would be like to have my depression gone, how much of ME the depression was... it was daunting.  Would I even recognize myself?  

With the medication cocktail that is making such a huge difference, I finally have my answers, and the perfect metaphor in the blanket.  My life is good, and has been for a while.  I am happy.  But the depression smothered the happiness, made it hard for me to feel it fully, and hard for me to express it.  Now that I am feeling the relief of that considerably heavy blanket being lifted, the only task that is left seems to be integrating the happiness in my head into the joy of my heart.  Again--this is so hard to explain! I have always had great joy, and great happiness, but the depression somehow kept them from integrating.  What I most want to change is to be a fully happy woman, with no depression gaps--scars?--in the way.  

I'm feeling very much that way, the scars are fading... I'm looking forward to the future as they continue to fade and I continue to grow.  :-)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 12: Worn Out?

Day 12. Write about what wears you out as a woman.

This is a funny prompt!  I mean, really... what doesn't wear me out?!

Seriously, though, if we're talking female-specific stuff... my fertility issues are pretty exhausting.  Both the physical discomfort, and the constant thinking and wondering.  Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed and worn out by constantly trying to "keep up," too... which is something I'm working on.  I think once I can truly accept and internalize that I don't have to meet magazine or Stepford standards (and get home to implement the change!), I will be less tired.  

This prompt kind of sounded like an invitation to gripe, which I really don't want to do--all of the things that wear me out are either blessings, or require a change in my own perspective. You know?  I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's, and I doubt you'll find another woman who is less worn out than I am :-)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 11: Yummy Recipe!

Day 11. Post a recipe. Or if you don't cook, try a new recipe and write about how it turned out (pictures please!)

I am really more of a baker than a cook, so I have about a dozen dessert recipes I'd LOVE to share!  (And will at some point, I'm sure!)  Recently, I've discovered this blog--Our Best Bites--and have found several yummy recipes, including the PERFECT sugar cookie recipe.  Perfect.  Perrrrfect... 
But anyway.  I made individual pies in jars for all of our dads and granddads for Father's Day this year (an idea that I, um, also got from Our Best Bites.  Have I mentioned that I love them?)  and had some leftover pie crust.  I used their galette crust recipe, so I figured I could go ahead and make a mini galette for Ethan.  Here goes:

Pastry Crust:
2 C Flour
11 T Butter (they say no exceptions, but I used margarine!)
1/4 t Salt
4-5 T ice water

Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Cut cold butter (straight from fridge) into small chunks and throw on top of the flour.
Cut the butter into the flour. Until butter is in small crumbly pieces.
Add ice water a tablespoon at a time while stirring dough mixture with a fork.
Bring it all together and pat into a ball.

Fruit Filling:
4 C prepared fruit (peeled, pitted, diced, etc)
up to 1/2 C Sugar (less if your fruit is super-sweet!)
3 T Flour (Less if your fruit is less juicy)
2 T Butter
Cinnamon, vanilla, almond extract.... to taste, if desired.
Roll out the dough into a circle, plop the fruit into the middle of the circle, dab some tiny pieces of butter on top of the fruit (1-2T total) and fold and crimp the edges up around it.  Brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar.  Put it in the oven at 375* for 50-60 minutes. 

I made Ethan's with strawberries and blueberries, and several different concoctions for the dads... so far, I've gotten rave reviews on the apple cinnamon pie, and on Ethan's berry pie.  :-)  I haven't actually tried it... but it looked and smelled divine, and my boys seemed pleased.  When we get back to town, I think I'll have to make another. :-) 

You guys should definitely check these girls out--you can lose yourselves for hours in their yummy pictures and descriptions!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 10: Lessons

Day 10. What is Jesus teaching you as a wife, mom, or friend? (Or just woman in general?)

This week, I have been learning a lot about my role as a wife and future mother.  What God has pressed on my heart most of all is that I need to nurture my family in a way that is pleasing to Him and authentic to me.  I cannot be my mother, mother-in-law, or either of my grandmothers... but I can and will be a Godly and wonderful wife and mother!  

I can look to wives and mothers I'm related to or friends with for inspiration--I would love to keep house as effortlessly as my mother, or welcome "extra" children into our home like HER mother... be my daughters' confidante like one friend's mom, or raise best friends like Momma H... raise a wonderful, active and loving brood of six like KK, or dote on an only child like my mom-in-law... but in the end, I can only draw inspiration, then do my own thing. 

And... as long as I meet my family's needs and raise my children to love and honor God, I am doing fine!  


Saturday, July 9, 2011


Hi friends!  We are having a surprisingly great time in VA :-)  Surprising because this school stuff is EXHAUSTING, not because I don't love it here!  The mountains are sooo beautiful, and people are nice (and talk cool)!

Anyway.  For the last week, I went to class, came home, slept, ate, and slept... woke up in the morning and did it again.  Since this was a counseling class--and it was very hands-on--it was an emotionally draining but satisfying week of class.  I am amazed at how many examples I saw of God working... both over the short-term, and long-term.  Giving us experiences and qualities that would help us help our classmates... even as long ago as 20 years.  And, while I can't go into detail (obvi!), let's just say that there is no WAY most of these could be coincidences.  We were meant to be in that class, with that professor, and in those small breakaway groups.  Period.

Speaking of period (yeah, nice segue, huh?)... we're in the middle of our first Clomid cycle!  Please pray for us, and that this works!  

We have the next week off (except for preparing for my next class and working on Ethan's online class), and we'll get to celebrate our second anniversary, which is Monday.  Two years... seems like a lifetime in someways, and yesterday in others :-)  You can probably expect a mushy post in the near future.

Speaking of future posts (Woo! 'Nother segue!)... I have almost run out of the Proverbs posts that I had prepared in advance, so they may not be quite as regular as they have been.  I'm still going to try and schedule them for the next class week I have, but homework is kiiiiiiinda important!

I'm going to leave you with a picture... we get a kick out of taking "first day of school" pictures of each other. :-)  Funny story--I'm not wearing a bit of jewelry!  I didn't have any that would be perfect for the outfit, so I took "ingredients" to class, intending to create something on breaks.  Turns out, my classmates were too friendly and interesting, so I made friends instead of jewelry.  No regrets! ;-)  Also, bear in mind... I hate mornings, and have a slightly smart-alecky streak.  I give you... the thinker.


Proverbs 31: Day 9: A Virtuous Woman?

Day 9. What virtues do you value in yourself?

This is a really difficult topic for me!  I am very grateful to be me, flaws and all, but it can be tough to talk about my strengths :-)  I have to admit--I cheated.  I asked Ethan to name some of my virtues (nothing like a little compliment-fishing)!!

One he mentioned that really resonated with me was my perseverance.  While I am easily overwhelmed, I very rarely give up, and this virtue has served me well.  I finished my undergrad program despite some serious health obstacles, and married my wonderful husband despite reservations from some people close to us.  I suppose the flip side to this virtue is being a bit stubborn, but in general, I do value my stick-to-it-iveness. :-)

One that I am recently learning to value my passion.  I used to view it as a negative, because it meant that I experience emotions intensely--which can be painful!  But now, as I learn to deal with the negative emotions more effectively, I am glad that I have the ability to feel empathy so strongly.  I think it makes me a better friend, a better wife, and a better potential counselor.  It has also enriched my prayer life, because I feel motivated to ask for God's blessings on those for whom my heart is heavy, and on my interactions with them. 


Friday, July 8, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 8: Beauty Secret

Day 8. Have a beauty secret (e.g. hair tip, make up tip)? Share, please!

My favorite newly discovered makeup trick is clear lip gloss!  I used to think that it was just to be a subtle shine, and had nothing to do with color.  However, I learned that it is the perfect way to have a lip gloss that coordinates perfectly with your skin tone... It's so annoying to buy a lip color that looks gorgeous in the tube, and garish on my face! Clear gloss can actually enhance the natural color of your lips, and intensify it.  What color could possibly match your skin tones than the color God made your lips?!  Basically, clear gloss creates a glossy version of that color!!! 

Seriously--this was Earth-shattering to me :-)  Try it!!  Get a good, high-quality (ie non-sticky) clear gloss and look perfectly coordinated in 15 seconds!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 7: Hey Meagan

"Write a blog to encourage another beautiful woman."

I have a facebook friend (friend-of-a-friend) who I don't know super-well, but have been majorly inspired and impressed by over the past couple of years.  She is gorgeous, but also has a sweet and tough spirit that I respect so much!  I love how much she and her husband love each other--so cute, and totally God-centered.  She's young--a little younger than even I am--and had a really rough pregnancy, ending in a premature birth.  While her son was in NICU, she was an amazing trouper.  She handled the health concerns in pregnancy and the NICU stay with more grace and beautiful strength than some women 10 years older with fewer challenges!  She now has the glow of a confident woman who knows that she and God can meet any challenge life throws her way.  Like I've said before, I find strength to be strongly correlated to beauty... and this young woman is one of the strongest and most beautiful examples I know.

Meagan is not the only person I know to have gone through a similar experience, and I have so much respect and empathy for people who have to fight for their children... maybe it has something to do with all of the questions surrounding my own fertility?  But both of the women I am thinking of have been super-supportive and encouraging to me whenever I go to a doctor or have a set-back.  That they can be so generous with encouragement, when my problems probably seem so insignificant compared to theirs, speaks so highly of both of them.

I am so blessed to be able to interact with them!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 6: Jaded Beauty

"Has the world's definition of beauty ever jaded you?"

I would be shocked if any woman answered this question with a no.  I know I often look in the mirror and feel discouraged.  Certain parts of my body are too small, others are too big.  I have lots of scars from acne/bug bites/etc (which I tended to pick as a nervous habit).  My face is rarely clear.

Make-up skills came relatively late in life--like, after college--and I have only recently begun dressing my age.  I doubt that many people consider me beautiful, but this does not bother me nearly as much as it used to!  My husband calls me beautiful, and I find myself feeling more confident as I grow older.  Now, when I pretty up, I want to look good so that I make adequate arm candy for my handsome husband. ;-)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Proverbs 31: Day 5: Thank You

"Write a blog thanking someone who has made your heart come alive."

The first person to really make my heart come alive was my niece, Emma.  

You were expecting a mushy husband post, weren't you?  I figure everyone who follows this blog even casually knows that I have the most amazing husband in the world... but the first time I knew selfless, die for you kind of love was when I met the prettiest little girl in the world.

Dear Princess Emma,

I was fifteen when your mommy was pregnant.  I remember all of the fun of shopping for you (including Poppy's attempt to help you "try out" mattresses in the store by holding them up to your mommy's belly!), and talking about baby names (on the white board in Gram and Poppy's basement... Grammie pushed for Frankie for a girl... aren't you glad your mom picked Emma?). 

You were born on Palm Sunday.  Gram went into surgery with your mom, and got to put your very first diaper on you, and even carried you into the nursery.  Because I was a candystriper, and one of the doctors hanging out was our neighbor, I got to slip into the nursery, too.  I was overjoyed and overwhelmed when I got to hold your teensy tiny hand when you were only a few minutes old.  And I fell head over heels in love with you. 

You and your mom stayed at our house for a few weeks when you were brand new, and you were a noisy little thing!  You were actually a really good baby, but even a good baby makes a LOT of noise!  We also got to babysit when your mom worked, so I changed bunches and bunches of STINKY diapers, fed you lots of formula, and played with--er, I mean helped YOU play with--your toys.  

You didn't like me very much when you were a year old, until you were about three.  Your first phrase was "No, Katie, stop it!"  I was singing in the car, and you weren't happy about it :-(  I had a really hard time getting you to call me Aunt, which was kind of a bummer, because Aunt Katie was my favorite "me" to be.  I was sooo proud of you (still am!) and loved to talk about you to my friends at school.  I was convinced (still am!) that you were the smartest, cutest baby ever born.  

Things that used to be pretty sad gained new meaning for me, now that I had a little person who had my heart.  Do you remember when I called your mom after class sometimes and asked to talk to you?  I was in a class that talked about some of the bad things that happen to little kids, and they made me so heartbroken and angry.  I needed to talk to my sweet princess.  It's hard to explain exactly what those phone calls meant to me; I just knew I needed to talk to you and it always made me feel a little bit better.

You read me a book over the phone while I drove home from class one night.  I cried.  You were the flower girl in my wedding.  You give the best hugs and kisses, and have the best giggle in the world.  I don't like to see you cry, but I do like that I can usually snuggle the crying away.  We play with tickle buggies, and that one mean old tickle goose that poked you in the belly when we were trying to feed him.  You always hold my hand when we pray in a circle, and I always squeeze your hand 3 times for "I Love You."  You squeeze back 4 times, "I Love You, Too."  When I taught you about communion at church on Christmas Eve, I was so proud of how you understood.  When you explained it to your cousin in front of the nativity scene the next night, my heart almost exploded with joy, pride, and thankfulness.  

You are the coolest, Miss Emma.  Being your aunt is one of the most important things to me (right up there with being Uncle Ethan's wife), and has given me more hope, joy, fulfillment, and love than I knew was possible before you were born.  

Love you!

Aunt Katie

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