Friday, August 31

Congrats Are in Order!

We finally got the good news today on Josh's job! Enough with the hinting!
Josh has officially been promoted to Asst. Manager at Ristorante Volare, the other fine dining restaurant at Opryland. We're very excited about this new chapter, and it's been really neat to see how God has orchestrated all of this. Josh has his sights on moving up through the Food & Beverage department, and we're excited because he's going to get a lot of great business experience, since each restaurant is its own profit center in the hotel. The F&B execs hand-picked Josh to take this job, and it was very gratifying to see that other people are recognizing how talented Josh is. I'm very proud of him! He's built a solid reputation at Opryland for being a great people person, gifted salesman, hard worker, and a man of integrity. I am beaming with pride. :-)

If you live in Nashville, check out Josh's new restaurant for your next date night! It's a beautiful Italian restaurant and very romantic.

Congrats, sweetie! I love you!

Thursday, August 30

Thankful Thursday!

Since I make the rules around here (and since I didn't post for Thankful Thursday last week), I'm doing two posts in one day. Yeah, I know. I'm crazy like that.

In no particular order...

1.) A break in the heat! It has gone back to August weather in the South instead of "we're-sitting-on-the-sun" weather. I'm very grateful. The thin layer of sweat on my brow that has been with me since the end of July is actually least for now. Our AC has been keeping up, and we bought a window fan to bring in cooler air at night.

2.) I attended a new Bible study last night on the Book of James, and I am really looking forward to it. It's the first thing I've done at our new church, and I enjoyed it immensely. I got a lot out of the study, and we only looked at one verse!

3.) Still no word on Josh's new job, but I'm thankful for the waiting period. It's not what I would choose, but God has been orchestrating this whole thing, so I have to trust His timing in this limbo period, too. One of these days I'll be able to fill you all in on the details.

4.) Kaden was having a rough week last week (due to being off his schedule and not getting enough sleep), but we're back into the groove now. And wouldn't you know it? His attitude and behavior have gotten back to normal, too. He's so good at night (doesn't act tired, is calmer than during the day), and sometimes we let him stay up too late to do something special with Daddy or watch a movie or something. But I always end up regretting it b/c even though he doesn't SEEM tired at night, he really does need the sleep. If he doesn't go to bed by 9pm, I usually have to pay the price the next day! So...I'm thankful that my boy is back.

5.) I think I've said this here before, but I am just so amazed at how different Laney is from Kaden. She's so ... GIRLY! It's great. She has become obsessed with accessorizing. She's totally into dressing up, putting on shoes, sunglasses, hats, watches, bracelets, and carrying purses. She cracks me up with the outfits she puts together. And she's only 17 months old! This girl has personality, I'm tellin' ya. Watch out, world!

Well, I have two files waiting for me to edit them, so I had better get to them. Have a great week!

Oh, Irony, How I Love Thee!

The same afternoon that I blogged about the witty Miss South Carolina, I received a package filled with clothes for the kids from my grandma. And wouldn't you know it?! This shirt was in the mix:

If you can't read it, it says,

Little Miss America

How funny is that?!

Monday, August 27

Beauty vs. Brains

Okay, so I will admit that as a girl growing up, my sister and I used to watch the Miss America pageants each year, pen and paper in hand (so we could rate them ourselves -- we were nerds like that!), eagerly waiting to see who would be crowned the prettiest, bestest, most wonderfulest girl of all. Kind of a Cinderella thing, right? (Minus Prince Charming, but they threw in diamonds, cars, trips, and such, so that kind of evened out.)

Beauty pageant queens have kind of fallen from grace as of late--remember the Donald Trump/Tara Conner debacle? Beauty pageants have long been the bane of feminists everywhere because they elevate the female shape and beauty and pretty much ignore the fact that we women have brains, too!

Unfortunately, in the quest to incorporate more "intellectual" activities into pageants, some girls who are decidedly lacking in that area have been caught tragically in the middle. They have coaches who throw words at them -- apparently "South Africa," "China," and "Iraq" are high on the list -- but what does a girl do when she doesn't know where those countries are or how to speak knowledgably about them? This girl gave it a valliant effort...check it out:

What is she talking about?

Mario Lopez looks so confused. And so am I. This girl is pretty and all, but she's not doing much for the cause of championing beautiful, intelligent women. I feel sorry for her, really!

Tuesday, August 21

Boycott China?

I'm not typically one to champion boycotts ... or jump on the conspiracy theory bandwagon, for that matter. However, the recent recall of 10.5 million Mattel toys has grabbed my attention. Thankfully, we don't own any of the toys that were recalled (because they contained lead-based paint), but it makes me wonder how those toys slipped through the cracks and why our standards aren't more stringent. On a philosophical level, it even made me question how I feel about supporting a country so opposed to democracy, free speech, human rights, and the right to life.

I happened upon a blog called Not China Made, and it's been some interesting reading. (Beware of multiple postings each day if you're going to do an RSS feed.) Amongst all the info and links she has on her blog, she has linked to a site called Toys Made in America that I thought was cool. It's not fancy, but it has a ton of links to small toy companies that produce everything here in America.

I'm not sure that I'm going to be a boycotter, but it is definitely on my radar screen now, and I'm going to look for ways to increase the number of American-made products in our home.

Any other parents out there jumping on the boycott wagon?

Friday, August 17

Call Me Martha Stewart

My sister-in-law started the trend. She made these really cool letters for Korben's nursery that were totally baby-chic. Then when Jess redecorated Lilli's nursery in their new place, she used the same idea and made letters for Lilianna's name. So upon my return, I had to take the idea full circle and make letters for Delaney's nursery.

The process was very simple. I purchased letters and paper from Michael's that would coordinate with Laney's bedding. I used an Xacto knife to trace around the letters. Then I used spray adhesive to adhere the paper to the letters. I think you could use mod podge or something similar to seal the paper or give it a matte/satin finish if so desired. Mom H. helped me with the whole process, and she also helped me hang the letters in Laney's room on Thursday morning.

I'm happy with how it came together. I think Laney likes it, too. :-)

Thursday, August 16

Thankful Thursday!

Well, it's getting late here in central time, but I wanted to take a minute to blog. Here are some things I'm thankful for this week:

1.) I had a GREAT time in CA with Jess, Stefan, Lilli, and Mom. We were in tight quarters (much more roomy than their San Diego apartment), but that didn't matter -- we were happy to be together! The girls had a great time together. They're both very friendly, personable babies, and they became instant friends. In fact, Laney laid a few big kisses on her cuz within a few minutes of our arrival. Lilli decided Laney was a very cool role model, and she liked to sit and watch her -- that walking stuff is pretty amazing! Thanks again to Luci for making my flight possible and to my MIL for watching Kaden for me. It was a memorable weekend!

2.) The perks of Opryland. We've had several free meals at Opryland lately, and I never tire of that place. We were blessed with a going-away dinner for Mom Hesse tonight, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We ate at Water's Edge, which is right next to the huge fountain in the hotel. They do light and water shows every half hour or so, and Kaden was in heaven. There was room to run around (without interrupting other guests), which when you're eating with a toddler is pretty much culinary utopia. It was fun to get the kids dressed up and have the staff fuss over them. :-)

3.) We have had a fantastic time with Grandma! We did a few special things here and there, but mostly we've just enjoyed time at home and lots of playing (indoors). It has been about 5000 degrees here every day. I think Kaden played outside once during the nearly two weeks that Grandma was here visiting (and that's extremely unusual for him). I'm quite certain that I have the best MIL ever, and it's always a blessing to have her with us. We love you, Grandma!

4.) More work coming my way in the next few weeks. I'm excited about a new challenge!

5.) Whole-house air conditioning. I know it's pretty much a given in the south, but I'm still thankful for it! I couldn't imagine how unbearable the last few weeks would have been without AC. We thought our system was broken when the first RRREALLY hot day hit, but then it revived and has been fine ever since. Having a taste of no AC made me extremely thankful and aware of it working properly. When it's 104 outside, AC is a real blessing!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 9

Thankful Thursday!

This has been a great week. I have a lot to be thankful for (as always!)...

1.) My mother-in-law is visiting! I am very blessed to have her in my life, and it's fun to have her here all to ourselves. :-) The kids LOVE having so much uninterrupted Grandma time. Thank you for coming, Mom H.!

2.) Tomorrow, in approximately 12 hours, I am taking off with Delaney for California to visit my sister and her family. My mom's also there visiting, and it will be really nice to see her, too! I haven't seen Jess since Christmas, and her baby, Lilianna, was only about 3 months old at the time. Now, the girls will be able to play and interact, and I'm SOOO looking forward to seeing the Veldhuis crew! This weekend excursion (Friday-Monday) would not have been possible without the help of my sponsors :-)...My favorite Southwest employees (a certain L&L Perry) who provided a free non-rev ticket, and my wonderful MIL (see #1) for being willing to stay with Kaden and to give up time with Delaney and me. (I know she sees quality time with Kaden as more of a gift than a favor, but still -- it's hard work to take care of a 3-year-old!)

3.) During my time off in between projects I've had time to catch up on things around the house and keep tackling more organization tasks (which I LOVE!). On Monday, I found a new home for a tall stack of boxes and other assorted items that have been sitting in the "family room" downstairs. These boxes have been there since we moved here, so it was high time to find a new resting place. The sad part is that those unused boxes contain tons of Josh's old music, and some of was a reminder of the fact that music doesn't play much of a role in our lives at the moment. A little sad considering all the time and money we (especially Josh) put into music education over the years. However, both our careers have taken us away from music, and plus, practicing doesn't really fit into our busy lifestyle. :-) We're looking forward to both of our kids getting involved in music lessons when they're old enough. Back to the point -- it's been fun to keep working around the house and getting things in order the way we want our home to be. Little by little!

4.) Things are progressing with Josh's job opportunities at Opryland. More when we know something final! We're excited about the future prospects.

5.) Kaden is developing some seriously tough negotiating skills. This may seem like an odd thing to be thankful for, but I'm actually grateful to see his little mind at work -- growing, learning, and mastering new terms and ideas every day. He's constantly amazing us and cracking us up with the things he remembers, or the way he'll take something I say and apply it correctly to another situation. He also started praying at meals this week, and he is so incredibly adorable when he prays. It's awesome to know that God hears our prayers -- even those of a three-year-old who stops to say, "Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for this food...and you love us. Help Jesus not to be scared. Amen." (Okay, I'm not sure why he throws that last part in there, but it's frequently part of his prayers. He's a mystery sometimes!)

Well, people -- I'm off to bed soon and then off to sunny California! Have a great week!

Friday, August 3

Thankful Friday :-)

We have had a very busy, very fun week! I have been working WAY less since I finished my last project, and I've been trying to fit in a bunch of fun stuff before I start something new. Based on all that fun, I have lots to be thankful for this week!

1.) On Monday, Josh and I had a FREE date night! Gaylord is opening a few new restaurants in the hotel, and they gave free vouchers to the employees for their "soft opening." We got dressed up, went out for dinner, and had a fantastic time. Our neighbor watched the kids last-minute for us, and the whole night was wonderful! After we put the kids to bed, instead of watching TV and sitting in front of our laptops, we sat out on the deck and talked until 2am! We haven't done that in forrrrrever, but I think we need to do it more often. It reminded me of when we were dating! Having that time with my hubby was definitely a blessing.

2.) On Tuesday, I got my hair cut. See my previous post. A few days into my big change, I'm loving it. And of course, I don't mind the compliments either. :-)

3.) On Wednesday, the kids and I met our friends the Yaxes at a local dinner theater for a kids production called "Snowderella." All four of the kids loved it, and it was really fun to do something very different from our normal day-to-day activities. They came over for lunch after the show, and we all had a great time hanging out.

4.) On Thursday, our friends Luke and Luci Perry were in town for work, and we got to spend the afternoon and evening together. We got to see them in February, too, and two times in eight months is definitely a blessing. We have known Luci since Cedarville and always loved her to pieces, and Luke is wonderful, too! I love knowing that my close friends and family are in loving, supportive marriages, and that is definitely true of my dear Luci. Blessings to you both -- we love you!

5.) And finally, today -- we got to go swimming with our friends the Souders. Up until we moved to Fairview, we used to see the Souders once every two weeks or so, but now we live about 45 minutes away from each other. We don't get to see them as much as we'd like to, but when we do, we always have a blast! Kaden and Blaine have been buddies since they were babies, so Kaden always looks forward to seeing his friend. Delaney and Drake are the same age, too, and they're just learning to be buddies. Thanks for a great evening, Erin!

So...can you tell it's been a busy week?! I'm not one to schedule something every single day, but sometimes it's fun to have something special to look forward to. I have to say, though ... I'm ready for a day at home. :-) Grandma Hesse is coming to visit next week, and I have some special travel plans for next weekend, so there's more fun coming up next week! Stay tuned. :-)

Wednesday, August 1

The "Pob"

If "pob," "pop," and "posh" sound like noises that Rice Krispies make, you may need a refresher course in current hair fashions. :-) Just for being a faithful reader, I'm going to enlighten you (I'm newly of today!). I arrived at my new hair stylist's salon looking for a bit of fun, summery adventure in the form of a little snip snop. The pile of clothes that no longer fit me keeps growing, which means that it's time to reward myself with a little personal pampering!

After describing what I was looking for, my conversation with my stylist, Linda, went something like this:

Linda: "Hmm...I think we need to go posh spice."
Me: "Posh spice? Please translate."
Linda: "You know -- the pob!"
Me: "The pob? Umm...I'm confused."
Linda: pointing to picture of Victoria Beckham "You know, Posh Spice! Her new haircut is the latest craze!"
Me: "Ahh, yes - Victoria Beckham!" (I'm not sure how I know her name, but I have an amazing memory for useless celebrity trivia.)

And then we were on the same page. Turns out that Linda was trying to gather the courage to give herself a pob and was looking for a willing victim to try out the 'do on. I decided I was up for something wild and crazy. And you can't have a wild hairdo without highlights, right? So I went all out and got the highlights, too.

[Granted, this put me behind schedule, which meant I literally had to drive home with foils still in my hair to pick up the kids and take them back to the salon with me so that Josh could get to a meeting. Her parting words to me were, "Don't take longer than 10 minutes or your hair might fall out!" Oh my. I'm not sure how I get myself into these predicaments. But thankfully, I made it without any hair loss. The threat of frying my hair and subsequent hour of trying to keep the kids under control while sitting in a chair getting my hair cut pretty much ruined the sense of relaxation and pampering. But, I digress.]

So I am now the proud owner of a pob-inspired 'do. I'm loving it! See what you think. :-)

Hair Inspiration:

A Self-Portrait: (sans glasses b/c a girl can dream!)