Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tag, You're It!

Lara tagged me in a fun blog post tag recently so I'm gonna play along!

The Rules:
1. The first rule is to post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 things about yourself/your life .
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions and tag people to answer them.

5. Go to their blog/twitter and tell them that you've tagged them.

So here we go!  

1. see above

2. Photo and stuff about me

1.   Even though we have been married for almost four years, I still adore our wedding photos and pour over them on occasion either via facebook or our wedding photo book.  I guess you could say I stalk my own photos...
2. My little cat brings me SO much joy and I don't know what I'd do if something happened to her. 
3. I painted my toe nails the other day for the first time this year.
4. I am dealing with a growing addiction to high heels.  It has gradually sprung up just in the past year or so...Trent does not understand it.
5. We are in the middle of Operation Debt Smackdown right now thanks to my tax season overtime pay and it is glorious, glorious I tell you.  You should see my spreadsheets, timeline and amortization schedules for the next year and a half.  Yes, I'm an accountant in my spare time too.  :-/
6.  Sometimes I desperately miss my college days of living with my best friends.  I wouldn't trade my current roommate for anything, but I at least wish my girls were still in the same town as me.
7.  Trent's parents are coming for a visit this weekend and I'm excited.  I am very blessed to have a super awesome relationship with my in-laws.
8.  I am giving WAY too much thought into what to put in this list...
9.  I didn't go to youth group tonight because I helped with an intern recruiting event after work.  But I miss our kids.  
10.  I'm thinking of chopping my hair short again but can't make up my mind.  Also thinking of changing up the color. We shall see!
11. My favorite color is blue.  There, done.

3. Lara's questions:

1. What is your cocktail of choice?~Cape Cod
2. If you could hop on a plane to anywhere, where would you go?
~Probably back to our honeymoon city of Chicago with my hubby.  Although I have been itching to go back to New York City lately...
3. What is your decorating style?
~Uh, pretty sure I don't have one.  Unless "inexpensive and practical" is a style.
4. What is your favorite garage sale/2nd-hand find?
~Currently a cute skirt that I got at the youth garage sale in January that I get lots of compliments on.
5. What is your favorite flower?
~I love good ole roses.
6. Which style icon best describes your personal style?
~Um...again, is there a style icon called "inexpensive and practical?
7. How would you describe your sense of humour?
~Dumb, squeaky, and really only comes out with my sisters around.
8. What is your favorite thing to cook?
~Spaghetti with Prego sauce
9. What is one health habit you are working on?
~Recently embarked on a step aerobics adventure from the comfort of my living room/dvd player
10. Facebook or Pinterest?
~I don't have a Pinterest account and probably won't get on it so I will remain addicted to Facebook instead.
11. Beatles, Elvis, or Willy Nelson?
~I guess Beatles though I'm not in love with any of those three options.

4. My new questions:

1.  Paper, plastic, or reusable grocery bags?
2.  What was the last thing you spent money on?
3.  What's your Starbucks drink of choice, or do you ever go there in the first place?
4.  What color/type/brand of purse are you carrying right now?
5.  What book are you currently reading, if any?
6.  What is the best gift someone could give you or do for you?
7.  Smart phone or dumb phone?
8.  Do you still sleep with a stuffed animal?  (I do, but Trent gave it to me, so it's ok)
9.  What brand of sneakers/running shoes do you prefer?
10.  Did you ever have braces?
11.  High heels or flats?

5. Tag, you're it!


Angela and Tammy get free passes to skip or postpone this tag since they are also CPAs in the heat of tax season!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Exercise From The 80s

I got kind of burned out on running and was getting super tired of the few workout dvds I have, so I have gone in a new direction for working out.  Step aerobics at home!  Check it out.

I took some step classes when I was at Baylor and absolutely loved them so I thought I'd seek out a way to do it at home now.  So far I'm really enjoying it with the dvd that it came with and I hope to get some other dvds soon too.  I have found that the way to get myself to exercise during tax season is to do something I actually really enjoy.  Watch out.  Pretty soon I might be paying tribute to my birth decade...

Yeah right...

Friday, March 23, 2012

My Husband Is Homeless This Weekend

I just dropped my husband off at church, told him bye and watched him drive away with some of our youth to go be homeless for the weekend.  Yep, you heard me right.  They are participating in Mission Waco's Poverty Simulation weekend.  I have never done it (no way I could fit that in during tax season) but I understand that it is quite an eye opening experience.   It's one thing to be taught that it is important to help the poor.  It is another thing to live  BE poor for a few days.

So until Sunday around 2:30, I won't really know where my husband is, though he will be in the same city still, and won't have any contact with him.   You may be thinking "Anna, didn't you just do this? Spend several days with him away?"  Yep.  But good news!  This is the last time he has to leave home until JUNE!   (He will then be gone for three weeks out of June...I don't wanna talk about it...)  We'll even have a vacation together in May!  Trent is going to a youth ministry conference in DC for a few days and I am going to visit Rach in NC, then join him in DC at the end of the conference for a few days of vacation together.  I get to see Rach AND go on a trip with my husband.  We haven't gone on a real vacation or trip other than weekend getaways since our honeymoon.  We're treating this as our fourth anniversary trip, since it is the week before our actual anniversary.  Four years?????   Time flies when you are living in a fairy tale...  :-)

While Trent is busy being homeless this weekend, I'll be busy bringing breakfast to my hardworking fellow tax accountants tomorrow morning, working a half day, taking a nap, seeing The Hunger Games movie with Gretchen, having dinner with Gretchen, going to church, maybe working a bit more.  Then before I know it, my husband will be back!

P.S. To those who are wondering how our house is doing since our flood adventure on Monday night, the carpet seems to have dried out pretty well but we still have fans blowing and windows open to let out as much moisture as we can.  Crazy rain!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Adventure Always Strikes During Tax Season

I started to name this post "Disaster Always Strikes During Tax Season" but Trent and I are very blessed and have never had any true disasters.  Besides, I prefer to try to view life as an adventure instead.  BUT.  The transmission on Trent's truck went kablooie during tax season 2009.   Our dishwasher temporarily bit the dust last tax season  and the finale last year was Trent's broken arm from his motorcycle accident on April 8th.

So what's the surprise adventure this year for Tax Season 2012?

Yeeup.  Water damage!!!  Yaaaaaay.  Just kidding.  Not yay.  But it's not as bad as that cartoon makes it out to be.  

Texas was smacked blessed with a ton of rain last night.  As in...YIKES:

Trent and I awoke, however, to find standing water in our closet, bathroom and one end of our den.  Grrrreat.  I initially freaked out, like I am very apt to do.  Trent insisted that I should go on to work in order to get all my overtime hours in and he would clean up the disaster adventure.  So I confirmed with an early bird coworker that there was indeed power at the office since ours had been in and out all night, took a shower, tiptoed into the wet closet and grabbed some clothes, opted for wet hair since my hairdryer was sitting in a pool of water, squished across the soaked carpet in the den and went to work, all the while fighting tears and chanting to myself "I love our house, I love our house, I love our house."  

Trent, the hero of the day, sucked up 30 (thirty) gallons of water from the carpet using our carpet cleaner (one of many times I have wanted to give that machine a hug) and mopped up several more gallons from our tiled closet and bathroom.  Then he set up every fan we own, including his two big woodshop fans, to try to blow dry our soggy dwelling.  I sucked up another two gallons of water when I got home from work today.   Trent had to wear his workboots today because all his other shoes were on the floor of the closet or edge of our room where they got to go for a swim...  

By now you are probably thinking we live in an old house made of paper.  False.   We live in an old house made of cement and wood and such, I promise.  But our bedroom and den used to be a garage.  And when the previous owners decided to ditch the garage, they went about doing so all by their little selves. Therefore we have reverse polarized outlets in abundance (6 in our room alone), sporadically textured walls, no insulation (pretty sure) and apparently water can just mosey on in if it so pleases!  Fail.  

So we have a bit of homework to do to hopefully prevent his from happening again.  But in the meantime my husband got to be my support and hero as usual and I got another lesson in remaining calm during adventurous situations...  The water will dry.  The mud will get cleaned up.  The shoes will air out.  Tax season will go on.   And I'll try not to feel so bad about being a blasphemous Texan and wishing the rain would go away this morning! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Husband Is Back

I sat in my car in the church parking lot at about 1:30 this afternoon, waiting for the first glimpse of the church van coming up the hill.  They were almost home from the spring break mission trip.  My husband was almost home.  Whitey Bear, as I have affectionately named the church van (don't ask...or do, but I don't have an explanation) came rolling into sight and I excitedly got out of my car.  My husband was back.

Or so I thought.

It turns out that when your husband is the YM and the leader, he doesn't really get back right away when they roll into the parking lot.  As YM yes, he's all there in full swing.  But as my husband, he's not back...

...until he has given instructions to the youth to clean out the trash and stuff in the vans...

...until he has gone to pee which he needed to really badly...

...until I guard the opening to the trailer saying the youth can't get their luggage until the vans are clean...

...until I get in the trailer and hand baggage and pillows and bedding out to the waiting hands...

...until I bonk my head really hard getting out of said trailer...

...until we tease Starla about bringing SIX bags on a five day trip...

...until we speculate whether the packet of buffalo sauce sitting on the trailer's fender rode the whole way back from Galveston there...

...until we divvy up peoples' luggage, give some hugs, say some goodbyes...

...until he thanks the adults that went on the trip...

...until we wait for the last youth to get picked up...

...until we realize all the kids are gone but there are still some unclaimed pillows and bags leftover...

...until we stash the abandoned items in the youth room to be reclaimed on Wednesday...

...until he re-parks Whitey Bear in its designated van spot...

...until we load up his own suitcase and bedding into my car...

...until I follow him to a gas station to fill up the rental van...

...until I follow him to Enterprise to return the rental van...

...until he fills his tummy with his choice of any restaurant...

Then my husband is back.  We hold hands across the table while he eats.  He fills me in on the trip.  I fill him in on my time at home while he was gone.  We head home together where he is reunited with our crazy dog. I unpack his suitcase and start washing his sandy, sweaty mission trip laundry.  He falls asleep.

My husband is back.  All is well in our little world once again.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mid Week Mid Tax Season Rambling

This appears to be one of those tax season nights when, regardless of how much I needed to go to sleep about 45 minutes ago, I have caught a second wind from somewhere.  Probably the fact that I have been running around doing chores and grocery shopping and gas getting since I got off work.  Also possibly due to the fact that Trent left for the spring break youth mission trip today and I never can get to sleep as well when he is not home.  Both of us tend to stay up late when the other is gone.  But my alarm is set for 5:15 am so I better get to sleep somehow soon.  Anyway, as I was carpet cleaning this evening I had a bunch of random thoughts running through my head so I thought I'd compile some of them. 

~My tax season countdown paper chain has gone from looking like this... this...

Yaaay!  And I'm pretty sure most of us are maintaining our sanity pretty well so far, despite some recent evidence to the contrary...

Those are not streamers. They are used ten key tapes.  

~Trent and the youth headed to Galveston today to return to Galveston Urban Ministries where we took the youth last summer.  They are going to have a great time and I can't wait to see all the pictures and hear their stories.  I wish I could have gone with them. 

~Even after almost two years of being in this youth ministry gig, it doesn't get any easier when Trent has to leave for a mission trip, camp or retreat.  Maybe that's good though that I miss him so much.  It shows that he is such a part of my life that things are he is gone.

~At what point does "My parents are coming to visit this weekend, I have to clean the house!" turn into "Of all the visitors I could have, my parents understand the best that I am really busy right now and I am never entirely on top of things on the home front during tax season" ??  After 2.5 hours of cleaning and a grocery run apparently.  Sigh.  They would have understood if the carpet wasn't cleaned...

Well, apparently any other witty thoughts I had are nowhere to be found now...  The good news is I'm now suddenly very, very sleepy which means my second wind has finally died down.   Time for bed. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Soul Scrubbing

I did some chores last weekend, including scrubbing the kitchen and hall bathroom floors.  Not mopping, but scrubbing on my hands and knees.  I haven't done that in our house in...ok I have never done that in our house.  Those floors are each white linoleum which is a dumb color for any floor because it shows any dirt like crazy.   When we mop, it gets the floor technically clean but after some time I had noticed that the floor just wasn't lookin' as bright as I wanted.  If someone else looked at the floor, they'd probably just think it was supposed to be that dingy cream color. I mean, our house is pretty old ya know.  But I knew it was supposed to be brighter than that.  I knew it needed some scrubbing.

I thought about how I probably should have done this sooner instead of letting the lackluster floors bug me for as long as they did and even get a bit worse looking in the meantime. There were some especially rough patches where the dog bowl sits and around the edges under the lip of the cabinets that had been bugging me in particular.

As I was scooching around on the kitchen and bathroom floors with my bottle of cleaner and my bristle brush, I began to equate the dirt on our floors to "dirt" in my heart or soul.  (I know this sounds cheeseball, but bear with me.)  I compared the dingy floor that mostly only bugged me to struggles or sins in my life that mostly only are known to me (and God).  People might think our kitchen and bathroom floors are normally that off-white color and think nothing of it, just like people might think that I don't struggle with certain things that I actually do have trouble with.   I thought of some rough spots, things I struggle with that are a bigger deal, kind of like the especially yucky spots around the dog bowl and cabinet edges.  Basically I did some soul scrubbing.

Questions about floor scrubbing:

Was it fun? 
No!  It was hard work, my knees hurt, my hands got red and irritated, my sweatpants got dirty.

Did it produce results?
Yes! The floors looked grrreat afterwards.  I even asked Trent "Hey babe! Will you come in here and pretend to be excited about these clean floors??"  He obliged.

Will I do a better job of keeping up with floor scrubbing?
Yep.  Though it isn't much fun and it is hard work, it needs to be done and I felt so much better about our floors afterwards.

Now if you switch up those questions to be asking about soul scrubbing...

Was it fun?
No!  I was basically stirring up dirt in myself and making myself think about things I struggle with that I need to work on or give over to God.  That's not so fun.  It wasn't even big stuff really, and that was the point.  I was poking in nooks and crannies of my heart to clean out the dust bunnies and ground in dirt.

Did it produce results?
Yes!  I ended up with a mental list of little things I want to try to be better about or worries to hand over to God.  Hopefully I can follow through and have a more shiny feeling soul, even if it's only me that is aware of it.

Will I do a better job of keeping up with soul scrubbing?
Yep. Now that I have scrubbed up some things, I want to continue to honor my Lord by regularly checking in on these items.  I want to be like the white pom pom on the last finger of the Gospel Fuzzies glove and the verse of the song that says "White means I'm washed cleeeean, white means I'm washed cleeean."  Anyone? Anyone?  Are the Gospel Fuzzies just another part of my life unique to my "special childhood" that make people look at me funny, including my husband?  :-(

1 Corinthians 6:11
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 

How is your soul today?  Does it need some scrubbing?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Solitude

I tried to write this post yesterday, but it wasn't gonna happen.  After doing chores all morning and hosting a "Crafternoon" with some ladies from my office to craft and watch chick flicks, my mind was just done like dinner.  I stared at this screen for quite a while and finally decided to give up.   Here goes another shot at it.

Trent gets up and heads to church pretty early on Sundays and I usually would keep snoozing or get up but poke around the house and take a while getting ready for church.  I decided a few weeks ago to be a little more purposeful about that time so I have developed a new habit.   It involves this:

And some of this:

And this:

And every few weeks, this:

Not much of an agenda, just a time to sit still for an hour or so before I head to Sunday school and church. It is enjoyable, refreshing, and a much better use of my time than just poking around the house killing time.  I have come to really, really enjoy this time.

Do you have a regular time set aside for some solitude?  Just you, your journal, Bible, a cup of hot tea or coffee, maybe a pen and paper for letter writing, maybe a laptop for blogging or journaling online.   I'm sure this would look different for different people.  Maybe you'd prefer to bring nothing and just sit and people watch and think.  Maybe I'll try that one of these Sundays.  I'm actually sitting at Starbucks right now writing this.

You may be thinking "that sounds lovely, but I don't have any extra time in my schedule for something like that!"  I totally understand that feeling, believe me.  I think my response would be a) turn idle time into useful time,  b) simply make/find time and then c) protect that time.   I could have kept poking around the house on Sunday mornings or just laid in bed instead.  Technically I could wake up/get up at 8:45 and have enough time to get ready and make it to church by 9:30 Sunday School.  But I actively decided to make that time more meaningful.   I decided to go ahead and get out of bed, get showered and dressed for church, gather my things and head to Starbucks.  I also decided to protect this time and make it regular.  If I stick to it, it will truly become a habit, a mostly nonnegotiable item on my schedule.  If I'm wishy washy about it, it will lose importance quickly and therefore lose its spot in my schedule.

You don't have to go to Starbucks.  You can go to your kitchen table or your home office or your porch swing.  Do any of y'all out there have a set time and place for solitude or quiet time?  Where is it?  How do you protect this time and keep the rest of your busy schedule from choking it out?