Monday, May 2, 2016

Small Joys: volume 24

I'm packing my books away for the semester and taking a little break from APA mechanics of style, research papers, and literature reviews!  A few weeks ago I hit a breaking point with the whole school/work/home life balance, and I was thankful for people who prayed for me and picked me up during that time.  Scott was gracious and loving as I cried on the couch and let my emotions get the best of me for a little while.  And then we turned on Star Wars and ate fajitas, and I wiped my tears away and laughed at all of the ridiculous behavior that Scott puts up with.  So from a tearful couple of weeks, here's some things that have me looking up.

No. 1: Our first garden.  I don't have a green thumb.  I don't have green anything, not even nail polish.  But Scott grew up with a garden, and every member of his family seems to have the gift of gardening, so of course I'm going all in this year and trying my hand at it.  Most of the things that I love most are things that I've jumped into head first, failed at, and tried again until I was good at it or liked it.  Examples: running (loathed this with a passion.  I trained myself to love it on Gimghoul Lane in Chapel Hill several years back), cooking (every recipe I've ever tried has fallen on its head at least once), baking (even more of these experiments have failed than in cooking), hiking (this literally had me fall on my head a few months ago. Nevertheless, I still enjoy it), and camping  (still learning to love this one. Bugs in my hair?! Eww!).  So a few weeks ago, we raked up the leaves in the space that the previous owners of our home used as a garden and started nurturing the soil.  And we have little seedlings that we're waiting to watch sprout-- tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, an herb garden.  Oh, I can hardly wait.  I even purchased gardening gloves, and I'm very serious about wearing my "gardening boots" anytime I'm outside doing any garden-related activity.  We had one batch of seedlings that already died, but from it we did grow several cucumber plants and two watermelon plants.  My herb garden is killing it with cilantro, parsley, and oregano growing like there's no tomorrow. And we had a mystery plant for a few weeks that I insisted on watering-- and it's a good thing I did, because it turned out to be rhubarb! I literally know nothing about rhubarb except to avoid its leaves (they are poisonous) and to sweeten it up with sugar and strawberries for a delicious pie.

No 2: Ferns.  Speaking of gardening, I've started with two ferns that are planted in planters that adorned our wedding "altar" (AKA wedding tree) two Aprils ago.  Ferns make me feel like I'm back home in the south.  Here's a look at how they're doing so far.  They've got a lot of growing to do!

No. 3: Visits from home. We were blessed to have two back-to-back visits from people we love back home at the beginning of April.  My sister-in-law and brother-in-law came for a few days and had some of the most miserable weather we've had in Indy this spring, and my mom came and had some of the very best weather we've seen.  We took Ashley and Chris to Chicago for a day trip and also made them eat their way through Indy.  I think when they left we all needed to detox from all the delicious foods-- Greek's Pizza, Monon Food Co., Brics Ice Cream, Flying Cupcake, Scotty's Brewhouse.  We cooked more meals when my mom was here and ate a lot more salad.  Mom always has a way of spurring me into action, and it was no different this time.  She had me using blue Dawn to scrub windows, helped me pull up old plants and weeds in the yard, and even helped me put up some dreamy lights on our front porch that I've been eying for awhile.  She facilitated the purchase of two white rocking chairs for our front porch that make the front porch my favorite part of our home now.  These visitors brought a taste of home to Indy and made us feel like North Carolina wasn't so far away, after all.  

No. 4: Front porches.  Spring is here, and I've never seen so many of my neighbors outside.  Everyone seems to be planting things, cleaning things, and getting ready to enjoy the nice weather.  And everyone is sitting on their front porches, including us.  With my mom's help, we assembled two rocking chairs and set out pretty lights and made the herb garden look nice, so our front porch has been lovely for sipping sangria, studying for school, and eating dinner after work.  We hated the screened in porch when we first moved in, but I feel like we've made it our own recently, and now I don't hate it so much.  We removed the terrible carpet and the wheelchair ramp, and we swept it off and decorated it so that it feels like it's really our's now.  

No. 5: House Projects.  Oh, the house projects are MANY right now.  I already told you about the carpet we ripped up from the front porch and the destruction of the wheelchair ramp, but have I told you about removing textured wallpaper, sanding walls, spackling, and trying to paint the office? The house projects to come are ginormous.  Everyone says this house will look better with a little bit of paint-- the problem is that we have a lot of work to do before we can paint.  The walls are in no shape to be painted, one wall needs all new drywall thanks to a window leak, and we need all new windows before I'll even start painting!  We had a guy come to give us a quote on windows back in March and I almost fell on the floor when I looked at the number he quoted us at.  We're waiting until Scott is finished with finals season before we start moving too far with projects, but here's a look at some of the projects so far.

Outdoor carpet and wheelchair ramp be gone!

This is my sad attempt to let more light into our bedroom.  I loathe this window and can't wait for a different one to be in its place!!

No. 6: Fixer Upper and Joanna style.  I think most people who enjoy home renovation shows are obsessed with Joanna and Chip Gaines.  I know we are.  They have me all inspired to tear down walls! Find the shiplap! Install a kitchen island! A cased opening! I've used some Joanna style to make our house seem a little more homey lately.  I got inspired to just get things done recently when I had some down time, and I decided that instead of waiting for the walls to be sanded and painted, I would make the house look nice as it is.  I bought three area rugs and a few accent rugs, purchased some decor for the guest bath and bedroom, and put together a makeshift nightstand in the guest room out of crates. 



No. 7: Successful completion of grad school-- year one. I can hardly believe I'm 1/3 of the way finished with grad school.  That hardly seems possible.  There's a long road ahead, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to be in school and excited for the opportunities that will come upon completion.  I'm excited for the day when our classes meet more in-person than they do now, as I miss the face-to-face interaction and friendships that form in person vs. online.  I'm also incredibly thankful to Scott for pushing me to do this when I was on the fence.  One day when we're raising a family and I'm home with them on holidays instead of working 12 hour shifts in the hospital, I'll look back and be glad that he encouraged me to do this.  I'm blessed to have a husband who helps me to pursue my dreams of being an advanced practice nurse and educating the future generation of nurses. 

No. 8: Salads.  Oh yes, salads can be a joy, too.  I need more of them in my life, and lately I've been making one that is just so very delicious.  It's got mixed greens as a base and is topped with sunflower seeds, goat cheese, craisins, and avocado.  That's my go-to lunch salad.  When I have time, I chop up some bell peppers and onions to add to the mix.  When I don't, it's delicious just on it's own with Tuscan Italian dressing from Trader Joe's.

No. 9: Pioneer Woman breakfast burritos.  Sorry to do two recipes right in a row here, but my sweet friend Jensey brought these in for Doctor's Appreciation Day a few weeks ago and they were a huge hit.  She passed the recipe along to me and we've been munching on these since early April now!  Here's the link to the recipe

No. 10: Boundaries.  I've started setting some boundaries with people lately so that I don't get taken advantage of.  I used to be the kind of person who would do mostly anything for anyone, but I've been so burned by that in the past few months.  I'm not always happy about the way I go about setting boundaries, but I do feel like it's helping me to not feel obligated to do things all the time or to do something for someone when it really takes time and energy away from things I need to be doing for myself or our family.  I don't like the word "no," but I'm choosing it more and more these days.  

That's all for now, friends.  Hope your week is full of sunshine and good things.  It's gloomy here today, but my salted caramel coffee has me feeling like it's going to be a good day.  

Lots of love,


  1. Yay! Small Joys are back. So good to hear how life is going. Also the last one on setting boundaries? I want to say GOOD FOR YOU! You always give so much and you need to rest, too. You have a lot going on. I LOVE YOU!!

  2. It's always a treat to read you. I'm thankful to be able to enjoy your blog. Oh Cristina how much I feel and learn from you. I always find something to relate and meditate on. Blessings and hugs!