Monday, June 28, 2010

So what happened?

I won’t get into all of the details right now, maybe in a few days or weeks, once things settle a bit – but I do want to at least mention what we’ve been dealing with.

Basically, Wednesday night, I discovered my basement full of sewage.

They are working to reconstruct the roadway that runs perpendicular to our street, but the portion of our road right in front of our driveway is affected because they are improving the infrastructure.

Long story short-ish: The foreman has told us the construction crews had made a mistake while accessing the sewer line.

Needless to say, it has been a very long five days.

Where are we today? As of right now, workers have removed all of the carpet downstairs and down the staircase, the bottom foot of sheet rock is gone and the trim has been taken off.

I’m tired and worn out.

The good news: Ray’s parents were in town this weekend! So, not only were they able to care for and play with Lola, but they offered a much-needed break Friday night as Ray and I got out of the house and saw a movie to celebrate our anniversary.. We weren’t trying to be rude, but I think Ray and Jean definitely understood that we needed to get out for a bit. And, it was so worth it. We had a blast – we even went to Walmart at midnight just to walk around and kill time, something we used to do every weekend in Marshall and in the Cities (although this time, we had to stick to a budget. So we bought bread and Dora fruit snacks – unlike years ago when we would have bought a TV show on DVD and a mountain full of video games). Good times.

More to come … I’m sure!
- Bethany :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Five years!

Today I will marry my best friend … the one who shares my hopes and dreams.

Prior to my wedding, I used to wish for a five-minute glimpse into my life five years into the future. It’s not that I had cold feet or was thinking about changing my mind -- I just wanted to know what would follow the so-called “biggest day of my life,” as everyone kept calling it, and what the future held for us.

Today is that day.

Ray and I married five years ago today. Wow.

That first year was hell. (And, yes, Ray would agree with me.) In fact, our goal for the first year was to be happy with one another 51 percent of the time, because, we figured, that meant we were still happier with one another than we were unhappy. Our goal for the second year was 55 percent happy/45 percent unhappy.

But by the third year, which started with a move to Bemidji, we already had moved beyond such goals. Not to brag – because, trust me, my marriage is far from perfect – but we’re happy with each other, easily, 95 percent of the time.

Anyhow, I was thinking the other day about that old wish I had, the never-accomplished ability to see the future, even if it was just a quick glance. I would have seen us in Bemidji, a location I never would have dreamed a possibility. We have a nearly 2-year-old daughter, who is the absolute centerpiece of our lives and love, and we are beginning to at least consider the idea of a second child. We have a house that provides a roof over our heads (even if there are sewage problems in the basement - more on this another day). We have jobs we enjoy that provide steady, dependable paychecks (something no one should ever take for granted (when your work field is in journalism in 2010, you learn this very quickly)).

Five years. On one hand, our wedding feels like a lifetime ago - on the other, it feels like it was last week.

Happy anniversary, Babe.

I love you,
- Bethany :)

Credits: All photographs and photo illustrations were taken and designed by Judd Sather with Judd Sather Photography and Studio J Pictures (

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy 2nd Father's Day to Ray!

He's the wrestler, the dinner-provider, the gardener, the bath-giver, the hide-and-go-seeker, the teeth-brushing-teacher, the tricycle coach, the kickball coach, the block-tower-builder, the colorer, the friend.

And so much more: He's Daddy.

Happy (belated) Father's Day, Ray.

Love you.

- Bethany :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

an average night at home

So last week, Ray and I began the long, arduous task of hanging pictures on our walls. For some couples, this might be a fairly simple project. Not so for us. Ray has very specific ideas as to how he wants his home to look. He likes very sparse decorations and not so much of the “people pictures” – and I like having everyone I know and love surrounding me in the living room.

Negotiations began last Tuesday (which, in retrospect, was kind of stupid since we left Thursday for the Cities so we could only get about halfway done last week – and I hate leaving projects undone, not to mention that I can’t stand clutter, so everything had to be put away Thursday afternoon and unpacked, again, last night).

Anyhow, we came up with the brilliant idea to hang three frames on the wall between the French doors and the kitchen and to put two nature shots from our backpacking trip on the ends and to find a quote for the middle frame. (We even happily decided that it would be fun to have a whole slew of quotes that we like and change them out occasionally or even maybe weekly.)

So last Tuesday, we began searching for quotes: favorite quotes, funny quotes, political quotes, etc. We never really found one we loved, but we faked it with a quote from The Art of War, at least temporarily while we went out of town. Then, we selected two photos from our Boundary Waters trips for either side of the quote.

Last night, we set out to finish the project. Ray went and bought photo paper so we could print photos at home, like we did last week. But last week we used the five free photo pages that came with the printer. We learned quickly that the paper Ray bought yesterday was not such great quality, but we made it work.

We printed the 5-by-7s for the photos and began working on the quote.

But, first, of course, we had to find a quote. We searched for about an hour, reading quotes and trying to agree on something. We knew we wanted one that was shorter and would fit the “nature theme” for the picture frames. This turned out to be much, much harder than we’d anticipated. I was partial to those that had some kind of religious bent to them, but Ray was adamantly against that. He wanted something Global Warming-ish but I really didn’t want to get all political. I liked one by Dr. Seuss (from The Lorax) but Ray did not want Dr. Seuss. He kept suggesting biologists and scientists and such, but I didn’t want a quote from anyone I didn’t know anything about.

Another 30 minutes passed. Ray was getting antsy.

He had stepped in the other room when I finally found our quote (a nature-related message). He came back and quickly agreed.

So, then, we began the process of printing said quote. We had printed the Art of War quote last week on plain white copy paper. And it looked cheap. So we wanted to try something different. Maybe use white text on a dark background.

Again, this is harder than it seemed. After messing around in Word for 30-some minutes, we tried Paint and, again, got nowhere.

Ray, frustrated, exclaimed that he was tired of the whole project.

So, finally, we decided to just print the darn thing on plain white photo paper and use a green-ish font and be done with it.

So Ray put in the paper and happily printed the quote, quickly closing Word and shutting the computer down.

We practically skipped into the living room and I watched as Ray got the frame and placed the paper into the frame - and discovers that for some stupid reason, this is the one frame we have that is 4-by-6.

The quote doesn’t fit.

$%&@#!* (But, really, between expletives, we were laughing pretty good, too.)

So we go back into the office. And we realize that we lost the quote since Ray shut Word down. So we have to get the quote back, replace it in Word and print.

And we forgot to change the paper – again. So we have another 5-by-7.

So, again, we format the stupid thing and we finally get our quote finished, and hung, at about 10:45 p.m. (Basically, we spent about 2 1/2 hours on filling five frames.)

As we cleaned up and got ready for bed, Ray looked at me, “You know how we talked about changing the quotes every week? Yeah, I’m not going to touch that damned quote ever again.”

- Bethany :)

P.S. We had a wonderful time in the Cities this past weekend. I owe a blog post or two to the trip, but I need some time to pick photos!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Memorial weekend at the lake

I have to back up a bit, because I never touched on our Memorial weekend. We went south to my dad's place, where Lola enjoyed at least one notable "first" - but more on that in a bit.

We love living where we do, but, of course, we miss seeing family on a more regular basis (I mean, this coming weekend's trip to the Cities will be our first since January!).

So it was especially fun to see Lola with at least two of her cousins.

Amber, the oldest, is an absolute doll. She is so smart, and it's oh so fun to watch Lola learn from and try to copy her abilities (such as soccer and coloring). She is sweet and considerate, too, but I don't think that rubbed off on Lola yet. She still stole everyone's toys (sorry about that!).

On the reverse side of the equation is soon-to-be-1-year-old Katelyn. Lola, in theory, is older and smarter, but obviously suffers from "only child syndrome" and has no desire to share. Still, she was consistently running back to Katelyn's side to play, so you know she is trying... (or, at least, that is what I am trying to convince myself of!).

Anyhow, her big "first" from that weekend was that Lola caught her first fish!!!

OK, yeah, Ray actually caught the fish, but he did so using her little Dora the Explorer pole - and Lola got to take a look at it! (Actually, them, since "she" caught two fish!)

But this is Lola with her first catch:

She might look a bit afraid in the photos, but she wasn't at all. In fact, in true Lola fashion, she tried to reach out and grab the fish (anyone remember the snake story from Reptile Gardens in South Dakota?!). And when she tried, it flipped out of Ray's hand and onto the dock. Once it started flopping around there, Lola got really interested. So Ray quickly put it back into its watery home.

It sure was a nice weekend. My only regret is that I was not able to convince Lola to jump into the lake with me. Yeah, it was cold, but she didn't know that. So, apparently, her deathly fear of water at bathtime has also spread to swimming, too.

But, hey, it's going to be a long summer! And it's barely reached 80 degrees! I have plenty of time...

Anyhow, next up: the Twin Cities, complete with a (planned) trip to the zoo and some long-overdue visits with family!

- Bethany :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lola's new house

Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Evans, Lola had a nice big surprise waiting for her when she got home yesterday.

But, no, I don't mean the playhouse (actually called a garden house - just look at all of the flower boxes!). Rather, I mean a giant, 55-pound cardboard box containing what looked like millions of itty bitty pieces.

Of course, our smart girl knew the instant she saw the box - from the car window, by the way - what it was.

"Toy!" She started shrieking. "Toy!" She ran to the box and pointed at the colorful picture. "Toy!"

We managed to distract her with some indoor playtime and tacos before she finally had had enough.

"Play outside!" she demanded. "Toy!"

Sadly, once Ray opened the box and glanced at the clock - 7 p.m. - we knew it wasn't going to ready for Lola to play with that night. But she did have fun playing with the empty box!

About that time, we had a visit from our neighbors, so Lola got to stay up extra late - 8:45 p.m. - before we finally got her to bed.

And at 9 p.m. we got started.

Now Ray and I can either have a great time doing anything or we can have a miserable time doing the same task. Well, last night, it happened to be the former. I read instructions and Ray put it together. I sorted materials and Ray got them to magically connect to one another and form a play house.

And, at 11:30 p.m., we finished. And we stepped back and appreciated the result. And, finally, we set it up outside so we could surprise her this morning.

She loved it all.

And, the live version:

(And, no, she did not want to go to day care after she saw her new toy. Not at all.)

- Bethany :)