Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Ring! And other things...

Here it is....a picture of the ring!!

I promise I was wearing a cute dress the night he proposed. I knew it was coming, so I had to dress up! But it was so cold, I had to put on a sweater and scarf AND coat!

Isn't it pretty? The diamonds are the ones my dad gave my mom. They were taken from two separate rings, and Matt had them put together into one new ring. He did a great job! And I love that the diamonds are so sentimental. :)

In other news, a few days ago I heard my neighbors outside the window. They're just so darn cute I had to get a look, so I opened my door and this is what I saw:

The bear is bigger than the girl! So of course, we invited the girls in to come play. Emily brought back a basket of toys after Spring Break so now we have things for our neighbor kids to do when they come over, especially if we need to study!

These two girls are so sweet. P* is the little one, and B* is the bigger one. There are a lot more girls in their family but these are the two we see most often. The day we moved into our apartment in December, B* asked me as I was unloading things from my car, "can I help??"

She helped me carry a small rug into the house, and she was so thrilled to have been able to help. Then little P* came running up. She wanted hugs, of course, but then she wouldn't let go! The fist few times we saw her we thought, "that little girl is a wild child!" But the more we've gotten to know her the more we've seen just how sweet she is. She's calmed down a bit now that the newness of our big move has died down.

After the girls played for a while, we told them that we needed to study so they would have to leave. Emily went to work and I hunkered down on the futon to work on a research paper. A few minutes later, I heard knocking at the door.

*tap tap tap*

I ignored it.

*tap tap tap*

I ignored it again.

*tap tap tap*

"Miss Laura!! Miss Laura!! I have something for you!"

Of course, I had to open it.

And there was tiny little P*, with something in her hands.

"I have a flower for you!"

"Oh, thank you!"

I reached out my hand to take what I thought would be a daffodil, or some other weed-like flower from down by the stairs.

Nope. Not quite.

Instead, her hand was full of actual weeds. Just the weeds. No flower. Just green, leafy, prickly weeds.

She was so proud of herself. I gave her a hug and sent her away. I walked towards the trash can but stopped thinking, "what if she asks what I did with them?"

So instead, I put them on the coffee table.

Sure enough, two minutes later, she was back. With more weeds. And she wanted to know what I had done with the first weeds.

Thankfully, I was able to show her exactly where they were.

It's always an adventure living here! From weeds, to giant teddy bears, to Shakira dance parties with 10 little kids and spontaneous crafting...there's so much to tell!!

Speaking of which, does anybody have any craft/quilting/sewing supplies they could donate? Two of the Iraqi ladies here told me that they want to do something to contribute to their family income. They can sew and make all kinds of things, purses, decorative items, etc, but they don't have any supplies. Surely we can get something together, get these ladies busy crafting with their endless hours of free time, and sell some stuff on or some other venue!

Ideas? Suggestions? Donations?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good News!!

I'm engaged!!!

That's right...after one year and one month of dating my very first boyfriend ever, I am officially gettin' hitched!

The big day is July 23rd. FOUR MONTHS!!


I know what you're thinking: "Are they crazy???"

Well, quite possibly, yes.

But don't worry, I already bought my dress. ;)

Matt told me he wanted to marry me a while back...we discussed for quite some time if and when and were we sure and were we really really sure and all of that good stuff.

Finally we decided, "okay...sure!"

When did we want to get married?

Why, over the Summer, of course! I'll probably start teaching full-time in the Fall (if I can find a job amid all these budget cuts!) so we wanted to get hitched before.

BUT....Matt and I have some friends that had a 3 1/2 month engagement last year.

Matt thought a 3 1/2 month engagement was normal.

He thought planning a wedding was easy.

He thought he could just take his time, put a ring on my finger, and VOILA! we'd get married three months later.

When I found out what he was thinking, I tried to keep my freaking out to a minimum.

He didn't even have a ring yet!

In January!

So I asked him, "do you want to get married in the Summer? Or would you rather wait until December?"

He said "Summer, for sure."

"Are you sure you want to marry me?"

"Yeah, I'm sure"

"Okay, then do you mind if I go ahead and buy a dress?"


That's more or less how it went down.

So my mom came to visit, we tried on dresses, I bought one, and they told me it would be ready mid-June at the latest.

Good thing I went shopping early!! I would have been so sad if I couldn't get the dress I loved in time for the big day!!

And it's really pretty, too. :)

I like it so much. :)

I want to wear it every day. :)

And frolic through a field of wild flowers in it. :)

That's it for now!

Back to school work!

It's been nearly impossible to focus on school while trying to plan a wedding. Ahhh!!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No More Mice!

No more mice!!

Well, sort of.

The first time we found out that we had mice, we knew they were coming from under the sink.

So pest control came, put out some poison, and filled in the holes under the sink with some foamy stuff.

So instead of coming out of the sink, they started coming out of the water heater closet. It's a cheap, poorly constructed apartment so the sheet rock in the closet doesn't entirely meet up with the wall and there is a gap on both sides of the closet wall.

We tried several kinds of mouse traps and found that the most successful traps are the sticky ones. They're not messy and mice can't be sneaky and get around them...they just get stuck!

In total, we killed FOUR MICE in ONE WEEK!! GROSS!!

So we figured if they could do something about the holes under the sink, surely they could do something about the gaps in the closet.

And they did!!

And we haven't seen a mouse since!


I now feel safe to walk around my apartment barefoot at night, and leave my bedroom door open throughout the day.

AND as an added bonus, we think the poison they put out for the mice (which is supposed to dehydrate them) has killed the roaches. I don't know, but isn't it curious that no matter how many times they sprayed for roaches we just couldn't get rid of them, but once they put out mouse poison they suddenly disappear???

Seriously...I've seen one roach in the past week!

ONE!! And it was a baby!

I used to see one roach every hour!

Emily hasn't seen many (or any) roaches either.


Life is good and pest-free right now, but I don't expect it to last for too long. After all, I live at Lavender Pines, the third-world refugee camp in the middle of the Metroplex. And what an adventure it is!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ice Cream and Mice

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man [or woman, in my case] I gave up childish ways. - 1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV

Do you remember when you were a kid, the excitement you felt every time you heard the sound of the ice cream truck?

In my neighborhood, it usually came around 5 or 5:30 pm, not long after my parents came home from work.

Whether I was inside the house or out playing in the neighborhood, I would hear the truck while it was still far off, run to my parents and beg for money to buy just one ice cream, just this once.

Usually they said no, but on a very few occasions, the conceded and gave me a dollar or two to buy one of those Tweety Bird ice creams with the gumball eyeballs. Other kids liked the Mickey Mouse ice cream, but Tweety Bird was the favorite of my daddy and I both.

If my parents weren't home, or if they said no, I would scour the house looking for lost change. Under the couch, under the cushions, behind the bookshelf in my bedroom, in the laundry room...I knew all the secret places to find lost quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Then I would take what I had found and run to the truck, no matter how far down the street it had gone by this time, and drop my coins on his tiny little counter and find out what I could buy with my change. Usually all I could afford were those white powdery candy cigarettes, but I was happy to get anything from the ice cream truck no matter what it may have been.

I loved the sound of the ice cream truck so much that I asked my mom to buy me a piano book so I could learn to play "The Entertainer", the theme song of our neighborhood ice cream truck, on our old piano.

She did, and I'm quite sure she regretted it.

After I grew up I lost interest in the ice cream truck. Every now and then I would hear it and recall the memory of past excitements, but usually I was at after school activities, or youth group, or a friend's house, and the ice cream truck faded into the distant past of my childhood.

Until recently.

Now that I live in an apartment complex full of little children, I once again hear the ice cream truck pass by daily.

It comes every day around 3.

Remind me never again to be home at 3.

The sound drags on for one to two hours, depending on how many children come running.

He circles the complex over and over, parking outside our side window first, and then moving to the other side.

Just when I think he's gone, he comes back around again.

The song is no longer "The Entertainer" but some awful chiming tune that repeats over and over and over again, usually when I'm trying to study.

After it plays through once, this awful lady's voice says cheerfully, "Hello!"

At first I thought that the ice cream truck was driven by a woman, and she would greet the children as they came running towards her.

Then I realized it was just a recording, and it's probably some smelly man driving that thing as it goes on and on for hours.

What used to be music to my ears and excite in me so much happiness and emotion now has the opposite effect. I dread the time of day that the truck comes by. I intentionally try to avoid being home at 3pm.

And yet it still brings those little children so much joy. They still go running to the truck, and leave with their mouths and hands sticky and too much sugar in their blood. And of course, I can't begrudge them the same happiness that I used to feel every day around 5pm.


Last night at 2:47am I awoke to the sound of a mouse trap going WHACK!

I thought, "we finally got that little white fella!"

Until I got up and saw it.

It was grey.

How many of them are there?? How long must this go on?

And to make matters worse, when I opened the water heater closet to get the broom out to sweep up his little body, I saw ANOTHER tiny mouse go running into the crack in the closet wall!!


I'm terrified of the night I wake up to find them running all over my bed.