Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dream Home

Image via Pottery Barn

The photo above is my dream front door and entry. 
I love everything about it.

Mark and I have a dream.  We dream about one day building our forever home.  One of the main reasons I got hooked on blogs was because I fell in love with interior design blogs and home renovation blogs.  I wish I had known about this wealth of inspiration (and information) when we built our current home eight years ago.  We had just gotten engaged and had no idea what we were doing.  We needed a place to live after we got married and decided to build a house instead of renting.  We learned so much about construction and so much about each other.  Despite our lack of experience, we were very lucky to have an honest contractor and our house turned out great.  Our little house is the perfect starter home.  It's a traditional three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, 1500 square ft home.  It was fine for us before we had kids, but it's starting to feel like it's shrinking since we added two little ones to our family.  I'm afraid we've outgrown it or that we just have too much junk stuff.

Someday we hope and pray to make our dream home a reality.  We plan on building in the next five to ten years.  I've started looking at plans and talking details with my bestie, Angela.  This home will be our forever home, and I want to get every last detail just right. 

We would build our new home on fifteen acres that we own near the small town where we live and work.  We usually refer to it as "The Land" when we talk.  The Land is idyllic.  There are large oak and pecan trees, hidden paths, and hills.  I couldn't think of a more perfect place to build our home than The Land.

 Mark and I are teachers.  It's a humble profession, which means we don't get paid a lot.  I'm nervous about what we can afford and taking on debt. I'm excited and overwhelmed at the same time.  I hope to share the process (however lengthy) with you.  I'm open to advice and ideas so please feel free to share any suggestions.  It will be an interesting journey that I look forward to sharing with you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Want To Play Tag?

My friend, Carrie, at Live, Learn, and Love Together tagged me, and I wanted to join in the fun.
I'll answer her 8 questions and then tag other friends to play a friendly game of cyber tag.

Live, Learn, & Love Together

1. What is your favorite Bible verse? How did it become your favorite? (If you don’t have a single favorite, please share one of your faves.)
I can't choose just one so here are a few of my faves.

John 8:32 "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."  Truth and Free.  It just sums up the book of John which is my favorite book in the Bible.  We did a Bible study when I was in high school over the book of John and it changed my life. 

1 Corinthians 13:13 "But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."  When you read the other verses about love it makes sense that the greatest of these is love.  Now to actually live out love...that's the real challenge.

Philippians 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."  Thank you, Jesus!  We are works in progress, but one day we will be complete and perfect.

Luke 12:48 "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."  I've been thinking about this verse a great deal lately.  Sometimes I lose perspective and forget what it's important.  I think about my life--it's a very good life.  I live in the United States of America.  I have the freedom to worship God among many other rights and freedoms I have protected.  Compared to most people in the world I have been unbelievably blessed.  I have been given much.  What am I doing with it?  I can't fully answer that question at this point in my life.  I know much is expected.  It's something I struggle with and strive to find balance with in my life.

2. What is currently on your nightstand? Are you reading a good book? Are you into Sudoku or crosswords? Do tell!
It's all children's books (Knuffle Bunny, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus--we're going through a Mo Willems phase right now) and the Bible. 

3. If you have a Saturday where there is nothing on the calendar (Yeah, I know you’re laughing right now!!), how would you most like to spend the day? Are you a homebody? Are you a compulsive cleaner? Would you go shopping? Meet a friend for lunch?
I'd spend the day at home and work in the yard all day.  I love gardening.  It's very relaxing.  When I'm working in the yard, I lose all sense of time.  Hours can pass and I don't realize it.

4. I’ve recently finished Dr. Kevin Leman’s book The Firstborn Advantage. Do you think there is anything to “Birth Order?” Do you see any birth order characteristics in you, your hubs, and/or your kids?
We just finished a parenting series by  Dr. Leman titled Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours in our Sunday school class.  He mentioned the birth order theory.  I can see that some of his observations are true, but like any generalization there are exceptions.  It's definitely something that's interesting to keep in mind while raising children.  And, yes, I do see some of the characteristics in myself, my husband and my kiddos.

5. Do you plan to grow old gracefully or fight it every step of the way (within reason – i.e. age-fighting moisturizers, covering gray hair, etc.)?
I will fight it every step of the way! I plan on using hair dye to cover the gray when that times comes.  I probably won't have plastic surgery because I avoid going to the doctor at all costs.  I wouldn't willingly go under the knife.

6. Do you like Starbucks? And are you a fan of their seasonal coffees?
I love Starbucks (and just about any coffee shop), but I don't really drink coffee.   If I'm at Starbucks, I usually order a Chai Tea Latte, White Chocolate Mocha decaf or Caramel Apple Cider.  This question makes me ready for cooler weather.  I can't fully enjoy Starbucks when it's 90 degrees outside.

7. How do you decorate and/or prepare for fall?
I'm planning on getting out the Halloween decorations this weekend.  I also love pumpkins and scarecrows on my front porch.  I also change the wreath or decor on my front door.  This wasn't a very good answer.  I'm not great at decorating.

8. What is your favorite fall recipe?
Great question!  I'm so happy to share.  My mother-in-law shared this recipe with me several years ago.  It's from the Food Network.  These pumpkin muffins are amazing!  They are delicious and healthy.

Here are my eight questions:
1.  How did you meet your husband?

2.  If you could splurge on something for yourself, what would it be?

3.  Are you a morning person or a night owl?

4.  What's your favorite TV show?

5.  What is your least favorite chore?

6.  What is your favorite Bible story?

7.  What is your favorite comfort food?

8.  List the top five places you would visit or revisit.

Tag, you're it!
Angela from Unexpected Elegance
Tiffany from A Family from Fishers
Kathleen from Simple Silly Life
Courtney from Relevant Living
Ann from Color Me Pink

What I Wore Wednesday Wk 9

What I Wore Wednesday Wk 9

Sunday: Church & Monday: School
Black capris: Old Navy
Ruffle Top: Banana Republic (it's new I bought it for my b-day)
Gray cardigan: J Crew outlet
Poppy Print flats: Gap
The ladies I work with really liked this top.

Tuesday: School
Pants: Gap outlet
Cardi: Old Navy (anyone remember the 'Arty Cardi' commercials this spring?)
Camisole: Banana Republic outlet
Shoes: Born bought at Nordstrom Rack
Bracelet: Premiere Designs Jewelry

Wednesday: School
Gray Pants: Old Navy
Pink Top: Anthropologie (bought this for my b-day)
Gray ruffle flats: Gap outlet

Friday: After work going out to eat with my in-laws
Jeans: Seven A Pocket bought at
Yellow tank: Target
Gray cardigan: J Crew outlet
Flats: Gap 

Saturday: Took the boys to a birthday party
Jeans and yellow tank worn on Friday night
Gray and white stripe top: Old Navy
Shoes: TOMS bought at Whole Foods 
Remember to buy your TOMS a 1/2 size too small.  I received that advice when I purchased mine.  I wear a size 7 and bought a 6 1/2.  They were just a little snug, but after a couple of days they fit perfectly.

*Here's my disclaimer that I am a total dork, and I have no fashion advice to offer.  I only participate because I love meeting new people and seeing what others are wearing.

Thanks to Lindsey for hosting and allowing us to join in the fun.

If you've checked out my WIWW, thanks!!! 
If you leave a comment, thank you! 
I love reading each and every one :)

Head over to the Pleated Poppy for more WIWW fun.  You'll meet some really great ladies.

the pleated poppy blog

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Little Brother

At Ben's fifteen month checkup, the pediatrician warned us about the potential hazards and dangers we will face as Ben reaches this very active and mobile age .  Dr. Justice warned that a second child is prone to more accidents and mishaps, especially a second child who is a little boy.  He said he's seen in it too many times in his numerous years of taking care of little ones.  As Dr. Justice said all of this, we just sat and nodded our heads because he was right on.  He was totally preaching to the choir!  He described our second child perfectly.  (As I'm typing this outside the boys are playing, and I just had to pause and stop Ben from trying to eat dirt.  Seriously!)  We are learning each day what it is to parent two little boys. I know we've already been through this phase and age with Will, but it just seems different with Ben.  Will's nature is to be cautious and conservative.  Ben is the opposite.  He's not afraid of anything.  For example, he's already learned to climb to the top of the ladder on our playset.  Whatever Will does, Ben will just be a few steps behind him trying to copy him.  It's definitely keeping us on our toes.  I love that Ben is independent and curious, but let's just hope I have the energy to keep up with him (well, both him and Will!)  One thing I can say for sure is that there's never a dull moment at our house, and I'm loving every minute of it!

Photo taken this summer by Lauren Wensel
It perfectly captures my boys.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Designer Diapers

If you are a parent of little ones in diapers, then you have probably seen the Cynthia Rowley diapers at Target.  I rolled my eyes the first time I saw them because designer diapers seem a little frivolous.  That is, they seem frivolous until they go on clearance.  I couldn't help but buy several packages when I saw them so cheap.  $6.48 to be exact.  I also had several $1 coupons on Pampers and that made the diapers $5.48 each!  That's cheaper than the regular Pampers Cruisers that my little guy wears.  I don't wear designer clothing but my little one now has designer diapers.  I have to admit that they are pretty darn cute.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday Wk 8

What I Wore Wednesday Wk 8
I'm linking to the Pleated Poppy for WIWW.  It's fun to blog stalk others who link up and check out what they are wearing.  I appreciate Lindsey's confession last week about sucking in her stomach in all of her photos.  It made me feel better about myself.  After having two babies that weighed nine and a half pounds, I'm afraid my tummy will never ever be the same. Oh well, it was all worth it, stretch marks and all!

Sunday: Church
Plum ruffle dress: Banana Republic outlet (on sale only $17!)
Black leggings: Forever 21
Gray cardi: J Crew outlet
Flats: Ann Taylor LOFT

Monday: School
Black and White cardi: J Crew outlet
Dress: Old Navy
Sparky black flip flops: Kenneth Cole from Marshalls

Tuesday: School and UIL meeting
Stripe cardi: Old Navy
White shirt: J Crew outlet
Pants: Gap outlet
Red flats: Gap (on sale really cheap)

Wednesday: School
White top and layer tank: Old Navy
Black capris: Gap outlet
Flip Flops: Ann Taylor LOFT
Olive Scarf: Charlotte Russe
Ring: Sundance
Thanks to Lisa Leonard's WIWW posts for the reminder to accessorize with scarves.  It's finally below 100 degrees in Texas so I can start wearing mine.

Thursday: School and It's my birthday!
Black skirt (old) and cardi (new): Gap outlet
Turquoise top: Ann Taylor
Shoes: Kenneth Cole bought at Nordstrom Rack
I'm 33!!!  It's going to be a good year!  I wouldn't have shown you a close up of my face a year ago.  (You can read the reason why here.)  It's good to be smiling again :)

Friday: School
Spirit shirt: Rah Rah Rah!
Jeans: Banana Republic
Shoes: TOMS bought at Whole Foods
Friday: After work going out to eat with my husband and boys for my birthday.
Gray cardigan: J Crew outlet
Tank: Banana Republic
Skirt: Max Studio bought at TJ Maxx
Necklace: Forever 21
Sandals: Gap (super cheap)

Saturday: Celebrating my birthday with my husband and boys.
I forgot to take a photo, but I went shopping at Anthropologie for my birthday!  It's been a while since I purchased something from there so it was a big treat to indulge in some Anthro clothing.

  *The What Not To Wear crew hasn't shown up to my house or work so I guess I'll keep linking up.  I feel like each week I need to have a disclaimer stating that I know nothing about fashion! 

Thanks for letting me join in the fun :)

Don't forget to stop by the Pleated Poppy for more WIWW posts.
the pleated poppy blog

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's The Thought That Counts

Since I have birthday on the brain, I need to share a little secret.  Really it's more of a confession. You see in the photos below two new cards.  Mark's birthday was at the end of July, and I haven't signed or given him his card yet.  It gets even worse!  I also have his Father's Day card that's unsigned.  I have good intentions of picking a meaningful card and giving it to him, but this year I just didn't follow-through.  Mark was so considerate and gave me a sweet card for Mother's Day and my birthday.  He even traced the boys' hand prints in my birthday card so I could remember how big (or small) they are. 

I'm so glad we're at a point in our marriage that things like this don't bother either one of us.  I think he knows with the craziness of our day to day routine that forgetting a card is very easy to do.  He knows how much he's loved and appreciated.  Thank goodness in this case it's the thought that counts.

One more thing, should I keep the cards for next year of just give them to him several months late?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happiness Is...

Happiness is a surprise gift on my birthday.  Below are photos of the beautiful milk glass that my aunt and uncle gave me.  You can read about their adventures in hunting for milk glass here.

Each lovely piece has even a lovelier story to go along with it.  My aunt thoughtfully typed a gift guide so I would be able to remember the stories.  The amazing deals she scored on these pieces is unbelievable.  It's hard to choose a favorite because each piece has something unique and interesting that makes me love it.  
Each piece is a special treasure!

Imperial Candy Dish

Milk Glass Candle Sticks

Bud Vase

Birthday Fun

On my birthday the boys made me a birthday cake, and we ordered take out from our favorite local Tex Mex restaurant.  Although we saved most of the celebrating for the weekend it was still a great day.  My students were extra nice at school and wished me numerous "Happy Birthdays!".  My facebook friends filled up my wall with kind birthday messages.  My in-laws gave me a sweet card with birthday money.  My aunt and uncle surprised me with some amazing milk glass pieces and other thoughtful gifts. I'll post more on the milk glass as soon as it's photographed.  It's beautiful!

Thanks to my blogger friends who left sweet comments about my list on my birthday.  It made me smile!

I think it's going to be a wonderful year here at Imperfectly Wonderful World!

Two more random things...

The first of my birthday purchases this weekend.  I found this basket on clearance for $10 at TJ Maxx.  The cream and tan afghan was crocheted by my sister-in-law.  It's Ben's baby blanket.

I kind of have a thing for SIGG water bottles.  I thought this one was fun.  Since I mainly use them at school, I think my students will really like it.  It was also purchased at TJ Maxx.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm 33 today...Or am I?

I'm 33 today, I think.  No, seriously, I am the big 3-3.  It's my birthday!  I often forget how old I am.  Back in the spring when Mark was filling out the census form he asked me how old I was and I responded, "I don't know.  I think I'm 32.  Or am I 33?"  He said, "Michele, seriously, this is for the census."  Oh, for official government business, then let me get serious.  Once I realized he was actually filling out the census form I had to think back to the year I was born and do the math.  I never remember.  I guess after 16, 18 or 21 it doesn't really matter. 

Since it's my birthday, I'll be sharing 33 random things about me.  I've seen other bloggers do this and thought I'd give it a try.

1.  I'm left-handed.  I'm in pretty good company.  Google "famous left handed people" and you'll be surprised.

2.  I was born in the Philippines.

3.  I only lived in the Philippines for about the first two months of my life and then moved to a small town in rural northeast Texas.  I lived there with my paternal grandparents until I moved away from home to attend college.

4.  I attended two colleges:  East Texas Baptist University and Texas A&M University

5.  I graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in sociology.  I wanted to pursue a career in social work or counseling.  My internship my senior year was working under a social worker, Sara, who helped the elderly in Brazos County.  She was the best boss I have ever had. 

6.  Instead of social work or counseling, I'm a teacher.  It's a good fit for me. 

7.  My husband is also a teacher.  We work at the same school.  It works for us, and we both like it.

8.  We are blessed to have two boys.  I love being the mom of two boys. 

Our Family
June 2010
Taken by Lauren Wensel

9.  We don't plan to have anymore children.  If we had a daughter her name would have been Claire Elizabeth.  One of my best friends, Angela,  used the name Claire, and I'm so glad that she did.  Claire is precious!

10.  My hair is naturally curly, but I straighten it with a flat iron (when I'm not feeling lazy).  Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle because of the humidity in Texas.

11.  I have a great love for our country's National Parks.  My husband and I have a dream to visit as many as we can.  After watching Ken Burn's documentary about National Parks we were inspired to make that dream a reality.

12.  I love to travel and think the experiences I have had traveling to different places has helped me be a more well-rounded person.  I don't think one has to be well-traveled to be well-rounded.

13.  I lived in Seattle, Washington for six months after I graduated from college.  I took a temporary job working for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry/Baptist Student Ministry at the University of Washington.  I applied and was hired for the job through the NAMB.  I chose UW because I'd been on a mission trip to the Northwest with my BSM group from ETBU during my sophomore year in college.  It was a life changing experience.  I moved to Seattle and didn't know a single person.  It was probably one of the biggest leaps of faith I've ever taken.  My roommate, Kayreen, ended up being one of my best friends.  If I had it to do all over again, I'd make that move in a second.  I learned a great deal about myself through that experience.  This is going to sound hokey, but it really helped me find myself and feel okay with who I am (and who I'm not).

14. I am a morning person.

15.  Fall is my favorite season.

16.  I love to shop.  The thrill of finding a good deal is the most exciting part of shopping.  I can't remember the last time I paid full price for clothing.  It was probably something for the boys and not me.

17. I'm not very creative, but I'm drawn to people who are.  Some of my best friends are extremely creative and talented.

18.  I didn't like chocolate as a child.  Too bad that didn't last through adulthood.  I'd probably weigh 10 pounds less if I didn't like/love chocolate.

19.  I have a terrible singing voice.  I can't carry a tune to save my life.  Imagine the really terrible people who try out for American Idol and think they can sing.  I sound like those people.  The only difference is that I know how bad my singing voice is. 

20. I just started blogging in May 2010.  I've had a blogger account for a long time but never used it.

21.   I met and married my husband in less than a year.  We met in August 2001, started dating in October 2001, got engaged February 2002, got married June 2002.  Mark and I were married before we ever celebrated a birthday as a couple.  His birthday is in July and mine is in September.  For some reason I never worried about not knowing each other that long.  He seemed as crazy about me as I was about him so why not just be together.  It just seemed to make perfect sense.

22.  Our first date was at the Cheesecake Factory.  It was a really good first date.  That's still one of our favorite restaurants.

23.  I think my husband makes me a better person.  His personality and temperament are a perfect compliment to me.

24.  I really like my in-laws.  We're lucky to have a great relationship with them.

25.  I'd rather drink hot tea instead of coffee.

26.  If I'm at Starbucks, I usually order a Chai Tea Latte, White Chocolate Mocha decaf or Caramel Apple Cider.

27.  I really like to vacuum.  I have an Oreck vacuum which I think it the most superior vacuum that exists.

28.  In high school, I participated in cheerleading, basketball and track.  I'm not the most athletic person, but I attended a small school so there were numerous opportunities to participate in various activities.

29.  I love sports and wish that I had more time to exercise.

30.   I feel guilty when I don't recycle.

31.  I'm not shy.  I can make small talk with a complete stranger.  This is a good and bad thing.  I usually talk too much. 

32.  I'm really working on talking less and listening more.

33. If you've read through this lame list, then thank you.  This blog has been a blessing for me.  Sometimes I feel isolated and a little lonely in the small town where I live.  There are so many positive things about living in a small town, but sometimes it's hard for me to meet people who share common interests.  Blogging has introduced me to so many interesting people.  My husband says that with blogging "You've found your people.", and I think he's right.  It's given me the opportunity to connect with people who are like-minded.  The inspiration and encouragement has meant more to me than I can express.  Thank you!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What I Wore Wednesday Wk 7

What I Wore Wednesday Week 7

School is in full swing, and things are pretty busy.  I've only taken photos of three outfits this week.  I'm linking up to one of my favorite blogs, the Pleated Poppy, to join in the WIWW fun.  Be sure to check it out.  It's one of my favorite days of the week because I always enjoy seeing what other bloggers are wearing.

Tuesday: School
Gray skirt: J Crew outlet
Black cardi and White ruffle shirt: Gap outlet
Black Sandals: Ann Taylor Loft

Wednesday: School
Brown linen pants: Gap (on sale and really cheap!)
Green and white top: Old Navy (It reminds me of something you'd see in a Boden catalog only much cheaper.)
Coral/Pink Cardi: Ann Taylor Loft
Gold Sandals: Gap
Bracelets: H&M, Ring: Sundance gift from my husband
Glasses: Because my eyes needed a break.  I've been grading a lot of papers.
I forgot to get the bracelets in the first photo.  I really like these.

Thursday: School
Skirt: Gap (I love that it has pockets)
Gray cami: Gap
Gray cardi: J Crew outlet
Black sparkly flip flops: Kenneth Cole Reaction at Marshalls
Bracelet: ???
Another view of the skirt
I like the detail on the cami. 

By the way, everything I have on above was purchased on sale. I very rarely pay full price for clothing. I can't even remember the last thing I purchased full price.  Seriously! 

See you next week for more WIWW!


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