Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thank Goodness for Crock Pots

So, I've finished my first week at my new job. I have to say, it's going to take some getting used to. I've become accustomed to being able to come home, make dinner, and enjoy some time with Herschel and Oscar before going to bed and getting up to do it all over again. Well, my new commute doesn't quite fit my schedule. I know a lot of people do it, but I can't say that I'm a fan of driving close to an hour in each direction to get to and from my job. Especially, when that means I don't get home until close to 7 p.m. - at the earliest - every night. Maybe I'll adjust, maybe something else will work out, who knows, but for now, I'm developing a very close relationship with my Crock Pot. I've got a great Crock Pot cookbook, but I'm just wondering...does anyone else have any good Crock Pot recipes that you'd want to share?Obviously other than the typical roast - I've got that one pretty well covered.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rain, rain go away...

When I was somewhere around the age of 9 or 10, I was beyond excited about the idea of going to a water park in Little Rock called Wild River Country*. Most of my friends had been, but I hadn't. In my mind, it something close to what heaven would be like.
I'd heard about the "Wave Pool," which was supposed to be like a mini version of the ocean, except without the annoying salt water. There were also rides and slides of every shape and size that twisted and turned and splashed. And then, when you needed a break from all that fun, there was the Lazy River. All you had to do was grab a tube and float, but even on the Lazy River there were waterfalls that would pour out of a wall onto your tube. I desperately wanted to go to this magical water park.
When one of my friends asked if I wanted to spend the night at her house on a Friday night and then go with her and her family to Wild River Country on Saturday, I did not even hesitate to say yes, despite the fact that I was terrified to spend the night away from my house until I was much older. This was a special exception.
When I got to my friend's house after school on Friday, her mom let us drink cokes, which was rare because my friend never drank soft drinks. But, there were coupons for the park on the cans, so again, an exception was made.
I'm not quite sure what we did that night, however, I'm fairly certain it included some combination of pizza, a movie and Nintendo...because isn't that what most spend-the-night parties consisted of when you were 10?What I do know is that I was so excited that night I could barely sleep.
So you could imagine my disappointment when I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain - and not just rain, but thunder and lightening, too. I was heartbroken. Trying to cheer myself up, I thought, maybe this is just a small storm, it will blow over quickly, and we'll still be able to go in the afternoon. However, after talking to my friend's mom, we were told that there would be no water park today. Rain all day. I was devastated.
Even as I think about this today, I can't help but blame the mom in this situation just a little. While I realize she doesn't control the weather, couldn't she have at least warned us that there was a chance of rain, much less a storm? I think that would've helped lessen the blow at least a little bit.
I'd actually forgotten about this story until today. During the past week, Herschel and I had been talking about how much we were looking forward to this weekend and laying out by the pool at the club house in our neighborhood. The weather has been perfect all week. It has been nothing but blue skies and sunshine with a slight breeze since we got here. That is, of course, until today.
Just as we got ready to go eat breakfast and run some errands this morning before our afternoon at the pool, I heard a familiar, yet dreaded sound. Yep, rain. And similarly to when I was 10 years old, I've asked Herschel probably no less than 10 times today if he thinks it looks like it's going to clear off and we can just go later. It is now 2:15 p.m. I don't think it will be clearing off any time soon.

Oh, and just to clear ourselves of blame in this particular instance - I've watched the weather everyday this week, and there has been nothing but sun in the forecast. In fact, everyone has been complaining about how dry it is here, and the meteorologist has made a big deal about the fact that there is no chance of rain in the forecast for the next week. Yeah, right...
Moral of this story: if you want to do anything fun outside or water-related, don't invite me. Apparently, the weather gods hate me.
*I now know the truth about this (and most other) water parks now and am no longer disillusioned. I also realize that I was probably spared skin disease and other water-related illnesses by not going that day. However, I was 10 at the time and did not recognize this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I finally got around to loading some of my pictures to our computer today, and I thought I might share a few of them with you. Plus, this is a great excuse to put off all of that unpacking that I have left to do.

First, a few new ones of the cutest Acosta - Oscar.


This is how I found Herschel and Oscar the other day. Oscar is having a little bit of trouble adjusting to the lack of freedom he's used to. At our house in Little Rock we had a huge fenced backyard where he was free to run and play, or simply lay in the sun (which is one of his very favorite things to do). So now that he can't do that here, he acts like he needs to go to the bathroom, then after some gratuitous sniffing, he plops down in the grass and ignores your pleads and tugs to get him back inside. As you can see, during this particular occassion, Herschel didn't find it all that cute.

I may be a little bit partial, but seriously, how cute is he???

I also have a few "before" pictures of the house. However, it may have been the long drive, or the fact that it was really late, or simply that I'm not a very skilled photographer, but I apologize in advance for just how horrible these pictures are. I'll do my best to explain what you're looking at.

This is the view of the living room when you walk in the front door. The doorway you see to the left goes into the master bedroom. The windows at the back of the room are actually sliding glass doors that open up to a screened in porch. We keep them open most days. It's wonderful!

Our new kitchen and dining area. This is taken from the office, which has a pocket door leading into the kitchen.

Our glorious cabinet space!!! I'm fairly certain that light is not from our house, but in fact shining down from heaven. Oh yeah, and you can see through into the living room from the kitchen. It's kinda hard to tell from all the stuff on the counter in this picture, but trust me, you can.

Hallway off of living room leading to guest rooms and laundry room. That's right TWO guest rooms...all ready for some guests. So, let me know when you're coming.

Laundry room with more storage.

View into master bath from the master bedroom. Three closets!! And a bathroom for Herschel and bathroom for me. Mine is straight ahead with the tub. A shower connect the two bathrooms. It's strange, but wonderful!

Since these pictures are clearly horrible, that's all I'm going to post for now. I'll take more as I get more done on the house.

Also, we're going to watch a space shuttle launch tonight. Some of our new friends from church invited us to go with them. We're both really looking forward to it. I'm going to try to take some pictures of it. Hopefully they'll come out better than these. If so, I'll post them. If not, I'll spare you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sometimes when it rains, it pours

As Herschel and I have shared with some of you, we've had a couple of rather interesting "church shopping" experiences since we've been in Florida. For example, there was the congregation which was made up of about 10-15 people, all of whom where at least 65+, where we were required to wear name tags. I mean, really?? The young white girl and the Mexican guy didn't stick out enough for you?

Anyway, after coming from a fabulous church family in Little Rock, we were beginning to become a little bit discouraged that we weren't finding anything that seemed to fit us. It was starting to sound a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears - this one's too big, this one's too small, this one's too traditional, this one's too contemporary, etc. But on Sunday, it would seem that we found a church that was "just right." At least for us.

A few weeks ago, we were in Kansas City for a meeting for a church board that Herschel is a part of, and while we were there, one of the representatives from Florida heard that we were moving to the state. He made mention of a couple of churches and made a couple of promises that people often say in those sort of settings, and even more often don't keep. However, a couple of days later while we were packing up our house back in Little Rock, Herschel received an email from one of the pastors from a church in Florida. He said he was given Herschel's name by the guy we'd met in KC and he'd love it if we could come and visit. Needless to say, we were impressed.

Herschel replied and let him know that we planned to attend his church on Sunday, and things were left at that. Little did we know that the pastor, in anticipation of us attending his church on Sunday, had gathered a few young couples and invited all of them over for lunch after church for barbecue. So, of course, when we went to church there on Sunday, the pastor nonchalantly mentioned he was having some people over and asked if we'd like to join them. We did, and it was like we'd known these people for years. We were getting to know one another, laughing, sharing, and there was even plenty of sarcasm - which made me much more comfortable.

We left that experience feeling blessed beyond words. This was exactly what we've been praying for since the moment we found out that we were moving.

But it doesn't stop there.

Literally less than an hour after we'd left the pastor's house, I received a call from a family friend that heads up a public relations office in Palm Beach. A couple of months ago we'd talked about the possibility of an opening at her office, but with the economy the way it is, it didn't look like they would be hiring anyone new - at least not right now.

Well, apparently, God had other plans. My friend was calling to tell me that they had an opening come up completely unexpectedly that they were needing to fill immediately, and she wanted to know if I was interested. We talked again yesterday, and I start work on Monday!

And just to sweeten the deal a little bit, I got a call from one of the girls we had lunch with on Sunday, and she and another girl wanted to know if they could come over and help me finish unpacking on Thursday. Absolutely! The funny thing is, if they had asked me even a couple of days earlier, I probably would've said no. At that point, I think I still thought that I could handle it all on my own. But the truth is, it took three professional packers most of a day to pack us up, so it's certainly going to take more than just me to get it unpacked and put away in a timely manner. Plus, it will be nice to talk to someone besides Oscar for a little while. He's a lot of things, but one thing he's not is a great conversationalist.

I am overwhelmed with the blessings in our life right now. We've sort of been on an emotional roller coaster over the past couple of months, so I'm absolutely thrilled by every bit of this. And I'm trying to soak it all in as much as I can, because I know these moments are rare.

Friday, March 6, 2009

We Made It

Well, here we are in sunny Florida. We're officially Floridians. At least that's what our address says...although for some reason we aren't getting any of our mail, so maybe we aren't really Floridians. Anyway, we're here.

We were very fortunate that Herschel's company paid to have movers come to the house and pack everything up, load it onto the truck, move it down here and unload it. Having never done anything like this before, it was fascinating to watch. They packed everything we owned in about 4 hours. Please note that the packers told me that we had more inventory in the garage than we did inside our house. To translate, that means my husband has a ridiculous amount of tools. It also means he can never again complain about any clothing, shoe or purse purchase I ever make - ever again.

Apparently, all of the loading and unloading was the easy part. We now have boxes everywhere! I've been unpacking for what seems like non-stop for the past three days, and only now do I feel like I've started to make a dent. The kitchen is pretty much finished, which is a huge relief to me. I was even able to make dinner last night. I'm in LOVE with my new kitchen. It has cabinent space, a huge, deep sink - with a garbage disposal, a pantry, counter space, and more than one person can fit into it at a time.

We've gotten the living room semi-situated. And our bedroom is coming together, too. However, our mattress somehow came off the truck smelling like the truck driver had stopped somewhere along the trip, gotten some gas and then doused the mattress in diesel fuel. We've filed a complaint. Our official complaint form is supposed to be in the mail, but again, we aren't getting mail. So for now, we have a diesel scented mattress. Jealous, aren't you?

We're enjoying the house and enjoying settling into a house together for the first time. It's a process, and one that I don't think will be coming to an end anytime soon, but for now, it's exciting. Hopefully it will stay that way until we're finished!

I've taken some "before" pictures when the house was still empty, and I hope to have those posted on here soon. I also plan on taking some pictures once we get everything unpacked, which might take a while, so I'm thinking that I might need to go room by room. Anyway, if anyone ever reads this - which I'm not totally convinced they do - this can give you something to look forward to.

Also, we are officially accepting visitors! We have lots of extra room, and we have NO friends here, so old friends are definitely welcomed and encouraged! We hope to see you here soon. But until then, you can keep up with us on here.