Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mom and Dad Visit - Part I

Mom and Dad Harper arrived at our place late on Friday night. They had driven 14 hours to come and see us for the weekend! We had a wonderful time talking and discussing and eating and playing games... (They got the hang of High Five!)

We had the pleasure of William and Amanda and Benji's company on Saturday night, along with their guests, Amanda's parents, and Ginger, her sister. Benji was surrounded by all of his grandparents and aunts and uncles in one place...and he has no idea how rare that may be. It was a great gathering, lots of fun. Andrew and I discovered that we love to be hosts!

We had to say "goodbye" on Sunday, but not for long! We got a call from Dad Harper after they'd been on the road for a couple hours. The car had broken down and so Andrew and I picked up a radiator hose and drove out to meet them. They fixed the hose in no time and then we were treated to dinner before we drove back home Sunday night. It was an unexpected road trip!

I'm sorry to report that we have no pictures from their visit. It's so unfortunate! I wish we could've recorded the fun of their first visit to us as a married couple. We'll just have to remember...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

St. Augustine, Florida

Andrew and I had a free weekend (a rare commodity!) and so took the opportunity to drive down to Jacksonville, FL to visit with his grandparents. After staying a night with them, we continued into the heart of Jacksonville's shopping district to pick up some much-needed dishes on our registry at Pottery Barn. Thank Heaven for gift cards! (And thanks to all who gave them!)

Being that far south in Jacksonville, we started to see signs to St. Augustine, a pretty little colonial town on the coast. It wasn't that much farther, and we'd been wanting to go explore it sometime. So, on a whim, we headed the car further south and made it to St. Augustine. We found a hotel and then set out to find food, only to get caught in a waterfall! Okay, so I'm from Oregon and I know rain...but this was MORE than rain! It was hot, too!

By the next morning, the skies were clear and we did a little sightseeing and coffee shop finding and picture taking before we bid farewell to the quaint-ish village of St. Augustine. We'll be back.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A Visit From Benj

So, Mommy took me to see Aunt Cassidy the other day. I had a lot of fun! Let me show you some of the things I do when I'm there...

I show off my crazy walking skills...

Look! Uncle Andrew bought me a toy train set!

But sometimes I can't figure it out...

I pose for pictures. I'm good at that.

I eat goldfish crackers.
Just about the best snack ever...

I drink lots of watered-down juice..."Why do they do that?"

Sometimes Uncle Andrew needs my help at the computer...

And sometimes I sweep the front walk for Aunt Cassidy...

...and sometimes I wonder,
"Is Mommy ever coming to get me?
They make me work too hard here!"

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Household Miracle

After much pondering as to how to keep linoleum clean with a broom and less-than-perfect dustpan (you know, the one where the edge never seems to clearly or evenly touch the floor, allowing the greater percentage of "the pile" to escape under the dustpan)...

...And being of the school of thought that one cannot merely swish things around and call it clean. Rather, the offending dust, dirt, debris must be permanently done away with.

...Furthermore, realizing that if the floor is to be clean, I am the one to do it. It is now my house. My kitchen. My bathrooms. (Aaack.)

My thoughts immediately turned to suction! Vacuum cleaners are magical in that they cause evil dirt to disappear on contact. (Nevermind that there is always some filter, somewhere to be reckoned with.)

And then I saw a commercial, and my problems were solved. (Now, how often does that happen??)

The Swiffer Sweep+Vac is a modern household miracle. It's a cordless vacuum AND broom in one! With a swivel head, disposable sweeping cloths, and the vacuum for larger objects...the dirt and gunk is gone and my floors stay clean!

Plus, it's fun to use. The broom is only for the sidewalk, now.

$30 retail

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm Content

Just sitting here at our computer listening to a little light piano music before supper. My beautiful wife has, by the smell of it, just performed a culinary feat and I can't wait to sit down with her at our table. Work today was a bit taxing, mentally, emotionally. However, as I sit here letting the music and sounds of home wash over me, I am utterly content. I never knew that just coming in the door of our house would be so rewarding and so enjoyable. God gifted me with a treasure on July 16th, 2006 and I am so grateful! Praying all is well with you...


1 month, already!

It's been one month today since we said our vows in a beautiful outdoor setting, in front of hundreds of our closest family and friends. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!

And I love him more every single day.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Strawberry Freezer Jam

I decided I wanted to make freezer jam while Andrew was gone.

Why, you might ask? Why do you feel the need to can something just three and a half weeks into your marriage? You? A girl who cans nothing, ever? Well, even if you didn't ask all that, I did. After I'd already begun. (Story of my life...right, Mom?)

Well, I took a little time to consider my reasoning and how I came to the obvious conclusion that I must immediately make freezer jam.

A few factors:

1. The other day, Andrew and I had a conversation about jam vs. jelly vs. preserves. Not a big deal, except that I bought a jar of what was labeled "jam" and it ended up to me looking like what I've always called "jelly." You know, no seeds, no chunks. It was then that I realized we usually go for the "preserves."

2. Not wanting to have to deal with definitions in the near future, I thought I'd rather have jars of freezer jam to be able to pull out as needed. No need to buy anything!

3. The strawberry season watched its peak come and go (both in Oregon and Georgia). Even though they were beginning to look terrible, the grocery stores were still carrying them. Having no idea about berry seasons in this part of the country, and therefore no clue as to what would come next, or when, or if it's all done for the year...I knew I should act quickly and grab up the pitiful strawberries.

Well, I was still hulling and slicing clean berries when he did get home last evening. And, sweet as he is, he jumped right in and helped me finish the jam. He stirred the pectin and even ran to the store to get the right size of jars!

Yeah, so I don't know why "freezer jam" things hit me every once in a while. But there's usually a darn good reason or two behind it!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Welcome to FTX

FTX means something like "Field Training Exercise" in Army terminology. (Which would make it FTE, or else we ought to add an "E" to the FTX like "FTeX." Well, it's not up to me.) Onward.

FTX also means that Andrew has to be gone for anywhere from a night to a week or more doing this training with his company. In this case, my first experience with FTX means that he's got to be "in the field" for the next 2 nights. He packed up last night and this morning and headed out after breakfast. He'll be home sometime on Thursday.

FTX (at last) means "Finish Thank Yous."

So, Andrew's in the field and I'm in the house and we're both doing FTX. One way or another.

God Bless the USA.

Cassidy Lena Harper
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