Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Reflections

I remember as though it was yesterday, sitting in Grandma Liddick's dining room on December 31, 1996, commenting to my cousin Kristen about how sad I was to say goodbye to 1996. 1996 had been a good year for me. It had been my senior year in high school, I'd had the lead in the school musical, I graduated and went off to college (which I loved). 1996 had brought me a lot of joy and I worried that 1997 would not be so kind.

I do not share those same feelings as I bid farewell to 2008. I'm relieved to finally be done with this year and hopeful that 2009 will maybe make up for the year before. You wouldn't know it by only reading our blog, but 2008 has brought us a lot of disappointment and heartache. Most of these things have been very personal and private and therefore have not been shared in this venue. Just know that it's been a tough year.

2008 has been one tough cookie. And she wouldn't go out silently; she had to have the last word. Here on the very last day of 2008, as I type this, my husband and father-in-law are out in -5 degrees (actual temperature- I just looked it up on trying to change the tire that just blew out on the truck. This is typical 2008 fashion.

Lord, have mercy on us in 2009 and give me a little dose of that joy I remember from 1996. I've had plenty of joy since '96, but that was a year that seemed to ooze with joy. I want the kind of joy that oozes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A crazy coincidence

Mom and Dad Liddick flew home yesterday. Since the Mall of America is right across the street from the airport, we decided to head that direction a few hours early and catch a movie (Valkyrie) before dropping them off. David dropped us off at the door and left to go park. Unfortunately, 1) there were no parking spots to be had, and 2) he left his phone at home so we kind of lost track of him for a while. We tried to stay put at the door where he'd dropped us off trusting that he would eventually find his way back to us. We sent Dad up to the theater to get tickets and keep an eye out for David upstairs while Mom and I continued to wait by the entrance. We must have been waiting for at least 15 minutes before we finally saw a familiar face walk through the door. It was accompanied by another familiar face. Neither face belonged to my husband, but both faces mildly resembled him. David's parents walked in! They had been driving up to join us that evening and since they'd arrived a little early (knowing that we'd soon be leaving to take my parents to the airport) they decided to go play at the mall for a while. Of ALL the doors they could have walked through, they just happened to walk through the one we'd been waiting by because David just happened to not be able to find a spot there. We were still sitting there waiting 15 minutes after being dropped off because David just happened to not be able to find a spot until getting to the roof of the parking garage on the other side of the mall (this region of the parking garage was rightly named Alaska). David finally found his way to us not even 2 minutes after his parents walked in. It was just funny how if the slightest thing had happened differently, we may not have ever known that we were all at the same mall. Isn't it cool when God works those neat little surprises out for us?

Friday, December 26, 2008

What to do with leftover ham?

I just know that somebody is going to google search this question some day and find our blog. Oh well. If that's you, welcome.

We had several pounds of the most delicious ham leftover from yesterday's Christmas dinner. We cooked it in our George Foreman Rotisserie and let me tell you that baby knows what to do with a bone-in ham. Yum! We've fixed ham this way many times before but always threw the ham bone out afterward because we didn't seem to know what we'd do with the ham stock if we chose to make it. Last night Mom and Dad were recalling various soups that Grandma Liddick used to make with ham stock. So I called Grandma up to get some ideas.

We decided to make ham and bean soup with rivels for dinner tonight and it was INCREDIBLE!

We also made ham salad with some of our leftover ham. We all had sandwiches for lunch and they were quite possibly the best ham salad sandwiches we'd ever had. Both recipes we made today were great on their own, but I'm telling you, making them with rotisserie bone-in ham makes them unbelievable. If you decide to go out and spend your Christmas money on a rotisserie, I wouldn't blame you.

(I'm probably going to get google hits for the George Foreman rotisserie now, too.)


Well, I tried to upload a video of the opener from our Christmas eve service, but am having trouble. I may try again another time...

Mom and Dad Liddick arrived Christmas morning. We picked them up at the airport and returned to the house for a nice breakfast followed a little bit later by a showing of "White Christmas." They had a very early morning in order to fly from Rochester, NY and arrive in Minneapolis by 8:15, so we did a lot of resting and relaxing. David and I were ready for that kind of day after our Christmas eve service marathon we'd just finished. Here's Dad cuddling with Allie on the couch. Don't they look so cozy?

The afternoon was spent fixing dinner and playing Wii. Dad could spend hours and hours just playing Wii Sports.

After dinner (Rotisserie ham, sweet potato crunch, green bean casserole, homemade cressent rolls, chinese cabbage salad), several phone calls, and more Wii, we watched "Holiday Inn" while eating our apple crisp a'la'mode.

What a nice way to spend Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Random things and snow

We just got home from what felt like a pretty long day. We started at church at noon for rehearsal for our upcoming Christmas eve services. We'll do 2 services on Tuesday, 3 services in Woodbury on Wednesday, followed by 1 more at our Hudson campus in the evening. So at noon we fed our volunteers a lunch of Sloppy Joe's from the Famous Dave's cookbook and got right to work rehearsing music. David took the band in the worship center and I took the vocalists in another room. We finished with about 10 minutes to spare before it was time to shift gears and rehearse for this weekend's services. That of course lead right into our 4:30 service. After church we went out to dinner at Yang's with some fellow small groupies, Stu and Sadie. In an effort to get them to start blogging, we told them we'd blog about them:-)

After our long, slow drive home we discovered what we'd pretty much expected: a very snowy driveway. It's been snowing pretty heavily and consistently all day. Our new rule this winter is that we won't drive on the snow before first trying to clear the driveway. In the past we've been a bit lazy with this and tend to pack the snow down with our tire tracks. So when we got home, since I had my snowboots on, I walked down the edge of the driveway, grabbed the shovel, shoveled a path back down the driveway right to David's door so he could walk down the path (still in nice pants and shoes from church) back to the house. I know, I know, it sounds like I'm a pretty nice wife doing that, but trust me, David got the short end of the stick because he then had to change, put his own boots on, and snowblow the rest of the driveway. I did make him a cup of hot cocoa, though:-)

(This was the view from the garage looking down my shoveled path to David's truck still sitting in the road.)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend of Entertaining: Part 3

This afternoon/evening we had our annual Worship Arts Christmas open house for all of our volunteers at the Woodbury and Hudson campuses. This was our first time doing it on a Sunday afternoon; I think in the past we've done it on a Friday night. I feel like it was easier on us with the new time, but attendance seemed to be down a little from past years. I'm not sure if that's due to the time/day change or because of the yucky weather. Either way, we had a great time visiting with those who were here. It's such a nice opportunity to get to know some of our volunteers a little better, and also meet some spouses that we'd not been able to meet before (and maybe thought were just fiction! :-) As tradition holds, we seemed to have more food leftover at the end of the night than we started with. Hopefully we can pawn some of the leftovers off on our small groupies on Tuesday night!

(The Lord multiplied our loaves and fish. These are some of our leftovers.)
We got a kick out of this. We've mentioned our name twins, Dave and Melissa Belford before. They brought us a little gift tonight, but it totally looks like we gave it to ourselves:-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend of Entertaining: Part 2

David and his friends are downstairs right now playing World of Warcraft. Bryan has been playing the longest, David joined him last Christmas, and David Shivers is the newbie. Normally they'll just play online together (from their respective homes), but tonight they decided to all huddle in David's office and play together. Isn't that cute?

Weekend of Entertaining: Part 1

This morning we hosted an adoption baby shower brunch for a couple in our small group. I think we ended up having about 30 ladies from the church in attendance. It was a great time and Bryan and Emily received a lot of cute things for their little Jonah, who will hopefully make his trip to the U.S. in the next couple of months.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Like a good neighbor...

This morning I went out to shovel the couple of inches of snow that had accumulated since last night's driveway-clearing. I got about half of it done (one side) before having to leave for an appointment. (Technically, I got half of it done before getting snowed back in by the snow plow, then re-shoveled my way out, and was late for my appointment; but who's keeping track?) Anyway, I just returned to find the other half of my driveway mysteriously shoveled! My friendly neighbor Fred took it upon himself to finish the job while I was away. What a blessing!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

More before and after pictures

It has come to my attention recently that I neglected to show before and after pictures of the rest of the house. I gave you a tour of most of the main floor, and the tour stopped there. Please accept my apology and enjoy these pictures...

The master bedroom before... (The boxes on the floor are holding the wood flooring we were about to install)

Master bedroom after
... (Can you find Allie burried in the pillows? She'd spend her whole day in that spot if we'd let her.)

(The work to get here included: 2 new ceiling fans, a new floor, spackling and sanding the walls, painting the walls, window treatments.)

Guest room #1 before...

Guest room #1 after

(The work to get here included sanding the walls, spackling and sanding again, 2 coats of primer, painting, moving and installing the ceiling fan from master bedroom, and window treatments).

Guest room #2 before...

Guest room #2 after

(The work to get here included sanding, spackling, and sanding the walls again, priming the blue wall twice, painting, and moving and installing a ceiling fan from the master bedroom).

Guest bathroom before... (sorry it's sideways!)

Guest bathroom after
... (sorry it's sideways!)

(The work to get here included removing the wood cabinet from the wall, sanding, lots of spackle, sanding again, painting, and installing mirror and new towel racks, etc.)

Living room before...

Living room after

(The work to get here only indcluded priming over the ivy, minimal spackle and sanding, and 2 coats of paint. This may have been our easiest room.)

Christmas Baking

The weekend of the 13th/14th is going to be a busy one for the Gafford House. We're hosting a baby shower brunch for our friends, Bryan and Emily on Saturday. All of our small group ladies are throwing the shower, but it will be at our house. Then, on Sunday we're hosting our annual Christmas open house for the Worship Arts participants and spouses. When all is said and done, we'll probably have had over 100 people pass through our doors that weekend. Knowing this is coming right around the corner, I'm trying to do what I can to prepare for it in advance. Yesterday, Emily came over and we baked cookies for the open house. We made a batch of spritzes and finally figured out my Pampered Chef cookie press... kind of. We also made a batch of snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies. I already had a batch of monster cookies in the freezer from a couple of days ago. I think I'm probably set in the cookie department. Now I just have to figure out what else I can do a week in advance...

Here's Emily working on decorating her little spritz wreaths. They turned out very cute.