Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pictures of Iowan stereotypes, II

So. We were in Iowa.....
Iowa looks like this.

And this. You see this? Iowa is filled to the brim with farming implements. Farming implements, cows, corn, and the occasional windmill.

Cody was just being generally enthralled with visiting a new place.

He's probably thinking something along the lines of "Oh my gosh, this is only the third feedlot I've ever seen. This is so exciting! Iowa is exotic. I want to hear some more people talk."

Or he's trying to figure out what that smell is.

Sometimes I feel bad for Cody and all of the country learning experiences he's had since we started dating.

But then it passes.

And then Chad's dad fed some cows. So his grandkids had to help.

You've got to start them young.

Jordan is two. He seems to love feeding cows.

He thought they needed something more....

So he began pulling up grass and throwing it in the trough with the feed.

Payton began doing the same. Payton is also two, and was once licked by a cow. This was pretty traumatic, so she would throw her grass in the trough and make a quick run to safety.

Tammy, Payton's mom, helped them pull up grass to throw all down the length of the trough until they were satisfied that they'd taken care of the cows properly.

I also want to you to look to the left.

Jordan is okay with cow tongues.

This lot of grass-fed beef is made possible with the help of hardworking toddlers.

You've got to start them young.

Pictures of Iowan stereotypes

I should have figured this out sooner, but didn't.

PS: Hi there, how was your weekend? Mine was spent almost entirely in the car or outdoors in the wind. It was fantastic.

Also fantastic: Mom let me play with her camera, ensuring that I could take and delete photos instantly (this instant gratification is probably why I have yet to develop my own roll of film).

BUT THEN: I had the hardest time uploading the silly things! I tried to send 2 pictures to Sara and met the limit on my email's message.

These pictures were enormous.


So big it was unseemly.

So I resized them into something a little more manageable.

Not to worry, the originally sized ones are still in Mom's camera, on her computer, on a disk I have in case we want to blow any of these up in high quality, 27" x 38" portraits.

I am only exaggerating a little bit.

Although I really wouldn't mind having a few 8" x 10"s of these.

Tell me this isn't one of the cutest pictures you've ever seen.

Chad's brother Brian has a flywheel tractor (you start it up by turning this wheel, which gets the engine going. There's no electricity on the whole contraption. Very cool). He started it up and Chad and Sara went for a ride.
It looks like they're having fun.
They probably are, the little farmers.

Both of our other siblings have seen this pictures.
Both of our other siblings have expressed disbelief that Sara didn't fall off and injure herself.

Especially once Chad started turning donuts in the middle of the road.

You know how guys get. They start doing donuts on the tractor and it's all over then.

And away they go.....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Because weekends are just so great

Hello there,

I'm typing this up on my mom's tiny computer, so please forgive any errors that may show up in this. I'm the car, we're speeding through Missouri, the sun is glaring on the screen, and I have no idea where this Internet is coming from.

My parents are reading an atlas, desperately trying to figure out how to get around Kansas City at rush hour, and Cody is trying to sleep. I'm pretty sure he's failing. We're trekking to ....... somewhere in Iowa for the Iowa reception phase of the Sara-Chad Year-Long Wedding Spectacular.

I can think of a no better way to spend my Friday.

It's been a long and nasty week for a lot of us. Every friend I've talked to has had a bad time lately. I'm really grateful for all of you who took time away from your own stressful routines to tell us on facebook that you were thinking about us and Cody's beloved Saturn. We still don't know what we're going to do about that, but we'll be a little better equipped to handle things now that my work's period of crazy time is past.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy this long-awaited weekend.

And I hope that you are able to do the same.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My dad is a father

I forgot to write a Father's Day post!

It only seems fair that I would since I wrote this for Mom last month.

So.....what can I say about my dad?

Firstly, I should probably mention that he, along with Mom and Grandmother, came over on his special Father's Day morning to help Cody and I clean and repair and fix up the rent house we're moving into next month. He seemed especially excited to be able to bring the tool belt Laine and Robert gave him for Father's Day (we celebrated officially and as a family the weekend of Sara's reception), the tool box Levi gave him for Christmas, and was a little sad that he could (edit: Wait, I mean "couldn't"!!!)bring the saw Sara and Chad gave him for Father's Day (I was a little relieved about the saw).

He also brought a coffee maker and enough cups for everyone. He also warned Cody to go to the store quickly and buy some milk so that I could drink coffee before I exploded with rage.

For whatever reason, I woke up in an unbelievably foul mood on Sunday. This was unfortunate in light of the fact that I was going to work at cleaning away stranger germs (and as it turned out, dust, mold, hair, grease, and general icky residue) in an under-air conditioned building on my Sunday morning. Dad overlooked this and cheerfully caulked half the bathroom (probably more than half) and made recommendations about house-living things.

He also cleaned all of the high places that Mom and Grandmother started, but couldn't reach.

And he razored quite a bit of paint and varnish off of windows.

And unscrewed the wretchedly paint-covered knobs on the cabinet drawers so that Mom and Grandmother could get the paint off. (They also did a lot of other really nice, helpful, and very clean and tidy things, but it's a Father's Day post so I can only talk about Dad.)

And he sweated.

And he drank his coffee.

He always drinks coffee.

And he stepped outside twice to take phone calls from Laine and Levi, who called from a safe distance away to merely wish him a happy day. And then he would come back inside to face me, as I drank my fifth cup of coffee and wished loudly that we had never signed a lease before seeing the hole in the wall and how did he plan to fix it?*

I have often wondered why people stress the importance of staying in touch with your adult children (a term I've never liked). I have no idea why a parent would want to do that.

But I'm glad mine do.

Like I've mentioned before, we've got some other things going on right now and we'll have to wait before we have another fixer-upper weekend. But my lovely parents have already assured us that when the next weekend is available, we will be spending it with some more projects to make the new place a little more pleasantly liveable. With prior approval, of course.


Lest you think Dad was doing all this simply because he's such a nice guy (although he is), we worked on the house from 10 until 2 or 3, and then went back to our apartment. Cody had made dinner of roast and potatoes and strawberry rhubarb pie. Sara and Chad were also present for the festivities and we gave Dad our cards and visited and watched Sara and Cody fight. He was graciously appreciative of the little Father's Day celebration, even though we didn't have sweet tea and I may have accidentally used foul language in front of him.

Abrupt subject change: Here are pictures of Dad!

Here's Dad a couple of months ago.
We went a NASCAR race and had a blast.
This picture was taken by me.

Here is Dad with Laine and Dallas.
He is drinking coffee and wearing a cowboy hat.

Here is Dad with Sara last year.
They can be incredibly cheesy in photos.

Here is Dad with Levi last summer.
They were having a great time at a car show in a parking lot.

Here is Dad at Sara's wedding with Chad's niece.
He is showcasing one of his many talents: bow-tying.
I don't if it was the Boy Scouts, or his ingrained perfectionism, but my dad ties a killer bow.

If you read my stuff fairly often, you've probably already realized that my parents are lovely individuals and great parents. But I like to point it out, anyway.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! You're great.

*I'm sure you're reading this and thinking, "Duh, Jen. They're called landlords. Let them handle this." To which I must reply, "Be quiet. It's my blog and I'll whine if I want." Also, if I have the choice between the landlords' paint job (I'll be ageist and say it: They're 80. Old people are not the best at repairing and painting) and my parents' work, I will go with my parents every time because they are really great painters and incredibly handy and it's totally okay if I start screaming hysterically about some idiot's attempt to use chair rail as crown molding half an inch away from the ceiling in the dining room in front of them.

Oh dear

Cody and the Saturn were in an accident yesterday.

Cody's okay. His arm is a little burnt from the air bag and he's sore.

The Saturn is probably out of commission.

Cody's not making any decisions until he gets an estimate from a mechanic, which should happen today. Bless him.

Y'all, the Saturn is probably gone. We watched as they attempted to get it off the tow truck and it was "heartbreaking." Cody's words.

It was his dad's car, and he and Casey learned to drive in it. He drove it through college. We drove away from our wedding in that car. At the time I took the picture up there, it was our only car and the back tire had a slow leak. Cody was getting some air before we made the drive down to Stamps to visit his Memaw.

I have a few hundred memories of the Saturn.

Yes, we call it the Saturn. It should probably have a capital T.

As not-thrilled as I am about our sudden move to the Single Car Family category (which we've discussed before. We could make it work, but we'd like to make it work in a couple of months) and the possibility of higher insurance rates (or losing them. Yes, of course Cody was at fault. And I'll go ahead and say: he was turning left.), I'm mostly upset for Cody and the loss of his beloved car.

I know Cody's not a 'car guy' in the traditional sense of the term. He doesn't worry about horse power, the fact that the back seats will fold down if he slams his brakes too hard, the peeling paint on the hood (about half of it is bare metal), and he doesn't care if the front passenger door will never open again even if he gets the car fixed.

He's just attached to the car.

I just thought you should know.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It really was a long time ago

My friend, Sarah, went on a wild uploading spree this past weekend and flooded Facebook with over a hundred old pictures of her family and friends.

This little treasure made its way to the Internet.

For the past workweek, I've stopped and looked at this picture in utter disbelief.

We look like babies!*

No wonder some people don't recognize Cody these days. Look at his little face!

Um, look at his hair.

Okay, now look at my face.

Holy smokes, look at my arm.

Oh wait, look at my leg!

This seems like a million years ago, but it was just fall 2006.

I even remember the day. Cody was probably already fired from his warehouse job in Maumelle and was probably already at his warehouse job in Little Rock.

His arms looked amazing when he was working warehouse jobs. That's also why he looks so slender in that picture.

I was sick. And you can't tell, but my hair is in pigtails.

It seemed like a good idea, as did wearing a red scarf with a red t-shirt.

We'd ambled around downtown Conway that afternoon, and I'd visited the glory that was Bella Lana for the very first time.

I was still a receptionist who drove an hour and a half every morning and every night to a job that paid $7/hr because I needed a job and this one gave me a wealth of proofreading experience.

The exhaustion is pretty evident.

I'm not sure if we had our new car yet, but we probably did.

The thought of that car payment weighed heavily on me.

The cost of everything weighed heavily then.

We'd gotten together with some friends to watch a Razorback game in Jason's apartment. We met his puppy, Rosco. Sarah was single when this picture was taken.

Now, Rosco's full grown (but still not very big. He's a Corgi.).

Sarah is married with a baby boy.

Bella Lana closed.

And Cody and I......

We live closer to our work.

We're happily out of our first year of marriage.

We have different and better jobs.

Cody's arms are still nice, though.

He has a beard.

I have glasses.

I've gained 3-5 pounds and it's made all the difference in the world.

I'm smiling in this picture.**

Look at our hair.

Look at that beard.

Things in general are just plain better.

But I keep coming back to this.

We were absolutely adorable.

So. Very. Sweet.

* I was 23 (nearly 24), and Cody was 22.
** Taken by Laine, at Mom's birthday party last December.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yup, yup, indeed.

I really enjoy this website.

And this one. (I especially enjoy this post, and want to try this project the way some people want to start a family. I may have had a couple of dreams about it.)

I want to do something creative.

I am not doing something creative today. Today's work is far below my payscale and training.

And last night, when my dear husband made scones for the first time*, I cleaned the house. My grandfather figure is back in the hospital and so I could do nothing but clean. I threw clothes in the washer. I made the bed. I cleaned the bathroom. I put clothes out to dry. I threw other clothes in the dryer. I vacuumed. I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and then I washed the dishes that were left by hand.** In my desperation, I even dusted the blinds (we only have 3 windows in the whole apartment, so it's not quite that laborintensive) and baseboards.

But while Cody made and did and thought and planned, I just cleaned. It was overdue, and I'm nearly done, and the apartment looks nice.

But I want to do something.

I miss the days of this
Wait, this is from last month.
(Photo by Laine.)

And this
(Photo by Alana.)

And this was fun, too!

Cody and I even bought these cans


at the store this past Sunday. Wide mouth, 16 oz. jars.

We're thinking peaches.

Superfun and creative projects probably don't await me when I get off work. But maybe they will.

I'll be picking up my pictures from the store and mailing them to people.

Chances are good that I'll be decorating the letters that accompany them.

Or at least the envelopes.

At least I get to use my spectacularly cute postage:

I like pretty things. I'm from Romance. We get excited about Love stamps. This is nearly too perfect.

*Even though he forgot to add fruit (and we had blueberries in the fridge!), the scones were a success. I am officially married to man who makes delicious scones. I've never been prouder.
**Cody completely trashed the kitchen while making the scones....and some bacon and scrambled eggs. I'm not complaining. Breakfast for dinner can be messy, but so very worth the trouble.

Monday, June 15, 2009

More of Sara's wedding festivities

Just a little visiting.
Just a little squinting.

Their lovely wedding cake.

The lovely guest book table.

Grandmother with my cousin's girls.

Our first family snapshot.

The happy couple!

Don't question it.
I just want to end with this photo.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I had a lovely time

Good morning! I remember you!

We've been busy at work. Very, very busy. We have been deeply involved with a high volume of very intense work on very tight deadline with absolutely no down time. Work has steadily increased with every day, which is the only consistency to this whole.... thing. Also, we've had some interoffice turmoil. I worked late two nights this week, and will probably do so again tonight.

And I have been crushingly sad. Not because I mind the work. But because I spent do weeks doing nothing, with all this picture-taking and blogging time on my hands, and I had absolutely nothing to say, unless you want to count my complaints about co-workers.

And that's not really news.

But suddenly, I had great things to tell you and I didn't even have the chance to upload my sister's wedding pictures until Wednesday or so, much less tell you things.

Very sad.

But now, because of a program error, I've got some time. I wanted to say 'hi' and that Sara was married this past weekend and it was such a great time. Here's a little explanation for some of the pictures from then.

Oh my goodness, it's my brother. Mom and Dad have visited Levi once or twice, but the rest of us hadn't seen him since Christmas. That's far too long. He's been busy with work. We've been busy with work. It's been awful. But he's been here all week. Here he is at the cookout Sara and Chad hosted at their new house for the families on the night before the wedding. Each sister ran out into the yard when Levi pulled in and could only yell wordlessly at the goatee and give him a big hug. Mom was surprisingly more articulate and exclaimed, "Your shirt has a skull on it! You know I hate skulls!" I wanted to just squeeze the breath out of him. Laine did that very thing a few times. Once she even made me take a picture on her camera.

Here's Stacey and her boys. They graciously lent Brian to Sara and Chad the day before he took several teenagers from the church's youth group to hike a mountain in Colorado for a week. The boys really enjoyed seeing the animals ...... and playing with Robert. We were so blessed to have Brian conduct Chad and Sara's premarital counseling and wedding. We were also so blessed that Stacey and Brian are the kind of people who will laugh when Robert tells their children to check the charge of a rusty battery by licking it.

This is Sara upon hearing that I didn't even know about the cookout until Thursday. Sara thought she'd told me. Mom thought she'd told me. No one told me, and I didn't know anything about it until Laine asked me what I was wearing for it. Awkward. They joked that would have eventually noticed if Cody and I weren't there. They imagined the scenario like this:
Sara: Where's Jen and Cody?
Laine: I'll call them. [Calls] Hey, it's 7:30. Where are you?
Jen: I'm watching television in my pajamas, what do you think?

I wanted to argue, but they were right.

I also took that picture because Sara and Mom kind of match.

Kind of.

It was a family-only ceremony. Dallas is family. Don't question it--he's in our pictures. And we were so glad he and his mom, Karen, were there.

We were also glad that Karen made it to the wedding unscathed. 2 days before my wedding, she learned she'd re-broken an ankle and needed immediate surgery. She asked them to put another cast on her leg so that she could get through the wedding and watch Dallas make his ringbearing debut. She even let us borrow her wheelchair for our grandmother.

One day before Laine's wedding, which took place practically in Karen's backyard, she was bitten by a brown recluse. And rather than necrotizing outward, the wound went down. She missed the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner because she was busy having her arm debrided. She made sure the bandage matched Laine's colors.

Unless you want to count the loss of Levi's goatee (and he does--he was really hoping Sara wouldn't make him shave), no one suffered any kind of injury before or during the wedding weekend. Given the size of the families involved, and our luck, this is amazing.

And, of course, Sara couldn't get married without her Erin Ann.

Erin actually missed her step-brother's destination wedding for this day, and we're so glad her family let her. It wouldn't have been the same without her. Both she and Dallas have signed our anniversary cards to our parents, and we've known her longer than we've known all of the husbands. Combined. She was Sara's only attendant, and she let Sara, Laine, and Robert spend the night at her house the night before the wedding and fed them cinnamon rolls in the morning. And she did Sara's hair, which looked great all day long.

I also just like this picture because it's classic Sara and Erin.

Thanks for looking at my pictures. I have to go back to work now.

Monday, June 8, 2009


This is Sara in a joke veil that Mom bought for the cookout the night before the wedding. Sara found it in Robert's truck on the way from the church to the restaurant and wound up wearing it throughout the entire dinner. She actually looked really beautiful like this!