The never ending painting project

Well, something else I can do with my hands that did not end up on my last list was - painting!

And oh do we have painting to do...

I can't believe we are almost two months into what I thought would be a super simple little project in the extra bedroom. But I tell you, we just have not had the time! This isn't to say I haven't been enjoying our busy lifestyle, because I really have. But, we've just ended up pushing this project kind of to the bottom of the list.

Last night we finally got back in gear a little bit. I transformed into what Nate likes to call "Scrub Beth"(basic grubby paint clothes, wouldn't be caught dead in public with them on!) and after dinner we managed to get some more primering done. We're getting closer to being able to do real live paint!

The challenge has been the fact that we decided to paint the trim. I really don't know what we were thinking, although who really likes blonde wood? Anyone? So that is the reason for all the primer work.

I told him, the goal is to have this all done very, very soon, the whole idea was to move our current bedroom to the back bedroom of the house so we'd have less street noise to deal with in the summer with the windows open. And May is practically summer! So tick tock I guess! We'll get there! I won't post pictures until I really have some actual progress to share. Right now it's just the primer on the trim, and that's just not that exciting yet.

Soon and very soon. And now I bet my choir friends have a song in their heads and are going to hit me....


The challenge

Once again, this is an all about me post because well, I'm the author so I can do whatever I want! I think Nate would be in support of my writing this though.

Those of you who know me really well know I have a really bad habit - picking the skin and cuticles around my nails. To an obsessive compulsive point almost. I've lived with this for years and years. Recently I found out there's even a medical term for it. It's really like an addiction, I know that seems rather disgusting to anyone who doesn't understand it, but I'm a type A personality, I internalize my stress and frustration and I have alot of nervous energy - so this is how I deal with it.

Well, lately, I've been tired of having to dig for bandaids at work, sick of pulling my sleeves down over my fingers so no one would see the sores, tired of worrying what other professionals I work with must think of me. And then the icing on the cake was a rather disturbing episode of the show House, MD that I saw recently and I'll spare the details but let me tell you it was enough to challenge me to do something.

I quit.

I did it cold turkey, because honestly, there's just no other way to do it. I just really needed to do it. Now I've tried before, many, many times in the past to the point where I'm sure some people are possibly even doubting my ability to really do it this time. But that's why I'm being so honest and public about my battle. I fully intend to succeed this time.

It's been nine days so far. My hands are healing. They are starting to look almost normal. There are scabs, scars and tissue that will take time to heal, but so far, I'm liking the results. When I make it a month I will get a manicure. When I make it a year, I will get a new right hand ring. This isn't to say it hasn't been hard - it has. Trust me. Especially when sometimes I would do it just out of boredom and the computer system has been up and down at work lately. But I'm going to do this. It's a challenge I will overcome. I just keep telling myself the hardest thing I ever had to do was walk away from the church I grew up in so everything else in my life will be a piece of cake.

So, for humor's sake, but also because it helps me, I'll leave you with a list of things I came up with over the weekend that are OTHER things I can do do with my hands:

1. I can color pictures in a coloring book

2. I can help Nate bottle a batch of beer

3. I can drink a bottle of said beer and just not put the bottle down (this makes it sound like I'm leading to other problems...)

4. I can play a musical instrument (haven't done this yet, but considering bringing my flute home from my parents to fiddle faddle around with for fun)

5. I can pet my cats

6. I can bake cookies

7. I can do a puzzle

8. I can play boxing on the Wii. Or Mario Kart. Or Guitar Hero or Rockband. I think the Wii is my new therapy.

9. I can type long blog posts like this one

10. I can hold my husband's hand and no longer fear that he won't want to touch my hand because it's all chewed up and unhealthy looking. Not that he ever complained, but I'm doing this for him just as much as for myself.

I'll keep you all posted of my progress!


Cold and wet but we did it

Well, it was wet and cold at the March for Babies, but we did it.  Did I mention it was WET?  Anyway, thanks to those who contributed, participated with me or just thought good thoughts for us, it would've been nice if the weather cooperated, but I happen to know that Fairview Clinics CPMG division met it's goal, so way to go us!

Now that I've had a hot shower and warmed up, I'm helping Nate bottle another batch of beer.  Am I a nice wife or what?



So this may not seem like something too exciting to alot of people, but it was to us so bear with me.

Because we got a nice tax return this year, both Nate and I were fortunate enough to get new glasses! This was a slightly bigger deal for me as it's been about 10 years since I last got a new pair. My prescription had changed a bit in that amount of time, but I would generally just get the lenses updated and would use the same frames. Then I wore contacts for awhile again, but decided they were getting too spendy.

I went for a long overdo eye exam and received my new prescription and got my new glasses in February. I love them! Two months later I am still getting compliments on them!

Nate finally went and had his eyes checked out at the beginning of this month. It took a little longer for his glasses to be ready, but they finally called yesterday and said that they were done! So we are both proud owners of new glasses and really, an almost whole new look for both of us!

Nate's new look

My new look


Less than a week...

Less than a week until the March for Babies. It's this Sunday at 11:00 in Minneapolis. I just wanted to thank those who have supported the cause and donated either online or in person with me! I've learned alot through being the site lead at my office and while it's been an interesting and even at times fun experience, I'm looking forward to it being over.

Anyway, think good thoughts for good weather this weekend, I hear rumors that it may rain!

It's not too late to donate if you have not done so yet, just go to http://marchforbabies.org/bethkondrick to do it online OR you can donate directly to me, as they practically ask you for your 2nd grade teacher's name when you go through the online process.

Thanks again for the support!


A tale of two Easters

Nate and I often times have a little bit of a challenge with holidays and our extended families and trying to make sure we spend time with all of them which usually leads to us being spread quite thin. However, when it comes to Easter, we have a unique situation that usually works out quite well for us.

Nate's Grandpa Pete, his mom's father, is Russian Orthodox. For the most part, the Orthodox calendar is slightly different from our Christian calendar. Therefore, their Easter is usually celebrated a week or two after our Christian Easter. Once every four or so years it will be the same day, but it doesn't happen too frequently. This works out well for us, we spend Christian Easter with my side of the family and then Russian Easter with his.

I remember my first Russian Easter still. We'd been dating about a year at that point and really weren't too concerned about sharing holidays yet - I usually went with my family and he with his since we were still teenagers living under our parents roofs. But after we'd been together about a year, Nate invited me to join him for Russian Easter. Since it was one of the years it fell separately from Christian Easter I agreed to attend.

I was so nervous, this was not actually my first time meeting his extended family, but probably the first time I spent an longer period of time with them. I was also nervous because I was at the time a very, very picky eater (I have improved SO much in that area in the last 10 or so years!) and feared what kinds of more ethnic type food I could expect. Nate kept throwing around these Russian terms and I'm like, hmm, what am I getting myself into.

I was pleasantly surprised! There was ham, sausage, rolls, breads and as for the more "ethnic" type stuff? I actually liked some of that too! Let me tell you, his family puts out quite a spread, you'll never walk away hungry, Grandma Dolly will make certain you do not.

His aunt had an Easter egg hunt for all us teens and 20 somethings which was a blast, the eggs had candy inside and some of them had money! I found one with a five dollar bill inside! We've continued to do that each year even though we keep getting older. She usually does a little kid one but still has one for us too. So my nerves went away completely as I realized, it really isn't that different from my Easter, it's just on another day. I've been going to both Easters ever since.

Now that I've been to nearly 10 Russian Easters, I'm very thankful that we get to experience two Easters in one year. It is the one holiday we don't have to really overplan for how we're going to get to see everyone or say "well we did this with this part of the family last year so we should trade off" etc.

We'll be celebrating Russian Easter this coming Sunday and I'm really looking forward to it!

We've been blessed with big families and I try to always look at it as a blessing, instead of a headache. I wouldn't have it any other way!


On this Easter Morn

He is risen, Alleluia.  To those who celebrate this day either religiously or not - Happy Easter to one and all.  I know I am counting my many blessings today!

I would also like to say a very Happy Anniversary to Gina and Steve!  It is hard to believe one year ago today Nate and I were helping you celebrate as you became man and wife - and that it was snowing!  Thank goodness it is not like that today!

Finally congratulations to one of my oldest friends Laine (many know her as my friend Jen) on her engagement this weekend.  I hope you and Ilon have many happy years together!

It is a beautiful day this Easter morning with many reasons to smile.  I hope all of you have good days too!


Just have to say...

Happy birthday to my mom today!

She's 51, but doesn't look a day over 40! I believe tonight we'll be taking her out to La Casita for yummy mexican food and margaritas, can't go wrong with that!


More beer fun

Our newest batch of beer that we have been enjoying may be one of our more popular ones to date. It's called a saison. It actually has a slight flavor of banana and clove to it. Overall it's a very light beer. It's been well received by people so far.

Nate has brewed up his chocolate stout again, which has been our very favorite beer to date. We just bottled it up over the weekend. This time, he will be saving some bottles to enter into a contest at the State Fair.

Currently fermenting is one I believe is called a rodan. I do not know what this one is going to taste like, Nate chose this one simply because, "it sounded different". I'm a bit frightened by that concept!

We've also been enjoying a smoked porter and his co-worker's cream stout.

Next on the list is a sizer - which is going to be a form of hard apple cider. We're taking advantage of a Sam's Club membership to buy apple juice in bulk! We'll possibly be brewing the Red Ale, which was our first brew, again in the near future as it's a lighter beer that will be awesome for the coming summer months!

I gotta say, I have really been enjoying our beer making and getting to enjoy the fruits of our labor. There's only been one batch that I was not a big fan of, so that's really not too bad considering I think we're up to at least 10 batches at this point!

It's fun to go to the beer store and see the different names too - there's one called a Lefse Blonde. I really want to make this one just based on my Norwegian heritedge! We'll see how things go.

We're hoping to have a couple of different beer parties this spring, with our friends and also with the Castoffs (or as we've now lovingly decided to call ourselves - Dips - which stands for Displaced Immaculate People. Thanks to Fr. Backer for pointing out that acronym). So at any rate we'll be sharing with all of you very soon!