Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Inside

Here are a few pictures of the living area and kitchen in our new home.  Forgive the semi-dark pictures.  All our windows are on the north side of our house, so we do get some sunshine, but it's not exactly direct.  And remember, we live in Oregon.  These pictures were rapidly taken in the few minutes it was actually sunny yesterday.  Click on the pictures to make them larger.

This is the view when you walk in our front door.  The doorway on the left leads back to the kitchen.

Just another angle.  That door on the left of the wood stove is mine and Sam's bedroom.  That cat in the picture is a little ham who somehow always knows when I've got the camera out and jumps in to get his picture taken.

Here's the living room.  The front door is on the right, just outside the picture.

Another angle.  The door on the right of the front door leads to Ellery's room.

Our landlords bought us the rug that's under the table because the carpet is ridiculously stained.  They were going to replace the carpet, but when they found out we had cats, they decided to buy a rug instead.  Unfortunately, the rest of the carpet is pretty badly stained as well, and our cats have never had accidents on carpet.  But some people automatically think cats equals ruined carpets, so oh well.

Our Sara wall.  She and Heidi painted the one on the right, Sara drew the one on the left and Sam painted it, and Sam painted the one on the bottom in her memory. 

This baby keeps us nice and warm!

Kitchen, with my favorite thing - a DISHWASHER!!!  On the left behind the refrigerator is another room, connected to the bathroom, and the room in the back is a mudroom/laundry room.

Another angle.

A normal-sized oven!  Our last house had a tiny one that wasn't big enough to hold my cookie sheets.

And lots of beautiful counter space.  I do miss our tiny Petaluma house that literally had zero counter space, but we are enjoying having some space here.

This is definitely the favorite of the six houses we've lived in so far, and I'm sure we'll be sad when it's time to move out...unless of course it's back to California, in which case this girl will be pretty excited.  It's not that I don't like Oregon; it's just that I love California.

I've noticed on Pinterest lately lots of really cute decorating with tons of white and neutral colors.  I always think it looks so nice and clean and think maybe I should decorate with more white.  Then realize I could never live without lots of color.  I even bought a white duvet cover for our bed, and Sam covered it with a bright quilt because the white was too colorless.  Good thing we're married and both like lots of color in our lives.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Just Some Rambling Thoughts

I'm not sure how old I was when I started to feel that my value was measured by my intelligence.  My parents never did anything to pressure me or make me feel that I had to perform well in school, so I can't say that it came from them.  Perhaps it was because I was the youngest, with three brilliant older siblings to follow.  At the beginning of the school year, the teacher would say, "You're a Wuth?!"  From the shining, hopeful look on their faces, I knew they were expecting me to be just as smart to uphold that Wuth name. 

I'm sure part of it had to do with my own perfectionist personality.  When I was in fourth grade, my dad called my teacher wondering why I had been assigned so much homework. My teacher met with me and went over my work and told me I was going far above and beyond what was required, and was actually creating more work for myself than she was expecting.  I was simply doing my best, what I thought I needed to do to be successful, and apparently was doing too much.  I felt I was letting my teachers down if I didn't get the best grade on a paper, or finish math tests with the best time.  My teachers never did anything to intentionally pressure me, but their reaction to my work accompanied by their praise became something I felt I needed.  If I wasn't getting the best grades, I thought they were disappointed in me.  This continued into my high school and college years.  I remember when my college advisor told me I needed to get my first B, so that I could see that life still goes on without a 4.0 or better grade point average.  But for some reason, I felt that if I wasn't known as smart, I didn't have much else to offer.

I had to drop out of college for reasons I'm not ready to talk about on my blog.  Looking back, I might have been able to stay in, but at the time I didn't see how it was possible.  I signed over my full-ride scholarship and assumed I'd never return to school again.  I thought I had let down my teachers and principals, all those people who had invested in my education.  I thought I was such a joke - a valedictorian, dropping out of school halfway through her sophomore year.

I try not to think about the fact that if I'd stayed in school at Long Beach State, I would have had school completely paid for, and wouldn't have student loans looming over my head.  I try not to think about the fact that I have enough credits to graduate, just not all in the same degree focus.  I try not to think about the fact that by now, I could have two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree.  I try not to think about the fact that if I'd stayed at Sonoma State, I would have graduated a year ago.  I try not to think about the fact that when I left SSU, I only had nine classes left, and due to transferring to a different school, I suddenly needed seventeen classes to graduate.

I try not to think about those things, but obviously I do.  Each thought carries the weight of regret, the shame of what I feel were bad decisions made in my youth.  Sam reminds me that if it weren't for all of those things, he and I probably wouldn't be married, and I certainly wouldn't be pregnant with our little girl.  I wouldn't change either of those things; I just wish it didn't seem like I ruined so much of my future. 

I feel that until I have that silly degree, that stupid piece of paper, no one will think I'm smart.  People will just assume that since I'm not a college graduate, I don't have the intelligence it takes to finish school.  Unfortunately, I know too many college grads who aren't that smart, who simply passed their classes and had the means and opportunity to go to school.  So I know that's not true; but still, I can't help but feel this way.  It's completely a pride issue.  Why do I care so much if people think I'm intelligent?  Why does the opinion of others matter so much?  And why am I still holding on to that false belief that I'm only as good as how smart I appear to others?

Sam and I have been taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace classes, and have been really motivated to be wiser with our finances.  Last night we came to the conclusion that the best thing to do right now would be to hold off on school.  We don't want to take out any more student loans, so until we can pay for it outright, it doesn't make sense to continue with classes.  And at this point, I'm planning to stay home with Ellery, so it's not as if I need a degree in order to further my career.  I do hope to have a career one day, hopefully in publishing or editing.  (Sam promised me that if I get a good job with a publishing company in San Francisco, we can move back to my beloved California, and glorious Sonoma county.)  That's still my goal, but I don't feel the desire to pursue that type of career until all our kids are in school.  So really, there's no rush at this point to get my degree.

When I think about it logically, it makes sense.  And yet when I realized that I'd be putting off school for even longer, I was very sad and disappointed.  I felt that I was finally taking those last steps toward graduating, and now I would have to put it on hold.  Ultimately, I know we're making the best decision for our family.  It's very important to me to stay home with Ellery, to be the one to teach her and train her, and I'm so thankful Sam supports me in that.  It seems selfish to be using that money and accumulating more debt just for my own pride issues, especially when I won't be bringing in any income myself.  I knew that if I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom we would need to make sacrifices - no extravagant vacations, no buying a house yet.  But those aren't really things I care about anyway.  Giving up school was what hit me the hardest, and it didn't occur to me that it might be a sacrifice I would have to make if I want to stay home to raise my daughter.

But after some tears and comfort from Sam, I was able to see how this could be a good thing.  I've really been using school as a crutch, and an excuse not to write.  I feel so busy with writing papers and reading materials for school that I don't feel I have the time to be writing creatively, or reading those things that inspire me.  My coworker keeps hounding me to write, but I say I can't, really, until I finish taking all those creative writing classes.  That's when I can write, when I'll know what I'm doing.  Nevermind the fact that I've learned more about writing from reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird than in any creative writing class I've taken.  Nevermind the fact that writing doesn't demand a college degree.  Nevermind the fact that some of the writers I love the most, like Lamott and Ann Voskamp, don't have college degrees either.

I needed to write all of this out to remind myself again what my priorities are, and where my value lies.  I must forgive myself for my past mistakes at some point, and accept where I am and make the most of it.  Here's a small step toward making that happen.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Creating and Belly Truths

When I think of this little baby growing, and think about her future brothers and sisters, one of the things I hope most for them is that they are creative.  I try to think of how I can encourage creativity in my children's minds, and help raise people who aren't afraid to be individuals and cultivate their creative side.  Fortunately, we're studying creativity and intellect in my psychology class right now, and studies show that creativity thrives in environments when parents encourage new ideas and ways of thinking differently.  So the good news is, there are things I can do to foster an environment that allows children to grow in this area.  I think my sister-in-law, Becca, does a great job of this in letting my niece dress herself.  Sometimes Ashley picks out the most outrageous outfits, and I'm sure less creative parents are wondering why anyone would dress their child that way, but I love that this simple practice is helping Ashley become exactly who she was meant to be.

I will of course introduce my children to music, art, and books as soon as possible, because I think early introduction is what did it for me.  (Due to her parents' love for musical theater, Ellery will be watching Danny Kaye movies from the beginning, so she'll have plenty of exposure to that.  In fact, she's already getting it in the womb.)  Speaking of which, Mom, thanks for always reading books and being that example for me, and for encouraging me to keep singing, performing, and writing.  Dad, thanks for writing songs in the living room at the piano, because I saw first-hand what it looks like to write a song.  I witnessed the entire creative process; how difficult it can be, how much effort goes into even small projects, and how satisfying it is to be able to share your finished creation with others.

As a disclaimer, I'd like to add that I'm in no way trying to force anything onto Ellery.  If she is more interested in science and math than literature and the arts, then great!  I'll be in awe of her.  But I think even in those left-brained pursuits, there is always room for creativity and figuring out new ways of accomplishing things. 

Can anyone else offer advice on how to raise creative children?  And yes, I'm actually asking for parenting advice this one time, on this one issue.  :)

And now for some belly truths.  I think it's so nice that people have been saying that I'm "all baby", and I've been smiling and thanking those kind souls, knowing in my heart that I'm not "all baby".  It's time for some honesty, people.  Whenever I gain weight, it goes to my belly and my face.  (As you can see from the picture below, nothing has gone to the booty, which is somewhat of a disappointment to me.)  So below is a picture of me holding in my stomach muscles, so it is fairly indicative of how big the baby is right now.  The following picture is when I'm letting it all hang out, all of last night's pizza and this morning's two bowls of cereal.

See the (significant) difference?  So yeah, this weight-in-the-belly thing is fine for now, when I'm supposed to have weight in my belly, but come June when this baby is out, y'all will probably keep asking when I'm due.

By the way, I'll be twenty-six weeks tomorrow, which means that today marks 99 days until my due date.  We're in the double digits, people!  I think that's a good time to make a paper chain...

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Last night I was pondering what to give up for Lent.  The obvious answer was sugar, but it wasn't so much for any good reason other than vanity - I don't want to gain any more extra weight during this pregnancy.  I wish I could say my intentions were noble and I just want to be healthy for the baby, but to be honest, it's just that I'm vain.  So I felt like giving up sugar would be more for me and my own selfishness, not for what lent is really about.  (Besides, pregnancy has brought an all-time low to my willpower when it comes to sweets.)

My next idea was to refrain from watching television.  Immediately I thought, No way, I'm not giving up watching TV.  Because I was so adamant in my protests, I realized that was exactly what I should give up.

Now let's be clear: Sam and I don't even really have TV.  We don't have cable or even bunny ears, so we literally get zero channels on our television.  We watch everything on Hulu Plus or Netflix, and are generally able to keep up with whatever shows we enjoy.  So I never mindlessly flip through channels, and if one of the shows we like wasn't new that week, I'm not watching TV.

But I realized I still waste a lot of time watching television, time that could be spent doing homework, housework, or hanging out with Sam.  And once the baby comes, I imagine I'll have a lot less time for TV anyway.  Not to mention, I know children emulate what they see, and I don't want Ellery to see her parents watching TV all the time.  I'd hate to introduce her to that habit; I want her to see us reading or being active in some way.  So, for these reasons, I'll not be watching any TV until Easter, which will hopefully help me get into better habits regarding television.

This is my biggest problem with my decision:

There is only one episode left in this season of Downton Abbey, and it will air on Sunday.  I usually watch it Mondays online, so part of me considered just watching this one last episode.  But that would defeat the purpose, right?  Here's the other reason:

Judge all you want, but this show is hilariously entertaining.  And I'm not thinking I'll really miss the actual show all that much.  The problem is that there's no way I can keep from learning who he picks before I'll be able to watch it for myself, as it will be online and on magazine covers at the grocery store.  So to save myself from being tempted to watch it, I went online and looked up who he picked, just so the curiosity would be gone.  But I will be watching the last episode of Downton myself after Lent, so if anyone tells me what happens, we will no longer be friends.  Just saying.

This morning I thought to myself, I must really love Jesus to be giving up TV, and then realized how utterly ridiculous that thought was.  Really?  Based on the fact that I'm giving up something that benefits me in no way whatsoever other than entertaining me, I'm going to go around pretending that this somehow makes me holy?  Nope.  If anything it just shows how shallow I can be.  Still, I hope to learn from it, to grow from it, and to actually learn to love God more through it.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Address

Sam and I moved a couple weeks ago.  This is our new home.

I plan to spend lots of time with Ellery right here.  I'm so thankful she'll be born right before summer, when we'll be able to enjoy nice days on the porch.

This is our backyard.  According to our landlords, the garden is pretty beautiful come springtime, if we can keep it up.  That will be Sam's job.  I have zero interest in gardening.

Anyone want to come over and use our sauna?  Yes, half of this is a shed, the other half is a sauna.

No pictures of the inside yet, due to the fact that it is not quite unpacked and still rather messy.  I'll work on getting those up soon.

My blog also has a new address, for those of you who didn't notice.  The truth is, my old blog still exists, but I reached my limit on my pictures on my other Google account.  The pictures I take on my phone automatically download to that account, so if I wanted to keep blogging over there, I'd have to stop posting pictures.  And since part of the reason I blog is to show my friends and family who live far away what's going on in our lives, I can't blog without pictures!  Plus, photoless blogs just aren't that exciting.

So, if you're one of those friends or family members that want to keep updated, this is where I'll be blogging from now on, not the old spot.  Maybe someday I won't be so cheap and I'll actually pay for more storage space for photos, but until that day comes, I'll just keep doing this.