Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkins, a flood and a baby.

September is ending with a bang. And a flood. And a baby. Let me explain.

I went into this weekend with very high expectations. Friday was to be a night of rest, movies, blankets and coffee with my husband. WRONG. We got called in to work at the Tacoma Dome for the booster club. Life of a band director's wife, I guess.

So instead of snuggling up on the couch, we spent the evening pouring beer and handing off pizza to crazed country music fans. My pants were soaked with beer, because the tap at my register was broken. And I wore flats, which filled with beer multiple times. AND I missed dinner. At midnight, while helping count all eight tills at our stand, I saw over 20,000 in cash. Never in my life have I seen that much money at once. Also, we broke our previous record (and Tacoma Dome record) of 18,000. The booster club gets 10% of all food sales, and 8% of all alcohol sales. In the end, they needed us at that show, and it will be good to see that check go to work for the band program.
At least I put my boots to good use this weekend. I didn't take many photos at the pumpkin patch because, rain and an iPhone don't mix well. But this was the flooded entrance to the ATM at the patch.
I was looking forward to the opening day at the pumpkin patch, which also was the beginning of a super storm in western Washington. Go figure. We still braved the rain and got plenty of beautiful pumpkins for our cottage. After the pumpkin patch, Aaron gave in to my very favorite fall activity, storm watching. The rivers were supposed to flood, so we drove around our town, over every bridge looking at how high the muddy water was rising. With coffee in hand, obviously. It was perfect. We also got to reschedule our comfy stay-in night for Saturday... so it was a win-win. 

Our cozy night-in on Saturday. Homemade kettle corn, wool socks, blankets, Aaron and blu-rays.

At about 3:45am on Saturday, I was fast asleep. Do you have an iPhone? You know how loud it is on vibrate? Times that by two (mine and Aaron's phones), and then times that by at least a dozen. That is the amount at texts that came streaming in, one after another, at 4am. BUT they were great texts! Our cousin Sarah went into labor, which meant our sweet cousin/nephew would be born SOON. Throughout all of our activities and errands on Sunday, we eagerly checked our phones for any baby news. We mostly just got silly texts about the baby being named after just about every male in the family. 

Aaron headed out to the Sounders game, and Talicia and I braved the storm in wellies and sweats to get dinner. This weekend was seriously shaping up to be awesome. Especially after the letdown Friday night. When Aaron got home, the baby STILL wasn't born. We were just about asleep, with the crazy rain coming down outside and the lights flickering on and off, when we got the call. Sweet baby Sèamus Aksel Ward was finally here! If only he weren't all the way in California! 

8lbs 8oz, 20 inches of pure adorable-ness.

I only stared at his picture for 45 minutes before I finally went to sleep, and early this morning we were awoken by yet another phone call! Apparently the power had gone out for good, and Aaron's school was starting 2 hours late. Woo! Extra sleep. An hour later, school was closed for the day. Ten minutes later, the power came back on. It was an unfortunate call for the school district to make, but how were they supposed to know the power would come back on so soon? I'm totally okay with them calling it! 

Fall is here, we're prepared for more storms, and our family has grown! 
So, bring it on October. We're ready for whatever is in store!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Friday!

Hey blogging world. Or blog reading world. Happy Friday!
This week, and actually the last couple weeks, have been pretty crazy for the Ruff house. Between job searching and nannying and major school-work, plus Aaron's 17,271 students this year crammed into 5 class periods and his new found hobby of soccer refereeing... we're pretty busy.

This morning I attempted to take my final exam for 'Foundations of Education', but halfway through the test, the proctoring site kicked me out and informed me that my computer is no longer compatible with their system. Why did they let me begin the test? Who knows. 

So to kick my frustration, I'm posting a Five on Friday for the second week in a row! Read, join in and HAPPY FRIDAY!


In the interest of growing my blog and trying to make it legitimately entertaining to read and keep up with, I made an 'about me' page last night. Blogger is funny about pages, and the way I think they should work is definitely NOT how the actually work. That's okay though, I made one just the same. I think I was delirious from studying for the previously mentioned final exam. It has a picture of Aaron and a lobster, so if you're interested... check it out. If not, that's cool too.
In case you skip the about me, I added this awkward family photo for you. We just wanted some family photos. Now we're material for a popular blog and a book on awkwardness. (PS- I love it.)

For my friends and followers in the PNW, where would you suggest going on an overnight trip? Aaron and I are planning on going somewhere for the weekend later in October, but we haven't figured out where to go. We were just in Portland, although we aren't opposed to a second trip. Where are some cool places you've stayed? 
The last time I was in Portland, I ate at Pine State Biscuits every day. (Two days). And I'd do it again.

My goal to do some sort of physical activity each day is going well. Our gym membership is back up and running, and I forgot how much I love our gym. Yesterday, my physical activity was toting around a two-year-old, including multiple trips upstairs and downstairs. That counts, right? She isn't light.
Grace, disapproving that I've said carrying her is a work out. Sorry Gracey!

Grace, after I've apologized. She forgave me.

For as long as I can remember, my family has made fun of me for always wanting to paint and re-purpose things. To their major disbelief, that actually became a real thing. People started up 'junk shows' with cool vintage treasures and re-purposed furniture. I've been to a few shows, but I am getting really excited for the Junk Salvation show coming here in November.
I'm definitely saving my spare change. 
Last spring I went to the Farm Chicks junk show in Spokane, which was INSANE and AWESOME. We spent the entire day shopping and browsing and making our plan of attack for Farm Chicks 2014.

I am in serious need of coffee right now. And since we already made french press today, and our regular coffee pot bit the dust, I think I'll throw on my boots and walk to my favorite coffee stand. I love life in the PNW. And I love coffee. 
Me, last spring, taking a creeper picture of myself at Starbucks inside Target. It happens.

Now go, check out other Five on Friday posts!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Inspiration Tuesday: Routines

Fall is here, and the craziness of summer is over. I do love the leaves, the weather and everything pumpkin flavored, but my favorite part about fall is getting back into normal routines. And my inspiration this week, while I am continuing to work on our fall decor (more soon, I promise!) is to get back into some old routines. This is actually inspiration for forever, not just this week. :)

Friday, I started back up with school work (boo!). It is really hard to study the 'fundamentals of education' when you aren't working in a classroom. I've also discovered that it is really hard for me personally to study when there are other things around the house I could be doing. Like dishes. Or laundry. Or watching Gossip Girl. Or spraying the house for spiders. All of which I've done today, instead of studying. But anyway.

The routine of schoolwork starting back up in September has been normal for me since I was five. How have I been in school so long and still not gotten my degree, you ask? Because I take a lot of breaks. My life is fun. School isn't my number one priority. Except when it is. Like this season of my life. 

This is not how Friday nights should be spent. But, someday I MIGHT be glad I did it. No guarantees.

However, that is NOT the routine I'm inspired to get back into. I mean, I'm doing it because I'm paying for it and because someday I want to do something other than watch other peoples' kids. Like teach other peoples' kids. Or watch my own kids. Or teach my kids. Moving on.

I have always loved fitness. Sports, meh. But physical fitness... I'm all for it. Aaron might make fun of me for bragging about multiple 'PE Student of the Month' awards I have in my high school portfolio, but only one athletic letter award. I like to be active, but I don't like games. I'm competetive in EVERYTHING in my life except sports. I was the kid who loved practices. My teammates would be so upset over a lost game and I'd be like, "I wonder if my mom will drive me to school tomorrow instead of making me take the bus." No kidding. So, moving on.

 I like to run (most of the time). I like to lift weights. I like to ride my bike and hike and swim. My goal is to do some sort of physical fitness activity each day. I'm not going to be so hardcore that after a crazy day I'm running miles in the dark rain. I don't hate sleep. But I have much more time than I think about to make fitness a priority and a part of my daily routine.

Ruff Fitness. Our living room. Sunday afternoon.

It doesn't hurt that a ton of my family is planning to run Bloomsday in Spokane in May. And yes, it's 221 days away, but I don't want to be the slowest one in the family. :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five on Friday!

I don't think I've mentioned it, but I am taking part in a really cool blogger box swap thing called a Cara Box, put on my Wifessionals. I've met (via email and blogs) my two email pen pals, Katie and Ashley. How is that we all have the most popular names of the 80's? I love it. Anyway, I am loving that I am getting to connect with other bloggers and can't wait to put together a box for Katie. Today, she linked up with another blog for 5 on Friday, so I am going to join her!


On my way to meet up with a friend for coffee today, I spotted one of my FAVORITE sights. Spooner's Farm was putting out rows and rows and rows of bright orange pumpkins. My heart leaps with excitement and I have to keep from swerving my car straight into the field. On top of that, I'm wearing a huge cozy scarf for the first time this season. And sipping a chai. So I'm in my happy place.

Me. With a pumpkin. Two falls ago.


I spent about an hour and a half looking up stuff about Disneyland with Charlotte, the four-year-old I take care of on Thursdays. I was looking up prices and ride videos and she brought out all of her Disney books to help me. Disneyland is calling me, and I must go.

This is Charlotte. I searched my entire photo collection for a picture of her. None are clear, because she does not sit still. Except to talk about Disneyland with me.


I cut my own hair last night. Which is actually a dramatic way to say that I trimmed the ends off my hair. It is a good inch shorter, but that doesn't matter when your hair is crazy thick and wavy. I doubt anyone could tell a difference if they tried, but I can.
Just an example of how you wouldn't even be able to tell if my hair was cut because it is out of control.


Is there any way that I can make a living by just blogging and crafting and being funny? I have an awesome craft supply! No? Shoot.


I am wishing and hoping a praying that there is some way Aaron and I can sneak to Spokane in the near future. Even if we did, I know we wouldn't have time to see everyone we want to, but it sounds so perfect to be sitting on the couch at Aaron's mom's house Liberty Lake laughing with the family, or talking in the kitchen at his dad's house with 4 adorable little siblings running around. Ah, well. Thanksgiving will come. Eventually. Orting is pretty okay.
The OHS football game last week in our hometown. It was a beautiful night and the Cardinals crushed whoever it was that we played. I'm more into the band. ;)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Inspiration Tuesday: Home Inspiration

Fall has arrived in the great PNW. And I am so glad. After a seriously crazy week last week, I needed the cool breezes and cloudy skies. I am all about the fall weather. And chai. And candles. Candles don't work in the summer. It is already so hot, who wants to light a candle? Ugh. 

Since I have my own house with Aaron now, compared to with my parents or roommates, I am so stoked to decorate for the seasons. I'm not planning on going crazy. It won't be like walking into a pumpkin. But it will be cozy. Which is another reason I don't like summer in our house, you can't be cozy inside on leather couches in 95 degree weather. Not possible.

From Pinterest, no link provided from site.
I started the perfect bunting, received a darling light up pumpkin, and plan on buying quite a few more little pumpkins when our pumpkin patch opens up. For now, that's my vision. It is still a work in process, but I've started a couple Pinterest projects and will post them as soon as they are done!

I remember my favorite house I knew growing up. I don't remember specific decorations, but everything went together without looking too perfect. (You know when a house looks great, but you're scared to touch anything? It wasn't like that. I sat on the furniture without fear.) The first time I set foot in my friend Amanda's house, I felt at home. It was probably a combination of candles and laundry detergent and her mom's cooking that made the scent of their house so wonderful. 

Their family moved, and I was able to visit on a trip across the country a couple years ago. Even in a completely different house, the feeling of coziness in their home was the same. And I know that it wasn't just the way her mom decorated that made their house so special or made it stick in my memory so well. It was years of girl's nights and sleepovers and bible studies and football games and campouts. It was prayer, and it was Jesus coming through the people in the house. 

Our house now is tiny, but it won't be like that forever. Still I pray that our home would be cozy, homey and restful. I pray for the memories we're making in our little cottage, and for the guests that will visit our humble abode. I pray they will feel at home, and know that there is something different about our house. And my decorating is just a little something extra.

What is your decorating style? Do you decorate with the seasons, or have the same stuff all year? Do you prefer LOTS of cute Halloween things, or just a few pumpkins and banners? What makes your favorite house your favorite?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Love Does

Remember two days ago when I made a list of 25 books I want to read over the next year?
Well, I may need to up the number of books I'm going to read. 

Let me first start by saying that I had a wonderful birthday. A couple people commented on my Facebook saying, "I hope Aaron spoils you" to which I say, he always does.
He spoils me everyday, and I'm not exaggerating. I mean, he makes me breakfast and coffee almost everyday. Now, I have to wake up at 6am to eat said breakfast, but he still does it.
On my birthday it was no different. He works until 5:30pm-6pm on regular days, but took off early on the 12th. We dressed up nice and fancy, and drove to BARNES AND NOBLE. If you want to make me happy, take me to a bookstore. No joke.

I picked out a book from my list, and purchased it with some birthday money. More on that in a minute. After B&N, we went to my traditional birthday restaurant... The Melting Pot! Dipping bread in cheese? Dipping brownies in melted chocolate and peanut butter? That is my kind of place.

The day was perfect. The night was perfect. And I love being 25. 

Back to the book, do you know how many people have recommended that I read Love Does? Directly, I think 6. Through blogs and twitter and other indirect ways, more than a dozen. So I bought it. I don't want to say I judge books by their covers, but in the spirit of being honest, I do. And this books cover had me.
Isn't it so nice?

I cracked the cover at 3pm on Friday afternoon. I read and read and read. I took it to Aaron's office at the school and read while he directed drumline. Drums don't bother me. I was too into it. 
On Saturday night,  I curled up in our over-sized chair with my Great Grandma Ellen afghan, lit a new pumpkin apple candle and read Love Does until I finished it.

At the risk of sounding completely cliche, Love Does made me laugh and cry. Out loud. Each chapter is its own story, all tying together to make the main point: Love Does. It's a book that you can read through quickly because you don't want to stop, but then go back and reread chapters as you need to. 

I will loan you my copy if you really need, but please go buy your own copy. Here's why: all the proceeds, and I mean ALL, go to charity. You will read about it in the book, but it is work the 16 dollars. Also, like I said, you'll want to be able to go back and reread bits and pieces. You will not regret it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Here we go, 25 books I'm reading this next year!

Today I'm twenty-five. 

I posted last week about how I like to read. And I like to make lists. And I like to cross things off lists. Lots of my followers gave me GREAT suggestions of books to read, and I also found a couple blogs that were super helpful in completing my list.

So after lots of thought, here is my list!

25 books to read while I'm twenty-five

1. 7 by Jen Hatmaker

2. Love Does by Bob Goff

3. Company Aytch by Samuel Watkins

4. A Circle of Quiet by Madeliene L'Engle

5. A million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

6.  The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

7. Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond

8. The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace

9. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

10. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

12. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

13. Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

14. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

15. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

16. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

17. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

18. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

19. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

20. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy

21. Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

22.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

23. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

24. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

25. You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt 

I'll be coming back to this monthly to let you know what I've finished and give recommendations! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Inspiration Tuesday, take one!

Happy Tuesday! I am very excited to start this new tradition:

If you go back to my post LAST Tuesday, you can see my explanation of what I'm trying to do.
Basically, we live in cool times. The internet keeps us connected with friends near and far through social media, blogs and email. The internet also provides us with a website of endless inspiration and ideas: Pinterest. To me, the trap of Pinterest is that people don't do anything. They mindlessly pin away, but don't actually DO or MAKE or COOK the things they are so inspired to pin. 
This is not just an observation, it's is a personal conviction that I am changing as of now. 
Inspiration Tuesday will include photos, blog posts, or messages from friends that have inspired me to move to action. And I actually have two blogging friends, Ashley and Stephanie, that 'inspired' me to create a link up. I wasn't really sure how that worked. Okay, honestly I'm still not sure how it works. So if I'm doing it all wrong and someone feels inspired to help me, please do so!

So here it goes, my inspiration from last week. And really, I have been wanting to do this for a long time. 

 A coffee bar.
I saw this on Pinterest and immediately knew it was something I had to do. So I followed the link over to The Cream to my Coffee, and made a mental note that this was in my future.

Flash forward about 4 months. Aaron and I got a house, and I moved in. Now, it's not really a house, it's more of a cottage. As in, it's tiny. See here. If you didn't click and look through, here is a picture of our coffee bar to begin with:

I'm not exaggerating, this is the ONLY space we have in our house for coffee. And we love coffee. This was not working.

So, after searching "coffee bar" on Pinterest and a quick trip to IKEA, I got to work. Now, I'm must let you know that this is still a work in progress. 
I want to stain the shelves and do a bit more styling. I pray everyday that my landlord will change his mind and let us paint. Even if it is just a fresh coat of white. But there you have it. Coffee bar inspiration brought to life! Now we have a little more space for our coffee addiction.

Next week's inspiration is fall decoration. It's supposed to be in the 80's all week here, so I need to get in the fall spirit! Link up and show me what you're inspired to do!

Friday, September 6, 2013


Every year, Aaron's family goes to Lummi for a long Labor Day weekend. This year was the second time I got to go. The first was as Aaron's girlfriend, and this time as his wife! 

So here's our trip through various instagram lenses. 

The drive up was CRAZY. It rained so much and so hard.We didn't hit any traffic until the rain started in. Thankfully it cleared up by the time we reached the island.

I took a picture of this sign last year. I remember being so excited to finally get there. I was even more excited this year!

We eat a lot of delicious food at Lummi. And play a lot of board games. And lounge on the beach. A lot. So this year, Sophia, Taylor and I kicked off the weekend with a hike. 
It. Was. Beautiful.

The view from the top was perfect. You could see a slight layer of fog on the water. I love when a hike has a rewarding view at the top.

From the yard and dining hall at camp, there is a beautiful view of Mt. Baker.

And again from the beach below. I usually have the thought, "Is this real?" while at Lummi.

One tradition that I love is picking blackberries. We load up and drive to a big field lined with blackberry brambles. We pick until we can't tell if it is blackberry juice or blood on our fingers. I know that sounds gross. I'm sorry. But blackberry picking is serious business. 

Then Aaron's mom makes a delicious blackberry cobbler back at camp.

This year, as we were getting ready to leave the blackberry picking field, William wanted to play hide and seek. He knew his sweatshirt was green and blended in, but his hair gave him away. ;)

We also decided to take on a project that would benefit camp. We considered fixing some doors in the bathrooms, but ended on building a new firepit. Aaron's grandpa Larry figured out the dimensions and number of bricks we would need, which was GREAT. (Except for the whole loading-a-hundred-18-pound-bricks-onto-a-cart-and-then-into-the-car in the pouring rain thing. But we survived.)

And this beautiful firepit was the result! We filled the bottom of the pit with rocks from the beach, and sang camp songs at the first official fire.

Sophia, Claire and I decorated the chalkboard outside the bathrooms. (Of course I was part of a project that included a chalkboard.) Sophia did the starfish and Claire did the awesome 3D work on the writing. Did I mention Claire is only 10? And her dad is a graphic designer? I wonder where she gets it??

As I mentioned before, we eat at Lummi. And we eat well. Homemade cinnamon rolls and homemade pizza, farm fresh corn and green beans with burgers, fresh salmon (or at least we ATTEMPTED... there was a little mishap with Bev. The clerk at the only grocery store on the island gave us her number. She promised 6 fresh caught fish for our dinner, but the boat came in a little later than we planned on eating. So now we have fresh salmon in our freezer. An entire fresh salmon. Eyes and all.) and rice, homemade cobbler... Lummi is pretty delicious.

Our last campfire was filled with marshmallows and lots of laughter. That sounds super cheesy and I'm sorry but its true. Aaron decided to use a huge wooden plank to roast his mallows. William was in a fit of hilarity and led us multiple camp songs, complete with motions, and at the top of his little five-year-old lungs. 

When we left, I had to snap a photo of the sign. How perfect and woodsy is it?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

twenty-five books

I'm setting a new goal (see #9 and #10 on my post 10 ways to procrastinate): 
Read twenty-five books while I'm twenty-five. 

At first I thought it was a small number considering my love for reading. But I'm also working on reading the entire Bible cover to cover. And I'm a full time student, so I think 25 is pushing my time, but not so crazy that it is completely out of reach. You know what I mean?

I turn twenty-five in one week, so I need to compile a list of books. That's where my blog reader's come in. I need recommendations. Give me whatever you have. Series, fiction, non-fiction, poems, how-to... I want it all!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Introduction of Inspiration Tuesday

Today is the first day of school in our district. Aaron's alarm killed me at 5:45am, but by 6am I was up and eating my toast, reading Genesis and rejoicing in the gray skies. I love fall weather and fall clothes. Anyway, it was strange to be up so early before I had to go into work, but I enjoyed an episode of two of Gossip Girl while I painted my nails and contemplated what I should wear. So let's fast forward and get to what I'm excited to post about: inspiration.

I used to do this thing I called "Inspiration Monday". The only problem with that was that I was never actually inspired to DO what I posted about. Lame.

In my defense, I was young, lived in a bedroom in a shared house, and had way too much going on. Now I'm still young, but I have my own house with my sweet husband. I still have a lot going on, but I'm better at getting stuff done. So here we go, my new plan:

Instead of just posting pictures of things that inspire my style, life, house, etc... it's going to be a two-part post. First I will go with my original plan. Post a picture of something cool that I like. Part two will be a follow up on me actually doing what I was inspired to do.

Since this is the first week, I kind of have to keep you in the dark about my project. Next Tuesday I will post the idea, the follow-up and an my inspiration for the following week. I'd love for people to give me ideas. Send me pins, comments, emails... show me what inspires you. Then carry out these projects and ideas and show me! I love the internet.

For a hint at what I'll be working on, head over to my Pinterest "home inspiration" board. Happy Tuesday!