Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reformation Day

Did you know that's what today is? Reformation Day. The day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the All Saints' Church, an event that has since been credited for the spark of the Protestant Reformation. A pretty good day to celebrate, don't you think?

Better than Halloween in my opinion. We in the Luce household enjoy dressing up most days of the year, so of course October 31st is no different. Throw in a little candy to sweeten the deal? Well, let's just say we have a day that warranted Marianna going around to her little friends last night, grabbing them by the upper arms, and with a smile stretched across her face exclaiming, "Tomorrow is Halloween!" But there is something about celebrating Halloween that I don't like. To me, there is still so much evil associated with the day, so much darkness, that it doesn't sit right with me.

Of course, for the purposes of the little girls in my house, the extent of Halloween is getting to dress up in beautiful costumes, get loads of candy, and play with friends. And there's nothing wrong with one little bit of that. I just don't want to celebrate Halloween itself. So I like that today is Reformation Day. Something worth celebrating along side all of the fun that comes with October 31.

In anticipation of today, last night we took care of a few preparations.

We started in the kitchen, as Marianna exercised some superior skills with a tube of icing.

The finished product. Quite cute, I do believe.

And then we took care of our pumpkin. No carving for us this year. We went with the surprisingly cleaner alternative of pumpkin painting.

A very colorful finished product.

Today's festivities have not begun, but they will center around one Alice in Wonderland (or Allison Wonderland, as Marianna prefers) and her faithful side kick, Adrienne Bee. The big fun comes later this afternoon and evening. Trunk or Treating at church, trick or treating at home, and a birthday party for a friend to wrap it all up. Happy Reformation day indeed!

Monday, October 26, 2009

a series of disproportionate events

This morning I'm back from a wonderful, and slightly wacky, weekend in Louisville, where we got the chance to visit our good friends, the Boevings. If you work with me on the title, you'll see that while nothing that happened was really unfortunate, things didn't exactly go 100 % as planned. Thus, disproportionate. Maybe not the best word, but definitely the most catchy.

Let's begin with my in-car entertainment. I had planned to use the 6 hour car ride from Memphis to Louisville to begin knitting a baby blanket for my new second cousin, Townes, who will be arriving in December. I've got mad blanket knitting skills, but my talent ends there. I can stitch row after row until I've got a square, but if you want something with a shape other than a rectangle, you've come to the wrong person.

I began knitting as soon as the tires hit the pavement, hoping to make big-time headway. Well, headway I made, but not in the direction I was hoping. I'm not sure how, but I soon discovered that the "blanket" I was working on was more like a full size bed spread. What's worse, after my first ball of yarn was up, my work in progress was only 3 1/2 inches long. What does that mean? About 100 balls of yarn were in my future if I continued on the path I set out on. So the blanket morphed into a scarf, and a rather long one at that. Just over 7 feet, if you want to know. It's lovely, if I do say so, but boy is it long. So much for the mad skills.

Next in the series of weekend adventures was a disproportionately hard hit to the head taken by little Aubrey Boeving shortly after we arrived. Adrienne was running around with the Boeving sisters, when suddenly Aubrey tripped and ended up falling headlong onto the corner of a chest with nothing to break her fall. The cut was deep and required stitches, so Nathan, Adrienne, Savannah, and I spent a quiet evening in the house while Aaron and Laurin took poor Aubrey up to the emergency room for three stitches. She was a champ the rest of the weekend, sporting her band-aid proudly.

On Saturday followed a disproportionately cold day for the fall festival taking place right next to where the Boevings live. Three very cold, but cutely costumed, kiddos tried their best to enjoy a frigid festival before we packed it up and opted for warmer in-door play. And just hours after that, I followed up our disproportionately cold morning with a disproportionately long run alone. Laurin, still recovering from laryngitis, couldn't go with me, making the 7.4 miles I did my longest solo run to date. The trees were gorgeous and the day had warmed up, making for ideal conditions for the run, but still, I missed her company!

Wrapping up the wacky weekend of a disproportionate nature was our drive home Sunday afternoon. The three hours to Nashville flew by like the wind, leaving us marvelling at what an easy drive we were experiencing. We even anticipated getting home ahead of schedule and cutting 30 minutes off of the 6 hour trip. But that was not to be. Two very long, very unexplained traffic jams had us pulling in at 7:45, nearly 8 hours after leaving the Boeving's house. Adrienne proved to be car-rider extraordinaire, but still, two periods of standstill traffic, each lasting longer than 45 minutes, in the distance between Memphis and Nashville? It's just plain disproportionate.

And so our series of disproportionate events came to a close. Or so we thought. Fast asleep after our weekend adventure, we didn't expect the little surprise our alarm system gave us around 4:00 am. I woke up to a rapid beeping sound, which we soon discovered was our alarm system panel on the fritz. Nathan thought it was shorting out, and this seemed to be confirmed when it completely lost power a few minutes later, appearing to be totally dead with no lit buttons. Oh, if only. No that little alarm panel was not dead or shorted out. Instead, over the next two hours the panel would activate, deactivate, make a series of beeping sounds, and power off. And then it would do it again. I still have no idea what's going on, and I'm a little afraid to open my doors since I'm not ever sure whether it has set itself or not. A little unnerving for sure.

But appropriate, don't you think? It completed our weekend very nicely. Now all I need is a nap to catch up from our wildly wacky series of disproportionate events.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Ready for a few kitchen fast balls? If a recipe called for a little lemon zest, would you know the exact tool to grab? If you were told to braise a piece of meat, would you be able to launch into action? If you had nothing but your bare hands and a stubborn glass jar, would you be able to get the top off without the need for reinforcements? My answer to all three of these questions would have been a big fat no a month ago.

But not any more. I am taking a class on Wednesday mornings called Secrets, and it has been revolutionary to my domestic skills (or at least has illuminated the fact that I didn't have all that many of them to begin with). The idea behind this class offered by Bellevue's women's ministry is to teach younger women the tricks and secrets to cooking and other domestic endeavors. Taught by some of the ladies of the church, it is both practical, educational, and fun! For example, this week we learned how to make four one-dish meals with a rotisserie chicken. The ladies even made the recipes for us to sample. You just can't beat that =).

This week's class also focused on organization. A guest speaker came in and shared some of her tricks of the trade for organized living, one of which revolved around a website called It was so amazing I thought it was a must share idea. This website, created and maintained by moms, is designed to make meal planning easy by doing the meal planning for you. Each week, seven complete, well-balanced meals designed to feed 4-6 people are available, along with the recipes, grocery list, and instructions. You literally just print out the list, and out comes one list for instructions and another for the grocery. And it gets better. You can plug in your grocery destination of choice, and the website will make sure that the meals for each week center around the specials your particular store is advertising that week. So if pot roast is on sale, one meal that week will probably be a crock pot roast. Pretty cool? I thought so. And it's only $5.00 a month to join!

I haven't gotten my membership yet, mostly because we just don't eat at home that many times a week, but I'm definitely keeping it in mind for the future. And if I hear of any more irresistible secrets, I'll pass those along too!

A few secrets of my own this week?

*Let the girls brush their teeth in the bath tub each morning. We kill the proverbial two birds with one stone, and potentially save an outfit from a red toothpaste fate to boot.

*Edit your pictures at home and print them off at The shipping fee is less than the gas it would take to drive to the store two times, not to mention the time and frustration of editing pictures with two kiddos in the cart!

*When trying to get out the door, get the kids ready first. That doesn't necessarily mean we'll be on time, but it does mean that it will just be me rushing and not all three of us. And trust me, that is infinitely better.

Last, but not least, tomorrow is the much awaited Christmas in the Valley crafts fair! I really hope to see some of you there. Thank you to everyone who participated in the contest! I am happy to announce that our winner, picked by, is Karlye. I will get your book to you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

lessons in self-discipline

When I was in college I worked for Starbucks. To best juggle school, work, and marriage, I worked as an opener, which meant arriving at 5:00 a.m. to open the store and be ready for the first customer at 5:30. That wake up time, somewhere between 4:00-4:15, was scary at first. I had a hard time imagining that my body would really function behind a wheel or in front of an espresso machine at that time of the morning (or night, whichever way you look at it), but to my pleasant surprise it did. There was something wonderful about walking into a store where the smell of espresso hit you like a wave, waking you up gently as the caffeine seemed to seep into your pores.

I worked there for over a year before I graduated from college and took a teaching job, and the early wake-up habit proved to be one that stuck. For awhile. For a long time, waking up at 7:00 felt like sleeping in, and anything over 7:30 was unheard of. But over time and after children, all of that changed.

I happen to have two girls who are fantastically late sleepers on most occasions. In fact, on Saturday morning I got back from my run at 9:30 to find Nathan and the girls had all rolled out of bed just moments before. What that means is that I am virtually never woken up because of a child. I am the first one up.

There is a gold mine of opportunity in those morning hours before M and A are up, and I know that the possibilities of what can be accomplished in that time are unlimited. The problem is, I've gotten lazy. Knowing they will sleep has led to sleeping in a little later myself. And before I know it, that window of opportunity is something like a shrunken shirt: still there but too small to be of use. I want to change, but I've discovered wanting it, and wanting it enough to do something about it, are two different things.

If I get up with Nathan every morning at 6:00, that would mean at least 2 hours of uninterrupted time to get my day off to a great start. I could work, have my Bible study, do some cleaning, you name it! It would be amazing. Amazing enough that I decided last night that I was really ready to do something about it. I promised myself that at 6:00, I would wake up.

Well, I did indeed wake up at 6:00, but I discovered another important part of the equation that I had overlooked last night at bed time. I found out that I can be awake in bed for a solid hour before my body feels ready to move. Yes, I am speaking from this morning's experience. So lesson number one in self-discipline: swing those legs out of bed and get up! Consciousness from underneath the covers doesn't count.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Christmas in the Valley

Christmas in the Valley is just around the corner, and we need your help to get the word out! To help spread the word, my sister, Rachel, asked me to do a giveaway for a copy of Poppies in December. I know that all of you don't live here and obviously won't be able to make it, but there is still a way for my out-of-town readers to enter.

To enter, you can do any of the following. Please be sure to leave a comment for EACH of the following that you do:

  1. Become a follower of my blog and leave me a comment saying you did! If you’re already a follower, just leave a comment letting me know that you already are! (that way every reader can have an entry =) )
  1. My sister is doing a vendor spotlight each day on her blog from now until Christmas in the Valley (Oct. 17th). Go to her blog( and come back here and leave a comment saying something you learned about that vendor (1 entry per vendor – you can earn extra entries for EACH vendor that you comment on back here – just be sure to leave a separate comment for each one)

3. Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment here saying you did to get an extra entry.

Winner will be selected on Friday, Oct. 17th by

The comments on this post will stay open all week, even when new posts appear. I hope to see some of you next Saturday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lately... (with pictures)


One nearly four year old little girl has been a little Ariel crazed.

FYI, I'm happy to report that Ariel-in-a-box is now Ariel-out-of-the-box. And we all breathed a little sigh of relief for that.


Our 16 month old little girl is not such a baby any longer.

What is she? Pure sunshine. Amazingly big. Brave, daring and independent. But definitely not a baby any more.


Marianna has had a lot to smile about.

She has started ballet and art class, she is quite busy planning a pink poodle themed birthday party and praying for a little brother (one that is definitely not on the way), and she has discovered the joy playing the Wii with her daddy.

She also went to Disney on Ice.


Adrienne has grown enough hair to be wind blown.

She has also grown a wild side and decided that nothing is to big for her. Even if mom has to come along for the ride.


It's fall, and that means sewing! I have started on the newest set of outfits, with the first of several completed just last night.


Life has been good.

Fall weather, playing with friends, enjoying all things outdoors. Life has been very, very good.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the vigilant eye

Those of you who know me only through this blog may not know that I have a classic case of over-cautiousness, known also by the uglier moniker of paranoia. I prefer over-cautiousness =).

I was trained in this art as a youngster by my over-cautious mother, the one who would instruct my sister and I to hide under the bed with the phone, ready to call 911, whenever a strange man knocked on the door during the day. The same one who famously slammed the door on a man who later turned out to be a new neighbor bringing by doughnuts or something as a gift. I suppose the propensity toward due diligence (or excessive diligence) is something not easily shed.

I discovered this one night just a few months into our marriage, when Nathan and I were sitting in our apartment. We heard an unexpected knock, so I jumped up, looked through the peep hole, saw a very large man, and ran for cover. Keep in mind, our apartment was all of 600 square feet, which meant a true "hiding spot" was difficult to find. Making the best of my limited surroundings, I hid behind a wall and in an urgent whisper said, "It's a big, scary looking man. Hide!" Nathan, still on the couch, was by this time rolling in laughter. He jumped up, and despite my squeals of protest, threw open the door. The large man who had knocked just wanted to let us know that I had left the keys in the door when I had come in. Oh my.

I've tried to ease up since then, but if I denied having flare ups, I'd be lying. Like the time a police officer came to the door thinking our alarm had gone off and I wouldn't let him in because I thought maybe he had stolen an officer's uniform and police car. Or the time fairly recently when I was positive a man had followed me into Target. I really do think he was following me, but driving an alternate route home and passing our neighborhood once before doubling back, and staying up all night worrying that he had put a tracking device on my clothing was probably excessive.

This brings me to my most recent episode. Last Friday night I scheduled a hair appointment for about 7:15, and Nathan dropped me off so that he could take the girls to get ice cream while they waited. I walked in and noticed things were a little dead. In fact, I didn't see anyone else in the entire salon, but I figured that the other stylists were in the back. Wrong. Seconds later the man who had greeted me at the front desk took a set of keys out of his pocket and explained that he was locking us in since we were the only ones there.

Say what?!

As he walked me back to the hair washing station, I couldn't help thinking I was walking into a scene where crime was ripe for the picking, and I was the obvious victim. I kept a smile on my face, and non-chalantly pulled out my phone and sent Nathan a text with the message: be back in 15 minutes. Fortunately, I lived to tell about it.

So there it is. I have come to the place where I have to admit I err on the side of caution. I am always looking for things that look suspicious and trying to avoid iffy situations. A domestic Jack Bauer, wouldn't you say? I'll let you decide =).