A collection of grievances, memories, occasional musings, and everyday happenings

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The Pre-Woman

Christmas morning brought many a gift that I was and wasn’t expecting: pre-woman gifts.

I spent the morning reminiscing about past Christmases and the gifts I’ve received through the years.  When I was but a tot, I got the Fisher Price People – the little people who have neither arms nor legs.  A variety of other fun Fisher Price play things came along with them.  In Elementary school, I got a few barbies here and there, but never a house or a mall or a special barbie elevator or anything of the like.  I got a convertible car once with a barbie whose purple leggings would magically disappear whenever she went diving into the bathtub with me.  Luckily I wasn’t in the barbie phase for too long.

(Hopefully my daughter won’t be either.)

It’s hard to remember what else I asked for toward the end of my Elementary years, but I do remember my 5th grade present: The entire Beatles movie collection.  I was so happy that day, and I still have them.

Middle school is fuzzy too.  I probably got some clothes that I liked and some clothes that my children will make fun of me for, some gift cards, and other things that would help make me feel like the oh-so-mature(awkward) 14 year old adult(brat teen) that I was.

High school is where I first remember having trouble coming up with a Wish List.  I asked for plenty of DVDs and CDs, and more clothes.  Occasionally I wound up opening a present or three that had books inside, just for me.  My parents very much wished that I would become an avid reader like themselves, but after reading every Goosebumps book ever written during my Elementary years and finishing up the HP series, reading material of any other kind was uninteresting, although I did love The Great Gatsby when it was required for a class.  Senior year, all of my gifts had something to do with my transition to college.  An OC blanket, a coffee maker, towels, Target/Walmart gift cards, etc.  I was coming out of my teenager stage, and my gifts reflected that.

My Christmas gifts from the last three years of college have been, well, college age gifts.  Clothes, food, and clothes – all very much appreciated.

And then this year came.  The year of what I’ll call “The Pre-Woman”.

In nearly two months, my life will be drastically different.  I’ll have a husband.  For this husband, I must cook. and my most recent Christmas presents reflect that in every way:

Cutco Knives, Magnetic Measuring Spoons, two Collapsible funnels, a Toaster, a Slow-Cooker, a Mini Spatula, a Small Spatula, Salad Tongs, Indestructible Cups, 3-dozen forks/spoons/knives, 3 Cookbooks, and

Onion Goggles.

Let it never be said that Holly Kooi isn’t a woman.


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It’s Like a Bad Relationship

It’s been craft-city in my apartment for the past couple of weeks.  My roommates, both crafty, creative young ladies have caught a serious case of Christmas-fever, and because of that, they’ve been hand-making Christmas cards.  I don’t just mean handwriting a nice little note on pretty paper.  I mean – they go to Hobby Lobby, pick out an array of Christmas paper, then sit for hours at the counter or on the floor cutting out words, letter by letter.  They’ve wrapped my and each other’s Christmas presents in fabric, topped off with little fabric bows.

What am I going to contribute?

I’m of course going to give the girls and my friends Christmas cards.  And I will of course wrap presents.  But I will either create a Christmas card online or buy one, and the presents will be in a cute Christmas bag filled with tissue paper.

The other day, I walked by Brianna and her projects as I was going to the kitchen.  She asked, “Holly, do you even like crafts?”  I said, “No.  I can’t stand them.”  Her response?

“… And you were going to be a teacher?”

When I was very young, my grandma gave me a package of thin-tip markers.  I distinctly remember sitting at my grandparents kitchen table drawing a field of purple flowers.  My grandma leaned over me and told my parents, “We have a future artist on our hands!”  Oh, she was so right!  That was what I was going to be.  And then I got to Second Grade.  My art teacher taught us a lesson on the Point of Perspective – the tiny dot that you put in the middle of your paper and make everything that you draw go towards the dot. That dot was the death of my artist dream.  I could never get it right.  My teacher told me so many times that I had it wrong that I gave up art forever.  My clay frogs looked like demons.  My collages looked like an exploded pinata.  I desperately wanted to be in Brownies, got in, then wanted out once I realized we would never camp, canoe, or practice archery.  We crafted.  We sat on the floor in a feel-good circle.  Crafting.  It was awful.

While talking with Brianna, I had a revelation.  My decision to be a teacher is kind of like being in one of those awful, regrettable High School relationships.  All the warning signs are there, but you don’t want to get out of it because you’ll be alone forever.  You can’t help but go through the long list of unfortunate qualities about your significant other without trying to justify why it’s all okay.

“Well, so yeah, he would rather listen to Linkin Park than The Beatles.  And it’s true that he does cry every time his team loses a soccer game.  And it’s definite that the guys in our class are going to TP his house during Junior/Senior wars because they think he’s a tool.  And yeah, he’s known throughout the High School for crying in Spanish class when he didn’t get an A on his test.  And he may turn completely red when he’s mad and punch the nearest locker.  But, but, he’s just… uhh… He’s… unique?  No… um, different?  Well… Shoot.”

Don’t ask.

So with teaching, I did the same thing.  I knew full well that I despised crafts.  I knew that I would be required to attend PTA meetings.  I knew that I would have to control myself during a Parent-Teacher conference with a “Well my child…” type parent.  I knew that I’d have to talk about feelings on a regular basis.  But, if I leave, I’ll have nowhere to go!!!  College-life crisis!

That boy from my Junior year and I broke up on the first day of our Senior year.  I was sad, alone, then rejoiced, for he was meant to be with someone else! (who later gave him a restraining order)  Am I a happier person because of it?  You could say that.

That teaching major and I broke up as well, and I can tell you that I’m a happier person, and those craft-Christmas cards are happier too.  There’s nothing worse than a bad relationship.

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Engagement Pictures: Teaser

YES! The time has come! (my little friends, to talk of other things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings!)

It’s engagement picture time. This is only a teaser, mind you. The Facebook album will arrive at some point.

All of these were taken in Nashville by my creative-genius uncle, Uncle David. My wonderful aunt, Aunt Angie, helped us with our poses.

Fun fact: It was 40 degrees outside during the photo shoot.

And here we go!

Yep. That’s us. Dream come true. We’re part of The Beatles.

LOVE the trees in the background. We’re ready for Christmas.

I scrunch my nose a lot. I actually have a permanent line on my nose from doing it so much.

Will and my uncle spotted this funky mural as we were driving through Nashville. Very cool.

“This is my favorite ring shot!” – Erica Pence

You know you wanted to see a kiss picture.

So sweet!



Will found this wall. Great wall.

Aaaaand BAM! I love this one. It might be my absolute favorite.

Those are just a few of our pictures. Stay tuned to Facebook for more. Or come to our wedding. Whichever.

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Humorous and mostly awkward things are often said around the Kooi dinner table.  It might be a story, a sudden thought, a suggestion.  Tonight’s saying was more of a suggestion and “great idea” all mixed into one.

I was attempting to tell Will about my cake topper search.  I have been searching, and searching, and searching for a normal looking bride and groom but haven’t had any luck.  Will was supposed to be searching, and searching, and searching for Beatles figurines, but I know better.  So the conversation went something like this:

Me: Will!  I found a lady on Etsy who will customize our cake toppers for us!

Will: Could we use superheroes as our cake topper?

Me: No.

Seth: That would be awesome.

Mendy to Will: You could be the Green Lantern.

Will: Yeah!!  Holly.  I’ll be the Green Lantern and you can be Wonder Woman.

Me: No.  She dresses inappropriately.

Will: Oh.  Well… You could be… You could be Cat Woman!

Me: Like she’s any better?

Seth: That would be awesome if you were Cat Woman!  Then you would get to hold a whip in your hand!

As… tempting as it is to be portrayed as Cat Woman holding a whip on top of our Beatles cake, I’m still going to go with just a regular bride and groom.  I know.  You’re probably disappointed.