Posts Tagged With: in-laws

How we’re doing on “happily-ever-after:” The Anniversary Post

I can’t believe it.

Really, I can’t.

But it’s true.

Hubs and I have been married for a whole year.

Crazy, isn’t it?

I mean, considering the fact that we dated for 6 1/2 years before we got married, so much more has happened in the past 366 days. (It was a leap year, after all, so we got an extra day in our first year of marriage.)

Anyway, a year ago, we stood in front of friends and family and promised some really beautiful things to each other. They were promises we wrote specifically for the each other, in addition to the more traditional vows that our minister personalized for us.

I just read through them again, as I’ve done several times over the past year, and my eyes filled up with tears of overwhelming joy and humility as I realize how amazingly blessed we are to have found each other so young… how extraordinarily happy I am that I got to marry my best friend.

For some more wedding-related memories, read this post here and this other one here.

And for what I’d learned at the 6-month mark, read this one.

Last year, we promised to figure out our own way to happily-ever-after as we write our love story each day. Here’s how I think we’re doing and what we’ve learned:

1. Being together is so much better than being apart. After doing the distance thing for nearly our entire season of dating, we are so thankful that we are now committed to the “Where you go, I will go,” attitude toward marriage that we’ve chosen. Sure, there will be short periods of time when we have to be apart, and it will be awful, but we’re committed to making a decision together if ever there is a circumstance that would require longer-term time away. Maybe that would be a job change, or something, but if one of us goes, the other goes. No questions. We know that every relationship is different and that what’s right for us doesn’t make sense for everyone, but it’s something we decided before we were married and we continue to be passionate about this decision.

2. I struggle with housework because I’m still learning to balance my time as I work from home. Right now, I’m blogging while Hubs does the dishes. Yes, it’s our anniversary and we’re working towards getting ready to go out to celebrate tonight, but there’s still dishes that need to be done as we enter this busy week. Should I have done them already since I was home all day? Maybe. But did I skip my much-desired workout today because I was so busy with work stuff? Yes. It’s not that I don’t do anything house-related during the day (I did 2 loads of laundry), it’s just that I feel guilty when I come home and there’s so much messiness around me after being here all day. It’s something to work on for next year for sure.

3. Hubs is awesome at being handy. I’ve learned to trust his judgement about things like cars and house repairs. He’s also awesome at Excel and everything else job-related. I so respect him so much as he settles into work and provides for our family. Sure, I’m working, but as a freelancer, my pay is unsteady and usually weeks or months after I spend the time researching and writing. Not so great at helping pay the bills each month. It’s amazing to watch him become a man that I’m even more in love with every day.

4. Our families have been so supportive as we’re settling into marriage. We are constantly blessed by their help, advice, encouragement, and testimonies of what it means to make a marriage work over time. We are blessed with parents and grandparents who truly love one another and whose stories inspired us and shaped the way we view love. As a celebration of that, we made this video to be played before the start of our wedding. It’s just as special now, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

And finally, the biggest lesson or reflection I’ve had thinking back over our year together:

5. This is life. It isn’t something we’re going to ever “Get.” It’s not something we’ll ever fully learn to be good at. We’re going to mess up and lot, laugh a lot, and keep on waking up together every morning by opening our eyes to see the one we love.

Sure, we’re getting better at specific things like fighting fair and sharing the bed, but we’re still just going to have to keep working though every day, no matter how fun or frustrating it may be. We’re blessed to have been given this relationship to share our struggles and joys, and I’m blessed to share it with you. But no matter how hard I try, some days, or weeks, or months, there just isn’t going to be an major “lesson” or achievement in our relationship. Sometimes, life is more about making it together than what where we’re actually going.

However, I can tell you one thing about where we’re going. It’ll be our own little version of paradise, wherever and whatever that means, because we’ll be going there together.

Congratulations to all the newlyweds who read my blog. Whenever your day is, I hope you take some time to think about things you’ve learned or come to realize in your marriage so far. Maybe it’s a communication technique you’ve finally “mastered.” Maybe it’s something to work on for next year. Maybe it’s something you never realized about your hubs that you just adore. Tell me. I’d love to hear!

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Categories: Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Time for us

Spending time together is a huge priority for Wyatt and I. We are happiest when we’re just being with each other, no matter what we’re actually doing.

Hubs was gone to New York City all last week. It was not fun.

Of course, we made it through just fine.

(Even though Hubs forgot the “phone routine” we used to do each night before bed. The first night, we were both waiting up for each other, getting tired, instead of just calling it a night and calling each other.

It turned out okay, though, because he’s home now.

I had to work Saturday, Sunday, and today and tonight. I’m ready for a break, ready for time for us to just be…us.

But, in the meantime, here’s a little list of things I missed about having Hubs gone.

1. The bed was cold. He’s like a personal heater I can cuddle with. I’m like an ice cube that makes him go crazy when I put his feet on his thighs.

2. I didn’t have anyone to talk to at night. When my parents came up to visit me on Wednesday, I chatted like a crazy person.

3. My toothbrush looked lonely.

Silly? Sure. But true!

4. Meals were boring and full of leftovers. I like to cook for him more than I like to cook for myself.

5. No one was around to get up and turn off the light or get me some water or check to make sure the door is locked if I forgot. Getting out of bed is not my favorite thing to do…

6. We missed “our shows” because of the time change and other varied reasons.

7. No one was there to hold my hand or let me lay my head on their shoulder while I watched TV. Plus, I like seeing his face when I talk to him. He has the best smile of anyone I know. He smiles with his whole face.

8. I had to fill up the Brita filter myself. It’s a small task he does for me every week.

9. I had to unload the dishwasher. It’s another one of his “chores” that he does because he knows I don’t like to.

10. We had to pray over the phone instead of in person. Again, I missed having him there to hold my hand.

All jokes aside, the extra chores were nothing compared to not having him here with me.

When we were going through pre-marital counseling, our good friend and mentor told us we would be surprised by how much time we needed to spend together. I can’t believe how how right that is! Even though we enjoy doing our own things, I think we’re both happiest when whatever we’re doing involves the other.

It makes me wonder when or if this will change. I know my parents have never spent 4 nights apart since they’ve been married. I asked her when she came up to visit me.

However, my in-laws travel for work a lot more often and have spent many more nights apart.

Both are strong marriages. It’s just a different dynamic. I guess it’s true that it’s all what you’re used to.

I’m not sure how Hubs and I will be in our marriage 20 years from now, or if we’ll ever get used to being apart, after we get used to being together!

But I think we deserve a little vacation if we get through this crazy spring!

Categories: Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Here’s what we did this weekend…

I’m a country girl, raised on a farm, and proud of my roots. We do cattle and crops and all that jazz. But January means butchering time.

So while I love this view:

Home on the range...in the winter. I prefer the green grass of summer.

Someday these guys will look something like this:

MMMMMeatballs.

Or this:

Burgers...Yum.

So, that means, they’ll be a trip to the grocery store to stock up on some beef. Or for my family, a weekend that looks something like this:

Yup, that's my dad, our farm hand, Hubs, and my brother-in-law. All "aproned" up and ready to get started.

It's a very big piece of meat. This is one quarter of the whole beef.

And sorry to those of you that might be anti-meat or those that just prefer their meat comes from only a counter at the grocery story. Please forgive this post, and check back tomorrow for something new.

P.S. Did you guys see my Friday post? I’d love to know what you think!

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Christmas time…was here…

First of all, I want to say that I hope all of you had a great Christmas and that I missed all of you very much during our crazy Christmas spectacular.

Hi, we're newlyweds. It's our first Christmas! Ok, so I'm a bit over excited...still.

I apologize for my lack of blogging, but as we were traveling for five days to celebrate seven Christmases, I hope you’ll forgive me and promise to still come back often and read now that things are more settled down at home.

Also, since I have so much to share with all of you, I’ve decided to offer you a highlight reel, of sorts, of our first newlywed Christmas. But since I’m so much of a Christmas carol nut, why not offer it to you in a 12 days of Christmas style “song?”

I can’t think of a reason not to, so here I go:

For the first part of Christmas, my true love (that’s Hubs), gave to me…

…ok, I won’t sing the whole thing to you, but you get the idea, right?

A brand new Honda window. Remember when Wyatt’s car was broken into. I wrote about it here. Well, we got it fixed on Friday while we were in Sedalia. It was an expensive little extra pit stop to our Christmas weekend, but we’re happy to no longer have plastic taped to our car, and to no longer have to worry about glass chunks getting into everything back there.

2 spare bedrooms: We have the blessing of having a nice place to stay at both of our parents’ houses when we visit. It’s not always easy to divide time evenly between both houses, but we love visiting each place and appreciate having a little room to be our “home away from home.”

3 graham cracker houses. On Friday night, we spent the night at my parents’ house with my little cousins getting ready for Christmas at my grandparents’ the next day. What better way to spend Christmas Eve Eve than making these cute little creations?

Much easier and smaller than traditional gingerbread. And just as fun!

4 nights away: We love our apartment and our bed here. It’s not that we don’t appreciate having family and friends to visit, but we also love being home. When we got home yesterday at 1:00, and I had to be at work at 2:00, I asked Hubs, will you please lay down with me for twenty minutes until I need to get ready for work? He gladly obliged and we took a short nap. Or rather, I took a short nap, and he slept 2 hours or so after I got up and dressed and off to work.

5 slight mishaps: 1. A dead poinsettia. It might have made it to Christmas with one red lead still on, but since we weren’t here, we’ll never know. I’ll go ahead and admit to killing it, although I don’t know why since I don’t usually have such bad luck with my greenish thumb.

Dead. Very dead. Oops. Sorry, little guy.

2. Wyatt found a present I was going to put in his stocking, so he was down one gift and up one surprise a few days early. No harm done, it was still a great stocking, if I do say so myself.

3. We left a pile of clean laundry on the floor when we left because we didn’t get time to fold it. Now it’s a pile of clean, wrinkled laundry. Oh well.

May have to rewash these...oops. Ah well, it's not a big deal. I have a mountain of new dirty laundry anyway.

4. We ended up staying an extra night in Sedalia because of a forgotten car inspection that we had to reschedule for the morning of the 27th. In the end, it turned out just fine, but we had to wait an extra day to open our presents at our apartment.

5. We lost the list of who owes us money for presents we purchased for them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not worried about the money, but it would be nice to find the list so we could let people know.

6 filled stockings: We had plenty of fun with these small-sized gifts. I think they’re super fun to fill and open! It was my first time filling a stocking for anyone. (I made Hub’s stocking) and loved finding small things he would love to fill it up. You know what they say, “Good things come in small packages!”

7 celebrations. We are so blessed to have so many people to celebrate with and visit. I love being home for the holidays and exchanging gifts with those we love. While seven different Christmas celebrations may seem a bit overwhelming, and at first it was daunting, we really enjoyed our time at each place. And while Hubs was tired of driving by the end of our long weekend, we really did enjoy our time in the car with each other. We don’t have a radio, remember? So we had plenty of time for talking. Hubs will roll his eyes at that, but if he’s honest, as he always is, he’ll admit that he enjoyed the car time just as much as me, I’m sure.

8 amazing “meals.” Sharing food with loved ones is an important part of any holiday, at least to us. And we certainly didn’t miss out on any great food this weekend. From breakfasts, brunches, lunches, and dinners, as well as snacks in between and even a meal out with just Hubs and I before all the festivities began, we were certainly spoiled this weekend, and ready to enjoy some leftovers this week!

9 kinds of chocolate: Enough said. I have lots of eating to do. And lots of candy to fill my candy-eating needs. I’m off to a good start though. I’ve already eaten half the bag of the peppermint bark with dark chocolate…oh…my…goodness…yum.

10 Christmas cards. I was shocked by how many people remembered to send us some holiday mail in our first Christmas as a married couple on our own! There’s some others up there, including some festive part invites that were too pretty to not pin up!

See yours? If not, send us one next year! We'll send you one, back! (I didn't get enough this year, but next year, I'll be prepared!) Oh, and there may be some that we haven't opened yet. There's a stack of mail to go through...so don't worry if yours isn't counted yet!

11 bags of paper...ok, I’m not sure how many trash bags full of ripped-up tissue paper and wrapping paper and bows and bags were gone through this weekend, but it was a lot. And there’s nothing like watching little ones tear open gifts, or tears in the eyes of an adult whose heart has truly been touched by the simple thoughtfulness of a gift from the heart. I love the simple joy of a present and was blessed by seeing so many opened this weekend, both by us and from us, and from others to others! To me, there’s nothing unhappy about a present, both wrapped and unwrapped!

See, my beautiful mom is excited about her gift!

And dad liked his gift. I bet you can't guess what it was...

12 favorite gifts. Please don’t think I’m bragging about all we got, I’m bragging on the wonderful family members who blessed us so much this year! And they’re listed in the order I’m seeing them as I glance around our messy living room, not the order we got them or based on how much I love them. We both love them all!

1. An extra mixer bowl for my beautiful yellow kitchenaid mixer. It will mean less washing and more baking per every recipe!

2. An 8 pound Oreck vaccuum. I LOVE it. Our old, smelly clunker that makes more noise than it sucks up stuff into the bag is going into the garbage. Soon.

3. Ornaments for our tree. Here’s a few I love. We got several great ones though!

From Hubs. He did a good job picking this out. It was JUST what I wanted.

From me to Hubs.

More for next year!

4. Sporting KC season tickets for Hubs. He can share with me sometimes, or buy me a ticket to some games when I want to come along, and next year, we might invest in one for me as well, but so far for this year, he’s ready for March! (I am, too!)

5. A cookbook filled with recipes from both Wyatt’s family and mine. I can’t wait to cook and bake my way through this much-appreciated blessing, and add more recipes as we find other family favorites! What a great surprise that everyone was working on for so long as a surprise!

6. Two Christmas books to add to my collection. Yes, I collect Christmas books and put them in a basket next to our couch to read and re-read each year. It’s my favorite Christmas tradition I think, and I love that when I get one as a gift from a loved one, I have that extra-special connection to that story every year afterwards.

7. A bird figurine from my Grandma’s collection. Your all know about our love dove bird I found at a garage sale, and the bird-themed artwork in our bedroom. For some reason, lately, I love birds. I’m a picky collector, though, because I don’t want to cross over the line to a crazy bird lady. A little bird (or birds) goes a long way, in my opinion. It’s sort of a “one great bird on the shelf is worth 10 not so great ones all over my house” sort of situation, if you know what I mean.

8. An 18 quart Brita pitcher thing that will hopefully not fight me as much as our little pitcher does. For those that don’t know how much I love/hate that thing, read this post.

9. Cooling racks, serving utensils, a gravy strainer, a tiny crock pot, medium-sized roaster pan, meatloaf dish, and eggies, aprons, grill pan, champagne glasses, icing gun, and more! I love my kitchen! And those that know me, know that! I’m stoked to use all my new kitchen goodies!

10. A homemade recipe book from my best friend, Liz, who printed out and decorated the cutest little scrapbook you’ll ever see with recipes from my blog. Love it! What a fun keepsake from our first year of marriage!

11. An old-fashioned little donut cutter from my Grandma Lois. Hubs loves to make homemade donuts with her and now we have the recipe and a cutter and can make them ourselves. Though I don’t know if we’ll ever get it exactly like she does!

Making donuts is becoming a Christmas tradition as well!

Yum. Ready to fry.

The boys love to do this part.

12. EVERYTHING ELSE I DIDN’T GET TO MENTION. We really did get endless awesome gifts. Our families really blessed us this year. In fact, I’m almost embarrassed to share everything we received because it seems like WAY too much! But I know that giving presents is a big part of our family’s traditions and I’m so excited to find places for all of our new goodies in our apartment, and I’m more excited to use and enjoy all the wonderful things we were given.

Hubs and I opened our gifts last night after I got home from work. Finally! I was so excited from waiting so long!

Excited newlyweds!

I know Christmas isn’t about the gifts and people complain, rightly so, about how materialistic the holiday can become, but for me, I LOVE the way that giving someone a gift, even something small or homemade can really bring them joy, in a simple, small way. Giving someone a gift shows you care about them, you pay attention to their desires and needs, know what they like, and want to share in the happiness they experience when surprised with something special. Our cups are certainly overflowing with blessings this week. Our apartment is overflowing as well!

Yes, it's a mess. I'll get it picked up eventually. I've had long work hours yesterday and am soon headed out again today. I thought it was more important to write to you guys, right?

But when we think back to the basics of it all, Christmas is ALL about gifts. A gift of a baby, a Savior, and the forgiveness and everlasting life he gives. After all, we love because he loved us, and forgive because he forgave us. So, we take time and offer our resources at this time of year to give to others because he gave to us.

The lights my family has put up on the farm every year since I can remember. Another favorite tradition of mine.

No, it’s not the same kind of gift, and yes, it’s easy to go overboard and spend too much. But we were careful to budget our spending and careful to pick out things people would love and use without spending a fortune, and I’m thankful our families are all able to do the same.

We LOVED our first Christmas. What about you?

So, there’s our 12 “things” of Christmas. Clearly, we had a fabulous weekend and were very, very, VERY blessed! What about you? Is your cup running over as well? I’d love to hear about it! Please share!

Categories: Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Our stockings are hung…by the kitchen with care…

It’s Christmastime here in our tiny apartment. I’m used to having a whole big farmhouse all decorated in greenery and snowmen. But here, we have neither greenery nor snowmen.

What we do have is Christmas spirit! Or rather, I have that and Hubs just plays along to make me happy. Don’t get me wrong, he had fun decorating our tree, but he certainly wouldn’t have fretted too much if we had decided we didn’t have room for a tree.

But…never fear, because Christmas is here!

Ta-da!

Yup, that’s our first Christmas tree, folks. I’m proud we decorated frugally, so I’ll share what we learned in this adventure.

First of all, make stuff yourself! Like these trees! (That I’ll post about later!)

Yup, I like paper crafts. And pine cones, from my parents' yard at home, in our fruit bowl.

It’s part of the little scene on top of bookshelf #1

Candles are from my mom's unused decor box. They're several years old, but certainly still look pretty.

And the nativity set? Another tip, “re-use.”

I bought this YEARS ago during a sale of wood-carved products from Bethlehem at my church. It's all we have for now.

I also have a tree like that on the shelf in our living room.

I got the idea from here.

With our "love dove," candlestick, and our freshly printed free subway art, of course, see how we re-purpose?.

The print is from here.

And I HAVE to show you the adorable place mats my mother-in-law made for me. How adorable are they?

Sooooo cute!

And our second kind of paper trees, the folded ones I made, and I’ll post about, with our growing collection of Christmas cards.

It's a wintery forest in our pass-through! Oh, and there's the poinsettia that may or may not make it until Christmas...

I got the ideas for the trees from the mothership, Martha, of course.

And we also have stockings! But as the title of this post suggests, we had a bit of a dilemma when deciding where to hang them, as we have no fireplace.

But we got a shelf from my parents’ basement. (It’s a wonderland of usable stuff down there, though my mother’s probably horrified I’m admitting how much is down there. Sorry, Mom!)

Hubs painted it white, and I sanded it down to give it that vintage look I like. It’s old enough to really be vintage, it just needed a little love.

The stockings we made for each other. He made mine several years ago. I made his a few weeks ago.

See, we can even make our own stockings! His is made from an old pair of jeans. And since we don’t have a sewing machine and Hubs would have FREAKED if I’d tried to smuggle it home, I had to sew it by hand, which took…awhile.

Here’s the whole look that greets you when you come in our front door by the kitchen now:

Decorated with candles and a free picture frame (from the church) to which I added a cute Christmas scrap-booking paper I already had, and a framed, free Christmas printable.

Print from tatertots and jello.

Closer look at the frame. Love it!

Cute!

There, our stockings are all ready to be filled up with fun little gifts.

And in the spirit of giving, I’m going to GIVE you all a little tour of our tree.

Here's our initial ornaments. I can't remember where or why we have these, if they're from you, thanks!

Here we go, a cute little “S” I got from the church I volunteer at.

You'll also see the red swirl ornaments Hubs picked out for us to buy, and a preview of the paper hearts I made. And the craft ribbon I had that we used as a garland.

Here’s one I made last year at school.

It's glow in the dark!

And the ornaments from my childhood that I collected as a kid but that haven’t been hanging on our family tree in a long time:

I have the whole series of these little books. They open and close and have such cute little scenes in them.

Oh, and you want to see the ornaments I made?

My paper hearts! I love how they turned out. I'll post instructions soon.

Here’s some more…

I bought this one ($2) because it reminded me of "happy wife, happy life." Or a happy hubs... (It went with a matching Merry Christmas one, but I liked this message even better than just wishing a Merry Christmas. I'm wishing y'all a Happy Everything!)

Oh and just to make sure I represent,

Am I happy Pujols left? Nope. But can he do what he wants? Yup. Besides, my man Molina is still there! And that's all I'm going to say about it. Oh, and don't forget the edible decorations, the candy canes!

It makes my heart happy to have our tree up and looking so festive. Who cares if our ornaments and decorations are a bit skimpy and we only spent 5 bucks on our tree. I say it’s beautiful!

Happy home.

Categories: Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

A birthday weekend…

First of all, Hubs turned 24 this weekend on Saturday. (Happy birthday, hubs!) He doesn’t love to celebrate his birthday as much as I love to celebrate mine…but we did the best we could. Here’s how it went down and what I learned this weekend.

1. Friday night we went to a friend’s house and just chilled with some trivia, some Boulevard Wheat, and some conversation. Before this we went to Wendy’s for dinner. (I know, I know…we were going to go to an actual restaurant but the wait was for more than 30 minutes for the two of us…and it wasn’t even that nice of a restaurant!)

2. Saturday morning I got up and made biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Then we chilled on the couch and got ready to head to Warrensburg for lunch. Wyatt requested New China Buffet since we were going to the Burg for a wedding reception that afternoon anyway. The in-laws and brother-in-law met us there, and we all enjoyed a grease-filled, overly filling buffet. (Wyatt enjoyed it the most I think, but we all went along with it. It was his birthday after all.) Then we went to the reception, had a good time, and saw a bunch of friends. Then it was time for dinner out as a group. (This weekend recap revolves around a lot of food…hmmm)

3. Sunday I had to work from 9-3ish. Hubs slept in and had leftover B’s and G’s, then went Christmas shopping for me! (He’s pretty pleased with his shopping so far, which makes me excited, and makes me need to go shopping!) When I got home, I started his birthday dinner, one of his favorites: my blue cheese butter and bacon burgers and fried potatoes.

Looks good, right?

It turned out great and was delicious. Then I gave Hubs his present from me. Spoiler alert, he LOVED it.

Here's Hubs with his new Turtle Beach headphones. (No, the flowers are not growing out of his head...)

Now, here’s the info: they’re the cheap ones. Still name brand, (and according to Hubs, AWESOME), but they are the (I assume) older model and certainly not the crazy $300 ones. But, he likes them, so I’m happy.

I’m also happy because they make it quiet in here when he wants to play video games and I don’t want to watch (which is usually).

So he played for awhile and then we did this:

See that big tree? See that tiny box of ornaments? There's a disconnect going on here...

And then we decided we’d done enough for one night and we ate some cake and headed to bed. I was planning to make some delicious-looking cookies and cream cupcakes for Hubs’s birthday cake, but we got a cake from the in-laws and certainly don’t need 2 cakes at once, so those will wait for some other occasion. I’ll leave you on the edge of your seats waiting to hear how they turn out.

Yes, he's cutting his cake with the biggest knife we own...a cleaver. He loves those knives, and goodness knows I love him.

Here’s what I learned in the process of all this madness.

1. Starting a new job isn’t always fun. Training and scheduling and meeting a bunch of new managers, etc. isn’t always easy…and Friday afternoon at work just wasn’t great. And I was all out of sorts when I got home. Somehow, though, Hubs managed to get me up and out of the house and even though we didn’t end up eating what or where I’d sort of wanted, and even though I didn’t really feel like chilling with the guys that night, it was exactly what I needed. And somehow, I got home that night feeling much better about life and work and all that jazz. Hubs really does know best sometimes.

2. Seeing friends only every couple of weeks (or longer) is a totally different world than when you see them all the time in college. It’s sad and good at the same time. Sad because we have to grow up and get jobs, and move away. But good because those are all good things…it’s just a bummer to be away from those you enjoy. Everyone understands that, I’m sure. I don’t need to get into it more.

3. This morning when I crawled out of bed a little before 8:00 (I stayed in bed after Hubs got up today. I was tired for some reason, and he got to sleep in yesterday and the day before…), I looked around the corner and saw this:

We didn't go to sleep with these lights on...

Reason # 106 that Husband roommates are the best. He knows me, and knows how to make me happy with the most simple of things. He knows how much I love Christmas lights and turned the tree on so I’d see it when I got up. It made me smile, made me feel festive, made me more optimistic about the day, and made me fall even more in love all over again. Isn’t it amazing how one small act (it took him a few seconds to plug in the tree) made a huge difference in my day? That was an excellent way for him to pursue me without even speaking. Actions really do speak louder than words, people. It’s cheesy, but it’s true.

4. Giving gifts is a great way to tell someone you were paying attention to them. I’m so happy he loved the birthday gift so much. I debated buying them because they weren’t the ‘top of the line” (we can’t justify that much on something we don’t NEED) and I didn’t know if they’d be worth the money they did cost. After all, I know pretty much nothing about video games. But, Hubs LOVES them, and his eyes were shining bright when he opened them, shining bright when he hooked them up, and practically glowing when he was trying them out the first time. In fact, his “too-loud-because-he’s-wearing-noise-canceling-headphones” comments of how awesome they were told me he really did think they were the “best gift he’d gotten in a long time.” Historically, he doesn’t always love the gifts I give him because he says he doesn’t NEED anything and he’s kinda picky and hard to shop for. (Ok, I added that last part, but it’s true sometimes!) So, I’m super excited he loved this one. It makes me feel both nervous and extra-excited for him to open the Christmas gifts I still need to buy.

5. As we decorate our apartment, I realize just how symbolic our minimal decor is of our little family. We don’t have a lot, and what we have is often hand-me-down or thrifty finds, and yet, as it comes together, it still makes me happy, still makes me feel warm and cozy inside. Hubs and I are new at this marriage thing. We’re not struggling to get by, but we certainly don’t have a lot, and we’re thankful for all the help we’ve gotten from our families. But we’re our own little family now, making it work together. And actually, we make me smile every day. I’m constantly surprised by how much more I love him. I’m constantly amazed by how awesome it is to be married to my best friend.

We've both had a birthday since we've been married now...Hubs is 24!

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thoughts on bed and bedtime…

This morning I did NOT want to get out of bed.

I suspect these reasons as to why.

1. It was cold in our apartment and warm in the bed. You do the math.

2. It’s Monday morning and I have a mountain of weekend laundry to do.

3. I have 2 suitcases, 1 little bag, 2 big bags, 1 crate, and 1 box of stuff to put away or figure out what to do with that we brought back with us.

4. I have a slight nagging headache right above my eyes.

Or, the real reason I suspect…

5. We’d been away from home for 4 nights, and there’s no place like your own bed to curl up and get a good night’s sleep. Yes, we’re still sometimes having trouble sleeping together. And yes, I always sleep well in my parents’ house because it will always be my first home.

But there’s something so great about your own bed.

This bed frame is borrowed from a family member, and we're very thankful.

True, this was Wyatt’s bed (mattress) before it was mine, and someday we’ll have a different one when it’s time to replace it. But I’m sure that future bed will feel the same way. It’s familiar and comforting, and it’s shared, which makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

I’ll admit I used to roll my eyes at my parents when they’d say how much they missed their bed on vacation. I figured it was because they were older and had aches and pains when they had to sleep in a different bed. Now, I’m sure that’s true, because we’ve experienced some of that, but I think it’s more than that. I think it’s because they’re married.

Sharing a bed with someone is such an intimate thing. And I don’t just mean because of the sexy activities that go on there. I mean the kind of intimacy that comes from being vulnerable, real, raw, and honest with someone.

Think about it. When you’re sleeping, you’re basically defenseless. No one sleeps well with something they don’t trust because you can never fully relax. And when you go to bed, usually you’re wearing some sort of comfortable clothing, and usually, nothing that ads to your physical features in a flattering way. Makeup is washed off, hair is a mess, and there’s no pretending or dressing up. Also, when you’re sleeping, you don’t have total control over your own body. Sometimes noises happen: snoring, sighing, sleep talking…or other noises that might also have accompanying smells.

Some might say that sleeping is the only time we’re really ourselves. And who else can you be yourself with if not your spouse?

Plus, we all have those little patterns and routines we go through when we’re getting ready for bed. Being away from home disrupts those.

And what about the way that absence tends to make the heart grow fonder? If you never leave home, you’ll never know how great you have it with your own bed. Sure, we love the fact that our queen-sized bed has enough room for us to roll around and our feet don’t hang off the end at all, but until we spend 4 nights in a full-sized bed, we forget how great those extra few inches are.

I’m also talking about the sweet little moments that happen before we fall asleep. Whispered “I love you’s,” talking about our day, the next day, telling each other a funny dream we’ve had, putting my freezing cold feet on Wyatt’s legs to warm up my toes, snuggling, cuddling, and even praying together before we roll over to fall asleep.

Can we do all those things in another bed? Sure. Do we? Sometimes. But is it ever the same as being at home?

Of course not.

And for that reason, I think we’ll celebrate being at home tonight by staying in and going to bed early. The crazy holiday season is coming. I recommend you take some time to yourself and rediscover your love for your bed, and for bedtime.

On the shelves in our bedroom. Yes, I've been known to frame product packaging (left) and magazine advertisements (center) that I like. And the gift I made and gave my bridesmaids on the right.

But the message is still the same.

Very insightful, I know. You can take the meaning to mean what you will. I think it has all sorts of applications.

But if nothing else, at least take this suggestion instead.

The mirror we made. Kissing goodnight is better than saying it. Of course.

Categories: Love Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

And for this, I give thanks…

After a long weekend (4 nights, 5 days) away from home, Hubs and I are back in our little apartment and tucked in away from the cold.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We certainly did. And because so much has happened I’ve decided to do a quick recap of our Thanksgiving weekend, newlywed wife style. (In case you don’t know what that means, I’ll be throwing in my thoughts, insights, questions, ideas, opinions, etc. while sharing the stories of our trip home. Hope you don’t mind my sometimes random, sometimes wandering thoughts!)

1. We spent Thanksgiving day away from my family this year, which is hard. But that means we spent Thanksgiving with Wyatt’s family, which is great. We have so many wonderful family members that we want to spend time and that want to spend time with us. It really is a blessing we don’t take for granted.

(The holidays are both wonderful and hard because sharing our time is so important. More on this later.) However, since we were home for so many days this weekend, we were able to spend time at both parents’ houses. We headed to Sedalia on Wednesday after Hubs got home from work and spend that night and Thursday night at the in-laws. Then, we re-packed our suitcase and moved into my parents’ house for Friday and Saturday nights. It sucks moving around and living out of a suitcase, but it’s great to see both groups of people in one weekend, especially when we have no real plans and can just hang out, talk, and relax…and cook. And bake. Which brings me to my next point…

2. I love holiday baking. This year, Hubs and I made the pies for Thanksgiving dinner. Using our prize-winning recipe from my Grandma Lois. They turned out super yummy.

We're proud of our pies. Who wouldn't be?

We made pumpkin and two pecans. He’s saving one to take to work tomorrow. His coworkers are about to get super lucky. Or at least their taste buds are.

It's goodness and beauty and blessing all in one pie pan. Yum.

Baking or cooking with Wyatt is one of my favorite things to do. He’s great at so many things and I’m thankful he’s willing to spend time with me doing something I love, even if he’d rather do something else. He doesn’t love to bake as much as I do, and honestly, he’d rather eat more meat than dessert any day but he knows I consider dessert an important part of any meal and I love that he appreciates that about me.

I also made this pumpkin beauty the day after Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. It was divine.

Candied pecans, pumpkin, and cheesecake. Yup, I'm serious.

Oh my. I feel the holiday pounds packing on already. And you know what, I don’t care. Not one bit.

In fact, I wish no one did. People are supposed to eat delicious things for the next 2 months. (Not that you aren’t supposed to eat delicious things all year long…) I know that people try to watch their weight and stay healthy. I’m all for that. I try to eat as many healthy things as I can. I run, I do kick-boxing, and pilates as many days a week as I can, usually every day, but I also don’t ever make my mouth suffer for my stomach’s sake. It’s all about moderation, people. Eat the cheesecake if you want. Just not the whole one.

Or in my case, eat both slices of cheesecake, since Hubs decided he didn’t want it.

Yum. (The second slice was yummy, too.)

3. We got a jump start on our holiday spirit by “shopping” in my parents’ basement for old Christmas decorations they no longer use or want. We found this.

It's an old Christmas tree in need of some love!

We also found a bunch of stuff Hubs says we can’t have. I understand. Everything we bring into our apartment is something we’re going to have to carry out when we buy a house. And while I agree with that argument, I still want it to be our home, and feel like a home should feel.

Maybe this is the sentimental side of me, but I don’t want to live only thinking about how inconvenient something will be in the future. I’m all for planning, and thinking ahead to the future, but I’m also for making today the best it can be. It’s a point of discussion and contention for us every time I want to bring stuff home. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want or appreciate the stuff, he just knows how heavy it will be going back down those three flights of stairs…. (But this is a discussion for another whole blog post…)

4. We did a little black Friday shopping for the first time ever. And by little, I mean, we waited until noon, and went to look at what all was left, and what all had been cleared out. It was fun. We got in no fights, saw no cops, and were shoved or pushed or stolen from zero times. We bought 2 little things for Christmas gifts for family members. We stand by our decision to stay in and in bed the morning after Thanksgiving. Kudos to those who enjoy it. We just do not.

5. We made granola. It’s like my Christmas drug addiction. It’s a secret family recipe, and it’s the most addicting thing I’ve ever eaten. I’ll show you.

We sometimes give this stuff as gifts to friends for Christmas. Those people are lucky, let me tell you.

The picture doesn’t do it justice. At all. Wyatt doesn’t like it as much as I do, but that’s because his love affair with pecans hasn’t really begun yet. He’ll come around. Someday.

6. I realized I need to get moving on my gift for Hubs’s birthday. I have less than one week until we celebrate. He doesn’t even want to celebrate. He’s not very festive or excited about birthdays. We’re EXACT opposites there. I love celebrating birthdays.

7. I also realized we need to find a good compromise for Christmas festivities. He doesn’t like decorations as much as me. I love them. He doesn’t love giving or getting presents. I love them. He doesn’t like Christmas music. I love it. He’s not Mr. Scrooge, but I might start calling him that if he doesn’t perk up on the festivities after his birthday. I knew this long before I married him though, so it’s not a surprise. More on this later.

8. We reflected on our blessings. As is appropriate for every day, especially Thanksgiving. And we are truly blessed. Check out this page for my list!

9. I got a whole bunch of new craft supplies and ideas. I also made a couple more trees. I’m taking pictures and notes, and can’t wait to share all my adventures soon! I also went bridesmaid dress shopping for my best friend’s wedding (it will be way better than the movie by that name!). I can’t believe it’s getting so close to time. I can’t wait to celebrate and watch you begin your life with your husband! We have so much planning and showering and bachelorette-ing to do!

10. We’re now home, after this long, fantastic weekend of giving thanks and having fun. And you know what? I think I’m somehow even happier when I’m able to wrap up my weekend doing just this. Having a quick, quiet dinner with just the two of us after a weekend full of family and friends.

At home, eating frozen pizza and snuggling on the couch.

This is us, this is home, and this is our little family. Blessed? I think so.

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

To Turkey or Not to Turkey

Hubs loves Thanksgiving food. He’d eat it for every holiday, special occasion, or random meal he could get it. And I’ve been holding off on making anything like it because he has such high expectations and I don’t want to compete with his memories of the perfect turkey.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than hearing, “It’s not like Mom used to make.” Not fun.

Plus, I’ve heard lots of horror stories of what a pain it is to cook a turkey, and just how easy it is to mess it up, dry it out, or get it just plain wrong. I wouldn’t say I was scared, but I certainly wasn’t eager to try it out.

But Friday night was the annual potluck-style Thanksgiving meal for our friends and it was mentioned that a turkey would be missing from the table. I didn’t want to take it on, but after much encouraging from Wyatt, and talk of having ham (which since Wyatt doesn’t like at all, really got him trying to convince me), I gave in and headed to the grocery store.

I came home with this:

It's as big as my head. And do I look scared? Nope!

Since there was going to be so many other dishes there, and probably another meat, whether ham or chicken, or whatever, I just got a turkey breast. It was basically a small turkey with the legs and wings cut off, about 5.5 pounds.

I had no idea what I was doing so I just set out trying to copy and combine several ideas and recipes I’d seen. Here’s what I learned in the process.

I used an apple, carrots, and onion on the inside cavities, and a butter and herb mixture on the outside to help with flavor and getting that great golden brown skin. (In my family, the skin is what most of us fought over before dinner. Yum!)

In the oven, fingers crossed!

I had read that roasting the turkey breast side down (instead of the usual way with that side on the top) keeps the white meat more moist and juicy since all the juices run down. So I tried it, and flipped it over halfway through the cooking process so the skin could get nice and brown as well. And I brushed it with the melted butter mixture (butter, thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and apple juice) every fifteen to thirty minutes.

Mmmm....melted herb butter.

Pretty soon,  (well, not “soon,” so much, considering it took like 2 and a half hours) it looked like this:

Ready to carve!

In the meantime though, I had fun watching these:

(Not homemade, frozen, but I didn't have enough notice for homemade, and they were still delicious)

Turn into this:

Ready to bake!

And by this time, Wyatt was home from work so he could help me carve. He’d never done that before, either, but I told him about Alton Brown’s tips, and he dug in.

He was excited since he got to use a big knife.

(P.S. Notice the wedding ring on the counter…I moved it to the shelf, and told him that, but he still forgot it that night. He blames me. I say, “how can you not notice it’s not on your hand? It drives me crazy when I don’t have mine!”)

And we ended up with this:

It tasted even better than it looks, so we were both pretty happy with our first turkey efforts.

And we got the wishbone!

Success!

And yes, my night didn’t end up so well, considering the way I spent all Saturday morning. (Maybe I should have wished to not get super sick!) But we had a great time Friday night with friends, laughing and hearing old stories, and eating good food, despite whatever got me…

So, even though I’m not sure if I’m ready to eat Thanksgiving dinner again (hopefully tomorrow!) I’m happy to report that the turkey adventure wasn’t so scary. Hubs pretty much only ate that, so I think it’s safe to say he liked it.

In fact, I think I wouldn’t be scared to try it again sometime!

What about you? Are you scared to cook a turkey or are you a pro? Either way, I’d love to hear about it!

Categories: Food Fun | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Confessions of a Bad Housewife…or rather, a happy one

I try to be pretty positive overall, but sometimes, I just need to get my complaints out in the open so I can move on.

So, in order to satisfy both my need to whine a little and my desire to be happy and joyful in all circumstances, I’m going to list pairs of both bad AND good stuff for you guys this Monday morning. We’ll consider it an exercise in finding the silver lining of any situation.

1. I do so much laundry! I’m unsure how a household of only two people can make this much dirty laundry! What will it be like when we have kids? It’s a good thing we (and by that I mean, “I”) have so many clothes because it means I don’t have to wash everything as often. Wyatt runs out of stuff so fast I have to keep washing and washing and washing…

That's a mountain of laundry for me to fold. Good grief!

The good part of this complaint? Well, I actually like to do laundry. I mean, I wouldn’t pick that over fun stuff like playing games or date nights or sleeping in, but as far as household chores go, it’s not a bad deal. I like things that show immediate progress, and I like how fast I can empty our hamper with just a few loads. Folding is the worst part because I don’t like turning clothes right-side out. I’m working on having Wyatt turn his before they go in the hamper, but even I sometimes don’t mess with turning sweaty workout clothes right side out. Anyway, I also like laundry because it smells nice (when it’s done) and it’s warm. I wish I could curl up in laundry fresh from the dryer and take a nap.

2. Cleaning the kitchen is a never-ending job. I don’t know how it gets so messy so fast.

Actually, I do. It’s because I cook a lot and our kitchen is tiny. And yes, we have a dishwasher, which is great, but it doesn’t really work that well. We end up having to pre-wash everything anyway, and still not everything comes clean, especially silverware…and plates…and cups.

Yes, apparently today I am baring all to show you my messy kitchen.

But the good part of a messy kitchen? It means we ate well, we have good food, and a place to cook. I love to cook and bake and cleaning the kitchen is sort of calming (when I’m not in a hurry to make the next meal or wash a dish so I can keep working on whatever meal I’m currently fixing) and I actually don’t mind washing dishes. I wish we had better scrubbing brushes (we are using cheap sponges that we wash all the time in our washing machine so they are starting to fall apart).

3. It’s too early (Wyatt says) to decorate our apartment for Christmas. And he’s right. But I’m impatient. I wish I had money to go buy a lot of new beautiful things or even supplies to make things, but I think it’s more important that we save right now, especially with the holidays coming up.

But the blessing of this? I decorated for Thanksgiving. Sort of, as much as I can for relatively free.

Fruit in our cool bowl from the in-laws and pumpkins, free from my grandma's garden.

Not super creative, but I don’t have anything else, and these were free (except the apples…)

What I did spend my money on, decor-wise.

It’s a free design from eighteen25, a cool blog I found on Pinterest. Speaking of that? Do you follow me?

I just bought a cheap wood frame from Walmart for $4 and painted it white with leftover paint from our wedding DIY projects. And the candlestick? It was a prop for my Miss Scarlet costume that Hubs spray painted white for me.

And the bird? He’s our (my) love bird. I found him at a local garage sale one day when I was running in the neighborhood by our apartment. He’s exactly what I wanted. I know he isn’t fall-themed, but I still like him and didn’t want to remove him from his roost.

4. Wyatt forgot his lunch. Again.

Dangit.

Not only do I feel bad for not noticing until after he left, but it means he has to buy his lunch today when we have this perfectly good one here at home.

But the hidden silver lining? I will have this one ready tomorrow morning already. And he doesn’t mind buying lunch, he actually likes that better I think.

5. I had to put the spider traps back down today since I forgot to have Wyatt do it. Touching those things gives me the creeps? Why? Because they both have like 5 dead poisonous spiders in them!

There's 5 or so dead spiders "living" under our hamper...but don't worry, when we have guests, we hide them away.

But the good part is that I haven’t seen any new spiders in there or anywhere for months. Though I did kill a wasp in our bathtub the other day. Ick.

6. This is my coffee table at it’s current state.

See that stack of bills and other mail to take care of? Oh joy.

But that’s okay, because my Husband is off at work today to earn the money to pay those bills, and you know what? I opened my first check from freelancing today. So, yes, I am blessed today to pay these bills, because for the first time in a long time, I have income.

(“But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19)

And while we’re talking money, you know what else? I fed Mr. Giraffe E. Pig seventeen cents a couple of days ago. And a twenty-five cents the day after that.

 

This is Mr. Giraffe E. Pig. I like to feed him pennies, but he prefers quarters, of course.

Saving cents is one of my favorite pastimes.

So there’s my list for the day. I’m feeling better all ready. Because yes, I got out my Monday morning grumps, but I also took the time to look past the problems and see some good stuff, because let’s face it, there’s always more good stuff if you choose to find it, right?

And what’s even better? As I was sitting at home this morning, I realized what a blessing it is that I can stay here and take care of our home. I have the blessing of not doing laundry on the weekends if I don’t want to, because I can do it on Monday. And I don’t have to do dishes on Sunday nights if I don’t want to, because they’ll be there in the morning and I’d rather spend Sunday nights on the couch cuddling with my Hubs.

Yes, it’s been hard to figure out how to redefine my place in the world with no job, but I’m getting there, and every day brings new possibilities, whether it’s volunteer work, or a freelancing job. And I’m trusting in the sovereignty of the Master’s plan.

What about you? What are you seeing the silver lining in today? Any housekeeping confessions you’d like to share to make me feel better about my mess this morning?

Categories: Everyday Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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