Posts Tagged With: traveling

Thoughts from home

Last week, Hubs and I weren’t home.

It was the first time being away from our (“finished”) house, and I have to admit how much I simply missed being here!

Hubs was traveling for work and since I work from home and can technically work anywhere with an internet connections, I went with him and spent my time in the hotel and at Panera, just using up free wi-fi and eating cinnamon crunch bagels. Yum. We squeezed in a short couple of days on the weekends for a little mini vacation in the midst of all that work stuff.

But now that we’re back home, here are some things I noticed and have on my mind that I wanted to share with you all.

1. I love not living out of a suitcase. I did that during college a lot because I was living on campus during the week and driving back home to see Wyatt and my family and friends on the weekends. I hate wearing the same clothes over and over again because it’s easy and happens to be freshly washed so I don’t have to dig it out of my closet. I hate thinking of a shirt I want to wear, only to realize it’s back at home in my instead of packed in my suitcase. Plus, I’m great at packing to go on a trip, but I have the re-packing that has to occur every time we move locations or want to pick up the hotel room. I’m not so good at removing clothes from the suitcase without everything getting super messy in there.

2. I love our own bed. Enough said, right?

3. Those bagels, free breakfasts, and dinners out did a number on how well my jeans fit. Yikes. Let me be clear, I know I’m not fat, so this is not be saying that. It’s just me admitting (mostly to myself) that I need to spend a little time focusing on getting more active. I snuck in a few runs while we were gone, and we took one, super-steep hike, but I still feel like I’m at my “winter weight” already. I do believe bodies keep the weight they need to survive and maybe this is my body’s way of preparing me for a cold winter? Or maybe it’s my body’s way of motivating me to go run today.

4. I’m so lazy about my appearance at home by myself during the day. No makeup, messy hair, sweats and Wyatt’s hoodie with warm socks…it’s all so fabulous and yet, so embarrassing to see when I look in the mirror. Do us both a favor and call before stopping by for a visit, deal?

5. Christmas is getting closer! And that means Thanksgiving is really close, too! I remember how exciting this time of year was in college because it meant lots of time off from school was coming up. Now that Hubs and I work instead of go to school, it’s just great because it means lots of cuddling on the couch, visiting with friends and family, and eating yummy foods. That’s why I need to focus on number 3 above!

6. Work is work now. At first, all this freelance writing seemed sort of like I was simply playing at work, doing something I enjoyed, taking my time to get projects finished, and having a good time. Now, I’m still having a good time, but I’m busy! I worked my first two 8-hour days last week for this freelance gig and it was exciting and scary because time management is such a huge part of my day! I probably should be working right now, but I feel so bad about how I’ve been neglecting you all lately that I had to take some time to catch up.

My little “office” in our hotel room for the week. It was as big as our apartment!

7. I love southern Missouri. Yes, some people think Branson is cheesy and corny and not at all relaxing or fun. I say those people have never been to the Branson I know and love. Local diners for breakfast, beautiful views, nature trails, antique stores, shopping (if we want it), familiar (but not what we have at home) restaurants, and that smell. To me, the air smells a little sweet, almost like a mixture between maple syrup and crisp freshness, and dusty, fall leaves. It makes me feel peaceful and happy and excited all at the same time.

This doesn’t do it justice because it’s dark, but look how peaceful it is here! How can anyone not love a place like this?

8. Fall is possibly the best time for a road trip. I love seeing all the leaves!

The only thing I love more than fall leaves on road trips is Christmas lights on road trips.

9. Coming home to a clean house is SO worth the effort to clean it before you leave. I hate the feeling of stress that immediately hits me when I walk in the door and see dirty dishes, laundry, and clutter. Ick.

10. Hubs is certainly the only person I could ever imagine sharing this life with. He’s just wonderful. From the way he always wants me to pick the restaurant so I can have what I’m in the mood for to the fact that he loves to drive and I love to ride, traveling with him is always my favorite kind of adventure. Last week was stressful for him because of some long hours and hard tasks at work, so we didn’t get to have as much “fun” as I’d planned, but he’s still the best partner and friend I could have. Plus, he made up for all the not-so-fun times by being extra silly and special while we were together for those sweet moments at the end of each day.

Yes, we spent some time in this crazy, sorta creepy place. It was a “wholesale” taxidermy store inside a giant flea market/antique store. See why I love road trips with this man? (P.S. check out that bear!! Only $3,250)

Okay, that’s enough for now. Why don’t you tell me some things that are on your mind? You don’t have to choose ten things…how about two!?

Categories: Adventures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 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

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