Wednesday, June 30, 2010
And so it seems that another year of marriage has flown by. Three years. Three times we've celebrated the anniversary of our wedding.
Weddings have been on my mind a lot lately. With two of Matt's siblings being engaged, there is plenty of wedding-talk going on during family get-togethers. Naturally it causes me to reflect on my own wedding and the months of preparation that preceded it.
The other night, as I was talking with Matt's mom and sister (who will be married in August), we joked that it seems like the amount of effort and money spent planning a wedding is inversely related to the length and quality of the marriage. That is, the fancier/more expensive/more over-the-top/more planned the wedding...the less successful the marriage. And I'm sure that's a gross generalization and that there are many exceptions, but I still think the idea holds some water. I'm not sure if some people are out there getting married just for the party part...or what...but it seems like a lot of people aren't putting nearly the time and effort into planning their marriage as they're putting into planning their party.
Don't get me wrong--I loved my wedding. But even as I was planning it, it bothered me how much I was expected to care about everything. I'm a fairly detail-oriented person, but the questions that vendors and relatives and magazines and The Knot expected me to not only know the answers to, but to CARE about?? I mean, does it REALLY matter what kind of metal composes the pedestals that will hold the fruit platters? Wrought iron? Brushed nickle? Shiny silver? Does that matter? Should I be caring about this? What relevance will this make to my marriage?
And when I would respond to my vendors "I don't care, you decide" about these kinds of things, they would look at me as though I couldn't possibly be serious. Was I the only bride that really didn't care about that? I just always thought there would be more to marriage than whether the tablecloths were linen or silk. YOU decide...you're the one I hired to plan my wedding. I'm slightly more concerned with the quality of my marriage. That's what I thought. And I think I wasn't incorrect.
My wedding was beautiful-- in retrospect, there are very few things I would have changed (my major regret? No videographer. REALLY wish I'd thought through that one a little longer. Oh well). But more importantly, my marriage is beautiful. At least to me it is. We're certainly not perfect. And we have a lot to learn. But the time we invested in preparing for marriage (reading books, receiving counseling, talking about things that weren't easy, being discipled) has truly paid off. My wedding? Has no real relevance on my day-to-day life now, other than providing the pictures that grace the walls and tables of our home. But my marriage--my husband-- is my life, my shelter, and my rock.
Our third year of marriage had its fair share of ups and downs. As you know, we've been dealing with infertility for the past 19 months. I can completely see how that could wreck a marriage. I am so thankful that it seems only to have brought us closer-- and it isn't by accident. We continue to intentionally invest in our relationship. We seek the counsel of people who know more about marriage and life than we do. We pray that God would teach us to love one another, and we fight to be one of the (few, it seems) couples who truly keep their wedding vows forever.
Don't get me wrong-- marriage isn't all hard work. Honestly, most of the time it's quite easy and fun...thank goodness! But I try to remember that the "easy" and the "fun" isn't what it's all about. We've made a covenant to our God that we are determined to fulfill, even if the hard times far surpass the good times. That's heavy stuff. That's the kind of thing I think more engaged couples should be talking about. And maybe spend a little less time analyzing whatever it is their wedding planner is currently obsessing about.
In three years we have still never spent a night apart-- is there any chance we're going to get a world record here? Do they award medals for this sort of accomplishment? Someone look into that for me, thanks. We've settled very nicely into our new house and our new "life" away from the center of Athens. We joined a gym and have embraced a much more active lifestyle. We eat veggies straight out of our garden. We have so much to be thankful for.
I can't wait to see what Year Four will bring us. I probably don't need to (re)mention the thing we're hoping for most. And I hope I don't give you whiplash with the speed with which I'm about to change topics, but you know what? If Year Four doesn't bring us some "positive" news in a timely fashion, I'm thinkin' we're going to have to start an adventure of another sort. Amazing Race 18, anyone?? I think we would be awesome. Also, we could use a million dollars. But mainly, we would just have fun.
So Happy Anniversary, Mattie...not that you'll ever read this. (Poll for the ladies: does your husband/boyfriend read your blog?) Thanks for being the best husband ever. I love you.
[For other (slightly more lighthearted) memoirs on marriage, check out my first and second anniversary posts.]
Saturday, June 26, 2010
In stark contrast to last weekend, this weekend has been fab! You better not read on unless you're prepared to be jealous. My Saturday might kick your Saturday's tail. Just so you know.
Our weekend started with a happy bang when Matt's younger brother, Stephen, proposed to his girlfriend (and she said yes). This meant our whole family + her family needed to gather to dine at one of my favorite restaurants, Cali 'n Tito's. Never mind that it's porch seating only and it was a torrential downpour with truly scary lightning-- nothing could stop the good times from rolling on. Afterwards we went over to one of her relative's houses for dessert and coffee and it was an altogether great evening. Yay for adding another (really fun!) girl to the family!!
Today started off with a few yardsales (you know I'm happiest when yardsaling...) and we made a really fun purchase: an old (I would say 'antique' but I really have no idea...it's just old) beat-up china cabinet! I guess technically it's a buffet with a china hutch, but that doesn't really matter. It's in pretty awful shape, but as best our inexperienced eyes can tell, it seems like most of the mess is cosmetic (needs to be stripped/refinished, needs new hinges and hardware, new drawer rail things, the glass needs to be re-attached to the doors, etc) and therefore something led Matt and I to believe this was a project we were capable of tackling. Although we don't have any actual experience refinishing furniture, we feel like this task is within our zone of proximal development and we're excited to take it on! Not to mention, we got the cabinet for only $30...so if it ends up that we can't make it useable...well, we haven't lost much. (Note: I linked to the definition of ZPD just in case you were interested in learning all about one of my favorite educational concepts.)
After sealing the china cabinet deal, we headed over to Matt's parents' house, where Matt and Jonathon (Mollyanne's husband) had planned a surprise (to us) swimming get-together!! Yay for a pool on a hot summer day, and SUPER yay for husbands planning a fun Saturday! We had lots of fun, especially since it was baby Hudson's first time in a (non-kiddie) pool. He was a little unsure of things at first, but he warmed up to the idea pretty quickly!
Apparently the idea that those cupholders in floats are designed to hold drinks is something humans are born knowing. No one even told Hudson those were drinkholders-- he just innately sensed he should drink all the water out of them. Brilliant!
In addition to planning lunch (pizza, yay!) the boys also came out with a surprise happy half-birthday ice cream cake...complete with a candle and a rousing rendition of "Happy Half-Birthday to Yall"! Both Mollyanne and I have December birthdays, a fact that neither of us is thrilled with, so the boys capitalized on that in order to have an excuse to get ice cream cake. And it was good. SUPER good.
And right before we ate, right when I was thinking that the day just couldn't get any better...it did. I saw on Facebook (from a reliable source-- a lady I used to babysit for whose husband is a major commercial developer in Athens) that TRADER JOE'S has signed at lease to open a store in Athens in late 2010!!! (At the Markets at Epps Bridge for you Athenians dying to know) Um, hello, Trader Joe's??! Could life BE any greater?
Friday, June 25, 2010
So hot that practically the only thoughts in my head this week have been something along those lines-- it's hooootttttt.
I think this may be why saunas have never really appealed to me. They're really hot and humid. Exactly like Georgia in
Anyway. In other news...
Can I gripe about the cost of healthcare for a minute here? Okay, thanks. Um, it's RIDICULOUS.
I've heard lots of stories before of people being in the hospital (havin' babies, minor surgery, whatever) and looking over their itemized bills to see absolutely RIDICULOUS charges. I'm not talking about the actual cost of surgery, which I imagine is (somewhat) justifiably expensive. I'm talking about the $30 ice packs and nonsense like that. Things that any old person could buy at Kroger for a teeny tiny fraction of the cost. We're talking highway robbery, folks. It's infuriating.
I am lucky enough to be receiving stacks of bills in the mail every day to square up my HSG from last month (and checking the mail is sooooooo fun when you have THAT to look forward to!). Most of the bills thus far haven't fallen into the Completely Ridiculous category yet-- the charges seem somewhat commensurate with the product/service. Except this one.
I'm not sure how well you can see the breakdown there, but I underlined the product and drew an arrow to the charge-- $375 for SALINE. SALINE. As in, salty water. The stuff I wash my contacts with every night. I can get a whole bottle of it (12oz? 16 oz?) for $9 if it's NOT on sale (and we all know I'd never do that). And I saw how much of it they used for the HSG. They showed me! It was like MAYBE an ounce. And that's being generous.
That's just about enough to make a girl mad. Next time, I'm taking my OWN saline (and that's a rhetorical statement-- I don't plan on having another HSG, thankyouverymuch). If I were better at math, I'd calculate how many bottles of saline I could buy for $375. Now I'm willing to accept that it is probably not the exact same saline as the contact solution stuff. That's fine. But I promise you that whatever it is, it didn't cost anyone $375 an ounce to produce.
Anyway...grrr. I didn't have any illusions that infertility treatments would be cheap. And I guess I should be thankful that my insurance is even covering any of it. And I don't mind spending the money, if it results in a baby. But I'd like to think I'm spending the money on like...you know...something useful. Like state of the art technology. Highly skilled doctors. Not so much on saline.
In conclusion...it is hot. And I just spent $375 on saline. Happy Friday!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Dear God, thank You for this food. Please let this day end soon. Amen.
I love the brutal honesty, don't you? So walk with me, if you will, as I elaborate on the Three Tragedies that struck our family. And just for good measure, at the end, I'll throw in a few good things that happened too. I'm all about the Fair and Balanced, right? :)
Tragedy 1: The Squash
This tragedy was a few weeks in the making, but since I dealt with a lot of it yesterday morning, it just started the day on the wrong foot. Our squash have succumbed to the aptly named squash bugs. I knew that pests would be an inevitable problem (our garden is organic and pesticide-free), I just didn't know how big and FAST a problem it would become. I noticed the week before we left for vacation that a few vines/leaves/squash were dying...didn't care a thing about it, since we had a freakin OVERABUNDANCE of squash (you'll have to look back to see pictures of our formerly healthy squash garden-- due to Tragedy #3, I no longer have access to those pictures). When we got home, though, it was obvious that our poor squash were all but murdered. I was too busy all week to really deal with it or figure out what was happening, so by yesterday morning this is what I was looking at:
Saturday morning he woke up and his eye was all red and full of puss. YUCK. He said it was hurting, so we spent a few hours (while we were killing squash bugs) just seeing if it got better on its own, then Googling "insect in eye". We decided to err on the side of caution and take him to the Urgent Care clinic to see if he need antibiotic eye drops. We'd eaten a late breakfast, so when we headed out to the doc at 12:30 or so we figured we'd just grab lunch when we were done. Bad choice.
We waited in the waiting room for almost 2 hours. I read like 5 magazines, and then I almost died of boredom. And it's not like there were very many people there! For almost 2 hours, NO ONE GOT CALLED BACK!! Apparently they were dealing with an "emergency" back there. Um...I think that's what the emergency room is for. Anyway, I'm not a very happy girl when I'm hungry, and I was STARVING. This was probably among the most miserable several hours of my life.
Anyway, we finally got seen and the actual examine part was very quick. His eye was (is) infected, but it's normal and not a big deal-- the doctor even gave us free antibiotic eyedrops (samples) since we had to wait so long. So I guess that was nice. But I'm serious-- this whole Urgent Care-on-a-Saturday thing was rubbing me the wronnnng way in so many ways: a) spending your whole Saturday afternoon waiting for a doctor? No good. b) prolonged hunger? No thanks. c) spending money on non-fertility-related doctors visits? That really makes me mad.
Matt feels a bit better now, though, so I guess it's worth it. He just has to wear his glasses for a week.
Tragedy 3: Virus Attack!
We'd left the house in sort of a hurry (to go to the doctor), so I'd just left my computer open and running. When we got home, it was immediately obvious that something was amiss. A few minutes of sleuthing later, my worst fears were confirmed: Major Viral Attack. Trojans. Worms. All those scary words. Most of them probably apply. Poor baby computer.
This led to several hours of phone-conferencing with my dad as he tried to walk me through the healing process. This ultimately did not work because I don't have a way to hardwire into the internet (we share with our neighbors and they're out of town, so I can't get in to hardwire into their router). I hope that when I have a chance to wire in, we will be able to fix the computer. Once I saw how much Geek Squad charges for a basic virus-removal service ("starts at $199")...I decided I can DEFINITELY figure this out on my own. I mean, are you serious, Geek Squad?? You could pretty much buy a new computer for that much! In the meantime, I am without access to my pictures, files, and whatever else. So sad.
So those were the things that pretty much pushed me over the edge yesterday. None of those things are really the worst thing ever on their own, but it just felt like the combination was too much for one girl for one day. Too much.
On the bright side?
Well, at least I have a work laptop. I shouldn't take for granted that my job allows me to have a laptop to use at home...so at least I am not totally without internet (aka Social Interaction) while my home computer is on the fritz!
My cucumbers are growing! They seem to have gotten off to a slow start (they didn't even START sprouting until AFTER they were supposed to have been "ready to eat", according to their tags). But look how cute they are!
I got to see my lovely friend Elizabeth on Friday! I love her very much and we had a fun few hours of laughing and eating and finding great places to pose for pictures...like behind the garden. The obvious choice.
Also, as you can see in the above pictures, our tomatoes are thriving just fine. We are getting TONS of them ready to pick every day and I'm loving figuring out how to incorporate tomatoes into EVERYTHING I eat. They are SO good!!
Last night we discovered the joys of Yahtzee. I know...we're like 30 years late jumping onto THAT bandwagon...but for realz, that game is fun!! Neither of us have ever played, and we actually aren't even sure where the game (in it's original packaging) even came from when we found it in our game cabinet last night...but we gave it a whirl and had a lot of fun! So it was a nice ending to our otherwise not-so-nice day.
So now I'm looking forward to a semi-productive rest of the weekend (gym, dinner with Matt's fam, watering plants) and a hopefully good work week. Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! Matt celebrated his big day with Lola by spending an hour or so Furminating her...I'm sure that's the way all guys wish they could celebrate, right?
Friday, June 18, 2010
So by far the coolest part of vacation was MANATEES!!! Matt and I went kayaking in the Banana River, which is the river that separates Cocoa Beach from mainland Florida. It's a saltwater/freshwater mix and there are LOTS of manatees just a-chillin' there! Or, as the case may be during this particular season, breeding there. That's right. Manatee-lovin'. We had SO much fun getting up close and personal with these giant cuties.
Here we are before we headed out:
And here's one of their backs...
And where there are manatees, there's manatee poo!! Pretty awesome, right? Let's just be honest.
So my post-manatee life has (understandably) been slightly dull. And more than slightly HOT. I mean...seriously. I've lived in Georgia for 25 years and I general think I'm used to the heat, but DANG! This heat just sucks the life out of you. And we've had more than a little yardwork to catch up on since we got home, so I've been spending lots of time outside. Yuck. But time outside is still perhaps better than the time inside, since inside is where the soccer is. World Cup. Blech. Just can't bring myself to care about that one. Why do the most boring sports (soccer, NBA) have the LONGEST "must-see" tournaments that drag on for months? Even the Olympics was barely as long as the World Cup...and at least then you get a variety of sports to choose from! Anyway. End whining.
And now I'm looking forward to spending time with one of my long-lost BFFs tonight! She's in town and we're going to hang out and I'm very happy about that. I also hope to join in on the Kelly's Korner SUYL topic today-- Your Proposal Story. I can't remember if I've told it here before or not, but it's one of my favorite stories. Have a great weekend!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Vacation is a very good thing. We're having a lot of fun relaxing and lounging in the sun. And reading. Lots of reading.
Oh yeah, and we "played" tennis. And by that, I mean stand on a tennis court and chase balls around haphazardly. Tennis has never been my strong suit...although I wish it were cause I like those cute skirts they wear. Oh well.
After the sun goes down we keep things lively with cards, dominoes, and quality television programming such as Operation Repo, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, Say Yes to the Dress, and Snapped (okay, watched THREE HOURS of that last one last night...addictive!!)
Friday, June 4, 2010
Anyway, it's hard to believe we've owned this house for a year (although we didn't actually LIVE here until mid-July). I absolutely love it and am so thankful the to-do list is much shorter and more manageable these days. And also that nothing on the to-do list is actually NECESSARY or urgent...it's stuff like "dig weeds out of the lawn so that the grass will grow better" (could definitely survive even if this never gets done) and less "fix the hot water heater" and "lay floors" (pretty much need those things).
So that's my tribute to one year of home ownership. One down, a zillion to go...I never plan on moving again because a) I hate moving, and b) I hate buying houses, and c) I am never ever moving my piano again-- FOR REALZ.
Today was the first week of my extended-year summer program at school and it was great to see all my kids again. It was also the first week of our district-wide "summer schedule" of 4 10-hour days (versus 5 8-hour...in case that wasn't clear...) which means I have today (and every other Friday this summer) off!! I'm not going to lie-- 7 to 5 was pretty brutal all week, especially since I have to drive 30 minutes to get there, but I think it will be worth it in the end!
Tomorrow we leave to go on VACAAAAATION!!! Matt and I are going with my parents to the beach and I can't WAIT! So today I am using my day off to grocery/drugstore shop, do laundry, start packing, and clean the house. We have a friend staying here for the week to watch Lola, water the plants, and what not, so that means I am on a cleaning FRENZY. I mean, it's one thing if you have some friends coming over for dinner or a shower...you don't have to clean everything because, you know, what are the odds they'll really be checking the closet in the guest room or looking inside all the bathroom and kitchen cabinets. But for a week-long housesitter? I can't be disgracing myself with disorganized cabinets or dustbunnies in the guest room (where she'll be staying)! I've BEEN a housesitter before. Even if you're not nosey (which, let's face it, I am)...you still end up digging through every cabinet because you can't find a can opener or something.
True life story: I used to housesit at this house where they had 5 dogs and they live in this SUPER ritzy neighborhood in Athens...anyway, it was loads of fun because there were like 12 bedrooms (so all my friends could "help" me housesit too!) and they left tons of awesome food for me...it was basically the life. I probably housesat for them 3 or 4 different times, for usually a week at a time. Anyway, they have 5 dogs, right? So inevitably the floors would be covered in leaves/grass/random stuff dogs walk in after about 2 days or so. For the LIFE of me I couldn't find a vacuum in this place. I searched EVERYWHERE, even the attic. I mean, their house was very nice and clean (except for what the dogs dragged in). CLEARLY they owned a vacuum...what, were they taking it with them on vacation? One time I found something that looked like a vacuum head/handle, but the hose wasn't attached to anything...so it was useless.(Note: I don't remember why I never thought to ask them about it after or before their next trip...I guess I forgot about it until I needed it again) So I'd end up picking up bits of leaves off the rugs with my fingers and/or lint rollers (awesome trick, but very un-green).
So a couple months ago, some of my friends were talking about... some thing that I can't remember the name of, hang on let me Google it....okay, thanks for waiting. So my friends were discussing something called Central Vacuum which is some amazing rich-people thing wherein your whole HOUSE is on this vacuum system...and there's no WAY I'm going to be able to explain it, you just need to go click on that link. Anyway, while the friends were discussing this amazing phenomenon, Alyssa mentioned that the family I used to housesit for had Central Vacuum and it all came rushing back-- so THAT is why I could never find a stupid vacuum!! They're way too space-age for a regular old Dyson or something! Anyway, it felt good to get some reassurance that I wasn't just blind...even if it was a few years too late.
So, that was a long story with no real point other than to say: If you have a housesitter coming and you like to keep your stuff hidden and/or you have freaky space-age technology that the average citizen will have no IDEA about...please let them know in advance.
Also, if anyone would like to purchase a Central Vacuum for MY house, that would be great.
Before I leave, I wanted to post a Mystery of the Day (or actually yesterday). Last evening we went out into the backyard to show Jessica (housesitter) the plants/garden/hose/etc and we noticed that the back half of our backyard had been mowed. Just the back half. I didn't do it. Matt didn't do it. And there's not a chance that either of us is lying/playing dumb about it because I can completely account for every minute of each of our days and none of those minutes involved cutting the back half of our backyard.
The front yard is still 6 inches high. The front half of the backyard is still 6 inches high. The back half of the backyard is very nicely cut, even around all the trees.
I don't know whether to be freaked out or thankful. Our yard isn't fenced, so it's not like someone was sneaking around to do this...but still, it's kind of weird, right?? The two neighbors who I would immediately suspect would do something like this (as a random act of kindness thing)...well, neither of their lawns appear to have been recently cut...so I mean, I could see dropping by to help us with ours if they'd already had their tractors out cutting their own grass...but to just randomly get the mower out to JUST come cut 1/4 of OUR lawn?? Seems weird. Now one OTHER neighbor DOES appear to have freshly cut grass-- but we don't really know those neighbors!
Anyway...if you have any ideas, let me know. And if you want to buy me a Central Vacuum, let me know. And if you are super jealous that I'm going to the beach tomorrow and you want me to bring you back a souvenir and take lots of pictures that I'll post on the blog all week long to remind you that you're stuck in an office/at home...let me know. :) Farewell!