Tuesday, June 30, 2009

two years

June 30, 2007. It was a magical day. The "beginning of the rest of my life", if you will. It started early-- those hair extensions didn't just magically appear, friends. They required work. The wedding was at 11:30 a.m., and that meant my morning started at about 4:00. Didn't matter-- I hadn't been sleeping anyway.
In a way, the whole day was a blur. I remember getting dressed, I remember my sister CONSTANTLY re-curling and spraying my hair. I remember sweating to death as we took the pictures outside (pre-ceremony). I remember hanging out with our families and friends, all dressed up, as we waited in the chapel while taking pictures. I was so glad we did all that before the ceremony...I couldn't have waited to see Matt. Walking down the aisle was magical anyway. The ceremony was a blur, but I remember how much my hands were sweating and I was praying Matt would be able to get the ring onto my swollen fingers. He did. I cried, but not enough to look a hot mess. We walked back out to "Glory, Glory to Ol' Georgia" and that was so much fun. I felt like a princess. The reception seemed to go really fast, but the cake was wonderful. So was the rest of the food. I do remember eating it! My face hurt from smiling so much. I was so ready to stop being the center of attention. My sister caught the bouquet-- my dad joked that I should run, take off the dress, give it to her, and let's just get her wedding over with while we were at it. Save us the trouble of planning another wedding. We didn't do that, but before I could leave we did have to go spend another half hour in the dressing room taking the extensions out. I complain, but having long princess hair was so worth the pain of putting in and removing the extensions!!! We changed clothes to leave, and people blew bubbles and laughed as Matt forgot to open the door for me. I'll never forget that, and neither will he. We left, and I remember thinking that I was so glad I didn't have to stick around and clean up-- possibly the only party I'll ever host that I don't have to suffer the clean-up of!!
We left, and it was only the beginning. The past two years have been amazing. I think our second year of marriage was even better than the first. We've learned how to live together, how to love better, and how to communicate. We're learning to love each other the way God calls us to-- to love each other the way Jesus loves His church. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it.
Year 2 was amazing. It wasn't always easy, although in a way lots of things got easier. We both had jobs with salaries and paid sick days and vacations-- that actually makes life much less stressful! However we needed those sick days-- we were sick a lot this year. So we prayed a lot this year. We bought a house. That definitely wasn't everything it's cracked up to be, but it taught us how to bear each other's burdens...how to live in a constant state of stress, and how to be business partners as well as best friends. We could run a mean business. ;) We struggled with planning when to start trying to make a family. We had a peace about starting "trying" in January, and so we did. Six months later, we've been disappointed seven times, but I know that these months are bringing us closer to one another and deepening the desire God has given us to have a family. When we finally do get pregnant, the joy will redeem the tears of these last months. We did expand our family in one way, though-- our beloved baby Lola! She is probably the highlight of our year. Her first birthday is next week-- we told her we bought her a new house for her birthday. She's pretty pumped.
So far we've not been apart a single night of our two year marriage-- that's GOT to be a record!! That means about 731 nights, since 2008 was a leap year. :) Maybe we'll keep the trend going for year 3!
I just realized that now we've been married for longer than we dated/were engaged. That seems funny, since it felt like we dated forever, but it feels like we just got married last week! Funny how time does that.
I don't know what Year 3 will bring us...I hope for more of the "for better". That would be nice. But it's comforting, somehow, to know that no matter what happens, we will be okay. We will be together. Matt and I will continue to find contentment, joy, peace, and love, and we'll have more than our share of hilarious laughter over incredibly stupid things. I look forward to a thousand more years of life to the fullest. Just the way it's supposed to be.
Happy Anniversary, Mattie (if you read this)! I love you more than you could know.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

promise I'm still here!

I know it's hard to believe, but I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I have some major blog-guilt, though. I feel like such a poser reading other people's and commenting and never ever updating my own. But here goes nothing-- a quick update and a few pics!

Life is consumed by working on the house and trying to make it move-in-able. I am very thankful to my almost-sister Catherine for helping us so much in the last week-- she's made the work go much faster and much more enjoyably! We've gotten a lot accomplished and last weekend Matt made the executive decision that though these laminate floors may be "DIY" for some, they aren't for us. So we've hired a friend with experience to do them for us, and he hopefully will have them finished this week! It felt great to finally decide to stop stressing over that and just pay someone else to do it. It will be well worth it. My parents came up this weekend and helped us so much with little details around the house and with LANDSCAPING!! My mom brought lots of transplantable (if that's a word) plants from her yard/garden and we bought a few more at Lowe's and worked all day in the 100 degree weather and the results are BEAUTIFUL!! Sadly, I haven't had my camera on me all weekend, but I promise we have one large bed and 2 small beds filled with a beautiful variety of perennials, colorful annuals, varying groundcovers, and other miscellaneous bushes and things. It's so beautiful!! So we are basically all set to move in as soon as the floors go down. YAY!

Dining room a few weeks ago:

Dining room now: check out the beautiful blinds!!

Kitchen last week (bad caulk job around countertops made the paint there a disaster...eyesore):

Kitchen now (notice the new white molding to disguise the caulk! Oh, and the stove actually works without electrocuting you!)

Pretty blinds make my bathroom very spa-like!

So in non-house news...let's see, do I have any? We've tried to hit the pool (Matt's parents have one) as often as possible, often as we're coming home from working on the house. We've started swimming laps, which I must say...if you absolutely must exercise, swimming laps is the way to go. You still get tired and sore, but at least you don't SWEAT!!! And you can stop and take breaks and float whenever you want. It's a pretty sweet deal. We'll see if I can keep it up througout the summer.

We finally watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button last week and I really liked it. It was long, though. But really good and it made me cry a lot. Last night I watched In Her Shoes. It was good, but much longer than necessary. Anyone have any recommendations for things I should add to my Netflix queue?

I've had lots of good baby-holding the past few weeks. As Jolene pointed out so subtlely, I neglected to blog about seeing her and her baby (and husband) and posting pictures I took. I did indeed enjoy her visit a few weekends ago and LOVE her adorable little baby, Anahi! How could you NOT love this face?

I also got to hold my friend Holly's baby yesterday (no pictures). I took Maggie (the baby) outside to see Lola and a train happened to be passing by at the time. Lola started barking (probably at the train), and Maggie started giggling hysterically (she's about 6 months old). This caused Lola to bark more, which made Maggie laugh more. This went on for quite some time and was possibly the most adorable thing I've ever witnessed. Heart, be still...
Now I need to go catch up on my blog reading, then get ready for the week. And figure out a way to take a vacation. For free. :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

really, PETA?

Maybe you've heard about this piece of 'breaking news', dealing with President Obama and PETA. Check out the article-- in short, during some news conference or interview or something the other day, there was apparently a fly buzzing around the President and whoever he was talking to. Apparently they'd shoo-ed it away a few times but it kept buzzing around. Eventually the President just swatted it down and smooshed it, saying something like "took care of that sucker". Life went on. And wouldn't you just know that a few brilliant minds over at PETA have been all OVER the President for that move-- oh Mr. President, must we kill the fly? Couldn't you have just caught it and then humanely released it outdoors?? HA!

It's funny how one event can get two completely different reactions. I didn't see the interview thing, but if I had, my reaction (and my reaction to reading the article) to seeing President Obama smack that little fly would have been "heck yeah!" I mean, he showed he wasn't above doing what needed to be done-- that fly needed removing, and he manned up. Go Prez. He didn't call on some minion to come do it for him, he didn't just whine...he took care of it! To me, it makes him look a little more human, a little more "oh look, the President is just a regular guy." I love seeing celebrities (which only loosely describes the President's status!) doing really normal things!

And then there's the crazies over at PETA. I am totally sure that probably 95% of PETA members/supporters are really normal, wonderful people who are passionate about animals and their treatment. But then there's the other 5%...and their lawyers. God bless 'em. Could they be any crazier? Catch the fly and release it outside? Right, because the President of the United States doesn't have any more pressing issues to think about.

This led me to think about what is probably a pressing issue for most PETA crazies (I say 'crazies' to separate them from the 'normal' PETA members). Dogs and fleas. Now, I would fully hope/expect PETA members to have a whole pack of (rescued) dogs at their homes. But with dogs come fleas...and if you're a card-carrying PETA member, then you probably see those fleas as just as valuable a member of your household as yourself or your child. But fleas torture dogs (and a lot of people). Surely you don't want your dog to suffer!! What's a crazy to do?? Deny your dog flea treatment (that would kill the fleas) and watch your dog suffer, get worms (and do you treat the worms, since they're living breathing beings with hearts and souls too?), and die? Or do you value your dog (and your sanity) above the darling little fleas and just "treat" (kill) the fleas? And if you do, then HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT, HYPOCRITE???? Haha.

These are the questions that plague me...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I get so bored of cooking the same things all the time. I go through phases where I get really into using recipes and trying new things...then I go through phases where I just cook the same (easy, memorized) things for weeks on end. Right now, I'm in neither of those phases-- most of my cooking right now involves slapping peanut butter on bread, or ordering from the Sonic drive-thru. It's complex, but someone has to do it. This afternoon, though, I had multiple cooking tasks on my agenda.

Task #1: Amish Bread Bake Day (okay, actually bake day was yesterday, but I didn't have time yesterday. Sue me.) This stuff is a killer because you have to bake it every 10 days and it makes 2 loaves every time...so if you keep doing it, you get a little bored with the same bread over and over. Recently, though, I've began experimenting with the ingredients. I've made banana-pecan Amish bread a few times (delish), and today I decided to take a cue from Katy (okay, copy her) and make Lemon-Blueberry Amish Bread. Sub in lemon pudding for the vanilla pudding, throw in the last of last summer's frozen blueberries, and voila! An absolutely FABULOUS take on an old favorite. Feast your eyes on this:

Yes, it's as good as it looks.

And yes, I eat my bread on a paper towel. Don't judge.

Task #2: Dinner, or lack thereof.
Since we don't spend most nights here at our home-where-our-food-and-cooking-utensils-are (we're at the new house, with its barren kitchen), I haven't been buying a lot of cook-a-real-dinner ingredients. Mostly just stuff we can grab and go. But tonight, as it turns out, we were home at a good time to cook and eat some REAL FOOD (sorry, Sonic, see ya tomorrow!) So I put on my big girl pants and decided to whip up a little something using just what I had-- and here's what I could find: some random (frozen) smoked sausage from New Braunfels, TX (according to the package); red potatoes; an onion. This reminded me of German potato salad, which is a good thing, so I threw those things plus a good measure of EVOO, white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and salt + pepper into the skillet and cooked it for awhile. The results?? Awesome!! Very tasty, and the cooked-down onions were really to die for. The potatoes didn't get as soft as I would have liked...if I make it again, I'll pre-boil them for a few minutes...but they did get the yummy browned olive-oily outside thing going on...and the vinegar/sugar flavors were fabulous. All in all, it was a good experiment-- and used up ingredients that probably would have otherwise gone bad or been thrown out (what DOES one do with random sausages?? why do I have them??)
I will now go and spend the rest of the night/week trying to NOT scarf down 2 loaves of lemon blueberry Amish Bread. Lord give me strength...

Monday, June 15, 2009


I'm so tired. Seriously tired. This has been the most exhausting month of my life. Physically...mentally...fiscally (haha). I don't plan on moving again EVER. At least, not into a house that isn't move-in ready the day I buy it!! So I work every day 7am-4pm, then by 5:30 we head out to the house to do manual labor until 9 or 10. A half hour drive back home, hit the sack...repeat, repeat, repeat. On the weekends, we just head out as soon as we get up (or after church), so it's even MORE hours of labor-- yippee!!

But on the plus side, things are moving along. All rooms are painted (except the dining room...it can just hold its horses). And we've started the floors! So far we've been figuring it out on our own (with the help of the internet and Matt's handy-dandy DIY book) and it's been a little frustrating, but okay. We ended up having to rip off all the baseboards (not part of the master plan) so now I have to figure out how to get new ones and pray that we have the money for them! Here's a few pics of things we accomplished over the weekend:
Our freshly painted toilet 'nook' in the master bathroom. I got a little tired of all that neutral color...

Mattie and his new 'toy', the miter saw (?)...it's necessary to cut the floorboards to the correct length. And to look super manly.

Getting the floor started in the master bedroom. Matt making phone calls trying to figure out what to do!

Anyway, so things are moving along, but I can't wait to be done with it and moved in and not WORKING every waking minute of every day.

I did, on a whim, as off for this Friday, giving myself a nice little 3-day weekend. Matt still has to work, so I'll have a whole day free. Hopefully I will find something better to do than spend the whole day working by myself at the house! If only there were a beach within easy day-trip distance...*sigh*

On an unrelated but sucky note...all school district employees got letters this weekend informing us that (due to budget cuts) the school district will no longer be paying anythingtowards our health insurance. Effective July 15, my insurance premiums will increase from ~$17/pay period to ~$100/pay period. WHAT??? You obviously think you pay me more than you do! So this is a ridiculous cure to the budget problems...taking the money from the people that make the least. Ugh. And this is for health insurance that is not even that good to start with. So now we're going to beg Matt's HR to let me get back on his insurance. Hopefully this will qualify as a "life event" worthy of making mid-year insurance changes. His is just as expensive, but it's at least decent healthcare.

Anyway...just some mid-day rants...Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

progress (& pics)

If our house renovations were going to be turned into a reality-type show for HGTV or TLC or DIY Network or something, this wouldn't be some half-hour done-and-done show. This would be like...a full-length feature film. However, much progress was made over the weekend! Yay! It's starting to look less like an empty shell of a house and much more like me. It's almost possible to imagine actually living there, now. Almost.

Before I move on to the pictures, I'd like to say that none of this would be possible without Matt's wonderful family. Sometimes living in the same town as your in-laws is the best thing in the world. His parents and brother were with us all day Saturday, painting, fixing, sweating, and running to town to get food for us. They were awesome. Steve came back again today to help with more painting and to help Matt re-wire the something-or-the-other on the back of the oven (or was it the wall?). They were amazing to help us so much and I hope to repay everyone by hosting as many holiday get-togethers as possible at our house in the future!! OK, onto the pics. First a few general/amusing pictures, then I'll try some before and after (or 'during'...it's not really 'after' yet. No floors. No furniture. It's still a work in progress).

Friday evening, as we were walking Lola and returning to our house, we saw TWO rainbows (over our neighbor's house)!! The 2nd one is a bit hard to see, but it's above the first one. It was so beautiful!

The front of our house. You can see the lawnmower (that needs work to actually WORK...another work in progress) in the garage. I feel so grown up having a garage!

Mattie and Lola (who spends all her time trying to paw off her head lead) in front. It stinks not having a fenced-in yard here.

When Lola's inside, she makes herself really useful by finding things she thinks we need and bringing them to us. Here she is with the painter's tape...thanks Lola! (Then when you try to take it from her, she runs away with it. Perhaps she's really just playing...)
A common sight this weekend: Matt (or anyone) painting. And painting. And painting.
Brother Steve painting. Although this was his first time painting (or so he says), he had some mad skillz. I'm very happy he showed them off all weekend long.

Our new refrigerator! Look how huge and white and beautiful and shiny it is!!

Look how pristine the inside in! Don't worry, it's ALWAYS going to look this nice. I promise!

Mattie and Steve making a three-pronged thingy four-pronged (or maybe visa-versa)on the oven...way to go, boys!

The kitchen: Before. I really did not like the color of these cabinets. They made me sad.

However...a little paint (on the walls, that is) makes them look a LOT better!! I think I'm going to love my kitchen! (Appliances don't hurt, either)

The kitchen's still in progress...boys still have to finish up something on the back of the stove (that's why it's sticking out still) and there's a caulking issue around the countertop/wall joint that messed up the paint...needs to be figured out. Living room: Before

Living room: Now

Master bedroom: Before

Master bedroom: Now (and YES that's the exact same paint that we have in our current bedroom. Why mess with a good thing?)

That's all for now-- it's late and work will come early (7am, yikes). More to come in the near future! Remember, if you want to be a part of making all this magic happen...all you have to do is say so. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

love it

A little while ago Matt's younger brother called. Apparently there's some social event downtown tonight that requires his attendance. Ever the mindful citizen, he recognized that it would not be in anyone's best interest for him to drive himself home after the festivities end (2 a.m.), so he calls on his older brother. Could Matt possibly pick him up after the party? Oh, and also could he maybe crash at our place, too?

While this will interfere hardcore with our current plans for 2 a.m. (sleep), Matt loves his brother a lot...and he's a quick-thinking opportunist, to boot. In exchange for the late-night taxi service and bed, little bro will be contributing 4 hours of manual labor to Operation: Fix Our House tomorrow. LOVE IT.

Not only is he a hottie, he's also kind-hearted and quick-thinking! Can a girl get any luckier??

Thursday, June 4, 2009

homeowners at last

Well my friends, it has been a long and bumpy road, but Mattie and I are finally homeowners. As of June 3, 2009, we own a 3 bed/2 bath home on 1.34 acres in Statham, Georgia. Yay!

However, it's not quite what you'd call a move in ready home. Actually, it's not even in the same ballpark. There is quite a lot to be done, and as the owners, it's up to us to do it. Eeek. So after we closed yesterday, our next stop was Ikea (the closing was in Atlanta, so it was convenient). Time to purchase those laminate floors...and about a million other "necessary" things. It was quite a shopping trip...so much so that MINUTES after checking out (and I'm not exaggerating...we were seriously still standing in the "loading" area waiting for Matt's mom to pull around with the van) I got a call from the Wachovia fraud alert system detecting unusual activity on my debit card. How insulting...they think I don't spend thousands of dollars at furniture stores every day? Ha. Just kidding, but way to go Wachovia. Unfortunately, that purchase was valid. We made the long drive back to Statham and then spent a few frustrating hours sitting and waiting on a locksmith to come and change all the locks and deadbolts in the house. We finally made it back to our home and puppy around 10:30pm. I got pretty much NO sleep last night (mixture of nervous/excited...and then I started feeling sick).

So today I felt/feel like crap (sinus infection maybe?) but it was back to work for me, and I sleepwalked through the day. We did go over to the house tonight, though...to check on it and get a few things done. Our to-do list for the house is ENDLESS at this point, so we can't waste time checking things off.

On Mattie's to-do list: Fixing a toilet problem in the guest bath. He tackled it with a venegeance and 2 hours later, emerged successful. Go Mattie!

Lola handled the sitting, staring out windows/doors, and whining. She does her job with great dedication. (Note: that's this little patch of laminate floors that the previous owners left...the rest of the living room must have had carpet, which they tore up, but they left this little patch of laminate. Thanks a lot, now we have to tear it up.)

The dining room and our only current interior furniture. Swanky, huh?How I feel about the amount of work required (by me) to make this house live-able. Eeek. Overwhelmed.

What I accomplished today: taping off all the baseboards, windows, and doorframes in the living room. Still have to do the (really high) ceilings. But it's a start...and for a girl that feels like crap, it was a solid start.

We made it back home at a much more decent hour tonight, stopping by the Bojo (Bojangles) on our way back in for dinner. In case you've never met me...I have a burning passion for the Bojo and their chicken and biscuits (and everything else they serve). Moving out closer to the Bojo will NOT make me sad. It won't make me skinny, either. Oh well.

That's all I can update for now. My mug of hot chocolate is empty and my bed is calling my name. But if you happen to be in the Athens area (or you want to be) and you have a hankerin' for home improvement this weekend...just give me a call. I maybe could even sweeten the deal with a little Bojo run...no one can resist that!