Five Faves- September 2016

I tend to like things in spurts. A while back I became obsessed with Mumford and Sons… their songs are sadly no longer enjoyable because I played them into the ground. I went through a hat phase and was rarely seen without one… now I feel much like Kathleen Kelly, most hats are a mistake. The point is that at any given time, there are some things I am really into and are current favorites. I thought it would be fun to list 5 of my current favorites! Hopefully I don’t wear any of these things out!

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  1. Thieves essential oil. I have dipped my toe into the sea of essential oils this summer, and I am glad I did. I ordered a starter kit from Young Living, and have used my oils for cleaning, fighting off colds, healing burns and rashes, and battling anxiety. My current favorite oil is Thieves, because I don’t go a day without using it. I keep getting a sore throat, and after using my Thieves roller, it goes away every time. PLUS it smells super good. 🙂
  2. Brie cheese… best if paired with Salami and Red Grapes. Seriously, this is a delicious combination. My love for Brie cheese began in France, so obviously it makes me feel very cultured, but it also brings back such happy memories. (Please note this hilarious and hidden joke referring to cheese cultures. Thank you.)
  3. LuLaRoe Carly dresses. Yes, I sell them- but I don’t love them because I sell them, I sell them because I love them. 🙂 This dress is seriously so comfortable that I wear it on days I’m not “doing” anything. I have NEVER been one to wear a dress just because… but the Carly is the exception. (If you want to shop, I have a weekly Popup on Thursdays in my Facebook group!) I cannot wait to layer these dresses with leggings, boots, and long cardigans!!!!
  4. Pumpkin French Toast Bake. I made this last weekend for our growth group retreat, and I am a fan. I am someone who struggles to make breakfast happen every morning, so I love making casseroles like this that I can just warm up. Minimal effort, people.
  5. Cam’s album Untamed. This ALMOST turned into a Mumford & Sons situation… but I quickly realized my trajectory (and remembered the graveyard of albums I used to love)… and took a break. So, now I’m back to loving the album. Even if you don’t like country, just listen to Burning House… and if you don’t cry, I’m not sure you’re human.

One Step at a Time

Too many nights this week I laid awake… in pain. Last week Josh and I went on two very long walks. I enjoyed being outside, exercising, and not being drenched in sweat. This is my absolute favorite time of year. A few days later, my feet hurt so bad I could barely walk. Each step felt like someone was stabbing me in the foot. After spending WAY too much time on the internet, and scaring myself to death, I realized that there was a glaring obvious reason my feet are in pain: bunions.

I eventually realized that my feet have always had issues, and pretty much always been shaped in a bunion-eque way. On top of that, it is hereditary. Unfortunately my shoes have done me no favors, especially considering I have been wearing one pair of shoes to work every day. Wow. You’d think I would have realized that wasn’t good before I was in crippling pain, but nope. That is how the hunt for comfortable shoes began.

Y’all. It doesn’t make any sense. Shopping is fun until you HAVE to find something very specific. This week has been a pain in the… well, foot. The good news is now I have some shoes with arch support, cushion, and room for my toesies. The other good news is that we had extra money this month, which came exactly when we needed it.

That has been the biggest thing happening in my life this week. It may sound trite or trivial, but it has been a huge deal. I have been in intense pain, frustration, and felt like a money pit. Not saying great things to myself, obviously…

I felt like Superwoman on Saturday, you guys. I did the laundry, made two casseroles for the growth group meal, breakfasts for November, two loaves of bread (Oatmeal), finished a blanket, watched Star Wars episode 2, caught up on my tv shows, vacuumed, fixed a pair of boots, did a lot of shoe shopping, made Josh’s favorite soup, and cleaned our room.

I don’t feel ready for the craft sale at ALL. I know I am a lot more prepared than I feel, but I feel about two months behind. 🙂 This week is quite packed! I have some baking to do tonight, some shower planning, some sewing, and a few short hours. Please pray that I don’t burn out this month, but that I am given the strength, rest, and ability to do everything I need to. And… pray for my self-esteem issues. Being a vendor in a craft sale is SO scary, and I have really struggled with my feet issues and what that means for being able to exercise.

 

Dear Josh,

I am so thankful for the way you meet my needs. Thank you for doing some laundry for me on Friday, to save me some work. Thanks for going shoe shopping with me, because I didn’t want to do it alone. Thanks for giving me some space on Saturday so I could knock out so much of my to-do list! I am so thankful for you, and the ways you take care of me. I love you.

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Here Comes the Sun

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Date Night. Bread Ventures. Sewing Project.

The past two weeks have been super rainy, which I love, but we totally reached the cabin fever stage. I’ve been struggling to sleep at night, and I KNEW it was because I needed to get outside and walk. Conveniently, last Wednesday was date night AND the sun was shining. Josh and I decided to take full advantage of the clear skies, and walked to downtown Wake Forest (it’s about a mile one-way) to try a new burger shop last Wednesday for date night. It’s been a while since we tried new restaurants… so trying two new places, two weeks in a row has been a blast! Our review is that the Burger Shop is not Five Guys…. but we like it.  The closest Five Guys is about 25 or 30 minutes away! So, considering that… it was REALLY good. 🙂  It won’t be a really be an option in Winter, as there are only about 10 seats inside, but it was perfect last night, sitting outside.

We took our time enjoying dinner, sitting downtown, and catching up on each other’s days. After our burgers had a chance to settle, we walked down to my favorite local ice cream place, Lumpy’s. Josh got Honey ice cream (so good) and I got chocolate with salted caramel (which was mind-blowingly amazing). I can’t even express how much fun it was to be walking with my sweetheart, ice cream cones in hand, laughing and talking and just enjoying each other’s company. It was the best.

This past weekend was a quiet, but busy one. I am almost done with a baby blanket, and I’ve been working on things for the craft sale. I also used my bread machine for the first time and made Italian Herb french bread. The bread machine has a delay start programming function, which I feel like I am going to really enjoy this winter, coupled with the use of my crock pot timer for soup! My homemade laundry detergent is the bomb… so I’m pretty stoked about that too!
On Saturday, I made Pumpkin Cheesecake for girls night… both the cheesecake and girls night were successes… we made pizza, did some painting, lots of talking, and enjoyed cheesecake. I’ve been so blessed by these girls… some I have know for over a year, and some I have known for just a few weeks.

Josh and I are getting a lot of questions along the lines of “what’s next?” since he is graduating in May. I feel like I’ve always had an idea of what is next… and right now we don’t. What is “next” is just paying off student loans, helping Aaron meet his goals and get independent, and praying about the next step. We came to seminary for Josh to get an education, and we have learned a TON together in the last (almost) 2 years. I see our hearts growing for the church, I see our natural giftings being developed, I see us being challenged and stretched. I see so many good things… but we don’t have a clear direction of “what” or “where” is next. I’m really trying to be ok with this. It feels like I’m disappointing people saying that we don’t have a next step. It feels like we should know. So, I’m trying to learn to take these thoughts captive and not dwell on impressing others or gaining their approval, but pleasing the Lord-and I firmly believe that we are honoring Him by seeking him and trusting that He will guide us.

Meanwhile, my home-town (Columbia) has been submersed by the flood. My favorite park, Riverfront, has been more of a river. I’m very thankful that my family was not caught in the flood, and that they/the house are ok. However, seeing all the damage to my hometown, hearing about the orphans/widows, etc at church on Sunday, and hearing needs of my family/friends has left me feeling very overwhelmed. I’m left feeling that the things I’m doing aren’t enough… yet, I don’t know how I could possibly do more in this season. I reached out to my friends yesterday and expressed this, and they absolutely overwhelmed me with encouragement. Not only that I am using my time/resources well, but that if I look around at all the chaos, I will feel chaotic: I need to fix my eyes on the Lord.

Now, I’m praying that my brother is going to be able to make it out of Columbia on Friday to spend the weekend for us. I’m trying to kick things into gear for the craft sale, and I’m trying to figure out how I am going to survive November, being gone/busy every single weekend– I get so much done on Saturdays, I don’t know what I am going to do without five of them!

 

Dear Josh,

I am very very very happy that the sun is coming out, and that we can go on more walks! I’m looking forward to the days of homemade soup and grilled cheese, and spending time with so many friends/family in November (even if I am a little overwhelmed thinking about it). So this weekend I will have to exercise my creativity coming up with a meal plan for the next few weeks, and maybe making some meals ahead of time. Excited to brainstorm together, and figure out how to make all these crazy plans work. 😀

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Conferences and Quality Time

Remember how we were FINALLY going to do our Aladdin’s date? Well… we tried…. we really did. But we got there, and found out that location had closed, and moved about 20 minutes away. Bummer? It would have been, if we hadn’t found a new favorite restaurant! On the other side of the shopping center, we found a Mediterranean restaurant of our dreams. We chowed down on Gyros, hummus, and pitta, and enjoyed the atmosphere. It was so fun trying a new place together, and seeing how much my husband enjoyed it. He spent a semester in Israel, and said the restaurant felt so authentic, and the food was amazing. Obviously, we are going to have to go back. 🙂
Afterwords, we hit up Chick-fil-a for some ice cream, and went home to watch our show, Once Upon a Time. It was just such a great evening with my best friend. We’re trying to be vigilant in guarding date night…. not just protecting the time on the calendar, but in making it quality time together. We have gotten into the pattern of making date night a time to conveniently get stuff done while spending time together… and I think it has detracted from the quality time spent together. It was great to have an evening of adventure, quality time, and fun.

I HAVE to mention that Aaron got his drivers license this week! He ran his first solo errand on Sunday… saving my muffins by going to the store and getting milk. YAY AARON!

Thursday night I unfortunately somehow injured my finger with my sewing machine… so… that will teach me to take my foot off the pedal and be more careful. 😦 I’m fairly certain that I pounded it a few times with the needle… so… that wasn’t awesome. I iced it, and it felt better by Saturday.

Josh had a conference on campus this weekend, so I made a long list of things I wanted to get done.
-I finally cleaned and decorated our room. When I want to spend time by myself, I usually go into our room. I have a comfy chair by the window, and love to curl up there. Even though it’s been my get-away space, it has gotten messy… and remained un-decorated. Took care of that this weekend!

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-I made breakfasts ahead of time. I have such a bad habit of skipping breakfast… and then I’m so crabby and mentally dull by mid-morning. I spent some time making breakfast burritos and baked oatmeal muffins. So far, it has been a success… since I ate a REAL breakfast this morning. Yay!

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-Had a friend over for tea (for her) and coffee (for me). It was such an encouraging time, and I am so thankful for her!

-DID SO MUCH LAUNDRY. I love doing laundry, truthfully. It was nice to fold it and put it away since everything was already organized in our room. 🙂

-Finished my chicken pattern child-size aprons for the craft sale (ok they’re not totally done… I need to do the whole button/button hole thing).

-Finally started the baby blanket for my friends! It has taken me a while to start because I psych myself out when I’m making something for someone else. If it’s for me, it doesn’t have to be perfect… but I really struggle when I’m making something for someone else. So far, it looks pretty perfect so I’m happy!

-Make my own laundry detergent… haven’t used it yet, but I am really excited about it!

-Made a new burlap wreath for the front door!

-Caught up on new episodes of my shows that aired this week! I love when I can do something fun (like watching shows) and productive (cleaning/laundry) at the same time.

-Found my bread machine manual online and planned the meals out so we can test out the bread machine next weekend!

It was a challenging weekend, because Josh was gone Thursday and Friday evenings, and most of the day Saturday. If I hadn’t made a list of things I wanted to do, I would have been so sad and bored… I’m so thankful for all the projects and ideas that came to mind! I think it made my weekend easier having things to accomplish, and it made Josh’s conference more beneficial because he didn’t feel guilty about being gone. I love spending days like Saturday. I love taking the time to make healthy food for me, and my family, I love taking care of our house and making it clean, and I love spending time sewing. To make it even more perfect, it was a rainy weekend- which made me feel less guilty about being inside all weekend! Josh and I did get to spend some quality time together on Sunday, which I’m very thankful for. We’re learning a lot about marriage- having to work around our busy schedule, life with Aaron, chores, and other people we need to spend time with. Tonight is family Chick-fil-a night, when we use our calendar cards! It’s a big week of exams and assignments for Josh, and then things will calm down again for a while.

 

Dear Josh,

I am so glad you enjoyed your conference this weekend and that I was able to use my time productively. I’m looking forward to getting past these crazy couple of days and back into a rhythm where we can spend some more time together.
I’m so thankful for your patient dedication in teaching Aaron to drive, for you giving your Sunday afternoon to spend time with me, and for being willing to go to Walmart with me to get supplies for laundry detergent. Life is so much sweeter with you.

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Ever-growing To-Do Lists

I took an unintentional blogging break… I guess partially because life is super busy and partially because I don’t have a super strong desire to blog.
This semester, Josh is taking a Biblical Counseling class and I am going to try to read the material so we can talk about it. I have my Bachelors in Psychology, and I believe in a balanced, holistic, integrated approach. I think there are good, beneficial Biblical Counselors, but I don’t believe the Bible-only approach is the most effective. I am super interested to see where Josh’s professor comes down on the scale, and to be able to discuss the course with him.

So… it’s been two weeks. How did my to-do list work out?

-Bake something.
I wanted to make Carrot Cake Cheesecake, but I need to buy some cake pans and I already used up the “Household” budget this month with curtains and such. So instead I made Monster Cookies! Obviously there were no complaints in the house… and I made extra to take to our friend’s “welcome back” party since he was unexpectedly gone for like the entire summer. I also made rolls! I’m not sure what happened, but I had to add a TON of flour. I was so sure they were going to be a flop…. but they were delicious. I also made an Apple Cake this weekend.

-Have someone over for dinner.
In the past two weeks, we have had a lot of people over! We had Joe Tom over one night, and my long-lost Capernwray friend Derek over the next. It was so fun catching up with both of them, and so nice for Josh to finally meet Derek. This past week, we did breakfast for dinner with other friends. THAT WAS SO FUN. We don’t usually have people over for breakfast food… but it was awesome- and a combined effort! We made pancakes and had strawberries and our friends brought sausage and orange juice.

-Unpack a few boxes.
I still have more to do, but I made a ton of progress! The kitchen stuff is unpacked, the pictures are getting hung up, things are finding homes.

-Hang some pictures/brainstorm where pictures will go.
On Monday night, Josh and I decorated the study! I have been telling Josh that “when he has an office” he could hang up the stuff he has from his trips, and his Redskins pictures. So, true to my promise, I helped him hang up stuff from his trips and created the study he’s been wanting. I have my desk in the room as well, so I have my own wall! It’s fun to have our own spaces in the same room… they are so distinct and unique.

-Read for fun.
I have been reading the second Hunger Games book! I am reading a few “serious” books, so it’s nice to have one that I am able to use as an escape and just enjoy.

-Family time, maybe a movie night?
Both weekends since I last blogged we have watched The West Wing and The Office together. Ahh what good shows. 🙂

Update on my purchases, I got my dress and it’s perfect! I feel like it’s a great dress to transition through seasons… it’s classic by itself but will also look so cute with boots, a cardigan and tights moving into Fall. I say, $14 well spent.
The curtains arrived, and finished off our office space! Here’s some pictures of our almost-finished office space below… we’re so excited about it.
I also got my Lilly Pulitzer planner. I’ve already filled it with our life happenings… it is so fun to write things down. I have sticky notes of to-do lists, and all my thoughts go in one place. Plus it’s beautiful. 🙂

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Welcome to the study! This is Josh’s desk…
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This is my desk and craft corner…
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The reading chair (her name is Badonk-adonk Belinda because she is serious HUGE.)

Two Wednesdays ago, Josh and I went to Chipotle for date night and he went to the fabric store with me after. Our friends in growth group are having a baby, so naturally I went to JoAnn fabric. 🙂  I am SO excited about this project. It feels really good to have another project… and I love making baby things. I feel like I get to be part of the joy and excitement, and it’s a way for me to take my thoughts off myself. As I pick out fabric, sew the pieces together, and admire the finished product, I’m praying for my friends as they are entrusted with this precious soul. I’m praying for the baby, that they will grow up to honor and love Jesus with their whole heart. I pray for people to encourage my friends in each season of parenting. I love doing this way more than picking out the fabric (though I picked this fabric out because I feel it has real meaning)… for me it’s a way to love and serve. And, like each child, every blanket I make is unique.

Life is full. I feel like there isn’t enough time to rest, get all the chores done, make all the meals, and be a good friend. I feel like no matter what I do, something is going to suffer. This week, it’s the chores… but they needed to be ignored. I need to make sure I’m making time to do things that will refresh me (like baking a cake or buying fabric or making this place a home and spending time with the Lord), or it won’t matter how much time I’m spending with others… I won’t have anything to give.

This week’s date night is going to be a Josh’s birthday celebration! 🙂 His birthday is actually Friday, and we’re going to celebrate with my family this weekend. Gosh, have I mentioned how happy it makes me that my family LOVES Josh? It’s seriously the best. It makes me so happy to see the people I love loving the person I love most.

Dear Josh,
I am excited our house is starting to come together… I love our study! I’m so excited you finally have your space to do homework. Thanks for all you’ve done to pick up my slack the last few weeks. I’ve been thrown for such a loop and I’m so thankful for you starting crock pot meals, going on walks with me, and doing laundry.
I’m looking forward to celebrating your birthday tomorrow and this weekend!

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French Bread? No, it’s called Lembas Bread

I am bursting-at-the-seams-excited about today…. because MY MOM IS COMING TODAY. We have big plans: the drive in movie theater (Minions and Jurassic World), board games, mango margaritas, and thrifting.

This week has been so so so much fun. My house is packed full of people I love, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think this is one of my favorite things about summer. In so many ways, I have been spoiled by summer. We have been able to spend time with so many people, we have enjoyed sleeping later (it takes less time to drive into work without the school traffic), and I have enjoyed extra time in the evenings with Josh (un-distracted by school!).

Wednesday night, Josh and I had our date at Chick-fil-a. We went straight after work, so that we could have a date but also spend time with Andrew and Aaron. We had lots of deep conversation, and processing time- which I desperately needed. I take a lot of time to process things… my thoughts, emotions, etc… I have to write about it, think about it, and talk about it. I’m so thankful that my husband is someone that listens and also helps me think through things.

When we got home we played a few games of 7 Wonders all together. I feel bad (but honestly not TOO bad) because I keep winning… every single game. The thing is that it’s Josh’s favorite game. I mean… y’all. I have beat him every time, even if it’s by one point. Anyway.

Last night was a lot busier than I expected. I got home, started my french bread, started laundry, made bacon, made salsa, prepped meals for the weekend, cut up cantaloupes, cleaned out the kitchen, watched the Office with the guys, and feasted on BLTs. By the time I finished all that… it was 9pm. I got so much done- I saved time from the rest of the weekend, but I was disappointed that it took so long. I SO wanted to hang out with them and kick their butts in board games! We ended up only playing one round of Kingdom Builder– but Josh beat me by a few points. 🙂

One note- I made the same french bread as last time but this time I put the garlic powder and Italian seasoning straight up into the dough. OH MY STARS. Andrew calls it lembas bread (Lord of the Rings) because he had one sandwich and was full. I think he is onto something. The guys had one sandwich each, and no one complained of being hungry. Major score.

I am truly trying to enjoy every minute, because I know tears are waiting on Sunday when my family leaves. 😦

 

 

Dear Josh,

I can’t believe it is already the weekend… this week has absolutely flown by! I have been thinking how much the two of us have grown in the last year. This time last year, it seemed absolutely daunting having someone live with us for a week- especially someone with allergies. Obviously, our living quarters have grown since then and so have my cooking skills, confidence, our budget, and experience. I can’t wait to introduce everyone to our drive in movie theater, to feed them all weekend, and to break out the grill. It’s so easy to focus on all the things we have sacrificed in this season of life, and difficult to focus on the blessings… but this week the blessings have been so evident. I’m grateful.
Can’t wait to come home and start this crazy awesome weekend!
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Coming Down

We had date night on Wednesday! We ended up getting Panera (hello, drive through) and coming home to our comfy couch. It feels like it has been forever since we just relaxed on our couch together.

This week has continued to be insane at work. Lots of changes, but good changes. I’ve been overwhelmed this week by my long list of responsibilities at work. I am exhausted. My time sheet reflects 43 hours, and oh I am feeling every minute of that.

Yesterday, I woke up feeling very yucky. Turns out I’m definitely fighting a cold. I am achy all over, my throat is scratchy, and I’m sneezing my head off. I think my body has finally been worn down by the stress and sleep deprivation and called it quits. As a result, I stayed home last night while Josh went to the members meeting at church… and dropped Aaron off at the bookstore while he was at the meeting. I had a gloriously quiet house. I relaxed, I baked a loaf of banana bread, I ate chicken tacos, and it was such a blessing to have some time alone.

This weekend’s plans are pretty much up in the air. I need to make another banana bread, to use my bananas and will probably freeze it. We have a few chores to do, we discussed the possibility of doing the drive in movie (which doesn’t START until 9pm so we’re not so sure…), and lots of chicken tacos to eat.

Here are the recipes I’ve been using, and I highly recommend all three (pictures do not belong to me, the credit goes to the individual blogs)! Links are under the pictures.

recipes

Banana BreadChicken Ranch TacosOne Hour Bread

Dear Josh,

I am thankful for so much this week, but especially all the cleaning you did while I was at work yesterday. It was so nice to come home after a long day to a clean kitchen, and clean clothes. A clean kitchen just makes me SO HAPPY. (Especially since it invited me to bake.) Thanks for always being open to me trying new recipes. It’s fun to share them with you, especially since you’re excited to try them.
I am looking forward to a semi-normal weekend with you and I am SO READY TO BE HOME!!!
signature.bird

 

While Josh Was Away

While Josh was away, we watched a lot of Downton Abbey, I watched a lot of Nashville, I baked French bread for the first time, I baked a blueberry cake, I did laundry, and I purged my closet. While Josh was away, I stayed up unusually late so I was so tired I would fall asleep. I have such a hard time falling asleep when he’s not in the house. While Josh was away, I was thankful for all he does at home… as I made my own lunches and did the dishes; two important tasks he usually does for me.

While Josh was away, we had amazing thunder storms. I found myself so satisfied with my time spent baking, the uninterrupted introvert time by myself, and I even enjoyed missing him. [Wait… WHAT?] No, missing him is not fun, but I’m so glad I do miss him. I’m so glad we have responsibilities and that we feel the weight when one of us isn’t able to carry theirs. I liked the feeling that I can do these things by myself, I can be independent, but I don’t have to be. I get to share these mundane responsibilities and moments with my best friend.

Josh has been avoiding desserts for the month of June. Out of respect for his resolution, I have not baked any sweets… but this weekend I had a reason: family cookout. Oh, how I love to bake. I love the challenge, the precise measurements, the smells, the satisfaction of a cake well iced. And, I will admit, I love sharing what I’ve made with others. I also made the must unbelievably easy and delicious french bread… I’ll have to share that recipe.

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I dropped Josh off at the airport on Thursday morning. It was a LONG day. I woke up at 2am, left the house at 5am, and was at work before 6am. Thankfully, my bosses let me come in early, work all my hours, and go home. Oh, I enjoyed those hours at home… it’s not every afternoon I get to lay in bed and watch Netflix! 🙂  After a few day of the aforementioned baking, TV shows, and introvert time, I picked Josh up from the airport on Saturday evening, and we had a feast of chicken burritos. I tried a new recipe (chicken broth, ranch seasoning and taco seasoning in the crock pot), and naturally it was delicious.
On Sunday, we went up to Richmond for a family cookout! Despite the best burger I have ever had in my life, we enjoyed spending time with family. I’m thankful our family lives so close that we’re able to visit for a day (in this case), or a weekend (in most cases).

The past few days have been… long and difficult. Work has been rather insane, processing billings, cleaning up the books… it’s one of those weeks where every time you cross something off the list, about 5 things get added. BUT there are so many things to be thankful for, despite the crap of recent days, weeks, and months. For instance: I have freshly baked bread and cake at home. I have a job… not just any job, but a job where I am vital and valued. Because of my perfectly timed raise, we were able to purchase a plane ticket for Josh to go to Wisconsin. I am gaining valuable accounting skills at work. I finally found the perfect black maxi skirt, and I BOUGHT it. It is so so so easy to focus on the pain, the struggles, and the un-fairness… isn’t it? I accept the challenge of positive thinking, and counting my blessings.

Last night we had a cook out with several growth groups from our church. I was, honestly, not looking forward to it. I’m not good at small talk, and I have been wiped out from the last couple of days. Thankfully, I was surprised by how much fun I had. We played bocce ball, had burgers, and met a lot of people.

Tonight is date night. Honestly, we don’t have a plan yet, but I know that we’ll be together! We typically go out for date night, since Aaron is always home. Tonight we’re thinking Panera! (And I am hoping for some One Upon a Time and snuggling!)

 

Dear Josh,
I am so thankful for the timing of my raise. I’m thankful that we were able to afford this trip, and that you were able to support and encourage your family while you were there. Next month we’ll destroy the loans… this month was about investing in family.
Mostly, I’m glad you’re home and I can’t wait to spend time with you tonight, and to spend time with you this weekend!
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I Did Survive (Hey Hey)

First of all, I am not panicking anymore. I made a pie for Easter, I got the chicken trimmed, butterflied, and pounded ahead of time, we made an awesome dinner for Growth Group, and I did indeed survive.

Tuesday, I chopped my hair off. I cut it shorter than ever before… I can’t put it up, I have no idea how to towel dry it, and the lady buzzed my neck. I haven’t gotten Josh to take any pictures, so enjoy these before and after selfies!

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Wednesday night, Josh and I were super spoiled. My boss gave us a gift-card (completely out of the blue) to one of the nicest restaurants in town. We spent about a week studying the menu so that we could figure out what we wanted to order ahead of time (not even kidding) without suffering menu shock when we got the restaurant. This is the kind of place that even though we have a gift-card, I knew I was going to be sick looking at the prices if I waited until we got there to look at the menu (spending $30 for dinner is outrageous for us). I came home from work, we got dressed up, and Josh whisked me away for a night out. We are so thankful for this gift– a night out together, ordering whatever we wanted, and it felt like I had an evening being Cinderella. We had shrimp, philly cheesesteak egg rolls (umm AMAZING), soup for me- salad for Josh, and steak with mashed potatoes. We also got dessert to go.

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Thursday (yesterday) was Aaron’s birthday! It is our tradition that the birthday person gets to pick whatever they want for dinner (within reason). So, I made breaded chicken for the first time (it was delish and a lot easier than I anticipated), white rice and wax beans (Josh and I had green beans), and an apple pie! I bought the crust (because ain’t nobody got time for that) and the pie was pretty darn good. I need to tweak the recipe some… the filling was kinda soupy and I’m not sure how to fix that. At any rate, it LOOKED wonderful. Aaron picked out some movies from RedBox, and I watched part of one– but ended up going upstairs and cleaned our room/packed for the weekend/watched American Idol.

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This week has been about getting stuff done. I feel like I haven’t spent much time at home, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the kitchen… which stressed me out, until I was doing it and enjoying it. This afternoon I’m leaving work early and we’re heading to Virginia Beach to spend the weekend with Josh’s family.  I’m seriously excited (but only if Duke wins… if Duke loses it will be a dark storm cloud because these people are SERIOUS Duke fans).

I finished the book I was reading (One Last Thing), so I’m moving on to “The Book Thief.” But… now I’m experiencing character withdraw. I know the story was wrapped up…. but I didn’t want it to end. Ahh. The terrible feeling of accomplishment and distress that awaits you at the last page of every book.

HAPPY EASTER. I am spending most of Good Friday either in an office chair or the car… but I’ve been trying to reflect on the significance of this day. My Savior… giving his life to save mine. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, but also don’t let the significance of this weekend get lost in the shadow of family gatherings, Easter egg hunts, and pretty dresses.

 

Dear Josh,

PHEW. I feel pretty exhausted from this week, but I’m also so proud that we did it all. Date night was so fun. I’m really glad you like my hair! It’s so different, but I have super enjoyed the low maintenance of it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me make Aaron’s birthday meal. I had some serious doubts that I could pull it off, and I couldn’t have without all your help. Thank you for the ways you love both of us, and the ways you help and serve us.
I’m excited about spending the weekend with you, your family (who I call MY family and confuse everyone I know), and praying Duke wins… until Monday night, when they’re going to get beaten by Kentucky (sorry but it’s true, my bracket says so). See you in just a few hours, my love!

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