Holiday Recap

December feels like a distant dream. We had my company Christmas party (yay for free margaritas and steak), and the next day Josh and I headed to Myrtle Beach for our annual anniversary trip. We scored a super sweet ocean-front hotel Groupon that meant we could afford to stay there for 4 nights! Unfortunately, we quickly discovered why the hotel was so cheap… and had to change rooms because I found long, black hairs everywhere. In the shower, all over the bathroom, in the bed, on the pillows… it was like no one cleaned the room, and I got grossed out. We switched rooms, ended up with a better layout and a better room, and we were happier. 🙂 The first night, we decided to run to Publix to get some groceries… and a fun anniversary treat. We got our wedding cake from Publix (highly recommend), a grocery store we don’t have in NC (at least anywhere close to us), so we got a little cake for our anniversary treat. It’s been a few weeks, so honestly the trip is a blur of eating out, and enjoying the hotel’s cable (HGTV)!!! We had all sorts of food- wings, breakfast, Mexican, pizza… watched two movies- Hunger Games (SO GOOD) and Ricki and the Flash, played board games, went to the aquarium, walked on the beach, read, and slept in. It was so refreshing to have a break from cooking, cleaning, working, commuting… and so nice to be on a vacation alone.

Next, we headed to Columbia for Christmas! It was hot and muggy our entire stay in South Carolina. “Welcome Home,” right? My mom blew us away with her cooking, and Josh got to experience all our “weird” traditions including glow sticks and books on Christmas Eve. We decorated gingerbread cookies, exchanged presents, ate a ton, and watched the neighbors’ house burn. In the middle of Christmas dinner, fire trucks rolled down the street and stormed the house two doors down. It was incredibly sobering, and I gained renewed respect for fire-fighters. The owners of the house were out of town, and the fire was started by a heat lamp for one of the reptiles. The owners are avid animal lovers, and we saw two dogs and a cat be carried out of the house, then watched the workers attempt to revive them… and cover them with a white sheet. It was so hard to walk back inside, knowing this family’s Christmas was ruined and forever marked as a sad occasion.
In contrast, our Christmas was a joyous occasion. We went on tons of walks, ate tons of food, laughed until we hurt, and I am so thankful my entire family was able to be together. Every time we’re with with my parents, I am so encouraged by the ways they invest in and love people. I’m so thankful for the hours they spent with us talking, processing, and advising. The most hilarious moment was when Josh opened a pair of shoes… and we realized that instead of putting an adult-size 12 on his list, he put a child-size 12. 😀 Since Josh is a detail-guy, my mom figured he had the right link on his wish-list and didn’t even double check what she was ordering… we all laughed until we cried!

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New Years was spent with our BFFS the Gilmores. We celebrated Joseph’s birthday with an amazing meal at Outback, introduced him to fire works (his birthday is New Years Eve!), turned his high chair (and his body) blue with acrylic paint- he really liked painting- just not the aftermath (also now mommy and Aunt Deborah know that acrylic paint stains BADLY), decorated for and had a Winter Onederland (get it?) birthday party, stayed up late playing board games and laughing hysterically, doing ridiculous things to get a laugh out of Joseph, and wishing we could stay longer.

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My birthday was simple: we got Taza Grill and Cheesecake for date night, then on my actual birthday we made cheese fondue (wasn’t awesome) and Josh surprised me with a beautiful book of letters from my friends and family. I cried and cried and it was basically the best birthday gift ever. YAY for 25 years! The guys decorated our house to replicate an episode of The Office where Dwight decorates with balloons and streamers that match The Office. Spoiler: it looks like crap. I walked into the house after a long day to the hilarious decorations and it made my day!

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We’re on week 3 of my goals, and I have to say I am getting pretty consistent. The best thing I did was download a checklist app… I kept forgetting (thanks, 6:15 am) if I had taken my vitamin, and always felt like I was forgetting something. If you’re a list maker like me, and trying to form a habit… get a checklist app. It is a game-changer.

One of my goals for this year is to add recipes to my arsenal. I tried my hand at pot roast, without a kit, and it was AMAZING. Huge huge hit with the boys. I threw a bunch of potatoes and carrots in the bottom of the crock pot with some water, with the roast, packs of brown gravy, Italian Dressing Mix and Ranch Mix on top and let it cook for hours. I made a delish ravioli dish, and made the easiest, most addictive ham and cheese sliders of my life. This weekend I am going to try a baked potato soup, since it is supposed to be insanely cold and they are calling for snow. When it snows, I need soup. It just makes sense.

Dear Josh,

I am so thankful for all the happy memories we made over the holiday weeks, but I am also thankful we are able to enjoy some time at home now. Thanks for always being enthusiastic about new meals, getting up early so I can do my quiet time, and bringing me coffee while I do my devotions. You’re the best.

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Life has been so good, and busy, lately and there just hasn’t been time to blog. So a quick recap.

We have moved into our house. We love our house. Our clothes are not in boxes, but in dressers. Our books are on shelves. Our dishes are in cabinets. Our pantry still needs to be put in order… but everything else is good!

I left work early on December 23, and we took off to Virginia Beach. After a 3 hour frantic search in the greater area of Virginia Beach for a specific toy, on behalf of Josh’s uncle, we got to the Sims house. True story: I almost punched a grown man, with a beard, employed by Toys R Us who informed us that they did have the specific toy we were looking for… but HE PURCHASED THE LAST ONE. This entire experience was new for me. I’ve been one to have my Christmas shopping done in advance, and have never been out at the last second looking for ONE specific thing. I feel like Josh and I have learned a valuable lesson… keep doing things ahead of time. Hehe. No, we didn’t find the toy… but I feel like the toy that ended up being purchased was even cooler. And yes, I referred to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie about a million times during our search.

Christmas Eve, I experienced my first Sims Christmas ever. It was SO fun. Huge breakfast, lots of presents, lots of laughter. Christmas was so exciting. My family doesn’t have the excitement over toys, and bubbling about what Santa (or Tinsel) brought them. Josh’s family does.
Going into Christmas this year was difficult because I have been feeling the stress of work, rather than the magic of the holiday… and the excitement of the little girls was not overwhelming, but refreshing. (Except for the fact that they woke us up before 6:30 on Christmas… that was exhausting.) I got things that I wanted, and things that I needed… a crock pot, a book of sewing patterns, a rain coat, sweater, jewelry, pictures, etc… honestly, what meant the most is realizing-again- that they really are my family. I’m so thankful for the way they have all loved and accepted me. This was probably the weirdest, but most wonderful part: it was strange not being with my family, but I didn’t miss it too much… because I felt like I WAS with family.

We went to the Christmas Eve service, went to the house in NC, and ended up exchanging gifts between siblings. My favorite thing was from Kaity– she gave each of her sisters a framed picture with a quote from Little Women: “I could never love anyone as much as I love my sisters.” – Jo March
Well, basically I wanted to burst into tears because it meant so much to me. I’m so very thankful for such wonderful sisters.

Christmas Day was spent at my in-laws house. We got up super early, and waited for Grandma and Grandpa Sims to get there. We sang happy birthday to Jesus, and got to see the tree. Again, I got so many things I’ve wanted/needed, including a dress, sweater, gifts cards for date nights, jewelry, and movies (Frozen, and Christmas movies!). It was just perfect. I did have to take a nap, since we had some sleep deprivation over the last couple of days, and talked to my family. Lunch was nothing less than a feast… London broil, ham, potatoes, fruit salad… heavenly. We spent the evening watching Frozen, to my delight and my father in law’s pain. 🙂 Unlike all the parents in the entire world, I have not been “Frozen-ed out.”

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The day after Christmas, Josh and I headed to the Outer banks for our Anniversary trip. We checked into our hotel, got pizza, and enjoyed doing nothing.
The trip was perfect… just perfect. We slept in, laid around because we could, walked on the beach, had a poor breakfast experience-which we will not go into because it was very frustrating but the food was free, went to the Wright Brothers memorial, went to see Into the Woods (and got crazy— we got popcorn), went out for Mexican and reflected on the year, watched the sun rise, walked on the beach, had a wonderful breakfast on the 2nd day, went to a lighthouse, went to the aquarium, and I had the first big mac of my life (I am a little irritated that they taste so good).

Josh wrote out questions on index cards that we went through all weekend… “Favorite meal of this year? Favorite inside joke? Something you’d like me to work on?” etc. It was such a good time to escape together, reflect on the first year, make goals and plans for the second, and to enjoy being together.
No, we didn’t save the top layer of our wedding cake. But I’m glad… because eating old, stale cake doesn’t sound like much of a celebration of a momentous year of trusting God together, becoming unified in a budget, and of making two lives one. This year has been anything but stale… so we baked a fresh cake and ate that in celebration instead.

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Beach. Wright Brothers Memorial. Sunrise. Bodie Lighthouse.

 

Since vacation, life at work has been very busy- hence the lack of blogging. My family came to visit last weekend– they actually surprised me with an early birthday party! We had too much fun with them- shopping, exploring a museum, walking, cooking, laughing, playing games… I’m always so happy to have them here, and always cry my eyes out when they leave.

Part of my Christmas/Birthday money was spent on a Fitbit, which tracks all sorts of nifty stuff, including my steps. It may seem like a typical New Years resolution, but my decision actually doesn’t have to do with that at all… I’m finally healthy, after Mono. I have some energy, and I want to get back into exercising regularly. So far- the Fitbit has been extremely helpful in motivating me, and I’m excited as Josh and I are taking this on together (plus I am finally realizing I am extremely competitive…. so that helps since Josh and I compare how many steps we’ve gotten).

 

Dear Josh,
I am so glad I finally got to participate in the legendary Corneli-Sims Christmas. Although it was new, it was wonderful and I’m so very thankful for your family. It’s the second year of marriage, and it’s only more fun. Thanks for loving me so well, and for keeping laughter as a staple in our relationship.

I’m looking forward to spending this weekend with you… and the rest of my life. I’m so proud of you, and it has been awesome reflecting on our growth as individuals and a couple. I’ll always be your bluebird, sweet frog. 🙂

Love, Mrs. Cornelissen

Busy and Rewarding.

Friday night Josh and I had dinner, hung out, and went on a Christmas light adventure. He planned out a route, based on tips from friends who have done this, and we found some real gems. Probably my favorite thing we saw was an inflated concrete roller truck, with a reindeer driving… on the roller, which actually rolled, was a picture of a grandma. I died laughing. Grandma got run over by a reindeer.  Driving around with Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album, a peppermint milkshake from Chick-fil-a and my husband was the perfect end to a busy work week, and a weekend of Christmas.

Saturday morning, Josh and I got up and went downstairs to turn on our little Christmas tree lights and the lights over the mantle. I made coffee, and we dove into our gifts. This year we decided to do categories of gifts; want, need, making a meal for each other, and planning a day together. Saturday morning we opened the “want” and “need” gifts. For my “need” gifts, Josh gave me a 4 qt crock pot (the one I have spews water and leaks all over the counter…) and wine bottle stoppers that also allow you to pour without taking the stoppers out. For my “want” I got pj pants, a tshirt (LION KING) and Despicable Me 2 (and a pack of gum but I really don’t feel like that counts because I put it on the grocery list).

I gave Josh a sophisticated tie as a “need” (if you saw his tie collection you would understand), and made a “Disney Preparation Package.” If you didn’t know, Disney owns Star Wars now… and we’re going to Disney World in May, which means we’re going to be there for Star Wars day. My husband is SO excited. So I made him a package that allows him to immerse himself in nerdy excitement, including a lightsaber toothbrush, a Star Wars tshirt and a countdown calendar AND a Harry Potter tshirt for our day at Universal.

After Christmas presents we made a big breakfast including roasted parmesan potatoes, sausage, eggs and cinnamon rolls. Then I made Josh watch Babes in Toyland with me. I hadn’t seen it since I was little, and frankly it was a little strange but I still like it. I don’t think Josh was sold on it. Also, on Friday night I made Josh watch Mr. Willoby’s Christmas Tree (google it) which involves a very young Robert Downey Jr. (aka IRON MAN) dancing and singing in a nightgown about the perfect Christmas tree.

We had planned to watch Christmas movies all afternoon… but the disorder of the house has been driving me insane so we made some progress on unpacking instead. Now, our room is almost completely set up- including our closet, my books are put away, all guest towels and sheets are clean, laundry is done and put away, we made some progress on the kitchen, and the extra bedrooom looks more like a bedroom than a dumping ground. We worked HARD. Since we had a big and late breakfast, we didn’t have lunch. And, since I was working so hard on the house, we didn’t end up making soup as I had planned. Around 4:30 Josh reminded me he was a human, and had hunger… and we decided to get Moes instead of making dinner. So we had burritos, queso, and enjoyed our comfy couch and The West Wing.

Sunday was our one-anniversary. I could talk about this year, the struggles, the joys, the lessons learned, but I think I’ve shared a lot of them already. It’s been a hard year… it’s been a year of growth… it’s been a year of thankfulness for each other.
It’s crazy to think that a whole year ago it was 80 degrees outside on the first day of winter… and I was meeting Josh at Riverfront park for wedding photos and our first kiss. Our wedding day was truly perfect, and so were the days following (except for the fact that Charleston was ridiculously hot and we had packed the wrong clothes, assuming it was going to feel like winter). One year ago, alarm clocks went off every couple of minutes until we got to the hotel. And, when we got to our super fancy hotel (a gift and surprise from Josh’s uncle), we got stuffed crust meat lovers pizza which we ate in bed and watched The Italian Job. I wouldn’t change a single thing.

This year, we learned about anniversary expectations and I think we had a productive conversation. We agreed to celebrate our anniversary next weekend, but I said I didn’t want our actual anniversary ignored, which was interpreted as “don’t forget to say happy anniversary”… I meant at least DO SOMETHING to acknowledge it. Yeah. We’ve both learned something- communicating exactly what I want, and learning to at least give a card or flowers… not just say “happy anniversary.” BUT-sign of growth- I was able to articulate my hurt without being hurtful, and Josh was not defensive. This is actually huge, and something we’ve been working on for a while. Next weekend we’re going to be super sappy and reminisce on the last year… but this past weekend we did a lot of unpacking.

After church on Sunday we went shopping for some house things, and had soup and grilled cheese for lunch. We enjoyed more of The West Wing, baked a cake, and tried to make some more progress on the kitchen. At the store, I bought a night guard… it just had to happen. Apparently I grind my teeth hard core, and man I’ve been feeling it in my jaw… so on our anniversary I bought a night guard. Haha we sure know how to celebrate.

We enjoyed an evening at home of one of our pastors with the other growth group leaders/ assistant growth group leaders he’s over. It was such a good time of fellowship, encouragement, and reflection on the past year. They knew it was our one year anniversary, and asked us to describe the past year of marriage in one word each. Josh said “busy” and I said “rewarding.” I think they’re both true. This year has been insanely busy, and rewarding in what it’s taught us.

This week, I am working for 13 hrs. Then it’s all about Christmas and our anniversary. Virginia Beach on Tuesday/Wednesday, Hertford on Wednesday/Thursday/Friday, and the Outer Banks on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. The library at SEBTS is closed this week, so Josh is working on unpacking at home, and is blessing me by doing the laundry.

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Dear Josh,
HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY. Despite the struggles and challenges we’ve faced, this year has been FUN. I love how completely ridiculous we are. I love laughing until we feel like we’re going to die, and I love the jokes that only we get. You’re my best friend, and I am so blessed to be your wife. Thank you for serving me, putting me first, and never leaving me. Hopefully this year we won’t face unemployment, destructive deer, mono, or taking two ancient languages at the same time (seriously what were we thinking?!)… but if we do, we know we can handle it together.

I’m so excited to celebrate Christmas with your family, and then our anniversary at the beach.
Also, I can’t wait to come home to you tonight. Thanks for all you’re doing at home today!!

Love, Mrs. Cornelissen

Hope.

The Lord is in control. He does everything for a reason, and nothing happens without His knowledge.
Right now I’m caught in the middle of extreme joy and extreme sadness. Maybe that doesn’t make sense, since the middle ground would be numbness…  and I don’t feel numb. I feel like I’m on a crazy ride of emotions, and I’d like to get off.

Our best friends, Phil and Elise, are expecting their first child very very soon. (Like… due on the 27th, soon!) This brings me SO much joy. I’ve prayed for them to get pregnant, I’ve prayed for Joseph to stay healthy, and I’ve prayed for my sweet friends as they prepare to welcome him into the world. We’ve celebrated him, we’ve washed his tiny little clothes, and I’ve made things for his room.

This week our other friends, probably our closest friends in Wake Forest, lost their first child before they found out if it was a boy or a girl. I’ve cried my eyes out, my heart has hurt for them, and I have completely used it as a way to talk to my coworkers about God.

God’s in control and He has a plan. Today, I’m thankful that we are in a community with these precious people and we get to provide meals for them. We get to do life with them. That’s such a cool thing. Something I’ve found so comforting is looking at all the things my mom has been through, including a miscarriage. She was the first person I talked to, seeking wisdom for how to best love our friends during this time. My mom is so good at ministering to others through common experiences- and they’re usually the hard ones. So, I’ve been praying that for our friends, especially for the ways God will use them to minister to others in the future.

We had dinner with them last night, and they processed a lot… in their processing I heard so much truth including the fact that things like this should make us long for Jesus to come back. I can’t imagine being pain-free. I can’t imagine not feeling sorrow. Yet, I believe that day is coming.

 

This weekend Josh and I are celebrating Christmas together. We’re going to get milkshakes tonight (Peppermint for me!) and drive around looking at Christmas lights… tomorrow morning we’re making breakfast, opening gifts, making soup, watching Christmas movies, and enjoying each other’s company. Sunday is our ONE YEAR anniversary. It has been one of the most joyful, challenging, emotional, difficult, wonderful years of my life. I’m glad I get to spend all my years with Josh.

 

Dear Josh,

I have been so blessed seeing you serve our friends. I’m so thankful for the way you have taken burdens off of them, the way you’ve prayed for them, and just been there- even though we didn’t say anything.
I’m thankful that you married me last year.
I’m thankful you choose to love me every day.
I’m thankful we’ve only begun our life together.

So excited to enjoy people’s skyrocketing power bills tonight (aka look at Christmas lights).
Love, Mrs. Cornelissen

Living Out of Boxes

Friday evening was overwhelming. We packed most of the stuff that was left (which felt like every single thing we owned), had Chick-fil-a for dinner, and shed lots of tears.

Saturday morning started early, with more packing. Josh got the moving truck, our wonderful friends came to help, and we packed up Josh’s car and then started loading the moving truck and my car. Seriously, our friends are the best. Thank you all for coming, bringing us breakfast, cleaning, making small trips to the house for us, and for doing SUCH heavy lifting. We were so blessed and felt so loved by your help.

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So thankful for our free room!

 

Josh and I arranged some furniture after our friends left, and headed to take the Uhaul back around 4… or something like that. It was all a sore, exhausted blur to be honest. We got to the Sheraton downtown around 5:10, checked in and got up to our swanky complimentary room around 5:20. We took speedy showers, got dressed up, and we got to the Christmas party right at 6. We looked NICE too.

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Dressed Up

Thus began a busy evening beginning with cocktail hour and mingling. As the evening unfolded, so did issues. I met the DJ and tried to find the lady in charge. When dinner didn’t start on time, and was 30 minutes late, I started asking the wait staff where she was AND THEY DID NOT KNOW WHO SHE WAS. When I finally found her and asked why dinner had not been served-and found out she decided not to follow our schedule… and had been “watching the crowd” and no one was eating their salads… to which I responded “No one announced it was time to begin! Well… it’s time to begin. Dinner’s already 45 minutes late and I have been looking for you.”  Dinner was served within 10 minutes… and I’m pretty sure I was the first to be served.

The rest of the evening was enjoyable. Josh and I sat with fellow Seminary students, and SO enjoyed their company. Josh and I won 2 giftcards to nice restaurants (free date nights!), and when the “party” started we headed upstairs to our room. We caught “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” (classic)-and Josh said it was weird (poor confused man)- and were sound asleep by 11pm.

Sunday morning, we slept in and went to breakfast before church. We went to a cute little place called Courtney’s. It was perfect. Old couples sitting with the paper and their coffee, young families with children cooing for more food, and couples like us. We both got breakfast platters- eggs, breakfast potatoes, blueberry pancakes for me and waffles for him, bacon for me and sausage for him. It was simply wonderful.

After breakfast we headed to church. After church we went to our new home, and had a meal of sandwiches, chips & salsa. After that, we went to the apartment and worked on cleaning. That is, until I couldn’t stand anymore. See, here’s the thing: I really haven’t done much in 3 months between mono and being sick after that. This weekend knocked me out. So we called it and went back home to rest… which I’m not very good at. I sat down for maybe 30 minutes and then made the bed and started other stuff. After dinner I went back to the apartment to clean and Josh stayed at home to study for his Greek exam. I made MAJOR progress on the apartment- it’s all clean!- and Josh is picking up the rest of our stuff today.

The main thing is that the move is done. And, in about an hour, the semester will be done as well. Then we get to have our 2nd married Christmas, settle into our home, and enjoy some much needed time together.

 

Dear Josh,

I am so blessed to be your wife. Thank you for calming me down during all the freakouts, for being my social butterfly at the Christmas party, for taking me on spontaneous breakfast dates, and digging through boxes to help me find stuff. 🙂 I’m so proud of you for all the work you’ve put in this semester, and for taking care of me so well.

Love, Mrs. Cornelissen

“Have I mention…

“Have I mentioned I like you more than anyone else in the world?
As much as I enjoy Christmas with my family, I am looking forward to next Christmas even more. You are an amazing gift from God, and I treasure the fact that we will be together forever.
Just a sappy thought from your boy Josh”