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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Jungle Jam and Friends

This weekend was such a breath of fresh air. Friday was a frustrating and stressful day at work, and I came home to a frustrated and stressed husband. I spent my day running around, paying bills, listening to all my frustrated co-workers, and creating billing documentation. My husband spent the majority of his afternoon on the phone with various customer service departments. Needless to say, when we finally met up we were both frustrated to the max and verbally erupted in frustration. Obviously apologies were made, and we had to remind ourselves that we were on the same team.

We were waiting to hear when Luke was going to arrive, so we had March Madness on and updated our budget. Our tax return is finally on the way, and I am just itching to throw some money at those loans.

Shortly after Luke arrived we enjoyed a meal of Chicken Alfredo. We still have leftovers for a third meal tonight! It may not be the most healthy meal, but it is DELICIOUS and the leftovers are fantastic. The recipe is here. We spent the evening watching basketball, catching up with Luke, and I made this “frozen” (it’s really refrigerated) peanut butter pie. GUYS. This pie is like the perfect marriage of cheesecake and a peanut butter creme pie. I made my own cool whip (super easy- all you need is a chilled mixing bowl, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla), and threw it together in a store-bought crust. It was put together in less than 5 minutes, including the cool-whip making! Honestly, it’s dangerous. Something that good should not be SO EASY TO MAKE. We stayed up waaaaay too late watching basketball, which made Saturday morning seem way too early.

Obviously we threw the healthy eating to the wind a little bit. We’ve been really good about limiting desserts, so we splurged on behalf of our guest. Saturday morning, Josh got some of our favorite Wake Forest donuts. Oh, buttermilk and blueberry! He also made us all eggs! Luke and I enjoyed mugs of my special Mahogany blend Caribou coffee (I don’t buy it all the time, but it is my favorite) with our breakfast, and he was highly impressed. After the breakfast feast, we packed sandwiches and hit the road. A little less than two hours later, we arrived at the North Carolina Zoo and had lunch in the parking lot. It was the perfect weather to explore the zoo. Sunny, with a cool breeze. The animals weren’t super active, and unfortunately the zoo closed earlier than we thought. Regardless, we all had a ton of fun and got a ton of exercise. We returned home, exhausted, dehydrated, and hungry. The evening was filled with Madness (naturally) and leftover alfredo.

Sunday morning, we went to church. We’re going through Acts, and Tony preached on the Stoning of Stephen. It always makes me cry. I am so struck with Stephen’s love for the people who are showing him such hatred… the most convicting thing that Tony said was basically if you are holding a grudge, you are not living the Gospel. How true. Tony’s sermon was on Stephen’s example of what it looks like to look like Jesus… and challenged us how we’re looking like Jesus. It is IMPOSSIBLE to do it without spending time with him. I’ve been very open about how hard it has been incorporating exercise into my lifestyle, but I have also struggled with finding time to spend reading the Bible. So, I’m starting small instead of not doing it at all. I have several blogs I read at work every day, so what is a daily reading? My mom sent me this website for daily Bible readings. I am making it a habit to go to this site everyday and do my reading, and especially when I find myself frustrated with my co-workers. And, as a famous author used to say at chapel, “Don’t read the Bible to finish, read the Bible to change.”

Sunday afternoon, we hit the grocery store on the way home, and had BTLs for lunch (after bickering because someone was hungry. If you were wondering, that someone is always me!). The afternoon held board games, food prep, basketball, and we enjoyed our new porch furniture! Josh grilled hamburgers, and I made homemade fries, recipe here, along with cantaloupe and baked beans. We sat out on the porch eating, talking, and laughing. Friends like Luke are so rare, and so precious. We haven’t seen him since the wedding (technically our honeymoon, since we saw him in Charleston), but we picked up right where we left off. Having Luke visit was SO FUN and we were so encouraged by him. Plus, I found out that we both listened to Jungle Jam and Friends when we were little so I gave him a bunch of episodes.
March Madness update: I am doing pretty well. We’re down to the sweet 16, and of the 8 games I correctly picked 5.

This morning, I had my lunch all packed except for opening the can of tuna, which proved to be both noisy and impossible. I had to leave super early, due to our weekly meeting, so I left a house of sleeping men. Luke is leaving sometime this morning. This week is relatively calm, and I’m thankful. We just have the normal stuff going on introvert night for me/nerd night for the guys (tonight), Growth Group, Date Night, and then basketball. Tonight I am going to catch up on Idol, maybe do a Target return (I ordered two sizes in the same skirt), and clean our room– there’s a lot of laundry piled up!

 

Dear Josh,

I am SO thankful for weekends we get to spend with friends, especially when we’re hosting them. I loved the team effort meals, I loved the adventure of going to the zoo, I loved making new recipes, and I loved watching your bracket get busted. Seriously, though… I’m thankful that Luke’s visit happened when it did– I think we needed the encouragement. Plus, it’s always good to help out a homeless, jobless man. 😉

Can’t wait to see you tonight!

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Thinking Positively

Just 5 minutes after I published my last post, I was crying because I was so tired and felt so mentally blocked. Then I googled stuff about allergy medicine, and apparently only 10% of the population is affected by it like I have been. So that’s fun… or something.

Thankfully, I work with some awesome people who I can call and say “my brain isn’t working, can you double check my work?” And they DO. And they’re nice about it.

I have realized it’s really easy to focus on what I’m not doing.
-I’m not eating Paleo, which sounds awesome but is just not realistic… but I AM finding new creative sides and meals that are enjoyable AND nutritious!
-I’m not getting a long walk in every single day, but I AM getting steps in!
-I’m not able to wear what I want every day (between sweating, having to wear work clothes, and some clothes in my closet not fitting)… but I do have clothes that I LIKE, and I feel good about myself!
-I’m not doing my exercises every day… but I AM running a house, taking care of my family, and working hard!
-I’m not loosing weight as fast as I’d like… but I AM making healthy lifestyle changes!
-I’m also not giving myself much grace….

WHY WHY WHY is it so easy to beat myself up, and so hard to accept my husband’s encouragement?

I got home safely, and crashed for a good hour. Eye drops made my eyes feel better, but I was still super drowsy. We decided to go to Walmart and get what we forgot what I added to the grocery list, and patio furniture… no, it’s not fancy just the cheap plastic chairs, and I’m cool with that! I’m really excited about having company this weekend… and my newest venture in the kitchen, homemade fries. Since we’re grilling out, I wanted some fun sides and thought this would be a good time to try out the fries! Anyway so we went to Walmart, and picked up some Chick-fil-a. I was a pretty boring date due to my drug induced state… we ate and watched Parks and Rec, and I cried because it was the episode when Ann moved away. We played Carcassone on my Kindle (it was the free app of the day a couple of days ago, and it’s one of our favorite board games– but we don’t actually own it) and I blame the allergy medicine, but Josh won.

Thursday, the madness began. I finished my bracket around 11:30 am, and things were immediately off to a rocky start. I’m glad I decided to join the madness two years ago; this could be such a discouraging couple of weeks for us if Josh was totally into the games, and I was totally not. No, I am not the sports-loving wife all year, but I am thankful that we can share the madness. (Also thankful we have plans to sit on the back porch and eat cantaloupe and burgers.)

If you were wondering, yes the three of us got pizza (with a coupon AND a deal, so it was an extra large for 10 bucks) and watched basketball. My picks are going strong, though the games were reaaally tight. It is just… madness. 😉

This morning is cold and rainy, but the weekend promises fair weather and sunshine. We have Chicken Alfredo cooking away in the crock pot at home. I have never made this particular recipe (it’s not that healthy… it involves cream cheese and cream of chicken soup), but I’m hoping it’s delicious because it was SUPER easy.
Dear Josh,

I’m so excited about spending this weekend with you. It is almost like a dream, really. One of our favorite people is visiting, we have March Madness going on, a FANTASTIC menu, a trip to the Zoo, new outdoor furniture to enjoy, and hours on hours together. I love you. I’m so thankful we are able to open our home to our family and friends. I LOVE hosting people with you- we make such a great team.

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