As you are all aware, our state got hit pretty hard recently by tornadoes. Thankfully, my brother and sister in Oklahoma City were unscathed. Karlie was safe in a nearby town as well. Mark's cousins lost their house, as did others that we know. Our friends and family are are all alive and well, and the storms didn't hit our town.
Just wanted to let everyone know we are okay. We are mourning with those in our state and those we love, but thankfully, we are safe.
Many of you probably know I'm basically the cheapest person the planet. But dangit, we are about $5200 away from paying off that last pesky student loan, so I generally try to put as much money toward that each month as possible. However, this last month, I decided that my room really needed a little pick-me-up. It needed to be a little happier. It needed some TLC. So I said, "Why the heck not?". (Okay, that's actually not exactly what I said, because I can assure you, I shopped around and got some pretty stinkin' good deals, and bought lots of sale items. So for a cheapskate, that is the closest thing to what I said, and I still experienced pain with each purchase.) But the bottom line is, I spent some cash and threw caution to the wind. (-;
I haven't really taken pics of everything, so I'm gonna do what I can.
I purchased this awesome lamp from TJ Maxx - with the above artwork of Boo done by none other than Karlie:
So yes. I love the lamp. I still need something for Mark's side, but they only had one, so I am still looking for something similar.
Next, I decided that as much as I LOVED my old Anthro bedspread, it was time for something new. Since our walls are a very calm light grey/blue, I decided to brighten things up a bit. After searching, I found the perfect match at Target, and also got lots of throw pillows on major sale. I was pretty stoked about all of this:
So - everything on the bed that you see is from Target (minus the stuffed animal) - the comforter, bedskirt, grey pillow cases, and throw pillows. I did buy some new white sheets off of amazon, which are heavenly soft. I also got that little yellow picture frame on the right night stand from Target. I think this all makes the room look really cheery.
I also went to my favorite website, Etsy.com, and found come cute prints for not much, and framed them with frames from Target. (-: (You'd think I was working for them!)
This one hasn't come in yet, but it will look similar but with a heart in my hometown. (-:
I am overall really happy with everything. I didn't break the bank, but my room looks very different, and is a happier and more cheery place to hang out. (-: Plus who doesn't love new sheets?
Last month was also my birthday, so I thought I would throw in a couple of pics from me and my sister's joint birthday party. We each got our own cake, and sometimes we might try to blow our each other's candles first. (-:
Fun times were had by all. And to sign off, here I am with a necklace my sister got me for my birthday. (-:
Well, hello, everyone. I know, it's been ridiculously long since I posted last. But I'm here to tell everyone (I know you are so excited) that in a few weeks things will again start picking up on the ole blog. School will be slowing down and I'm gearing up for lots of fun posts. So buckle up. (-:
After this term I will be three short (hopefully!) classes away from graduating with my master's degree! I am so excited to be done with grad school!
Mark and I have been diligently working to pay off around $55,000 in non-mortgage debt over the past few years, $40,000 of which was student loan debt. As of today, we owe just under $6100! We are trying to get it completely paid off this summer. I can't tell you how excited I am to be debt free. It has been such hard work and taken a long time, but it will completely worth it.
I have been working at a local preschool at a church on Friday mornings (of course to make some extra debt payment cash!), and it has been so fun. We have the same kids each week and they are so sweet.
Today is April Fool's day, and I totally convinced both my brother and Karlie that my car caught on fire on my way to work today. (-: So, you better beware!
I just wanted to give a short update. I think I need to at least do a post to get back in the swing of blogging. Kind of a fake it till you make it thing. But hopefully when my class ends later this month, you will be seeing a lot more of us.
****This post is long. That what happens when I don't post enough. There's your disclaimer.****
Mark and I spent another wonderful New Year's Eve with my grandparents in Ft. Worth, Texas. The drive there and back always gives us several hours of time to talk about all kind of things with no agenda. On the way back we were reflecting on our 2012 and looking forward to what is to come in 2013.
We noted how interesting it is that Mark's year and my year were both very different, even though we are married and experienced the same year. Mark got a new job that he loves this year that allows him to work from home, and he started teaching in a ministry in the church that he loves. He had a big year for good reasons, and it was awesome.
My year was very different. My year was the year of sickness and conflict. Ha. I started out the year with a toothache that led to a crown in January, which two months later led to a root canal and another crown, which led to a reaction to my antibiotic that nearly crippled me, which led to about six months of on-and-off joint pain (really it still lingers to a small degree), which led to a cold, which led to a six weak-ish long sinus infection, which led to another cold, which finally led to a corneal abrasion to round out my year of good health. I had one hour of sick time left at the end of the year. It was also a year of internally working through a recent relational conflict and ending that was just really tough. I told Mark I felt like a lot of the year I was just going through the motions. Lots of really hard things happened. All of that on top of working full-time and going to grad school full-time. Yikes!
Mark said the hardest part of the year for him was watching me be so sick. I'm sure my periodic meltdowns over my lame sauce immune system didn't help matters. He's so sweet. But thankfully, I am healthy right now. I am even going to a nutritionist now. I am trying to strengthen my immune system and have added more cardio to my workout routine to get that blood flowing more.
Of course, I can't end this blog complaining about my year, because we all know I really don't have anything to complain about. I was trying to think about what the highs were for the year. I didn't have any big accomplishments personally this year or any big personal events. Now that I'm married, working, and in school, there's not room for much else! I've gotten most of the big things out of the way.
And so as I sat and pondered what my highlight was, it finally hit me. I realized it wasn't an accomplishment, it wasn't a new purchase, it wasn't an event - it was a new friendship. This past spring my mom had asked me to consider being a mentor in the women's mentoring program, because she is the director of that ministry at our church. I basically said, "No way, no how, leave me alone, I don't have time for that." But, as the Lord always does, he began working on my heart. He showed me that in the midst of my current life turmoil, perhaps the best thing I could do would be to get my focus off of my miserable existence and onto (gasp) someone else. My mom kept pestering, and finally I told her that if they ran out of mentors and needed more, I would consider being a mentor.
Well, lo and behold, they didn't have enough mentors. After the program had started, a young newlywed emailed my mother and told her she wanted a mentor. Amazing how that works. And so I got a barrage of "you would be a perfect match with this girl" and "everyone thinks you should be paired with her" (which at the time was somewhat obnoxious). This time, I told my mom I would pray about it, and to please stop asking me. It hardly took any time before I contacted my mom and told her if that girl still needed a mentor, I would do it.
You guys. I do not even know where to begin. The Lord knew exactly what I needed. Alex and I began our friendship and mentoring relationship and we quickly realized that we were kindred spirits. We connected from our first meeting at Starbucks and our friendship has continued to grow. We read a book on marriage together, we had fun together, we shared our joys and our hurts, and we prayed for each other. We even hung out as couples. Alex is a sweet and tenderhearted person who has helped me see the importance of being compassionate and has inspired me to always be looking for ways to share the gospel with those around me. She is a complete joy and the biggest new blessing I experienced in 2012. I am so thankful that the Lord gave me a kick in the pants to do something outside of myself, and so amazed at the abundance that resulted. I am looking forward to our friendship growing in 2013.
All of the time I spent with Alex was worth it and then some. It's amazing how the things we "don't have time for" are the things that we need the most.
Sweet Karlie and I had lunch today and we were looking forward to 2013, and talking about what would happen. We are going on a family cruise this month and are so excited. This should be the year I graduate from seminary, and should also be the year that we are debt-free (outside of our mortgage). I have a feeling this year will be a year of better health, a year of growing closer in my friendships, a year of loving Mark even more deeply, and a year of becoming closer as a family.
Above all, may this be a year of serving the Lord with our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Well, I have obviously been doing a terrible job on the blog lately. My best excuse is that I have been on the brink of death for about two months straight. Some people might call that an exaggeration, but I had a cold that turned into a sinus infection- that stuff lasted about five-six weeks, and then I had a break from being sick for about a week and a half and I got another terrible awful cold for a week, and I am just now better. So I've been sleeping a lot, doing a lot of neti-potting, consuming a ridiculous amount of vitamins, and being miserable. But good news! I am better, and I now have a new lease on life. I'm also hoping to get a new immune system.
So.... here are my updates.
1. You probably wondered about the pumpkin carving competition. The one in which I am somehow ALWAYS robbed of first prize every year? Well, this was the year, folks. I won. Check out my awesome pumpkin:
Yes, that is Linus and Lucy and The Great Pumpkin. Since me winning this competition was basically my goal in life, our reaction was a little over the top:
And here's our prize: (Well, the cute guy I've had for a while, but the triple crock pot is the prize. (-: )
2. On Halloween, Mark and I dressed up and went to Chipotle for $2 Booritos.
3. In November, I celebrated my FIVE YEAR college homecoming. My roomie and I and our hubs loaded up and headed south. We reminisced, spent money in the bookstore, and had a grand old time. Here we are at our freshman dorm room:
And here we are with our mascot. No big deal.
4. Also in November, some of our best friends had TWINS! Their names are Julia and Caroline and they are precious. Completely and purely precious.
5. Over Thanksgiving weekend Karlie worked her magic with the cousins. We have dubbed her the child whisperer. No one cares about me or Mark anymore, it's all about Karlie. "Is Karlie going to be there?" "Can we go to Karlie's house?" I am officially chopped liver. (-:
We had family raking day and I snuck a picture. It's amazing how much faster leaves get raked with three people. (-:
6. Our Thanksgiving Tradition is getting our tree from the tree farm! Yay! We got the most beautiful tree in the farm, like always.
Self explanatory. (-:
After decorating, Mark and Karlie chatted by the fire while I laid on the couch secretly taking more pictures. (-:
7. We cheered for OSU.
8. I got my hair cut. (-:
9. I got my drivers license renewed. (-:
10. Boo also got a haircut. And a new Christmas bow.
11. After getting groomed, Boo relaxed by laying on the couch and staring at the Christmas tree.
12. And last, but not least, we ordered our Christmas cards. (-:
My sister, Bekah, is four years younger than me. She and I look somewhat alike - at least people say we do - but we also have pretty different personalities, so it's always lots of fun when we hang out together. There is never a dull moment and we usually learn about various things from each other. She keeps me up on cool music, (this weekend, after showing me a few songs, she asked, "Do you EVER listen to the radio?!" to which I responded, "Well, I listen to the Christian station and NPR and sometimes sports radio...") and she keeps me up on the latest fashions and make-up. Well, at least she tries. I'm kind of a lost cause. (-:
She and her new hubby live about an hour and a half from us, so we don't get to see them too terribly often. We have to plan for it. So, I planned a day to go down and hang with her! I got to tour the new dental office where she works, and then we just had a day of fun.
We checked out a few local shops, and went to her favorite consignment/antique furniture and knick knack store. I understand why she loves it, and if I had any money to spend, I would go broke in that place very quickly. Before we set out on our shopping spree, she shared some of her coolness with me:
We stopped at a coffee shop that some girls I went to college started, and we got some yummy cupcakes and warm drinks. Bekah learned quickly that a latte is not the same as a chai latte. That was an unfortunate error. But we loved our cupcakes!
I got a soy chai, which was pretty darn good itself, and a red velvet cupcake. nom nom nom.
I've had a bit of a cold lately, so my throat has been pretty painful. I'm really hoping to kick this thing soon. It kind of put a damper on our day of hanging out, but by dinnertime, my headache was gone, so I was able to enjoy that more. And, we met up with our boys, and my brother and his awesome wife!
After that we had to head back home. It was a quick trip, but lots of fun. I am definitely looking forward to us all living closer again one day.
After working as an underwriter in the insurance field for about nine months, I made my first big grown-up decision. I saved and scraped, and was ready to buy a new-to-me, but used, car. Once I had my money saved, I spent hours on multiple car websites scouring the web daily for a few weeks.
And then I found a beaut, just outside of Chicago, Illinois, in the little suburb of Naperville. The year was 2008, and I had found a 1998 Honda Accord with 117,000 miles on it, being sold by its original owner. The color was raisin pearl, and it melted my heart. After talking with the owner and realizing this was indeed a really great vehicle, we were able to snag that thing for $4200. So, we spontaneously loaded up in the car with a couple of friends the next morning and road tripped to Naperville. After getting the keys and signing the papers, we moonlighted at a Chicago pizzeria, got some sleep, and woke up early the next morning to head back to T-Town. I put my OBU sticker on it, and I took the car to my Honda specialist mechanic, who confirmed that I did, indeed, "steal" the car. It was such a great car and such a great price. I was able to buy it right after it was listed and beat out the 15+ people that the seller said had called him between the time of me agreeing to buy it and making it to Illinois to pick it up.
That car has been a champion. I have had hardly any issues with it, and it was the first really nice vehicle that I have owned, and one that I felt like wouldn't break down on me. I felt great pride in knowing that I had paid cash for a really nice vehicle. That car drove me to and from my first job, drove us to our first house. It's the car we drove to take Karlie to OBU. It was also the vehicle we took to get our puppy, Boo. It's the car that we drove away from our wedding in. It is also the car we road tripped to Virginia in! That car has seen a lot of milestones in the life of our little family.
It recently hit another milestone:
Yes. That is 200,000 miles. And you know what? She still runs like a champ. I am so proud of my little car for making it this long, and especially thankful that it appears to have a lot of life left in it (knock on wood!).
She looks a little rough, and the AC and heater both have their own "personalities." It could definitely use some paint. But, I am not really concerned with looks, because I love my car and it is dependable.
I'm hoping my little Accord has a lot of life left in her, because we have many more milestones to come. I think it will be really hard for me to let go of my car when the time comes. I might even cry. (-:
Welcome to our blog! I am a full-time seminary student, full-time worker, and full-time goofball. I am the wife to a full-time nerd. We live in our first home with our adopted daughter, Karlie, her poodle, Bella, and our poodles, Melvin and Boo. Pull up a chair, some organic tea, and some awesome tunes while we learn about life, marriage, and theology. Welcome. Stay a while.