Life Lately: Spring to Summer

For Mother’s Day, we tried a new restaurant in Downtown Mesa that’s become a new favorite – Worth Takeaway. It’s going to be a new favorite brunch and lunch spot! 

My Mother’s Day present from Brian and Edison was new plants! So far, they’re all still alive a month later, so this is good. 
Not pictured above is my fiddle leaf fig, which we named Newt. Short for Fig Newton, and also, Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That gives him basically pet status, and keeps the Harry Potter pet name theme going. Newt is the only plant I’m concerned about – some of his leaves have started turning brown and many have brown spots. I’ve done a lot of googling on the subject, but it seems like it could be over-watering, under-watering, a bacteria, too much light, too little light … it seems that no one really knows what causes fiddle leaf figs distress. Any tips would be great, if someone out there has experience with them!

Poor Edison. He LOVES helping us get ready for work or church in the morning by bringing us our shoes – unfortunately in this case, Brian really didn’t need his shoes while he was in the shower, which Edison could not understand. It’s also heartbreaking when he wants me to wear my tennis shoes with my dresses and skirts to work, and just doesn’t understand why I pick other shoes. I have once worn the tennis shoes to the grocery store, just to make him happy!

One evening, I’d decided to take Edison on a quick walk, more for me than for him, to clear my head a bit in hopes of not tossing and turning all night. He was fascinated by the water flowing through the gutter, and I picked up a few pebbles and tossed them in. He was delighted, and I realized I’d made a terrible mistake – now we were going to be here all night, and we’d barely walked a few feet from the house! As I was trying to hurry him along without success, a lady came jogging past. “I miss those days when they were so small and so content to play with rocks!” She said.

I took a deep breath. The days are long, but the years are short.

I planned a Memorial Day Stay-cation exploring our city of Mesa, specifically, downtown. First up, we discovered a coffee shop that has lavender syrup! I’ve only ever had a lavender latte in Cannon Beach, Oregon, several years ago, so I was beyond excited to discover this a few miles away from my house, all this time! Second stop was a “Sculpture Tour,” a loosely structured scavenger hunt of the 38 some statues downtown.
Also, cool murals. 
We closed out the weekend with swimming, some shopping, and taking Edison to a splash pad. He was quite content to watch the other kids, the water, and throw rocks in the puddles. 
I see so much of myself in him in social situations like this. While the other kids are running around screaming, making fast friends, I relate so much to his desire to just watch the unfamiliar people from the sideline, observe, talk to the kids that come by and initiate conversation, but for the most part, just do his own thing. 

I took a few photos and a video of Edison in the tub, being entertained by his Aunt Andrea playing peekaboo around the doorway. His giggle is just the best.

And now we’re halfway through June! Brian and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary this month with a weekend trip to San Diego – can you believe we’ve been married seven years? And Edison’s second birthday is just around the corner! 
I hope, friends, that you’re making summer bucket lists and finding fun ways to relax and enjoy the days. The days are long, especially in summer, but the years are short! 

On Five Years of Marriage

“I have an idea of something really special we could do for our five year anniversary,” Brian told me a year or two ago. “But it’s pretty expensive.”

“Me too! It would be really expensive too…” I sighed. “But more than anything, I’d really, really like to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida.”
“Oh,” Brian looked relieved. “I was thinking we’d go to Europe.”
“Or that,” I gulped. “That sounds good!” 
Yesterday was our five year anniversary. I’d been making plans for it off and on over the last couple years. First, I thought we could have a vow renewal ceremony. It would be like the small, outdoor wedding we didn’t have, with just a handful of our closest friends, in a beautiful garden. But that takes a lot of planning, and right now, just because of where we are in life, it would be a very small number of friends. 
Then of course, I wanted to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And then Europe. And then Wizarding World again. Then I realized that Gringotts roller coaster and being eight months pregnant don’t mix. That was a sad day.
Maybe we could at least visit San Diego (no more vacation time). Or a hotel in Scottsdale? (We’d have to find a dog sitter, hotel reservations on short notice are expensive, especially after we’ve been spending money getting ready for the baby). We could take cute couple photos (not talented enough).
At least, we could go out for a fancy dinner, come home and watch our wedding DVD, and swim in our pool – maybe with some candles around the patio for extra ambiance. But as it turned out, one of the casualties of moving four times in five years is that we somehow lost our wedding DVD. And on the way home from dinner, we were both falling asleep in the car, so we decided against an evening swim in favor of just going to bed. 
“Is this really us now? After five years, this is a romantic evening for us?” I said as we got ready for bed, but as it was leaving my mouth, I couldn’t help but start laughing.
Brian laughed too, “Yeah, this has been our cheapest anniversary celebration yet!”
Five years ago, I couldn’t have guessed what life would be like. All the adventures we would have, the ups and downs, jobs worked, lost, and gained, apartments moved into and out of, the Christmases here and in Iowa, comings and goings of people in our lives, family illnesses and sudden deaths, births and celebrations, memories painful and sweet, that have made up our adventures in Arizona. 
And now, we’re here in our own house, with our dog, waiting for our little boy to arrive in about a month. Who knows what the next five years will bring! 
As I climbed into bed last night, situating my body pillow to support my swelling belly and sore back, watching Brian’s shoulders rise and fall next to me with his deep breathing while he slept, I thought, it’s really amazing how different life is than you expect … how different, and how wonderful. 
Just for fun, here’s some of my favorite marriage posts from the last five years: 
Reflecting on 2010 – so many great memories.
Back in the Day – This one still cracks me up!
A Year of Celebration – a recap of 2012.
Attack of the Monster Bugs – this is real married life!
A New Adventure – introducing Sirius Black.
The Christmas Crafts I Did Make – and our really big new adventure!
Happy Anniversary babe! I’d pick you again, and choose to do it all over with you. Here’s to many more adventures!

LIFE: Our Anniversary Weekend

When I wrote my June bucket list, my main goal was survival. I’m taking a class on fabric design, we had Youth Sunday at church followed by a week of Vacation Bible School, while planning a trip to California with the youth group. I made some new products, I made my painted table cloth, and I applied for a few jobs. Brian had a mega stressful project to complete at work. So when our anniversary arrived last Wednesday, we were ready for a vacation! 

On Wednesday morning, I got up early and went with Brian to Starbucks for breakfast.

Thursday, Brian got off work a little early, we stopped at Starbucks for iced coffee, and we headed to Scottsdale!

My favorite part of our anniversary getaways is the food. We decided to try a new restaurant this year, so I made reservations at Olive and Ivy. We had bruschetta with mozzarella and tomato jam. The tomato jam was sweet, salty, and spicy all at the same time. I ordered a dish with scallops, creamed corn, and a salty, tangy sauce, while Brian ordered bacon wrapped pork tenderloin. Everything was incredible!

And they brought us chocolate expresso cake!

After dinner, we still had time left on our parking spot, so we explored Old Town Scottsdale and the Paolo Soleri Bridge and Plaza. I pretended that we were wandering through an Italian city.

Friday morning, we had breakfast at Starbucks, and Brian read by the pool and I had a phone interview. Brian neglected to wear sunscreen, as usual, so when he came back two hours later, he was a a very dark shade of pink. On the bright side, he finished the seventh Harry Potter book over the weekend!
Friday afternoon, we accomplished a long-time goal of mine: visiting an art museum in Phoenix. On our honeymoon, we loved the Institute of Art museum, and I knew there were several art museums in the Phoenix area. We finally made it to one!

That isn’t the art museum, it’s just a really cool building close by. 
The lobby and hallways when we first walked in were covered with paper butterflies!

We weren’t supposed to take pictures, but I felt compelled to snap a picture of this painting. I kept coming back to it… something about the colors and pattern created by the brushstrokes. 

I also enjoyed the small fashion design exhibit, which featured digital printing technology.

 They had quite the chandelier in the lobby:

After spending the afternoon at the museum, we arrived a little early for the Diamond Backs game. Brian bought great seats, and it was all he could talk about for the last two weeks. It definitely met his expectations, and he enjoyed getting to see the players warm up.

We won!!! It was a fun game to watch. We even got fireworks after the game!
Saturday, we checked out of the hotel and drove downtown. We walked around the Fashion Square, and looked at the pretty stores like Anthropology, and cooking stores like Sur La Table. Brian bought me an anniversary present! 
It’s a doughnut pan! I’ve been saving baked donut recipes and looking for one of these, and I can’t wait to try it out!
Before we left Scottsdale, we bought cupcakes from Sprinkles. Mine was chocolate peanut butter, and Brian got vanilla. They were divine!

We ended the weekend with bowling with the church. We hoped to raise funds for the youth group trip to California, and we didn’t have enough people. But a good time was had by all. And I’m pretty proud of my score!

Food, art, baseball, more food, lots of coffee, Harry Potter (Brian finished the Harry Potter books and we watched the last three movies)…you couldn’t ask for a better vacation!
 So, now we’re back to real life. Back to the not so glamorous activities of actually watching what we eat, and working. That’s always the hard part of vacation…it’s never quite long enough!

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Whirlwind

Last Wednesday night, Brian and I took a whirlwind trip to Iowa, getting back to Phoenix Sunday night. Each day was jam packed, which is why I wasn’t able to reply to many of your comments on last Monday’s post in a timely fashion. I want you to know, though, how much your words meant to me. I want you to know it, even though I can’t even put it into words. Except to say, thank you. Your generous kindness, support, and belief in me is truly incredible, and I am beyond blessed that you even care to read this blog, much less care about me. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I’m checking out the resources you suggested, and looking for volunteer opportunities that fit with my passions. And in the mean time, I’ll finish my last week of work strong. It’s going to be a hectic one, so if I’m quiet on the blog for a bit, you’ll know why.

But, even if this week the blog is quieter than usual, I can’t wait for the posts I’ll be writing in the next few weeks! My trip to Iowa was inspiring on many fronts. For one, I finally found the perfect idea for a headboard! I also scored at the thrift stores, and found new inspiration for the Shoppe.

(Btw, have you subscribed to the Scribbles Newsletter yet? If not, it only takes a second, and you’ll get 15% off your first purchase, plus insider only sales and info on new products, and you’ll discover my very favorite finds from other Etsy shops.)

There’s much I could say about my trip over the weekend, so I’ll say it with a few pictures.

Misery, thy name is red-eye flight. Well, a red-eye flight with a toddler screaming for at least an hour, anyway. This was greatly needed:

This was about the only snow left, but the whole time we were there, it was SO COLD!

The reason for our trip was my parents’ 50th Birthday Party. My older sister did an incredible job pulling it all together!

The time was too short, but we so enjoyed catching up with family and friends while we could. 
Beautiful, beautiful Iowa. 

Oh, the farm humor at the Des Moines airport.

Bacon. Enough said!

It’s bittersweet coming home this time. It feels like both leaving home and coming home at the same time.

Do you live near where you grew up, or like me, do you visit?

Beauty Find Friday: Christmas Gifts

Our first Christmas in Arizona was a success. We didn’t get sucked into the bog of homesickness! Keeping busy helped, and choosing to focus on the gifts and blessings we have. Here’s a few:

Our annual youth group Christmas party went well, even though I wasn’t able to get off work until the end, and Brian fell on the ice and got a nice black eye and a sprained/hairline fractured wrist. He’s recovering well, and was able to still take care of all the kids until I got there. The youth group moms provided most of the food, and the youth group girls took care of serving dinner in my absence, and even washed the dishes afterwards!

We spent time with some of our Arizona family on Sunday night, playing games and hanging out with them and their family members who were in town, laughing until we cried. (By “Arizona family,” I mean friends who are our family here. Friemily?)


Christmas morning brunch consisted of our Williams Sonoma Double Chocolate Peppermint pancakes, turkey bacon and scrambled eggs. Our verdict on the pancakes? AMAZING. Not too chocolately, with just enough peppermint!

And Brian got to use his Christmas present from me: 
He’s been asking for that pancake flipper for months. No joke. I also bought him a stand with speakers for his phone. I’m hoping he’ll be inspired to spend more time in the kitchen!

We spent time with my family via Skype on Christmas Day! We got to talk to all of my siblings, my niece, and even my parent’s dogs. Later in the afternoon, we watched Elf, walked the horses, played games, and had Christmas dinner with our other friemily (spellcheck doesn’t like my new word).

Our families sent us lots of presents, and there’s more on the way! I’m happy to extend Christmas for as long as possible.

What did Brian give me for Christmas, you ask? Since he complains about not knowing what to get me, I actually gave him a list this year with two instructions. First, don’t go to Half Price Books and get random books for me, because I have limited reading time, and there’s a few books I’ve been dying to get. Secondly, don’t get a present for yourself and pretend it’s a present for me. I’ve heard of men doing things like that, and I’d rather he just bought himself a present instead of pretending it’s for me.

So, Brian did both of the above.

From the half price bookstore, he bought me a book called Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that’s Changing Your World, written in 2004 when blogging was in it’s infancy, and the only blogs out there getting noticed were political. I had asked for a book about blogging called Blog Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Cho. The blogosphere is a different world in 2013 than it was in 2004. Still, it was nice of him to get me something close to what I asked for.

The second book he got me is Mint.com for Dummies. If you haven’t heard of Mint, it’s free online tracking and budgeting for your finances. And I’m not going to make any excuses here: this was a terrible gift idea. I only use Mint.com’s basic functions since Brian is in charge of our finances. After I opened it, Brian admitted, “That’s actually more for me that it is for you.” Thanks, babe.

And then, he totally redeemed himself.

The Williams Sonoma Baking Book wasn’t on my list either, but since October I’ve been addicted to the Joy the Baker podcast and devouring the Joy the Baker and Shutterbean blogs. Listening to these ladies rebirthed my desire to be a good baker, and seeing the gorgeous photos, now I’m totally sold. 

There’s a variety of skill levels, lots of technique instructions, and photos of every single recipe.

You can bake your own bagels! Who knew?

These are in my near future:

I’m so excited about this book! It’s like reading a magazine. I’ve even been taking it with me in the car to read up on how to sift, and the difference between cocoa powder and Dutch Process cocoa powder. Just kidding, I already knew the difference between those, thanks to the Joy the Baker podcast.

Back to presents. Brian topped it off by buying me a Vera Bradley.

It’s a Vera Bradley tea towel, and it’s adorable! I didn’t think he was paying any attention when I commented on them at the Vera Bradley store a few weeks ago. I should know better!

Just when I’m about to be disappointed, he always totally redeems himself.

What Christmas presents are you most excited about? How are your husbands/boyfriends at gift giving?  

An Early Christmas Present

The big news first: I got a new sewing machine! 
I’m sad to say goodbye to my old Baby Lock machine, I’ll miss it’s rattling and rumbling and sounding like it’s about to explode….a little bit. But, it decided it was done sewing forever last week, when Brian tried to use it. Every once in a while Brian gets the urge to sew. In the past, he made a cushioned armrest for the Durango. This time, he wanted to make something for the car. He planned to replace the leather around the emergency brake and shifter with custom black and red leather. 
When he went to sew the pieces together, the machine wouldn’t go. In true engineer fashion, he proceeded to troubleshoot it, including taking it completely apart, for the next two days. Finally, he gave up. Luckily for us, that day happened to be Black Friday. So, we bought the Singer Promise 1409 for $60. 
Although it’s probably the most basic machine Singer sells, it had no problem sewing through leather. 
Didn’t he do a great job? I’m so proud!

In other news, how was your Thanksgiving? We kind of had an early Thanksgiving, because my sister, brother-in-law, and niece came to visit us the week before!

I didn’t have to work, and Brian’s boss let him take off half the day! We had a relaxing morning, and then went to our favorite restaurant, Joe’s Farm Grill.

We also took them to our friend’s farm, where my niece got to pet the goats, lead a miniature pony on a leash, and gather eggs. We had a great time with them, but I wish they could have stayed longer! 

Ok. I need your input. Remember my fall bucket list? Well, I need help coming up with a winter bucket list. Because Brian and I are not flying home this year, we need to keep occupied so that we don’t get homesick. Also, we need a bucket list because this is how we’ve been spending the rare free nights when I don’t work and we don’t have a church activity:

That was last night, at 7 pm. He slept until 11 pm, and then woke up just long enough to move to the bed. 
It’s finally nice and cool outside, and I want to take advantage of this weather while we can. Surely there are fun wintery activities we could do to start our own family traditions. I need your ideas! 
What are your family traditions? What could Brian and I do to keep busy and have fun while we’re away from family this year, besides going to bed at 7 pm? PLEASE share some ideas in the comments!

What I Wore Wednesday, Anniversary Edition

Fancy, or casual, light or dark? If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I had quite a dilema when trying to decide what to wear Friday when Brian and I went up to Scottsdale to celebrate our anniversary.
If I went with fancy, I had to choose between my cream colored dress that I wore for Easter and graduation, or my dressy black dress, which I wore last year on our anniversary. If I went more casual this time, I could choose my lacy romantic top or my silky black tank. Kopek wasn’t very helpful. 
That look says:”Hurry up and decide already!”
Brian got home from work early, so he helped me decide. 
Attractive bathroom shot, lol
 Black tank: Soma
Pearl earrings and bracelet
Skinny jeans: Old Navy
Headband: not sure

Here’s a somewhat blurry close up picture:

I almost wore these shoes, but decided against them since I’m not used to wearing heels yet. 
We stayed at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center. It was very, very nice. 

We went swimming, and then got ready for dinner at House of Tricks. 
Image from House of Tricks website

We started with salad, Brian ordered the chef’s “Caesar Salad with Garlicky Dressing,” and I ordered the “Spring Mix Salad with Tomato, Cucumber, Radish, Goat Cheese and White Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette.” Amazing!

Brian ordered “Grilled Filet Mignon with Charred Scallion Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach and Brandy Demi Glace”:

And I orded “Sugar-Spiced Salmon with Chinese Long Beans, Mustard Sauce, Sweet Soy-Ponzu, Sticky Rice and Nori.” 

We both agreed it was the best food we’d ever eaten! The portions were just right, so we were able to still get dessert. Brian ordered their Tricks bar, a large candy bar type dessert with ice cream, and I ordered the tiramisu with coffee bean brittle. 

We are so photogenic.

Saturday we went to the Phoenix Zoo. I knew it would be quite hot, so I wore a sundress with a tank underneath, and sunscreen! I’d never tried converse with a dress before, but it was really cute!

Oh so photogenic…
On our actual anniversary, yesterday, I wore the 3rd outfit in the first picture, with my hair in a loose romantic braid. Unfortunately, I’m having some issues with my camera and can no longer use the self-timer. I guess that means more attractive bathroom shots in the future! 
Thank you all for the happy anniversary wishes, we had a truly refreshing weekend! We’ve experienced moving cross-country, changing schools and majors, finding a new church, becoming youth group leaders, job stress, moving, losing said job, unemployment, illness and death in the family, a funeral, multiple weddings, college graduation, and starting a new job. And probably a lot more than I can remember, but it’s been action packed. Here’s to many more happy years!
pleated poppy

Our Two Year Anniversary Weekend!

Brian and I are heading up to Scottsdale tonight to celebrate our two year anniversary!

We found a great deal on a very nice resort, and I’m looking forward to spending some time at their pool and hot tub this afternoon! Unfortunately, the restaurant that’s become our anniversary tradition closed down sometime during the past year, so we have to find a new place. I’ve been wanting to go to House of Tricks for some time, so I’m excited to try it out tonight.

Brian told his coworkers that we were celebrating our anniversary this weekend, and his boss came to him and said, “Remember how I said we’re pretty flexible with our hours around here? I expect you to be gone by lunch tomorrow!” How nice is that?! Have I mentioned how much I like Brian’s new job?

In the spirit of celebration, I thought I’d show a few pictures from our wedding, June 19th 2010!

Getting me ready was a team effort!

One of my favorite pictures!

My uncle officiated our wedding:

Formal on the outside, fun on the inside! Brian and I both love confetti cake, so that’s what we had! The cake topper was used in several of Brian’s family member’s weddings.

I love how happy Brian’s best man looks!

Send off time!

That’s all for today! Maybe next week I’ll show you the staged pictures of just Brian and me.

Brian and I were reminiscing about our first anniversary a few days ago, how we supposedly booked a “resort” but it ended up being a not very nice hotel, and I forgot my dress shoes, but we had a lovely dinner with complimentary dessert 🙂

So now, for all you married folks, share with us in the comments any special memories from your first or second anniversary! If you a really great story, I’ll feature it in a post on Newlywed’s Bliss!

A Horrible-Stinky-Rotten-No good-Miserable Day

Ever had one of those?

When you wake up late, decide to skip going to the gym, and since no one’s going to see you, you might as well skip showering and stay in your pajamas. Besides, your pajamas have an elastic waist, and it’s definitely an I-feel-fat kind of day.

When you get so frustrated with Illustrator that when you husband calls you at lunch, you burst into tears and tell him that this is the most miserable day of your life and you choose the wrong major in college and now your life is ruined.

When your husband responds with, “Ok, I’ve got to get back to work,” says goodbye, and hangs up while you’re still bawling.

When you scrap the whole logo you’ve been working on, and start over. When suddenly, it starts to click. And then, your day drastically turns around when you discover the perfect font you’ve been looking for for a long time, and the background patterns you’ve been looking for, and find out that they’re free. Then you cry for happiness, and life doesn’t feel so miserable.

When your husband gets home. When said husband comes through the door and without even saying Hi,  launches into why-does-it-stink-in-here, and why-didn’t-you-do-this-or-take-care-of-this-since-after-all-you’ve-been-home-all-day. When your once wonderful day turns back to horrible-stinky-rotten-no-good-miserable.

When you burst into tears for the third time, and then decide his apology isn’t sincere.

That was my day, last Wednesday. While I was storming around getting dinner ready, fuming on the inside, asking God why He gave me such an insensitive husband, I remembered that we had small group that night. And we were going to be talking about forgiveness. Crap.

Read the rest at Newlywed’s Bliss.

Exceedingly Abundantly

I didn’t want to get my hopes up again. An engineering job in the area of the valley we want to move to, a medium-sized, established, growing company,  doing design engineering as well as hands on work in the shop. Plus, such a variety of projects as to ensure boredom was impossible. It sounded tailor made for Brian.

The call to set up an interview time with this company came the morning after my sleepless night of wrestling with God. I didn’t know what to think. It seemed too good to be true, too perfectly timed to be possible.

After the second interview, with a third scheduled for the following Monday, I allowed myself to hope that this job was the one.

On Monday, when Brian called me 15 minutes after the interview was scheduled, my hand shook as I picked up the phone. “They offered me the job!” Brian announced. And I cried with relief and happiness.

The three months and three weeks of unemployment are over! Even after a week, I can still hardly believe it. Brian starts Monday!

Thank you, thank you, all of you who prayed for us! God answers prayer beyond our expectations!

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

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