My Home Away From Home

It’s strange how two places can feel like home at the same time. Going to Iowa and spending time with my family, the church I grew up in, and long-time friends felt like coming home. But so does arriving in Arizona, being with Brian again, and going to church with my church family. 
Sometimes when visiting my hometown, I find myself feeling overwhelmed by how small it is, how narrow the streets are, and to an extent, how small-minded the people living there can be… not really caring or understanding that there’s a much bigger world outside of their town. But this trip was different. This time, I truly appreciated the small-town Midwestern atmosphere, being able to drive slowly everywhere, and be anywhere in 15 minutes. So here’s a few snapshots of my non-wedding related time in Iowa.
My brother is now thirteen and as tall as I am. This is just crazy. 
This is Charlie, the sweetest, laziest, dog ever. 

My brothers love playing basketball. 

My parents have a garden in their backyard, 

And bird nests in the grapevines.

My sister and MIL collaborated to throw a birthday party for me! I was so surprised to see both sets of my grandparents there, and I had a great time catching up with them. 
I was supposed to wear that hat. I explained that I’m a blogger with a reputation to uphold, and when that didn’t work, I put it on for one picture. 
My sister Elissa drew this adorable pin the tail on the burro for the party! The sign next to the donkey says “This way to Grand Canyon.”

Everyone got in on pin the tail on the donkey!

Twenty-two cupcakes and candles!

And because I know you’re dying to see me in that hat….

There you go. 
I got to go to Okoboji and enjoy a nutty bar and the summer theater. 

My in-laws:

Arnold’s Park, a nostalgic amusement park on the lake. 
Watching the sunset over the water. 

That lovely shot makes the perfect conclusion to this post! Thanks for reading, and happy Monday!

Costumes, Costumes

Source

The last time I dressed up for Halloween, on Halloween, was when I was probably around 5 years old. I tried to find a picture, but I think it’s scanned onto my parent’s computer, which is broken right now, and possibly in my older sister’s scrapbook.

Anyway, I was Snow White, and the skirt was the most twirly skirt known to man. My mom actually made the costume, and my older sister’s. She was Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz, with an adorable blue checkered jumper (also with a twirly skirt) and red glitter encrusted slippers. My younger sister was Ariel, and I actually wasn’t jealous, because I remembered wearing that fake red hair when I was three and tripping over my feet in the tight green skirt.

I remember that Halloween because we went to Nana and Papa’s house, and it SNOWED. On Halloween. Halloween in Iowa is always freezing, but this time really took the cake. We stayed warm and dry for the most part, since we were only trick-or-treating for our grandparents. For some reason, maybe as an alternative to going outside and ringing the doorbell, we performed a play for the adults. Papa was the narrator, and I think he made it up as we went along. I remember that it was something along the lines of  “Ariel decided to go visit Snow White. While they were chatting and drinking tea, they decided to call on Dorthy. So they went over to Dorthy’s house, and drank more tea…” And at the end, Nana taught us to bow, holding each other’s hands, standing in a line, and raising our arms and then bowing together, repeating at least twice.

But, since I don’t have pictures of that story, I thought I’d share some others from costume parties past…actually just last year.

I don’t know who took this…I got if off facebook. The date is obviously off…

My mom gave me that colonial ball gown for my 16th birthday, I believe. I never thought I’d have any use for it, until the Cyclone Bible Fellowship costume party.

Both of these dresses are actually mine…I was loaded with costumes. I didn’t even wear either of these the year before…
 I just wanted to put this one in, since I think it’s really cool. But you can see who I actually was in this picture: 
Yep, Princess Peach, with Mario and Luigi! FYI, Brian’s mustache is real.
But back to the nearer past: 
This is seriously the most gorgeous fabric ever. 
I know what you’re dying to ask. Did Brian dress up like a colonial man? French Revolutionist? Minuteman? Red coat? Did he wear breeches and tights?
Nope. I didn’t think he was going to dress up at all: he shot down my idea of dressing up like an old man and an old lady, or a farmer (using the overalls from last year) and farmer’s wife. But he didn’t let me down. He was late to the party, and then showed up like this:

What is he? (clue: spiky hair, sweat band, blue underarmor shirt)

If you said “ping pong player,” you’re right! (Notice that although we were from different eras, we were still matching color-wise)

Brian made the comment: “You should wear that dress sometime after we get married.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because…it would be fun to kiss a Victorian.”

Close enough, Brian.

What was your all-time favorite costume?

Our California Adventure

 I’ve had a lot of catching up to do this week, but finally, a week since my last post, here’s my first ever trip to California! Brace yourself for lots of pictures! 

We had an amazing vacation on Labor Day weekend! We both needed a break from our hectic work/school/sleep schedules. I only missed my computer a little bit, there was so much to see and do! And even then, it was just because I wished I could write about it right away and see what all my blogging friends were up to. I loved seeing tall trees, grass in everyone’s yards, and water. Everyone had roses in their yards, and on the street medians, and outside of restaurants. The weather was perfect; every time we walked outside Brian and I breathed a sigh of relief and commented on how cool it felt. I actually wore a light sweater and jeans for the first time in three months!

We were very thankful Brian only had a half day at work. Even at 1:30 p.m. traffic was already heavy in Phoenix. Soon we were on the open road, heading toward the ocean.

This is Arizona…
This is California. Notice the difference?

We didn’t talk much during the six hours there. It was hot in the car, even with the AC, since the sun beat on us through the windows. We also neglected to bring any water…just mountain dew and cream soda. As refreshing as soda may be, when you’re sizzling under glass and on hot leather for six hours, it just doesn’t cut it. On the bright side, we didn’t have to stop to use the restroom ever. When we did stop for dinner at Palm Springs, we got two huge cups of water and rehydrated.

We arrived at my sister-in-law’s at 8 p.m, and after the tour of the beautiful house she shares with three other girls,  we and her housemate Natalie all went to Yogurt Land. I love frozen yogurt places, I’d never been to one until we moved to Phoenix! It was delicious and as healthy as you make it. As we were eating, the ocean came up in the conversation, and I realized that we were really just a few minutes away. My excitement could hardly be contained, after we devoured our yogurt we headed to the pier on Seal Beach. Oh, the salty spray! The threnody of the waves! The cries of the seagulls! I have missed the ocean, and I didn’t realize it until I was there again.

Saturday we had breakfast at Mimi’s Cafe. The pictures speak for themselves! Mmmmmhmmmm.

Crab, asiago cheese, avocado, and bacon omelet with potatoes. 
Blueberry French toast, eggs and sausage

Then we headed to the beach, where we stayed all afternoon. Like, 5 hours or more. It was awesome, but we were without sunscreen, and with baby oil. FYI, that’s a bad idea. I got the worst sunburn in my entire life. Andrea and I burned on our backs and the backs of our legs, and Brian got it really bad on his stomach and face. Sitting, wearing a bra or jeans, and sleeping all became very difficult. With lots of solarcaine spray and aloe vera gel we survived.

We did swim in the ocean too, even though it was freezing. We just had to wait until we were numb on our legs up to our knees, then our waists, then our necks, and then we had to wait for a lull in the waves and swim past where they were breaking.  
That evening, after treating our sunburns, we went to Downtown Disney. It was magical, even though it wasn’t the actual park. The sounds of live music: Spanish, jazz, and classic mixes; swarms of people milling about, glowing store windows, and the smell of caramel popcorn.

We had a hard time choosing a restaurant, they all looked good and were expensive, but we decided on the Jazz Kitchen, which was really good. The decor was fancy and funky, tying in Jazz and musical instruments and notes with the Louisiana swamp in Princess and the Frog style while still being upscale. We went to the “California” letters and Brian and I were going to get our picture taken by the big “C” but I forgot my camera. So, I have no pictures of Downtown Disney, which means I’ll just have to go back sometime! I used my birthday present from Andrea, a Disney gift card, on a pair of really cute aqua sandals at the Disney store. We got to see some of the Disney fireworks too, which were really cool. I can’t wait to go back someday when we can get passes! 

Sunday we went to church with Andrea in the morning, and In and Out for lunch. We watched “The Nightmare Before Christmas” because I’d never seen it before. It was different, much more Tim Burton than typical Disney. We were happy to help her hang up some curtains and pictures and wall stuff in her room; she was such huge help with the unpacking when we moved. 
That evening we went to Hollywood. We had dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen, another amazing restaurant where I’d never been, and we used a mystery coupon that took 50% off of the total bill! That was the best barbecue Hawaiian pizza ever. The plaza area was really neat. 
We walked over to the Chinese Theater and saw the hand prints, footprints, and signatures of famous actors, actresses, and directors in the cement. I took far too many pictures to share here, but here’s a few of my favorites. 
Tom Hanks
Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren
Matt Damon. I have no idea why these pics are sideways.
The Chinese Theater
This is the first movie Brian and I watched together. 
From the souvenir store: life sized cardboard cut outs.
Edward does end up with Bella, but Jacob gets Marilyn! 🙂

Monday morning, Brian and I were finally able to sleep in! I did enjoy waking up at 8 a.m the two days prior, with the sunlight streaming in and the neighborhood noises and cool, almost chilly, breezes coming through the open window. But on Monday, we didn’t have any plans other than brunch at Schooner or Later. We bought coffee as we waited to be seated, and sipped it while watching the morning mist lift from the harbor.The food was delicious again, and after we ate we walked along the wharf a little, and I took more pictures! Last ones, I promise. 
I saved the best pictures for last 🙂 
Anyway, now that I’ve finally got all that off my chest, LA gave me lots of food for thought and ideas to write about, so the next few posts will probably reference this one. I already miss California and my sister-in-law. 
But, it’s back to school and work, grocery shopping, housecleaning, laundry…sigh. Ad despite the lathering on of lotions, my sunburn is peeling. But, I do have the most awesome California tan!

Rainstorm

Yesterday, it started raining while the sun was still shining. 
The phenomenon brought out our neighbors. We stood on the porch and enjoyed the cool breeze.
Then it really started pouring.
I tried to capture the rain as it landed, but it didn’t turn out, as you can see. 
This picture did! 
I don’t think I’ve seen any houses with gutters here in AZ.
 As a result, it puddled up on the ground right away. AZ has clay ground, so water doesn’t absorb well.
 
There’s the sunshine again!

Got it at Goodwill!

I’ve been hoping for a mirror just like this! $5.99
So cute! I don’t know if it works or not, but I love the face and the rugged wood. $2.99
This lantern has room for candles inside! I’m still working on cleaning it up. I cleaned the gunk off of all the glass panes, and polished the  outside until it glows, but inside along the bottom it’s caked with a black grime that is really hard to get off. $2.99

This fabric had a purple tab, so it was 50% off. I think it used to be a curtain valance. It has a lovely sheen! I’m not sure what I’ll use it for yet. $1.50
Off to the side there you can see the mystery object from yesterday. It’s a really cute little planter! It has butterflies on it, so I had to get it 🙂 $4.99
My favorite find 🙂 I can’t wait to find a plant to put in the basket! I’m going to put this by the fireplace. I just love it! It looks great with the clock and lantern too! $5.99 
Speaking of the fireplace…we stumbled across this slightly used set of cast iron fireplace tools! $9.99
I’ve already begun finding homes for my finds, but I’m running into a dilemma- the brown and gold versa the black and silver. I’m hoping to buy some spray paint, but I’m not sure I can bear to paint over the pretty wood and metal things. 
Have you found anything unexpected at your local thrift store? What’s your favorite thrifty find? 

More Fun Finds

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a couple hours exploring our neighborhood Goodwill. It was massive! They have a neat system there where all the tags are color coded and marked with a week number. When I was there, it was week 30, and so anything marked with week 30 and/or a purple tag was 50% off.

I was immediately drawn to the items displayed on top of the clothing racks. Then I noticed a whole section of the store designated for housewares. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of most of the items, the number of employees and restrooms, the cleanliness of the store, and the lack of weird odors that I’ve always associated with Goodwill.

Not everything was a crazy good deal. I thought $1.99 each was too much to ask for those classic coke bottles. But if you’re into the coke decor, it might be worth it to you. They also had six packs of coke with the coke still inside for $12.99.

I did like this jar. I thought it was pretty unique and in great condition. They’re asking $23 for it, so it might be worth getting when it’s 50% off. I think it would look great in my mother-in-law’s kitchen. I’m going for a French Country look myself.

I found this beautiful pillow case and was very tempted to get it, but it really doesn’t match anything I have. It’s edged with satin ruffles and pink velvet ribbon, and the flower is embellished with sequins. It fits a small decorative pillow.  

There was so much fabric! I wanted to buy it all up and make dozens of pillows, or place mats, or curtains, or seat cushions, or table runners…I have all kinds of ideas! I found this cute shabby chic rose fabric and striped red, cream and sage fabric to match. I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but there’s a cute ruffle edge on the rose fabric. My pictures didn’t turn out very well because I felt really self-conscious about taking pictures in a store with people around!

Then I found these pillows that matched the shabby chic rose theme! I later found a matching bed-skirt.

I like this pillow- the design is modern and elegant. The fabric was in pretty good shape too. I figured I could wait until it’s on sale though. 

They had a wonderful selection of pictures. Original paintings, prints, photographs, all kinds. Some I wanted to buy just for the frames. I put this in my cart, and took it out, and put it back, and struggled to make up my mind. I LOVE coffee, and this watercolor is so cute! But, I decided to stick to my French Country theme. I might get it later though if it’s still there. 

This is my find of the day. it’s a print of French restaurants (I think, my French is very limited!). I love it! It’s so cute, and in perfect condition. I kind of wish I’d bought it, but I decided to wait for the sale week. I really, really hope it’s still there. It’s perfect for my dining room! If anyone is decorating a nursery or a child’s room, they probably have what you’re looking for. They had several sets of matching pictures with butterflies and lady bugs or elephants and giraffes and the like.

 I saw this little bulletin board and thought of two little princesses I know. It needs a minor repair, but I could easily fix it with stuff I have already, and it only costs $5 or so. I think it’s on sale next week or the week after that. 

Oh the shoes!!! Cute, cute, cute. This was about the only pair that fit me, and I had a hard time putting them back. I’m not sure what I’d wear with them, but they are so classic. They were probably donated by someone’s grandma.They had some nice pairs of really classic black pumps in perfect condition, and lots of stylish sandals. I saw a couple other pairs I wish I’d taken pictures of, some really retro shoes in perfect condition, and several by STEVE MADDEN! Sadly, they were all to big for me, or I would have snapped those up quick! They had some nice pairs of really classic black pumps in perfect condition, and lots of stylish sandals. 
Well, I don’t want to write a book here, so I’ll leave you with one picture of something I actually bought…
…And I’ll tell you next time what it is! 🙂 
I start school tomorrow, so I’m going to try my best to make and stick to a good schedule that allows me to get my school work, house work, and Brian time in along with my blogging. Shouldn’t be too hard if I keep getting up at 4:30 a.m! 

A Love Filled Day

What a perfect day!

It didn’t go like I planned. I figured: my birthday, my plan, my favorite food, I do what I want. But when I tried to talk to Brian about what I wanted to do for my birthday, it didn’t go so well.
“I’m going to plan it for you!” He insisted.
“But it’s my birthday, shouldn’t I get to do what I want?!”
“No!”
Oh. Great.
“We’re going to do something cool for your birthday, not something lame like going to a mall.”
Ouch. That’s what I had wanted to do.
“Don’t you trust me to plan something you’ll really like?”
Ummm…

Waiting to find out what he planned for me was a good exercise in letting go of some of my selfish desires. My birthday really isn’t all about me, I realized, because now I’m one with someone else. After I stopped trying to control my birthday, I found I anticipated it even more.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so loved on my birthday. I’m loving this whole second-family package that came with marrying Brian.

I slept in later than I had wanted to, but I woke up feeling fully refreshed. I dressed up in my favorite dress, a little blue and white pinstripe cotton confection of cuteness. I put a bow in my hair, and fixed coffee for myself in my fancy mug. I put out a new tablecloth and added a centerpiece. Soon after I finished my morning Bible reading and prayer, my mother-in-law sent me a text wishing me a happy birthday, and so did my older sister. My older sister also texted me a picture of my niece, who is growing up fast!

My big plan for the day was to check out the stores on the fancy strip mall a block or two away. Thanks to our cell phone rebates, I had $50 that Brian said I could spend on whatever I wanted. As I was about to leave, my mother-in-law called me to wish me a happy birthday in person. We talked while I finished my coffee, got my purse, walked to mail boxes and checked the mail, and walked all the way to the first store. At some point my phone started beeping, and after hanging up I discovered a text from my father-in-law waiting, also wishing me a happy birthday.

Anthropologie was the first store on my list to explore. If you’ve never been to an Anthropologie, you need to go. Even if you don’t buy anything. It’s expensive, but it’s SO fascinating! In addition to fabulous clothes, they sell cosmetics, kitchen decor and utensils, wall decor, furniture, dishes, bedding, curtains, towels, tablecloths, jewelry, accessories, purses, stationary, books…all kinds of unique treasures. I had to look at everything- it was all artsy, indie, exotic, or charming, and it all had a special handmade or hand-designed feel. You just have to go yourself; I’m running out of adjectives to describe it! I snagged a couple steal-of-a-deals: a beautiful soft and flowy sweater originally $88 for $20, and a beautiful turquoise flower pot. I can’t decide were to put it; in the kitchen window, on the front porch, on the patio, or above the fireplace nook. It has a lot of potential!

After spending almost three hours in Anthropologie, I moved on, past beauty shops, Chico’s, and White House Black Market, to Barnes and Noble. There was a reason for this; I hydrated myself amply before leaving my apartment as a cautionary measure in this heat, but by the time I got to Anthropologie, I already had to go. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any bathrooms! They had beautiful dressing rooms with pretty candles burning and comfy couches, but nowhere to pee. I don’t know when I’ve been so happy to use a public restroom as when I arrived at Barnes and Noble!

I perused the sale bins, shelves, and piles, but nothing really jumped out at me until I found my way to the journals and sketch books and decided on a journal with a striking bright blue butterfly on the cover. If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with butterflies! And, as an extra bonus, it was on sale 🙂 My lovely sister-in-law texted me and told me she’d call me tomorrow to find out how my whole day went. About that time, I got another phone call, this time from my father-in-law! He took time while he was working to give me a call and wish me happy birthday. While we were talking, I got that call-waiting beep in my ear again, and discovered after the call ended that it was Brian. He picked me up at the bookstore so that I didn’t have to walk back in the heat.

Then, I made my birthday cake while he took a nap. Ok, not this cake, but I wish!

 Nati’s Cakes

I LOVE cupcakes!!! I made myself a dozen pink roses! The pink frosting is strawberry flavored. Brian didn’t want to eat pink cupcakes, so I frosted some with white confetti frosting just for him. 
Then, it was time for the Big Birthday Surprise! Brian packed a cooler and tote with food he’d bought on the way home from work and paper products, and off we went! 
We drove and drove, out of Phoenix and into cowboy country. No seriously, we passed several Man on Horseback Crossing signs! 
Finally the secret came out: I saw a sign that read “Canyon Lake.” We twisted and turned up the mountain, and I tried to snap pictures along the way. 
Our first glimpse of the lake.
This surprise picnic was reminiscent of the surprise picnic Brian planned for me after he proposed! I never would have dreamed that we’d be having another picnic in Arizona almost a year later! 
The spot we picked was picturesque, but we were pretty sure we could hear a couple rattlesnakes close by! 
After the picnic, we came back to the apartment to eat the cupcakes and open presents. Brian sang “Happy Birthday” me; it was so sweet! 
I had two presents to open, both from my mother-in-law. Brian’s present to me was all the thoughtful planning and preparation he put into our lovely picnic. My grandmother-in-law also sent me a card with a present in it!
In case you were wondering, I do have a biological family too, with a mom and dad, two sisters and three brothers.  I assumed they’d forgotten about my birthday, since I didn’t hear anything from them all day, even though I got text messages from acquaintances, and a facebook wall full of birthday wishes, many from people I hadn’t seen or talked to in a long time. I finally did talk to my family, but I cheated. I texted my dad a picture of the cupcakes, and he then texted me “Happy Birthday.” When I replied that I thought they’d forgotten it was my birthday, he decided to call me after all. He wished me a happy birthday, and I told him about my day, and caught up on goings ons at home. He eventually gave the phone to mom. 
“What do you want to talk to me about?” she almost snapped. 
I wanted to say, Uh, it’s my birthday! I’m twenty! All grown up! Are you…glad? Proud? Do you care? But instead I stuttered, “Well, I just, um, figured I hadn’t talked to you for a little while…”
“Yeah, I was starting to wonder because I hadn’t heard from you in a while, and I heard about those inmates that got out.”
“Huh? Inmates? In Phoenix?” 
“They got one in Colorado, but they think the others are hanging out there in Phoenix. You better get a newspaper.”
Ok, mom. I listened as she told me all about how the boys were doing, especially Ethan, my middle brother who suffers from epilepsy, how they were installing a security system, and redecorating the basement bedroom. She told me she mailed a car for me the day before (Birthday shopping happens the day before in my family!). Finally, I had to go, because it was much past Brian’s bedtime, and he really needed his rest before getting up at 4:30 for work. 
She never said “Happy Birthday.” 
But before she hung up, she did say, “I love you.” 
And that was the best birthday present she could have given me. 

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved god, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1 John 5:9-11)

I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I was Wednesday and Thursday with all the love and thoughtfulness behind all the text and facebook messages, phone calls, and cards. You showed me God’s love through your actions! I know that I’m not alone, and He will continue to supply my needs. 

Coffee Love

Because we were out of both creamer and milk, today I decided to make iced coffee. Besides coffee and ice, I added sugar and artificial vanilla flavoring. After I added the sugar, I realized that the coffee probably needed to be hot, otherwise it wouldn’t dissolve. So I had to pour it back into the mug to warm it up, and pour it back into the glass afterwards, which created interesting splatters. Well, that inspired me to have a little photo shoot! These are the photos edited.   

I edited these pictures in picnik.com. Click on them to see them larger. 
What do you think? I’m an amateur at this, so your impressions, opinions, expertise or tips would be most welcome. 
By the way, I LOVE coffee 😉 

Our One Month Anniversary

Today is our one month anniversary! It feels like one week since I walked the aisle, but it’s been one week that Brian and I have lived in our apartment! We are still adjusting; adjusting to the heat, to the early morning job schedule, to the commute to the said job, to making an apartment a home, to being alone in the said apartment most of the day, and to being married, and mainly, figuring out how to sleep comfortably in the same bed. (A double bed. It’s smaller than it sounds.)

The Heat
Dry heat or not, it’s hot. Lucky for me, I haven’t really had to adjust to the heat, because I can hide in air conditioning most of the day. Brian has no choice, because for the two months he while he works in the maintenance shop, he’s practically outdoors.


The Mornings
Brian’s early morning start to work hasn’t been too hard on me either; I’ve been able to sleep through the alarm at 4:30 a.m., Brian getting ready, eating breakfast, and only waking up for the goodbye kiss. Until today, at least. At Brian’s urging, I’m trying to get up at the same time, so that we can be on the same sleep schedule. Laying awake at night isn’t fun, so I’m trying to get on board, but 4:30 comes around fast!


The Commute
We were happy to find that commuting is shorter than we thought it would be, mainly as a result of the early morning, and afternoons getting home haven’t been bad. Except for the day there were two accidents: a nine car pile up followed by one with six cars…scary! Both accidents were ahead of Brian, and he was fine.


The Housewifery
I’m figuring out this home-maker thing. Brian’s oldest sister was here for the worst part of the unpacking,-those initial stages of circular confusion, the can’t-unpack-the-ten-boxes-of-books-until-the-shelf-is-put-together-and-you-can’t-put-the-shelf-together-until-it’s-in-the-right-room-and-you-can’t-put-it-in-the-right-room-until-your-husband-gets-home-because-it’s-heavy stage. It’s very livable now! There’s pictures in this album  as well as many more pictures from our trip. It looks a little different today, since I hung a few pictures on the walls and did more unpacking yesterday with Brian. I am so thankful that Andrea was able to come last week – she kept me company while Brian was gone and provided transportation to get things we needed: basic groceries and my hair cut 🙂 Getting my hair cut was definitely a need, in this case, because it has been in the 106-118 degree neighborhood all week. We also had fun swimming and tanning and going to Barnes and Noble. And, she showed us how to program the coffee maker so that it starts on it’s own, which is invaluable. 

I’m doing well so far with cooking, which is one of the things included in my moving resolutions. Our first dinner in our apartment took place Thursday night, and it consisted of spaghetti (one of the few things I can make without a recipe) lettuce salad, and apple sauce. Friday night we had tacos, and Saturday….we bought Little Cesar’s Pizza. Hey, it was Saturday! I made barbecue chicken for Sunday dinner, and if I must say so myself, it was delicious, and I totally made it up as I went along.

I’ve only been home by myself for two days, and I’m already getting lonely! I called home and my older sister Friday, and I found a Christian radio station and blasted it until Brian got home Saturday while I did my Saturday cleaning. I’m not too worried about making friends, I know it will take time, and probably won’t happen until I get involved at school or in small group at church. At least, I’ve been far from bored. I get up, read a text from Brian, text him back, eat breakfast, read my Bible, get dressed etc, call someone from Iowa, work on my online classes, make lunch, text Brian, email people from Iowa, unpack, text Brian, facebook people from Iowa, unpack, answer Brian’s phone call, do laundry, and greet Brian at the door. That may or may not be a slight exaggeration.


The Married Life
There’s a few things I’ve learned so far, in my short married life.

  • One is to have most of the stuff I want to do done for the day before Brian gets home, and save what’s left for tomorrow. That way I can focus on making him comfortable and relaxed after a long day in the heat, and making coming home a highlight for both of us.
  • Two, I’ve also learned that my priorities aren’t his priorities, and if I push my priorities, I’m nagging. Brian offered to take care of the lunch dishes yesterday, and it drove me crazy. Not because I enjoy doing dishes, to the contrary. But after lunch he worked on the internet, was on facebook for awhile, caught up on emails, and unpacked the book boxes in the spare bedroom, all while the dishes were still sitting on the table and counters. Every time I walked by, it took effort to not say something, or just do it myself. Why? Because I knew that Brian probably hadn’t forgotten, at least not entirely, but from his perspective, fixing the internet and taking care of those boxes was more urgent. If I had mentioned, he would have felt I was nagging him, and if I’d done it myself, he’d be offended that I didn’t think he was capable of doing it himself. At least, that’s what I imagine he was thinking. And in the end, he did do the dishes, and they were none the worse for not being done right after lunch.
  • Three, I’ve discovered that sleeping in the same bed takes skill. We’d been so spoiled with king and queen beds all during our honeymoon and the week we stayed at Brian’s parents’ that the double bed felt pretty small. But, I’m not opposed to cuddling, and neither is Brian. Unfortunately…. he snores.

But laying awake at night, with Brian almost sleeping on my face, making me uncomfortably hot and sticky, and barely able to hear my thoughts over the grizzly growling-mountain slide sounds, I watch him sleep, and the realization washes over me that I’m so very lucky to have such a wonderful man; a man who works hard to provide for me, is thoughtful and affectionate, fun, and wise. And every once in a while, he wakes up, and kisses me before rolling over and going back to sleep.

Yep, we’re still adjusting. It’s been a crazy month, with lots of changes, but I’ve loved every minute of the adventure. The best is yet to come!

Love,
Emily Conley