Thursday, April 29, 2010

Friends here and gone...

I first met Greg and Karen on one of my many trips to Indiana. A few years ago when I was part of a singing group, we spent a lot of time out there. I made lots of good friends. So how tickeled was I when I heard they were coming for the weekend. We managed to work out a time to get together and they came for supper on Friday night. Their daughter Leann is just about the cutest little thing ever! Loved having them all here and catching up and getting to know each other even better!Thursday afternoon, I got a call from my good friend Catherine. She was calling to tell me her husband went home to be with Jesus. That is not the kind of phone call you want to get. I knew right away I wanted to do all I could to get to the funeral. A few years ago, after my dear friend Ann died, Jim and Catherine joined our singing group on a 2 week tour in Alabama and Florida. They were such a support to us as as we tried to keep singing even though we had just buried the main person in our group. We had been friends with Jim and Catherine before because they were also part of a singing group and we ended up singing at alot of the same concerts. When Jim was diagnosed with a brain tumor 2 years ago we were all devastated. I got to see Jim last summer when he came one last time to Lancaster. I remember when we were getting ready to leave I hugged him goodbye and we both knew it would probably be the last time we would ever see each other here on this earth.Brad could see how much it meant to me to go to the funeral and he set about making it happen. It wasn't wasy on his part. As of last week he is the main and only sound man at our church and has not had time to train someone else in yet. He ended up getting someone to fill in who used to run it before. We started the 12 hour trip to Daviess Co. Indiana around 3 in the morning on Friday.
Around lunch time we seen one of these fast food joints and decided to stop. White Castle had been featured in a TV show we like called Undercover Boss. Soooo we decided to check it out since we don't have any near where we live! Their burgers were tiny! 3 came with my order. You could order them by the piece or 3, 5 or 10! They were about the size of the "sliders". Neither of us thought they were that good and probably wouldn't go again or give them raving reviews but it was fun to try something different!
Back in my single days I used to LOVE to drive and was often the designated driver among my friends. Not that they were drinking or anything, but simply because I enjoyed driving! Now...I sit in the passenger seat and enjoy the ride (and view)!
We had many, many good chats on our 24 hour road trip. Most of the time we talked...about anything and everything. I slept a few hours and he slept on the way home too. Funny how we live together and talk every day and still have lots to talk about!

We stayed in a nice motel so all in all it was a fun little getaway for us. It's important to me to "pay respects" and I am so glad it worked out for us to go. And just another reminder of how short life is. Brad and I talked about that alot on the way home and decided again to make the most of the time God gives us here together.

33 years young!

I am absolutely awful at keeping things from my husband. That's a good thing most of the time! Buuuuttttt when it comes to birthdays and Christmases and every other time we get each other gifts, it is a very, very bad thing! I think I should start waiting to buy gifts until the day of his birthday so I don't give it to him ahead of time. Sad thing is.. he is no better. We decided we're going to be OK with's kinda our thing!

Gift #1 came a few weeks ago. Each week when my hubby pays the bills and does "bookwork", I watch him write our address in the corner of the envelope. Once I took a stack of blank envelopes and wrote our address in each corner. Most of our bills are paid online but there are a few that still go snail mail. One day the thought came to me that I should get him a stamp for his birthday. So I stopped at Staples and ordered one. It was done in 10 minutes!!! I thought it would take a week or 2, therefore taking care of me wanting to give it to him early! When I got it, I thought it was the coolest thing! I'm surprised I didn't wear it out the first evening, stamping our address on everything in sight! That night in bed after a long conversation where my husband played along with me wanting to give him his gift....I gave it to him. One cannot enjoy the beauty of such a gift at 10:00 at night! He loved it but I didn't think he did because he didn't "jump up and down", and didn't seem that excited about it. Keep in mind this was 10 at night! Poor man....Lesson learned for me!
The 2nd and better gift took a lot more work. My hubby had mentioned quite a few times that he wishes I would put pictures together of before and after pictures of our house. What better time to do this than his birthday? I worked on the book online when we wasn't around, and was careful to hide any e-mails about it! I love Shutterfly and it really didn't take too long!

The package came a week before his birthday. When he called me that afternoon on his break, I told him that I got his birthday present. He proceeded to try and figure out every store I had been in that day and tried to get it out of me what it was! Seriously we have SO much fun together. All of these conversations were full of laughter and joking and teasing and flirting. One of the top things on my "list" of what I wanted in a husband was someone I could laugh with. I have never laughed more than I have with this man!
Of course, being true to tradition, I gave him his gift that night. I just couldn't wait to see his face! But, before I gave it to him I made sure he wasn't tired!!!He loved it and promptly looked at it a few times. The next day when he got home from work the first thing he did (after kissing me ) was look at it again!
Here's to many, many more early birthday gifts!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mirror's Tale

A few weeks ago, my sister and her family moved from the house they had always lived in, into a brand new old house. As she was packing, my sister found all kinds of things that she didn't want anymore. My first stop when I went to her house during the whole packing process was to find the thrift store box. Most times there were reasons the things were in that box, but one day I found this...

This dear mirror had been from the day when navy/burgandy/forest green were all the rage. They were THE colors to have in bedrooms, livingrooms, weddings, graduations and who knows what else. It was the colors we had in our graduation when I graduated in 1994. We were definitely "in"! It was also the day when brass, and lace were a staple in every women's decor. They still may be found in some homes, but my sister did not want to carry things like this over to her new house. Well, I immediately seen potential in this dear mirror and snatched it right up. Took it home and sprayed it with primer.Then I painted the edges white and sanded it to give it a distressed look. I loved the way the burgandy peeked though in some places.Sadly, this mirror is no longer a resident of my home. After it's former owner seen the remarkable changes, she decided she MUST have it back. Call it a housewarming gift or whatever you want too! In her defense I guess I did mention my plans for it and scolded her (as any big sister would do) for giving such a great piece away,and told her I would prove it and she could have it back when I was finished with it! A valuable lesson was learned that day...never disclose secrets for potential. Just take it and declare how ugly it is and how she is so wise in getting rid of it! And never, ever promise to give it back!

Weekend Project

Since moving into this house we have been improving things little by little! The year we got married we totally renovated the inside of the house. The summer after we got married, we did a new front porch, siding and soffit and whatever else that stuff up by the roof is called. Now this summer, it's time to start working on landscaping! Finally the outside will start matching the inside! HMmmm....just hit me that there's a spiritual analogy here too. Maybe someday I will blog about that!
This weekend we decided to start working on the walkway to the front door. It was old concrete and needed a new look.
See what I mean?

So we (Ok my hubby) got to work eliminating the old concrete walks. It was no easy chore. I am so thankful that I married such a strong man. The night he took out the walks, my neice and nephews were here. My youngest nephew was amazed at the way Brad swung that sledgehammer like it was nothing! They were even more amazed when I told them that "Brad is so strong, he can even throw ME into bed". Which is true, and it is not easy cuz our bed sits about 4 feet off of the floor and I am no feather! But moving on...he chunked up the walks. I wanted a different curve in our new walks so we figured out the shape and cut out the grass.

Then we went on a date to Home Depot. Wasn't very datey but that makes it sound more fun! We decided to do a sample run of dying our own concrete. I like the "Stamp-Crete" look but after realizing that it would cost around a $1,000 we decided to do it ourselves. We bought concrete dye and a bunch of quickrete.
After figuring out exactly how much dye and water to use per sack we started mixing. Basically I just poured in the water and watched my hubby mix it all. Remember what I said about him being strong. It sure came in handy here. We were too "cheap" to rent a mixer. Brad had to do it all the old fashioned way.

I suggested he make it easier for me to watch him! He was happy to oblige! I was perfectly happy watching him do his thing, and shouted out encouragement when he started getting tired!

Brad had used this mold thing when he did another walkway. After the concrete was mixed, we set the mold just where we wanted it and filled it up.

Brad did the first one and then it was my turn. He filled the mold and then I used the trowel and squished it in all of the cracks, and smoothed out the top to make it look just right. Sadly I have no pictures to prove my part in the project. But just ask my hubby. He says he couldn't have done it without me! For real, he does! The fun part was lifting the mold and seeing how neat everything looked!

We were so, so pleased with the final results. We finished it up last night, handmolding the pieces where the mold didn't fit. We still need to fill in the cracks with sand and then seal it all.

The walkway cost us about $200.00. Definitely more work but worth the $800.00 savings! And it's always fun to work on things like this with my husband. Next comes landscaping this whole area. Can't wait to see how that looks.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Said "Yes"!

It's been 2 years since my husband asked me to marry him. April 8, 2008 wasn't nearly as nice of a day outside as it is today. It was a little warm but things weren't green yet.

We had been dating 2 months. Shocking I know, but when you are both 30 years old, you don't mess around! We covered a lot of ground in those first 2 months of dating! From the beginning my husband was a "what you see is what you get" kind of guy and was always very honest with me. It's now one of the qualities I love most about him and yet it scared me at first. Scared me to be that real and vulnerable with someone!

****I just had about 3 paragraphs in here that I deleted. One of these days I want to write out our love story and the way we met but for now, because it's the anniversary of our engagement, that's what I wanna write about, our engagement. It was just getting too long. Soooo back to the proposal. I seriously knew it was coming. I had been joking around with Brad that he should tell me when he's going to propose because ummmm.....I wanted to make sure I had my camera along. After all, every girl wants pictures of her proposal or right after right?! It was a joke with us. I didn't want to know but I kinda did!

I was still teaching school, and Brad had just had an accident at work and broken his nose, which is a whole other story. He had been stopping in at school a lot to see me since he was off of work and was bored. So Tuesday morning, Brad's cousin who goes to the school I taught at, came in to my classroom with a camera, and put it on my desk. "What is this for"? I asked him. Guess what he said! BRAD wants it for something later today! I'll give you 3 guesses to figure out what he wanted it for! Bet you need only 1!

So I sent off a text to Brad. "T brot a camra 2 skool. Wat do u need it 4?" Wish I coulda seen his face on the other end. He texted back something like..."I need it 4 somthin l8r. Fone quality pics wudnt be gud enuf". Poor guy. Even now, I kinda pity him. I wasn't very nice at all!

He came to my classroom around 12:00. My class went to computer class for an hour and I had about an hour till they got back. Brad knew this. I took my class to computer, came back and started pacing and finding things to do to keep me busy. Brad was so nervous and I knew it was coming and I wanted it to happen and yet I was so nervous too. Finally Brad told me to come sit down. I think he said more like "Get over here and sit down"!!!!! I sat down and he came over and got on his knee in front of me and asked me to marry him. The next few moments are a blur to me! He says I kept saying "Are you serious". According to him I said that about 10 times. I think he's exaggerating!!! Finally I said "Yes".

On our first date we had talked about our conviction of staying pure and not having a lot of physical contact before we were married. I told Brad that I thought it would be neat to kiss when we got engaged! We both felt the same way and decided we would not kiss until then. So now that we were engaged, we could kiss!! I was very uncomfortable kissing in school so we took a walk. We walked down to the creek and sat there and talked and finally...kissed.

It was TERRIBLE! I had always read in story books about magical first kisses. This was nothing like I thought it would be! It sounds terrible to say that neither one of us enjoyed our first kiss!! We tried so hard to make it romantic. Our teeth were clacking and it felt like he was going to swallow my mouth! We were definitely trying too hard. We didn't really say anything about it, but later that night when we were talking about our wedding day and dreaming of being married, I asked him if that kiss was as bad for him as it was for me! We both laughed so hard and decided we needed to try again! It was much, much better the next time and I can't get enough of his kisses! That story is still something we laugh about alot!

We went back to school and made up these little papers to give to people. We stuck them in songbooks so that the next morning at school when the teachers had staff devotions and turned to the page that had the song "There is Love", they found this picture!

It seems like such a long time ago. It was only 2 years. I think of all we went through in the past 2 years and can't imagine my life with out Brad. We keep telling each other that we didn't even love each other then compared to how much we love each other now! And the kisses???? They keep getting better and better too!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Yellow Things

Yellow is my mom's favorite color. I'm beginning to realize why. Yellow is the color of all things happy. Smiley faces are simply the best when they are a bright yellow-hands down. It's such a happy color. When we were picking out paint colors for our house, yellow was my top choice for the laundry room. The color we chose was "optomistic yellow". There's something about the first room you walk into and I love walking into a bright cheery room.
Spring is the perfect time for this cheerful color. One of the first flowers popping out of the cold ground are bright yellow daffodils.
Lately this fun color has been popping up all around my house too!

We've got forsythia bushes all around our property and I've been picking them to add a splash of cheerful color all around on the inside. I didn't know until a few days ago that they are called "forsythia". Thanks to doing research for what kind of bushes and shrubs we want in our landscaping project, I now have a name for the "yellow bushes behind the house".
Easter candy would not be right without the classic "PEEP". My favorite are the......yellow ones! Bet ya didn't see that coming!
Every Easter I buy these purely for reminiscing. Ok, I love the marshmallowy gooiness too but the memories are what does it for me. You see, one of the few memories I have of my grandpa was going to his house around Easter and he would always have yellow PEEPS there for us. He died when I was 7 years old and to this day whenever I eat one of these my mind goes back. I'm getting teary eyed just writing this...
Then on Saturday, after we got home from a wedding, I went out to get the mail. There in the stack of mostly junk was a gleaming big yellow envelope.
The handwriting was sooo familiar. I knew right away who it was from. It was an Easter card from none other than my dear husband! Talk about falling in love all over again! He knows how much I LOVE cards and notes from him and he remembered me saying about how it would be fun to get a card in the mail from him like when we were dating. We had read in a book that sending a card in the MAIL is special. I forgot all about it, but my hubby didn't! He stored that little idea away and figured he would use it someday.
Speaking of tucking thoughts away...back when we were dating, in one of our discussions on how we can better make each other feel loved, I had mentioned that he doesn't need to buy me all kinds of flowers. Sure I love roses but if he would stop beside the road and pick a bunch of wildflowers that would mean even more than a big bouquet of roses. Are ya with me ladies? Just the fact that your manly husband would pull beside the road and get out of his vehicle and handpick a bouquet for you....that just makes me melt. Well, he did that a time or 2 when we were dating, and every time it made my heart melt. On Sunday when we were on our way home, we passed a bank full of smiling daffodils. My husband nearly gave me a heart attack when he jammed on the brakes and pulled beside the road. I thought something had happened to the car. I asked him what was wrong using a panicked tone of voice I'm sure! He said nothing, but got out of the car and started doing this... He scampered all over that hill and picked the most lovely bouquet of daffodils for me. Meanwhile, I'm sitting in the car with tears streaming down my face, taking pictures. To say that God has blessed me with such an amazing husband would be an understatement. I never, ever dreamed that marriage could be this good! Brad knows me even better than I know myself. I often tell him that I love the way he loves me. I thank God every day for bringing him into my life.
This week it will be 2 years since he asked me to be his wife. It just keeps getting better and better...