Monday, June 30, 2008

Slow Weekend?

This weekend was supposed to be a slow one. The only thing we had planned for Saturday was to go to Toby and Mary Jo's to have dinner and watch last week's episode of Wipeout, which they had DVR'd (is that how you type that? I seriously have no idea).

Instead, it was a little different. I woke up and hit the ground running. I cleaned every room of the house....dusting, sweeping, mopping, and all. And it feels good to have a clean house. About every 29 minutes, I would run into Andy and say, "I love having a clean house. Why don't I work harder at keeping it clean?"


So I am trying. I made myself a little chore chart, with a few things to do every day (dishes, pick up clutter, sweep kitchen floor and clean counters) and then a few things that are specific to each day. It's not overwhelming by any means. Probably about 20-30 minutes of work each day. So here's to hoping that works.


Then, just as I was preparing to relax after my busy morning, Andy's old boss called. Their family was in town to move stuff, because they finally sold their old house, and bought a new one in West Lafayette. So we headed over there and spent about the next three hours visiting..er..helping them. While there, I tried my first strawberry limeade at Sonic, and it blew the cherry out of the water. It was good to see them, and to catch up. For a long time, they were the only friends we had here, so it was a real blow when they moved. It definitely changed Andy's work situation.


Then...we got home and realized that we hadn't eaten anything all day. And we were hungry. So Andy begged me to pull out the hidden box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (it's our desperation food) so we could eat a little before we left. That's when I discovered I had bought this macaroni:



Yup. Pokemon. Andy made fun of me for awhile, but it actually tasted better than regular. Then we went to Toby and Mary Jo's and had a blast. The show was HYSTERICAL...we're going to watch it with them every week. And we had a great time just hanging out with them and their boys.


Their two-year-old, B, is the sweetest little bruiser you've ever met. And T is about the smartest, sweetest three year old. He is a charmer. And too funny. At about 10, Andy and Toby were watching "How It's Made" and he looked over at us and said, "Guys, when this is over you have to leave." I nearly died laughing. And then, the second it was finished he told us, "Okay guys, it's over. Time to go."

Sunday was a little better. We had Sunday School and church, then we came home....but I seem to be bitten by a crazy bug...and I couldn't fall asleep for my nap, even though I was exhausted. So I cleaned out the laundry area and decorated it a bit by moving around some stuff in other places. Then I painted the door frame in our bedroom and touched up some trim in there. Then we had our VBS program at 6. Our four year olds rocked it! They were so adorable.


And that's about it for this weekend.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

More decorating

I have been doing some more redecorating in the house. Some of it is changing things around, some of it putting up new things where something didn't exist before. Basically, I have just been having a darn good time putting holes in the walls.

This is in the bathroom, above the toilet. I painted the canvas, and the flowers are towel holders from Hobby Lobby. I'm not sure how well they are going to work...they won't go flush against the wall. But they look cute. And not nearly that crooked in real life. Pay no attention to the blue in the corner. That is just something we are working on memorizing....Romans 12. I am terrible at memorizing.


This is in the corner that leads into the kitchen. The shelf is from IKEA, and it holds my cookbooks and some canisters and such. The crosses all came from Hobby Lobby, most were on clearance.

This is in the kitchen. I got the C on clearance at Anthropologie in the Fashion Mall in Indy(I think it was meant for a children's room) and the vases at CB2.

I bought these shelves from Target last January, with Christmas gift cards. I just finally figured out how I wanted them hung. The bottom shelf has our wedding invitation in a frame, and the little frame has the monogram that Andy made for our wedding programs. The other frames are empty. I haven't decided what pictures to put up yet.

And I rearranged this bookshelf that Andy's grandpa made for him. On the top, I finally finished up my flower arrangement (it had looked haggard for so long) and figured out what to put around it. Then on the shelves I just did some rearranging. I might change out some of the frames....I think I would like it if they were all black or white wood frames here. I might move the metal somewhere else. We'll see.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Domestic diva

Thursday night I decided to make a salad with our stir fry. You know, being the healthy housewife and all. So I decided to get a little creative, and try to find a recipe I had had recently. At Andy's birthday party, our pastor's wife had brought this salad that was INCREDIBLE. It became my most favorite thing at the party--and I ate my weight in it. So I set out to try to find the recipe for the dressing....

In retrospect, I could have probably just grabbed my phone, scanned down to her name and pressed send. But that would have been too easy.

So I found the salad. And I made it. And it was just as good as I remember it.

So here's the recipe:
Salad:
1 head lettuce (I used romaine mixed with some mesclun in our garden)
Bacon (I used real bacon bits....I don't really like cooking raw bacon...it's too messy and gross)
Green onions (I used three...it was kind of a lot. Two may have been better)
Chow mein noodles on top, for crunch

Dressing
8T vinegar (I used white wine)
8T sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 c. oil (I used vegetable)

Mix all ingredients, bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for two minutes. Your house will smell like death after you boil vinegar. Hope that your husband doesn't come home an hour early just as you finish making the house smell like death. It might make him fussy. Refrigerate four hours to overnight. Dress salad with dressing just before serving. And enjoy!

We weren't alone for dinner that night. On Thursday's Andy's little brother from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program comes over. His 16th birthday was the very next day, and I wanted to make sure that it was special somehow. I really want everyone who comes into our house to feel special--and especially on their birthday! I love birthdays...and I love making people feel special on their birthday. So when the boys went off to play a game, I headed back to the kitchen to find something to make into a birthday treat. I found a sheet of frozen puff pastry and a bag of frozen peaches...and ran with it.

I thawed the puff pastry (in the microwave....not the way you're supposed to. I didn't have 40 mins) and cut it into 9 squares...then baked it according to directions.

While the puff pastry was baking, I put the peaches in a saucepan with a little bit of water, a few tablespoons of sugar, and a quick shake of cinnamon (great measurements, I know)

Then I boiled that together until the peaches were warm and soft, and the other stuff had turned into a syrup.

Then I pulled out the puff pastry, topped it with peaches and syrup and served it with a candle. A birthday pastry, if you will. And it was tasty. If only we had spray whipped cream....it would have been perfect.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Am I really living?

I feel like I have been more than outspoken about my dislike for the town we live in. Every day, it seems, there is something that makes me wish we could just move away, and wipe the dust of this place off of our feet. In fact, I say it. Sort of often. I'll be hanging out with people, and say something like, "Well...when we move away." Some of my dislike is valid....like the lack of fellowship with people in our current life situation, some of it not so much....I hate having to drive an hour to go to a Target. And don't get me started on the way people drive in this town--I have never in my life seen anything so ridiculous.

But these past few weeks, things haven't been terrible. They haven't been great, but they haven't been terrible. I have been spending some time with some ladies at our church, and I feel like I'm finally starting to develop some real friendships in this town. I have a job this fall. This is where my husband and I bought our first house, and started our lives as a family. And I realize that my attitude is a lot of the problem.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the disciples, "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)

In its context, Jesus is telling the disciples not to be concerned with the things of world--with clothing, food, shelter, etc.

In the past, I have looked at this verse in light of my anxiety problems (that's another story, entirely). I saw it as an admonishment against the things I was anxious about....the what ifs in life. But then I took the time to look up the definition of the word "worry" in the original Greek and this is what I found.

Worry-Merimnao
to be anxious
to be troubled with cares
to care for, look out for (a thing)
to seek to promote one's interests
caring or providing for

Do you see that one of the definition's for worry is "to seek to promote one's interests"? Ouch. Is my daily worry about leaving this town (will it happen? when will it happen? why hasn't it happened?) seeking to promote my own interest? You had better believe it. Am I trusting God when my attitude about the life he has given me is so poor? No. Not at all. I have not been serving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I have been waiting. Waiting for the life I want, instead of the life I have. I have been wasting opportunities, and wasting time.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible says this about this chapter:

The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.

So that is my prayer for today. That I may make full proof that the Lord is my God by trusting myself wholly to His wise disposal.

It's time to start living the life I have been given.

VBS Gold

Andy and I are leading the four year old class at VBS this week. It's been interesting. Very interesting. We only have seven students, which is unheard of. Most of the other classes have about 20. I'm really glad we don't have 20. We have four girls, and three boys. And I'll let you in on a little secret--I love our little girls. They are very quiet, and very sweet, and just absolutely adorable. Our little boys are sort of the opposite--except they are still adorable, the little stinkers.

One in particular has proven to be a handful. We had actually met him before--last year during Upwards soccer, he was on the team our team practiced against. His favorite thing to do was knock everyone over. He's been less violent at VBS, but seriously, the things he says have been fodder for laughter throughout our house.

I'll share with you my favorite.

One of the grown up leaders was trying to help the kids remember the word "catastrophe" so she said, "Cat-a"

And he shouted, "CATA-STRATION"

Here's to hoping he lives on a farm.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sweet Summertime

*******Sorry about the formatting....I promise I put spaces between the paragraphs....but they won't appear right now************
These past few days have been sort of boring. I've spent a lot of my time here (yes, that is the living room floor):
Working on this:


But seriously...how cute is that binder? Did your English teacher's lesson plans come in a sweet green binder? I have a whopping six days fully planned (we start school on a Friday) and the next nine almost fully planned. Clearly, this is going to be my first year teaching. Real teachers probably haven't started looking at stuff yet--they are still recovering from last year!
Anyway, in an effort to keep things a little interesting around here, I think I'd share some of my favorite recipes for summer cooking. First, I have to say that the word cooking is used lightly here. I prefer not to turn the oven on when it's hot outside. I had it on for something a few weeks ago, and it raised the temperature of the whole house by two degrees. Or at least that's what the thermostat said. I would be perfectly content eating frosting from the jar and some fruit or salad all summer long. That other person that lives here tends to disagree. So we compromise.
Our meal plan for the week looks something like this:
Sunday: Grilled chicken (marinaded in a Lawry's 30 min. marinade or Italian salad dressing)
Vegetable of some sort (Broccoli or green beans)
Monday: Fish (Grilled in foil, with lemon, salt, pepper)
Instant brown rice
Tuesday:Pork chops with pizzaiola sauce (grilled pork chops, sauce is onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes, can of diced tomatoes added and cooked together)
Wednesday: Something easy....last night it was a frittata with turkey bacon, green onion, and eggs
Thursday: Chicken stir fry--chicken cooked in Italian salad dressing, tossed with frozen stir fry vegetables and soy sauce, on top of brown rice
Friday: Hamburgers made with Williams-Sonoma hamburger seasoning on the grill, some sort of grilled vegetable (I like zucchini the best)
Saturday: Whatever I can throw together with what's left in the kitchen
Did I mention that Andy does the grilling? And that I hate cleaning up the kitchen? On nights when we don't use the grill, sometimes we use the crockpot too. Anything to avoid heating up the kitchen.
And any night of the week, we like to end with an iced vanilla coffee.
I usually just use leftover cold coffee from the morning...or if there's none, I just make a new pot and cool it. Then I pour the coffee into a glass with ice cubes. I fill the glass about halfway with coffee. Then I pour a few glugs of vanilla syrup in. I have been using this:

Which I picked up at World Market the last time I was at my parents house. But it's almost gone and I don't really like the brands they sell in town....so I'm going to make my own based on a recipe I found the other day (make a simple syrup: boil one cup water, one cup sugar, add 2 t. vanilla extract). Then I fill the cup the rest of the way up with milk, stir and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coffee Buzz

It's really much later than I should be up. I would have liked to have been in bed asleep a long time ago. But, for only I think the second time in our marriage, I have outlasted my husband. But I blame him for my awake state. He's the one that convinced me to make the second iced vanilla coffee at 10:00. What a bad idea. So here I am....I'll give you a rundown of my day :)

--This morning I decided to commit to working out and eating well in order to regain my wedding weight. Sweet Husband has agreed to help me in whatever way possible. Up to and including changing our eating habits together and exercising together each night

--I have also been on a serious redecorating kick. On a serious budget. But things are starting to come together. I'll post more pictures sometime soon. I'm having a lot of fun turning this house into our home this summer. Today I painted a canvas for the bathroom, pimped our shower curtain, directed the hanging of some shelves in the living room, and directed the hanging of some darling crosses I found at Hobby Lobby last week.

--I spent some serious quality time in Psalms and Proverbs today. Some of my favorites:

He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10

--I discovered that all of my usual household items have increased in cost. My conditioner went up 60 cents since I bought it like 6 weeks ago.

--I made a completely unburned dinner tonight--pork roast and corn. Andy asked me to give him my best "Next Food Network Star" rundown of the meal. It went like this: "The corn has been perfectly reheated for exactly three minutes in the microwave as it is leftover from last Wednesday's meal. The pork roast has been prepared to perfection using the recipe in Robin Miller's Quick Fix meals. And you are going to love scraping the glaze off the pan when you do dishes tonight."

--Tonight was our first night of VBS. We have a four year old class, but Andy didn't make it tonight (he's still not feeling 100 percent). They are the quietest four-year-olds I have ever seen. I feel like that will change before the week is over. One of the girls has already stolen my heart. She is just as precious as can be. She was having a difficult time drawing some of her pictures, so I "helped" her by putting my hand over hers and drawing with her. After that, she kept looking up at me and asking, "Miss Ashley, can we draw this one together?"

--I am starting to open up about things to different people here. Some of it big deal stuff, like talking about things that are uncomfortable but need to be out in the light. Some of it not a big deal.....like actually turning down things like hot dogs and ice cream because they make me sick. I'm too much of a people pleaser. If someone offers me something, I'll take it, even if it means I'll be sick to my stomach or have a terrible headache later. And that's insane.

--Then I came home and had the most wonderful time with my dear husband. We have been talking through a lot of things lately, and I just feel completely overwhelmed by how much I love him right now. I shared with him the recipe I made up for iced vanilla coffee last week (so much better than McDonalds....and cheaper too) and we ended up on the sofa, watching CSI reruns, drinking iced coffees and chatting about everything under the sun.

--Then, Andy went to bed and I started looking online for fun events that the two of us could do together in the upcoming months. Sometimes we just fall too into a routine and never do anything together....and we need to work on that. So I came up with some great ideas, ranging from the Free Contemporary Christian Day at the Indiana State Fair, to Music in the Park here in our town to Louisville's free Shakespeare in the Park series and minor league baseball games.

And that's the end of this very long, very not so inspired but very fueled by exhaustion and caffeine post :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Oh my dear hair

This weekend has been a thrilling one. For sure. From teaching the world's worst Sunday school class today.....I had three students who sat and stared at me. One fell asleep. The other three just didn't talk....good times in the jr. high...some weeks are better than others--to the children's pastor jokingly threatening me if I come down with Andy's illness (it's VBS week...and we're in charge of 4-5 year olds) to burning dinner. That about sums up my day. Just kidding....it really was an all right day. I spent most of it asleep. I feel like my head hasn't been tied on straight here lately. Hence the burning dinner. It's only like the second or third time I've done it since we've been married, and it's always really frustrating. I think it's my pride kicking in. Like I think I'm above burning things. My mom set off the smoke detector at least once a week through most of my childhood, and I guess I just strive to do better (not that my mom was a bad cook...she's not). Here it is:

The bottom was completely black and inedible. But the rest wasn't too bad. Andy said, "Hey I bet if this wasn't--I mean, this is pretty good, I'll bet it would be even better if it wasn't...if it wasn't burned."

Anyway, at least it's not as bad as the time I set a loaf of bread on fire at the Purdue apartment. I put it under the broiler and forgot about it. I also lit a trash can on fire in that apartment. I still have it. And it still bears the marks of being burned. Good times. Really, they were. They provided some serious roommate bonding and laughter.

Other than that, I've been watching the slideshow video that Andy made to be played at our wedding last year. At first, it was purely sentimental. Then, it was about looking at each and every picture and enjoying it. Since then, it's evolved into checking out my hair, and realizing it's always been difficult. I have difficult hair. It's ridiculously thick and really coarse and just generally doesn't do what I want it too. The left half is more difficult than the right--it's even a slightly different texture. Oh...and now I have a bald spot that's growing out from when my hair got sucked up into a vacuum and ripped out...so there's a spot that sticks up a little in the back. My dear husband just told me I'm too dramatic. Whatever..he gave me the bald spot.

This has become like my own little confessional blog post--burning, bald spots, and bad hair. Good times. Anyway....I'm going to post the video--let's end on a happy note. And check out that hair :)

video

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Book recommendation

Andy is sick today. So we're taking the day off. I've done some picking up, and some laundry, and he's mostly slept on the couch. Poor guy. He's been sick for a few days, but he wouldn't stay home from work, and now he's beat. So I've spent my day reading--this months Better Homes and Gardens, some of 2 Kings and Psalms, and Unspoken by Francine Rivers.

The last book is a part of the Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers. The series follows the five women who are a part of Jesus's family line--Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. I have read all but the last (and plan to start it in about five minutes). They are all so beautifully written, and really draw on the Scriptural accounts. I have thoroughly enjoyed these books--just like everything else I have read that she has written. A few years ago I read Redeeming Love, and last summer I read The Last Sin Eater. Both were "can't put down" reads.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Finally getting somewhere

Since we moved into our house last September, I have been slowly working on getting the house decorated. I'm sure it will take a good bit longer, but this week, I got two things finished--window treatments in the bathroom and on the door to the backyard. Both of the projects cost less than 5 dolllars, and took less than 15 minutes to complete--if only everything could be so easy!



Bathroom window:









And the kitchen door: I think I want to paint this door white. The outside paint needs to be redone as well. It's peeling pretty terribly.


My next projects:

-Hanging crosses on kitchen wall

-Fillling vases on cutout btw kitchen and living room

-Hanging living room shelves, decorating

-Painting kitchen cabinets white

-Start looking for monogram letter "C"s to hang on living room wall

Thursday, June 19, 2008

From spring to summer

Our front door had a makeover this morning

From spring....

...to summer

I saw a wreath very similar to this one at Target yesterday....for 60 dollars. Instead, I spent 13 dollars at Hobby Lobby and pulled out the glue gun. I think it looks all right...and I think I'm starting to develop a real attachment to my hot glue gun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is Andy's 25th birthday! He is a quarter century old. Wow.

We had some fun today, including a birthday breakfast with cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs and presents, and a special dinner with steak, roasted grape tomatoes (so delicious), these delicious potatoes, and orange fluff (aka Andy's favorite food...mom, it took me forever to find a recipe that matched yours....people were using cottage cheese--SICK).

I am so excited that this sweet man is my husband...and that it is his birthday. Babe, you are my perfect mate. You are the husband that God has designed for me, and I am oh so thankful that you are in my life. I cannot wait to celebrate many, many more birthdays with you.

Happy Birthday, sweet, sweet husband of mine.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Touring local law enforcement agencies

Today, I had some things I had to take care of downtown. To me, going downtown always seems like such a big deal, but it's really not. I mean, you just have to risk your life going down ridiculously steep and curvy hills, pretend to be a racecar driver, avoid hitting wayward pedestrians, narrowly miss hitting the semi parked in the street, find a parking spot, and make it to your destination in one piece. Nothing much, really.

Honestly, though, I don't love it. Downtown is really even a somewhat tolerable part of town, but I hate driving there. So I usually park somewhere that's about eight to ten blocks from where I'm going, and then just walk. Today I had to go to the library, the police department, and the sheriff's department. Why two law enforcement agencies? Oh you know....the usual....my lawbreaking habits and all. Or maybe I have to have a local criminal history in order to be employed. You can decide.

Anyway....first was the police department. It's seriously back in this shady little alley and if it weren't the police department I would feel so unsafe walking back there. But I like to think that criminals won't attack in front of the police department. As I was walking up there, I was thinking, "I'm so glad I don't have to come back here." So yeah...about an hour after I got home, the bank called to tell me I need to go to the police department to file a report on my stolen money last month. Fabulous. I guess I'll be back tomorrow.

After I hit the police station, I headed down to the sheriff's dept. It's a few blocks on down. And it smells. Like stale sweat and yuck. Seriously, I thought I was going to gag. But I survived. And I don't have to go there tomorrow. At least, I don't think I do.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Surprise!

Tonight, with the help of some friends, I threw Andy a surprise birthday party(he'll be 25 on Tuesday). We had a cookout in Hanover Park, and it was so much fun!

Earlier this week I had been talking to some of my friends from church about how every plan I had come up with for Andy's birthday had fallen through, and I was running out of ideas. So on Thursday, one of them suggested a surprise cookout...and I leapt at the idea. There were about four other families that met at the park before we got there and had everything set up. Andy thought we were going to meet the Hoffman's and hang out with them....and he really didn't get it at all until I turned and said, "Sweetie, this is your birthday party. It was a surprise."

We stuffed ourselves (go figure, get a group of Southern Baptists together and food is going to be involved :)) , and had a great time. The kids played on the playground, the men played cornhole, and the ladies sat and ate and talked. It was the perfect summer night, and so encouraging for my sweet husband. It was the perfect plan.

We also set up plans to watch the premiere of Wipeout next week...and hopefully every week with the Hoffman's. We discovered tonight that we shared a serious enjoyment for watching videos of people falling down and hurting themselves (ala America's Funniest Videos) and decided this show was going to be right up our alleys. Woohoo for hanging out with other couples :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Food allergy?

I'm not sure, but I think I may have a food allergy. To nitrates/nitrites. Over the past few months, I started to realize I was getting really bad headaches at really weird times. Often it started out with my mouth feeling really salty, and my tongue feeling like it was enormous. Then I started to get a headache that verged on migraine-like proportions. After a few times, I started to keep track of when it happened, and a pattern emerged. It was after eating breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, a large amount of ham, bratwurst, and then today, a hot dog. Today was the worst. I ate at noon and my head is still pounding. I've been flat on the sofa for a few hours asleep.

So, I'm thinking it's time for me to give up the processed meats. Or at least cut them back to the ittiest bitties portions when I do have them.

I did notice, though, that I seem to be okay with turkey sausage/bacon. But I would imagine they are processed similarly, so I don't know what that's all about.

All in all, I'm pretty bummed. I'm rather a fan of my sausages. And so is my husband. Poor guy. The things he's given up to marry me.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Getting it together

When we first moved into our house last September, the landscaping was pretty eh, whatever. We knew we wanted to do some work on it. Here it is when we moved in.

Then, we had an unfortunate plumbing incident in October, that left an 18 inch white pipe sticking up in the middle of our yard. The plumber said he would be back in a few weeks to fix that. It's June. He hasn't been here. He wasn't the best...in fact, I could do an entire post on the inept workmen we have hired to fix our house....and the things they broke. But that's not the point of this story.

Come March, after months of no rain, we had monsoon like storms. And we figured out how well our yard did with water. Or how NOT well. Because it was terrible.

So with all of these things, we realized we had a lot of work ahead of us in our yard. Our first project: to extend the flower beds in the front for appearance, and to put in new beds along the back and side of the house to help with the drainage problems.

Today, after literally months of work (making lines, killing grass, taking care of killed grass, buying topsoil, adding topsoil, transplanting/splitting plants, buying new plants, and mulching) we finished those beds. And here are a few pictures so you can enjoy our handiwork. Or just so I can.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Where the heart is

A few weeks ago, when I was waiting to hear if I was even going to get a job interview, Andy and I were talking about our finances. We are very diligent budget keepers, working hard to be debt free (and we are....my student loans were paid off in February, so the only thing we have is our mortgage). In a lot of ways, though, that means that we scrimp and save and look for bargains and don't do a lot of fun things, because the money would be better spent elsewhere or it's just not there. Especially after a few emergencies this past year. Make no mistake about it, we are blessed beyond measure. We are in a really incredible position...

All that said, we were discussing what would happen if I got this new job, and a regular salary. Before we were married, we went through Financial Peace with Dave Ramsey. We were discussing our Baby Steps....and how we had completed the first two (starting an emergency fund and eliminating debt). We are currently on the third step, which is fully funding an emergency fund with 3-6 months of living expenses. From there, you start investing for retirement and then paying off your house faster. All great things.

We were also talking about how much our giving would be increasing, and how exciting that is. We are both gift givers--Andy primarily enjoys providing monetary support, in the form of missionary support and church giving. He loves being able to support ministry. I do too, but I also love to give physical gifts (case in point....I have about 46 different ideas for my sister's birthday gift). So we were both excited about what this new salary would mean in that area.

Then, after all this very adult and very wise conversation, I ended it with this:

"But really, I think I'll go shopping more. And buy some stuff that I want."

And that is why I should do this Bible study this summer.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Live Wire

Today while Andy was home for lunch, we heard a really strange noise. At first, we couldn't figure out what it was, but that smarty husband of mine figured it out pretty quickly. He walked outside onto our dilapidated patio into our dilapidated backyard, took one look into the neighbor's yard and walked right back inside. Here's what happened next:

"Ashley, do not go into the backyard today. Do not step on any part of our yard until I tell you too."

"Andy, what's going on?"

"The power line in the neighbor's yard is down, all of our lines are down and they are touching the metal barn in our yard"

"What does that mean?"

"It means there is a live wire in our backyard and if you touch anything back there you could get electrocuted and die."

And have a happy Thursday to you too.

But seriously, it's okay now. The power company came out and gave us a temporary fix....they can't completely fix it because we have had 7.3 million inches of water in the past two days and the ground has turned into a marsh. We lost power for a few hours, but that was all. It could have been so much worse.

On the bright side, though, I think that gives me more of a case in the battle to get rid of the ugly rusted metal barn. We could have died because of that thing! It's got to go!

A tribute to my favorite nut

Two evenings a week since February, I have been exercising at our church with a few ladies there. We do Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home DVDs, which really are a great low-impact workout for all of us. I have seen a definite change in my muscle tone, my energy, and attitude since we started (not so much my weight...eating jars of frosting seems to have kept the pounds on...but others have commented that I'm looking thinner).



Well, I have decided that I need to be working out more than twice a week. So my goal for the summer is four times a week. I have my own copy of the DVDs, and a few other workout DVDs (if anyone has a suggestion for a favorite workout, I'd love to hear it....I like to try new things) and I'm trying to do them at home twice a week.



Andy and I have been discussing for a long time our need to join the gym here in town. I'm not really sure why we haven't done it. We just keep talking, and not doing. Last night, I decided to do a 3 mile walk workout while Andy was doing something else. Instead, he joined me! And it was the most hysterical thing I have ever seen. His motions were jerky all over, he was acting like a goof and ended up spinning in circles and doing all sorts of crazy things. He was clapping and dancing and trippingo n his feet. He was sweating like mad....and was completely unable to do some of the moves. I have never had so much fun working out. It was a blast to be able to share that with my husband....especially because he is just such a goofy person. In large group situations, he is very outgoing and very goofy--it's so easy to love him and to feel at ease with him. At home, he doesn't always do the big motions and goofy stuff as much, so it's always so special to me when he does.

Thinking about it reminded me of all the goofy experiences we have had over the last several years...and of the dozens of photographs I have where Andy is making some sort of ridiculous face...so today, I will show you a few.

Eating dinner on the way to my parents house once last summer. Doesn't everyone eat their vegetables like that?


After getting caught in the rain last summer. In our old apartment.



This one isn't really nutty. But I liked it. In one of the shelters at the park after hiking a few weeks ago.
Figuring out what to do with our yucky wedding cake a few weeks ago.

So excited about his new game in Freiburg, Germany! Can't believe this was three years ago!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Blessings beyond measure

On Monday, I was officially offerred a job as a ninth grade English teacher, and I formally accepted. Since then, things have just gotten even sweeter.

--First, I was overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I got from friends and family. Sweet text messages, encouraging phone calls, and even a congratulations gift from a dear friend at church that was filled with all sorts of fun things a new teacher will need. I was going to take a picture of it, but my batteries are dead. I have just literally been tearing up thinking about how loved I feel--these dear friends truly know how to rejoice with those who rejoice. I just can't praise the Lord enough for them. A year ago, I felt completely alone, except for Andy, of course. I had left home, graduated college (where I lived with my most favorite people), gotten married, and moved to this small little town where I didn't know a soul. It was seriously one of the most difficult times of my life. I sat in our dark little apartment every day and cried while Andy was at work. And now, a year later to be experiencing this support, joy, love, and encouragement...it's just such a blessing.

--Second, I went to the school yesterday and got a tour of the building, and my materials (2 textbooks and 28 supplementary books) and such. My classroom is huge! One of the largest in the school. And, it will have a one-to-one computer lab installed so my students will have access to a computer from their very seats. Oh the writing we will do! My mentor teacher is my department chair, and her room is right next door. She has been tremendously helpful in letting me know what I'm going to need and what to do and such.

--Then, this is kind of an embarrassing story....I had to go to the superintendent's office to fill out some paperwork, and he wanted to greet me and welcome me to the corporation. Well, it was pouring down rain, possibly harder than I had ever seen in my life...and I had to race to my car with my box of books...then into the superintendent's office. I was dripping wet. Literally. I dripped on the rug. So...great first impression. He was very kind about it, though.

--And last night was Bible study at the church...and it was just so encouraging yet again. I'm sad we only have two weeks left. Four weeks is so short!

Monday, June 2, 2008

WOO-HOO!

I got the job!

And I'm thrilled!

Highs and Lows

Last week was an interesting week. I basically spent it going crazy over my interview, so it was nice to have that stress gone for this weekend. I'm just going to split up the highs and lows of the weekend.

Friday lows:
-After my interview, I started to feel really sick. I got a nasty headache and my stomach hurt for awhile, but that went away. I just felt really disgusting.
-My sister had me concerned that she may die at work that night. She kept calling and telling me about terrible storms, evacuating campers, houseboats and campers turning over, all while she sat in the dinky little control station.


Friday Highs:
-My interview. I feel like it went well. I enjoyed talking with them, and I hope they enjoyed talking with me.
-Chinese take-out and a Sonic cherry limeade for dinner. My husband takes such good care of me :)

Saturday lows:
-I baby-sat for some friends of ours for the day. Not for their kids. For two foster kids that were placed in their home on Friday. I actually knew one of the boys, because I had subbed for his class before. There were seven kids in the family that were removed. It was such a difficult day for me emotionally.
-Only four kids showed up for our youth event Saturday night.

Saturday highs:
-I really had a blast baby-sitting. The boys were sweet, it was just a sad situation.
-Our youth event was really a lot of fun. I learned how to throw a football and play cornhole. And it was a lot of fun to spend some time with the young adults that were there. Andy plowed one over while playing football.

Sunday lows:
-I had a fever and a sore throat. Spent most of the day on sofa, asleep.

Sunday highs:
-We had a really great Sunday School class, and a great turnout. It was so much fun this week!
-Sunday's sermon was about marriage, and sort of what marriage should look like and what husbands and wives should be doing....and it was really encouraging. In a lot of ways, Andy and I felt like it was an afffirmation that our marriage was on the right track.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

You can't even imagine

Last night we were at our friends Andy and Mandy's house for a youth event. After everyone else had left, Andy started to talk about fly swatters and how he had heard that there was an electric one. My darling Andy (now referred to as Darling A for this story, so it's not too confusing) responds, "Oh yeah, they do. I have one in my car."

You have one in your car?

For how long?

From where?

Why didn't I, your loving wife, know that you possessed such a thing?

And can I use it?

Turns out, I didn't. But the boys did. For like a half-hour. Just chasing bugs arounds, making them spark, sizzle, and stink.