December 28, 2008

The One with Red & Green

Our first Christmas together was splendid! :)  After starting a new tradition Christmas Eve (Kevin whipping up a homemade alfredo), we went over to the church for the candle lighting/song singing/Jesus' birthday cake eating  service.  Despite the fact that I ended up playing piano for the entire service having no prior warning, it was a lovely time of fellowship.  Kevin & I ventured home at its completion and opened our stocking stuffers.  We both received glowing results of our shopping.  

The next morning was Christmas!!  We woke up bright and early--our usual 6:00am and we both quite ready for the celebration.  (We had both awakened at 1am when Kevin wished me a Merry Christmas--3 hours after having gone to bed--and he tells me he attempted to sleep restlessly all night so that I might wake up and we could open presents!  *grin*)  Kevin loved all of his gifts from me--especially the extra soft & comfy robe and slippers and his new movies Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.  I will be in love with my gift from him for the next 70 years.  I have a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings that will be worn daily from now and until forever!!  (I love you, Darling!  Thank you!)  After having plenty of time for exercise, showers, and a scrumptious pancake & eggs breakfast, we pulled out of the driveway for Ashtabula.  

We had a nice drive (except for the 45 minutes of freaked out drivers due to the snow) and made it to my parents' house by 2:30pm.  With Mom, Dad, Ash, Grandma Marr, Kevin & I present we opened the many wonderful gifts & then enjoyed a delicious ham & turkey dinner once Grandma Mary joined us.  It was great.  

Friday we had dinner with my childhood friends Elizabeth & DeeDee and their men (husband, Matt and fiance, Ryan).  Elizabeth is still recovering from her c-section on Tuesday when she gave birth to their firstborn son--Owen Matthew.  He's absolutely perfect!  We had a wonderful time cuddling the baby and visiting with good friends.

Saturday we spent most of the day with my mom's side of the family--her 4 siblings and almost all of my cousins.  There was more than enough good food, lots of laughs, and a great time for becoming reacquainted after months apart!

Enjoy the pictures!

Christmas Day:::

The New Proud Parents:::

Matt, Elizabeth, Owen, Ryan, DeeDee, Melanie & Kevin

We loved that baby!
Ash, Dad, Mom, Aunt Barb, Uncle Scott, & Kalie
Grandma Marr surrounded by her four kids

December 24, 2008

The One About Today

Today I get to... a load of laundry.
...finish packing for the weekend at my parents'.
...decide what I should wear to the Christmas Eve service.
...bake an apple pie.
...try my hand at a lemon meringue pie.
...compile all the gifts making the trip with us.
...improve my gaming skills (I am now officially playing a pc game called Diablo II with Kevin.  I actually wanted to play with him...twice...yesterday. =D  Quality time right???  Shared interests!)
...continue my excitement to see my ever-since-birth-best-friend's newborn baby!!!  He'll be four days old when we get together on Friday.  Yippee!!!  Congrats, Elizabeth & Matt!!!!!
...spend my first Christmas Eve with my husband.

December 22, 2008

The One Where it's FRIGID Outside

Bundle up, my friends, bundle up.  

Our three day weekend was quite wonderful.  Lots of quality time, too much hot cocoa, our millionth viewing of Home Alone, and a snowman that rivals all snowmen.  (See this post for a photo.)  Sunday morning was the annual church Christmas breakfast prepared by one family to all of us.  The turnout was wonderful and the food was fabulous!  I filled myself to brim figuring it would be lunch too. :D  The kid's Christmas program went off without a adorable and as mishap-filled as could be expected.  I was hidden behind an "inn" prompting the kids to sing carols on cue.  It was quite fun actually and made me realize that I am turning in to my mom.  I had a sort of "out of body" experience in that, as I was squatting down singing loudly to the kids, mouthing words precisely, and motioning to smile and sing louder I suddenly felt like I WAS my mom.  She did the exact same thing back when I was in the children's programs.  =)   Anyways...

Marge & I sang "Mary, Did You Know?" and Kevin tells me it sounded great. :)  I really do love that song though.  Just think of asking Mary, "Do you realize that 'this child that you deliver will soon deliver you?'"

Pastor Dale recommended that Youth Group be cancelled due to the bad wind and below freezing temperatures so we had the entire evening free.  It worked out well because Gma & Gpa A as well as Mom & Dad E & Brian were visiting for the afternoon for our Christmas celebration together.  We had a great time munching on baked goods, exchanging stories, discussing differing family traditions (that we don't often realize are "traditions"), and opening great gifts!  

Kevin & I are getting ready to start our own traditions and are really loving our first Christmas as husband and wife.  We are spending Christmas afternoon and the weekend with my family so don't look for too many updates too soon. :)

Merry Christmas, friends.  May you celebrate the gift of the Child and pour out blessings on those who need us this holiday.  

December 19, 2008

The One where it's White

Today is the first SNOW DAY Kevin & I have had since high school!  We are stoked!!  Well, I don't actually have a snow day since yesterday was my last day working at the office, and Kevin decided last night that driving to Wayne in the forecasted blizzard would be suicide, but officially seeing "Wayne State University" listed at the bottom of the newscast among the 300 other closures was WAY exciting.  So here we sit.  Happy.  Cozy.  At home.  Together.  On a Friday.  With nothing to do.  
I still got out of bed at 6am, worked out, fixed us a pancake breakfast, showered, changed our bed sheets, did a load of laundry, mopped the kitchen floor (first time since thanksgiving...yuck!), and prepared Christmas gift packages to be mailed and/or given this weekend.  

I'm looking forward  Saturday (which is semi-officially designated as "our" day).  Sunday which includes a Christmas breakfast at church, Eccles/Arvidson mini-Christmas in the afternoon, and of course youth group.  Next week.  (I get to bake pies and prepare for Christmas in Ashtabula.)  Our first Christmas together.  Going "home" together.  Seeing family together.  

Basically, it's all good.  

ps.  After posting the former paragraphs this morning, I decided to add to this post by telling the world that I just had the greatest time of my life!!  My husband and I are currently sipping on hot cocoa (Starbucks mix if you must know...) and warming up after spending an hour and a half perfecting the most amazing snowman EVER!  

December 16, 2008

The One Where I'm Thawing

This post is for you, Grams. :)

It's cold outside.  It deserves to snow around here.  Alot. I WANT A WHITE CHRISTMAS.  I cannot handle not living in the snowbelt.  *sigh*   Oh well.  We're supposed to get 2-4 inches tonight.  But will it last?  Probably not.  But I hope so.  

Tomorrow night is the church Open House we are hosting at the parsonage along with the Kaufmans.  I'm assuming there will be lots of people and I know there will be lots of amazing food.  Between Pam & I we're serving teriaki meatballs, Velveeta salsa dip & chips, cheese & crackers, crab dip & crackers, lots of my homemade cookies, pumpkin & zucchini loaves, quiches, mini cheesecakes, punch, coffee, hot cocoa, etc.  We shall see how Melanie does with working all day then scurrying around to prepare for the crowds arriving from 6-8:30. :)

Also, I'm obessed with the Food Network.  Just thought I would put that out there.

December 12, 2008

The One with the Work Week

Today is my day off.  Monday was really rough.  I hated my job.  Tuesday was...ok I guess.  Wednesday was much much better.  Thursday was rather enjoyable.  I'm kinda sad I have to say "goodbye" to my two [60 something year old female] coworkers and the consumers [the mentally disabled] we serve.  Highlights of the week include:  
...getting a mailing of 200 out by 10:30am on Monday.
...realizing that we had forgotten to include a donation slip in each of those 200 envelopes but moving on.
...realizing on Wednesday that the 2nd half of the 200 letters had the completely wrong letter in it and not knowing for sure which homes those wrong letters were sent to.
...starting the mailing all over again on Wednesday.  Being proud of my speed and accuracy.  Then being informed that the apology letter was never printed to be included in the mailing of 200 and having to unseal all 200 envelopes.  
...pack, seal, stack.  unseal, unseal unseal. repack. reseal, stack, repeat.
...being told I'm totally worth the money they're paying me. =D  
...being told they're not sure what they'll have me do next week because I'm so super fast I got everything done this week.
...having to forcefully inform my forceful boss (who happens to be a good friend of mine) that I will NOT eat whatever calorie loaded treat she buys me from McDonald's at 9am.  There were goodies everywhere.  As if I don't already struggle with saying "No" she bought me a cinnamon roll on Tuesday despite my rejection of her offer.  I ate it because I didn't want to waste it.  But I took drastic measures on Wednesday and it worked. :)  Also, I refused to eat fast food every day for lunch (even though it was bought for me) and started packing.

Friday=frosting cookies. showering (the first and primary goal at this moment).  preparing for the big open house we're having on Wednesday.  I don't know what else.  But it will be full.  

December 8, 2008

The One with the Mouth Watering

Chocolate-dipped pistachio cherry biscotti
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sugar Cookies (unfrosted as of yet...frozen.)
Molasses Sugar cookies.  Perfect.

December 7, 2008

The One with zzzzzzzzzz....

up at 6am tomorrow.  going to work (going to work!?).  baking literally dozens and dozens of cookies.  Christmas shopping.  90% off racks at Kohl's.  attending one of our teen's band concerts (per her invitation *grin*).  surprising her with flowers (per Kevin's thoughtfulness *big grin*).  tired.  bed time methinks.

December 5, 2008

The One in Brief (not of the underwear sort)

.printer won't print.
.reruns=sometimes exciting.  sometimes annoying.
.lots of presents already wrapped and under the tree.
.why wouldn't this lady with obscenely long hair let What Not to Wear cut it?.
.baking is the best.
.molasses sugar cookies.
.dozens of sugar cookie cutouts.
.mint chocolate chip cookies.
.my first attempt at biscotti...coming right up.
.temporary secretary job starts Monday. subbing for the jury dutified secretary.  6 hours a day.  4 days a week.  two or more weeks.  bonus finances.!.
.missing hanging of the greens. sad day. 
.husband won't be home until late.  professors can be irriating.

December 1, 2008

The One with the Bulbs

To those of you who will truly appreciate seeing pictures of our house transforming into its Christmas outfit, I wanted to share with you.  Make sure you realize, however, that these pictures do not do the actual scenery any justice.  In which case you are all welcome to visit any time.  My baking skills have vastly improved as of late so if you want the full treatment, warn me a few hours in advance. =D  

our gorgeous new Baldwin piano 

November 30, 2008

The One with all of the Turkey

Thanksgiving in a nutshell:  awesome.  delicious.  busy.  loud.  fun.  uniting.  perfect.  
We ended up with 19 total around our tableS for Thanksgiving.  My parents arrived Wednesday evening and showered us with gifts for the house, including the set of China dishes my mom is giving to me.  I was also given some wonderful belated birthday presents such as photo frames and beautiful serving bowls.  Stuffed in the truck trailor was also the head and footboard for our bed along with matching side table--all of which coordinate with our dressers.  And to top that all off, they had completely shocked both of us with a great ping pong table and gorgeous brand new foosball table for the youth room.  HOLY SMOKES!  Kevin has been saying how much he'd love to get a ping pong table down there but we didn't think it'd happen for a while.  Wow.  Kevin spent most of Thursday (before and after eating) setting up the foosball table from the box and Friday they put up the ping pong table.  There are pictures below.  We have already had a blast with these two items and we know the teens and probably all our college friends will LOVE them as well!  I can toss all the boys downstairs and they will probably be content there for hours...wireless internet, dish tv, a huge stereo system, lots of couches, chairs, and cushions, and the above mentioned tables of goodness.  

Thursday went off without a hitch.  The Eccles arrived mid-morning with a trailor pulling the amazing Balwin upright piano (with baby grand strings) that was placed perfectly in our living room.  Oh and they also brought my birthday gifts--a leather laptop bag from Brian and a 7 qt. crockpot (a request of mine) from mom and dad.  Moving right along....I had never cooked a turkey before...and here I was roasting two twelve pounders.  The herb rub I put on the them tasted perfect and the timing went well.  Ten pounds of potatoes were peeled and mashed, and sweet potato casserole was attempted and won awards.  Besides the rolls I threw in the oven, our guests provided Waldorf salad, cranberry jello salad, green bean casserole, cooked corn off the cob, and more rolls.  And of course there was the huge spread of appetizers (cheese balls and crackers, nuts of all sorts, candies, and deviled eggs.)  Don't forget dessert!  I baked two apple pies (lovely & delicious if I don't say so guests seemed to agree!) and two pumpkin pies (a first for me...but very delish!).  Eccles brought 2 yummy elderberry pies and Kaufmans brought a huge Texas sheet cake for our chocolate fix.  

I worked hard to set a beautiful table.  or three. :)  We fit all 13 adults in the dining room and the 6 people under 22 in the living room at a lovely round table.  Check out all the pics below.  

Our new bar stools & lamp
After we took down the extra table, we added a sheet of plywood to expand our current table.  We added the 3 chairs we were given with a table we're using in the teen room and now our dining room is more aptly filled and ready for visitors. 

November 24, 2008

The One with Today

Saturday we...

...watched Ohio state stomp on U of M.  The only day of the year our household will be divided and for the 5th time my alliance dominated. 

...drove to Sam's club. Bought a 22" HD LCD flatscreen tv.  Bought bulk groceries.  Bought two 12 pound turkeys.  Bought pizza and ice cream for dinner.  (I'm in love with their soft serve.) :D

Sunday we...

...forced ourselves to Meijer to purchase draperies.  finally.  I had headaches all week from online shopping of window treatments.  In an hour we were home and I was thankful.

...participated in the Community Thanksgiving Service @ church.  Around 200 showed up.  I sang How Great Thou Art for a special music and wow!  I have never worshipped like that before.  God's hand was on me.  So many (including myself) were blessed.  Also, I met lots of great people--some new teens that might join us, some current students' parents, a few people in our church that I didn't know too well before, etc, etc.  I was truly a time of thanksgiving.

Today I...

...whipped out the electric drill I had borrowed in order to hang the drapes and rods.  It didn't work.  I used a screw driver and removed all the existing hardware.  Then I used the screwdriver and drilled the new hardware into the window frames.  Then I hung the drapes.  I was happy.  Now no one can peep in at us at night.  We are thankful. a horrible headache.  Probably from the arms raised to the level of my head using a screw driver for 3 and 1/2 hours.  

...made Sante Fe Chicken Chili.  We loved it.  My stomach is not too happy with me right now.

November 20, 2008

The One with the Chocolate Surprises

Guess what else happened on my birthday??  Not only did I receive some beautiful cards in the mail and 3 adorable e-cards, but just as I had put a cake in the oven to share with the prayer group tonight, I heard the garage door open.  Sure enough, Kevin had completely surprised me by coming home EARLY!  And not only that but he had Chocolate Moosetracks ice cream, chocolate cake, and birthday candles in tow!!!  I couldn't believe it.  How wonderful is he??  =D  

Oh, and for those of you who may be waiting in suspense to hear the gift I referred to about a month ago...I was given my birthday present from my husband yesterday.  (And he even found the gift bags and had it waiting on my desk!)  I am now the excited owner of FRIENDS:  the complete series.  Yes, that's right.  I'm pumped. =)

November 19, 2008

The One with Another Year Older

Today is my birthday!  And for the first time, it's just not quite the same.  Not that everyone isn't make it a wonderfully special day so far, but inside the feelings of excitement and anticipation have just diminished this year.  Typically, I count day from the first day of November and everyone and their brother knows when it's my birthday.  This year, I practically had to be reminded. :)  Sheesh.  Maybe I'm just getting older.  And maybe I'm finally past all of those birthdays to look forward to.  You know, growing up you think of reaching double digits at ten, being a teenage at thirteen, able to drive at sixteen, graduating from high school at eighteen, being an official adult at twenty-one, and completing a college degree at twenty-two.  But now, I'm just a year older.  And I kinda feel older.  hmm. Nothing bad.  Just different.  

Since tonight is worship team practice and prayer meeting, Kevin decided it would be fun to take me out a day early to celebrate together.  Kevin left work much earlier than I expected him to--he wanted to spend more of the day with me. :)  When dinner time rolled around, we drove to Canton to BD's Mongolian Barbeque--a fantastic restaurant.  We had a wonderful dinner and the grill guys sang to me twice--both times I filled my plate!  So funny! =D We opted out of dessert (I was feeling pleasantly full and didn't want to ruin that feeling) and went over to IKEA to do some shopping.  The realization that IKEA was right down the road was a pleasant surprise to me!  We found him a desk chair, bought 3 bar stools, a full length mirror, and a couple other items like serving bowls and such.  After checking out I spotted the advertisement for $1 fatfree frozen yogurt cone at the in-store restaurant.  We placed our order and topped off the evening with the frozen treat!

This morning, I was greeted with breakfast in bed with my love.  So wonderful!  I'm planning on enjoying this day to the fullest...even if that means baking a butter cream chocolate cake to take to prayer meeting for everyone to enjoy. :)

November 18, 2008

The One with the Snowflakes

I love the look of the sky when there's snow on the ground.  Sure, it's just the first dusting I've seen (as opposed to the feet fallen in Bula!), but there's something different and beautiful about the sun reflecting off of my favorite flakes that just makes me happy.  I'm looking forward to winter.  I LOVE winter.  I hope to get Kevin to hit the slopes with me something...maybe we could both learn to snowboard. :)  We need to get a shovel asap.  I think a treadmill would be a good investment...since I'm a walking fiend and there's no sidewalks out my way.  Also, I'm already wanting to get the Christmas decorations up.  I've never been this way--the one who rushes past autumn and into the Christmas season.  Maybe we'll be those people who set up their Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving.  I think that would be fun.  Also, it would mean our families could see our holiday decor since I don't think they would get to another time.

Also, in case you're curious our fishies are doing wonderfully.  I love them.  And they love the lava lamp.

November 15, 2008

The One Where She Marks Her Territory

The title is accurate but not in the customary feline way.  I feel that I have marked my territory in our new home--cleaning things I never wanted to clean but bringing it up to my standard of cleanliness recognizing that this is now our home.  I never wanted to do this at the apartment.  Not sure why...I guess it just grossed me out twice as much because millions more people have lived there and it felt temporary (even though it wasn't supposed to be.)  It was a great accomplishment to complete the dreaded job of scouring the kitchen floor (all those speckles weren't really speckles at all...darn dirty grooves) and all the grody corners where dirt and who knows what else accumulates.  (grody=possibly mispelled made up word indicating disgustingness.)  Seriously, though, you could eat off the floor.  Then this afternoon I took apart the stove and scrub, scrub, scrubbed even inch of the surface and burners until it shined.  =D  And I finally washed the dirty fingerprints off the pantry door.  

Now I shall go enjoy the newest members of our family--Princess the guppy and Sprinkles and Red Stripe the two tetra. :)

November 14, 2008

The One with the Scrubbing

On Tuesday I was in Spring Arbor for the monthly conference pastors' gathering and as always I met new faces.  One of them, a fellow youth pastor no less, said, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Pam Beasley?"  I was a bit taken aback and smiled my reply, "No."  I don't know.  Watch The Office and you be the judge.  

I baked chocolate chip cookies as a thank you to a wonderful older couple at church.  Today the husband said, "Those cookies were fantastic!  Really wonderful!  The only bad part is you always have to have another one."  I was proud. 

This morning was church cleaning day.  Boy, you don't realize how dirty things are until you start scrubbing them.  I was in charge of washing down the fellowship hall table and chairs, cleaning out the currently-empty-soon-to-be-filled baptismal tub, and cleaning the kitchen.  (Man must be some secret church creed to put plates back in the "papertowel"-labeled cupboard and the papertowels in the "salt and pepper" labeled space.  Rinse and repeat.)  After I was done with my kitchen cupboard organizing and counter scouring and floor sweeping and et cetera one of the ladies walked in and exclaimed, "WOW!  This kitchen looks great!"  Again I was proud.  "Thanks," I said, "I love organizing."  

I do not, however, love mopping kitchen floors on my hands and knees.  That unfortnate task awaits me in my own kitchen.  


November 13, 2008

The One where You Might Want to Ignore the First Paragraph

I sit in our "office" watching Regis learn how to be a Starbucks barista (I say if he can do it [and he can't!] I could have done it.  but no.  no one would hire me...) as I let the sweat dry off my forehead.  I am not ashamed of my propensity for perspiring.  No, in fact, I feel as if I have truly worked out if I'm drenched.  Now, you might wonder why I'm sharing this rather digusting information and my answer to you would be "I don't have a clue."  Also, in case you don't know me very well or haven't been in my vacinity for more than 10 minutes I thought I should ease your fears.  I wear deodorant and I don't just start dripping sweat on command.  I just have my gene pool to thank for enormous sweat glands.  

[oh my gosh.  I just realized what I was writing and I offer my sincere apologies.  *sigh*]

I spent a few hours yesterday focusing on Thanksgiving plans.  I can't remember mentioning this before but we're hosting at least 14 family members for the holiday dinner.  We're both pretty pumped about opening our home and getting to use our perfect kitchen to its full potential.  So I went through the notes I had been jotting down and compiled a precise list of the recipes I am in charge of for the day.  (Thankfully everyone is more than willing to bring whatever is needed.)  I typed all the recipes into one document so I don't have to have a million books and notecards laying around that day and then I went through and made a list of ingredients that are necessary.  I have a long and very precise grocery list and hope that my organization pays off (as it usually does. *smile*)  I'm really looking forward to this holiday season.  And I love baking.

Speaking of baking I have been contemplating doing a bit of advertising to start a little baking business.  By this I mean I could take orders from people in the church or the neighborhood (or anyone willing to pick up their stuff) and put my enjoyment and growing skill to quench that sweet craving (or help out around the holidays). :)  I'm not sure how this would work at this point seeing as how I don't have a car and if I would run out of ingredients it could be difficult finding a way to the store...but it's a bit of a hope.   I don't want to get overwhelmed, but I would like to have a little something fun and "on the side" to work on during the day and at this point I would send the proceeds into the youth group fund.  I'm sharing this because I figured some of you might have thoughts, advice, or even business for me. *wink*

November 10, 2008

The One Where November Snuck Up on Me

I forgot how cool Back to the Future is.  I have eaten way too much cookie dough as of late.  I love getting involved in church...really involved...and having 3 dinner invitations in the same day.  I am so thankful for my wireless mic.  I am a bit amazed at my own confidence in playing piano in church worship team.  I can't wait to have our very own piano--gorgeous sounding and looking.  IKEA is an unexplored love of mine.  School buses bring back floods of memories.  My youth are fantastic and I am undescribably pumped for them...the relationships, the activities, the growing passion.  I am an adult.  What in the heck?!  I am learning I mean really learning that everything I have is God's.  Giving it back is really no problem.  He just keeps pouring out blessings.  

November 7, 2008

The One with Our New Home

We have been so blessed in the short time since moving into the parsonage.  On Wednesday I was finally able to make it to worship team practice (Kevin had exams till 9pm!) and then to prayer meeting at a family's home.  One of the ladies had a lovely gift bag for us full of our favorite snacks (crackers and cheese spread, peanut butter, and cookie dough!).  Yesterday morning, one of our neighbors dropped by with a plan--to help me get our windows "treated."  (Yes, we've been living shadeless, curtainless, blindless for a week.  I'm thankful for the bedsheet in our bedroom. *smile*)  This wonderful lady is a great seamstress and has great fabric to make drapes for the big dining room window.  Then she pulled out a JCPenny catelog with draperies on sale.  She whipped out a large bill that she said was to help us pay for some of the cost.  How cool is that?  

Then, later that afternoon, one of the women who was at prayer meeting (where I announced we love visitors...) stopped by with a lovely harvest door wreath she had made.  We enjoyed nice conversation and soon after she left, Britt arrived.  We hung out from 2-8pm...taking house pictures, measuring windows, watching a B movie, looking at scrapbooks, eating chocolate, and browsing clothing catelogs.  :)  It was a great time!  

Now I will share some pictures of our new home.  Hope you love it as much as I do!  (Don't mind the highly outdated carpet and do not be frightened by the Red Rose Room.  You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it!)

Here's the great moving crew:
Eccles, Arvidsons, Fishs, Gavin, Nick, Ben, Collin, and Bill from church

That huge kitchen is my favorite!

Our Bedroom (with 2 dbl wide closets.  This house is packed with closets!)

There is actually a full bathroom right beside this room which we made our office/hangout room (which is on the opposite end of the house from the 3 other bedrooms, full bath, and half bath.) 

November 4, 2008

The One with the Move

I know.  I've been slacking.  Or so it may seem.  In actuality my husband and I have been busy preparing for "Moving Day," settling in, and trying not to get lost in our 2,000 sq. ft. home.  

We had such wonderful help and great weather on Saturday.  It went so perfectly.  Mom, Dad, Kevin and I woke up at 6:30 and were loading the huge covered trailer at 8:15/30.  We didn't rush or anything but had most everything packed by 9:20 when the Eccles arrived.  They helped us finish loading the trailer and then Arvidsons and a guy from the church showed up with 2 more trailers (one covered, one not) and the 4 college guys arrived just in time to load the couches, end tables, dressers, etc.  We were completely moved out  by 10:30am and drove to Monroe (50 min.) and unloaded by 12:30.  I stood by the door directing people to the rooms.  It went beautifully.  The 4 college guys were great help--setting up beds, furniture, the washer/dryer, and hooking up our new internet service and other electronics.  The dads did lots of maintenance work which was a GREAT help.  Kevin's mom wiped all the kitchen cabinets and drawers out (11 drawers compared to my 2 before!!)  and then helped me unpack all the kitchen boxes (which were the majority of the boxes I think!)  Also, one of the college boys helped us.  I figured even if I had to rearrange stuff later it would be a great help to have the boxes unloaded.  And actually I haven't had to rearrange much of anything.  The cupboard space is amazing!!!  :)  I LOVE the kitchen and the big counter and bar that is beside the dining room. 

The whole lot of us had good ol' Little Caesar's Hot and Ready pizzas for lunch and we all went out to the Chinese buffet of goodness for dinner.  Both of our families spent Saturday night with us in our new home and we were excited to be able to introduce them to our new church family on Sunday.  Our congregation is so welcoming, making anyone feel at home in an instant.  (It doesn't hurt that there was an infamous potluck held after the service. *smile*)

Now I just have one box of decorations to set up at my leisure. AMAZING! :)  We are truly in love with our new home and would welcome any and all guests!  Good thing Thanksgiving and its 14 guests is only 3 weeks away!

PostScript:  I love absentee ballots.


October 30, 2008

The One with the Ice Cream

As I mentioned yesterday, Kevin and I had plans to stop by Coldstone in the afternoon to cash in his free treat birthday coupon.  Well, lo and behold as I'm watching the 12:00 news I hear about a big time movie that is calling for extras for their filming in Greektown.  Ok, ok.  This is cool.  A film taking place right around the corner from my house.  (Wait a sec...why didn't I go out for that?  I totally could have starred in a movie!!!)  Anyways, I decided to pay close attention to the precise location of this filming because I knew Coldstone was right near Greektown.  Sure enough...Monroe St. was completely closed for the day.  I could even see the Creamery in the background of the News footage as if mocking my desire for the lactose goodness.  Well.  That's just great.  

I tell Kevin of this irony and he discovered there was another Coldstone right over by Meijer.  A bit of a longer drive (15 minutes versus 2) but no trouble finding parking and no need to pay for that spot.  (Paying for parking=my least favorite thing about the city.)  Despite the potential destruction of our plan, we were able to thoroughly enjoy our ice cream date.  I ordered a "Like it" (small) of Ghiradelli chocolate ice cream with Snickers folded in and Kevin ordered the "Gotta Have it" (large) of the specialty creation "Mud Pie Mojo" (=coffee ice cream, oreos, peanut butter, roasted almonds, and fudge).  I had a hard time ordering such a small size, but I went away saying, "That was just the right amount of ice cream."  (Normally, I'm moaning and groaning...)  It was perfectly creamy and chocolately and lovely.  

Today I plan on driving to Monroe early afternoon to spend a few hours cleaning like a mad woman in the time I have before the Light the Night (halloween alternative).  

October 29, 2008

The One Where Melanie Wore Socks to Bed

It's official.  We're living out of boxes.  I don't even want to count the number of times I've had to dig through a taped up box to find one little item that is necessary at the time (particularly in the kitchen.)  *sigh* oh well.   I can hardly believe that we are moving this Saturday.  We're both getting really excited...especially since we were given the first ever tour of our new home on Sunday evening (the people finally moved out!)  It's going to be a wonderful place to live and entertain.  Also, I got a call yesterday from a church member who knew of a family getting rid of some furniture.  So sometime this week he's going to be delivering a king sized bedroom set (including mattress/springs, 2 side tables, a long mirrored dresser, and a chest of drawers...evidently "like new"!) and a couch and chair (which will certainly be useful in the youth room of our finished basement!)  How cool is God?!  :)  

Despite all the wonderful aspects of this move, I admitted to Kevin this morning that I'm feeling a little bittersweet about the whole thing.  Mostly because this apartment was our first home together.  And for the first time in 4 years I really felt like I had a permanent home.  We loved this place.  I have even come to love the city, the freeways, and the entertaining characters in the area.  Though I'm loooking forward to feeling more free to roam about the neighborhood in Monroe, I will be sad to say goodbye to our Detroit apartment.  

Also, I finally gave in.  Up until last night at 10:30, we had yet to turn on the heat in our house.  The temperature remains around the 65 degree mark which was tolerable until I was getting ready for bed.  You see, our bedroom window lets cold air basically blow through our apartment, so yesterday I decided to keep the door closed to preserve what little heat was left in the rest of the dwelling.  That was great.  during the day.  But at night, I had forgotten to turn on the wall heating unit in our bedroom so it must have been below 60 degrees.  brrrr.  So the heat is now on (though set at 68).  The unfortunate part is that the vents in our room don't seem to blow any air (ac or heat) the door is closed again today.  *sigh*  At least we were cozy last night.  

In about 3 hours I'm picking my Love up from work so he can have the afternoon at home to study.  But before that...we're stopping by Coldstone Creamery downtown and cashing in his birthday certificate for a free sundae!  Yay ice cream!

October 24, 2008

The One with the Pies

A little update, anyone?

Yesterday I went running for the first time in a long time.  Today, I feel it.  I'm sore, I cannot lie, but it feels so good.  (expect for the scrapes and cuts on the palms of both of my hands where I tripped and fell.  Yes, I'm ridiculous.)  Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would miss this form of exercise that tears you body apart, but I do.  It's the most encompassing work out I have experienced as of yet.  Sure, there's biking, walking, and ellipsing, but none of those reap the same total-body results.  (No, I'm not implying that I'm suddenly a rock solid piece of flesh, but I can feel the impact of the jog.)  Winter's coming, we're moving and that poses a little exercise problem for moi.  I think I'll try to jog whenever I can (i.e. when it's not pouring rain or snow and the temp is about 25 degrees F), and on other days I'll use the handy ellipse.  Some day I'd love to have the luxury of a gym membership and/or a treadmill of my own.  (I just think having a treadmill set up in our "exercise room" would be great to have around...whether it be running on or just taking a stroll to stretch while keeping warm inside and watching some T.V.)  In any case...

This evening marks the start of Kevin's birthday weekend.  No, he didn't request days and days of celebration, but I just think he's worth it.  His birthday is officially Monday, but Mondays are pretty much the worst day for a birthday to fall on.  Nonetheless, I'm baking a chocolate cake for him to take into lab to share with the group at their weekly meeting.  (Reminds me of elementary school...but everyone likes cake right?)  I think he might get his birthday presents from me that morning before he leaves, because he's trying to convince me that he shouldn't have to wait until the day is nearly over.  :)  Sunday is youth group day and one of the students offered to bake a special treat in honor of him.  

Saturday, my husband is thrilled to have nothing to do.  Now, this may sound lame, but seriously folks, for the can't remember how long...we have spent the weekend away from our apartment.  Not that those mini-trips weren't great, but it'll be nice to wake up in our own bed on Saturday morning whenever the heck we feel like it. :)  There will probably be some UofM v Mich football action happening in the afternoon, but that's about it.  

Tonight should be kinda fun too!  I sent Kevin a really colorful (literally) email this afternoon inviting him to join me at the movies tonight.  I found a dollar theater nearby that's showing some pretty decent shows (from the summer) and he's chosen Hancock.  I'm not at all disappointed considering Will Smith is awesome no matter what film he's in. :)  This little night on the town will follow a stop for pizza and a taste of the strawberry rhubarb pie that just came out of the oven. =D  (note on the pie:  a few weeks back you may remember me trying my hand at apple pies.  Well, the whole crust procedure was quite a challenge for me so I was glad to have this "practice" before Thanksgiving rolls around.  Well, in case you're wondering, I was able to get the crusts perfectly rolled out on the first try!  The 30 min. refridgeration tip really helped!  Now let's hope it tastes as good as it looks!)

October 22, 2008

The One with a Tired Girl

Right now High School Musical is on the Disney Channel.  And I'm very happy about it.  Mostly because there was nothing else good on between 8 and 9 when my favorite show ever {Criminal Minds} comes on.  But no, seriously.  It's been to long since I let down my guard and enjoyed the good ol' cheesy musical.  (With Kevin nonetheless.  Poor guy.)  I think I need to see the third one eventually.  I'm secretly excited about it's theater appearance.  Although, maybe I should view the entire second movie first.  lol.  

In other news, I was awesome at Wheel of Fortune earlier tonight.  The category was "Before and After" and there were 2 Ss and 1 M on the board.  Typically I dispise this category, but out of nowhere I shout, "Simple Simon Cowell!"  Woot!  It took the rest of the people all but 2 letters to figure it out.  Kevin was mighty impressed with me.  *proud*  

Then I napped.  I was tired.  And my head has hurt for a few hours.  And I didn't get my nap this afternoon.  

But you know what I did get this afternoon?  I surprise from my love...who decided to come home at 2:30!!!  Yay!  He came along with me on my Meijer trip and we enjoyed the little "date"...particularly the amazing deal on Doritos. :)  

October 20, 2008

The One with a few Photos

After spending a wonderful Friday evening eating delicious food with family to celebrate Brian and Kevin's birthdays and playing a rousing game of "personal preference,"  Saturday dawned the perfect fall day for a wedding.  Kevin and I took off for Battle Creek at 11:30, looking quite lovely I must say (*smile*), and made it perfectly on time for the wedding of our dear friend Erin Joy to her love Peter.  We got to catch up with some long lost friends and we have a nice time celebrating their wedding day with them.  Enjoy a little look into the afternoon. :)

October 18, 2008

The One Where Melanie Gets to the Point

So I just realized that I never actually got around to writing about the blog title in yesterday's post. sheesh. I must be getting old. Anyways, the point of the "sponge" was to describe to you the conclusion I had come to the other day. If you know me well, you must have realized by now that much of what I like and do and say is often influenced by those I spend most of my time with. Now, this is not to say that I am a victim of peer pressure. There is no way that anyone would ever convince to do anything I didn't want to or didn't think was right. Ok, now that that's cleared up...this is what I mean.

In reference to my television habits, I have come to the conclusion that I am an eclectic viewer thanks to my family and friends. Specifically: I watch shows on HGTV and TLC and Discovery Health thanks to my mom. I enjoy some reality t.v. and sitcoms mostly because of my sister. I am a sucker for Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy because that's what my grandma Mary always watched when I was with her. I stopped mocking and started loving MacGyver thanks to my Kevin. I have just recently gotten addicted to Food Network and I believe this is rooted in my Grandpa Nick's "obsession" with cooking shows. I, of course, love all crime shows thanks to my Daddio. I now religiously watch Gilmore Girls because of my college girls' influence. And I keep up with shows such as Heroes and Survivor due to Magan.

The same of course is true of my music habits. I get tastes of various artists, albums, songs, and genres from so many people and I think that's great, but in case you're worried that I an unopinionated "sponge" I would have you know that the final decision on my "favorites" (music, television, movies, etc) is made my MOI.

So thanks, people. I like what I like because of you.

October 16, 2008

The One with the Sponge

So many exciting things.  Ok.

First, I'm eating applesauce.  Out of the jar.  And enjoying every uncultured minute of it.  (Yes, I do have manners.  And yes, I do know when to use them.  But I'm also not a hard-nose about it.  the end.)

Second, I've finally organized the iTunes on this desktop.  (Oh speaking of which, a word of explanation for those of you who haven't heard.  My baby iBook [my Mac laptop for those of you not so technologically savvy] is officially dead.  Nothing can be done to save it or anything contained on it's harddrive.  It was hard news to take, but the truth must be accepted.  I have mourned and moved on with my life.)  Back to the music.  I love that I can actually find the songs I want to listen to and that I have my lovely playlists formulated once again.  *happy sigh*

Third, my birthday present from my husband is sitting beside me on my desk.  We ordered it off Craigslist and went to pick it up last night.  Yes, I know, not much of a "surprise" for me, but just to keep with the spirit of the more-than-a-month-away "holiday" I'll keep it a secret from all of you.  (Don't spill the beans if you know.  lol.)  

Fourth, I had forgotten all the goodness of Subway.  Oh, and Kevin and I have a new it "Would you rather" or something along those lines.  He comes up with some sort of ridiculous comparison (such as "Who would win in a fight? Batman without his utility belt or Superman with a kryptonite necklace?")  and I have to make a decision and give reasons.  We played it for a full half hour on our ride home last night.  It was hysterical.  Topics ranged from "Who would you rather play you [Mel] in a movie? Martha Stewart or Hilary Clinton?" to "Which would you rather disappear forever? All fastfood or Panera?"  (In case you're wondering, Kevin went with Panera "hands down" and I chose fastfood.  I figure, you can always find a good sandwich or soup, but you can't find that satisfying grease just anywhere.)  

Fifth, we were informed of an apartment inspection occuring today.  (Not much to inspect here when 90% of our stuff is in boxes in the loft...) I got back from biking, cooled down to a little Ellen and The Doctors and hopped in the shower with this funny inclination that Mr. Inspector would arrive when I was doing just that.  Sure enough through the water running and the loud exhaust fan, I heard a man yelling something or other (probably informing the occupant of his entrance.  I'm still not sure if he inspected anything, but he left me alone and was gone by the time I was done in the bathroom.  oh dear....)

Well, I hope I have sufficiently entertained you for today.  In a few hours I'll pick up Kevin from school and we'll drive to Steaks Eatery where we're meeting his family to celebrate his 22nd and Brian's 15th birthdays.  Yay!  We're staying the night and heading to Battle Creek Saturday to the wedding of some wonderful friends.  (Will I cry? Hmmm.  Bets anyone?)

October 15, 2008

The One with the Visual Aids

The following is a photo documentary of our weekend of Canadian Thanksgiving.  Descriptions found above image.  (Yes I'm a professional, in case you were wondering.)

Kevin and Mel chilling before Thanksgiving dinner:::
Mel & Kevin showing off their marksman skills (Mel was a first time genius at it.):::
Mel's expression tells it all (That is, she GOT the clay pigeon):::
Friday night burger dinner and the laugh-to-tears that ensued ("I do TO get up at 6:30!"):::
Mel & Kevin enjoying the sunny downtown while Britt & Nick do their photo shoot thing:::
Sometimes he catches her off guard and throws her over his shoulder:::
The Four Amigos (aka catelog models):::
Mel & Britt being ridiculous as always:::

post script.  if you're just checking my blog for today....please take note of the actual writing that took place this morning. :)