December 31, 2010

The One with the Tiring Nothing

Besides going for a run every morning, I really didn't do much of anything this week. I've never been so unproductive in my entire life. (Well, except maybe for that one afternoon sophomore year of college, right, Britt? "The Day Mel Did Nothing." Yes, it was that infamous.) My husband is the sole reason I accomplished so much relaxing this week. He cast a lovely vision for me before we set out on this goal--"Imagine you're in elementary school again and it's summer break. You have no responsibilities besides having fun. What do you do?" Without him all but forcing me to just sit, I would have found things to do. There's always something to do, right? 

I learned a few things from this week of sheer relaxing. First, my initial memory of summer vacation during grade school equals Little House on the Prairie. It was on every morning at 10am I believe, right before The Price is Right. I loved me some Bob Barker game shows. 

Secondly, I can handle some heavy duty television watching. (This is not what I learned. It's coming up in a sentence or two.) It's one of the only activities that requires almost nothing of me. Perfect. The funny thing is, I really do get bored and annoyed with tv after a while. It may not have happened quite as quickly had there been anything new and exciting on (thank you, "in between fall and winter programming." sheesh), but there wasn't. So most of the tv time was focused on dvds--namely SeinfeldPlanet Earth (thanks Mom and Dad E), The Emperor's New Groove (thanks, Brian), Date Night (not as good as anticipated), and Friends. LOTS of Friends. I don't know why, but that is the one show that both Kevin and I can watch over and over and over and over again and still get hours of enjoyment out of it. 

While watching tv, eating meals around the coffee table, and experiencing butt-numbness from sitting on the couch in one position for WAY too long, I also did a lot of blogging (and blog reading) and read a couple chapters in my recent library books--Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry and For Women Only. Kevin said I was "free" to do some baking and cooking if I wanted to, and normally I would have taken him up on that offer. But not this week. After the last month of NON-STOP food preparation for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and party after party, I was just plain burnt out. (This was the third thing I learned--the desire to bake really can leave me.) Don't worry. I'm sure I'll be back to it next week. 

And finally, I needed a week where I was allowed to sleep in (till 8!), sit around in sweatpants all day, watch too many hours of television, never bake or cook or clean, beat my husband (for the first time EVER--in ANY game!) at Scrabble, and eat far too many pieces of fudge. It was refreshing. 

But also exhausting. I'm ready for regular life again. :)

Subscribe to my blog feed. here

December 30, 2010

The One with a Link to a Confession

In case you have been brainwashed into denying my this.

you won't want to miss any other moments of honesty. subscribe to my blog feed!

The One with a Sermon-a-Day

I have a few idiosyncrasies. You know--those little quirks which reassure everyone that I really am a dork. One example of this is my iPod selection while running. A few months back, I subscribed to various podcasts after listening to a handful of messages and sermons that I appreciated. I wasn't sure I would ever get around to listening to all of them, let alone becoming a "regular." Who has time to sit around and listen to sermons for hours on end? And who in the world wants to listen to more than one sermon a week? I mean, most people can barely sit through their pastor's 30 minute sermon, right? 

Not me. On the day I decided to run 6 miles, I figured having my mind distracted from the breathing and pain issues would be a good thing. I didn't think sermons would be the motivating factor--considering the general running public prefers fast pace music selections to keep them going. Turns out I was wrong. Ever since then, I have come to look forward to my morning runs if for no other reason than the sermons. If you were to pass me running on any given day, you might see tears running down my face or overhear an "Amen" or a good laugh. It would be quite entertaining (and a bit perplexing) I'm sure. 

But that's me. I'm motivated and captivated by hearing men of God preach in-depth messages--some lasting 45 or 60 minutes. Call me crazy, but I love it. 

The current sermon podcasts I subscribe to are Rob Bell from Mars Hill, Greg Boyd of Woodland Hills Church, Focus on the Family broadcasts*, and Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I really enjoy the Rob Bell and Greg Boyd sermons, and now I'm all out of fresh recordings. After all, there's one sermon a week and listening every days means you will eventually run out. There haven't seemed to be new Driscoll sermons, or at least not that have synced to iTunes or that I can find online. 

Here's where YOU come in: What sermon podcasts do YOU recommend? I need a couple more sermons to subscribe to to keep my brain engaged. I just devour this stuff. So please, give me your suggestions.

*Never thought I'd enjoy Focus broadcasts, and though there's some I skip over, quite a few are quality stuff in my opinion.

December 28, 2010

The One with the Top Ten Lessons I've Learned

The year two thousand ten has been one filled with beauty and excitement, stress and frustration. In honor of the upcoming new year, I thought I would share with you the top ten lessons I've learned in 2010. I have decided to name this list The Top Ten Lessons I've Learned in 2010
  1. I am fully capable of running farther than 3 miles at a time. I increased my speed and my distance this summer, and I've fallen a bit more in love with running now that I'm not afraid of distance.
  2. Having two cats is totally better than one. Even though there's been bickering and throw up on my carpet, we are loving our two kitties and think they're getting along quite well. 
  3. Focusing my ministry around teenage girls is where God wants me right now. 
  4. Substitute teaching is really not for me. I'm so glad my husband gave encouraged me by saying he'd much rather have me happy and at peace, than have a little extra money in the bank and a stressed wife.
  5. Obediently walking in God's plan for life saves so much hardship and pain. It saves a lot of time and frustration if I just do it His way to begin with. 
  6. My husband is going to be a fantastic pastor--in whatever capacity God leads. (That is a sentence I never thought I'd hear myself saying.)
  7. No matter people think of me (or what I think they think of me), it's ok to live a different sort of lifestyle--one that may not include much money or a professional job for me, but a life defined by obedience to Christ in my marriage, our next steps, in opening our home, in giving. 
  8. As a woman, I have an incredible responsibility to understand, appreciate, and partner with my husband as we journey through life together. There are so many possibilities for miscommunication and strife and dissension if we are not purposeful about understanding one another. 
  9. "Our" teenagers love us almost as much as we love them. :) 
  10. I have proven to myself that this blogging this is not a passing phase, but a wonderful part of my life. And in celebration, I created a domain name: 
Check out other Top Ten Lists at

December 27, 2010

The One with Unnecessary Busyness

I'm not so good at slowing down. In fact, I stink at it. Kevin is always trying to convince me to sit down, chill out, and do nothing. But the thought of doing nothing is like torture to me. I don't necessarily think that's a good thing. Sure, it can be. But it also has the potential for leading to exhaustion and overachieving. *sigh* Most evenings, I enjoy sitting down with my favorite television show and a snack to relax. But I typically have my netbook open as I write youth group newsletters, plan events, create headers, blog, edit pictures, send emails, et cetera. OR I'm working on a new necklace creation or reading a magazine or trying to find the best deals for my upcoming grocery shopping trip. 

But doing nothing is just unheard of. 

During those rare times when I resolve to set aside responsibility and experience a real break, it takes me a good hour or two to get everything cleared off and cleaned up. If my counters are full of miscellaneous papers, books, food items, dirty dishes, and crumbs, they need to be taken care of before I feel like I deserve the right to take a load off. 

So when Kevin announced we were going to be taking these couple days off to really do nothing I kind of freaked. I did manage to sleep in until 8am this morning--glory!--but then I worked until 1pm cleaning and organizing our Christmas loot, doing laundry, balancing finances, and cleaning thousands of plastic containers that once held 20 dozen cookies. I am now sitting on the couch, typing away on my netbook that is balancing on my sleeping Butter ball* enjoying the scent of the burning Cinnamon Pecan Swirl candle from my parents, while eating Christmas candy, watching Seinfeld and enjoying the company of my husband (who has moved his desk into the living so we can veg together for these days.) 

*the cat, for those of you who would like to think I'm implying my husband is a butterball. He's not thankyouverymuch. 



I know I'm insane. I know it's not all that healthy. I know when our family expands, it won't work this way. But for now, I'm going to keep things clean and enjoy my neurotic lifestyle. I'm sure I'll reference this post at some point in the future. 

But you needn't worry. Jesus is working on me. See here

December 24, 2010

The One with our Quick Christmas Eve

[remember to start using the new blog url:]

Our Christmas is a little different this year. Yes, there was still the insta-tree (when Kevin pulled our decorated tree out of a huge spare bedroom closet), the endless baking, the icy cold morning runs, and the same ol' Christmas tunes ringing through our home. But this year, we went low-key with our personal Christmas celebration. Normally, I'm a stickler for opening stocking stuffers Christmas evening and presents Christmas morning. Kevin tries to change my mind every year, and sometimes succeeds. But this year, we're leaving for my parents' house right after the Christmas Eve Service--meaning no time for gifts. That was fine--especially since we decided not to do gifts. But I couldn't resist wrapping up a little something for him. 

So I stopped by the Dollar Tree and raided the food aisles with one goal in mind--find all of my husband's personal favorite treats as a way of showing him how well I know him and how much I love him. The plan worked marvelously. He loved his Dots, Mary Janes, Bit 'O Honey, Lemon Heads, Cashews, Jerky, Special Dark Hershey Kisses, Bridge Mix, Banana Chips, and Whale Crackers (better than Golfish!) (And yes, he is totally old fashioned in his tastes for candy.) This afternoon, after a lunch of leftover Christmas turkey and sweet potato casserole, he opened his gifts. He's quite the experienced guesser too. We had a great time--laughing and enjoying the items I picked out. In fact, I'm eating some Sour Dots right now. 

Now it's time to turn the oven on once again for our Christmas Eve pizza. "Why, pizza?" you ask. Well, because Kevin requests pizza every single day. And because we had pizza last night and I forgot to put the dough in the freezer--which left me with a very obvious (repeat) plan for tonight's meal. After dinner, we shall venture over to the church for the teen skit and song rehearsal, then we're off on a three hour trip. 

We wish you all a Merry Christmas
May you see Jesus in the celebration and give praise to the Father for the Ultimate Gift. 

The One with Our Wish for You


December 23, 2010

The One in Which the Title is Longer Than the Post Itself

What I did in the kitchen today: Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies

What I watched today: Seinfeld

What I ran this morning: 4.5 miles. for the third day in a row. No ice today! yay!

What I ate today: Chocolate Walnut Fudge, made by one of our teens. Really, it's pretty much all I ate.

What I wrote tonight: On Jesus, Always

December 22, 2010

The One with a Name Change

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! 

Ok, so this news isn't THAT exciting, but I'm still pretty geeked about it. 

I am officially a "dot com."  My new blog address is

How cool is that?! I have been wanting to secure a domain name for quite some time and was going back and forth trying to choose which I wanted to be. I mean, this is my internet identity! It's a big deal!

For a while I was going to go with which is also quite cool. But then I got to thinking--if I'm still blogging in 5 or 10 years, I might want to move away from the "adorkable" title. And even if I'm "adorkable" forever, I figured this blog url can embody any and all subject matter as my life changes. 

It's simple to spell, easy to remember, and it's how most people refer to us "kevinandmel." One word. I would have gone with "Melanie," but many people misspell it and besides, it'd make for a long address. 

For the next into, you can still access my blog through the, but it's probably a good idea to switch my address over in your mind and in your browser. 
So, what do you think? Hopefully you like it, considering the decision is made. :) I'd love to hear your thoughts!

December 21, 2010

The One with the Christmas Shindig


This year we decided to host a huge Christmas party for our teens and invite all of their parents to attend. We were hoping to have a nice turnout, enjoy lots of food, and spend plenty of time getting to know everyone a bit better. So right after Kevin's family waved goodbye on Sunday afternoon, we began set up preparations for this party. I pulled 12 dozen cookies from the freezer (Spicy Molasses, Snickerdoodles, and Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip), and gathered the Buckeyes, Peanut Brittle, Puppy Chow, Chocolate dipped pretzel rods, a summer sausage and cheeseball and cracker tray, Velveeta Salsa and tortilla chips, Roasted Red Pepper White Bean Dip, barbeque mini weinies, punch, coffee, hot tea, and water, along with a Buffalo Chicken dip and BBQ meatballs brought by some friends. (Yes, I was a busy bee.)

Guests started arriving at 5:15pm--just after I discovered that the frozen juice ring I had made had exploded red juice all over the freezer. Awesome. But the show must go on! We laughed as our teens arrived in awesomely ugly Christmas sweaters.* Within minutes the house was PACKED with happy teenagers, interested parents, and a few leery siblings. :) There were Christmas tunes ringing out, games being played, conversations happening around every corner, and every morsel of food thoroughly enjoyed. 

After an hour of hanging out and filling our bellies, we gathered 34 (yes THIRTY-FOUR) people in our living room (I had NO idea that was even possible), for a rousing White Elephant gift exchange. It was hysterical--everyone was cracking up for the better part of an hour. We voted on the ugliest Christmas sweater, and then, before we knew it, our home was quiet once again. 

It was an amazing success--we can't wait till next year!  

*In my opinion, even the prettiest Christmas sweater is ugly if it has any specific correlations to Christmas themes. (with young children as an exception.) In. my. opinion.






December 20, 2010

The One with Family Christmas Photos

This was a whirlwind weekend, that is for sure, but it was completely awesome. I spent the entire week (especially the night before) baking, and every minute was worth it. Kevin's family began arriving at 10:30am Saturday for our Christmas celebration. Everyone had a great time catching up, telling stories, and laughing together while the smells of the roasting turkey tantalized our tastebuds. I made the same meal that I served at my family's Thanksgiving dinner (which seems like last weekend. How is it December 20th already?

Wheat Rolls
Steamed Corn
Cheesy Broccoli 
Sweet Potato Pie (recipe forthcoming!) 

We also had some time to take a few family photos, watch a movie, enjoy snacks, and rehearse 5 minutes before the Sunday church service for a 4 part choir performance. I love my family! 


This picture is pretty hilarious. My favorite part is how Kevin's mom is trying to kiss his dad, but Dad is much too preoccupied with the crazy pose. :) Kevin succeeded in seizing a kiss for himself though. ;)

We had a blast opening presents! There was laughter and outbursts, teasing and excitement. Kevin and I were both super excited about all of our gifts! Many of them will be used and enjoyed by both of us. 

Kevin received a boxed Lord of the Rings set (yay! His former set is falling apart left and right.), The Emperor's New Groove (one of our faves!), a tshirt that says "STAND BACK! I'm going to try science!", a new wrench set, some cash!, and Planet Earth on dvd.  

My gifts rocked too! I opened an awesome hand knitted earflap hat (It's so super cute. I really love it, Brian. I'm calling it my llama hat, because it was made from Alpaca wool of course.), a pizzelle press (can't wait to introduce the people in my life to my Italian culture in cookie form!), a sweet cordless hot pot (already used it for our party last night), two new cookbooks--365 No Repeats by Rachael Ray and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (they're like novels to me!) and the Willow Tree Nativity set (*SQUEAL*)!

Thanks, family, for a delightfully memorable Christmas! We love you!

What are YOU doing with your family this Christmas??

December 17, 2010

The One with an Entire Day in the Kitchen

I bake a lot. You probably know that. Today was a baking day like I've never experienced. Thanksgiving prep came close, but yet not so much. I starting working in the kitchen at 10:00am. I took a 30 minute break for dinner at 7:30pm. And I finally sat down at 9:30pm. 


I'm exhausted, yes. I may have gotten short with Kevin at one point after I realized the Best Pie Ever (aka Pecan) was a completely lost cause. My kitchen was an absolute disaster for the better part of 7 hours. 
But I love it. It was a great day. I loved what I whipped up. I loved hearing Kevin tell me how impressed he was with my hard work. And I will love our guests' enjoyment of my baked goods. 

In those long hours I produced a beautifully latticed apple pie (even prettier than pictured), a brand new recipe for sweet potato pie, a completely-failed-but-previously-perfect-pecan pie, wheat dinner rolls, a delicious batch of peanut brittle (a previous failure), puppy chow, baked tortilla chips, potatoes prepped for boiling in the morning, sweet potato casserole in stage one, turkey prepped with butter and herbs, and pizza for our dinner. 

I love a productive day. And, friends, today was quite productive. :)

December 16, 2010

The One with the Last Couple Days

Things I have done in the last 48 hours--

Zested 10 oranges and grated the skin right off of my thumb's knuckle. ouch.

Sold one of the handmade items I'm excited to reveal to the world post-Christmas. 

Spent time in wonderful early morning conversation with my sweet husband. 

Had my butt (and abs) kicked HARD CORE by Jillian Michaels' new workout: Six Week Six Pack. Hardest. Workout. Ever. (borrowed from the library btw.)

Wished I had cute winter boats--something like this. Not cute peep toes. Brrr. Not snow boats from 8th grade. Gross. Cute boats that are appropriate for winter and adorable for fashion. 

Baked 8 dozen cookies. At least. 

Been called "Awesome" by an 8th grade guy referring to Kevin and me. 

Tried to figure out when to go ice skating with my friend, Britt. This month is WAY too full. 

Heard a beautiful rendition of The Little Drummer Boy by one of my piano students. 

Practiced a four part arrangement of Angels, We Have Heard On High with our teens. It's gonna be good. 

Snuggled up on the couch with my husband to watch season six of The Office on dvd. We're finally caught up. Now on to Seinfeld

December 15, 2010

The One with the Collage of Concerts

'Tis the season for Christmas concerts! *whew* We've been going left and right to every band and choir concert in the state. Ok! Not, really every concert, but last night was concert number five of six.Sunday the 5th we attended a the middle school band concert. (Which, I might add, was the fastest concert either of us has ever attended. 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade bands play one after another with no announcements or applause until the very end. Twelve songs in 30 minutes. Incredible!) Thursday was a long night of a swim meet another and a band concert combining middle and high school bands with seven of our students participating. This past Sunday was crazy. We went from church to a potluck to a church society meeting to another high school band concert. Wow. Monday evening we headed to the community college for a well-done college/community band concert, and last night we traveled back to school number 2 (30 minutes away) for a middle school/high school choir concert with 2 of our kids performing. Thursday wraps up our holiday concerts with a final choir concert. 

We love music. We're band and choir geeks. But I do believe there is a limit on how many holiday concerts one can enjoy. :) It's a tiring gig, but totally worth it to see the smiles on our teens' faces. Of course, their smiles may have to do with the candy treats we always bring them, but I have a feeling it might have something to do with us just being there.  

December 13, 2010

The One with the Home Quiz

This weekend was a blur of busy excitement. Friday evening our quizzers and some adult helpers worked hard to revamp our church to host the conference Bible quiz. We cleaned up rooms, pulled 50 chairs from the shed, set up those chairs in each classroom, displayed our bake sale goods, put up extra tables, practiced our worship set, printed signs, and then headed back to our house for a slumber party. The girls and I had a great time gabbing in their high class guest room :) while watching Frosty the Snowman. The boys were talking video games and such. And once 10:30pm rolled around and the church group finally arrived to spend the night in our church, we hit the sack. 

Saturday morning we were up early and the teens were a great help as they set up the three additional quizzing rooms in our house! I hardly had to any of the manual labor set up as Kevin was great at delegating tasks and the teens got the job done. (note: I was working--but on the techy, logistics, print outs, organization side.) Kevin ran to the amazing local bakery at 6:30am to pick up fresh donuts, and by 8am we were all over at the church. 

Thankfully, we had a family from our church willing to do all of the lunch catering. They did a fantastic job and alleviated ALL of my potential stress in the area of food service. What a blessing. 

When we offered to host one month's Bible Quiz this season, we asked for the month that is usually the smallest quiz. Turns out, Saturday's quiz was the biggest of the year! Wow. awesome. It was a bit of a stretch to fit 200 people in our church for the entire day with only the fellowship hall to hang out in while quizzes went on in every room, office and oversized closet we could find. :) But I never heard any complaints--in fact, only praises for the hosting job we did. Yay! 

We had a great worship session led by the teens and us and Kevin shared an awesome devotional before the quiz day started. Then we were off! Our teams had studied hard--wanting to make their home church proud! Their efforts paid off with dividends! Our Senior Teen Veteran B team went undefeated snagging 1st place in their division! The Young Teen Rookie B team did just as well--winning every quiz of the day and coming home with a 1st place trophy! On top of that, one of our young teen's did so well that he quizzed out (answering the maximum of 5 questions per round) in EVERY single round he was in, AND he went on to win 1st place in the individual competition. Everyone was so proud of him!

senior teen team:

young teen team:

As we waited for the quizzing results, I decided to get help from our teens and lead the sanctuary full of quizzers in a rousing Christmas carols sing along. It was so much fun and did a great job of taking away the awkward, somewhat annoying waiting period that comes before the awards ceremony. 

All of our quizzers and parents stuck around for another hour or two to clean up and put the church back together. With all the help, we finished our task fairly quickly and even managed to have a bit of fun--we all love being together. 

I'm so proud of our quizzers--for the long study time they put in, for the great job they did, and for the help they offered.

December 10, 2010

The One with the Eve Syndrome

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Shaunti Feldhahn's For Women Only from our library. This book is kicking my tush. With the subtitle what you need to know about the inner lives of men, having heard Shaunti speak on a Focus broadcast, and getting recommendations all over the Christian arena (including one of my good friends), I figured it was worth my time. I'm so glad and so mad to be reading this book. Glad because I truly believe it will change my life--our lives. And mad because changing is really painful.

Shaunti interviewed over one thousand men on every topic dealing with relationships with the women in the lives. (To read the men's responses and to check out tons of other resources check Her findings shocked her AND the men. It seems everyone "knows" the differences between the two genders, but no one really understands how that works out in every day life.  

My husband thought it'd be a good idea to just read the book aloud together. He knows me well, because, inevitably I'll laugh out loud or respond in some way and then proceed to reread the section to him. Why not save time, right? I'm totally ok with sharing this experience. It's turned out to be even more beneficial. Last night, as we lay in bed, I finished reading chapter two--"Your Love is NOT Enough." After each section I asked for Kevin's feedback. It was so great to hear his responses, to see the sheer glee in his smile as he thought, "She is finally going to understand what I've been trying to tell her for years." And I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited about it, too. 

But it's not easy. As I read each sentence, I feel like I've been punched in the kidneys. Ouch. Shaunti describes situations that resonate deeply with both of us--times when I've reacted in such a way that screams "I don't trust you!" or "I think you're incapable!" I don't necessarily mean for those awful statements to be shot straight to my husband's surprising fragile heart, but that's the truth of the matter. Page after page is like that. I read another scenario and I realize that's exactly what I just did and it made him feel like that. My heart breaks over the pain I have caused and the wounds I have inflicted on my husband--the husband who loves me unconditionally, just as I need him to. So why do I have the right to decide when he deserves my respect? 

I'm so sorry, Kevin. I know I've expressed this dozens of times since last night, but I'm still sorry. I hate the nature of sin within me that screams for control, stripping you of the respect I am called to give you. Regardless of whether you deserve my respect for whatever you've done in that moment, the fact that you're my husband is reason enough. I beg you for patience as I learn the workings of your mind and your heart. Continue to help me along, as you have been all this time. I'll get it eventually. With Jesus, I know I will. I love you. 

I respect you. I trust you. I'm so proud of you.

This post linked up with The Candid Pastor's Wife "Wedded Wednesday."

The One with a Teaser

I have to tell you all one more thing about which I'm super excited. CSN Stores has generously offered me a product to review, thus sharing the awesomeness that is found in a company comprised of over 200 websites, including everything from luggage stores to furniture and fashion. Stay tuned!

December 9, 2010

The One with the Little Thrills

I have to share a few tidbits of excitement! (I use the word "excitement" loosely, as I realize my causes for excitement are different than most.) This morning I headed out for my run in the nine degree temperature. Yes, nine degrees is every bit as cold as it sounds. However, I have decided I would much prefer nine degrees to twenty-three degrees with winds of 15-20 mph. A run in that weather is not going to happen. In any case, I made it to my halfway point, ready to turn around, when I decided to take a side path through a neighborhood. Having done three 4 mile runs with Ingrid while in Tennessee, I knew adding a mile wouldn't be that big of deal. As I started down the road, I thought, "Hmm, maybe I'll just take that first road and circle around. NO! Come on, Mel, you can totally make it to the end." 

And I did. I finished my run like it was no big deal. It was an enjoyable run, despite the fact that my thighs were frost-bit through my pants. After my nose stopped dripping and my eyeballs stopped tearing, I decided I should see what my mileage was, just for the heck of it. I was surprised to discover that my regular 3 mile run was in fact 3.6 miles (awesome) and the total for today's run was 4.8 miles--almost an entire mile longer than I had anticipated--and I had finished in 41 minutes. I was so stoked with an 8.7 minute/mile pace knowing I hadn't pushed myself. Yay. 

Sorry. I had to be proud for a minute. :)

The other awesome thing of today was my new Bible study with my friend, Brandy. She's actually the mom of one of our teens and we've really hit it off. She's the friend God knew I was needing. We talk so easily, we understand one another, we listen, we open up. It's great. Brandy is relatively new to the whole Jesus following thing, so she wanted a partner in reading through the Gospels. I haven't had a Bible study in years and years, and I'm so excited to spend time studying Scripture with a good friend. 

And on top of that, Brandy sold one of the items I've been secretly creating. I was so stoked! More on that after Christmas! 

December 8, 2010

The One with the Beginning of Christmas

I'm very proud of this photo. It's one of the first pictures I snapped with our brand new Canon Rebel, and it's been my computer desktop ever since. To me, this simple ornament captures Christmas. It was made for me by one of my dad's closest friends from work, when I was just four years old . Just a handful of years later, Mark passed away. But this ornament is always hung on our tree. 

Aspire Photo Challenge
And with that, I give you my entry in Hannah's Aspire Photo ChallengeIt's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas


This is also a perfect post to link to Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane

December 7, 2010

The One with What We've Been Up To

Top Ten {Tuesday} 

This past week, we've taken more pictures than we have in the last 6 months. Maybe that's an exaggeration. But the point still stands--we've been picture-taking fiends and it's all because of our new Canon EOS Rebel XS. We've saved and saved and drooled and dreamt about this for over a year. We're loving our new toy and hope to become quality photographers. It's always been a desire of mine to be a photographer. When I was young, I was constantly setting up poses and backdrops with my dolls, my stuffed animals, my sister. I'm so glad Kevin has helped me reclaim that dream. We're loving our shared hobby and hoping to achieve some goals of portraits, weddings, and more. In the meantime, here's what we've been up to-

1. Decorating the Tree. 


2. Baking beautiful loaves of Challah Bread


3. Attending the Ladies' Christmas Tea. 
This was the table I decorated--complete with China dishes and twigs from my yard. 


4. Baking jumbo sized cookies with teens I love. 

5. Going to Parades (and freezing to death with these two beautiful girls.)


6. Listening to Band Concerts. 
(This was Michaela's--the first of 4 this month. She's one of my piano students too!)


7. Expressing my creativity with some really beautiful Christmas gifts. I'm really excited about showcasing them to everyone--especially you. I'm not sure I can wait until Christmas. :D

8. Keeping our old man cat from eating our fake Christmas tree.

9. Practicing a four part arrangement of Angels We Have Heard On High with our teens. They're pretty darn good, I must say.

8. Posting tons and tons of new, delicious recipes on my other blog. Seriously. You do NOT want to miss out on that goodness. Pumpkin pie. Chex mixes. Mashed potatoes. The perfect turkey. and (coming soon) jumbo chocolate chip cookies, buckeyes, and puppy chow. 

December 6, 2010

The One with the Energy Saving Confessions

I am a bit neurotic about preserving energy. Not necessarily because I want to "save the planet"--though that's a lovely side benefit--but because I'm the biggest penny pincher you'll ever meet. Here are statements I make to my husband on a regular basis. 

"Please do not leave the water running while you're brushing your teeth." 

"Close the refrigerator door while you're pouring your glass of milk."

"Why is that overhead light on? It has four bulbs, while the lamp on the counter has one energy saving bulb."

"Please turn off your computer before we go to bed."

"Why is that light on when it's daylight out? If you'd just open the drapes, you could see perfectly fine."

"Please turn off your computer before we go to bed."

"No, I am not going to run the dishwasher until it's actually full. And yes, I decide what's actually full."

"Please turn off your computer before we go to bed."

"Close the garage door. You're letting in cold air."

"Darling. I love you. and I really appreciate that you let me have my way on so many things. You're the best."

December 2, 2010

The One with the Fashion Faux Pas

This morning I went to the park to get in my running before the sun had fully graced us with its presence. It was cold. Really cold. And I was super irritated at myself for neglecting to bring my earmuffs and gloves. ACK. The wind blowing across the city's river was not pleasant. But I got through it and was quite happy about braving the 23- degree-but 15-degree-with-the-wind-chill temps. 

After this, I had to drop by a local business to drop something off to a friend and realized I was seconds away from the grocery stores I was planning to visit later that morning. Hmm. I had a predicament. Do I go all the way home, shower, primp, and then head back to exactly where I was sitting right at that moment? OR do I do what I've never done in my life and go grocery shopping in my workout attire? 

Before I knew it, I was calling my husband to have him read the grocery list to me and I was pulling into Aldi's parking lot. Unfortunately, I had arrived 35 minutes before the store opened. Ooops. So I headed next door to Meijer where, I figured, people shopping in sweatpants quite frequently. Right? At least I'm hoping I was right. Thanks to the fiercely cold wind, the sweat on my forehead had dried before I walked in the front doors. (That's really saying something because I sweat like a man. It's not pretty.) 

I went up and down, up and down the aisles collecting my items, but soon realized I was definitely going to have to go to Aldi's as well. I just couldn't pay over $2 for milk when I knew Aldi had it for $1.79 or $1.35 for eggs when my favorite store in the world had them for $0.89. I'm crazy like that. On my way up to the cash registers, I made a brief (yeah, right) pit stop in the clothing department. I was pleasantly surprised. I found a number of sweater dresses I had to have (but of course didn't purchase any of them.) And to my sheer glee, I came across two pairs of "skinny" jeans that were half off--only $9.99. And they FIT! Score! I knew Kevin wouldn't want me to leave without buying those. After all, I have been complaining about my jean shortage for months. 


In heading to Aldi, my hesitation grew. You see, I know the people at Aldi. Seriously. The manager greets me by name. Oh well. I threw my pride by wayside and got the job done. I raced through those stores like I was on some sort of serious time schedule. The reality was that I was still high on my adrenaline from running AND I was really really eager to change out of my workout clothes. blech. 

I can't believe it folks. But today, I was that undiginified person walking through the stores in their sweats. I know, I know. It's not really that big of a deal. But I've watched far too many episodes of What Not to Wear to do something like that with a clear conscience. Thanks a lot, Stacey and Clinton.