Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lap One down...


After a brief hiatus, I return to you a woman who has officially crossed the one year mark of this wonderful marathon called marriage (which just FYI, will probably be the ONLY marathon I ever choose to run. Me + Running = bad moods and twisted ankles).

Yes, that's right. The husband and I celebrated our first anniversary this past weekend (March 12th). And for this momentous occasion we decided to create a several-day block of just getting to spend some quality uninterrupted time together - no gifts, no elaborate gimmicks - just us.

So we shipped Riley Mae off to Lolo and Pop's (my parents' grandparent names) and headed about town to surprise each other with various activities. Little did we know that we both had come up with the same theme - our honeymoon in San Diego. Jake's surprises included a couples' massage (best part of staying at the Se' hotel was their legit spa), a picnic (miss you, Seaport Village), and a movie, and mine were a trip to the zoo (the closest thing in Oklahoma to Sea World) and some random shopping in strip malls and bookstores (one of our favorite finds on our honeymoon was the Coronado bookstore). Also, we collectively decided to add-in a stay at the sweet little inn that we stayed at after our wedding (did I mention their breakfasts are divine?), and a trip to the newly discovered Old School Bagels (which I will be reviewing later this week).

All combined, this proved to be a memorable and much-needed weekend to just get-away (even though "away" was only 20-30 minutes from our apartment) and focus on the love and laughter that brought us through this past year... and will continue to help us keep on trucking through the many years to come. Because ultimately it's not about what you have, where you live, what you do, or how much you can spend on each other, but is about finding the love in the moments you do have--even if they are as simple as splitting a heavenly chocolate chip bagel with strawberry cream cheese.

Thank you, love, for making me feel so special this past weekend and for always making our time together a fun and joy-filled priority (even when our schedules fight us tooth and nail). When God told us He'd give us more than we could ever ask or imagine... I didn't realize how serious He was. You are more than I could ever ask for. I love you.

P.S. Here's to lap two!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Just a little love poem...

So for the latest update on I.O.U. Blessings, I decided to go all photo-journalism on you... (with a bit of artfully added commentary, of course.)

I.O.U... a homemade card -and- a hand & self written poem.
Yes, that's right. I knocked out two blessings in one week via our Valentine's gifts to each other this year. What a wonderful way to express our love and save a buck. Score.
 This was my card. I tried to pull a little bit of pink in for the V-day theme... and then used my favorite color, green, to help make it a little more masculine. Not sure how well that worked, but oh well. I don't think my husband (who recently channeled Mrs. Doubtfire in his sleep) minded that much. The little diddy inside? I wrote it... and it may not be Shakespeare, but it's oh so very true. As i completed the last few details. I felt proud of this card. (Note the past tense).
This is the cover of Jake's card for me. See the perfectly stenciled antique-y chandelier? He did that all by himself. And even thought to tie on the raffia. What's that? I'm being showed up? Trust me, I know. Just wait until you scroll down and see the rest of the card...


 That adorable little "story of us" on top? That would be what I was referring to in my recent patience post... He waited four years... yes, you heard me. FOUR YEARS... to tell me he loved me. This card sorta makes it worth the wait, though :) Just wish he would have told me he was making a book though so I could have followed suit. And yes, that is the glory of a Beatles quote that graces the first page. Unbelievable.

Needless to say, my crafty, perfectionist, nostalgic, romantic at just the right moments husband won the Oscar--and my heart--for best card & sweet sentiments. Looks like the blessings are all mine. :)

P.S. Congratulations to my best friend and favorite curly-headed old folk (okay, she's really not old... but she displays her old soul in phrases like "it's raining cats and dogs" and "he was as slow as Christmas"--yes, she actually used that one today on the phone) for finding the love of her life (and partly mine for being so wonderful to take care of my best friend) and getting engaged this past week! Best wishes to the future Mr. & Mrs. Preston & Taylor Draper! :) I love you both! (a link to her fabulous and inspiring blog is here.)


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tortoise meets Hare

::Note:: I actually wrote this two days ago, but forgot to post it. Better late than never?

Good morning everyone! Currently I am writing to you from Bethany, OK traffic court. [Insert gasps of shock and surprise.]

Yes, that's right. Your favorite (am I being too assuming here?) grandma driver got a speeding ticket. (No matter to the fact that I've never been pulled over for speeding in my life before this incident... or that we had just gotten a new car and I wasn't used to how the speedometer was all on the left side of the circle rather than a full moon shape like my usual car-- Gee thanks for your consideration, hidden motorcycle cop. 'ppreciate ya.)

So here I wait, hoping to see some good will on my spotless driving record's behalf. (Keep your fingers crossed!) And, as I wait, my mind is brought to the subject of patience. Isn't patience a funny thing? Just when we need it, it seems we've run out.

When "honeybottom" and I first started dating, I fell rather quickly (hence, the vomit.) Little did I know that God was setting up a wonderful round  of "Tortoise and the Hare"... All to sometimes humorously and other times painfully teach me a lesson in patience. As I will share in a post later this week... Jake loved to force patience on me during our dating relationship-- with the majority of my patience woes centering around a certain special three words.

But now, looking back--even though I still think the lengthy lack of those three words was a little excessive--I really am thankful for the patience that those times of trial and sometimes frustration taught me. Because whether it be a frustrating friend, over-protective parent,  disorderly descendant, or just a commitment-phobe-but-still-totally-THE-guy boyfriend... allowing God to use those people in your life to help you grow and mature and maybe just slow down a little every once in a while... well it's  priceless. (And by priceless, I also mean that seeing the moment itself is priceless. Because you gotta admit that watching an impatient person be forced to be patient is just plain funny.)

So here's to patience, finding a happy medium tortoise meets hare pace, and that classic, annoying song that your parents probably sang to you growing up.

Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient
You only start to worry
Remember, remember that God is patient, too
Just think of all the times when others
Have to wait for you

::Post Script:: The judge decided that in order to remove it from my record (on top of six months of no speeding tickets--cake) that I have to go to defensive driving. Neat. Why is it that whenever someone in authority asks me my age and I say 21 they just automatically assume that I'm some crazy, irresponsible drunkard who deserves reprimanding and forced guidance?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mid-night's Terror


So I had a brief run in with absolute terror last night. And it went a little like this...

Once upon a time I was sleeping soundly in my bed, when all of a sudden an explosive sound jolted me awake. I was reeling... and my dog (poor Riley) was whining. Where was this horrendous sound coming from? I jerked my head around the room attempting to make my already blind eyes somehow see in the dark.

It only took a few moments to let the fog of being jarred during your deepest most wonderful REM cycle clear before I realized where exactly that awful sound was emitting from. And that's when the real terror struck.

It was coming from the bearded man beside me. (For those of you who haven't seen the husband lately, he's recently decided to grow a beard--who know's how long that'll last.)

There lay my normally peaceful husband, sound asleep (sound being the key word). Except for the fact that he was laughing. Cackling, even. I froze, watching my husband convulse with ridiculously hysterical sleep laughter.(If this story doesn't already chill you to your bones... Wrap your mind around what happened next.)

And then he spoke. Except for it wasn't really his voice. It was more of a high-pitched, Robin Williams turned Mrs. Doubtfire voice. "Well, what do you think about that? Hi-LAR-ious."

Seriously, that's what he said. Followed by several minutes more of laughter. At this point, Riley was cowering against me, as we both watched what seemed like something out of a scary movie. I seriously started to wonder if this was some sort of crazy nightmare where Jake was going to morph into Freddy Kreuger and kill me in my sleep.

Yet, finally, silence fell. And fortunately, I was so exhausted from the terror (and a collection of recent sleep-deprived nights) that I fell back asleep. But today, it still kind of haunts me.

Photo found here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love, Sweet Love

You know that cheesy Jackie DeShannon song that graces the opening or final credits in about every romantic wedding themed chick flick at least once? Well, these last few days, I've been singing it. (If you happen to have no clue what I'm talking about you can check out the song here... It's a real "shindig.")

And it's not because I've been spending my days thumbing through love notes or eating chocolates that were thoughtfully placed so I would find them. And personally, I'm glad of that. (and so is my waistline)

Instead (as a result of some torturous homework assignments and tests) this Valentine's day was a relatively "normal" Monday (we are celebrating with our usual Fazoli's and Northpark 50 cent movie) complete with class, work, and the Bachelor. Sure, I did throw in some chocolate covered strawberries at the end of the evening to feel at least a bit festive... but overall, it was a pretty standard day.

A standard, wonderful, remind me how incredibly good and loving our God is day.

Years ago, when reading the book "Captivating," God impressed upon me that his love for me was beyond fatherly. Outrageous, you might think... but I quickly found it to be true. God desires to romance me (and you too!) As I began to grasp this concept, I recognized that God would leave little "kisses" for me around... maybe it was a sunset or just a great conversation with a friend... but I knew it was him. Romancing my heart. And, in his true romantic fashion... he left a few more "kisses" for me this V-day.

It all started with a call from a good friend announcing that after years of trying, she is expecting. For those of you who don't catch the euphemism, think chubby cheeked, diaper-wearing, soft-skinned goodness.

I cried.

Because God is loving. He is provisional. He takes care of his children. His timing is perfect. And he makes beautiful things.

...like babies, and much needed date nights. That was kiss #2. And surprisingly, it was not my much needed date night, but my aunt and uncle's.

You see, my uncle for the last year and half has been battling with Leukemia (you can read his story here.) Long story short, there has been a lot of nights spent focused on healing in the hospital, rather than marital dating and romance. But their love and faith never faulted... for God or for each other. And, a few weeks ago, by the grace of God, he was finally released from the hospital... and yesterday, he planned some sort of special series of events for my Aunt Keli. While I don't know the specifics of these details, just seeing my aunt's facebook status of excitement and anticipation reminded me of just how deep and wonderful the love of God is. It is inventive and impermeating and above all, it endures.

Talk about romance. There is nothing like being reminded of this love... and it's very living presence in my life and the lives of those around me. I'll take that over candy and chocolates any day. (Though I wouldn't mind a combination of the two.) And, while I'm sure that later this week I will experience a bit of husbandly romance in lieu of a late V-day date... yesterday I was perfectly pleased to relish in a bit of Godly romance.

"You really won't understand your life as a woman until you understand this: 
You are passionately loved the God of the universe." 
--"Captivating" by John & Staci Eldridge

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Got Shanked?

If I could think of two words to describe today... it would be the following:

Tired.
Thankful.

The "tired" comes into play after a night and day of tossing and turning and pill popping-- all a result of these horrendous hereditary headaches that I get called migraines. (Thanks for these, mom)

For those of you who have never experienced a migraine, consider yourself lucky. Think getting stabbed simultaneously in the eye socket, temple, and base of the skull with multiple spoon shanks, followed by relentless twisting and compression until you almost have rationalized the temptation of poking out one of your eyes to relieve the pressure.

Fortunately, I withstood the temptation and I am writing this with both eyes intact. My brain is another issue. For the last 24 hours, I have been in an unshakeable fog--dizzy, passing in and out of consciousness, never really sure I'm awake or asleep. For all I know, I could be dream blogging right now.

Yet knowing that I have a husband who is right at this very moment picking up some "Which Wich" for his too-dizzy-to-stand-up-long-enough-to-make-dinner wife---well that's where the thankful comes in. That, and the numerous temple and neck massages, medicine and water retrieving, and puppy potty outings that he has taken care over the last day. And then, to top it all off, God gave me just under a foot of soft, powdery snow so that I could stay home and recoup without having to miss class or work.

Yes, thanks are definitely in order. So thank you husband, and thank you Jesus for helping me relax and have hope for days where my thoughts make sense and deep sleep does not elude me. And thank you, Mom (as crazy as this may sound), because despite the fact that you passed on these migraines... with them you also passed on an understanding of just how blessed I am during those lovely, shank-free times that populate the majority of my days.

I love you all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

First Date Jitters

photo courtesy of Kris Boevers

My friends, it has been far too long since I have filled you in on the progress of the I.O.U. Blessings Project. Maybe it was the snow days, the muscle relaxers (I woke up one morning with some crazy muscle spasms in my neck which may or may not have been a delayed result from slipping on the ice and falling down our stairs), or just plain laziness... but it seemed the only things on my mind this last week were caramel apple ciders, cozying up under a blanket, and the occasional snowball fight.

But alas, I have returned from a week-full of adventures to share. Most especially... this last week's coupon.

I. O. U.... a re-creation of our first date.

Sounds fun, eh? Indeed. And Saturday was the perfect day to create such a thing.

After a long and slightly frustrating morning [insert sad story about forgotten homework, piled with body image issues, and the cherry on top of Riley peeing in the apartment], we begun our adventure... which was actually pretty simple. You see, the husband and I's first date was somewhat of a non-date. Mostly because I tricked him into taking me. The story went a little like this...

[insert telephone ringing]

J: Hello?
B: Hey, whatcha doin' friend?
J: Just getting ready to head to the mall to look for some new jeans.
B: Is K going with you?
J: Nope, it's just me today.
B: You mean--you're going by yourself? What if you get hurt or stolen or--- raped?
(Yes, I know how ridiculous this sounds. But this was all a jab at him after he and our group of friends had freaked out at me the weekend before when I went walking along the Bricktown canal 30 feet ahead of them by myself. Apparently, this is a sure-fire way to get taken.)
J: First of all, I don't think I'm gonna get stolen or anything like that. Second of all, I don't have anyone to go with and I really need some jeans... so I don't really have a choice here.
B: Well, I mean, I guess.... I could go with you... [insert long hopeful pause]
J: (attempting to mask his sheer joy of having an afternoon alone with me) Really? Sweet. I'll pick you up in ten.

Bada bing. Bada boom. And so was the commencement of our now almost 6 year dating relationship. Because while we only actually dated 5 years and then got married... in our world, you keep dating and pursuing long after you say I do.

Saturday was no different. We strolled through the mall holding hands and blushing at each other when we came out of the dressing rooms just like it was back on August 11th, 2005. Add some taste testing at Teavana and Williams Sonoma on top of that and you've got just a darn near perfect date. All it needed from there was some Asian food (on our first date, I exposed my sheltered meat and potatoes man to the wonderful world of ethnic food via Baluu, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant). For our second first-date, we chose Pei Wei (mostly because we had coupons for a free Korean dish). And, as if it couldn't get any better... Jake actually attempted to use chop sticks. Which for a fork slingin' country boy, is quite a monumental feat--all to impress his belovedly cultural wife. Be still my heart.

Now, I must admit, there was one rather significant difference from our real first date and this re-created one. Because on our real first date back in '05... I may or may not have vomited when he decided to hold my hand. (Don't worry-- I made it to the bathroom. He didn't even know it happened until 6 months later.) But really, what's a girl to do when the man of her dreams decides to do a little palm paso? Did I mention he had never held hands with a girl before [insert unison "awww"]-- or a boy for that matter [insert quiet snickering]-- and I just felt like I was under a lot of pressure to perform?

Whew. I thank the good Lord above that my nervous stomach didn't cause any sort of early demise to our relationship. And, while now confident in my hand holding abilities... I'm also thankful that I still do feel a little flutter in my stomach whenever his hand reaches for mine. Like it's our first date all over again. It's just a good thing that I've figured out how to keep my food down.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Napkin Notes

So to complete this week of honing my maternal instincts... the coupon for this week seems perfectly fit (as late in the week as it comes).

I.O.U..... your very own sack lunch packed by 'moi.'

Cute, right? Now some of you might think this one is just too easy. But then I might remind you that I am in no way, shape, or form, a morning person. As in hitting the snooze button 27 times, hair looks like Medusa, and can barely open my eyes until I've had my morning cup o' joe kinda person. (I'm actually currently trying to mend this problem... someday I'll update you on my progress when I see some.)

Needless to say, waking up in time to make a sack lunch is actually somewhat of a challenge to me. But it is a challenge that I gladly welcome... and am even a bit excited about. Mostly because I've recently gotten in the habit of cutting and preparing my food for easy grab n' go access in the fridge immediately when I get home from the grocery store. That, and the fact my mother-in-law recently sent me home a box of nabisco snacks.

So here's to tomorrow's earlier morning, and handwritten notes on napkins (yes, I'm actually gonna go old school elementary lunch style-- I feel it's only right).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pepto and Pedialyte

I have had a very sick husband this week.

Which is very odd, considering my husband is never sick. As in never. Comparatively, he’s normally the king of good health  throwing perfect football spirals outside while I’m stuck inside with a tissue box and a bottle of Benadryl.

But this week, fate was not so kind to him. And while I have been spending my days navigating the normal ebbs and flows of the work/school week… he’s been navigating the path between the couch and the bathroom.

Lovely, I know.

As this week has shown a shift in all things normal and expected… I have found myself learning a few new things about this ill-fated husband of mine that I thought I would share:

::1:: Like any sick 3 yr-old child, He remains attached at the hip to his blanket (what we call “softie”).

::2:: Being sick to his stomach doesn’t seem to affect his usual insatiable desire for Oreos. However, his stomach doesn’t feel the same.

::3:: Just as I expected, he is ridiculously stubborn when it comes to taking medicine and keeping stocked up on fluids if I’m not there to force them down his throat… so much so that he almost got dehydrated (Thank the Lord for Pedialyte).

::4:: And lastly—and the most nauseating might I add—he actually semi-likes the taste of Pepto Bismol. Sick.

Yet, even in all these things… I think I love him even more. Maybe it was spending a very wonderful weekend with our friends and their daughter Aniston, but I found my maternal instincts kicking into overdrive this past week—and it felt really good to be needed in a new and different way. I think that is one of the most beautiful (and sometimes a little gross) things about marriage… the openness… the vulnerability. The fact that you really can’t hide anything and shouldn’t try… because cuddling up on the couch together with your blankie and bottle of pedialyte is far better than going it alone.

Thanks for needing me, this week, sweet husband—even when you’re stubborn and pretend you don’t need the medicine I’m forcing you to take. Thanks for being open and vulnerable and laughing with me even when you feel like you’re about to toss your cookies. And thanks for not throwing up on me. Yeah… definitely that one too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A little place called...

"What the hell are we doing here, Harry? We gotta get outta this town!"
"Oh yeah, and go where? Where are we gonna go?"
"I'll tell you where. Someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called... Aspen."




For those of you that do not know the genius that is Dumb & Dumber. Shame on you. Though I guess for this one occasion, I'll give you a pass. (Insert gratitude/walking to the front door, putting shoes on, and driving to your nearest family video) You see, the basic premise of the movie involves two best friends going on a somewhat unfortunate road trip because they need to little break from their normal lives--well, there's a briefcase, too, a guy named Seabass, and a girl named Mary... Swan, Swanny.... Sampsonite! But that's another post altogether.

The purpose of me sharing this little fantastic clip of dialogue is not because that "D&D" is my favorite movie of all time (though it is, by far... no other movie can continue to make me laugh out loud even after I've seen it 1,349,209,402 times). Instead, I share this with you to intro into this week's coupon "blessing," which I happen to be knee deep in right now. 

"I.O.U..... a weekend getaway."

Which brings me to someplace quite cold (what's new?). A place where the milk flows into sippy cups like the Mississippi into the gulf. Where cupcake, mediterranean food, and good friends all meet.

It's a little place I like to call.... Tulsa. 

Sure, it's only a hop, skip, and a jump away from home, but it's the perfect place for us to experience a little bit of rest and rejuvenation before diving head first into the rest of our LAST semester of undergrad. (Praise the Lord!) Staying with some our good friends, Ashley, Jameson, and their sweet daughter Aniston--hence, the sippy cups and milk-- we are in the midst of enjoying a wonderful weekend getaway (we drove in last night). First stops this morning? Watching "Cool Story" a.k.a. Toy Story 3, while lounging in our PJs and eating cinnamon rolls. Then on to "Helen of Troy" which has quite possibly the best Mediterranean food I've had this side of the Atlantic.

More adventures await us... so ta ta for now. I've gotta focus my utmost attention on "Cool Story."

image found at: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5LHL54PO0vk/TRKm7Uxj8ZI/AAAAAAAAADQ/x_T6c47ma-g/s1600/jeff_daniels1.jpg

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Busy Bees

I am not one who typically breaks promises.

But today, when I look how this past weekend and early week has gotten away from me, I realize that I have yet to update you on our "I.O.U. Blessing" progress, let alone any other part of my crazy busy, and yet attempting to smell the roses life that inspired this little blogging adventure.

Please forgive me.

If my lack of posting was not unfortunate enough, I also have yet to fulfill last week's coupon. Now, many of you may think that this is simply because I have been avoiding embarassing myself with the whole no push-ups thing... but truly, it is nothing of the sort. Instead, it goes a little something like "wah, wah, my life is so busy, whiny whine, my professors love homework and therefore despise me, wah wah wahhhh."

Still not a good enough excuse, I know. But it's the truth.

But doesn't that become our excuse all too often? Business. The life of a busy bee. Buzzing around so quickly that we often find ourselves splat against a little windshield I like to call life. When really we ought to be taking a moment and thanking God for giving us the little wings that keep us going, the ability to create the honey that nourishes us, and the flowers that sustain our sanity.

Which brings me to the whole reason that I started the "I.O.U Blessings" challenge with my husband this year... because I had found that while buzzing between school and work and church and all of life's other busy blessings... I was beginning to lose track of the honey and the flowers. And I love flowers. (someday I'll post on just how great this love is... and how I'm building a career out of it!)

So I'm hitting the refresh button, getting my hiney back in the proverbial hive, and letting God remind me that He whom I serve is far greater, powerful, and more beautiful than anything I'm going to see buzzing my way around on my own.

I'm hoping to post soon about the 1 hour workout, and then will let you know what the other coupon is for this week... it's already picked out and on the schedule! Until then, stop your buzzing and take time to smell the ranunculus (my favorite flower)... or peonies or roses or daisies or whatever other plant analogy your little wings can wrap themselves around. Just watch out for windshields.

image found at: http://pioneer.utah.gov/research/utah_symbols/images/bee_flying_from_pdphoto.jpg

Friday, January 14, 2011

Meet Riley Mae

Spending an evening with family, our puppy, and a few of our favorite things: dinner by the fireplace, a good movie, and dessert-- butterscotch devil's food cake with cool whip and heath bits to be specific. (Delish... Thanks best friend.)

Tomorrow will come another post in the "I.O.U. Blessings" Series. It should turn out to be quite a humorous one (and potentially incredibly embarassing on my part), so check back if you want to join in the  fun.

'Til then, I leave you with a picture of my ADORABLE puppy (and Jake and I's only child), Riley Mae. (She's looking at "Dad" for a treat)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Recipe: Spicy Honey Stir-fry



So I've decided to take today to post another recipe... and what makes it even better is that this one is actually meant to be edible (as opposed to the potentially edible--but not sure I'd try it sugar scrub recipe I posted last week.)

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures when I made this the other night, but it got the wide-eyed thumbs-up from my husband between mouthfuls... so I figured I'd share it anyways. (I'll try to remember to take pictures from now on so you can see the process and finished product!)

Spicy Honey Stir-fry with Chicken and Brown Rice

a bit of olive oil
4-5 raw chicken breasts, cubed
1-2 bags frozen stir-fry vegetables (I chose a bag with broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, and water chesnuts)
1 bag brown ready-rice
2 Tbs Thai peanut sauce
1 Tbs general tzo Sauce
2 Tbs sriracha sauce
1 Tbs ground ginger
juice of 1/2 a lime
4 Tbs Honey
salt & pepper to taste

(I purchased most of sauces either at the local Asian market or Target)

*Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of a stirfry pan and add chicken. Cook about halfway to 3/4 then add bag of stir-fry vegetables.
*Use tongs to stir and toss regularly until chicken is cooked through and veggies have softened.
*Drain excess fat/liquids from stir-fry.
*Cook rice as per bags instructions, then add into pan with chicken & veggies.
*Right before serving, add remaining ingredients & toss well.
*Serve piping hot,  & garnish with a lime wedge or two. (add chopsticks to your table if you have 'em!)

Bon Appetit!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Here's to you, Richard Simmons.


There have been times in my life where I have been a super fit, workout queen. Unfortunately, now is not one of those times.

Sure, I appreciate and value a healthy lifestyle. I even love eating healthy foods (i.e. fresh fruit, veggies, whole grains, etc.) But somewhere between my breakfasts of oatmeal and apples, and my dinners of chicken and whole grain rice stir-fry (made this last night-- to DIE for. Will have to post the recipe later this week), I get stuck in the swirling pit of doom called sweets... I may or may not have an addiction to chocolate chip cookies.

And while I really do enjoy a good workout... It seems that between church, school, work, and attempting to be a good housewife, those workouts with my favorite trainer, Jillian, seem to go by the wayside. Anyone else ever feel this way?!?!

Often, when I explain this frustration, I'll hear a rousing and excited "I have the solution! Just go on a jog in the morning before you go to work..." to which I respond (internally of course), "Really?" Like it's suppose to be that easy. I seriously envy those who can wake up at ungodly hours and subject themselves to the torture of running as if it were fun or something crazy like that. However, I don't think I can join in their masochistic parade.

Yet, apparently, my husband has joined the parade... because this week for our "blessing," he chose the coupon that requires us to spend one hour exercising... together.

Neat.

Now I'm going to embarass myself with the fact (that I try to keep to myself) I am physically incapable of doing a single pushup.

While last week I began with an overall lack of excitement (though I changed my mind in the long run), this week I begin just a little bit scared. But then again, I love a good challenge. So here's to kicking it up a notch, conquering a few weights and maybe a treadmill (I'm extremely uncoordinated when I run... maybe someday if I'm feeling particularly brave I'll post a video to show you all just how ridiculous it is), and kicking my own butt (and my husband's--he has no idea what he has gotten himself into) Jillian-Michaels-style, while rocking out an attitude that is worthy of Richard Simmons.

Wish me luck... I'm gonna need it.

image found at: http://www.tampabay.com/multimedia/archive/00045/tbw_simmons111408_45784c.jpegl

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I wonder what they'll be like...

So I know I have already made a post for today...

...but moments ago a friend of mine posted this video on my facebook and it was just too perfect not to share with you. Because you see, this child is me. Except for that fact that I think her red hair is natural. But really, I would have done the same thing when I was six with Luke chapter 2 (the Christmas story) if there was such a thing as youtube back then. But alas, the only computer software my family owned was Pong, and I was thus forced to showcase my creative talents at our family talent shows. And now I realize just how entertaining I truly was. Except I'm not sure if that was the kind of entertaining I was going for. But hey, as long as people are laughing, I'll take it.

For those of you who wonder (which may be none of you, short of our parents) what Jake and I's kids will be like someday... Here's a very probable picture:


For those of you who are a little scared after watching that... I feel your pain. Please pray for us. :)

The Cold Shoulder

Let me begin this post by saying that I love the cold. It is clean, crisp, an invigorating. And it is waaaaay better than sweating the day away in the heat.

But right now, the cold and me... well, we're in a fight.

And it's really not the cold's fault. But when you leave your apartment key at work and have to sit on your doorstep for 30 minutes while the maintenance guy comes to let you in--and then find out that because you don't have your ID (I keep mine attached to my keys) you are going to have to continue to stay in the cold until they can get someone on the phone to ask you a million and one random questions about yourself to prove who you are... well you start not to care who's fault it is, and begin to care a whole lot more about the fact that your face looks like Rudolph and the rest of your body feels like you've decided to reenact a scene from Vertical Limit.

While my fingers were turning busy turning black from frostbite, I thought a bit about the nature of these sorts of moments. You know, the "I-don't-care-if-you-say-it's-not-your-fault-I'm-still-ticked" moments in life. I feel like we may encounter those way too often. And, whether we are lovers or fighters, yellers or stewers... these moments, and our attitudes in light of them, undoubtedly affect our relationships.

So this week, as I prepare myself for the "blessing" that my husband chose for us, I challenge myself (and any other lovely people who have come upon this blog and are up for it) to be aware of these moments... and kick their sorry behinds Jillian Michaels-style. Why give into something that will only ruin your mood (or maybe even your relationship with a very beloved season)?

I'll share tomorrow more about this week's "blessing." But for now, I'll just give you a hint...


(a great picture when I've been rattling on about attitudes today... ha!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Recipe: Vanilla-Peppermint Sugar Scrub

There is nothing quite like using random ingredients you have at home to make something that would have cost you boo-cooze of money elsewhere (you can thank my mom for that phrase). The sugar scrub I featured in yesterday's post is just one of those items... super simple to make, smells delicious, and probably even tastes pretty good (though I didn't try it... and am not necessarily recommending it).

To make it, you just need the following:



2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 drops of peppermint essential oil

Stir all ingredients in a small bowl and VOILA! You have a sugar scrub. (I used this for a foot scrub, but you could also use it in the shower as a great overall body exfoliant.)

A few other variations you might consider trying... (in place of the vanilla and peppermint)

-adding 1/2 teaspoon of orange juice and the juice of half a lemon or lime... great if you need something to wake you up early in the morning! (especially if you are like me and are NOT a morning person)
-adding 1/2 teaspoon of coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. (the perfect 'it's a lazy day and I feel like pampering myself' scrub)
-adding 1 teaspoon each of of honey and some very strongly brewed green tea. (very soothing to your skin and is great for undereye bags)

If anyone else knows any great home remedies... I would love to hear from you! Hope you all enjoy your Sunday day of rest!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Frodo & Footbaths

::my husband is going to kill me for posting this::

My husband has hobbit feet. (even though it's hard to really tell in this picture)




And yet, when I look at them, I don't see snapshots of Frodo Baggins.

I see the feet of a man who would walk a million miles to find me and to fight for me. I see 10 little chubby toes that I'll probably see attached to one (if not all) of my children someday. And above all, I see two feet that I know will always be leading me and our future family... as they themselves follow after God.

Now I must admit, when I had Jake choose the first coupon this week... I was a little disappointed in his selection. Not that I really mind giving him a foot rub. I guess I just wanted to see our first week into the New Year hold something a little more "exciting." Like stripping down naked, lighting your hair on fire, and running across a football field in a stadium full of people (Dodge seriously made a genius move having Michael C. Hall narrate their commercials this year... I still can't get this one out of my head).

Well, maybe not that. But something with a little more "ummmph." Maybe a weekend camping trip, or even a competitive game of sorts. Alas, the foot rub coupon was what he had chosen to redeem... and I told you how serious I was about my coupons.

But something changed a couple of days ago when I was reading in the book of John, chapter 13. In this chapter, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples (which, considering they had to walk everywhere virtually barefoot, was quite a task. Think cracked heels, callouses, and toe jam galore) before explaining the underlying significance of his actions.

 12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.


In the washing of the feet, Jesus sets an incredible example of humility that all married couples (or even single individuals in their friendships) should cling to. Because if we can humble ourselves enough to get up close and personal with the darkest, dirtiest, most worn-in parts of each other, then we can learn to love in spite of any circumstance or obstacle--free of the sin and shame that all too often bonds us to our pride and broken hearts.


So I rolled my sleeves up, made a bucket of warm, pepperminty water (we both adore the smell of peppermint oil)...




Made a little bit of homemade sugar scrub (recipe soon to follow in another post!)...
and got up close and personal with the weary travelers of my hobbit... er, i mean husband. 

What a simple and beautiful way for God to remind me how love and humility go hand in hand... 
or is it foot in foot?


P.S. Did anyone else try the challenge this week? Or has anyone participated in any sort of foot-washing ceremony? I'd love to hear any comments on your story... Also, check back tomorrow for the sugar scrub recipe!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Turning the Tables

Whenever you are preparing to get married, people tend to excite/warn you about all the wonderful and not so wonderful things that you will soon be learning about your spouse-to-be. While I was more than happy to have the prospect of further exploring my husband's psyche and strange habits, I often found myself thinking that there probably wasn't too many shocking behavioral revelations that we going to come crawling out of our laminate woodwork after five years of dating.

And for the most part, I was right. Fortunately, Jake and I had dated long enough that we had already learned many of each other's faults (I am incredibly prone to spilling liquids), bad habits (he almost never puts dirty dishes where they belong--a.k.a. the dishwasher), and skills (both of us have some pretty mad massage skills). It is the last of those that bring me to this week's task.

"I.O.U...

...a foot rub. Sit back and relax."

::disclaimer: all who are disgusted by all things feet may not find themselves able to appreciate the rest of this post::

Now let me begin this story by admitting something pitiful. Because while I still (and forever will) contend that our back rubs were equally traded amongst ourselves while dating, I have been seriously lacking in the massage giving trade since we got married. I know, I know. It's totally unfair that I get my shoulders/neck/back/feet rubbed 100x more than my sweet husband. But, as I've reminded him a million times before whenever he randomly decides to give me a hard time about this unfortunate deficit, I rarely ask for them. He just chooses to. And man, is he good at it.

Enter scenario:
I'm innocently leaning on his shoulder while watching grey's anatomy last night on the couch and he starts rubbing the base of my scull/neck (to those of you have never experience a scull rub, it feel something like this--> ::insert ecstatic and simultaneously completely relaxed sigh::)

I am incredibly thankful that of all the things I could have learned about Jake after we got married, it was that he is the sort of guy that freely and frequently does these sorts of things 'just cause' whenever he's around you (even if he can't for the life of him remember to put his cereal bowls into the dishwasher).

However, this week I am turning the tables.

This week I am going to give the most magnificently relaxing foot rub to have ever graced the feet of this earth. (I heard that mental accusal of my ever-present over-exaggeration--and I have NO idea what you're talking about.)

How do I plan to achieve this monumental task you ask? (rhyme not intended) I will utilize the gifts of one of my very best friends- Google. (One of my many nicknames is Google Queen (elaboration saved for another post.) Referencing resources such as this and that, I'm going to combine a few common household items with a bit of elbow grease and I should be set.
















Now, having provided you with my resources, I challenge any brave souls out there reading this to turn their own tables. Go out of your way this week to put hands to feet to show your favorite person (even if they don't feel like your favorite person this week) just how much you love them.

I'll let you know how it goes for me. Until then...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I.O.U. Blessings

When I was little, I didn't have a job, and was therefore penniless. Big surprise there. I was like six.

Hence, when Christmas time and birthdays rolled around, my present-giving capabilities were limited to things that I could make and/or do. Thus began the tradition of "the coupon book."

Almost every family member got one, each with a purposeful variation in content. Handmade with all sorts and bits of paper, glue, string, and an assortment of washable markers/colored pencils, (I was rarely allowed to use paints due to a so-called tendency to spill--I have NO idea what they were talking about...) they were the epitome of crafty. They were also cute, sincere, and above all ENVIED.

Especially the breakfast in bed coupon. (For those of you who haven't tried my breakfast foods, i.e. vanilla-cinnamon pancakes, stuffed french toast, etc., come over anytime to experience the magic--I don't limit the glories of breakfast to morning times.) When any family member wanted to redeem their coupon, they alerted me at least 24 hours in advance--as the fine print called for--and I would begin to plan and prepare the elaborate feast that awaited them. The following morning they would be presented with the works--toast, jam, homemade honey butter (one of my specialties), pancakes, orange juice, coffee, tea, fruit--give or take a few other gourmet delicacies.

Needless to say, I was serious about my coupons. Their content non-negotiable, I held true to my word.

This all goes to say that this year when I was Christmas shopping for my husband and I's very first Christmas and I saw a coupon book in the mall's bookstore, I nearly died. What better way to celebrate our first Christmas and new year together as our own little family than to continue some of the traditions that I had started as a child.

I think Jake might have been a bit confused when he opened a book of coupons under the tree, particularly because of the name of this afformentioned coupon book:

"I.O.U. Blessings"



Yes I am aware that this name is incredibly corny.

And true, some of its contents require equal amounts of corny behavior. But, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, inspiration and intrigue are important to me. And I saw this little book of 52 "blessings" as the perfect opportunity to pursue those things.

So, when I told you yesterday that I had a grand, magnificent plan... I bet you wouldn't have guessed that it would involve coupons. Week-by-week, my dear man is responsible for choosing the coupon of his choice, and each week, I will share on here what the task at hand is to be, how it plays out, and where exactly this year-long journey will take us. And, if these coupons serve as a little inspiration and intrigue for any of my readers, than I hope to hear from you guys about your own journey, too.

Tomorrow will come the revelation of "blessing" numero un (that's number one in french).

'Til then, "Au revoir and bon chance!" (free translation that baby!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

inspiration and intrigue

I might have been on drugs the day I got married.

Okay, okay... maybe that isn't true. But I felt like I was. It was truly the most surreal day of my life--sort of like sitting in a quadruple 3D domed imax theatre with all sorts of fancy things like a screen that talks back to you and scent-sprayers in the wall that make the experience authentic even to your nostrils (I've been campaigning for these through Food Network for years). I watched it all happen around me. Attempting to savor every moment. Every surprise.

It wasn't until the moment my husband flashed his butt at the crowd that I was jerked into the reality of the moment. You see, years and years before we ever even met, I had attended a wedding where the bride and groom had read love letters to each other at the altar before they exchanged vows. It was so... beguiling. I was hooked. My poor husband didn't know when he proposed that I'd soon call on him to be Shakespeare for a day.

Like any good English major, I wrote, edited, brainstormed, revised, scratched out, wrote some more, edited, and finally finalized my letter after months of ink-stained hands and carpal tunnel problems. In my mind, it was the "Pièce de résistance" in my wedding-day plot to finally see my man shed a tear. However, when I concluded my letter at the altar with a sweet, but admittedly humorous reference to his nickname--I was surprised by the immense amount of laughter that was being emitted by our guests. I mean come on, I wasn't THAT funny--was I? 

It wasn't until I looked up from my letter that I realized that they weren't laughing at the onscreen me, but were instead laughing at the very real man standing across from me, bent over, coattails up, hind end bared.

Okay... maybe not BARED (he kept his pants on)... but it was enough to make my very pale skin very hot pink.

Apparently, "honeybottom" (a nickname I had come up for him in response to him once calling my 'sugarbritches') wasn't the best way to end my tear-jerker of a letter. But I was happy to get a laugh. And even more happy to have a husband that could surprise me with his own laughter inducing antics--even at the altar. What joy to my soul.

Growing up, my mom always told me to marry someone that both inspired and intrigued me. This story is a testament to the fact that I did just that. (Kids, listen to your moms... they know their stuff.)

Now, being nearly 10 months hitched, we have decided to make a plan for the new year that will hopefully further create opportunities to inspire and intrigue each other. I'll post details of this plan soon. Until then, just sit back and relax in those imaginary quadruple 3D domed imax theatre seats... Coming from one of those most naturally impatient people on the planet... I promise not to leave you hanging too long.