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happy 5

Last weekend the husband and I took off to celebrate our fifth year of being husband and wife.  Full of sleeping in, shopping and long conversations over good food the weekend was every bit as sweet as I’d imagined it.

I still remember the onslaught of unsolicited advice we received the summer we got married about how difficult marriage would be and how things would never be the same again.

Well, things have certainly not been the same.  They’ve been so much better.  I’m not trying to paint an unrealistic picture of roses and rainbows, but there’s no doubt at all that my happiest years have been the years since I was joined with him.  Marriage gets a bad name from so many people these days, but I can tell you for a facet that there are happy marriages too.  I don’t buy for one second that marriage is constant hard work.

Everything really is better when we’re together whether we’re exploring our new city, working at home or falling asleep at night.  Choosing him to be by my side was the best decision I’ve ever made.

When times are tough as they so often are, I am most thankful for our love and friendship.  Someone to talk things through with, cry with and sometimes just sit in silence with – he’s my rock.

I’m so excited about all the life we’ve lived together in these five years – living overseas, parenting a puppy, new jobs, six moves, living with parents and building a house – and I am so ready for the adventures the coming years will bring.  I think life will only get more challenging as more responsibilities come our way and we continue to live through heartbreak and struggles, but the joys will be so much deeper too.

I love you, dear.  And I’m the luckiest girl in the world.
Happy 5.

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we built a house

when we first decided to build our house, we named this song as our theme song for the project.  not very good video quality, but it was the best I could find.

A little over five months ago, the husband and I decided to do something a little crazy.  Having always been the types for adventure, we rarely take the simple route when it comes to big events in life, whether it be moving overseas for a year, running a marathon together or in this case – moving in with my mom and step-dad for four months and building a house.

But I’m happy to say we have a lot of life and learning tucked under our belts, and even in the midst of the most difficult and trying moments I’m so enthralled by doing life together.  The house building process was at the same time one of the most exciting and one of the most stressful projects we’ve tackled to date.

There were so many moments, on those long drives home after work where I just kept throwing out the question of why.  Why in the world did we sign up for this?  It’s so stressful and difficult.  But at the same time there were many feel good moments when we saw the results of our determination come to fruition through even the littlest details – air ducts being installed, the addition of light switch plates, or the little tree in our front yard, however dead it may be:)

I love when I walk around various rooms of our house, and every little piece has a story and a vivid memory.

“…remember when I got on your shoulders in the pitch dark of night and tried to make a big ‘x’ on our dining room ceiling so they’d know where to hang that light?”

or

“…remember the time we celebrated my new job by using our drywall in the middle of the living room as a table for our cupcakes?”

or

“…remember that  light that we ordered for our entryway only to realize upon it’s arrival that it was sized more for a hotel foyer than a modest sized house?

Overall it was worth every single decision, every moment commuting between work and my mom’s house, every disagreement and every stressful moment.  We’re now able to add one more challenging life experience to our ever growing collection of adventures, and baby it feels SO good to walk in our home at the end of every day and say “we did this together.”

We closed on our 2nd house at 2pm on Friday, June 24th, two days past our expected date, and with the help of several family members (God bless them:), we moved in that night.  However cliche it sounds, “good things come to those who wait” rang in my ears as we walked up the sidewalk to our house and the husband swept me up and carried me through the entry.

These days we’re loving all the extra time we have in the evenings, while trying desperately to revive our poor grass that was half dead before it was even laid.  The husband has become quite good friends with the sprinkler, and I’m falling more in love with my kitchen every day.


We are so grateful for the opportunity to go through this process and most of all for the blessing of having our own home now.  And of course one of the biggest highlights of it all has been getting our little baby dog back.  I know she had a great time at my grandpa and grandma’s.  They spoiled her rotten, and she loved every minute of it.  But we missed her like crazy, and are loving every minute of having her back at home with us.
While she misses watching the cows and chasing squirrels all day long, I think she’s adjusting back to city life quite well.  She’s finding her favorite spots inside and having a grand time exploring the neighborhood on our morning walks.
Now that we’re finally getting settled and life is beginning to get into a new routine, we’re ready and waiting for our next adventure.
What is the best adventure you’ve ever been on?

in our guest bedroom on a rainy night less than a week before we closed

Happy Friday!
By the way – while I don’t have very many inside pictures of our house to post right now, I’ll definitely put together a little photo tour once we get unpacked and the house doesn’t look like a tornado anymore.  Trust me, you don’t want to see that.

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happy july 4

Hi.

Obviously it has been a long time since I’ve been around.  There has been so much going on in the last couple of months, and I hope to play catch up on everything in the coming days.  I can’t really say exactly why I’ve been checked out for so long…I guess all the changes that have been happening around here have overwhelmed me, and I’ve been spending all my time and energy absorbing it all and tucking it into the small recesses of my mind.  This time of life – the defeats and the victories – I’ve been swimming in every moment, and I want to learn and become a better me because of it all.

Since I last wrote, I have settled into my new job, we’ve moved into our house (yay!), we got Olive back (double yay!) and we became and aunt and uncle for the first time.  I appreciate so much the sweet emails and messages you’ve sent since my surgery in May; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million more times – the blogging community is so incredible, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.  While I’m still dealing with some of the aftermath, I’m feeling pretty well overall, happy to be up and around.  So, thank you.

Despite the novel I could write on everything from the recent past (there will be plenty of time for that), for now I just want to wish you all a late happy Fourth of July!  I hope everyone had a relaxing and family filled holiday weekend.  The husband and I soaked up every minute of it right up until late Monday night.  Starting the day by swinging by our city’s parade, we were full of spirit and patriotism.  I have to say, though, that I don’t think we’ll be found at another parade until we have children old enough to appreciate it.   Parades are just not made for late twenties, childless families…or small paranoid dogs.  I know it’s hard to believe considering how happy we both look;)

The day picked up after we got back home, though, as I hit the kitchen to create something epically festive for our evening family cookout.  What started out in my head as a good old fashioned peach pie, quickly turned into Angela’s tarts (click for recipe!), made famous by her entry into Project Food Blog.  When it came down to it, I just couldn’t bring myself to break out the Crisco…I haven’t changed that much since I’ve been away!

I followed the recipe almost exactly – minus just a few small changes.  After much frustration over the custard not thickening, I finally decided to pour it into a saucepan and heat it on the stove-top, stirring continually.  This worked much better for me!

I also opted to leave out the nutritional yeast, resulting in a white custard as opposed to yellow.  I’m not a big custard person, so I’m sure white custard probably looks weird, but something about the yellow color really turned me off, and I don’t need any extra reasons for my family to think my food is weird.  I liked it white:) And obviously, I also used different fruit options – raspberries, peaches, strawberries, and one lone blueberry.

I was really happy with the way these turned out, and (with a wary eye) most of my family enjoyed them!

I didn’t get many pictures of the rest of the evening – the fireworks and family time went undocumented.  I’ve decided that for the most part, I thrive off photographing food and babies (Olive included of course.)  Nothing else is quite as fun.  So, I snapped a few too many shots of my swimsuit clad baby cousin and called it a night:)

The Fourth of July is a holiday that despite the sweat and sweltering heat you can’t help but love it.  For me it’s always been about the sweet comfort of Grandpa and Grandma’s house, thick with the smell of grilled burgers (veggie burger for me, please) followed by the hazy smoke from firecrackers.

It definitely is still so much about that, but now that I’m older my heart is filled with gratefulness for the freedom that we have here.  My new job has me mainly working with students from a country where women can’t even drive a car, and I’m burdened by the unfairness of it all.  Perspective is found in facts like this, as I struggle to come to terms with seeming unfairness in my own life.   And maybe for one minute, I can stop asking why for myself and instead ask why for an assortment of other folks, all the while thanking God that I was born in this great country.

Now that I’ve broke the silence, I’m looking forward to catching up on everything that’s been going on.  Life just isn’t the same with a dormant blog trust me.  I’m happy to be back.

And before I sign off, I positively have to leave you with a pic of my new baby nephew, Cooper.  He is precious.

Have a great day!

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okc half marathon part II

click here for part I

We all know that it really doesn’t matter how long it takes you to get across the start line in a race because the final results go by chip time anyway, right?  Well, mostly.

The problem is that if you start fifteen minutes late, then you automatically are surrounded by runners who are in an entirely different pace group than you are.  And most of the time not only runners who are slower, but also walkers.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a huge level of admiration for anyone who can walk an entire half marathon, but it’s just a little frustrating when you’re trying to set a good pace and every ten feet you find yourself dodging people or having to stop entirely so as not to run over someone.  Such was the first about 5 miles of our race, no kidding.  Once we finally got going, I just wanted to go.  Despite the freezing cold rain, I was feeling pretty positive and so excited to finally be on our way.  My competitive side was definitely rising to the occasion, and I wanted so badly to set ourselves up to PR.

Other than dodging people and puddles, the first nine or ten miles were pretty uneventful.  The first time we ran this race, I wasn’t as familiar with OKC, so I didn’t really know where we were on the path at any point in time.  Which was probably good considering we did the full and I probably would have died had I known how far we were really running.  But this time it was kind of nice to be able to take in all the neighborhoods, restaurants and streets that we’ve been exploring since making OKC our new home.  We even ran down the exact same intersection where we got rear ended just a few short weeks ago.  It was actually at that point that I remember looking sideways at this husband and saying “this is so fun!”  haha.  I’m pretty sure he gave me the evil eye in response.  I was seriously having the time of my life, though.  There were tons of spectators out, especially considering the weather…and it was so exciting.  Moments like those are why I run races.  There’s just nothing that compares.

I had known for awhile that the husband wasn’t having his best race day.  You know how it is.  Sometimes you’re on.  And sometimes you’re just not.  For whatever reason, the husband was just not “on,” and the freezing cold rain and wind definitely wasn’t helping.  Around mile ten I started feeling a little sluggish and my legs were getting tired.  But overall I was still in the game to keep pushing forward.  We stopped at an aid station about that time and grabbed some orange slices, which I thought would give us just the right boost of energy to finish strong.  But unfortunately it started causing the husband stomach cramps, and for him things just continued to go downhill.

It was getting colder by the minute, and by this point we were completely soaked through with rain. Every time we’d run under a tree, the wind would blow and dump a huge load of rainwater right on top of us.  Honestly, the weather was so ridiculous that I couldn’t help but chuckle.  It was just plain crazy to be out there, especially around mile 10-11 when it started lightening again.  All I kept thinking about was how sorry I felt for the full marathoners (including my little cousin) who were for the most part barely at the halfway point.

Around mile 11 or so, the husband really started to be in pain.  Poor guy.  I felt so bad.  He tried to get me to go on and leave him behind, but that was never an option in my mind.  There may be a day where I set out to train for and run a race on my own, but so far in our running lives, the husband and I have stuck together.  He’s my partner in everything, and as bad as I wanted us to PR, there was no part of me that wanted to finish that race without him by my side.  It’s just like in life…everything (at least for the most part:) is better when we’re doing it together.  So, I just tried to encourage him as much as possible; he was getting so frustrated with the situation, and I just kept reminding him that it was just a race.  And in fact, it wasn’t even really a race for us…it was a run.  All I wanted him to do was to be able to relax and enjoy the rest of it as much as possible.  Otherwise, what’s the point in running?

I was so proud of the way he finished.  Between miles 11 and 13.1 we had to walk for various short spurts, but he always started back up even when it was painful and not easy.  When we got about a half mile from the finish line, we both laid it all out on the line, and we killed it.  It was exhilirating.  As we sailed toward the end, waiving to my mom and step-dad, I had flashbacks and visions of so many things – our first half marathon, our full marathon two years ago, our year in Thailand, our house, all the challenges we’ve faced in our five years of being married, and I felt so happy and complete.

These last ten weeks have been really tough.  I honestly didn’t realize how tough they were going to be.  So much in our life has changed and this transition of living out of my mom’s extra bedroom, starting new jobs, commuting, missing Olive, dealing with health issues, building a house…it is such a replica of the passion and dedication it took to train for and run that race.  We were hesitant and a little bit fearful when we started out.  We’ve had some major highs.  And some serious lows.  We’ve helped carry each other through – mentally and physically – when things have gotten really tough and seemed impossible.

And we’ll continue to press on, hand in hand, until the very end.  We’ll be better individuals…stronger.  And we’ll know each other more deeply and be able to support and love each even better. I’m so glad we ran this race.  Even though it didn’t go anything like we expected, it was worth it a million times over.

.

After the race, we grabbed some bagels and water and headed back to find my family.  Both of my little cousins were still out, one doing the half and one the full, and I really wanted to watch them come in.  After we stopped running though, we just got colder and colder (it even started to hail before the full was over).  I think the temperature was in the upper 30′s by this point, and it was still pouring rain.  I couldn’t feel anything from my knees down, my hands were throbbing, my face hurt….we waited around for about a half hour or so before we realized we might die if we didn’t get back to our hotel and get out of wet clothes.  The walk back to our hotel was by far the most miserable part of the morning…I can’t even describe it.  As soon as we got back, we had a quick photo shoot together since nobody had a camera at the finish, and then took the longest, hottest shower in the history of showers.  I seriously never wanted to get out!  No better way to end such a crazy, epic race:)


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okc half marathon part I

To start, thanks so much for the well wishes and encouragement after yesterday’s post.  Looking back at it, I realize that it sounded rather negative.  That’s the kind of thing I’m less able to see clearly at three in the morning, ha. I appreciate all your kind words so much and they brightened my day; it never ceases to amaze me the kind of support one gets from the blog community.  I am slowly feeling better today (no more ER trips), and I’m hoping and praying by the end of the weekend, I’ll be ready to jump back into real life.  It never occurred to me that my recovery time would be this long, and I think that’s what has made it more difficult.  But things could be so much worse, and I have so much to be thankful for, part of that being all of you.  So, thank you.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

It completely blows my mind that it has been twelve days since we ran the OKC half marathon.  Carrying on with our training throughout our moving/living with parents and job change process made it seem like it lasted forever, and now suddenly even the race seems like it was forever ago!  I honestly have to say that while we stuck to our training schedule the best that we could during this season in our life, it wasn’t ideal, and it didn’t even come close to preparing us as well as our half three years ago.  But we obviously weren’t running for serious time goals, and training together definitely gave us something to focus on and helped keep us active during these crazy last several weeks.

Not only were we not super well prepared physically, our mental game was also a little off.  I was definitely ready and excited to run the race, but I just wasn’t super focused.  The day before we spent some amazing time with friends from college and ended up getting back to our hotel super late.  We decided at the last minute to stay in a downtown hotel primarily because my mom’s house is about 45 minutes from the race start and because we had enough points for a free night!  We even got to take the baby along:)

So, after a late night and about five hours of sleep, we woke to our alarm and rolled out of bed to get ready.  Thankfully we turned on the TV, and there was coverage of the race already on.  It was at this point that we realized how crazy the weather was: forty degrees, windy and pouring rain.  Further proof that our heads were just not where they should have been was that the weather forecast had predicted rain and colder temperatures all week, but for some reason we just hadn’t really paid attention.  By the grace of God we had both thrown in a long sleeve running shirt just in case or we really would have been in trouble.

Just when we were finishing up getting ready, we heard the news announce that the race start had been delayed due to lightening.  Cue the next sign that we weren’t really ready – I was a little bit relieved.  We had been rushing around so much, and I just felt really scattered (which actually coincides nicely with how I’ve felt the last ten weeks or so) and disorganized…like I was forgetting something important.  I couldn’t decide whether to take my iPod and risk it getting wet.  Whether or not to take a gear bag to check in case I wanted to ditch my long sleeve right before the start (ha!).  Whether or not to wear my headband or a hat.  Etc etc.  Let me break here and say to any of you who have not yet run a race: never wait until the morning of the race to decide these important matters!  I should have made all the decisions at least the night before.  But alas, I had not so I was frantically debating all these issues with the husband, who by the way was lounging in bed with Olive like it was the middle of Sunday afternoon. Clearly, we were on opposite ends of the spectrum, but he was every bit as mentally absent as I was.

After about another twenty minutes of watching the news, it suddenly hit me that if they were not going to delay the start another thirty minutes, then we should really be getting ourselves out the door and down to the start line.  Again..hello?!  So, I grabbed our gear check bag and my water bottle, and off we went.  Once downstairs, the husband realized that he hadn’t brought his headband (his ears hurt if he runs in wind), so he had to go back upstairs and get it.  At this point, I wasn’t super worried yet, but I was beginning to feel some urgency.  The day before when we picked up our race packets from the expo, they had been out of programs (what!?), and because the start had been moved to a different location this year, we didn’t even know exactly where we were supposed to be headed. And it was still pouring rain.

We took off walking in the direction other people were going, and I distinctly remember the point where I started to stress.  Looking at my watch, I realized that we couldn’t be more than about ten minutes from starting time, and with our gear check bag still in hand, we had no idea where we were even headed.  About six blocks later, we found our way to the corral area, but it was all gated off, and I honestly couldn’t even tell which way everyone was headed in the corral.  It was just so confusing!  At this point I began to get a little frantic.  There were people everywhere and it was all we could do to try and squeeze through the crowds.  I kept asking everyone if they knew where the gear check was, and somehow not a single person knew anything.

Two minutes and counting.

The excitement in the crowd was overflowing (as was the rain), and we somehow ended up caught in the 5k corral.  People were packed in like sardines, and they were not going anywhere.  I kept trying to worm my way through, but despite the usual friendliness of Oklahomans, no one was even remotely willing to step aside.  The husband and I were caught in a packed sea of people, having no idea where the gear check station or the actual start line even was….

and the gun went off.

I have to say at this point I felt so disappointed.  I was so mad at us for getting ourselves in this position.  If you’ve ever run a race, you know one of the best parts is the start.  Everyone is so high on energy, and there’s a sense of euphoria that goes through you when the gun goes off and you start moving forward as a giant unit of runners, ready to embark on what you hope to be your best race ever.  I just wanted to be there, but there was nothing we could do.

After about another ten minutes of trying to get through the 5K crowd (those 5Kers can be some stubborn folks I tell ya), we finally broke through.  We took off jogging the opposite way of the runners in search of the gear check.  Asking everyone we passed, we finally got some direction and found the station.  I practically threw the bag at the gear check person, and the husband and turned back toward the corral…and then I spotted the bathrooms.  Now typically, there is no way you could have paid me to waste another two minutes going to the bathroom when we were already 15+ minutes late starting.  But really, at this point what did it matter?  I seriously had to go, and I figured it would be better to go before our chip time started, even though the husband was looking at me like I’d lost my mind.  Locking myself in the little porta potty, I quickly took care of business and then began to readjust my clothes when I heard something hit the floor.  uh oh.  My chapstick.  Trying to block out the disgusting nature of the situation, I reached down and snatched it up and then stuffed it into the little zipper pocket in the back of my pants.  Uh oh again.  I immediately knew what had happened.  Turning slowly, I gazed downed into the depths of the black hole, only to see my precious iPod headphones resting gently on top of the pile.  I have to be honest here and say that for a split second I did consider fishing them out.  But I quickly came to my senses, bid them a quick goodbye, and raced toward the start.

Finally at least heading in the right direction, I started feeling a little more positive.  We weaved our way through some more 5K and 10kers and finally crossed the start line at about 17 minutes past start time.

to be continued…

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