Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Miscellany

~Luke and I have recently started watching Hoarders. It is so hard to watch, and yet we can't look away. We are addicted. However, whenever I watch it, I feel horrible for gawking at the people in the episodes. Have you seen this show? There are no words to describe it. You just have to watch it. Although, don't start, because it's hard to look away. Like a train wreck.

~Is it weird that I find myself daydreaming about Christmas cookies while I'm at work? I can't wait to bake and decorate a bunch! I've started a real addiction with this whole baking/decorating thing. Now if only I could make myself feel the same way about cooking.

~We went to see The Blind Side last night with my parents. It was hands down the best movie I have seen since I don't even know when. It was very inspirational. It took place in Memphis...part of it in inner-city Memphis. I went on a mission trip to Memphis when I was 16 and stayed at a youth center right smack dab in the middle of the inner city. I remember one night we had a get-together with some of the teens who lived there. I think only one or two people actually showed up. But just think, I could have met Michael Oher! (He's the guy from the movie. It's a true story, and Michael was really drafted to play with the Ravens this year). Okay, I'm reaching a little bit, but anyway, the movie hit me pretty hard because I guess I felt connected to the area. It is a must-see!

~Now that it's getting colder, I find myself really dreading the winter months. I LOVE the Christmas season, but from January 2nd until April is my least favorite time of year. I have a really hard time staying positive and keeping my spirits up in general in the winter because the cold really gets to me. Yeah, I'm one of those people. I really want to plan a trip with Luke to The Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky sometime, maybe during Valentines Day weekend. I think it will help break up the winter months a little, and give us something to look forward to. I haven't really mentioned it to Luke yet, but I'm hoping I can be very persuasive and talk him into it.

And that's really all I can think of to say right now. I'm having a pretty mellow night here with Luke just relaxing, and I love it! I'm such a homebody :-) I'm perfectly content to hang out here all evening, especially now that it's all decorated for Christmas!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Skirt for my Tree

Just checking in today to show off my homemade tree skirt! My mom helped me make it. Our inspiration was a tree skirt at TJ Maxx. I must say that mine looks almost identical, but cost less to make! And it was a lot more fun!
Not liking the way it's laying, but we'll work on that later :-)
Here's the whole tree:
This project was so easy, and I love how it turned out! It makes me want to try to make more homemade things. Thanks, mom, for helping me! We will use this for years to come :-)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

O Christmas Tree

Luke and I decided yesterday that we would wait until next weekend to buy our Christmas tree and set it up. We spent the evening last night moving furniture from upstairs to the downstairs living room so we could paint the new upstairs living room later. (Was that confusing enough for you?) The downstairs living room was so nice and cozy once we got it set up. Except that one corner of the room seemed bare and incomplete. We decided that we couldn't wait until next weekend to buy the tree. We woke up and headed straight to the Christmas tree farm this morning!
We were not there more than 5 minutes total. I kid you not. We don't waste time when it comes to Christmas decorating! And I'm really happy with the tree we picked.
I had no idea what kind of motivation having a few days off from work would give us. I think we need a 5-day weekend every month :-) We accomplished a lot today!

We brought our tree home and set it up
I started making my tree skirt at my mom and dad' is a preview! Hopefully I'll finish tomorrow.
We put one coat of paint on the entire attic room. You can still see the red, so we'll need at least 1 or 2 more coats. And the trim is not staying black.
We made two trips to town due to my pickyness with the LED lights Luke picked out.

I designed a new blog header and updated my background, as you can see.

And finally, we decorated our tree.
All while keeping two very mischievous little critters under control
"Who, me??"
Anyway, it's not even 9:00 yet! If only I had this kind of constructive energy all the time. I can't believe how much energy I've had during this break. I don't know why teaching sucks so much energy out of me, but it really does! It's been such a wonderfully refreshing little break. And it's not even over yet :-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Checking in

The past few days have been great, but busy. I finally seemed to be able to break myself from the internet for a few days though, so it was a good thing :-) Today is sure to be just as busy as the last two, so I thought I'd check in really quick. I probably won't be back to my computer again today.

Thanksgiving was such a great day! We spent it running around from house to house, eating a little (or a lot!) each place we went. It was fun to catch up with family. I love Thanksgiving! It's one of my favorite holidays, second only to Christmas.

Today we're heading out to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving round 2. The whole family will be together for the first time in probably almost a year. My aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins moved to Virginia this year (if you've been reading for awhile then you probably remember when we headed down to Virginia Beach and to visit them on vacation this past summer). Anyway, they made the trip here for Thanksgiving, so we'll all be together! They are also coming up for Christmas, so that will be fun too :-)

And just because I'm really excited to share, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house! Here's a small preview:
I found a home for my PB glittery pine cones :-) And the "snow" in the bottom is actually sprinkles.
I love, love, LOVE those Christmas mugs. I got them from a friend last year. The snowflakes peaking over the top are attached to little stirring spoons that match the mugs, and are curved at the top so that they hang from the side of the mug. LOVE them!

We have also picked out our paint color for the ex-Ohio State room. It will be a dark blueish-gray color, and I love it :-) Since the room may be a little torn up during the Christmas season, we are moving our good TV and other things down from the Ohio State room to the living room downstairs. If we can make that transition quickly sometime tonight or tomorrow morning, then we may be getting our tree tomorrow! It will go in the downstairs living room. I really can't wait! Luke is so excited to buy LED lights this year. They are very bright, and use a whole lot less energy than the regular kind. He's also letting me put white lights on the tree this year, which is my favorite way to do it. Last year we used white, red, and green. Maybe we'll compromise and switch colors every other year.

Anyway, I am babbling. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Enjoy those leftovers today ;-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks in all Situations

It seems that everyone is doing a thankfulness post this week, and I thought I'd join in. As I sit here and ponder all that I am thankful for, I am finding myself thinking about Corrie Ten Boom and her book "The Hiding Place." I read this book in 5th or 6th grade, and I remember just being blown away by her story. She and her father were very active in hiding refugees and rescuing Jews during the Holocaust. Eventually, her family members were sent to prison. Her father died, and she and her sister were sent to concentration camps, where eventually, her sister died as well. It was such a depressing story until the end. Corrie ten Boom was released from the concentration camp. It was later found that she was released on a clerical error, and one week after she was released, all of the women prisoners who were her age at the camp were killed.

The thing that stuck out to me the most from this story was Corrie's thankfulness to God. Back then I understood why she would be thankful that God had miraculously spared her from death. However, I DIDN'T understand why she was thankful for everything else. I remember her specifically writing that during her life, God had taught her to be thankful in every situation. While she was starving and being treated so brutally at the concentrations camps, and even when she lost members of her family she knew that she had to be thankful. This hit me really hard when I was about twelve years old reading this book. I had never realized before that we were supposed to be thankful for the bad things too. And I really respected Corrie ten Boom for being able to do that during the horrific times in her life, as well as the good ones.

All that to say, God uses all situations in our lives for good. Things may seem horrible at the time, but God knows what He is doing!

I am thankful for all the obvious things:

A God who loves me unconditionally and who has saved me!

A husband who is my best friend, and who I will get to share my whole life with.

Loving and supportive family members who have been there for me no matter what.

A job where I learn new things every day.

A house that is not just a house, but also a HOME.

A full stomach.

The ability to wake up everyday and live this life!

Pretty good health.

Today I am trying to also be thankful for the things that may be a little harder to understand:

I'm thankful for the fact that our car engine broke. Through this situation, we have learned to trust God with our finances more. I actually notice it now every month when the tithe goes out and it has caused me to trust God with our finances and remember that everything we have is really his. We are just stewards of His things. Also, the money could have really blessed the mechanic in a time when he needed it. And finally, our car will be like a brand new car now, and will last a lot longer.

I'm thankfulor all that is going on with my job. Although it's hard, God is teaching me to stand up for myself more. Also, I am finding myself leaning on Him so much more since this year I am out of my comfort zone in a lot of situations at work.

And I'm thankful for my recent health problems (I gotta be honest, this one is hard to be thankful for!) When I'm having stomach pains in the middle of the night, I find myself praying basically the whole time. Mostly I'm praying that God will relieve the pain, and he always eventually brings me comfort and relieves me. I'm thankful that those cramps have only been coming once a night, that they always end after about an hour, and that God always seems to bring me an amazing amount of comfort afterwards. It's usually at about 2 or 3 in the morning, and something about the quiet of the middle of the night makes me feel like it's just me and God. No other distractions (except the pain :-P). I'm thankful that I seem to be getting better, and that this is the only health problem that I have. I know so many people have it so much worse!

My life has been pretty easy so far. These past few months have been harder on me than probably any other time. And yet I don't think I would trade them. Don't get me wrong...there are definitely times when I don't see it that way! But in hindsight, I can see that I have experienced God's comfort and peace so immensely during these past few months. I keep saying they have been the worst months in a long time, but also the best ones. I'm learning so much. And although my experiences don't even begin to compare to what Corrie ten Boom went through, I can learn through her that I need to be thankful in all situations.

"Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see" ~ Corrie ten Boom

Monday, November 23, 2009

One More Day

I have one more day of work this week. One more day of waking up early, one more day of stress. One more day of saying "Don't rock back on your chair," "Get that pencil out of your mouth," and "Please don't talk while I'm talking" 1,000 times. Too bad that that one more day just happens to be parent-teacher conference day, so it will be a 14 hour day. But knowing what's on the other side of those 14 hours will make them bearable for sure.

After tomorrow, I will have FIVE DAYS off. That's right, I said FIVE. I could not be happier. Five days of sleeping in. Five days of good food, time with friends and family, and Christmas preparations! Five days of absolute bliss.

I will begin my long weekend by watching a cheesy movie on ABC Family or the Hallmark channel on Tuesday night when I'm EXHAUSTED after conferences. I'm guilty of loving those. Just last night I watched Holiday in Handcuffs on ABC Family. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Don't judge me...

Wednesday I will be sure to sleep in as late as I possibly can. Then I will brave the crowds at the grocery store where I will buy some supplies for the Thanksgiving cookies I plan to make. For the rest of the day I'm going to do whatever I want! Ahh, I love that feeling. Having no agenda, no plans, just going with the flow :-) I will probably spend lots of time cleaning the house in preparation for Christmas decorating, and perhaps we will even start painting the new living room! We have been busy picking out paint colors the past few days and are chomping at the bit to start! The original plan was to begin after Christmas, but our new plan is to finish before Christmas :-) I digress...

Thursday will be such a busy day! We will begin the day by hopefully watching the Macy's Day Parade...probably while still lying in bed, because we're allowed to be lazy this week! Then we will head out to Luke's grandparents' house for lunch, swing by my parents' to visit family there, and finish the day off at Luke's other grandparents' house :-) Luckily our families all live close by! Hopefully we will end the evening by coming home and relaxing while watching a Christmas movie and sipping on hot chocolate. Bliss, I tell you.

If you can believe it, Friday we have more family to visit. We are spending the afternoon and evening at my aunt's house with my dad's side of the family. We like to forgo the traditional Thanksgiving meal there every year and order fried chicken and jo-jos. We always get together the day after Thanksgiving and just relax and have a less formal day there. This is probably my favorite part of Thanksgiving! Since we are always so busy and running all over the place on Thanksgiving, it's nice to relax and have a little break from turkey on Friday. I said a LITTLE break. You better believe I'll be ready for a turkey leftover sandwich for lunch on Saturday ;-)

During the weekend I will hopefully make my Christmas tree skirt. I went shopping with my mom for all the supplies today after work. It's going to be so cute, if I do say so myself! :-) Also during the weekend I hope to go see A Christmas Carol in 3D with Luke, and maybe even see a matinee of The Blind Side sometime. That movie looks amazing.

Oh, and somewhere in there I hope to get most of my Christmas decorations put out. We're planning on buying our tree the next weekend. And yes, we do a real tree. It was tradition in both of our families, and I just love the way it makes the house smell!

I know that for the rest of the week I'll either be posting a lot or not at all. I'm not sure which depends on how much free time I end up having on my break :-) So if I'm not able to visit the blogosphere too often, I hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving!!

I'm sure I'll probably be back before then, though ;-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Our Progress

Luke and I made a lot of progress today on our house! The other day I wrote about how we have decided to basically move all the rooms in our house around and do some renovations. Here is how we spent our day:

I woke up this morning basically feeling like I was going to die. I seriously feel like I got a taste of what contractions must feel like. So I was lying in bed in pain while Luke started moving things around. When I finally started feeling better around 11, I crawled out of bed and saw THIS:
Yikes! Talk about stressful! Luke had shoved 2 rooms worth of stuff in the living room while we worked.

Our lovely cats had the best day ever climbing all over everything while Luke and I worked like crazy
(Side note: I have completely fallen in love with Ellie. She is so sweet and affectionate! Not to mention adorable! She is completely filling the void of a puppy!)
After about 9 hours worth of work (and we're NOT done. I just took a break to share our progress) Here is what we came up with.

First of all, here was our bedroom BEFORE.
Here we are is now our office/Ohio State room!
As you can see, Luke is still working :-)
We moved all the Ohio State stuff from upstairs to this room, and now the room upstairs will be turned into a formal(ish) living room.

Here's my favorite part of the room: the bat that was broken and signed by The Power Team, with Luke's Youth Explosion backstage pass hanging from it. Two of our favorite memories from this fall, and probably even from the whole year.

And next we have the room that used to be the office. Here is the BEFORE:
And here is the is now the bedroom! (And thank heavens we got rid of that dirty, ugly love seat. We had fun dropping off of the landing outside where it fell all the way from the second floor to the ground).
It's hard to tell because of the flash, but the lighting is really dim and soothing. We never got a very good flow going with the furniture in the old bedroom, but I think everything really works in the new room!
We're still working. I'll keep updating on all of our progress! Tomorrow we're going out to lunch and then looking at paint colors, lights, and lots of other things for the new living room. And we're also going to hang the mini chandelier in the hallway that I bought last Tuesday. Later this week we're going to try to get some estimates on carpet for the new living room. It's so much fun! I love doing projects like this. Life is just too boring when we're not busy with something like this ;-)

Well I am off. I'm leaving in a half hour to see the movie that I've been waiting to see for almost exactly 365 days: New Moon!!!! I will be sure to let you know what I think :-) I'm pretty excited, because I've heard it's much better than Twilight. And I even enjoyed that!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Bright Side

This weekend Luke and I were supposed to go on a young adult retreat with some people from church. I was pretty pumped about it until my stomach just started feeling sicker and sicker as the week went on. On Wednesday I finally decided that since I've been waking up in the middle of the night each night lately and spending about an hour sick in the bathroom, I didn't want to deal with that when I wasn't at home. So Luke and I both decided to cancel. I was bummed, but there IS a bright side and I'm going to find it. (And just for the record, I'm still not pregnant, so that's not the reason. Didn't want to mislead anyone b/c I guess some people at church suspected that I was pregnant since I've been sick so much this fall!)

First of all, I think I figured out what is wrong with me! Maybe. For a few years now, I've been lactose intolerant. But I think I may have discovered that I'm fructose intolerant as well. This past weekend at youth explosion, I drank immense amounts of pop, because I basically had access to all-you-can-drink Diet Coke. FREE Diet Coke. Also, we bought a few 2-liters for our hotel rooms, and would sip on glasses of that pop in the evenings after we got back to the hotel. When we got home, we had tons of left over pop that I've been drinking all week. And I have been getting increasingly sicker and sicker all week. I made the connection on Wednesday or Thursday, have since cut pop out of my diet, and am already feeling (slightly) better. After doing some research online, I found that some people can't digest fructose correctly. And because of the high amounts of high fructose corn syrup in most pops, some people get sick from it. I'm hoping that I really have pegged the problem so I can just avoid pop and I won't be sick anymore!
Update: Just found out Diet Coke has no high fructose corn syrup in it! lol!! Maybe it's just something else in the Diet Coke. I've always been told that that stuff's like drinking poison, even though I was addicted to it for years!

Also, I'm okay with missing the retreat because we are going to have some relaxation time, and some time to start on our home reorganization I wrote about in my last post. I'm super excited!!

And tomorrow night I get to see the movie that I've been waiting to see since it's prequel came out one year ago: NEW MOON!!! I know I'm not a die hard fan who went to see it in the middle of the night last night, but I'm still excited!Oh my gosh, I seriously thought about reading the book again tomorrow in preparation for tomorrow night! I don't think I'll go that far, but I'm really excited about it! The book was my least favorite of the series, but the movie actually looks pretty fantastic based on the trailer!

And one last thing I'm excited about...only 2 more work days until Thanksgiving break!!! I don't know that I've ever needed a break so badly as I do right now. This has been a difficult few months, even though they've been great at the same time. But a break, a little R&R, and some time with family and friends should make things a lot better :-)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Don't you just love those horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE moments that turn into fun blessings? I had one of those last night.

It all started when Luke got into a cleaning/reorganizing mood. I'll let you know how often this happnes: in the 16 months that we have been married, last night was the first time. He turned into a little bit of a monster, though, telling me how disgusting our house was and how frustrated he was at both of our laziness.

Let me just tell you, this did not go over well with me. I took it as a direct attack on my wife-skills, and probably cried harder than I ever have. In my life. Yeah, it was that bad. I guess that my passion in life is homemaking, and it felt like he was basically telling me that I was a failure.

Well, the truth is, I have been failing lately. I've been busy. I've been lazy. I've been letting one thing after another slide until our house was actually disgusting. I hate to admit that, but it's true. Staying on a strict cleaning schedule is not my forte. After spending seven hours with 300+ elementary schoolers, all I want to do is crash. So that's what I've been doing, and I've been letting my house crash, too.

Instead of going to a movie like we had planned last night, Luke and I spent the evening cleaning and organizing. And basically not talking because I was still mad :-P In the end though, I'm glad he had his little outburst. It made me realize that we both need to do more to take care of the house!

Later that night I was reading some chapters out of our Bible study books. One chapter was about getting rid of lazy thoughts because they lead to a lazy lifestyle. Another was about taking care of the things God has entrusted us with, because if we take care of those, he can trust us with more (parable of the talents). That hit me, too. I really needed a wake up call.

Well after I was done sulking, the real blessing for me came out of the situation. I have never really loved our house, and liked our old apartment a lot more. I guess Luke got a little fed up with things at the house last night too, and made some decisions that really surprised me and made me realize that he is so unselfish.

We were cleaning the office together when he blurted out that he thinks we should get rid of the Ohio State room. This shocked me, because I thought it was his pride and joy. It fills the entire third floor of our house, is painted scarlet and gray, and has lots of Ohio State memorabilia adorning the walls. It is no secret that I have always pretty much loathed that room. I have secretly wanted to turn it into our living room or even our bedroom for awhile, but I've kept my opinion to myself. So hearing Luke say that was really a surprise. He wants to turn the Ohio State room into a nice, big living room. Here's the room now:
I think we could do something really nice with this stairway and landing area.
And here's the rest of the's pretty big! I hope we finish before Christmas, because I would love to put a nice, big Christmas tree in front of those three windows (Well, you can only see one in this picture, but there really are three windows). By the way, don't you love how there are two completely different types of carpet in there? TACKY!
We would probably be looking at putting new carpet in, repainting, rearranging lots of furniture, and taking down all the Ohio State stuff.

But what would happen to our living room? As you can see by the ironing board that has been set up in there for about 3 months, we don't do a whole lot of anything in there. Except ironing, that is.
Instead of a living room, this room will be a dining room. So that means we no longer have to eat in the hallway!! And I can hang my new mini chandelier in the new dining room! And I'll eventually have to buy a dining room table, but I'm excited about that! I seriously think it will really motivate me to not only cook more, but also to eat at the table more, and have people over for dinner. Not to mention, we can probably get rid of or sell some furniture and maybe even our old TV.

And while we're making all these changes, we might as well go the full nine yards. Luke says he wants to make the office our bedroom, since it is apparently a little bit bigger. So this will be our bedroomAnd this will be our office. And in case you were wondering where all of Luke's Ohio state stuff will go, it will find it's new home here. In the old bedroom/new office.
Oh, and our hallway/dining room? That will turn into solely a hallway :-)
Like I said, no more eating in the hallway! I might look for a little table or some sort of pretty hutch or something to go there. I've been trying to find a place for my Willow Tree Nativity set, so maybe that will be it! I would love to be done with this by Christmas. But since money is a factor, it probably won't be.

Anyway, I'm really excited. I've secretly been longing for something like this, but have felt too selfish to actually voice my opinion. And now Luke has changed his mind all on his own. I really feel like in the past year we have both changed so much. If that happens every year, I understand why people say that you are a totally different person in your 20s than in your 30s or 40s or 50s. And so on.

I will be sure to keep you posted on all of our house changes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gradual Transformation

What is it about the holiday season that makes me want go into crazy nesting mode and then turn my house into a winter wonderland? I'm trying to avoid having my house look like Christmas threw up there. So I've been gradually adding a few subtle Christmas touches each week. I'm really trying not to overdo it too much! When it comes to Christmas decorations I think there can be a very fine line between beautiful and tacky. And I'm trying not to cross it!

Anyway, I've been absolutely dying to get rid of the ugly fluorescent lights in our hallway (and every other room in our house!) Last night Luke and I headed to Menards with my parents to pick out a new light for that area. We also got a delicious dinner at BW3s, so it was a great night :-)

Here is the light we (okay, I) decided on:
That's just the picture on the box. We're going to have to figure out all of the wiring and everything, so I'm thinking this weekend is the earliest that I will get rid of the migraine-inducing fluorescents. But I'm SO excited for the mini chandelier to be up!!

I am loving pine cones this year for Christmas. So I couldn't pass up these sparkly ones at Pottery Barn for only a few dollars this weekend. I'm not quite sure what I will do with them, but I'll share pictures when I figure it out :-)

And finally, I loved this little ornament from Pottery Barn. I think It will hang on our tree during the Christmas season, and then I will find another place for it to hang from January-next December.
I was so excited to visit an actual Crate and Barrel store this weekend. I had never been to one before, although I have spent a lot of time on their website! I didn't have nearly enough time in there. But I just thought this idea was too cute
I'm going to try my hardest to create my own. Mine will probably just be felt, but I think it will still be cute!

Hopefully tomorrow I will have a post with a little more substance! I have been super busy this week and haven't even had time to read many of your blogs, so I hope to catch up later tonight and tomorrow. I hope you are all having a great week!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Youth Explosion 2009

I haven't been around this weekend because I was busy being a roadie with Luke's band, The One80 Band, at Youth Explosion! there were over 1,300 youth there this year, and The One80 Band led worship all weekend! I have tons of pictures and stories, so I thought the easiest way to share would be to post just some bulleted points and pictures from the weekend. I'll not to make it too long :-)

*They began the weekend leading worship on Friday night. Here they are! I didn't get too many pictures of them playing, because I was their videographer for the weekend :-) I will be sharing a video or two of them performing in the next few days. I'm so proud!
*We got to sit through a lot of sessions while we were there with some great speakers and performers. We also got to act goofy and pretend we were high school again. One of the speakers told everyone to hug their friends. there are actually 4 people involved in this hug! It made me laugh
*Um, did I mention that as a wife of a band member, I scored a backstage pass for the entire weekend?? This is definitely the first time I've had a backstage pass for anything :-)
*With the backstage pass, I was allowed to go to the green room anytime. This is the room where all the band members and speakers go to chill and to eat. And they had some amazing home-cooked food there all weekend, too! Here are some of the band members in the green room*And here I am with Luke in the green room. Can you tell I was absolutely giddy? There were lots of awesome bands in the green room throughout the course of the weekend. Remedy Drive hung out in there a lot, some members of Leeland were in there on Saturday, and so was Francesca Battistelli. More about all that in a minute.
*Friday night before we headed back to the hotel, we got to hear Remedy Drive and Run Kid Run perform. We had seen Remedy Drive before, but if you ever have the chance to see them in concert, don't pass it up! They put on a pretty good show :-)
*Before we left, a bunch of junior high girls ran up to the band giggling and asking for autographs. I thought this was absolutely adorable, and of course I captured about 80 pictures of the band signing their first autographs :-P
*Saturday morning after our delicious breakfast at the hotel, we headed back to the church, and the band played first thing in the morning. We listened to some speakers, and then ate lunch in the green room. And no big deal, but Phil, the bassist from Remedy Drive ate lunch with us! He sat right by me. I thought this was a huge deal :-P He had somehow strained his vocal chords and wasn't allowed to talk for six week. It was fun trying to read his lips and read what he scribbled on his iphone!

*After lunch, we headed out for an afternoon shopping trip in Beachwood. It's a pretty nice area around Cleveland. We don't have a whole lot of great shopping areas close to us since we live in the middle of nowhere, so it was fun to be able to shop at places like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Sephora, etc. They were all completely decked out for Christmas. And it was 70 degrees and sunny. I think that might be the very first time that's ever happened in Ohio ;-)
*Saturday evening was so much fun! We had a delicious meal in the green room again, and then one80 really rocked out! They did such a good job :-) After that was the big concert: Francesca Battistelli, Leeland, and Brandon Heath.

*I have loved Fracesca Battistelli's music for a long time so I was really excited to see her in concert. She did really well! Her voice is so amazing. I decided to buy a CD right after her last song because she did so well!*Leeland was up next. I hadn't listened to them a lot before, but oh my...I am going to start! They were so amazing! It was great. (Even though my picture is aweful. :-P) They seemed really down to earth, too.
*After Leeland, we were all really tired. We decided to go in the green room and chill out for a little bit while Brandon Heath performed. I walked in with my purse and my new Francesca Battistelli CD in tow. As I walked in, a bunch of people kept whispering that I should have her sign it, because she was sitting exactly 2 feet behind me reading a Karen Kingsbury book. Everyone kept urging me to ask her, but I just couldn't do it. I didn't want to interrupt her reading because I thought she was probably trying to wind down after the concert and didn't want to be bothered by a fan in the green room. I actually felt like kind of a nerd holding her CD in my hand when she was in the room, so I shoved it in my purse and hoped she wouldn't notice! Anyway, I don't totally regret not getting her autograph on my CD. She seemed really quiet and reserved and like she didn't want to be bothered unlike a lot of the other performers. I still love her music, though!

*This morning the band had to play for the regular congregation at the church where the conference had been held. It was kind of funny, because the service was filled with older people, and The One80 Band plays lots of loud, rock music. I think the congregation still enjoyed it, though :-)

*We ate lunch at Damons, tore down, made the drive home, and unloaded the van. I am finally home, and ready for a serious nap. However, we have to go back to the church tonight for a meeting about our new building project. Yikes, we just can't get any free time this weekend! It's going to be hard to return to work tomorrow :-)

If you've made it all the way down here, thanks for reading! This was definitely a special weekend for the band and for myself! I hope we get to do it again :-)