Friday, July 31, 2009

Going Green

"Going Green" is such a trendy thing to do right now. I've been guilty of sometimes rolling my eyes at environmental issues because I think there are SO many more important issues to be worrying about. And the Bible says that this Earth is going to be destroyed someday anyway, right? So I guess that was my reasoning for never caring much about my impact on the environment. Really, it was just a cop out, though.

Lately, I've stumbled upon a lot of blogs of women who take their responsibility to take care of God's creation seriously. It made me think a lot. Yes, this world won't be around forever, but shouldn't we take care of what God has blessed us with, and not waste it?

Okay, confession: Luke and I don't recycle. Look at this picture taken out of our bedroom window, and you'll see why this is such a horrible thing:
Yep, those yellow bins are the neighborhood recycle bins. We are bad people :-P

But my eyes have been opened. It's silly for us to be so wasteful while the recycle bins are so close to our house! It's going to be tough, since we have absolutely no extra space in our kitchen. But I'm thinking about using some kind of stackable bin system to store our plastic, glass, aluminum, and newspapers until we take them down to the bins.

I've thought of some other things I'd like to implement at our house to be less wasteful.

1. Become educated! Find out where the products that I buy come from, and how far they had to travel to get here.

2. Buy locally. I stopped buying groceries at Wal-Mart about 9 months ago, but I still go there for lots of other things. I would love to support local businesses more because of the economy. Plus, if you buy locally, you know that your products weren't produced at a sweat shop somewhere, and they weren't shipped across the world to get to you. How much more fun would it be to buy my produce at a local farmer's market than at a big, chain grocery store?

3. Recycle (already mentioned this one :-P)

4. Waste less electricity and water. Luke and I are definitely guilty of leaving lots of lights on in the house. And I personally like to take extremely long showers, and I don't turn the water off while I brush my teeth. Just changing those things will make a huge difference on the imprint we're leaving on the Earth.

5. Buy less, consume less. This one will save me money, as well!

6. I'm toying with the idea of making my own cleaning products. At least for some things. Much better on the environment, and again, it will save money!

7. The craziest idea I've had yet is cloth diapers when we have babies. I know it's awhile off, but I'm contamplating the idea for when the time comes. I wonder how many diapers a single baby will use in their lifetime? Diapers can take up to 500 years to biodegrade. I don't know if I can justify using "disposable" diapers. Or maybe I'll just use cloth diapers at home, and disposable diapers when we are away from home. That would at least cut down significantly on the number of diapers used. I'm seeing dollar signs in my head just thinking about all the money we'll save!

Anyway, I'm not planning on implementing all of these ideas at the same time, because I think it will be overwhelming! But I can certainly start by recycling, using less, and buying local.

What ideas have you implemented, or want to implement in your own home to help take care of God's creation?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tackling the Bucket List

I've been thinking a lot about my Bucket List this morning. I went back and re-read it, because I had forgotten a lot of the items on the list.

Since writing my bucket list on April 6 of this year, I have accomplished:

#8: Bake the perfect chocolate chip cookies

#29: Be completely debt free (well, except for the house. But I'm counting it as a success).

#56: Go camping with our new tent

And that's it. I decided to pick 10 items from the list, and try to accomplish those before the end of 2009. Since we're going to the beach in 2 weeks, a lot of them can be tackled while I'm there.

So here are the bucket list items that I'd like to accomplish before the end of 2009"

1. Have a picnic in the park. This should be relatively easy, for sure! I'll actually probably do this one sometime next week. Luke has softball games every night next week if his team keeps winning (it's tournament week!) Usually since the games are at the parks where he works, he doesn't come home between work and the game. I could just make us a picnic dinner sometime next week, and meet him in the park before his games. I could probably do that more than one day next week! I'm kind of excited to start planning a menu ;-)

2. Go bike-riding. We are planning on bike-riding in Virginia on our vacation. And if we don't get a chance to go while we're there, I'm sure Luke and I could find 2 bikes to borrow from someone and go on one of the local bike trails. Hmm...maybe another bucket list item should have been, "Purchase a Bike." ;-)

3. Read all the Twilight Books. I only have 1.5 books left in the series, and 5 months left in 2009. Let's HOPE this one won't be too hard!

4. Go for a midnight walk on the beach. Again, I can take care of this one on vacation in two weeks. Ideally, I'd like to do this with Luke, but I'll have to see if he's up for staying up that late, and taking a walk that late! lol...if he's not, I'm sure Julie would do it with me. Sisterly bonding time :-)

5. Build a sandcastle. Again, this will easily be accomplished in 2 weeks at the beach. I think I need to head out and buy some buckets and other sand toys so we can make the biggest, coolest sand sandcastle ever. I promise I'm 24 years old!

6. Carve pumpkins in the fall. Last year, I bought pumpkins for Luke and myself. I remember being out shopping and buying pumpkins and a bunch of fall cookie cutters with plans of taking a little break from fixing up our new house (while we still lived in the old apartment) and having a fun, fall night. I got home from the shopping trip, and Luke informed me that our apartment had finally been rented out, and we had to be out in 1 Week! Needless to say, we never got to make fall cookies or carve our pumpkins :-( We were busy until Thanksgiving moving out of our apartment, staying at Luke's grandparents' for a few weeks, and finally getting settled into the new house. All that to say, I'm REALLY looking forward to carving pumpkins this year, since we didn't get to last year! I'm sure Luke will get really creative, and I'll be jealous of him :-P

7. Dress up for Halloween. How fun would a costume Halloween party be? I haven't dressed up for Halloween since I was probably 11 years old. I think it would be fun to have a costume party! Not sure if Luke or our friends would be into that, but maybe I'll have to run it by them this fall.

8. Play tennis with Julie. Julie's coming home this weekend to celebrate her birthday (again), so maybe I'll talk her into going to the park on Saturday morning with me for some tennis. She will definitely kick my butt, because she played tennis in high school, and I did not. And also I'm not in shape (although Wii Fit is fixing that problem!). But it will be fun!

9. Fly a kite. Another item that will be covered while on vacation. My parents bought one of those really cool ship kites while they were in Myrtle Beach this past fall, and never used it when they were there. So we're definitely breaking it out on vacation.

10. Make a homemade pie. This sounds like a good one to try this fall. Apple pie is my favorite! It might be a total disaster, but either way, I'm sure I'll be blogging about it when the time comes ;-)

Okay, so that shouldn't be too difficult! There are definitely items that I WISH I could accomplish this year like "Go to Hawaii," "Visit Disney World before we have kids," or "Own a nice camera." But I will have to be patient, and wait for those things to come in time.

If you don't have a bucket list, you should make one. It's so much fun to be able to cross items off as you complete them! :-D

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Julie's Birthday

Today is my sister's 22nd birthday. My mom and I headed up to Akron to take her out to a birthday dinner. My aunt, who happens to work with my sister in an office at The University of Akron, met up with us at the restaurant.

When we got to her apartment, Julie immediately got her present from Mom...a cool little bench/storage box that she has been wanting for awhile to put at the end of her bed.(I think it's really cute! Maybe I should pick one up for the living room to keep blankets in). Julie was very excited about the gift.Then we set off for the restaurant. Unfortunately, when we were almost there, we got stopped by a train. We had been sitting for awhile, and all of a sudden, the train just stopped. Right before the end passed the intersection where we were stopped. All of a sudden we heard it starting up again, but it started going BACKWARDS. Julie made an illegal U-turn, and found an alternate route to the restaurant. But she was upset about the situation :-PWe finally made it to the restaurant and IT WAS PACKED!! It's a local pizza place in Akron called Luigi's, and it was amazing! Apparently it's very popular, and it's a must-visit if you're ever in Akron, Ohio. Which most of you probably never will be unless you're from Ohio ;-) But anyway, it was a very charming place, and the food was pretty fabulous as well.
My aunt and sister told us we had to order a salad. THIS is why:
Now that's one unhealthy salad. But it sure was good. I seriously said, "Where's the lettuce?! I can't find it!" As I was digging through the salad. It was quite tasty, though! We also ordered a pepperoni and mushroom pizza, and it was probably some of the best pizza I've ever had.

After dinner, we said goodbye to Aunt Viv, and headed over to Julie's apartment. Julie's best friend from the interior design program at Akron is a florist on the side. So apparently, she brings Julie fresh flowers all the time for her apartment! I think I need to find a friend who's a florist, too!
For the rest of the evening, we did some menu planning for vacation. Apparently I'm in charge of 2 dinners while we're there: a spaghetti dinner one night, and poppy seed chicken and parsley potatoes another night. Julie had never had poppy seed chicken before, and asked me what was in it. After I told her the ingredients needed to make it, she renamed the casserole as "heart attack chicken." Okay, so it is a little unhealthy. But it's so delicious, I just don't care. I think it's a dish that Paula Dean would be proud of ;-) I think I'm making it for a church picnic this Sunday, too. But anyway, back on the subject of our vacation. We leave 2 weeks from Saturday. Is it too early to start packing?? I'm excited!So it was a fun girl's night. Before the evening was over I had laughed myself to tears more than one time. This weekend we're having a little party for Julie with cake and ice cream and the rest of her gifts. So that will be fun too!

I hope everyone is having a blessed week!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaching Nightmares

I've been thinking a lot about substitute teaching the past few days since I'm going back to it next year. Although I was only a sub for about 2 months, I've got quite a few stories from my subbing experience. Some are pretty unbelievable, so I thought I'd share a few. I subbed in two school districts, but know that all of these nightmares happened at the SAME school district where I ended up working for two years as a special ed. aide. Let me just say, it was not an easy school to work at!

I once subbed in the kindergarten classroom that was so bad, I literally spent the entire day chasing kids around and screaming. It was the worst class I've ever seen. I spent my lunch break sobbing uncontrollably, and cried the whole way home that day. I was in shock that a class could act like that.

I got called to sub in that same class a few other times while I was working as an aide (the school district used to pull me from my job so I could sub. It was annoying). One day a particular little boy in that classroom got really mad at me because I had asked him to pull a card (this is the school's unified disciplinary system). He got so angry, he started running around the classroom, throwing things, knocking over tables, etc. It was terrifying. I called the principal right away, and she took him away. But told me next time, "Please try to keep him in the classroom if at all possible. If he starts to melt down, we usually let him hide under a table because it helps him to calm down." I'm sorry, but that type of behavior is not only unacceptable, but it's unsafe for the other students! What good does it do to try to keep him in the classroom when he's so volitole and violent? I still don't get it :-P

My very first day subbing at this particular school district, I was bringing a first grade class back to their classroom after music. As we were in the hallway, the fire alarm went off. the whole school went outside, and no one had seemed to know about the drill. We were all surprised when we saw actual fire trucks pulling into the school parking lot. Later that day, I found out that one of the students in MY first grade class for the day, had pulled the alarm while in the hallway. And yes, there was a police report about the incident in the local paper. I felt like I was going through some kind of cruel initiation or something!

I successfully tried my hand at being in two places at once when the school district had me sub for the lady I share a room with. To understand why this is crazy, you have to know that I was hired to be with the third grader special ed. students while the other teacher is with the fourth graders, and vice versa. So you see why this wouldn't work. I had to run around the school like a crazy woman with no breaks trying to do BOTH of our jobs at the same time. And they asked me to do this more than once when the teacher couldn't make it to work. If you asked me, I think I should have gotten paid as a sub and as an aide those days, because I was really doing both jobs! ;-)

Once while I was subbing for the teacher I mentioned above, I was leading a reading group for third grade special ed. There was one little boy in particular who was being very uncooperative. He asked to use the restroom, and I immediately said yes, thinking that a walk down the hall might help him to get rid of some of his excess energy, and maybe give the rest of us a little break too! The little boy was taking an especially long time, and I started to get worried. I sent another boy to go check on him while the rest of us continued the lesson. The boy I sent DID find the other boy. He was in the hallway being scolded by the principal, because he had apparently decided it was a good idea to take all of his clothes off while in the restroom, and dance around.

I think that's enough for today, but trust me when I say I have plenty more stories! Needless to say, I will not be subbing at that particular school district again. This year I plan on subbing at a Christian school in the area, which I'm really excited about! Also, I'm going to sub at the other school I used to sub at...I loved it there! And also the school where I did my student teaching. I loved it there, too. I think that after some of my experiences in the school where I subbed for 2 months and worked for 2 years, I can handle ANYTHING that those other schools could throw at me. I'm pretty excited to be away from so much stress. Although I'm sure I'll still have stories to share some days. Anyone who works with elementary students knows that there are often strange, funny, and crazy things going on in a classroom!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Last Night

Last night started out as a really fun night! Luke and I had gotten a gift certificate to Carrabbas from his parents for our one-year anniversary, and we used it last night. Carrabbas is one of our favorite restaurants, although we almost never go there (It's a little pricey for us poor newlywed Dave Ramsey followers :-P). The last time we were there was actually for our 1 year dating anniversary when Luke gave me a promise ring. And that was almost 4 years ago. So needless to say, we enjoyed ourselves last night. Luke got steak and I got manicotti, and it was delicious! We ate at Macaroni Grill a few weeks ago for our anniversary, but after last night, we decided it's just not even close to as good as Carrabbas. Okay, I'm done with my commercial!

After dinner, we went shopping. I needed new tennis shoes for vacation, so I found some really cute pink, gray, and white Nikes at Kohls. I got them from the little girl's section because I wear a women's size 5, and most stores just don't sell that size. It's sad :-P But I really don't think anyone can tell by looking that my shoes are from the kid's section.

When we got home, things went downhill. I was on my computer just browsing at different websites, when all of a sudden, my screen went white. No buttons would fix the problem, and I couldn't even turn it off. I, of course, freaked out, and thought for sure it was a virus. My laptop has been acting a little weird lately. So I was stressed, and Luke got mad that we would probably have to pay to get my computer fixed. So the rest of the night wasn't too much fun. But as I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep I started thinking, and realized that I kind of deserved to get a virus. I've been spending way too much time online this summer since I'm not working right now. It's definitely been taking away from other things, and I almost haven't been able to go an hour our two without checking my email, blogger, twitter, and facebook if I'm at home. So I decided that maybe this was God's way of opening my eyes and letting me know that I'm a little too addicted to the internet. After I thought about that, I was okay with the fact that a virus had probably just destroyed my computer. I was viewing it as a punishment, I guess.

We decided to let my battery run down during the night last night so that my computer would finally shut off. I guess Luke got up this morning and obviously found my computer dead. Well, I woke up and my computer plugged in, turned on, and in perfect working order. So I guess Luke turned it on when he left for work. I'm obviously still going to get it checked out to make sure I don't have a virus, but I'm so thankful that my computer is working! I was so afraid that everything was going to be wiped off of my computer. I probably have close to 1,000 pictures or more saved on my laptop, so I'm so glad I didn't lose all of those!

All this to say, I feel very blessed that my computer is still working! And my eyes have been opened. I'm going to limit my time on my computer now. This is the first time I've gotten on this morning, and when I'm done here, I'm going to close my computer, set it aside, and not get back on it until this evening. It's sad, but even that is going to be hard for me! But I know I need to do it.

Have a blessed Monday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Finally Motivated

Luke and I set out last night on our quest to find a refurbished Wii. On a whim, we stopped at a new video game shop in town called Game On. It must have been our lucky night, because not only did they have a refurbished Wii, but it was also cheaper than any other place we had tried before! We immediately decided that we'd take it! They also had a used Wii Fit for a little less than we'd seen them other places. I was looking at it longingly, when Luke suddenly grabbed it and started walking toward the check-out counter. "What are you doing?" I asked in disbelief. "This is the main reason we're getting a you can use the Wii Fit." I had no idea that he had been planning on buying Wii Fit the whole time, so I was pleasantly surprised and excited! We rushed home to try it out, and I REALLY like it. This is the motivation I need to finally get in shape! You can test your BMI and weight every day, and it charts your progress. You can set goals, too. I decided that I'd like to try to lose 10 lbs. So we'll see!

There are 4 different areas of exercise: Yoga, strength training, aerobics, and balance. I love it, because you get a workout in both strength and endurance. I really feel like a get a good, well-rounded workout afterwards. And I can tell it gives me energy for the rest of the day. It's embarrassing, but it's been a long time since I've really exercised regularly or intentionally. So it feels good to start again. And the best part? I've used it 3 times since yesterday and I've already lost a pound, and my BMI has gone down a few points! It's fun to be able to see your progress on the graph every time you log in. It's very motivating! I think this is the kick in the butt that I've needed ;-)
Here's Luke setting it up last night
I had to take a picture of my prized possession. If you have a Wii, I really recommend Wii Fit!
So this weekend has mostly been spent playing Wii Fit and Wii Sports a lot. My muscles are already a little sore, so I decided to give it a break until tomorrow at least.

I did take a little break from the Wii to go shopping with my mom and sister today! It was really fun. I love spending time with them. We went out to lunch at Applebees and then to Coldstone for some ice cream at the end of the day. Yum! We also spent a lot of time at stores like Kirklands, Arhaus, and Pier One. Julie's an interior design student, so naturally she likes to spend time in stores like that. At Pier One I found a little plate for $5 that I thought was just too cute to pass up. When I bought it, I was thinking it was the same color as my kitchen, but I guess I was a little off. I still think it looks nice in there, though!And after we were done shopping, Julie and Mom came back to my house to try out my new toy :-)There's Julie hula hoopin' favorite game and the one that I'm best at!
Mom looks a little skeptical in this picture, but she liked it, I think! :-)
And now it's almost 10, and Luke's at a party. So it's just me and Gabby here. It's kind of nice having the big TV to myself on a Saturday night ;-) But I do wish Luke were here!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!

Friday, July 24, 2009


We all know that no one is perfect. But Luke and I seem to have one joint flaw that has probably caused us to lose lots of money. That flaw is that we are apparently very discontent people. But only when it comes to electronics.

Let me start at the beginning. It was the winter before Luke and I got married. Winters in Ohio can be brutal. So brutal, that I find it easier to stay indoors as much as possible, and only leave when it is absolutely necessary. However, staying indoors so much can almost drive a person crazy. By February, I'm usually so sick of being inside that I am ready to move south. Luckily, Luke had a brilliant idea that winter. He had a little extra money one month, and decided that the answer to all our (and our friends') problems was to buy a Nintendo Wii.And it worked! It really made those last winter months a little bit more bearable. It gave us something to do together, and with our friends. It was even an exercise machine for me. Over spring break that year I think I lost some weight and toned some muscles playing Wii tennis and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games (my personal favorite Wii game).

Alas, like all things, it lost it's luster. By the time summer rolled around, we got married, and forgot about the Wii. We played it maybe 4 or 5 times in 3 months. Finally Luke brought up the situation, and suggested that we make some money by selling it. I reluctantly agreed. He sold it to a man who planned on giving it to his son for Christmas, which I thought was sweet.

Around Christmas, I started to feel the void that had been left from selling the Wii, and decided that I needed something to fill it. That November I bought Rock Band for Luke for Christmas, knowing that he'd love it, and so would I! During Thanksgiving break, Luke's friend let us borrow his Guitar Hero game, which is essentially the same as Rock Band. We had so much fun playing it, that Luke got excited and had to show me the Christmas gift that he had bought for me/us. Guess what he bought? Yep...Rock Band. He couldn't wait until Christmas to start using it. I just laughed and rolled my eyes when I saw it, and told Luke that I had bought him the exact same thing. We returned one of them to Wal-Mart, and our lives literally revolved around Rock Band that Christmas season. We loved it, and played it all the time.

Around spring, Rock Band also lost it's luster. We just stopped playing it. There was no point for it to be sitting in our house, so we decided, again, to sell it. This was about 2 months ago. Guess what?? We're feeling that void again! We've had extra money sitting around in our account for about a month, and we've been trying to decided what to do with it. Should we add it to our emergency fund? Put it in our house down payment fund?

Nope...we've decided that the best thing that we could do with our money is....

Buy another Wii. It's a sick cycle, I tell ya! What's going to happen in 4 months when we're bored with the Wii again???

I'm putting my foot down this time. Because everytime we make one of these trades, we lose money. We had a bunch of games for the Wii, 4 controllers, 2 nunchucks, 4 steering wheels for Mario Kart, cool, multi-colored controller covers, and probably even more that I'm forgetting about. We sold all of that to the man that bought the Wii for much less than we bought it for. And now we're probably going to buy some of that stuff back again. Yes, I've decided. We are KEEPING this Wii. And we are USING it!!!

There is one reason that I think the Wii will stick, at least for me this time:
I know this is a pretty expensive item too, but hopefully in the next few months I'll be able to scrounge up enough splurge money to buy it. When Luke first brought up the subject of buying another Wii, I was aprehensive. His selling point was reminding me about Wii Fit. Which I'm super excited about! Secretly, I think Luke's excited about it too. Not because of my recently added poundage, but because I keep complaining about those pounds and not doing a single thing about them! Yeah, that's gotta be annoying for him.

Tonight we are heading out to GameStop to see if they have a refurbished Wii for a low price. So we aren't for sure getting one tonight, but we are definitely looking. And hopefully this will end our sick cycle of discontentment!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


A few nights ago, I did something STUPID. I watched "The Haunting in Connecticut." It freaked. me. out.

I have a problem. I love scary movies! I don't like killer movies (I think they're stupid and gory), but supernatural thrillers really get my blood pumping. And I love it! I love the twists in the story, and the "jump" moments (even though those are the moments when I usually put a blanket or pillow over my face. Luke can attest to that!) I don't believe in ghosts or anything like that, so it's just a fun scare. DURING the movie. But then afterwards, even though I really don't believe in ghosts or that kind of thing, my imagination goes crazy.

I've seen so many scary movies by now, they really haven't gotten to me too much lately. But THIC really did. There were lots of spiritual elements in it, and that stuff IS real, so I was a mess. (I didn't sleep for two nights after being forced to watch "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." That's how much the spiritual stuff gets to me). Anyway, I was laying in bed on Monday night after watching the movie, and my paranoia level was about an 8 out of 10. I was trying to keep my mind busy thinking about mundane, everyday things, so it didn't dwell on the movie. I was slowly but surely calming down and drifting off to sleep, when I heard it....

Scratching on our door. And rattling on the doorknob (we live in an old house with heavy, rattly doorknobs on every door). I held my breath and shut my eyes tight. It stopped for a minute. When it started again, Luke shot up in bed. And then we heard a quiet little "meow." It was obviously just Gabby! In the morning she always stretches her body up so she can play with the doorknob and push on the door to try to get in our room. She doesn't usually do it at night, though, so I guess that's what threw us off. Luke supposedly does not remember this incident. But I think he's just embarrassed that he was a little scared ;-) I've never seen him like that before!

Fast forward to Tuesday night. The movie was sufficiently out of my mind, making it easy for me to fall asleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, I was awoken by a man's voice. NOT Luke's. I threw the covers over my head and shut my eyes tight and started praying. My half-awake mind was absolutely certain that there was a man standing over our bed, on my side. After a few seconds, I woke up more fully and realized there was no strange ghost-man in our house. In fact, the voice that I had heard was simply Luke's iPhone alerting him that, "You've got mail!" Yes, his phone annoyingly says that EVERY time he gets an email. I wish he would turn off that setting!

So lesson learned? Don't watch scary movies if they have anything spiritual in them! Obviously I cannot handle that stuff. It made for a couple of funny nights, though, once we realized we were in fact, NOT being haunted by the ghosts in the movie!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wedding Wednesday: The Aftermath

This is my final Wedding Wednesday post! Today I thought I'd write about what happened after the honeymoon.

We arrived home after our honeymoon to a trashed apartment. I mentioned this in my last post, and a few people asked why. I don't know if this is normal, but around here we like to play a few pranks on newlyweds right when they get home from the honeymoon. plastic wrap on the toilet, sugar in the salt shaker, etc. Well unfortunately, Luke had taken part in a few pranks when our friends got married. The worst time was Luke and his friends put a catfish in the bathtub at our best friends' house. Bad, I know. But Luke came and took the fish back to the lake where he got it, and all was fine. He did a few more things there, too, like fill the bedroom with balloons, put rice on the ceiling fans, etc. This was 3 years before we got married, but our friends didn't forget. They got us good...or bad, however you want to look at it. I think they were a little harsh, and I may have broken down and completely bawled when I first saw all the damage. But now that I look back, I guess it was funny. Luke's friend Michael took our spare key and had a copy made without us knowing. That's how everyone was able to get in.

First of all, they filled plastic cups with water and placed them inches apart on the steps leading up to our entrance so we had to empty every single one in order to enter our apartment.
When we got inside we noticed that everything was rearranged, trashed, and random items or pieces of furniture were covered in foil. Still just funny, not mean.They also somehow rigged the doorbell so that every time someone flushed the toilet, it would go off. We had an old school doorbell, so I guess it wasn't that hard to do. All of that was still funny.

I forgot until just now about how they put salt in our ice cubes. That one took us days to figure out. We kept wondering why all of our lemonade and iced tea tasted so gross. We thought something was wrong with our water until my sister was nice enough to 'fess up about the salt.

Then it got a little mean. I think they were a little hard on us, but that's okay! First of all, Luke has a huge plastic cup that he keeps all of his gum in. He had a bunch of packs of Extra Polar Ice in there before the wedding. When we got home, the gum was all chewed up. Every last piece. The gross part? They had spit the chewed up gum right back into the cup. That one made Luke pretty mad because he thought it was just too disgusting. Needless to say, he threw the whole thing away.

They took all the cards, dice, and other little pieces from our board games, mixed them up, and put them in the wrong boxes. It took us awhile to discover that one, too.

Another mean thing they did was take all of Luke's DVDs out of the cases and put them back in the wrong ones. Originally Luke even had all the cases in alphabetical order. And back then, he had hundreds of DVDs (luckily he has since sold them all on ebay, thanks to Dave Ramsey;-)). They did the same thing to my CD collection, which had also been organized alphabetically. That took awhile to fix.

And that's not even half of it. I had gotten a brand new, pretty expensive spice rack at my shower. They took all the labeled lids off of the spices and put them back on the wrong ones. I was close to tears at this point. Thank goodness my mom has a good nose, and could put the right lids back on the right spices. I didn't want to go out and buy all new ones! They also switched my baking soda and baking powder.

And the grande finale, the worst thing that I could have never even imagined anyone doing to us, was this:
That's right, they filled our bathtub with spaghetti. I burst into tears when I saw this, as would any normal woman, I think! Keep in mind that obviously our air conditioning was not on while we were on our honeymoon, so that cooked spaghetti was sitting in 80-90 degree temperature from Wed. - Sat. For some reason, they put some of our towels underneath the spaghetti...maybe to protect the bathtub? I'm not sure why, but the towels were disgusting. Smelly and moldy, and we had to throw them away. We spent at least 3 or 4 hours cleaning this up. Once we got all the spaghetti scooped out of there, and put into 4 or 5 trash bags, there was a gross gunky, moldy mess covering the whole bathtub. I had to pretty much scrape it off, and I swear, I never got it completely out. I think this was a little meaner than a catfish. First of all, because a catfish doesn't mold in your bathtub. Secondly, because Luke took the fish back to the pond for our friends, but no one cleaned up this mess for us. You know what? I thought I was over this and thinking that it was funny, but I'm still a little mad! lol...that's okay, though, I'll get over it eventually! Maybe...:-P

So that was that. The day we got back from the honeymoon was NOT a memorable day. Did I mention that I was sick, too? But once we got the mess cleaned up, and my health was back to normal a few days later, we could really start our lives as newlyweds. I love that time, and will never forget it. It's so much fun learning to live together, merging our lives. I guess we're still doing that 1 year later. I definitely still consider us newlyweds at least.

So my question is, is this normal? Did anyone else have anything like this done to them after the honeymoon? People around here do it all the time. I think my parents and their friends even used to do this sort of thing to one another. I know one thing: I will never again do this to someone else. It's just not fun to come home to this!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dream House

I know Luke and I just moved into this house a mere 8.5 months ago. But I'm getting the itch to buy another house already! This move brought with it a few downgrades from our apartment. Overall, I think our apartment was a little bit bigger and nicer. But we couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy this house, especially because of the apartments we could rent out. Consequently, I find myself dreaming all the time about our next house. I even look online at the houses in our area just to see what you can get for what price here. I guess I'm preparing way ahead of time for when we move!

Our plan is to move in 5 years. Let's hope we can do it! We've started a down payment fund, and hope to be ready to move out right about the time we're ready to have our second child. (I know things don't always work out how we plan them, but I feel better if I have a detailed plan anyway ;-))

So today I thought I'd make a list of things that I would love to have in my dream house. Just for fun :-)

1. A fireplace. One in the living room is enough, but I would REALLY love one in the master bedroom as well. Since I'm just dreaming, I can go all out, right?

2. A DISHWASHER!!!!!!!!!! I hate washing dishes more than anything else. A dishwasher would be a dream come true.

3. A huge whirlpool bathtub. I'll have kids and Luke to take care of by that time, so I think I'll need a retreat area to relax ;-)

4. A big porch with a porch swing. Preferably a wrap around porch, with lots of hanging baskets and flower pots around it.

5. A Puppy! I've decided that a puppy just won't work in this little apartment. Especially since we live on the second/third floors. So when we move, we're getting one.

6. A big living/family room. I want to be a family that spends a lot of time together, so a big family room is a necessity. We'll need a place to have game nights and movie nights. Plus Luke wants high, cathedral ceilings in our future living room, so we can guy a giant Christmas tree every year :-)

7. A dining room. We have a makeshift "dining room" now, which is just a table in the hallway. So I can't wait to have a big dining room with a big, beautiful table where we can all eat dinner together.

8. A piano. My parents have a piano which they would be willing to give me, but Luke said it would be too hard to move it in here because of the steps we would need to bring it up. I WILL have a piano in my next house! I hope to teach my kids to play the piano someday, if they are interested.

That's all I can think of for now. It is so much fun to think about what it will be like when we start having kids, and move into our "forever home." Or at least our "until retirement" home. I don't know about Luke, but I plan on touring the country or even the world when our kids are all grown up and out of the house, and we're retired. Let's hope Dave Ramsey's plan works so that we're able to do that! lol

I can't wish our time away now, though. It's fun just the two of us. It's even fun living in our first house, even though it's not my "dream house." ;-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

HS Memories

Today I was thinking about the mission trips I took in high school, and it prompted me to break out my high school scrapbook. There is just too much funny stuff in here NOT to share it. So today I'm looking back. Since I don't have a scanner, I just took pictures of some of the pages of my scrapbook, so I apologize for the blurriness, glares, and poor quality. I still thought they were worth sharing, though.

P.S. Notice my amazing scrapbooking skills in high school. I'm being sarcastic here, people :-P

Mission Trips
When I was 15, I took my first mission trip to Belize, Central America with some of my youth group. We stayed at a YWAM (Youth with a Mission) base and led a Bible school for the children at an orphanage all week. We also painted and made lots of repairs at the orphanage. For fun, we went to Guatamala for a day to the market. Another day, we went to The Belize Zoo. It was a life-changing experience, and one of the best of my life!
I can't believe all of the children in the orphanage would be in their teens or early twenties now
I went on my second mission trip the next summer. This time we went to Memphis, Tennessee. We stayed in inner-city Memphis, and ran a Bible school for the kids in the area. We also spent a lot of time painting and repairing things in the youth center where we stayed. For fun we went visited The National Civil Rights Museum, ate at an amazing barbecue restaurant, and visited Beale Street. We even toured a cave on the way home. It was also a life-changing experience.
My shorts make me laugh in this picturePerforming
I was quite the performer in high school. I was in band, choir, danceline, Young and Alive (a show choir), and in all the musicals.

Here I am after dancing in our school's performance of "The Nutcracker"...yeah, I was a nerd
And here I am with my friends as a Jitterbug Dancer in "The Wizard of Oz
Here I am on the danceline. We danced at football games during pregame and halftime while the marching band played. Some of my best memories from high school happened with the danceline, and I met my hs best friend Jenalee through it. She lives near West Palm Beach now...I've GOT to go visit her there soon ;-)
Sweet uniforms, right? :-pHere I am at one of my ballet recitals. Jenalee was in ballet class with me, too. I'm the second one from the left.
My sophomore year of high school, I went to Toronto with the band. We got to perform while we were there, and also visited Niagara Falls, Canada's Wonderland (an amusement park) and lots of other touristy places.
Every year I went to Youth Explosion in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a huge youth convention in November, and I made so many amazing and fun memories there. I've also gone as a chaperone 3 or 4 times. The cool thing is that this year, Luke's band is leading worship for the whole weekend!! This is a pretty big deal for him, and we're all really excited. I'll probably go as a chaperone again this November so I can see them play.
My favorite trip was definitely my senior year with the Young and Alive show choir. We got to spend 5 days at the parks in Disney World, and 2 days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Orlando. we were there right after Christmas, so I got to see Disney World at Christmastime. One of the most amazing parts of the trip was getting to perform right smack dab in the middle of the Magic Kingdom. I also remember we had a really pretty a cappella version of "I'll Be Home for Christmas" that we had learned for our shows. Every time we went out to eat, our director would have us sing it to the waiters/waitresses in the restaurant as a thank you. It was fun :-)
I went to Chicago with the band my senior year. I remember this was the year that my friends and I felt like we were "too cool" for the band, so we didn't have too much fun. I wish I could go back WITHOUT the superior attitude, and truly enjoy myself! I was a senior though, what do you expect? :-P But my friend Lindsey just moved to Chicago, and I want to visit her soon (preferably before the end of September since the Harry Potter exhibition is at the Museum of Science and Industry there until then!)
I have my share of memories from dances in high school. From a horrible blind date, to having fun with my friends going stag, to a fun prom on the River.
Well that was fun. Awkward, and embarrassing, but still fun to look back on!

What are some of your best or worst high school memories??

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fun, Friends, and Food

We got home from our big camping weekend a few hours ago. We finally have everything unloaded and put away, so I have a moment to sit down! Truthfully, I'll probably be relaxing a lot this afternoon and evening. Camping is a lot of work! And after the huge meals we prepared this weekend, we decided we're taking it easy, ordering pizza for dinner tonight, and chillin' with Gabby :-)

So here are some of the memories we made during our first married camping trip together :-)

Since the guys had a softball game Friday night, we didn't get to the campsite until almost dark. Luke and I somehow managed to put up our tent, with the help of Luke's truck's headlights shining.
Here are the guys, fixing breakfast on Saturday morning.
Here's a picture of some bacon and sausage. We went through 2 lbs of bacon, 1 lb. of sausage, and a whole loaf of Texas toast for the French toast! We had some hungry boys with us!
After breakfast, I had to snap this picture of our friend Jared being goofy while we were all playing cards
In the morning, the guys went fishing while the girls brought some chairs down to the beach and read for awhile by the lake.
Sidenote: You'll notice that we're all wearing sweatshirts in most of these pictures. It was in the 60s most of the weekend! I don't ever remember it being that cold in July before. I enjoyed it, though. It was much better than sweating to death all weekend!
Did I mention that the guys fished in a canoe?? It was pretty funny seeing our 3 big, manly husbands jumping in a canoe together. We were sure it was going to tip or sink! It didn't, but they didn't catch any fish, either. Here is a progression of pictures of them setting off on their fishing adventure. For some reason, us girls just thought this was hysterical, and couldn't stop laughing.
We saw a bunch of geese swim by, too!After we had had enough, we went back to the campsite and had a cornhole tournament (Luke and I won!!)
We all lounged around and relaxed for awhile after that. Jared was teaching Rachel how to play a song on his guitar. They looked so sweet, I had to take a picture :-)We all ended up falling asleep for about an hour or two in the afternoon. I don't know what it is about camping that makes us so tired! But the girls all went in our own tents and took naps, and the guys slept on blankets outside. Except for Luke who slept on a chair. I'm sure it looked really funny to anyone who walked by!
When we all finally woke up, we started preparing dinner, which was the meal that Luke and I were in charge of. We had chicken, sweet corn, and curly fries (I had referred to them as campin' potatoes in my last post, but apparently, I was confused! These are curly fries. Luke will have to explain to me what campin' potatoes are sometime. Not sure how I got mixed up, but that's okay!)

Here are Sarah and Rachel, making the curly fries with the apple peeler/corer/slicer
The guys cooked them in the fryer (Luke and Jared once started a grease fire a few years ago making donuts in there at a youth group camping retreat...needless to say, we were all a little nervous. But no major catastrophes ensued this time!)Here is everyone (minus me!) eating their sweet corn. I can't look at Luke in this picture without bursting out in laughterYum! this was a pretty good meal if I do say so myself ;-)
Later last night, a few of our friends came to visit. The guys had another cornhole tournament while the girls took a walkWe went back down to the lake to watch the beautiful sunsetWe spent the rest of the evening by the campfire, talking and laughing. This morning we went home to take showers and go to church, and then we came back to the campground to clean up and eat baked potatoes and pork chops for lunch. Delicious!
So this weekend was filled with lots of fun, friends, and food! We're talking about going back again for a weekend this fall. I'm excited, but glad for a few months off before we go again. Like I said, camping is a lot of work, and very tiring!

If you've never been tent camping, you should try it! This is coming from a very girly girl who never imagined myself doing anything like this. It's fun to "rough it" for a weekend, though ;-)