The One with Home Sweet Home

Wow, what a week.  It is always a bittersweet experience to have a vacation end–sad to leave the relaxation and fun but so ready to be home again.  An early morning was necessary thanks to my 8:25am flight out of Orlando.  Grams thought I was crazy for picking such a schedule!  And maybe she was right!  lol.  Though it was nice to get home by noon and still have the entire day ahead of me.  The hours of the afternoon were quickly filled with a reality check–unpacking two weeks of accumulated luggage, sorting through two weeks of mail (junk, junk, and more junk as well as a couple lovely happy 1st anniversary cards. Thank you for brightening the pile!), paying two weeks of bills, and updating two weeks of bank account purchases.  Sigh.  Then there was the complete purging of the refridgerated food gone bad.  way bad.  An entire garbage bag worth of bad.  A grocery trip was necessary, but was oddly enjoyable–maybe an easy way to get back into the swing of things.  Oh, and also, I have an unnatural love of Aldi so that makes everything a little happier.  (Weird, I know.)  
Why don’t we have a Sweet Tomatoes up here?  That is the restaurant of my dreams!  An outstanding salad buffet as well as a wide array of homemade soups and pastas, fresh fruit, and lowfat frozen softserve!  Oh and the best fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade ever!  
Why is it that I seem completely incompetent at packing an accurate amount of reading material for trips?  I either pack way too few books or way too many.  One would think after years of traveling here and there, I would have this figured out.  Oh well.  
Fishy was still alive and well upon my return.  I heart Fishy. 
Stan the mixer (that’s the KitchenAid’s name, just in case you were wondering) was still beautifully awaiting my skilled hand. yeah……..
Our home was left wonderfully neat and clean thanks to my fantastico husband!  The bed was evening made–complete with decorative pillows and Fred the Abominable SnowMan.  Everything was put away, dishes were clean, and more.  I could have easily taken the house’s state for granted, but I quickly realized the efforts he must have made despite his weeks of bachelorhood.
Speaking of which, being apart is totally overrated.  Home is glorious but it’s not quite the same when my heart is still in Wisconsin.  Come home to me!!

The One with the Sappiness

After a whirl wind of a week in Canada helping Britt prepare for her big day, I am now sitting in the home of my Grams who lives near Orlando, FL! *whew* Maybe I’ll get to relax this week. :) I stayed quite busy at Britt’s helping as much as I could with wedding prepartions and boy did everything turn out perfectly–without a hitch! Having Kevin arrive was quite a good feeling and we had a lovely little abode for the weekend–the Austin’s Roadtek camper/van. We were very comfy and very thankful for our own space. The Friday night rehearsal went smoothly and all the girls went out to Kelsey’s for drinks and appetizers. It was quite a collection of ladies–Britt’s friends from Canada, a few from Spring Arbor, and the three lovely ladies from Ohio (significant others to the groomsmen.) We had a blast! Before the night on the town, we all partook of a sandwich buffet and topped it off with DQ ice cream cake–what could be better?! Britt gave all of the girls a wonderful array of personalized gifts in a beautiful photo box and wrote each of us heartfelt letters. The first paragraph in mine brought tears to my eyes rather quickly. I’m still thinking on the message Britt wrote to me. Thanks, bff.
The wedding day was beautifully sunny and a bit on the hot side–nearly perfect! It was a good thing I had stayed at the Austin’s for a week as most of the people cycling in and out of the house were not aware of where they needed to be or what they needed to be doing or when they needed to be doing it or where to find tape or scissors or nail polish remover. I felt quite useful. :) I was also the official bouttoniere placer–attaching around 13 of the guys’ flowers on to their jackets. Again, feeling needed. Oh, and I had the privilege of privately helping Brittney into her absolutely gorgeous gown. It was a bit of an honor (or honour) I would have to say. :D For the most part, throughout the week and the weekend, I simply tried to do what I was told and not get my nose stuck into plans or decisions that weren’t mine to make. That worked out for the best i do believe. :D
The ceremony on Saturday was perfect and the reception turned out to be beautiful and a blast! Kevin and I danced the night away (*dreamy thoughts*) and I was able to talk with my parents quite a bit as well as my wonderful friends, Magan and Betsy. After the party had died down, Kevin and I slipped out and headed for Crabby Joes for a night out alone–considering the next day was our one year anniversary! We had such fun together that night. Thanks, babe! After the Saturday morning gift opening, Kevin and I headed for the border and spent half our anniversary together. We have a weekend camping trip planned for June, so we didn’t feel too cheated out of our day. :) It’s so hard to believe an entire year has passed since we uttered our “I Do’s.”
Darling, these past 365 days have been the most wonderful moments of my life. Thank you for your unconditional and ever growing love for me, for making me laugh like no one else can, for the hugs and kisses and hand holds, for praying with me and for me, for constantly reminding me that you appreciate what I do, and for never running out of a forgiveness. Just when I think my love for you cannot grow any more, each day it increases exponentially. Thank you for making it so easy and so wonderful to be your wife.

The One with the Ribbon

Lately, my days in Canada have been filled with yards (and yards and yards…leagues really…) of ribbon, assistance offered during the opening of countless gifts, meeting many new people, eating delicious foods, hanging out with some of the coolest girls I know, and watching every bridal movie known to man (or woman, rather.) It’s been busy and fun and restful and tiring all at the same time. *whew* I’m so glad that I’ve had the chance to spend this week with Britt and her family and to be able to help out in any way I can.
(please note: the following paragraph could be summed up in three words: I miss him. Continue reading at your own risk.) I’ve been intensely aware of my need for my other half. He is quite literally the other portion to my whole, and I am not quite able to function at full capacity without him around. Nights are especially lonely. Even with Britt right next to me and even when I’m completely asleep I’m conscious of his absence. I’m looking forward to his arrival in the great land known as Canada. :D
The rest of my afternoon shall consist of enjoying the warmth and the breeze on this porch swing, catching up on the other blogs I read, and tying ribbons ribbons and more ribbons while watching 27 Dresses. (this morning was The Wedding Planner if you must know. classic!)

The One with the MIXER!

Friday was amazing. I’m not sure how much I can remember of it’s wonderfulness other than Kevin deciding to take me out to Kohl’s to buy my anniversary gift. Yes, you guessed it. A KitchenAid Stand Mixer–Artisan Series in Empire Red. Here, let me show you a picture. Just click on the last color swatch in the top row–that’s the beauty that now sits in my kitchen. ahhhhh. (translation: girly squeals). I shall take many pictures of this dream machine of mine as soon as I have opportunity. What a bummer of a coincidence is it that I leave town the day after I get the mixer and just hours after I had baked Kevin his favorite chocolate chip cookies. In any case, this is how it went down. I have been shopping and shopping and shopping for the perfect mixer for months but was having trouble deciding to fork over the cash. If you know me at all, you will understand this. I think I get it from my dad.

Anyways…Kevin had 3 different amazing ideas for my first anniversary gift and the stand mixer was one of them. But he didn’t want to be lame and get me an appliance. But after talking to me on Friday at which point I realized I had a 30% off coupon for Kohl’s that he decided then and there we were going to make a purchase. The mixer was on sale and came with a mail in rebate for a $50 Food Chopper attachment. So between all those things the total was $223 and with subtracting the free attachment it’s more like $170. Cool!! And I got to pick my own color!! And it’s brand new! (all the things I would have missed out on if buying it on Craigslist.) I was debating between colors and Kevin kept telling me I should get a cool, memorable color that my grandkids would always remember. :) So we went with the classy red. mmm. Can you tell I’m happy?! And it’s a gift we’ll both benefit from for years and years….

And in case you’re wondering what he’s getting, it’s not nearly expensive but it’s very meaningful and useful forever. A slimline snap front pocket Bible. Also something we’ll both benefit form for years and years…And perfect for the “paper anniversary.”

I was going to update a bit on my Canadian visit thus far, but I’m kind of worn out and dinner is almost ready. Later, people.

The One with the Smattering

I’m busy.  Busy packing for two weeks away from home…in two distinct climates…for two unique purposes.  Saturday I will be picked up by my second family (correction: third family if you count the Eccles as second, but I kind of consider them my real family in addition to my blood family.  But I digress.)–the Austins–are picking me up and taking me home with them to Canada where I am spending the week.  Britt and I haven’t spent more than a day together for a year (!!) so we’re both pretty pumped about this.  I get to be with her for two of her showers as well as helping her and her mom get together the last minute wedding details.  Fun!  Kevin will come up Thursday or Friday and I’ll relocate with him to our “room” for the weekend–the Austin’s camper. :D  Then of course there is the wedding!  I could go on and on about that but I’ll save that for a later date.  

Sunday after the newly married couple opens gifts, Kevin will drive me to the Detroit airport and I’ll be off for Florida where I’m spending a week with my grandma and my mom.  How fun is that?!  

I’m kind of exhausted now, so I’m signing off.  But not before I mention that my tests for Celiac disease came back negative.  The doctor is still prescribing the gluten free diet (which I’m in total agreement about!) and diagnosing me with a gluten intolerance.  Basically it’s a food allergy which means I’m not damaging my intestines if I do mess up the diet.  I’ll just suffer a few rather uncomfortable consequences.  But I’m happy.  And so are my insides. 

The One with the Delay Due to Exhaustion

The weekend was fabulous.  Fast. Filled. and Fabulous.  Mom arrived around 4:30pm Friday after Kevin and I had spent a nice afternoon at home and we whisked her off with us to Kevin’s family’s house.  We had a great dinner with them with good conversation and a perfect Mother’s Day/Birthday gift exchange.  Both of the Mothers’ three kids (either Brian, Kevin and I or Ash, Kevin and I) gave our moms a piece of jewelry from the Kay’s “Journey” collection.  His mom was given a white sapphire necklace in white gold and my mom was given a 5 (small) diamond ring in yellow gold.  They both loved their treasures!
My mom, his mom, Aunt Ruth and I headed to SBC late Friday night to get some food refridgerated and tables set up for the Saturday bridal shower.  That night I didn’t get in bed until around midnight and couldn’t fall asleep.  The rest of the night was unusually torturous with a full hour from 2-3am wide awake, extremely warm and uncomfortable temperatures (for me at least…mom was downstairs frozen to death), and wanting to get up at 5:45 just so the night would be over.  *sigh*  I never have such rough nights.  So that was definitely lame.  
Despite the lack of sleep, Britt’s shower went off without a hitch and we had a wonderful time.  I was proud of my spread of food and how well my planning came together.  I’ll have to share pictures as soon as I get copies of them off my Mother in law’s camera.  The small group of 13 had a great time of fellowship and barely had time to finish gift openings before we needed to clean up and turn over to the 50th Wedding Open house at 3pm.
By the time the open house reception rolled around, I was absolutely exhausted and barely able to function.  I only knew about 10% of the attendees which made it a bit difficult to fake alertness, but I think I pulled it off decently.  :)  Over all, spending time with family was great.  I got to catch up with my cousin (in law), Elise and we had many good converations. I also learned so much about Gma and Gpa Arvidson’s love and the beginning of their relationship–so special!
For the first time in 4 years, I spent Mother’s Day with my mom!  I was thrilled to be able to introduce her to the special people we are friends with at Monroe and who doesn’t love a Mother’s Day potluck!  After church, Kevin, Mom, and I shared some good bonding conversation time.
I think I’m still trying to catch up on sleep as I’m completely unable to remember anything else I was meaning to share here.  I’ll just have to do that later.  In the mean time check out a few new recipes over yonder.  The salsa recipe is especially simple!
 

The One with the Raindrops on…Dandilions

What a great week this has turned out to be.  Despite all the nose blowing that has to happen for the first couple hours after waking up, I’m over this whole crappy illness thing.  Yay for that. 
Oh, and side note.  My favorite thing is happening–Sunshine while raining.  Yay for sun.  Anyways…
I’ve had some seriously great workouts with Jillian Michaels every morning and to make it even better, Amanda and I have gone on 3 powerwalks by the river.  We’ve had such a great time talking while keeping our heart rates up.  What could be better?  It’s been great getting to know her.  We have lots in common and never seem to be at a loss for conversation.  Yay for friends.
I made another batch of banana peanut butter granola and it turned out twice as good as the first time (which was quite delicious.)  The taste was still great and I improved upon my “stirring” and “turning” during the baking process allowing the granola to stay in chunks and pieces instead of individual grains of oats.  Yay for granola.
Finalizing plans and items to take to Britt’s bridal shower on Saturday has gone well.  I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of my planning as well as spending time with some of the greatest women in my life.  And not only that, but my mom is coming up tomorrow afternoon and then she, Kevin and I are spending Friday night at his parents’ house.  Should be fun!  And I’m so happy to be spending Mother’s Day with my mom.  Yay for moms!

The One that’s All Better. Mostly.

Today was a complete turnaround from yesterday.  (Well not completely.  Just to clarify, the afternoon taking it easy with my husband was much needed. My body has thanked me for the time of rest by giving me a great “today”.)  
I woke up with a scratchy-barely-there voice thanks to sleeping all night with my mouth open because breathing through my nostrils was prohited.  That affect wore off, however, after I had a lovely cup of tea around 6:15am.  Kevin left the house by 6:30 and by 7:30 I was downstairs ready for my workout with Jillian.  I missed her.  I was glad to be equipped with a roll of toilet paper to be used for nose blowing.  I’m pretty sure I used half the roll.  Happily, the snot factor has decreased exponentially throughout the day.  
At 10am, Amanda picked me up for a walk in the park.  We had an absolutely lovely time together as we power walked it for a full hour.  We have plans to keep this up! :D  I love my walking buddy.
She dropped me off at home with a lovely bouquet of daisies and I was happy to open up my water bill and find that it had gone from $184 last quarter to $66 this quarter!  woot!  I won’t go into the details of how we experienced such a change, but in any case we are thankful. 
By 11:30am, I had the wash hung on the line to dry–love having that line!–and was soon outside again ready to wash windows.  Now, let me inform you that window washing is one of my least favorite cleaning tasks.  I hate it.  And I have always put it off until you can no longer see through a given window.  Well, yesterday as I was taking it easy (aka, no exercise [WHAT?!], no church, no youth group) I decided to accomplish something around the house and began cleaning windows from the inside.  They were absolutely treacherous!  I mean, seriously, I don’t think they had been washed in at least 10 tens.  no lie!  Ask Kevin.  I went through 2 papertowels and windex per one side of one window pain before they were clean.  And these papertowels were black.  And the cobwebs.  Oh, the cobwebs.  No wonder we find 2 spiders a day in this house.  Those stupid screens still need a hose down, but the filth on the actual windows and edgings is sufficiently cleaned.  So anyways…
I borrowed a ladder from the church and set out with a bucket of cleaning solution, gloves, a rag, a microfiber towel and windex.  It took two wet washes to get the major grime off and then a third wipe down with the microfiber and windex.  *whew*  It was a much needed job that I am so glad to have done.  And when Kevin and I finish hosing the screens, I will be officially happy to not have 10 year old dust and cobwebs blowing in my windows with the fresh breeze.  Outdoor allergens are enough, thank you very much.   
After window washing, I took the clothes off the line and decided it was time (much overdue actually) for lunch.  I ate a light meal in the sun on the front porch with a book.  aahhh.  
The rest of my afternoon was just lovely and having Kevin arrive home at 5:25 instead of 10pm was fantabulous.  We ate taco burgers and potato wedges on the back deck, and plan to relax over the new House episode.  

The One with a Rant of Sorts

I’m home. 
When I should be at church.
*sigh*
I hate having to decide to miss church.  I have responsibilites.  I have connections.  I have peoples’ expectations.  But I also have a 7 day flu or sinus infection or a combination of the two.  Just when I think I’m back to normal, BAM!  it knocks me back off my feet.   I’ve been fighting this nasty enemy for six days now.  The symptoms go in waves.  Intense waves.  Painfully sore throat…leading to aching ear.  An endless supply of nasal cavity fluids…which happen to be very colorful.  Headaches.  Body aches.  Mood swings.  And more.  
But then I feel better.  
But then I feel worse.  
I really hope I didn’t infect any of the hundreds (exaggeration?  I’m not really sure…) of people I’ve been around this last week–shopping with, eating with, etc.  
And that, my friends, is why I am relegated to my home today.  On this–the most gorgeous day–the day when I don’t know what to do with my life if I’m not at church.  But alas, I musn’t infect all those nice people at church…especially with our high gray haired population.  They don’t fight things like they could when they were young whipper snappers like me.  (Which apparently I am not, because I contract any and all illnesses which may or may not be circulating.) 
*sigh*  
I really want to go for a long walk in this sunny warmth.  I have trouble “resting.”