How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.--Stephen Covey

Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010

Hello 2011.

We all know what 2011 means -- the wedding. And oh boy, we are excited. We're 27 days away from being out of the 100s and into double digits. Scary!! I'm starting to freak out about all the things that need to be done!!

Anyway, let's do a recap of all the good things that happened in 2010, shall we??

  • I graduated with my MSW degree in May. After 2 long and stressful years, it was worth it!
  • Jake got a promotion at work!!
  • We set a date for the wedding <3
  • Jake and I started going to church and love what it has done for our lives and relationship. God is good :)
  • I finally found a job in September/October. It's not in Social Work, but it's a job :) And, as a nanny, I sort of do social worker-y things anyway.
  • Paying off some debt -- always a good thing. Still getting there, but we've made a dent.
  • I turned a quarter of a century years old young. I just like the way that sounds :) And age doesn't bother me, it's just a number.
  •  Jake and I didn't move this year :) Yea, we've moved every year since 2005. Moving is insane and we didn't want to do it again. Next year we are hoping to rent a house so, we'll be moving again :P
That is all I can think about right now. Compared to 2009, 2010 was a good year. Lots of changes and beginnings. There were some rough patches, but that is life right? The good thing about the rough patches is being able to pick yourself up and dust yourself off, reflect and learn from those patches and move on. Keep on moving ahead. Life will always throw curve balls at you at various points in your life--you just have to learn how to either dodge them (which I don't suggest because then you miss important learning experiences) or you plant your feet to the ground and catch the curve balls and throw them back and keep on moving. What I mean is: learn from the curve balls. Take the experiences and move on. There is no reason to regret anything -- then you are living in the past and you can't move forward.

Yea. I'm rambling on. Somewhere in there is a good lesson. I think.

Well, Happy New Year's Eve. Celebrate and have a good time and be safe!

Much love <3

Friday, December 24, 2010

Feel Good Friday: Christmas Edition

This Feel Good Friday is special since it's Christmas Eve and I'm with family. This year we are celebrating Christmas with my family in Florida--which means that we are with my mom's brother, his wife's family and my grandparents. At first, we thought that my sister wasn't going to be able to make it down, but she got a plane ticket last minute and has joined us. After not seeing her for a year, it's awesome to see her twice in one month (she was in town for Thanksgiving at our place).


So here is my Feel Good Friday list: (I'm doing another list because I like lists!)

  1. Being with my side of the family this year. (Jake and I alternate years with our families.)
  2. Seeing my sister twice in a matter of a month (she lives in MI, I live in GA). I know I mentioned this above, but, it's true :)
  3. Warm weather for Christmas. I know that Christmas is typically associated with snow and coldness, but it's a nice change of pace to be in FL with my family and be relatively warm.
  4. Being so close to the wedding -- we are almost out of the 100's! Can you believe that?
  5. Safe travels. The drive from ATL to Orlando is about 8-hours.
What are is your Feel Good Friday list? Find directions here. While you are at it, follow Erika -- you won't be disappointed :)

Oh! And Merry Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Engagement Rings

Yes, I said ringS. Plural.

I have gotten a few questions from people that have seen pictures of us lately that shows Jake wear a ring. Some people have asked us if we have gone out and gotten secretly married and some people have just asked why he wears a ring.



Let me explain.

And before I start, no, we did not go out and secretly get married. We are still very much unmarried. We're impatiently waiting for the big day... I believe we're in the 140's now but I haven't checked in a few days.

Anyway, when Jake and I started planning the wedding, like really started planning the wedding after I graduated, we went to Shane Co. (where my e-ring is from) to look for a wedding band to match my ring. After spending at least 2-hours at Shane Co. trying to find the perfect band, which we found one that I liked, we looked at men's bands. Jake didn't find one that he loved but on the way home he expressed an interested in wearing an engagement ring too. It wasn't a selfish thing, it was more about being committed to each other already and wanting to show everyone how excited he was that we were finally engaged and planning a wedding. Jake really is one of a kind, a great catch because after 8-years of being together, he is still super excited about getting married :)

So, after our discussion, I decided to surprise him with a "man-gagement ring". Did you know that Michael Buble (one of my favorite singers!) wears an engagement ring too? So, I have a healthy obsession with Etsy in which is a website where people sell things that they make. I've found a lot of great things for the wedding including our cake topper, toasting glasses, etc. So I found a seller that makes titanium wedding bands and found the perfect one for Jake--and later surprised him with it. It wasn't a proposal or anything, but it was a nice gift :) The seller is titaniumknights and they were fabulous to work with!! Here is Jake's ring:


And guess what? Jake loves it! And he wears it proudly :) And he's fallen in love with it and isn't sure that he wants to replace it with a new one on our wedding day... but that discussion is still up in the air.

So the moral of the story is that we aren't secretly married. We have not gone to the court house nor anything else. We haven't even gotten our marriage license yet!! When our friends and family come to the wedding in May, they will be there to see us finally being married. We wanted to do it right :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Picture

Can you believe that in the 8-years of being together that Jake and I have never had a professional picture taken? Well, we have, but that was prom(s) when we were in high school. I don't even have any from mine (which I'm glad! I had a horrible dress) but I still keep a picture frame from Jake's prom on one of our dressers in our bedroom.

I mean, look at us!!

How cute are we? Young love :) And I loved this dress!! I think that it's still at my grandparents house somewhere, but I could be wrong. Not that I could fit into it anymore... All I remember from that night is dancing the night away and having a blast. I'm pretty sure it was a much better time than my own prom a year before (which Jake also went to with me!).

Anyway, so when the church had a holiday festival and they were advertising family photographs, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get our picture taken professionally for the first time. So, away we went to the church to enjoy the festival and to get our picture taken. This is the result:

I think that it turned out great :) By next year's holiday picture, heck, by the time we get our engagement pictures done in the spring, I hope to not be so... fluffy. Grad school was definitely not nice to my weight. :-/ Stress and no time to do anything except school work would do that to you. Although, I am mostly to blame for letting myself go... Hopefully I can get some of it off by the wedding!!

Anyway, I hope that you like our holiday picture. We are quite pleased with it!! It is framed and on our entertainment center.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Feel Good Friday: It's the Small Things that Matter

  

Some things this week that have made me feel good:

1. My gym membership. After my membership at LA Fitness expired, I went in search of a new gym. What I ended up with is not really a new gym to me but it's someplace different to work out. I contemplated joining the YMCA, but it's super expensive (isn't it supposed to be family and budget friendly?) or rejoining LA Fitness (long story short, my aunt and uncle got me the membership, it expired and I had to pay for the fees to sign up again--which was too much for me to do at once). I ended up at an all women's gym (Women's Premiere Fitness) in which I absolutely love. I don't feel judged, the showers are beautiful (yes, it matters!) and I get a robe and comfy slippers to use while I'm getting ready after my workout. What more can you ask for? Oh, and can I tell you about my guilty pleasure of sitting in the sauna after a workout. OMG, pure warm bliss. Especially on some of the cold days we've been having. Best investment ever! (EDIT: The gym isn't new to me because when I worked at a local daycare, I had a free membership to WPF.)

2. Jake has been leaving me notes in the morning before he leaves for work. Need I explain this more and why it makes me happy? His car is finally running and he is able to drive to work so we aren't "carpooling" anymore. It's nice for me because I get to sleep in (#3) but we don't get that morning time to spend together. Especially since I work such late hours at work... Anyway, it's super sweet and makes my waking up that much more sweeter. It's always a blessing to wake up in the morning (there are no guarantees!) but to wake up with a cute note that says that he was thinking about me is awesome :)

3. Being able to sleep in. I get to wake up slowly, go to the gym, and then head to work sometime between 12-2:30.

4. Christmas bonus/gift from work. Need I say more??

5. Christmas shopping online for 2 family members that live out of state and them being shipped ASAP without me paying extra for fast shipping. Which means I can rest easy knowing that they should get their gifts before Christmas if shipping isn't somehow delayed by an act of God. I ordered one gift Wednesday night, it shipped yesterday afternoon. I ordered another gift on Thursday morning and it shipped several hours later. Now I just have to finish up my Christmas shopping and and get things shipped. :-/

This Feel Good Friday was taken from Erika :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Festivities

Jake and I had our first holiday festivity on this past Friday--a road rally with our bible study group. For both of us, it was our first road rally and was a ton of fun!! We are really loving the people that we are meeting at the church and are really looking forward to creating some great relationships with other young couples in the church.

Anyway, the road rally was a ton of fun. Each car had 2 couples in it and we started in various places around town. We had a packet of questions/clues that we had to answer and/or find and several road blocks. Our first road block was to stop at Walmart and pick up $15 worth of supplies to decorate our gingerbread house when we got back to the church. We picked up fake money, a magazine and Monopoly. I'll post pictures below for you to see what we came up with :P

Some of the other road blocks included the memorization of a office park's roadside signage, a fitness "test", a Christmas story quiz (in which we are soooooo lucky we teamed up with Neal and Judith because Neal was reciting things like it was nobody's business!! Jake and I are just getting into reading the bible and becoming familiar with it, so we didn't know as much), and a couple other things as well. It was a blast!! I just wish that I would have taken more pictures...


Judith was our designated frosting person :)

We also went to the church's Christmas Packages Festival--which is totally aimed at families with children, but I wanted to go to check it out and start off the holiday season. Also, I wanted to go for the Christmas pictures. Jake and I have never had professional pictures completed and since we are waiting to do our engagement photos for the early spring months before we get married, I thought it would be nice to get something like this done. They turned out great!! Once I get them scanned into the computer, I'll share.

Anyway, the church had a live nativity scene which was awesome. The children put on the nativity scene and told the Christmas story. It was very neat. I told Jake and this is the first Christmas where I don't feel like something is missing--not that my Christmases were ever bad or sad or anything along those lines. But they were missing meaning. I grew up with some religion and some meaning behind Christmas, but this is the first year that I truly understand it and really accept it into my life. I finally have that full Christmas feeling--and it's not from eating too many cookies or holiday meals. Anyway, here is a picture from that evening:
And, live real reindeer. Yes, the front left one is missing one of his antler... he was getting a little feisty with the reindeer next to him and they kept fighting. lol.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What a wonderful welcome to December

We welcomed December with a case of either food poisoning or the stomach flu--either way, Jake was one miserable individual yesterday. So far Jason and I are good, but if we are going to get it, we're going to get it. I slept on the couch last night to help prevent getting whatever stomach bug Jake has and went around this morning with disinfectant rubbing down all the door knobs, light switches, remotes, keyboards and faucets. Luckily Jake is a champ and isn't offended at all. He's a good sport :) AND, I've taken up washing my hands like crazy. If it was the regular flu, I'd still be doing all this but would care a little bit less if I caught it from him--the stomach flu on the other hand, I don't want to get. I hate being that kind of sick. Jake seems to be doing better today--he's sounding better and isn't running a low grade fever like he was yesterday and he hasn't been sick since late yesterday afternoon and is keeping down bland foods, so I think we're good. We had to take him to the doc this AM so that he could get a doctors note for missing work today--yesterday he still was on bereavement leave, but today he was due back to work. Poor guy. He feels horrible for missing 2-weeks of work. Technically too, he doesn't have to work tomorrow or Saturday... I have a feeling though that he may go into work tomorrow. We'll see.

It's not just the season of joy and happiness and giving for gifts and love and holiday cheer. It's the season of sharing illnesses of all sorts as well... here's to a healthy rest of the winter season for us and everyone else out there reading this. No one likes to be sick!!

Did I tell you that we put up our new tree? Did I tell you that we got a new tree? We thought it was time to upgrade from our Charlie Brown tree. We put it up before Jake left for MI for his grandma's funeral because I wanted to be able to do it with him. It is beautiful :) Normally I would have waited until the day after Thanksgiving to put it up, but since Jake was going to be out of town and I didn't want to wait to put it up (I like to enjoy the tree for as long as I possibly can), we put it up on Tuesday evening. It totally goes against my believe that all things Christmas should wait until The Turkey has it's day, but we had a good reason this year :) And it was nice to eat Thanksgiving with a Christmas tree up. It may be a new holiday tradition that Jake and I may have to keep up... putting up the tree a few days before Thanksgiving instead of the day after so that we can enjoy it at Thanksgiving time too.

Anyway, here is first our old tree and then our new tree:

























We even switched to white lights which was a little difficult for me as we've always had colored lights. But, I think that it looks beautiful and looks nice against the new bulbs we bought (from the Dollar Spot at Target!! Talk about bargain shopping!!). Anyway, it's a pleasant upgrade and we can't wait to have a bigger space to show off the tree. The new tree consisted of us moving the living room around completely (the pictures are from two different apartments...).

Anyway, I'm off of here. My sinuses are hurting today and being on the computer is giving me a bit of a headache this afternoon.

Much love <3
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