Monday, April 30, 2012

it was my favorite anniversary thus far

On Saturday we celebrated our first anniversary by visiting the botanical gardens.
The flowers were beautiful!
One of my favorite spots was the rose garden.
My other favorite was the tulip garden.
After the garden we visited the Confederate Museum and White House.

On Sunday (our actually anniversary), we went to church than Christopher made us a special dinner. I was responsible for making the fried okra but something went a-rye so it was more like okra with a side of fried corn flour. After dinner we went for a walk then gave each other gifts. We decided to give paper related gifts this year since paper is the traditional gift for a first anniversary. Christopher gave me seven board games. They were perfect-I love games! I made him a United States map out of blue and green construction paper and glued little buttons to each state we've lived in together.
I like spending my anniversary with Christopher. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

time flies when you're having fun

Today is our first anniversary.
The year went by SO, SO fast.
This year we've lived in 2 states, homes, and moved times. All the moving around is one reason I choose Ruth 1:16-17 for our wedding sermon. I knew the verse "Where you go I will go" would be an apt description of how our lives would go.
This year we visited quite a few places. We went to VermontPhoenix,  Sedona,  CooperstownWashington DCGeorgia, Boston, and Syracuse. Unlike our wedding buddies William and Kate, we didn't tour the world to the cheers of adoring fans, but there's always next year. (Also unlike them, our faces are not plastered all over the cover of People magazine. Christopher is so thankful.)

We certainly didn't spend the whole year together (when all is said and done, we were apart for about six months), but with the exception of Christopher's birthday, we were able to spend every holiday together. We were even together on Leap Year. ;) We know that isn't the case for many Army couples, so we are very thankful.
Happy anniversary,Christopher!! I'm so glad I married you!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

until he married me he never knew...

...that I have a song for almost every topic.

...that I want to plan a party for every occasion. (I have recently been discussing my Olympic Opening Ceremony Party if anyone's interested in attending.)

...that my methods of thawing meat would shock him.

...that instead of visiting an eye doctor, he can just ask for my most professional and medical opinion.

...that we should never, EVER watch a movie that requires logic or problem solving when I am sick. This become most evident when we watched The Good Shepard during the Great Plague of  2011. It was a disaster of epic proportions.

...that when it comes to our nightly devotions, I am (and I do hate to boast) an expert at pronouncing unusual Biblical names.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big D-A-D

Happy birthday, Dad!!
I love you!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

things are not always as exciting as they seem

Things happen around here the likes of which certainly didn't happen when we lived in the house by the river. At that house, I'd look out the window across the water at the homes of my fellow Americans and the Canadians. It was always very calm. Two days ago I was driving to the track on post but got stuck in traffic because of what seemed to be a mass Exodus out of the ghetto. Four traffic lights in a row were being manned by police and two police cars were pulling into our parking lot as I left. Of course I wondered WHAT IN THE WORLD was going on, but unfortunately I never found out.

That was nothing compared to the excitement of yesterday.

I was sitting on my bed eating pretzels (a fact not relevant to this story) while doing school when a large shipping truck with the word SHERIFF printed on the side pulled into the church parking lot across the street. Naturally I took a picture to show Christopher because I like to share the things that he's missed during the day. (Although it has been documented that he's 85% less interested in neighborhood happenings than I am.) Nothing happened for about fifteen minutes and just when I was about to find my shoes and go do errands, two pickup trucks pulled in next to the first truck and out climbed not one, but seven prisoners in blue and white stripped outfits.

Immediately any plans I had for school or errands or productivity in general went out the window.

The gate leading into the parking lot was left open so naturally I felt the need to take on the job of staring at it intently incase anyone tried to escape. Not that I had any plan of action if they did, I just wanted to do my civic duty and watch the gate.

I sat at the window for a good thirty minutes watching the men set up tents with a golden police star on the top. I wasn't the only one watching. A man way across on the other side of the parking lot was watching the goings on from his front door. I wasn't watching from my front door because I don't like to be so obvious. Not to mention that I don't have a front door. By this point in the Mysterious Events Across the Street I noticed a new development- a even larger truck had arrived. A truck with Party Rentals written in big letters on the side. What was going on now? Where the prisoners about to have some sort of April 20th party? At this point I started wondering if the whole thing was to set up for some sort of church event seeing how they were in a church parking lot. Talk about anticlimactic. Not that I wanted a riot or anything, I just wanted something a little more exciting than a church picnic. Right around the time they took a break and started eating fruit I decided it would be the grown up thing to go do my grocery shopping. It wasn't going to do itself and if I wanted to watch someone eat a snack, I could be eating my pretzels in front of a mirror.

I returned from my shopping to discover all criminals gone and three tents set up in the parking lot of the church. In what is probably become the most anticlimactic story EVER, I decided they were most likely doing community service in the form of helping a church. As Laura (who I instantly alerted to the activities outside my window said), they were spending some time out of the slammer as a reward for good behavior. So that's what happened outside my window yesterday. I wonder what exciting happens I'll see next week!

(Ps. Before my mother starts to worry, no, I wouldn't have been paying such attention to the prisoners if they weren't on the other side of a very strong brick wall.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Linus and Lucy visit Washington

Last Saturday we went on a daytrip to Washington DC. We had two things on our agenda- the Cherry Blossom Festival and the spy museum. 
Seeing the Cherry Blossom Festival has been on my list of things to do for years. Unfortunately, the cherry blossoms had come and gone and there was nary a blooming cherry tree to be found in the entire city. It was very disappointing. I'm pretty sure the closest I came to cherry blossoms was my Japanese Cherry Blossom lotion courtesy of Bath & Body Works.
On the bright side, the dogwood trees were very pretty.
We walked by a little station were we could rent bikes and cruise around the city in style. In theory it was a great idea. In reality it was slightly stressful for one of us (the one whose name does not start with C) because of the number of people on the sidewalks and the very strong desire not to hit anyone.
The weather was beautiful and we were able to see many of the sites around the National Mall. One of my favorite was the World War 2 Memorial. Each state is represented with a column so we found our respective states and took pictures in front of them. Christopher is VERY southern and I am VERY northern so we pretty much continue to fight the Civil War every day.    
Unlike the cherry blossoms, the International Spy Museum was very much there.
Saturday was the day I learned that, despite what I like to think, I wouldn't be a good spy. At the first display we each picked an alternate identity we were to remember throughout the museum. I picked a 22 year old girl named Angelica from Italy who was on her way to Bosnia for a 30 day business trip. I didn't pay much attention to the town of my birth or the specific town I was headed in Bosnia because HOW IMPORTANT COULD THAT BE? Apparently very important. I was interrogated by my boss (who looked surprisingly like a computer) and since I didn't know all the details of my life, he grew very suspicious and wouldn't give me a real case. I was told to show up at a hotel and procure a package from the front desk that contained discount codes for his stay there next month. (I doubt Angelica was pleased with that case, but Sarah is all about discounts.) After Angelica's cover was revealed, I basically gave up on her. I was much too busy trying not to lose Christopher in the the museum. We discussed what our spy names might be if we were in a spy agency, and we came up with some real keepers like Maple & Oak and Thyme & Sage. My very favorite was Linus and Lucy because they're names that scream just how VERY PROFESSIONAL we would be. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

the ghetto is not our home

After driving many miles and listening to many podcasts along the way, we arrived at our (temporary) new home on Wednesday. I'm so pleased to report that we only had one near-death experience on the way down. The combination of traffic, talking to Christopher on the phone so we didn't get separated in said traffic (he was in the other car), driving the standard AND attempting to switch lanes at the same time was not the most brilliant idea ever.

We stopped at the Virginia welcome center and stocked up on (and this is no exaggeration) 6.5'' worth of paperwork about the state and all the things we MUST see and do during our time here. Gardens! Museums! Historical sites! Restaurants! Golf courses! Forests! I don't foresee many laid-back weekends in our future. I kept telling Christopher that according to all the commercials, Virginia is for Lovers, so I was happy to see this very large sign outside the visitors' center. I used it as an "I told you so!" even though he had never disagreed with me. 
We spent the night in the town of Dumfries. I think that name is terribly disrespectful towards a delicious potato product. Mom and Christopher both told me that the proper pronunciation is Dumfrees, but I insist it must be pronounced Dumfries because that's how it's spelled.

We hadn't seen our apartment in person until we arrived, so naturally we hadn't seen the surrounding neighborhood either. Imagine our shock upon realizing our new home is IN THE GHETTO. That was a very unexpected development. It was a relief beyond measure to see our apartment and discover that it is a bright spot in the midst of a very unpleasant ghetto. Before unpacking we went out for lunch because first things first! When it came time to unload our cars, we had to carry everything through four doors and up two flights of stairs. I didn't do so well with the stairs part. Thank goodness for the landing.

Moving is not for the faint of heart. These pictures only show part of the chaos.
We quickly discovered that the last occupant of our apartment had not cleaned ANYTHING since New Years. Of 2008. It was disgusting. We went through four rolls of paper towels and some unpleasant thoughts during our three hours of cleaning. It was just a ball of fun. (Sarcasm alert!!) By the time we went to bed, everything was clean and almost all our boxes were unpacked. I think we should be given some sort of Fastest Move and Unpack of the Year award. Does the Army give those out?

The next day we went on an exploratory expedition through town. We stopped at the mall so Christopher could get a haircut and discovered a pottery painting store next to the hairdressers. Christopher asked if I wanted to go paint something WITH HIM and, after I picked my jaw up off the floor, I replied in the affirmative. I wanted to take a picture of him painting because it's not a something I see everyday, but I didn't want to push it. I did offer to take him to the Harley Davidson dealership since I know he likes it there. That's the sort of give and take that has kept us happily married for the last 347 days.

That and the fact that he buys me Oreos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New York favorites

At this very moment we are on the road driving to Virginia. The amount of belongs crammed into our car is ridiculous. We look like hoarders on wheels.

In no particular order, some of my favorite things about New York are:

1. The view from our porch that I have mentioned a time or eighty before.
2. The arts and crafts center
2a. The fact that the arts and crafts center didn't close until we were about to move. It seems that soldiers prefer gyms over paints and clay vases(something I find INCONCEIVABLE), so the arts and crafts center is becoming a gym. As if Fort Drum needs another gym.

3. Canada radio. I listened to Canada radio every time I was in the car. It just fascinated me. Not only did they occasionally say French phrases, they informed me of the traffic patterns in Ontario. Granted, knowing a collision had just happened on the corner on Collins and Maple didn't help my daily commute, but it was interesting nonetheless. I especially liked the five o'clock "D is for Dinner" segment. Except for the day they brought up squirrel sushi, because that's just weird.

4. The caterpillar and spider made from hay rolls. It's hard to see, but the caterpillar was modeling bunny ears for Easter.
5. The Amish people.
6. The first homes we lived in together.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

I can't think of any other title than "Easter 2012" so we'll go with that

Friday afternoon was our official egg decorating time. As normal, our eggs didn't turn out like the picture, but you can sort of see the leaf patterns on two of the eggs. I think the colors are really pretty. Christopher's egg decorating skills really surpassed my expectations.
I didn't have much to work with for decorations since they're all in boxes, but I had some leftover burlap from my burlap wreath project so I used that. 
Naturally we had a large supply of Reeses available. We also had Cadbury eggs, Lindt truffles(!!!!!), and peanut butter and chocolate candies I made using grandma's recipe. We were not lacking in the chocolate department.
Last night Christopher set up an Easter egg hunt for me! I never had my own Easter egg hunt so I felt very special. I grew up competing with four siblings and nine cousins on Easter so this hunt was a walk in the park. It was so relaxing. I think it was very appropriate that I happened to be wearing pajamas with birds on them while I hunted for eggs. I believe in dressing appropriately for events.
Not pictured below are a necklace and the three cards he gave me. Do you see the Joanns gift card? The man knows the way to my heart. 
This morning as I was getting breakfast, Christopher walked into the kitchen both shirtless and shoe and sockless. I said I doubted they would let him into church looking like that because no shirt, no shoes, NO SERVICE. And then I died laughing because apparently I crack myself up and I'm my own biggest form of entertainment.

My little burlap bunnies turned out so cute! I may or may not have lit two pieces of burlap on fire in my attempts to seal the frayed edges of the bunnies, but I didn't burn the house down. Always a positive. 
And without further delay...our Easter dinner! We cooked a little too much, but it was tasty. I really get to get a handle on the whole cooking for only two people thing.   
I had never celebrated Easter with less than 16 people so this year was very different for me, but we had a wonderful day together, just the two of us.

How Great Thou Art

Friday, April 6, 2012

in which I talk about yesterday even though it is now today

I had big plans for yesterday. I was going to take pictures of everything I did during the day and write about it like I did last year. Well. All I did from about 9:30 to 12:30 was laundry, then I did errands after lunch and didn't get home until almost midnight. By then I was too tired to do anything other than eat pudding. Pudding cup are the midnight snacks of champions.

Going to the laundry mat takes SO MUCH TIME. It also takes a lot of quarters. I  stockpile quarters like a squirrel stockpiles nuts. One time I dropped a precious quarter and it rolled under the car so I crawled under to get it. I don't fool around.
After I put the clothes in the washing machine I went to the grocery store. I don't think I've mentioned it much, but the town we live in is teeny tiny. Of the twelve stores on Main St., only four are open year round- the bar/restaurant, the grocery store, the laundry mat/convenience store/gas station, and the liquor store. One day I went out to do laundry and saw fourteen people out and about. It was like the place turned into a metropolis overnight. Where was I? Back to the grocery store. It's a tiny store and I only had three items on my list, but I needed help finding two of them. I'm sure the locals at the register looked at each other and remarked that I surely was not a native of their small town. The fact that I clearly don't have a NY accent was probably another clue. I still had a few minutes to kill before the washer to dryer transfer, so I went to look at the water. I love living by the water.
By then I was tired of hanging around a tiny town with nothing to do, so I went home. Then I turned right back around to take the clothes out of the dryer and folded them. Like I said, it's pretty much a CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE event just to do laundry.

After lunch I drove half an hour down to civilization to do some Easter dress shopping and get a haircut. The hairdresser and I had a lovely chat. We discussed stuffed French toast, zebra and pink nurseries, the pros and cons of Charlotte Russe earrings, and how people often think we're much younger than we really are. At that point I really started hoping she hadn't seen the bright and colorful Disney princess band aid I was sporting on my pointer finger. No wonder people think I'm 15. (I'd like to point out that when one is living with 3/4 of their belongings in storage, one can't afford to be picky about band aids.)

I picked up this little munchkin after my haircut and we spent the evening playing tag and reading books. I gave her a little ladybug costume for her birthday and she looked so precious wearing it. I may have taken 48 pictures of the cuteness.  
In a nutshell (as opposed to 8,000 words), yesterday I did laundry, went Easter shopping, got a haircut and babysat Allison.

I suppose I could have just said that in the first place.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

a very Pinteresting Easter

Because we're moving three days after Easter, I won't be able to do much decorating this year. However, in my extensive holiday research (meaning times when I was on the computer but probably should have been doing something else), I discovered two Easter crafts that I will do. Goodness knows I can't let a holiday going by without some decorating. 

I'm going to make this little Peter Cottontail bunny out of burlap. I think he's so adorable.

I would like to present the winner of the How We Will Decorate Our Easter Eggs, Edition 2012. Just in case this idea doesn't work (which is entirely possible), I have three backup plans. I get very serious about egg decorating and fully intend on passing along the excitement to Christopher. He's probably just glad there's no glitter involved.

Thanks to Pinterest and Martha Stewart, here are a few ways I'll decorate for Easter when I have a more permanent home. Oh, Pinterest story!! The other day I was searching for Easter egg ideas on Pinterest and Christopher walked by and said, "Oh, is that Pinterest?" It was a very proud wife moment. :-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

call me with any packing paper questions

Our move to Virginia date is scheduled in T-minus 10 days, so we spent most of Saturday organizing and separating our storage unitS. That's right. We have multiple storage units. Whoever built and decided a one storage unit provided enough room for a three bedroom home clearly didn't see us coming. As can be seen in the below picture, once you pass through the doorway you're entering a deep, dark abyss.
My job was to find all the household items we will need for the summer in Virginia and separate it from what the movers will drive to Kentucky. I hadn't seen any of my household items since we packed everything up in October, but thanks to my labeling techniques, I found most of what I searched for. Apparently I don't believe in simply labeling boxes livingroom or kitchen. Most boxes are labeled like this:

silver salt and pepper shakers
blue dish towel
stripped platter
coffee mug
three glass bowls
two pans

It appears I like to be specific. I will save myself so much time down the road when I absolutely NEED that blue dish towel and don't have to go searching through 98 boxes to find it. Another thing became extremely evident during my unpack-find-repack in a different box Saturday: I had packing paper and bubble wrap and I wasn't afraid to use them. Was it entirely necessary to wrap a whisk in five layers of packing paper? If the moving truck gets caught up in a tornado on the way to Kentucky, I think my whisk will survive the ordeal just fine. 

 the sunset on Saturday night