Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Successful Arrival!

We're here in New Zealand! Safe and sound...and a little cold. It's winter here, so temperature is around 45 degrees at night. During the day it has been like a lovely early spring day, my favorite :) . We've had an AWESOME first couple of days and hope to get pictures uploaded soon. It's taking a little long trying to do it at the hotel where we're currently staying. I'll try again tomorrow!

Thanks for all your prayers for safe travel and well wishes!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Vacation Eve



Our flight leaves at 4:15 in the afternoon tomorrow.
Pray for us!
It is going to be a LONG flight.
But I have packed a lot of things to do.
And we will sleep.
At least, that is the plan.
We should arrive in Auckland, New Zealand at 6:30 Sunday evening.
Except it will be 6:30 Monday morning to us.
But fear not!
We have plans for a good comfy bed and then a great dinner out.
Here we go!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Travel to Australia: Step 2

Hire someone to clean your house.

And then hire them to come again right before you come back so that you can enjoy the post-vacation glow for a little while longer.

Totally worth on it on the budgeting side of things. (I'm thinking of the cost in terms of giving up 2 dinners out. Sooo worth it.)

This may be the smartest thing I have ever done.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"I have seen the devil, and he publishes a magazine called InStyle."

As someone who struggles hard with materialism and a covetous nature, this article was particularly encouraging. I particularly liked this part about trying to keep us with other people:

I can't tell how many of them are just pretending, as I once did, that they can afford to eat out seven days out of seven, take cabs hither and yon, and wear whatever "Sex and the City" dictates. Nobody talks about money.

It's just assumed that you have more than enough of it. To indicate otherwise is gauche, embarrassing and somehow sets you apart. You're supposed to be keeping up with the Joneses, even if you have no idea who those Joneses are. Just keep your eye on what everyone else is doing (and spending) and do likewise.

Patrick and I have tried to be better about our money. We started a budget, use a budgeting program (into which I'm constantly forgetting to enter my receipts...bad bad bad), and really tried to be more conscious of our spending. But it is HARD. Especially when I see other people/friends, who I know make the same or even less money than we do and are droppin' it like it's hot. I have to remind myself constantly that we are trying not to be slaves to credit cards, that eventually I would like to stay home with our babies, that we are called on to give back to our church, and that it is better to give our money away to people that really need it instead of just increasing our stash of stuff. I am so selfish.

I was listening to a sermon by John Piper entitled "What is this Recession for?" as I walked on the treadmill last night. One of the points he made was that economic recession is good for us because it gives us a better sense of the other 2/3rds of the world for whom "recessions don't come and go, they just come and come and come." It was convicting and encouraging at the same time. I will leave you with his words of how God has relocated our joy as Christians. They have also become my prayer:

Our joy is not rooted in circumstances.
God has relocated our joy in his grace, not our goods—in his mercy, not our money, in his worth, not our wealth.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

And the celebration continues

with Shannon's wedding!
I love these girls. There are my lifelines.

It should also be noted that Shannon played a significant part (not only in my life but also) in our marriage. She helped Patrick choose my engagement ring!

Congratulations Shannon and Matthew!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hey, Summertime, I've missed you!

It is officially the first day of SUMMER VACATION!! Woop woop!!! Can I get an amen??

It has been a long time coming. I don't know why but it felt like we'd never get here! I had a great year with great kids who I will miss 100%, but I'm SO happy to have a little time to regroup.

I celebrated yesterday by:
  • Doing Week 6, Day 2 of my Bridge to 10K running plan
  • Eating ice cream (Low-fat, Skinny Cow. How I love thee.)
  • Taking a nap
  • Going to Target and browsing for as long as I want with no where to be
  • Reading a magazine (instead of my usual 20,000 research papers)
Today I will continue celebrating by:
  • Wearing pajama pants for an absurdly long time
  • Laying by the pool
  • Getting a mani/pedi with my mama
  • Having dinner with the best friend
  • Watching Twilight (and maybe even New Moon)
It will be a long, hard day but, you know, someone has to do it.

Patrick is in Indiana doing a school session, which is the only reason I have not list "hot date with my husband" in the above lists. Just wanted to clarify.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On Sensible Shoes:

I ordered new shoes to take to Australia today. I set out to order a comfortable, yet not ugly shoe that I could walk in, go to dinner in, be comfortable in.

Something like this:

Then I started to think about the pictures that we will take while we're there. The pictures we will show everyone who asks. The pictures we will share with our kids and grandkids someday. Do I want to look at my pictures and say "Ugh, why did I where that outfit?" or "This would have really been better had I worn cuter shoes." Do I want to be forever immortalized as the "Girl with the Comfortable Shoes"? No!

So, this is what I ordered:

Maybe I overthought it.
But I did read all the customer reviews and every single one said something like, "I wear these boots with EVERYTHING!" So I'm thinking that means any outfit I will wear in Australia, correct?
Life is short. Who has time for sensible shoes?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Because I don't have enough to do.

So, in the midst of grading 349,857 research papers (again, slight exaggeration...) and about the same number of exams, packing up my classroom to move down the hall, and getting our affairs in order to leave the country for a month, I have decided to begin the 10K training schedule. Not because I'm looney (although, I might possibly be) but because running has become the thing holding my sanity in place (along with doing laundry and inhaling the fumes of Downy Spice Blossom Dare).

After doing and LOVING the Couch to 5K running plan that I completed in April, I decided to continue on the same path and work on the Bridge to 10K, which is put out by the same people. I cannot say enough how much I love these people for coming up with these training plans. They gradually build up to running the full amount. Though I've now been running 3 miles regularly, I will go back to intervals with some walking in between the running parts so I don't wear out my joints/ankles/back/muscles by trying to run too much too fast.

If you're interested, there are actually two plans shown on the page of this link. The Ease to 10K starts on Week 1 and is for running who are just starting out and haven't yet even completed a 5K (although I would recommend just going with the Couch to 5K if you are a beginner, and I, by the way, still consider myself a beginner). The Bridge to 10K starts on Week 6 on the chart and is for people who have finished the Couch to 5K program and are ready to add on.

There is an app for iphones, but of course I still live in 1998 and do not have an iphone. Therefore, I have just bookmarked this page on my computer and constantly refer back.

Today I completed the first day (Week 6, Day 1) of Bridge to 10K:

Warm-up walk: 5 minutes
Run: 10 minutes
Walk: 1 minute
Run: 10 minutes
Walk: 1 minute
Run: 10 minutes
Walk: 1 minute
Run: 10 minutes
Cool-down walk: 5 minutes

It felt great! And translated to about 3.6-3.8 miles. (I accidentally pulled the stupid emergency stop clip on the treadmill and it restarted the entire thing, so that is why I'm estimating my mileage there.) Having a training plan is really the key for me to keep this up, I have discovered.

I'm supposed to do this 2 more times this week. I don't know if this plan is going to hold up in Australia or not. My brother-in-law is a runner and said that I will have plenty of opportunities to run and even offered to run with me, so we will see! I am not going to stress if I don't get to go as often as I would like and have to pick back up in August.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.

Patrick has a new hobby.
He made that coffee spoon.
Well, the wooden part of it anyway.
On this cool little turny thingy that his friend has.
(Of course, that is not what they call it, but I can't remember the name.
So, cool turny thingy it is.)

Monday, June 7, 2010


So, you know it's the end of the school year when I start looking for ANYTHING to distract me from having to grade thousands (slight exaggeration) of research papers in my free time. Lately, my distraction has been laundry. I have jumped at the chance to do even the smallest load. I've ironed my clothes for school everyday (I usually am not an ironer. I'm a stand-at-the-dryer-like-a-puppy-and-grab-those-suckers-when-they-come-out sort of person). Anything, really, to keep from having to write another note about internal documentation or MLA format. Pathetic, I know. On the flipside, every piece of clothing in our house is clean and smelling fresh and I'm on fabulous terms with my husband, who loves a good clean shirt in his closet.

So, in honor of this week's distraction, I thought I would show you my laundry team. I'm not gonna lie, one reason I choose laundry as a formal distraction is that the clothes smell so dang good. I really am a Tide girl. Powdered Tide with Bleach. Have been since my first day of laundry. Recently, though, I went out on a limb and tried the new Method pump detergent. Let me tell you, the smell combination of these two beauties is pure heaven. HEAVEN. Please try it. You will understand why laundry is my distraction and that I really am not the wackadoo I make myself out to be.

I pair it with Downy Spice Blossom Dare. This was pure coincidental. The superhuge one was on sale at Sam's. But it's so good, I'm never going back.

I also really like Mrs. Meyers Ironing Spray. Unfortunately they have discontinued it, which is really sad, and means I have to ration what I have left very slowly.

So there you go. Wacko Laundry Girl. Better than losing my mind grading, right? RIGHT??

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Travel to Australia: Step 1.

Purchase HUGE new suitcases.
Make sure your husband's is a nice masculine color like dark green.
Meanwhile, yours can be Sangria.
(also known as pink)
Feel really proud of yourself until your husband announces that since you have said pink suitcase, you cannot expect him to help you carry it.
Wish you had thought this through a little more thoroughly.

Friday, June 4, 2010

On Beets and Couponing (or the lack thereof).

Yesterday we received our first box of fresh farm vegetables from Homestead Creamery (the company that delivers our milk and dairy). They have partnered with a local farm and are offering 5 pound boxes of fresh vegetables delivered to our house with our milk each week for $6. There are two options from which to choose, and we chose to alternate choices each week. This week we received "Option B" which contained the following:

2 pounds of fresh green beans, 4 zucchini, and 3 beets.

Yes, beets.
(Offerings within the boxes change as the season continues.)

I was slightly puzzled when I opened the box and found 3 huge beets staring me in the face. Not to be phased, I have been scouring the web for recipes and have settled on trying these two.

I'm actually really glad we have a little less control over what comes in these boxes. I believe this will definitely encourage us to eat a little healthier each day as we try to use up the veggies and try new things.

Speaking of which, I read this post by Aimee, whom I don't know but find her blog really helpful and encouraging. I'm not a coupon-er (sorry, folks). Mostly because we are trying not to eat really processed foods and more healthy whole foods. You simply can't do that with coupons. (They don't make coupons for beets, that's for sure!) Plus, I know my tendencies, and I would, I'm sure, buy lots of things we don't need simply because "it was a good deal." Sometimes I beat myself up a little for spending a little too much at the grocery store (although we have found that buying things in bulk as much as we can saves money) and not scouring all the sites for deals, but this post made me feel a little better.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beautiful Wedding Weekend

Photo by Corinthian Ballroom
My beautiful friend and co-worker, Allie, got married this weekend to another good family friend, Josh. It was truly one of the most beautiful and classy weddings I've ever attended. We danced and partied all night (I even got Patrick to dance with me!), and we got to hang out with good friends.

Billy and Rebecca, who've moved away but came in for the weekend. We've missed them!

Yummy cupcakes.

Carter and Sanja, who are getting married themselves in July.
Carter is one of my brother's best friends and has pretty much grown up as another litte brother of mine.

Good friends!

(I need a tan. And a haircut. Yuck.)

My brother Dave and his girlfriend, Katie.
One of the best parts of the night was getting to hang out with them.
(By the way, Dave and I decided that dancing is just not in our genes, but we do it anyway...It may have been scary.)

It was the perfect way to kick-off the three day weekend and the beginning of summer.
Congrats Allie and Josh!