Friday, September 24, 2010


Half a year... we made it. I can still remember bringing little Jake home from the hospital, terrified that we were going to break him. And now, I can't remember life without him. It's both funny and amazing to think about how quickly a person can adjust to parenthood. We went from twenty-some-odd years of living life for ourselves, selfishly using our time however we pleased, to trading that in for the world's most demanding, yet loveable, boss. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

We had our six month check-up the other day and our suspicions were confirmed: this kid really is a beefcake. Maybe we're just living up to the Midwestern standard of having "corn-fed" kids. Then again, Josh and I are both very ambitious, so perhaps we're just trying to grow the world's biggest baby. After being weighed and measured last week, the doc told us that she couldn't even give us a percentile... he has officially moved off of the charts for his age. Seriously, what are we feeding him? I think he must wake up in the middle of the night and raid the cupboards. That and he's taking some sort of supplement for height. He isn't chunky by any means, so that weight is spread out on a long frame. I think he's going to be taller than the both of us by the time he's three. So without further ado, here is our "little" beefcake at six months old:

Height: 28 inches
Weight: 19 lbs, 10 oz.

In true 6-month form, everything goes in the mouth.
No teeth yet though, which makes mommy happy.
I love that little toothless grin.

And now we officially need to baby proof. At six months Jake has officially mastered crawling and is well on his way to gaining some speed. The scary thing is that sometimes I hear him before I see him and realize that he's into something that I thought I had put away. Within the same week of figuring the crawling thing out, he started trying to pull himself up on everything. He's still not very good at it, and his balance is terrible, so we've already had a couple of bumps on the head. The boy loves to eat and likes everything he has tried except for yogurt, to which he overdramatically gagged as if we had fed him dirt. I think I need it on video. What good is having a kid if you can't use him for entertainment, right? Now that he's eating solids, he wants whatever it is that I'm having. He has tried a nibble of a Dove chocolate bar and my best friend let him have a taste of her ice cream and he went crazy for both! He even cried when we didn't let him have anymore. Hmmm... what else? Oh yes, he's still obsessed with cups. He wants nothing to do with a sippy cup and wants to drink from a big boy cup. He actually does pretty well but occassionally will dump it down the front of his shirt, thus choking on the full glass of water that just tried to go down his throat. He truly is a character and my life is fuller everyday because of the bubbly, happy, silly personality he has. I am so very much in love.

Some days I sit back and watch him. As he works hard to figure something out or learn a new trick I wonder, "where did my little tiny baby boy go?" I understand now that time really does move faster when you have a child. I also understand why people have more than one. At the rate he is growing, we're going to have to get started on making baby #2!
Here he was at 1 month *sigh*

And now at 6 months and cuter than ever

Okay, Jake, that's enough. You can stop growing now.

Monday, September 20, 2010


When I was a freshman in college, my resident assistant Marissa knew that I was one of the few kids not going home for Easter and invited me to church with her. Glad to have someone to spend the day with, I happily obliged and off we went in our Sunday best to go celebrate the resurrection. During the service, however, I was extremely uncomfortable. There were no hymnals, but a band with drums and an electric guitar instead. The words were not in a book but on a large screen in the front of the auditorium. But the strangest part to me was that as I looked around, people were singing and holding their arms up in the air as if they were trying to actually grab a hold of heaven. I was so distracted that I could hardly even concentrate on the message and instead just looked around the room. I wondered who all of these weird people were and why they thought that this was an acceptable form of church.

It took me until I was 27 to walk back through the doors of another one of “those” churches. And I must admit that my motives were not holy in the least as I was only there to see my boyfriend (now husband) preach a message. This time I at least embraced the music a little more as some of the songs were the same ones that we listened to while riding around in his jeep and were at least somewhat familiar. Just like seven years prior, however, I still looked around and tried to figure out why these people felt compelled to raise their arms in the air. The church I knew was one where you stood and sang off-key to hymns that were written hundreds of years ago. Granted, I do love many of them, but the majority were just songs that I muddled through in order to get a few minutes closer to getting my obligatory hour of church over with. In the weeks that followed, I continued to go to the contemporary worship service, but only to hear Josh preach the message. After a few weeks, I began to learn the songs by heart and even found myself humming them to myself at work or on my long runs. I felt less and less uncomfortable when others lifted their arms toward the heavens, but my hands stayed firmly gripped on the pew in front of me. I wasn’t going to turn into one of them. That would be weird. That was not how church was supposed to be.

Fast forward a mere two years later and here we sit, celebrating the first anniversary of our campus of Crossroads Community Church, a contemporary church nonetheless. Not only am I an attendee, but I’m the pastor’s wife… who would have ever thought (certainly not me)! The story on how we got here is a good one, and one that I should probably tell in a future post (although I need to look through my archives and see if maybe I’ve told it already) and it was the first time that I really understood the call of God. Yes, He spoke to me; not really in words, but in a feeling. He told me that this was the move that we were supposed to make and the ministry that we were supposed to lead. When we had arrived to check it out I was convinced of the opposite, so even I was surprised after doing a complete one-eighty in just a couple of days.

Even after the move I did not necessarily jump in with both feet. Ministry was Josh’s job and his responsibility. According to me, my main role was to stay home and be his doting and supportive wife. Many difficult conversations transpired in those first months about this, and I always felt that Josh was being too hard on me. Wasn’t it enough that I moved across the country for his job? Wasn’t it enough that I left my friends and family behind? Wasn’t it enough that he worked like a maniac while I sat home all alone many nights pregnant with our first (and unexpected) child? It just wasn’t fair. It seemed that during those first few months I forgot that it wasn’t Josh, but God Himself, that called me here. And He called me to do more than just sit at home and support my husband. He called me, as He calls all of us, to serve.

I’m not sure what made me finally “get it” or when it happened. I think a lot of it came about when I finally got to stop filling in gaps that Josh needed to be filled and actually found the place that fills up my heart. During those first few months I worked with the tech team running slides, lights, and video. It wasn’t bad, but it was just a task that I had to get done each week. Then when we launched our youth program, I told Josh that I would run it since nobody else was stepping up to the plate. My heart ached for our high school kids, especially our high school girls, but I soon realized that the ache did not translate into a passion for leading the entire group. I did a mediocre job at best and it wasn’t long before Josh had it back on his plate. Sure I felt guilty, but why would he want me to lead it anyway? It’s not like I was good at that kind of thing! Looking back on that decision, I know that it was not a good fit from the start, but I at least could have made a better effort in order to serve those kids. The program survived many turnovers in leadership, but I certainly did not help in making it better. It’s something that I learned from and will always feel a little bit disappointed in myself about.

When Jake was born I took a little bit of time off just to be a church attendee. I worked in the nursery occasionally so that I could spend more time with my little munchkin and found that I loved being with all of those babies! They just brought so much joy to my day. I had always had a bit of an interest in helping out with the pre-school program and it was really through my time at the nursery that I spring-boarded into our pre-school ministry. I started leading their little worship songs and teaching their Bible lessons and would come out on Sunday mornings feeling so happy and fulfilled. Seeing those kids reach their hands to the Lord (yes, we start making them “weird” young here!), praying out loud, and reciting Bible verses still amazes me every day. They get it. They get it long before I ever got it. I sat for years in a church. I have known who Jesus was for as long as I can remember and even knew that He died on the cross to redeem me for my sins. I fully thought that I was, without a doubt, going to heaven regardless of how I spent my time Monday through Saturday. I would repeat the same sinful behavior over and over and over again, beg for forgiveness, carry around a burden of guilt, do my one hour of obligatory church (occasionally) on Sunday morning, and repeat the pattern. Wash, rinse, repeat- that’s all there was to it. I was spinning my wheels and did not even know it. I really think that it was through this journey with Crossroads that I really met Christ… that I really got it in the way that these little children are getting it. And the amazing part to me is that through it all, over all of those twenty-some-odd years, He has been waiting for me. In those desperate moments of prayer, He was listening and comforting me, but He was waiting for me to say “Yes, God, I am a sinner and I want to live differently.” I do give a lot of credit to my husband for showing me a better path and accepting me, exactly how I am, despite knowing where I had been. He demonstrated how Christ loves us and I really feel like that is what really started making me “get it.” And I am thankful every single day. I don’t miss the person that I was, but I sure enjoy trying to be a better one every day. And I love what God is doing in my life to show me that I am on a better path.

So after this first year of being a pastor’s wife and serving in ministry, I guess you could say I’ve come a long way and learned a lot. I have actually paid attention to what the pastor is saying in his messages, taken notes, and really tried to apply the principles to my life. I have been so moved by a testimony or even a song that I have literally wept in service. I have prayed so deeply and so fervently that it was almost frightening to me as to how the words just flowed so quickly out of my mouth, as if I had no control over them at all. I have actually cracked open my Bible several times each week and dug into the word. I have found moments of pride when I finally come to a place of understanding over Scripture that I have read many times and just couldn’t really figure out. I have begun to understand salvation and the magnitude of the sacrifice that God made for us. I have a son now and cannot fathom watching him be beaten to a point where he would be unrecognizable and then killed in the most brutal way possible even if it meant that he would be saving the world from their sins. The thought of Jesus on that cross while his mama wept down at his feet brings tears to my eyes even now. And to think that Jesus knew me when he was hanging up there. He knew me. He knew my name and with His final words which meant, “The debt has been paid in full” He was essentially saying that He did this for me. Yes, little old me who thought that people who raised their arms up in church were weird and who spent Monday through Saturday living a sinful existence for years and years. How incredible is that? In this past year I have learned that heaven is a real place, but hell absolutely is, too. With that, I have learned that my previous beliefs were wrong that that heaven is not the default, which means that unfortunately hell is, and that scares me more than I can even tell you. I have prayed to the North, South, East, and the West for people in those regions to truly meet Christ and with that meeting, learn the things that I’ve learned and find the things that I’ve found. I have ached for family and friends that have made me question as to where exactly they stand. I have learned that the longer I serve beside my husband, the more I hurt for those who still do not “get it.” I have learned that the hurt grows bigger and bigger with each passing day. I have driven past houses that are poorly kept and see filthy children playing unsupervised outside and I have a strong desire to gather them all up and just take them home and show them some love. I have attempted to comfort a widow and her family, while feeling completely unequipped to have any words of encouragement or understanding as to what they were going through. I have learned that sometimes a person just needs a hug, and that’s the easiest thing to offer. I have learned that the ache that I mentioned earlier for those high school girls grows bigger everyday because I do not want them to have to go through the bad decisions that I went to in order to arrive where I am today. I would much rather have them realize that God has already picked out the perfect person for them and he will come in God’s time, not theirs. I have learned that waiting 27 years to meet my perfect match was well worth it, and that I underestimated what God had in store for me. I have learned that I have way more than I could ever deserve. I have learned that the more I give, through time and money, the more blessings I receive. I have had things happen that I would have once called a “coincidence” but now understand that it is simply God pouring out His blessing in return for our service and love. I have learned that I have a heart and passion for the mission field and will not be surprised at all if one day He calls my family to Africa, South America, or somewhere we cannot even imagine. I have learned that the more I understand the teachings of the Bible, the more ugly I see in the world. I have learned that movies and TV shows that used to not bother me now seem ugly and full of filth. I have learned that conviction can be a very positive thing that always points me to the right path when I might otherwise go astray. I have learned that my family is more loved and prayed for than I would have ever imagined.

I could go on and on and on (obviously) with the things that have transpired within me over this past year. This list could easily be ten pages plus if I let it, but that still would not even cover a fraction. I know that I don’t owe the credit to Crossroads, to my husband, or to the people who have disciple and encouraged me over this past year, but I do thank them for being facilitators in this journey. Clearly it is nobody but God. And oh how I am grateful and overwhelmed!

Happy Birthday, Crossroads, but for me it’s an even happier anniversary for my start in this life of ministry. I will never understand why God chose me to take part in this role, but maybe it’s because He knows that sometimes imperfect people (who fully admit and understand that they are imperfect) can make a bigger impact on other imperfect people who need Him. I am honored and humbled at the opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to making that list above even longer in the years to come.

And oh yeah… there is one more thing that I forgot to add. Over this past year, I have learned that sometimes the words of a song can move me to a place that I can’t help but feel my arms reach up toward the heavens, reaching for God to pour out His love onto me. And with that, I have learned that I am one hundred percent okay with doing so, even if that means that someone out there thinks I’m a weirdo. Maybe one day they’ll surprise themselves, too. I certainly hope so.

I will praise you as long as I live,

and in your name I will lift up my hands.

~Psalm 63:4

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project365: September 12th - 18th

I did much better this week with the whole picture taking bit. Granted, I have already forgotten to take one today so I'm already behind for next week, but I'll worry about that then. And I guess if I really wanted to I could take a photo of something random in the house tonight before bed. But anyway, here was our week:

Sunday, September 12th... I took many pictures of this spider web, most of which are not worth sharing. I did enjoy playing around with sunlight just to see what it would do. For this one picture, there are about twenty others that did not come out at all! Learning is so much easier with digital film!

{Nikon D3000: ISO 100, 55mm, F/6.3, 1/320s}
Monday, September 13th... See Josh's birthday post below. These two pictures were just taken with my Sony Cybershot which stopped working later on in the week.
Tuesday, September 14th... My mom will recognize this gal. Meet Lindsay. She and I were the best of friends when I lived in Mexico City in 10th and 11th grade. You heard me right, we lived in Mexico City. I forget that a lot of my new friends don't even know that about me. Anyway, it has been seven years since we last saw each other and she would be passing our exit on her way from Iowa to Wisconsin for a business trip. The visit was only an hour long, but it was so wonderful to see each other and catch up. If you had been there, you would have thought that we had just hung out last week. That's what I love about her.

{Nikon D3000: Automatic. Thanks to my father-in-law for snapping the picture}

Wednesday, September 15th... I snagged this picture from my friend Kristie (thanks!) because Wednesday was when I realized that my Sony point and shoot was not working. I really wanted it to work, too, because we went and saw the Power Team and it was awesome! I had never heard of it, but it's a group of men and women who perform amazing feats of strength and then preach the Gospel. If you ever have the opportunity to see them, make sure you don't miss it. It's well worth the trip!
{Whatever camera Kristie used. Great shot!}

Thursday, September 16th... I can't go a week without a picture of my favorite little guy! He has recently started smiling for the camera. I'm loving it.

{Nikon D3000: ISO 1250 (auto), 34mm, F/5, 1/30s}

Friday, September 17th... Jake and Ollie's second date. Jake definitely leaned in for a few kisses. She definitely pulled his hair and smacked him in the face. I think it's love.

{Nikon D3000: Automatic mode}

Saturday, September 17th... Jake enjoyed some couch time while watching football with his daddy and Pawpaw.

Another week gone by... where does the time go? This week should be pretty uneventful so the photos will probably be a bit lame next week (that is if I remember to take any each day). Sometimes uneventful weeks are the best kinds. I hope yours was as good as ours!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What You've Been Waiting For...

It's FINISHED! The bathroom is finally FINISHED! (Okay, okay so you caught me. I still haven't done the two tiny jobs that I have left to do, but I just couldn't wait for the reveal).

From start to finish, our bathroom renovation took just under a month. Not bad considering that we (and by we I mean Josh and his dad... BIG BIG thanks to Dad by the way!) did it all ourselves. And I can honestly say that I am in love with the room. It's more beautiful than I even imagined it would turn out when we were spending our life savings on picking out all of the elements. So without further ado, here is our big reaveal!

cute but not functional

updated, expanded, and elegant

It's easier to see the change when they are side by side. There is not even a glimmer of the old bathroom in the new one!

I'm loving all of the details. The shower stall is a custom size so I had to order a window treatment to fit. I chose the Linden Street Grommet Panel in Chocolate from JCPenney and love the way it looks with the tile.

Josh laid all of the tile and did a beautiful job. The floor and the shower stall are made by the same manufacturer, but the shower is much lighter than the shower. It really makes the shower feel bigger than it actually is.

This picture probably shows the most accurate depiction of the paint color. It looks very orange in some of the photos, but it's very much a burnt orange. We weren't sure about it at first, but once we installed the wainscoting (one of the two things that I knew I wanted in the new bathroom), we all knew it was perfect. I ordered a valance to match the shower curtain to tie it all together.

Our vanity was on sale at Home Depot and we got it for a steal! It's a $400 vanity that we got for under $200 including tax. The mirror was purchased separately at Menard's. Major props to my husband for picking out the faucet. He knew exactly what he wanted and it goes perfectly with the look and feel of our house.

As for the other thing I knew that I wanted in the new bathroom... we installed a chandelier and it's by far my favorite feature! With the crown molding and those corner pieces, it really accents our tall ceilings and creates more elegance and glamour. Every bathroom needs glamour, right?

And just for fun (and for the sake of seeing just how much work Josh and Dad put into this), let's take a look back at the progress:
Here it is completely gutted with the wall torn down between the bathroom and the closet that used to be behind it (which is still there, but is now only about a foot deep rather than the entire width of the bathroom). The frame for the new wall behind the toilet goes up:

Shower stall formed, dry wall installed:

Shower tile installed and paint goes up. What was I thinking? The orange is SO MUCH BETTER than that horrid purple I tried first!
And here she is now. What a beauty.

I absolutely cannot thank Josh and his dad enough for all of the time and work they put into this. Dad did all of the plumbing, which neither one of us knew anything about and saved us a bundle of money. I think we hit a home run and it's almost too pretty to use!

HGTV, eat your heart out!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It was a good idea at the time...

Until we realized that we still have to clean this mess up:

Yes folks, this is our backyard right now. Actually, it's the remnants of our old bathroom in the backyard (as if you couldn't guess due to the lovely new seating we've added). It was nice and convenient to just dump everything out of the window while we worked, but now comes the fun of hauling it out. Thank goodness it's in the backyard at least because between the dog that wanders the neighborhood, me screaming like a banshee in the front yard as the other dog taunted a squirrel, and getting a call from the neighbor that one of them was on the roof one morning (oh, have I not told some of these stories? This makes for some great blog material coming to you soon!) we are becoming the weird neighbors. I never thought until recently that we would be them. Not to mention that those two pesky pups are now having a hey-day rifling through the pile and finding new things to drag out into the yard and chew on. It just gets better and better.

On the upside, aside from a few minor details (yes, honey, I know that I still need to repaint the ceiling and touch up the crown molding... it will be done sometime in 2010 I promise!) the new bathroom is D-O-N-E! More importantly, it is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. Don't ask me why I'm spelling these things out. I'm not even sure. But anyway, it seriously is the prettiest and most elegant (yes, I said elegant) room in the house and it's a bathroom! How funny is that? And since I'm sure you're wondering why this isn't being followed by a picture of this new beautiful space and it's simply because I'm waiting on the shower curtain to arrive so that I can post the completed look. The shower stall is so tall that I had to order actual drapes and I cannot wait until they get here! They should be in tomorrow so I promise a big reveal over the weekend! Well, I promise that if I'm not too busy cleaning up the disaster in the backyard. Or chasing a dog around the neighborhood. Or rescuing squirrels. Or... just when I think I have seen it all I am sure those pesky pups will figure some other way to make life just a tad bit more interesting. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Dearest Jacob,

Today you are six months old and I absolutely cannot believe it. It seems like just yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting your arrival, wondering what you would look like and who you would be. I can honestly tell you that we did not even have a fraction of a clue how much we would love you until you got here. I think my heart doubles in size daily with you around. In honor of this milestone of a day, I figured that I could rattle off your current stats and compare your pictures from the past months, and even though I still may choose to do that later, I really wanted to write about who you are at this stage in your life. It's just as much for me as it is for you because I want to remember you exactly as you are right now. Sometimes when we're playing or I'm holding you I close my eyes for a moment and think to myself, "always remember this," and I am honestly not sure if I do remember all of those times. Only six short months have passed and I already have so many of those moments stored up, so by writing it all down I will be sure to not forget.

Jake, if you stayed six months old forever I would be one happy mama. Then again, I said that when you were my little "squishy newborn," and then again at months one through five. Around four months your little personality started to shine through and it gets bigger every single day. You are an incredibly active boy and you never stop moving. We call you our little wiggle worm (or just Wiggles for short) because you are absolutely incapable of sitting still. The only time we see you do so is when you're so completely worn out but don't want to go to bed for fear of missing anything. For some kids this would mean overtired fussiness, but for you it means a completely calm demeanor, your eyes slightly glazed over, and you just try and take everything in. Although, on extremely rare occasions, we have seen overtired fussiness, too. In general, however, I can probably count on one hand the number of cranky days that you've had (when Senor Crankypants makes his appearance) and in comparison to some tantrums I've seen from other little ones, I will take your crankiness anyday! You are an extremely happy boy 99% of the time.

Although I'm your mommy and therefore very bias, I do think you are just the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life. When people meet you they generally either comment on your beautiful blue eyes (where did those come from by the way?) or your great big smile. When you smile you use your whole face... even your eyes sparkle and both of those dimples show up. Oh how it melts my heart! And your laugh is my favorite noise in the world. Daddy makes you laugh more than anyone, but my favorite thing is when something just tickles you the right way and you just find it hilarious. I think you're going to have your father's sense of humor, but then again, you seem to take after him in almost every way possible.

Let's see, what else can I share? Oh yes, you are one determined little boy. When you were only 7 weeks old you rolled over the first time and you have not stopped trying to learn new things since. When you were 4 months old we were pretty certain that you would crawl any day, and when you got to the point that you could move your little hands, you accidentally figured out that you could sit up. After that, you lost all interest in crawling because you love your new trick so much. And it wasn't but a week after that when you began to try and pull yourself up on anything you can find... furniture, our legs, you name it. You still do your "inchworm" crawl (and quite quickly I might add) when you really want to get somewhere, but for the most part you spend your time sitting up and playing with whatever you can get your hands on. It's funny to me that you have so many toys, but your favorite things are cups and paper. Both of those things can entertain you for hours. Speaking of cups, you have already imitated us with how we drink from them and have no interest in the sippy cup; you would much rather drink from a big kid cup. I sometimes share my water with you, but you get just as much on your shirt as you do in your mouth. But you sure do love it! You also love to be outside, even if it just means sitting on the porch and watching the cars go by. You also love watching the puppies run around in the backyard and make several attempts each day to get your hands on them. So far they are much quicker than you are, but it won't be long before that changes.

Your appetite for life is only matched by your appetite for food (tha's my boy!)! So far you love everything you have tried. That list includes rice cereal, oatmeal, strawberry yogurt, peas, green beans, peaches, bananas, apples, squash, corn, cherries, strawberries, and a little nibble of a Dove chocolate bar, which you loved! Although you like everything, you seem to prefer the fruit and we think you might end up with mommy and daddy's sweet tooth. I wouldn't be surprised in the least, but you certainly are a kid who will not be having sugar much based on your energy levels! I have to be able to keep up with you somehow! You still wake up once in the middle of the night for a snack, but sometimes I wonder if it's really because you cannot possibly go that long without human interaction. You are such a people person (and a ham!) but you come by that honestly on both sides. I don't complain about getting up at night with you because I know that one day when you sleep consistently through the night I will actually miss it. It's our special time and I can never get enough of cuddling you!

Although I wish that you would stay little forever, I already know that you are going to grow up in the blink of an eye. Both of your parents were always a bit anxious for the next thing in life and you take after us both. You will fuss if we even attempt to hold you like a baby and you get frustrated if you cannot master something right away (hmmm... sounds familiar). I know that these qualities will bring you much ambition and success in life and that God is going to use you to do some big things in this world. I would say that I cannot wait to see how He uses you, but I very much can wait! In fact, every time you do something new I am a little bit sad, even though I am incredibly proud. It's just all happening way too fast for my liking.

Well son, I could go on and on and on for days without a doubt. You are already such a character and to describe you in words would fill up pages upon pages. I just wanted to do this so that a little bit of you would freeze in time since I cannot actually manage to make it stop. But before I end this letter, I especially want you to know that I have more love for you in this heart of mine than you can possibly imagine. Mothers try and tell their kids how much they love them, but it's definitely impossible to describe. I just hope that with every kiss, hug, cuddle, snuggle, and giggle we share you will see it and know that it's an infinite amount. And then one day when you have a kid of your own (let's not even think about that... I'm already in tears just writing about you being half a year old!) I know you'll understand. Thank you for giving me that gift. Aside from marrying your daddy, being your mommy is by far the greatest thing that has ever happened to me and the thing that I am the most proud of. I love you to the heavens and back.

Forever and ever (because that's how I sign letters to your Daddy),

This is the perfect picture to capture you at 6 months... always on the move with places to go! You don't want to miss a thing!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Year Older...

And yet he still can't catch up to me.
Joshua, I cannot put into words how much you mean to me. You make me laugh harder than any person that I know, you make me melt with your words sometimes, and you make me smile just by walking into a room. Some would call themselves lucky to be married to their husbands, but I truly call myself blessed. You are an incredible father and I am proud to know that Jake takes after you in almost every way possible. I think we can both agree that this past year has been nothing short of amazing and I look forward to seeing what this next one brings for you and our family.

Happy birthday, my love. And sorry that this is a day late, but if you remember, I was a tad bit busy yesterday giving the Great American Cookie Company a run for their money. Based on these mad decorating skills, they've got nothing on me.

Hey, at least it tasted good, right?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Project 365: August 29 - September 4, 2010

So I'm still not completely on top of this whole Project365 thing, but at least I have a post this week even if it's not every day. It's progress. And don't judge me that some of these pictures are not even from this week and that on 2 days I couldn't pick just 1 picture. It's my project, so I can do it how I want it. Right? Right??? Work with me here, people.

Sunday, August 29th... Actually, I have no photo for this day, but I have two from the previous Friday (8/27). Again, it's my project so I'll do it my way.

We took a family trip to the Home Depot. It was Jake's first time riding in the seat of the cart as well as his first (and probably last) time in his cute little boots. Looks like our little beefcake is already outgrowing his size 3 shoes!

{Sony Cybershot}

Monday, September 30th... Jake loves his new swing that Daddy bought for him! I was only going to post the second picture (what is it with me and pictures of his fee today?) but I loved his face in this first one so much that I just couldn't leave it out. Again, 2 pictures... and again, I know that's breaking the "rules." I think I just threw the rule book out the window.

{Nikon D3000: ISO 400, 18mm, F/4.5, 1/320s}

{Nikon D3000: ISO 400, 42mm, F/5.3, 1/200s}... LOVE this!

Tuesday, August 31st - A sweet family from church gave us a bike and a trailer like the one we used when we were out in Colorado. This time we tried it without the car seat. He's still a little too small, but we took a short ride and he seemed to like it alright. It's a nice alternative to walks in the stroller and next year we'll be able to take this one with us when we go to Colorado.
{Sony Cybershot}
Wednesday, September 1st - A beautiful butterfly was stuck in our kitchen all morning. I tried to shoo it out, but it just fluttered around this window. I had lots of fun taking many (good and bad) photos and trying out some tricks.

{Nikon D3000: ISO 400, 55mm, F/5.6, 1/30s}

Hmmm... apparently after Wednesday I just totally forgot to take any pictures. Oh well. At least I had a couple of days with double doses to make up for it and at least I did a post this week. Hopefully I'll improve, but I am enjoying the fact that this makes me unload my pictures every week and file them. I need to move them all to a thumb drive by date and start on a book for Jake. He's going to be SIX MONTHS OLD next week... where does the time go??? On an exciting (for me) note, I'm signing up to take a Photoshop class at the community college here. It's only the basics, but it's long overdue since I'm not smart enough to figure out all of the effects myself, which is rare for me and a computer program. I'm still not going to edit any of my Project365 pictures, but hopefully I'll be able to use some of the things I learn to make my photography even better. So far it's probably the favorite hobby that I've ever decided to pick up... especially now that I have such a cute subject available everyday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

If you've ever considered painting a room purple...

DON'T !!!

These pictures don't even do the color justice. Just think Crayola:

On the upside, here's a sneak peak of the tile work!

It's coming along... we're just days away from being done! Woo-hoooo! Granted, we'd be getting done a whole heck of a lot faster if we didn't have to do everything multiple times. If I have to paint the same corner one more time, I think I might just go crazy. Josh would say the same about mudding and sanding that same corner. But anyway, pictures of the completed bathroom to be coming soon, and yes, it's a different color!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

This Could Get Ugly

We thought we were a house divided before...
but things just got complicated!

I'm SO excited for football season... for the crisp fall air, pots of chili, the leaves changing, and most of all, no more Lane Kiffin coaching my beloved Vols! It's the start of a new era and it's about time! I haven't been this excited about the season for a long time, and even though I know we still have a long way to go, I know a change is coming and it will be exciting to watch. In the meantime, I will still wear my orange proudly and always declare that...



Thursday, September 2, 2010


Jake apparently has a flair for the dramatic. I'm not sure where he gets that from because neither of his parents are remotely dramatic. Oh no sirree, not at all! But Jake has been teasing us for quite some time with his attempts at crawling, even proving the pediatrician wrong that he would crawl before he could sit, which he seems to have mastered this week. Again, both of his parents would never dream of doing something just to prove someone wrong. Never.

We have, however, made progress. We've gone from just sitting on our hands and knees and rocking back and forth to a full-on "inchworm" type approach. I will let you see for yourself.

I am actually enjoying my non-crawling son and hope that he builds the suspense for another four months or so. Our home is in no way kid-proofed (in fact, I'm pretty sure Babies 'R Us is going to own our family after the amounts of money we'll have to fork over to make it remotely safe for a bambino) and I quite enjoy sitting at my desk or on the couch and glancing over every now and again to see that he's only made it about 3 feet in 30 minutes. Now that's an average I can keep up with. I fear the day that I glance up and he's across the room, and I know that day is coming quickly!

In other news, our bathroom is shaping up nicely and should be done by the end of the weekend, at which time I will post the most recent progress and photos. There were a couple of hang-ups (most of which were caused by yours truly) but we're getting there. And just because it's Friday and he's oh-so adorable, I'm including another video of Jake giggling. This is about a 4 on a 10-point scale of how hard he gets himself laughing sometime, but Daddy was not around to bring the numbers up. Daddy is apparently the funniest man on the planet. And no, he's not enjoying that at all!

Last night I realized that my little blog about life in Mauneyland has turned into a full-on Jake-fest... all Jake, all the time (not that you mind)... but I'm getting back in the mood to start posting about random musings of the like. You know, with all of the free time that I have! So even though I make no promises, here's to hoping that we'll see more posts in September than in previous months.

In case I don't post over the weekend (which would totally negate my previous statement) have a happy holiday weekend! We'll be here painting, grouting, and installing a toilet if you get bored and want something FUN to do!