A Picnic in the Park

To celebrate our anniversary, Deric and I went to a nearby park for a picnic. It was just about rained out, but the rain stopped around 7 so we decided to chance it. It ended up that the rain cooled everything down and got rid of the humidity (and all the other people in the park) for us, so it was perfect.


One Year

Its been a year since our wedding day. Its unbelievable to me that a year has already passed, probably because of how frustratingly slow the year prior to the wedding passed. But in this year that we've been married, so much has happened. We've lived in four different houses; moved from Indiana to Tennessee; Deric's had two full-time jobs (three if you count finishing his internship at camp); I've had too many part-time jobs and one full-time job; we traveled to seven different states to interview with seven different churches; traveled to Jamaica (honeymoon) and England (possible mission field); and learned a whole lot more about one another than I thought possible.

I loved Deric on our wedding day. I loved how he brought me Tropical Smoothie when I was too busy getting my hair & makeup done to actually eat.

I loved how he cried when I walked down the aisle.

I loved how he willingly posed for as many pictures as the photographer and I could think of, despite the fact it was literally 100 degrees and the poor guy was in a black suit.

I loved how he shielded me from the glaring sun during the ceremony so I could keep my eyes open. I loved how handsome he looked in his tux. I loved how he continually made me laugh to keep me from being nervous.

But I love Deric so much more today. I love that we've been through tough times together and I know without a doubt that we can make it through even worse. I love that things didn't go as planned during the first year, but it somehow turned out even better than we expected. I love that we're learning each other's love languages.  I love how we've seen each other at our worst and still adore each other. I love that he can make me laugh over literally anything just with the expressions on his face.

Deric and I wrote our wedding vows. We made them different to honor the Biblical directions for a husband's role and a wife's role in the relationship. But we ended the vows with the same words:
"I will love you and work alongside you as we strive to honor God throughout our life together."

Tonight, as we celebrate our anniversary and evaluate this first year of marriage, I really hope we can conclude that we've lived up to those vows. God has thrown us some curveballs this year but He's also provided for us better than we expected. I hope that our marriage has honored God, and I hope that we've honored one another as well. God has directed our steps and we're definitely enjoying this season of life we're in!

(last weekend @ a friend's wedding)


Happy Birthday, Court!

 A special shout out to my older sister, Courtney, since today's her birthday. I'm not sure, but she may be getting to the point where she doesn't want her age to be mentioned so I won't tell you how old she's turning. Just like in this post about my younger sister's birthday, I'm late in getting Court's birthday gift to her. But I decided to at least post on the right day, so that counts for something. I'm getting better!

There's a four year difference between myself and Courtney. The way I see it, there's both positives and negatives to being four years apart. First, the negative (to get it outta the way). Courtney and I didn't go through the same experiences and phases in life at the same time. She hit high school while I was still finishing up elementary; she started college when I started high school. Instead of going through the rough spots (aka high school) together, she provided the advice while I did my best to figure it out on my own. We also didn't have too many friends in common because of that age gap.

Christmas 2007; Sarah's idea for the pose

Onto the positives of being four years apart. The advice helped get me through awkward years in middle school and high school (and college, to be honest). Her friends became more big sisters to me.  She was my most influential role model for fashion, decorating my room, music, movies, etc. I watched how she conducted herself in various settings and tried to be as cool and mature as she was. 

summer 2009

Through observation, I learned what to do and how to act in different situations but maybe more importantly, I learned what not to do too. :) Sarah and I have talked about how we stayed out of trouble with Mom and Dad thanks to Courtney paving the way for us. Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned was fairly simple: Don't roll your eyes when Mom or Dad is talking. The eye roll was our favorite way to show some attitude until we saw the aftereffects of it. 

Courtney using my face as leverage to anchor my veil :)

Unfortunately, that's part of the curse of being the oldest child. You get in trouble while your younger siblings get to watch and learn from your mistakes. But she handled being the oldest with a grace that I know Sarah and I still attempt to mimic. Courtney continues to be an influence in my life and I'm grateful to have her in my life. Happy birthday, Court! Your present's on its way.


At the Moment

At the moment, I'm sitting in Starbucks. I'm perusing Pinterest (which is now my #1 time waster, even over Facebook). Deric's at a bachelor party for our friend Isaac, who's getting married tomorrow. I'm using the fourteen hours of travel time this weekend to attempt this project which I found on Pinterest:

I've got white buttons, blue cloth, and am going to create an S, obviously for Skinner. I'm really, really hoping I can make an S that doesn't look like a first grade wrote it. The E in that picture is so perfect that my hopes are probably too high. But we'll see how it goes. If nothing else, it gives me something to do in the car. 


Before & After: Our Bedroom

This is our bedroom a few weeks after we moved in. 

I'd managed to paint the baseboard, windows, and one set of closet doors white, but hadn't gotten around to anything else (still haven't, three weeks later).

The walls were a brown-gray color depending on whether it was day or night. Not exactly my favorite color, so we picked out a million shades of blue and green to choose from. 

We originally wanted to pick a green to go with the bedding but we couldn't find a green that wasn't too bright, too childish, or too minty. So we picked a shade called "Filmy Green" (sounds gorgeous, huh?) that actually looked more like a blue/gray with a tiny bit of green. Our room tends to be pretty dark during the day, so we figured a light color would brighten up the room without actually being too bright.

Here's the after.

It didn't turn out like we'd planned. Don't get me wrong-- we like it-- but its not the blue/green/gray we'd hoped for. Its more of a very light blue/green that reminds me of beach houses. And its definitely an improvement over the previous color, but now the sheets clash pretty badly with the walls. Thankfully, I don't think you can really tell in these pictures. :)

 I wish the color was more accurate because then you'd be able to see the true color of the middle pillowcase, which is a deep teal. Once I finish the current round of laundry, I'm gonna switch out the green pillowcases for the teal because teal complements the walls much, much better. One perk of the now non-matching green is that I have a reason to make the bed every morning, if only to hide the green sheets. Shh.

Feel free to offer suggestions for something to decorate this wall, which happens to be the only wall in the room without windows or doors. A painting? Collage of frames? Shelves? I don't like bare walls, but I have a hard time deciding what to hang.

And I'd also like something above the dresser as well. More suggestions, please.

Ya know how I said the color didn't turn out like we'd planned? You may not notice a difference, but here's the paint swatch we used. Filmy green is (obviously) the swatch with the big ol' sticker. But in real life (and maybe on camera...), the walls match the top color instead. We double-checked the sticker and it does say Filmy Green, but trust me. It's not.

But its certainly not different enough to repaint. We like our little beach house bedroom. :)

Update: We upholstered a headboard! Check it out.


My Dad

I am so thankful to have grown up in a family where my dad is just as involved in my life as my mom. My dad is strong, capable, loving, patient, goofy, protective, and faithful. My sisters and I learned numerous lessons from Dad as we grew up, both from straightforward lectures and from observing Dad as he interacted with our family and with others. His role in my life continues to shape who I am to this day, and I am continually blessed because of his leadership.

Here are a few of my favorite things about my dad. 
1. Dad is a strong and godly influence in our family. He led our family in the way that honors the Biblical example for a family and we're all blessed because of it. I've seen him lead middle school trips for my youth group, perform in productions at church, and volunteer in the nursery. His willingness to use his gifts encouraged me to find ways to use mine.

2. Dad works hard, but he plays hard too. I've always appreciated the sacrifices Dad made for our family, the biggest sacrifice being that he works at a job he doesn't always enjoy so that he can provide for us. And on weekends, Dad's the first one at Lowe's so he can get started on some project around the house. But in his free time, Dad's always up for playing games, watching funny movies, swimming in the pool, and burpling peas for everyone's entertainment.

3. Dad is a reader. I guarantee my love of books comes directly from him. While we don't read the same genre, we both read constantly and devour books quickly.

4. Dad is always generous. I never really appreciated his generosity until I had a full-time job that I didn't like and thought about how it'd be to have kids who spent my money on useless stuff. :) But besides being generous to his own children, he was always willing to provide for our friends to come with the family to dinner, movies, or other fun events. He had an open-door policy with the house and the pool which made our house a great place to spend time with our friends.

5. Dad stands up for himself (and for us). While I am not confrontational in any way, Dad showed me that sometimes it is necessary to be so. He encouraged me to stand up for myself instead of letting people walk all over me. Dad guided me through the tedious, annoying process of getting my Internet bill lowered to the amount I was originally told when I was ready to give up and just pay it after one confusing call to the company. Unfortunately, tough conversations are a necessary part of life and as much as I hate them, I'm glad Dad showed me how to navigate through them. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad! I love you!


After: Dining Room

It probably would have been easier for me to do the before & after of the dining room in one post, but I was too impatient last night to wait a day to write the post. So thanks for waiting; here are the "afters" of the dining room.

Originally, my plan was to do a beige/khaki/tan on the top half of the wall, and do white on the bottom half. But my dad suggested that white would blend the chair rail and the baseboard all together and we should do the color that's one shade lighter on the paint swatch (which is pretty close to white itself). We went with Dad's suggestion and I'm glad we did because it looks so much better. You can see the chair rail and baseboard, but you can also see a difference between the top and bottom of the room. Perfect. Thanks, Dad!

I'm trying to figure out what we can hang on this big, blank wall that you see from the kitchen. I've got frames, sconces, artwork...but even once I decide, I'm nervous to drill holes into our beautiful paint job. :)

Here's a close-up of Deric's stained glass that hangs in the window. Can you believe this was his first experience with stained glass?! I should show you my first pieces...they're awful. Deric came up with this design last summer while he was at our house the week before our wedding. He got about halfway through the design before the wedding so my dad finished it up for him. Its beautiful and its perfectly situated so its front and center when you walk in our front door (see first photo above). 

Oh, I know I promised the before & after of our bedroom, but iPhoto is being incredibly slow right now. I know you're all just dying to see pictures, so I'll get them up for you in a few hours. ;)


Before: Dining Room

As I mentioned in my last post, my parents came over Memorial Day Weekend and helped us paint our dining room. I forgot to take pictures today during daylight, so you'll have to wait til tomorrow for the afters (although there's sort of a sneak peek in the last post...).

Here it is on move in day:

Very red. Unfortunately, I hate red-- I never wear it, I never decorate with it. So getting rid of the red was #1 on my list, especially because the dining room is basically the middle of the house. You walk through it to get from the kitchen to anywhere else in the house, plus its the first thing you see when you walk in the front door.

Sorry I don't have the afters quite yet for ya! Tomorrow, I promise. Plus....

We painted our bedroom this past weekend with the help of Deric's parents, so I have another before + after too!


Memorial Day Weekend

 My parents and Sarah came to visit last weekend, and we had such a great time. It was a weekend full of projects, but that's how it always goes when Dad's around. :) They were a huge help so we're really thankful they let us put them to work. We did give them most of Sunday off, for the record. The biggest project was painting the dining room, foyer, and hallway (which are all pretty much connected). Not that anyone probably cares, but we painted the dining room two-toned because of the chair rail and continued the top color into the foyer, since the foyer leads directly into the dining room. Then we used the bottom color in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms. I'll post before and after pictures here soon so you can appreciate the work we did. It makes a big difference, I promise. Plus, painting always makes the house feel more like our home, ya know?

While Sarah and Deric worked on the second coat in the dining room and Mom decorated our living room, Dad taught me how to sand this coffee table that I picked up at Goodwill for $10. I originally wanted to stain the entire thing, but if you notice the very curved legs, you know that sanding the entire thing would take way too long. New plan is still in the works, but the table already looks better with the stained veneer taken off the top.

Dad moves quick:)

 We also treated the top of that desk (in the corner of the pic) to cover up some water marks. The desk was in my room growing up and I believe was used by my grandparents as well. Its going to be my sewing table once we clear a space for it in the house..

After working almost all day Saturday, I promised them a break on Sunday after church. We had lunch outside on our new patio set (thanks to M&D). Eating outside really made it feel like summer has officially begun. Love it!

Sarah was in charge of setting the self-timer, and she snuck in a few pictures she knew we would love. We'll probably blow them up to 8x10s and hang them in our living room. You know, like a series of portraits? It'll be very classy.

So, a big thank you to Mom, Dad, and Sarah for all their hard work over the long weekend! And for hauling a trailer full of all the contents of my childhood bedroom. And for setting up our washer and dryer (first time in 11 months we've been able to do laundry in our own house). And for buying us patio furniture. And for driving 16 19 hours due to crazy traffic incidents on the way home. We had such a fun weekend and miss you already!