Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July: 31 Things to Be Thankful For

one. a safe cross-country road trip 

two. a cat who loves long naps & being in the car

three. a husband who isn't too concerned with "making good time" & will go out of the way for adventures 

four. being able to look out my window & see mountains

five. living 30 minutes from the ocean

six. unique flavors of ice cream & such a cute setting at The Penny Ice Creamery

seven. a family to help us get ready to move

eight. a family that we'll miss

nine. mid-70s weather in JULY

ten. good books

eleven. a husband who likes to drive so I get to read those good books

twelve. good Mexican food

thirteen. sunsets over the ocean

fourteen. new places to explore (maybe San Fran this weekend?)

fifteen. a free place to stay until our apartment is ready (tomorrow!!!)

sixteen. Google maps

seventeen. a good camera

eighteen. She Reads Truth devotionals

nineteen. in a state with very few Chick-fil-A's, one is close to us

twenty. leftovers & the ability to eat cheap

twenty-one. being able to live off of one salary for a little while

twenty-two. family & friends who are encouraging in the job hunt

twenty-three. knowledge that God provides friends in every season

twenty-four. sleeping with the windows open at night

twenty-five. friends to discuss books with (as if the characters are real people)

twenty-six. early evening fog coming over the mountains

twenty-seven. a sparkly newly-cleaned ring

twenty-eight. coconut coffee creamer

twenty-nine. sweet cards

thirty. a cat that can be tricked into wearing a glittery, jingle-bell collar

thirty-one. finding a cute, safe apartment to live in

Monday, July 29, 2013

Georgia to California

We left early Thursday morning to move out to California!  A more thorough update with real camera pictures will probably come later, but for now, the version via Instagram photos...

We were in 9 states (4 of which I'd never been to) over the course of 4 days.  This took us across 4 time zones, from 200-7000 feet in elevation, 61-111 degrees, trees, plateaus, mountains, desert, & ocean.

Driving (mostly riding...I probably drove a tenth of what Grayson did) across the country was not something I was looking forward to, but it was actually fun.  It always sounds fun, but doing so with a loaded down car, a cat, a limited budget, & a schedule would probably not have been my first choice.

The first day we went from Woodstock, Georgia to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Until we got to Oklahoma, everything pretty much still looked like Georgia.  And Oklahoma was only slightly more exciting.  My stormchaser-at-heart husband had his eyes peeled for a tornado, but I was thankful to not see anything of the sort.  I got a lot of reading done that day because the landscape was really nothing new!

We left Oklahoma City early Friday morning (in the middle of a flash flood) & made it to Flagstaff, Arizona that night.  I never really thought about it raining in the desert, but we actually went through a few big storms that day.  That was a much more interesting day.  I loved seeing how quickly the landscape around us could change.  That night in Flagstaff it POURED for a long time.  We ate a quick dinner &, after driving through an entire time zone in one day, went to bed around 9:30!

We planned a few detours for Saturday.  It was 61 degrees (though felt cooler than that) when we left Flagstaff that morning & headed towards the Grand Canyon.  Grayson went as a kid, but I had never been.  Just the drive up there was beautiful.

Pictures really can only capture so much.  It's overwhelming standing on the edge of such beauty.

[Also, a squirrel nibbled at me.]

From there, we drove down to Sedona, Arizona, & had lunch.  It was a beautiful little town, but HOT.  It was only about 86 when we were there, but felt much warmer than that.  We really only stayed there for lunch & to look in a few shops because it was pretty crowded & I didn't want Seeley being in the car that long in the heat.  I'd love to go back there sometime during a cooler season.

From Sedona, we drove a few hours & crossed the California state line (& thus begun our Cali portion of the roadtrip playlist)!  We went to Palm Desert, where we stayed Saturday night.  That hotel was the only one we stayed in that we really liked (& it was on Frank Sinatra Dr. & I liked that), but by the end of the trip, we knew exactly how much we could spend on one, & picked one outside of a major city so it wasn't as expensive.  It was nice sleeping in a comfy bed before our 3 weeks of an air mattress waiting for our furniture to arrive.

We left Palm Desert Sunday morning, & went to Los Angeles to drive around for a little bit before heading up towards San Jose.  

Oh...I almost forgot!  We were eating breakfast at this little hole-in-the-wall donut place & in walked Peter Krause (Adam Braverman to you Parenthood lovers).  We made eye contact.  Grayson says I scared him away because my eyes got so big when I recognized him.

Moving on...

Miracle of miracles, we somehow never hit any major traffic until about the last 30 minutes of the drive.  And I thought I was going to go insane during those 30 minutes.  Grayson's energy drink had clearly kicked in..  Sitting in traffic, he was just spouting off things that didn't even make sense...guess that's what happens after driving for 4 days in a row!  [Have I mentioned how much I hate driving?  I offered many times to drive, but he drove the vast majority by himself & I was so thankful.  Which is why it was perfectly fine to deal with a little delirium!]

We finally made it to San Jose where we're staying with one of Grayson's friends (our best man from our wedding moved out here just 2 months ago!) for a few days until we can move into our new apartment.  We had dinner, drove by our apartment to scope it out in real life, ran a few errands, & went to bed!

After the last few months of anticipation over the unknown, many decisions & logistics to take care of, & 2,451 miles, it's good to be here & to begin making this new place a home.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Quite the Week

First of all, I forgot when I wrote this post that I had pictures from my camera & not just my phone.  Here's one of my mom & I with the Robinette girls from that weekend.

Now, on to this week.  It's been my first week without a job, but I feel like I've still had a job most of those days.  Planning a cross-country move has become a full-time job, & I think it will continue to be that way until we actually get there.

Monday: My first day off, I got some stuff done around our apartment, & actually got to read some, which was nice.  The rest of the day was spent calling moving companies.

I just finished reading Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.  It's an allegory, so it's different that most books I've read but it was really good.  I loved this line quoted from Canticles 8:6 - Thou jealous love, Thou burning flame, oh, burn out all unlike Thy Name.

I'm kind of on a reading kick lately.  I just got a kindle about a month ago & I love it & think I actually read faster (unlike me) with it.  Right now I'm reading Divergent by Veronica Roth & can't put it down.

Tuesday: Grayson's 27th birthday!  You'd think I'd have a picture, but sadly, I don't.  He opened a few presents that morning but he's been so busy at work & I've been busy trying to get our move worked out that we didn't really even do anything that night.  I cooked what he requested for dinner & we hung out at home.

Wednesday: Spend the morning with Cait at a favorite coffee place!

Thursday: My mom came up for the day & we did some crafting!

Friday: Meeting with moving companies & talking to them on the phone  At least I think Seeley has enjoyed having me home all day...but maybe not at this particular moment!

Saturday: Went to the Swan House with my mother-in-law.  I read The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser recently & loved it & have been wanting to see the house ever since!

Hopefully this week we'll finally resolve some things with the move & can enjoy our last week here...will be full of bittersweets.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Get Out of the Tent

Yesterday was my last day at my job.

It wasn't the job I was looking for...not even close.  But somehow I knew it was the job I needed.  My mom pointed out recently how much this job changed my life.  I took a receptionist position (which only lasted a week before another opportunity came available there & I gladly took it) & a week later, moved to Woodstock where I knew one person.

After about a month of living there, I found a church home & got involved there.  A few months later, my best friend moved back home to Woodstock & lived just a few miles from me.  That's kind of what we'd always planned in college but we never really thought it'd happen.  (Our future children better like each other, too, because we have plans for them to wed.)  I fell in love with my church & stayed occupied with activities with our Young Singles department.  Then I fell in love with one of those young single boys & married him.

Just over two years ago when I took this job & moved here, I didn't really understand why.  It wasn't the kind of position I'd been looking for.  It wasn't in the field I wanted.  It wasn't using my degree.  But God's plans were bigger than mine.

Yesterday I read in the She Reads Truth devotional about Sarai (You really need to check these out if you haven't already.  Currently in the middle of a Women of the Bible series & it's great.  This is the best place to get started.).  The Scripture was from Genesis 17 & 18 when God tells Sarai she's going to have a son, even in her old age, & what does she do?  She laughs, not that any of us can really blame her.  God's plans are often like that.  Unexpected.  Not what we were looking for (but so much more).  Sometimes they aren't fun.  Sometimes there are a lot of seemingly mundane moments, but He's working even in those moments.

My favorite part from the devotional said this:
"We will have our own times when we have the glory of God right in front of us, & we stay in the tent."
I don't want to be in that tent.  There have been many times when I was, but I'm proud of myself that taking this job was not one of them.  Logistically, it didn't make sense.  But I found out later just how much sense it did make because God had something going on that I had no idea about.  The tent is protected & comfortable & familiar.  But I'm so thankful that I did not stay in that tent.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A little life update...

one. We went to my parents for 4th of July weekend.  A 4-day weekend to spend some time with everyone was great.  And I got lots of reading time!

 [Edited with my new favorite app that I'm addicted to.]

two. Got to have lunch on Friday with my mom & Michelle at my favorite Madison Mexican restaurant.  Then met this little deer, & visited some with Jessie.

three. Church at my parents' church on Sunday, & an afternoon with the Carter side of the family.


 four.  Seeley always gets lots of attention when we go to my parents'.  Then she sleeps extra hard the whole way home.  Gearing up for her (hopefully) 3-day nap on the drive to California.

five.  I've tried a few new recipes lately.  The one on the left is Squash & Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese & was delicious.  The right isn't exactly a recipe, but I've found that fancying up a grilled cheese is a great easy weeknight meal...& a good way to use up some extra basil from the squash recipe the night before.  Plus I really like to use these herb scissors we got a few months ago.  They're one of my favorite kitchen gadgets!

six.  A rainy 4th of July weekend (or any weekend with my family, really) means lots of games.  My mom's side of the family is always up for a good game & I love that.

seven. Last night we had a great dinner with the Hollenbecks, then Apples to Apples, & homemade ice cream.  While we're on that note, one of our favorite wedding gifts is our ice cream maker.  The recipe book it came with has tons of great ice cream, gelato, & yogurt recipes, & most are really easy.  Gone are the days of loud ice cream makers, ice, rock salt, & impatiently waiting.

eight.  A little moving update: we officially have a place to live (for awhile I thought we'd be homeless), & are moving in...

...but much more on that later.

Off to fold many loads of laundry since we haven't been home at all lately!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

6 Months

...[+ 4 days] ago, we were here!

I can't believe we've already been married for 6 months.  That's not very long in the grand scheme of things, but a lot has happened in this short period of time!  We moved into our first apartment & today we started the process of applying to/signing the lease for our second already!

Everyone tells you that marriage is hard.  And everyone tells you that the first year is the hardest.  And there are hard days.  But for the most part, I've found that it's not really what I'd expected.  It's much better.  The transition to living together was actually pretty easy.  Aside from the fact that sometimes someone takes more than his fair share of sink space when I'm brushing my teeth, & sometimes he refuses to put the water pitcher back in the fridge, & sometimes the food I planned to eat has suddenly disappeared, & sometimes he throws ice on me when I'm taking a perfectly delightful bubble bath.  And more often than not, I feel like I'm in a losing battle with the laundry, can never quite get up on time, & make recipes that just don't look like they do on Pinterest.  But it's okay because marriage is a picture of grace.  Those are just tiny ways that Got created a marriage relationship to be a picture of the Gospel.  When Grayson leaves his wet towel on the bed for the hundredth time, I just hang it up again.  And when I leave the shower curtain open & the bathroom counter cluttered once again, Grayson straightens it up himself.  None of those things really matter.  You know what does matter?  Grayson makes the bed by himself while I'm getting ready almost every single morning.  And he has coffee waiting for me when I walk out the door for work.  And he stops what he's doing every day when I get home just to hear about my day.  And he prays for our marriage.  Husbands & wives are designed to help each other out & display the selflessness that Jesus shows us everyday.  I'll joyfully do laundry all day long if that's going to make me more like Jesus.

So the first 6 months?  Better than I imagined.  I love sharing every part of life with my best friend.