Monday, August 31, 2009


To-Do List: halfway complete. Activities done today:

-Went to the Galleria to find shoes. Realized that Foot Locker is now Rack Room, which had a blatant lack of employees who knew what they were talking about. Left, went to Dick's. Had an EXTREMELY helpful employee there, found shoes.


They're not my favorite look ever, but they're comfortable. I was looking at Nike's, but they have like NO arch support whatsoever, and if I'm going to be running 13 miles ... I need arch support.

-Went to Whole Foods for a few things (namely mint leaves and Ginger Miso dressing), ate lunch at their salad bar. (Which, by the way, is the best thing EVER. If you have a Whole Foods and haven't been there, go. If you don't have a Whole Foods where you live, that is a very, very sad thing, and I feel sorry for you.) Used my shopping bags, and felt enviromentally friendly :) Mark calls me a hippie.

-Went to Publix, bought the remainder of my groceries. Love Publix, too. Used my bags there as well, still hippie :)

-Went to the package store near my house, got some rum to make Mojitos tomorrow night when Andy and Suzie come. Yum yum yum - taco soup and mojitos :) It'll be a fun time!

-Came home, put groceries away, crashed on couch. Blogging now :)

What's still left to do:
-clean out my car so andy and suzie and their luggage will fit
-clean the entire house.

no big deal :)

Tonight, I'm making grilled chicken with tangy peach glaze, asparagus, and mashed potatoes for dinner. So excited! Time to cook...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Resting and Relaxing

Tonight, at least. Mark is in his chair, reading like the studious student he is :) And here I am, facebooking and blogging as usual. Tomorrow will erupt into a busy frenzy of things... I have my work physical, I need to buy groceries, I'm getting a new pair of running shoes, I need to cook, clean ... the list goes on.

Speaking of running ... I may have mentioned this before, but I've gone crazy. Somewhere Elissa and I have come up with this insane idea of entering a half marathon in the spring in Nashville. Mark says he's going to run too. (This is why we're getting new, good running shoes.) We'll see how it goes ... I'll start training in a couple of weeks, after I get back from working in Chattanooga my last week. The half marathon is at the end of April. That means I have nearly 8 months to work up to ... 13 miles. Ugh. I want to die whenever I think about that. We're going to take this one day at a time, I do believe... But, I'm trying to look on the bright side. I get a sweet pair of running shoes out of the deal. And who doesn't like new shoes? (Or maybe, we can run a lot, get in really great shape, and find some 10K to run instead?)

If anybody has any suggestions of some really great running shoes they love, I'm open. Thanks!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Busy beavers...

Recap of the last few days, and things to come:

On Friday, I had to take care of a few things for work (new job) before we left for Griffin.

So after we left, it was lunchtime. We stopped halfway to Griffin, and got here around 2:30-ish. I helped Nanny and Aunt Patsy cook, and just sort of sat around all yesterday other than that. Today, we went and had lunch with Amanda and Chad and their sweet baby, Hayden. Mark went to high school with Amanda. It was really fun - their house is BEAUTIFUL (made me jealous - i want a house!!), and their baby is precious. Came back, expecting to go play tennis with Thomas, but he was feeling yucky (he has MRSA in his leg, and his pain meds were making him sicky), so we sat around watching horrible B-grade shark/alligator movies all afternoon. Went to dinner, had some wine and really yummy food, came back, played tennis tonight. We're leaving in the morning.

Then on Tuesday I'm picking up Andy and Suzie from the airport while Mark's in class. (As an aside, Suzie has had a crisis with her master's thesis, and basically lost half of her research, and the thesis is due in a month. So. Pray for her.) Wednesday we'll probably catch up a bit, and Suzie will stress about/work on her paper, and then I head back Thursday for my last week of work :( It's going by too fast - I'm not ready to go back to Chattanooga yet...

So excited to see Andy and Suzie. So excited to just about have this chapter in my life done. So excited to start my stint as a housewife during the week and a dayshift nurse on the weekends. So ready to get my house in order. So ready to start running.

Pray that I am patient these last two weeks. I'm going to need it...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Live every week like it's shark week"

-Mark, quoting 30 Rock. How would that be, exactly? Sit around and watch the Discovery Channel all day and night?

Today was an INCREDIBLE day. Wanna know why?

Do you, really?


It's because...

I GOT MY OFFICIAL JOB OFFER THIS AFTERNOON!!!!!! Wahoo!!!! (And I also got to come home to my sweet hubby, which ties as the best thing that happened to me today)

Reasons why this is wonderful:
-I can breathe a sigh of relief
-My 2-week notice that I turned in the other day is correct, and effective. I've never done one of those before...
-I get to work dayshift.
-I get to be a wife, 5 days a week.
-I get to sleep at NIGHT like a normal person :)
-I get to live with my hubby all the time again :)
-Despite the fact that I work every weekend, Mark and I still have two completely free days together :)

Oh man, I am excited. I think I've been saying that for like weeks now, but seriously. I'm excited. It's crazy ... it seems to be happening so fast, all of a sudden, and life is just so sweet.

Speaking of sweet - I got to go home to my love today for the first time in 9 days. Long time. Too long. We missed each other lots, and I really, really love him :) A whole lot. We're so excited to get to live together all the time again!

I really like this guy. I think I'll keep him.

almost there.

Tomorrow, I get to go home. I cannot tell you how much joy this brings to my soul.

Tonight, I am thankful. God has given me so many blessings ... so many people who love me, so many wonderful opportunities to be happy, so many things to make me smile. It's unfathomable, the love and support that I have received throughout this time of being separated from my sweet hubby. So many friends offered their beds and homes for me to stay in, so many have offered me their time and a listening ear when I want to vent/complain, so many have offered me encouragement when I felt like things were never going to work out. And now that they are working out, I have just gotten this incredible outpouring of love from people who've been praying for us, from people at work wishing me well but assuring I'll be missed. People are good. I really, really believe that. I may be the eternal optimist about this, and probably wrongly so, but I can't bring myself to believe anything but that. That people, deep down, are good. (Good not in the sense that we all aren't sinful and inherently wrong and all that jazz.... but just ... good. I think they care. And want to do the right thing. And all that.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

thoughts on leaving

I turned in my 2 weeks notice tonight. I'll really, really miss my co-workers. They are so great. I hope they know that.

But, there are so many things I can't wait for. Having Mon-Fri off every week dances in my head like a fairy tale ... that part is almost too good to be true. Working two days a week. Being able to be a wife, being able to sleep at night rather than when the sun is out and bright. Being able to have a life. I know I keep talking about this, but I'm so excited to see what the future brings. I'm so hopeful. Mark is really enjoying school, we'll have our friends back and close to us very soon (just one week now!), I've got an amazing schedule...

About 6 months ago (give or take) I was really really frustrated about where we were, and where life was taking us. I wanted to be able to have a baby if I wanted (which I wasn't ready for, still am not, but still, it was the priniciple...), I wanted to buy a house, I wanted to BE THERE ALREADY. But I'm realizing more and more that I am HERE, not there, and I need to not take this time for granted. I know for a fact (well ... at least, I hope) that we aren't going to be having kids in the next three years. I could be grumpy and mopey and moody about it, and beg Mark and do something that wouldn't be best for anybody in the long run. But instead, I'm choosing to enjoy this time - this is the only time we'll have to enjoy each other until we're old, and by then, we'll feel too yucky to do anything fun. So I'm going to try and make the most of it. Yes, there are days when I want a baby. But there are more days when I LOVE my life, and being able to go out and do things on the spur of the moment without worrying about a babysitter. I know we're poor, but I want to travel, and do things and enjoy my husband now without the stresses of children. We are at such an amazing place in our lives, especially with our schedules right now... it's just taken a while for me to realize it. Now that I have, I'm intending to appreciate it more, and take full advantage of our situation.

Life is good. And so is God. And daily, I'm remembering that it's important not to forget both.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Feeling better

I'm feeling much better and less discouraged today. I spent the day yesterday with Sarah and Thomas (they were kind enough to let me crash after work, and I stayed really late), and it sort of refreshed me. We spent the day talking, eating tacos/taco salad, and then Sarah and I watched girly movies while Thomas escaped. Too bad Mark couldn't have been there...

Two more nights to go - I can totally handle that. (Right?) Then I'm back to Birmingham on Thursday, staying there a night to recuperate from my week of insanity, then we're headed to my in-laws' house for one or two nights to visit. (We also get to hang out with an old friend of Mark's on Saturday, and I'm exicted about that, too!) Then it's back to Birmingham, to prepare for the arrival of Andy and Suzie! I'm picking them up at the airport on Tuesday evening, so I only get a few days with them before I leave for Chattanooga again (so sad!), but hopefully I can get at least a bit caught up with them. It'll be a busy week, but the good kind of busy :) I'm excited about it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

2 down, 4 to go...

I am getting impatient. I have been in Chattanooga since Wednesday, I've worked two nights, and I have four nights of work to go, and I get to leave on Thursday. I'm getting burned out - not so much from my job, as just the situation that we're in right now. Mark makes EVERYTHING so much easier to deal with - he's like my buffer against the world, he can always make me smile and laugh and I can always count on him if I just need a hug or a cuddle ... and I don't have that, and I don't have it on the weeks that I'm the tiredest. My patience is wearing, my reserves are wearing, I don't feel well a lot of the time, and I'm just ready to move on. Patience, April, patience.

I keep thinking about how WONDERFUL working two days a week in the daytime will be.  And I can't wait for fall. I went shopping with my mom and grandma yesterday, and got a few new sweaters, and it just really put me in the mood for temperate weather and the crisp, cool air and the nostalgic feeling I always get as the leaves are turning. Thinking about fall, and Christmas, and winter in Birmingham again, just makes me so thrilled and excited, and I just really can't wait to see what this new chapter in our lives brings. I feel like I'm on the edge of something just wonderful, and I'm so excited to see what God has in store for us :)

I'm going to make it this week. Two more nights, then I spend Monday with Sarah and Thomas, which will be lots of fun, then two nights after that .. and then, back to Birmingham. (And then to Griffin, to see Mark's family.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sweet baby Jesus....

It's Mark, and I guess this is my first official post. Here's what I did on Friday:

On Friday, I got my Alabama car tag and title switched over from TN. Generally anytime one has to use a government service like getting their license, a sense of impending doom awaits as you fear that you will be there forever or have forgotten to fill out Form 1035090A, or have filled out Form 1035090A but failed to fill out Form 13092401C and worse yet, failed to get the proper signature from your third cousin; however, the current situation in Birmingham makes the impending doom feeling somewhat laughable. Rather, I felt like the Bessemer Courthouse should have "Abandon All Hope, Ye who Enter Here" posted above the doors. For a long version of Birmingham's financial woes, see ; the short version is that the Jefferson County commission is corrupt and inept thus resulting in a major slash in government services and the laying off of many county workers.
So on Friday, at 6:00am, I left for the courthouse which opens at 8:00am. When I arrived at 6:30am, there were already 20 or so people in front of me. Before the doors opened at 8, the line was already a block long. Once inside, I was able to see the entrance to the tag and title division, and thought, "this shouldn't be so bad"...HA! While standing in line at a government office, this thought should never go through your mind. I was at the courthouse for 5 hours before I was able to get my tag and title.
But I did meet some interesting people. Apparently, a guy behind me in line was getting married that day. A lady who swore that if the tag/title clerks went to lunch before she got her tag, that she would jump over the counter, impale one with her umbrella, and happily go to jail. My favorite was the gentlemen who felt that the county commissioners should be fired and wanted to be rid of them immediately.
Certainly an interesting experience, which I will have the pleasure of doing again in a week when April gets her tag/title transferred over. It'll be a ton of fun and since my wife complains that I'm not a "social" person, I'm thinking of bringing a board game so that we can make new and interesting friends.


Today, I'm meeting my mom and grandma for lunch, and then going shopping with them for a bit. I'm trying to buy some new fall/winter clothes with what little extra money we have, before it gets really tight. Then I work tonight thru Sunday night, and on Sunday, I'll go home with Sarah to sleep, and spend the day with her. Trying to get in my friend time before I head back to the 'ham for good :)

This week seems so long. I feel like I've been here for at least 4 days or something, but I just got here wednesday afternoon... I'm just tired, and ready for the change. It's hard for me, when I am anticipating a big change, but I have to wait for it. I have become so impatient - I want things to happen NOW, instant gratification. I'm not good at waiting, even after these last two years. I'm getting better, though, slowly. God is teaching me through everything with Mark and his job, and everything with my job search - and I'm getting better. More calm. More at peace with myself, and the things around me. For the first time in quite a long time, things are working out for both of us at the same time - I've (finally) found a job, and Mark is really going to like grad school. Money will be tight for a while (not that it hasn't been already...) but it's a means to an end, and hopefully after the next couple years, Mark can find a really great job that he loves, and we can start our family. If not - well, we'll figure that out when the time comes. (After I have a nervous breakdown.) My mantra over the past year or so has become "It will be okay." And it will. It will always be okay, eventually. And, momentarily at least, it's okay right now. I'd even go so far to say: things are good :) I like it that way.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just a bit of humor

Making it...

Well, I've made it through my first night back in Chattanooga ...

Things are good on the New Job front. Yay! Hopefully things will happen soon...

I've got this week of work (off tonight, then work Fri, Sat, Sun, off Mon, then work Tues, Wed), home to the 'ham for a week, then back for my usual bookend week, and then - no more traveling (hopefully)!! I can't wait. Although I will miss my co-workers, cause they're awesome...

Also - I updated my blog (obviously). LOVE having a pretty blog :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's so quiet here right now ... all I hear is the rain. Mark is in class right now - his first class of his graduate school career. He was pretty nervous today about it - he kept asking me if I thought the other kids would make fun of him, haha. Hopefully he'll enjoy his classes ... today is Post-War America, and tomorrow will be Historical Research and Writing (wahoo ... that one sounds like a LOT of fun...) On Mondays he normally has his European Fascism class, but classes didn't start until Tuesday this first week, so he'll have to wait on that one. He'll be back in a couple of hours, and I'll hopefully have dinner ready to go when he gets home.

I also talked to the nurse manager today (at the new job.)  Things are good :) It's looking like I'll probably start somewhere around mid-september ... which means that I only have to work in Chattanooga twice more (two more weeks, I mean) before I can permanently live here! This makes me super happy ... but sad at the same time, because I will SO miss my unit :( I work with some of the best nurses EVER, and I will miss them very, very much. Hopefully I can be patient and enjoy my last couple weeks of working there, rather than want to hurry it up and get to Birmingham already. I tend to be extremely impatient when there are new things on the horizon...

And now, I'm back to do more scrapbooking. I have missed doing it so much, and I'm really enjoying today. So far, it's coming along nicely (I'm SO FAR BEHIND ... haven't scrapbooked since March!) Right now though, it looks like Hobby Lobby threw up in our office ... oh well. I'll hopefully be done with the vaca pictures tonight, and have all that mess cleaned up before I leave. That's the plan, anyway...

better today

Today is better.

Reasons why:

-Mark starts graduate school. This, for me, is hope defined.
-We had a nice lunch out. We need to stop doing this, but sometimes, it's good just the same.
-I get to scrapbook for the rest of the afternoon. Music to my ears :) I honestly believe that scrapbooking is good for the soul (although expensive for the bank account...)

Our bed has not yet come. But it's okay.

Time to scrapbook. Oh, pretty paper, picture prints and stickers, how I've missed thee...

Monday, August 17, 2009

somedays aren't yours at all... they come and go as if they're someone else's days...

Today has been weird. I feel weird - easily distracted, restless but listless, going from one thing to the next, can't concentrate ... mark's been quiet too. I think it's the rain.

He had his orientation for volunteering at the civil rights museum today - still there, actually. I hope it went/is going well, and that he'll like it.

The one productive thing I have done today is get together all the pictures I haven't scrapbooked (I'm so behind!! Last I scrapbooked was this past FEBRUARY!!), and compile them on a CD. I'm going to run them over to Wal-Mart to be printed (because I can't find a Wolf camera anywhere close - they seem to have all closed! anybody know anything about it?) after Mark gets home. Next week (after I work) I'm going to try and get caught up with all that. It'll give me something to do while Mark is reading like crazy.

I have absolutely nothing insightful or relevant to say today. And no energy to think anything up. Please come back, sun :(

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A day in the life...

Housewife-ing it again today. I don't know what has come over me, but I vacuumed the entire house today. We are not having houseguests. We are not moving. (These are typically the reasons that I vacuum.) Those of you who know me probably think I'm off my rocker. I may very well be. But in the last two days, I've cleaned the upstairs bathroom (including the shower), cleaned the kitchen (twice) including the floor (once), vacuumed the house, did 3 loads of laundry (granted, they were tiny loads, as the inside of our washer is about the size of a large pumpkin), generally straightened things up...

Have I gone mad?

I think it's a combination of several things. 1)I'm getting old. Yes, I know what you're thinking - I'm only 24. That isn't old. But I feel old. And what else can you call a person who gets abnormally excited about getting a brand new vacuum cleaner for her birthday but old?? (I still LOVE my vacuum, btw. It makes vacuuming that much more fun. Why do I love it so much? It works.) I like to cook. I'm beginning to sort of tolerate cleaning. (Which is saying a lot for me.) Yesterday, I, much to my dismay, found a shirt that I am decidedly too old to wear. I look dumb in it. So ... yeah. I'm old.
2) I actually really like this place. It's the first time that I've really been proud of where we've lived - the first place was ehh, mediocre. The second, we VASTLY improved the aesthetics of, but that's not saying much. Mark's dad called it "Mark and April's Bait and Tackle shop." Not a good thing, when it's your place of residence. At least we didn't own it, and therefore didn't really have to claim it. But here - I love. It's bright, and feels roomy, particularly for an apartment (townhouse, actually.) It has these precious little wooden rails between the dining room and living room. (Those rails totally SOLD me on the place. I. Love. Them.) We have nice decorations and furnishings (aside from our OLD OLD couches, which don't even look too bad.) The lighting is good, particularly with the help of our lamps. The kitchen is small, but functional. The painting we've done, and it wasn't nearly as much as the last place, really completed the look we were going for. It's comfortable, it's quiet, it's spacious, and just... nice. Not to say that it doesn't have problems - I hate hate hate the washer/dryer, and I'm not fond of the dishwasher, and the oven is teensy and we only have one oven rack. (Ridiculous!) But ... all that is not so bad, considering what we have. So I like to keep it looking nice. Which ... makes cleaning tolerable.
3) I wanna be a housewife. Plain and simple. And the desire is growing - so therefore, so are my efforts.
4) I'm not working at all while I'm in the 'ham, as of right now. I do all my work in Chattanooga, and then I come here, and I get to play housewife for a week. So what else am I going to do besides keep things looking nice and baking? We have NO MONEY to shop with (so sad. Cause I could go nuts.) We have NO MONEY to go out to eat with (also sad, since we have friends here). So ... I cook. And I clean. And ... I like it :)

In other news, I'm still farming obsessively (particularly when I should be studying for my NRP test, which is Thursday.) I'm still (obvioulsy) blogging. I'm making a list of things to ask my potential new manager when I touch base with her tomorrow or Tuesday. And I really, really am not excited about going back to Chattanooga to work on Wednesday :(

Saturday, August 15, 2009


You can always tell if I'm on my work week or not by the amount that I blog - this equals twice today. Addicted? I think so.

Another thing I'm addicted to: FarmVille on Facebook. It's so bad. It happened so fast. This is just, like, Day 2, and already I'm obsessively checking my soybeans and strawberries and pumpkins (oh my!) to see if they're ready to harvest or not... ugh. I'm such a loser. Eventually, I hope to have my own little real FarmVille, and that way I can be outside checking on my actual strawberries rather than wasting my time in a virtual world.

In other news, today has been productive. I:

-went to the grocery store, spent just $6 over what I was planning to spend (really, really good for me!)
-made cookies for Mark, as requested. They turned out good. I had planned to blog them, but my camera died mid-mixing, so alas, no cookies for you. I'll post the recipe at the end of this post, though.
-bathed the cat. always a fun time.
-cleaned the kitchen.

And now I'm taking a "break" (waiting for my pumpkins to finish growing ... I know, I know...) from the rest of my cleaning.

I LOVE being a housewife. LOVE IT. It is now my reality every other week, and I want it for the rest of my life. When I tell this to a lot of people, they comment on how horribly boring it would be. Oh no, that's not me - I want this forever. (My house would be SO CLEAN all the time!!!)

Oooh, my pumpkins have grown! Harvest time...


Remember the Week O' Happiness post? About how this week could potentially be awesome? Well ... so far, it is. Obviously my job stuff has been the highlight so far, but I forgot to mention yesterday that Mark (finally) got a callback from the volunteer people at the Civil Rights Museum here in Bham, and he has his volunteer orientation on Monday! He's really excited to be actually doing something these days - he's been reading a ton, trying to prep for his classes (which will be crazy, to say the least), and he's also talked about potentially trying to get a part-time job at one of the libraries here, which would definitely help with the income side of things. You would not believe how long it takes places to call back about volunteer work - it's just ridiculous. He tried to volunteer several places in Chattanooga, and could never get in touch with anyone about it - he left messages, and they never called back. And even the CR museum here took their time, when they said that they were "desperate" for volunteers two weeks ago. I don't know - I guess they were just busy. But - all that said, he's excited.

We also went on a date night last night, to celebrate my awesome interview, and saw Julie & Julia, which I cannot RAVE enough about. I knew it would be good, but it was honestly one of the funniest movies I've seen in a while, thanks to Meryl Streep's amazing portrayal of Julia Child. It was wonderful. Even Mark liked it :) I HIGHLY recommend it, if you're looking for a good movie to see.

We still have yet to get our bed and box springs, which would really complete the week o' happiness, but there are several days yet before I have to return to Chattanooga (do I still have to do that? Really? I don't want to...), so there is time.

In general though, this week has just felt hopeful to me, which is something I haven't really felt in a while. See, these first couple years of our marriage haven't really been very easy. I wish we had been better warned. I wish I hadn't been so naive. It isn't the marriage part that was so hard - though that's what everybody warned us about. We are fine. We agree on money and spending and hardly ever fight about that (amazing, I know, particularly since we have, like, NONE), we agree on decorating, we agree on messiness factors, and really, when we fight, it's becuase he's tired or I'm emotional or hungry or tired, or some combination of all of the above (particularly when we're BOTH tired/hungry), and it's not really about any underlying issue. Because we talk things through. So that end of things hasn't been the problem. It's the job situation, the depression that comes when you just. can't. find. one. It's the having no money, no savings, no NOTHING because we got married two weeks after we graduated. It's the night shift, and feeling like I haven't ever really entered the "adult world" because I spend my days sleeping. It's because Mark knew basically what he wanted to do, and couldn't do it. It's becuase the freaking economy collapsed at everybody's feet. It's because of a lot of things that I wasn't aware of or prepared for, things that were entirely out of our control. Which, for me, the eternal control-freak, is the worst.

But now, even though I still can't control anything, I'm seeing this glimmer of hope, of things to come. Mark feels a lot better about his situation in general, and he's really excited about starting school (On Tuesday! Ahh!!), which makes things better for me as well. I have (most likely) actually found a job, in the area that I love, in the same city as the man I love. And I'm seeing what's ahead. I'm seeing the potential opportunites that Mark's master's degree will bring, and I'm seeing those opportunities grow as we broaden the area of our future job search to wherever (save california and NYC ... and also connecticut, cause I don't want lyme disease...). I'm seeing a glimpse of a day when I can stop holding my breath when we look at the checking account, when I can see a pair of shoes I LOVE and just flat out buy them, when we can buy a nice house, when we can have kids. Those will be good days. I'm looking forward to them. But right now - we're good. And it's a good week. And I'm hopeful and happy about the future, and God has reminded me that He provides for us, which is a good thing to remember.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The News...

Well friends, I'm back from my interview...


It was amazing!!! Obviously there's red tape and paper work ... but the manager said that she wanted me to work for her :)

I like the unit. It'll be different, but it'll be good.

Also, just real fast .... faith and prayer does work. Because I've been asking specifically for this job, and for a dayshift position in this job, and it was provided. He is faithful, and good.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver ... "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." - C. S. Lewis, from the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Delicious-ness Ahead :)

I haven't really ever mentioned this on here before, but I'm sort of a foodie. I'm a foodie who loves to cook, Mark is a foodie who loves to eat :) So I thought I'd give the recipe posts a go - when I fix something yummy, or tried-and-true, I'll try to post the recipe (and some pictures) on here, so you can all see and enjoy. So.... (drumroll please) ... my debut of foodie posts: Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato and Basil!

Now I know what you're thinking. How boring, right? But really, there's not much that makes me happier than tomatoes and basil and garlic, and throw a little angel hair and parmesan cheese, and oh man, I'm in heaven. I like simple food - real ingredients (preferably very little to none from a box), and fairly easy recipes. So here it is:

Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato and Basil

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 tsp. capers (i didn't use these)
4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
9 oz. freshly cooked angel hair pasta

Heat oil in large skillet over med. heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and salt & pepper to taste. Saute 3-5 minutes until tomatoes begin to soften (should still be slightly firm.)

(While the tomatoes cook, have your husband chop the basil for you!)

Mix together freshly cooked pasta,

tomatoes, basil, and capers (if used)


Serve and top with Parmesan cheese.

(we'll use this later. yumm.)

And for the bread, I always use a plate of olive oil - I put salt, pepper, rosemary, italian seasoning, and a bit of garlic powder to give it a nice flavor

Yummy baguette!!

Mark, ready to eat our yummy dinner...

And the finished product! Sooooo good :)

Hopefully, if things go well, I'll be at home doing this ALL the time, not just every other week. We'll see....

Week O' Happiness (i hope)

This week has the potential to be a very good one. I'm home in Birmingham now (very good in and of itself...) - it's so nice, how fast this place has come to feel like home. Maybe it's because it was home for four years...

Tomorrow is my interview. I feel, at this point, like it could potentially make or break my LIFE, but I'm trying to chill about it, and realize that I have all the credentials I need, and basically all I have to do is make them like me and want me to work with them. (i hope...) So if that goes well, then it'll pretty much be a good week - if I get the job soon, it'll be a GREAT week. So that's what I'm hoping will happen...

Also, our bed and box springs are due to arrive soon. (We had to do a split box spring, since the queen-size one wouldn't fit up the stairs...) I love love LOVE our mattress, but I'd really like to have the bed to complete the bedroom so we can sort of put it back together again. And I'd also really like to have them this week so I can get everything in order and actually get to sleep in our new bed a couple times before I have to go back to Chattanooga.

Mark is amazing, as always. It'll be a good week despite all the aforementioned things, just because I'm with him. I'm realizing very quickly that home for me is where he is. His classes start in 6 days - I went with him to UAB today to the bookstore and paid an arm and a leg for some of his books. There are SO MANY books that he has to read!! But my smart hubby is already halfway through one, and has started another one for a different class. I'm a little sad that I don't get to be here for but one of his classes the first week, and then I'll miss his second week of classes entirely. (If things go EXCELLENTLY, that'll be the last week I'll have to be away from him....) I love cooking for him and taking care of him so much - I'm so happy, being married to him :) These next two years are going to be quite the adventure, I think.

Oh! And I haven't mentioned this before, but at the end of this month, we're going to have some house guests for a while - Andy and Suzie are moving back to Birmingham, and they're going to live with us until they find some form of income, so it'll be a big, happy (hopefully) party around here :) (hopefully not too much of a party, or mark won't get any work done at all .... i'm a little worried about the distraction level that andy might provide.) We're so excited that they're coming back, and also super excited that we'll see them so much, especially at first. Andy has been Mark's best friend since we were freshmen in college, and today Mark pointed out to me that he lived with Andy longer than he's lived with me so far. It'll also be nice to have a close girl friend living close by to cook with and do things with - so hurry back, Andy and Suzie! We can't wait to see you!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reality Strikes...

Mark got his first syllabus today. It looks like it's going to be brutal. The class is something about fascism (a topic I know quite literally NOTHING about), and it's going to be one of those book-a-week, class participation is a fourth of your grade, huge paper/presentation combo potentially the SECOND WEEK of class type of things. I talked to him on the phone about it, and he said (only half-joking) that he was just kidding, that he really wanted to go to library school instead. I said, sorry mister, too late to change your mind now.

We knew it was going to be like this. We knew it would be insanely hard, that he would be basically thrown full-force back into school mode after having been out for two years. (I'd like to ask him again now about his grand and glorious idea to do full-time grad school, a volunteer position with the civil rights museum in town, AND a part-time job, all at the same time. I think he'd be changing his tune a little bit.) But, my point is, this honestly didn't catch us off-guard. But what it does do, for me at least, is reaffirm my extreme desire to get this job in Birmingham and be able to be there for my husband. I know that most likely, even if I do get it, that I will have to start working on night shift, but I feel the oddest sense of calm about a dayshift position. I don't know if that is God giving me his guidance in that everything will work out for the best, or that He has something extra up His sleeve, or what - but there are at least 2 dayshift positions posted on the website, maybe three, so ... who knows? Maybe I'll get one of them. I just feel like I need to be there for Mark, to cook him study-food, to be supportive, to give him a pep talk when he needs a break, to encourage him... And I think that this last month or so of being apart has actually helped us. I am better equipped than I have ever been to let go when I need to, to let him study and stay up late and do his thing without being clingy and needy. I'd like to have a scheduled "us" night once a week, both for my benefit and his, but other than that, I think I'm prepared to be okay with him locking himself in the office (or the UAB library) and studying like crazy while I clean house/hang out with friends/work/scrapbook/etc, etc... I'm much more independent now, especially more so than when we first got married. The silver lining is showing itself. It's so neat, looking back at our relationship then, and how it's blossomed and grown and how much more we love each other and appreciate each other now. Mark has made me a better person. When we first were married, I was selfish (and somewhat scared), not wanting to leave Chattanooga, still very tied to my parents/sister/family. I didn't want to move from the area, I was afraid of change. Today, I'm (trying to) roll with the punches. Is it easy? No. Do I always handle it well? Hardly. But I find that I'm growing more and more excited about the future. I'm taking one day at a time, handling the changes and setbacks and the unknown as they come, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where God's plan for our lives takes us, be it in Chattanooga or Birmingham or elsewhere. I'm realizing that life is an adventure and can't always be planned out or dictated.

But first things first - I want to be with Mark. Please pray for my job to come through. Because we need this. Financially, emotionally, physically - it would be easier on all counts if I could make more money and live in the same city as my husband. Pray that a dayshift position is open, and that it is an option that I may take it. My head and heart are buzzing with emotions - nervousness, excitement, happiness, fear, worry, sadness to leave.... But, from somewhere deeper, a sense of peace is starting to wash over me about the whole situation. And I know, because of that, we're exactly where we need to be right now, and that God is going to take care of us. Because He loves us. I don't know why exactly, but I really feel good about this, like it's going to work out. I hope it will.

Mark-less and whiny

It's now officially day 6 of my Mark-less stretch ... And I miss him a whole lot. This week is not as bad as the last week that I worked (partly because I am no longer pms-ing, which keeps my emotions in significantly better check...). But it is still no fun. for us, who were ALWAYS together, the every-other-week thing is beginning to get old. (Which is really bad, since it's only been 2 weeks of working so far...) The only times we've really been apart is back in college, when we were on summer break, and since we've been married, just once when I went on vacation with my mom and my sister. I'm used to seeing him every single day, and it's hard when I can't. I'm tired of my ring finger feeling naked for a week at a time (we can't wear rings at work), and I'm tired of having no one to cuddle in bed when I get home from work, and I'm tired of feeling tired and a bit isolated while I'm at my parents' house, and I just miss him an awful lot.

He misses me too. He says that he doesn't sleep well without me - when I'm at home, Mark hibernates like a bear. He sleeps at least 9 hours every night, and more if I don't wake him up. When I'm gone, and not in the bed with him, he's restless and tosses and turns and only sleeps about 5 or 6 hours. (Which subsequently causes him to take lots of naps during the day. This needs to be resolved soon, or he's never going to get any productive studying done...) I'm pretty sure he's lonely a lot of the time, because he's not really a social person, especially by himself, and he's probably just sort of hole-ing up in the townhouse with nowhere to go and no one to talk to. This makes me sad, because I want him to be happy. I think things will be better when Andy and Suzie move back, but hopefully I'll have a job by then and we'll all be together again :)

I hope my new job works out, so that I can be home with Mark. I want a dayshift position so that I can cook for him when he goes to class, and be home when he gets home, and on my off days, be able to take care of the house adequately. Really, I'd just prefer to be a housewife, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. I would like to be able to take care of him, though. I hate it that he has to make grocery lists and go to the store by himself and do the laundry and wash all the dishes, etc. etc. while I'm gone. I used to consider myself such a "feminist" - when I was in high school, I always thought it was so dumb when women bent over backwards to do stuff that a man is perfectly capable of doing as well (ie. cooking, laundry...) It drove me crazy. But I understand now - it's not that they don't know how (I guess some of them don't, though, which still makes me a bit crazy...) - Mark is perfectly capable of doing all of the aforementioned things, but because I love him, I want to do them for him, because that's a great way for me to serve him. Sort of like I'm perfectly capable of carrying my own bags and opening the door and staining our furniture and banging nails into the wall - but Mark does those things, because he likes to take care of me, and that's his way of serving me.

As hard as this whole process has been so far, it's made me stop and think about marriage, and what it means, and what you should never take for granted. It's given me a greater appreciation for the "give" side of give-and-take, because it's becoming something I strive to do more and more. In the two years that we've been married, I think we've both done a lot of giving (and thus, a fair amount of taking), and for a while, I wasn't focused as much as I should have been on the giving aspect. But I'm finding that it feels so much better to give than to take, particularly to someone who you love so, so much, because you want to do it. And because it ends up being better for the both of you, in the long run. It's taken me a long time, but at this point, I'm really sort of looking forward to the unknown (and for those of you who know me well, this is sort of a shocker.) I'm excited about what the future holds, what will happen After Grad School. I don't know where we'll move, and I don' t know what Mark will be doing or what I will be doing, but I'm really peaceful about the whole thing right now, and I know that God will take care of us. I also know that God will take care of us in the next couple weeks, as we find out if I get to make the permanent move to Birmingham. I hope so. I pray that the job will just fall into my lap. But if it doesn't - life will go on, I think.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


What a perfect day to end my amazing week in Birmingham :)

This morning, Mark and I recovered the chairs in the dining room with a pretty blue-ish fabric with a vine-y pattern on them, and they look positively lovely now. We fixed our corner shower caddy so it will now work in our shower. Our new mattress should be here any minute now. And, drumroll please:

I got a job interview!!! I'm very hopeful about this position - the manager seemed positive about my application and resume and experience, saying that it would be nice, since I'd only have to orient for about a month (!!!) So. I'm going not this Friday but the next (stupid work schedule) and interviewing for the position, and hopefully that will be a done deal and I'll have to work 1 or 2 more weeks in the 'ham, and that'll be that. The prospect of actually having a job here and getting to live here in my lovely apartment full-time with my husband makes me excited to no end. (I hope this excitement won't be in vain - I will be so depressed if this falls through.) So pretty much, I'm going to accept the position as long as they pay me at least what I'm making now (which isn't a whole lot to expect, to be honest...) We'll see. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and praying with every ounce of my being that this comes to fruition...

And now our mattress has arrived! Must go...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mattress, Bed, House, and Church :)

I'm loving my life in Birmingham right now (too bad it has to be cut short every other week to go to work...) Mark and I are settling into a nice routine (during the day!! I love it!!), and he's getting really excited about school starting. I can't believe it's already August - just 17 more days, and he's a "real" grad student! (And then will begin another crazy chapter in our lives...)

Yesterday was exciting. We'd been talking for quite a while about buying new bedroom furniture and a new mattress, because ours are OLD and Andy and Suzie will need the bed back when they return. So we did :) We got a GREAT deal on our mattress ($300 off! Woo!), and our bed was 20% off, which put it exactly into the price range we decided on :) We also decided that right now, it would be more profitable to spend more money on a better mattress, and buy just the bed and not the matching furniture. (Because the mattress is what you actually sleep ON, you know, and we already have passable bedroom drawers and stuff.) So the mattress is being delivered on Wednesday, and the bed is being delivered in a week or 2, and I will post pictures of our completed bedroom after that's all put together!

Also! Completed office:

Mark's desk space and the bookshelf

And my scrapbooking area :)

And we finally have the living room totally completed as well - I think it's my favorite room in the house :)

Mark in his chair

Front view of the couch

View of couch from the dining room

We love it!

In other news (and I know this blog is getting long, so I'll make it short), we went to church today at Vestavia Hills United Methodist - it was our first time there, so the jury's still out, but it was nice, and they came to our door like 20 or 30 minutes after church had ended and gave us a "thank you for visiting" welcome packet, including a loaf of homemade bread! (Mark didn't answer the door because he thought it would be Mormons - I feel bad that we didn't answer it now.) They've got their welcome game on, for sure :)

Oh! Side note! Mi familia is coming to visit on Tuesday! They've never seen our place, and my mom is dying to go to Whole Foods and my whole family wants to go to Surin for lunch (SO happy to oblige on both counts), so I'm super excited about it :)

It's about time for me to go warm us up some dinner (I made yummy taco soup yesterday in the crock pot - LOVE having that stuff for leftovers...) so time to go, but I'll post more pictures after my family (and the bed) comes :)