I’m loving this place.

And so is he…

handsum kitteh.

Luthor was quite lethargic for the first week we were in the house. Rightfully so, since it doesn’t get below 80-85° during the day with the swamp cooler. A couple days ago, he became much more active.

Our House.

Friday we finally received our household goods. I was, however, very disappointed that my mirror was broken, and not just cracked. Broken. It was from my grandparents, which they had received for their wedding in 1952. I about cried when the movers unwrapped it. We had a few other damages as well, but nothing that can’t be fixed. I was bummed about the mirror for most of the day, and then I snapped out of it. We have so many nice things that people have just given to us. Seriously, we wouldn’t have any furniture if people hadn’t been so generous.

The house is slowly coming together… you can check out pictures here. I am in love with the kitchen.. it’s big, airy and has the perfect mix of antiques, florals, and modern technology (i.e. my KitchenAid mixer!). We haven’t gone out to eat since last Monday for Aaron’s (27th) birthday.

Today I got the rest of my clothes unpacked and into the closet and dresser. The only rooms we have to finish are the living room, office and spare room. Aaron gets all of his things from Korea tomorrow, so he’ll be able to set up his desktop in the office. I will refrain from posting pictures until everything else is done. 🙂

This weekend has been both productive and relaxing. Aaron dumped out our recycling bin, which had a ton of garbage and naaasssty water and gunk. Seriously, how hard is it to put trash in the, ya know, trash can?! YUCK. Now we can use our recycling can.

As you know if you’ve been a reader for long (or just for this entry…) that my writing tends to be verbose. Here’s a bulleted list of things I love so far about El Paso…

  • The weather. The heat really isn’t so bad, and July is the hottest month. I love having close to no humidity.
  • The blend of cultures. You hear a mix of English and Spanish everywhere.
  • Our church. Spirit-filled, vibrant, and led by an awesome pastor. We have been blessed to have had three churches like this (First Assembly, Stone Creek and Faith).
  • Running at night. I might have done this in Peoria if Aaron had been with me. We went last night, unplanned, at dusk and got some amazing views of the storms and lightning on the mountains!
  • Living with my husband. ‘Nuff said. It’s so rewarding to be a wife of a godly man.

This is Life.

I guess, all in all, I feel like this is what life is supposed to be like. Do you ever have those moments when you feel all of a sudden intensely happy? I had one of those this afternoon… I realize all the blessings I’ve been given, including my husband and our situation. Life doesn’t always make me want to jump up and down with happiness, but I am thankful for everything we go through.

Being Challenged.

The past few weeks, Pastor Lee has been talking about becoming desperate for the divine, taking up our crosses, and following Jesus. I’d like to think I’ve been doing that, but when I worry about jobs and money and deployments and… this earthly stuff… my trust wanes, and I become anxious and irritable. This, friends, is not what God intends for us.

I am going to really try to evaluate things in my life that matter for eternity’s sake, and things that don’t. It’s challenging, and I challenge you to do it as well.

Eight years ago…

…we started dating. It was at the park, after a walk around the lagoon, something we did all the time.

I had to ask you, “So, am I officially taken then?” and you told me yes.

We said that if our relationship at any time was not headed for marriage, then we needed to break it off. Neither one of us were willing to date just to date.

Just short of five long years later, we got married. We made our mistakes, went through more long distance than we ever signed up for.. not knowing we had a long distance marriage ahead of us.

I think that night we already loved each other, and we knew.

We knew that we would have to go through tough times if it really was all worth it.

And oh my, it’s been worth it.

You lay next to me, sleeping, while I am awake contemplating this in this empty apartment.

Looking at your face right now and knowing that you’re mine, I’d say it’s all been more than worth it.

I love you, Aaron. Happy eight years.

>Decompressing… ahhhh.

>My poor husband, seriously. I’ve been going crazy making lists and just being, well, for lack of better terms, OCD, about moving. Tomorrow the movers come and we are more than prepared. Everything’s off the walls, we have our clothes packed, and most of my list is crossed off (you know that means it’s a good day!). Over the next several days, we will be busy with family events which will be so much fun. I need to stop being irritable, cranky, whiny and just… worrisome.

We started off our day with a five-miler with none other than THE Gabriela! I love that woman… her influence and encouragement have had such an impact on my life in such a short time. I will miss our runs together terribly!

I’ve been cooking up a storm in this apartment… pasta salad, scotcharoos (both for the all-church picnic and Fourth of July!), oatmeal cookies (which were some of the best cookies I’ve made in this stupid oven), chicken stir-fry over rice noodles, spicy chipotle meatballs… and we’re making chili for the movers tomorrow.

Nomsies.

Mmm. Made with all white sugar since I was out of brown, maple syrup, almond flour, and three cups of my oatmeal mix so we don’t have to pitch it. Yum.

We’ve also done a test run with the kitteh today to see how the tranquilizer will affect him… he did well, and now he’s just chillin’.

Kitteh iz reddy fore Texas, Ai finks.

I should have taken pictures, but I ventured out for a few hours for lunch and Target with mah bestie, who leaves for Czech Republic tomorrow. It will be awhile before we see each other again. 😦 I guess we’ll be having plenty of knitting & tea Skype dates!

When I came home, Aaron had this sitting on the counter for me… just a random card for no reason at all.

“just the way you are, regardless of what you do or don’t do,
past, present, and future, no matter where you go,
even on your not-so-good days, whatever you choose,
with all of your unique qualities, simply because you’re you”
“Sweetheart, I just wanted to let you know how much I love you
and how happy I am to be home and able to spend time with you.
You are an incredible wife and you make me feel like a lucky man.
Aaron”

Seriously?! I am such a lucky blessed girl! He used to leave notes on my car while I was at school (we started dating my senior year of high school and he’s a couple years older).

We FINALLY got ice cream tonight at Emack and Bolio’s in the Heights. I’m so addicted to ice cream it’s not funny, and summer temps only fuel that vice. However, hubby has been doing very well in discouraging me from partaking too often. I should have taken a pic, but I got the flavor “Beantown Buzz” in a small-ish Oreo and fudge-dipped waffle cone. A lovely indulgence.

Then we drove about a mile down the road to Starbucks and visited my sister Emily at work… visions of this pretty lady (with a star on her head?) help me relax, for sure… oh, and my amazing sister!

Green tea + Classic

Now, I’m off to enjoy the evening with maybe definitely a margarita… it just goes perfectly with the weather! and some downtime with  my wonderful husband. Really, despite the stress, what more can a girl ask for?

Wellllllll…… mayyyyybe some of this… 😉

>grown up

>

so is this what it’s like to grow up?
to look on life from the outside
just watching and waiting
and waiting and watching
to find some semblance of order
and mercy of life in the aftercalm of
near death experiences, bipolar tendencies,
clanking beer bottles, cigarette butts and
three Little girls, the product of love
so is this what it’s like to grow up?
to realize that parents and their parents
aren’t getting any younger
they aren’t getting any stronger
and they still aren’t as wrong as we think sometimes
to realize that prayer can work
that the past cannot be rewritten
but still can be redeemed with
three Little girls, the product of love
so is this what it’s like to be grown up?
to just be thankful for the time we have
the laughs we share, and
that we’re all ok, we’re all fine, we’re all making it through
parents who still love each other
thirty years later
and three Little girls, the product of love

>On the eve of a quarter of a century

>

April 22, 1986, is my birthday. Tonight at 2:34 AM (yes, I know the exact time; my mom has no problem rehashing my birth story over and over again, haha) I will turn 25 years old. And guess what? My attitude is: Bring. It. On. That was my attitude for last year too and it sure was an eventful year!
I am very content with passing this milestone. Not only because there’s the prospect of lower car insurance, but because of what I’ve accomplished in my life. My life rocks. Just sayin’. The only way it could be better is if my husband were here with me, or I with him. 
I’m proud of how hard I’ve worked in my life to get where I’m at now. And three years ago, Aaron and I joined each other on that journey. I worked my tail off in school and in college to be successful at something, and I am. I love saying, “I’m a teacher”. I’m proud of all the hours I spent in class, writing papers, and in practicum. I’m proud of the two years I taught high school; I’m not sure they could have been better. I like finding a part of my identity in education because I know it’s a profession I will always have to some capacity.
While I am not a mother yet, and honestly my whole life I thought I’d be one by now, I’m content with this decision we’ve made to wait a little while longer. I’m excited to finish out our twenties as just… us. (Unless, of course, God blesses with a child anyway).
I’m proud that I’ve made good decisions the last two years while Aaron’s been away. It could have been very easy for me to slip back into old habits of depression and pity parties. Instead, I grabbed life by the horns and made some positive changes that have resulted in a more mature, more patient, more compassionate, more understanding, and more relaxed Elizabeth. And I’m sure everyone is grateful for that. 😉
Tomorrow I have the day off. Easter is hardly ever this late, but I’m not complaining. It’s not every year I get to sleep in and then go out for an awesome steak dinner on my birthday! (Thanks Mom and Daddy!) [Yes, I did mean to say Daddy. :)]
So, tomorrow I’m looking forward to:
some of this:
dreaming about this:
seeing some of this:

having some of this for dinner:
some of this after dinner:

and the best part… talking with a certain someone:

>Engaged to be engaged… to be engaged.

>From the start of our relationship, Aaron and I always said that if we weren’t moving in the direction of marriage, then the relationship should end. Hence the title of this post.

The story of our engagement is pretty funny. He was in Master’s Commission in Urbana for the first three years I was at Bradley. The third year, 2007, in April, he came home on a surprise visit for my birthday (with flowers in hand, too!). Because I like to see how much I can get someone to reveal about the surprise, I half expected it.

During that weekend we talked about a date for our wedding, because we had been dating for almost four years at this point (at the time it was my goal to finish school first, and Aaron needed gainful employment). We talked about various dates, the soonest one being that coming winter.

We were on the phone after he had gone back to Champaign, and I got kind of antsy. (Ladies, don’t try this at home.) Like any girl would think, right?, I kind of assumed we were engaged since we were talking about a physical date on the calendar. Silly assumptions…

I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I do remember me telling him something to the effect of “I am not getting off this phone unless I know if we’re engaged or not.” And he asked me to marry him. I still cried, haha. No ring, no big build up of events.

Six weeks later I went to go pick him up from Urbana at the end of May. We bought my ring at a department store, on sale, with my credit card. When we got in the car, he still asked me again to marry him and put the ring on my finger.

Looking back, I shake my head in mere amusement at my impatience. Ladies, it is so important to let your man take the lead! It still makes for a funny story, just like how I dated his younger brother two years before we even got together… maybe another post for another day on that one.

Here’s a picture. Forgive my total lack of photography skills.

It’s a sapphire in the middle. I did not want a diamond, and honestly we couldn’t afford a ring at all, let alone a diamond. But I love it and I will never “upgrade”.

I just had my wedding ring sized this week. I was lucky and was able to wear it out of the store since I used to be a size 7. Now it’s a 5.75. We got the wedding band at Helzberg for about $90. Helzberg soldered them together for us. My ring came back to my today looking like new! It’d been dipped (white gold rubs off eventually) and the dents buffed out. Now I don’t have to worry about losing it this winter when my hands are freezing 100% of the time!

In studying the jeweler’s work, I was reminded of our funny engagement story. And technically, we just paid for my ring with paying off that last credit card. Interesting how things come full circle. So, two lessons come from this series of events. One, never charge a piece of jewelry. Dumb dumb dumb. Two, let your man lead!