Poor Mocha….

Packing will be my life for the next three weeks, but I can’t complain because all of the trips will have great highlights. I leave today for New Jersey (assuming the airports are back to normal). The job is a pretty fun one. I’m auditing the Company’s 401(k) plan, but the company makes eye liners for various cosmetic companies. Last year, I got to go on the plant tour to see how it works, and you would NEVER imagine how many pieces and machines it takes to create an eyeliner pencil. CRAZY! The other fun time is that I am going to be in Jon’s hometown of Piscataway. I will get to see his Grandma, aunts, and even our parents and sister. I am so excited to see some family. It makes the travel so much better when I can spend the evenings with family.

Work has been crazy busy with taxes recently. We have a corporate filing deadline in less than three weeks, so the stress level has definitely risen. Somehow, I got put on a lot of very difficult returns this year, but once they get turned in, it’s SO refreshing. Here’s to hoping the next three weeks fly by for more reasons than this one. Jon and I have had an unusual amount of free time, and I am SO thankful for it. We had been so busy that we actually scheduled a weekend where we weren’t allowed to schedule anything. So this weekend, Jon and I spent extra time together. On Friday, we were able to see the new Captain America movie. My credit card has a Buy One Get One each month if you buy your ticket on Friday, so we snagged up that deal. After we got home, Jon was cleaning out his closet of some clothes that he is going to get rid of…as you can see, we had a little too much fun. I don’t think Mocha agreed…I mean look at the picture where she gave us the stink eye.

On Saturday, Jon had to work since he’s in his second busy season. It gave me time to get the house cleaned again which we know from last week is much easier now. Thankfully, we were able to meet up for my nephew’s first competitive soccer game. It’s the first time he played in a game where they kept score and had to follow the rules of soccer. He did great, and I was so proud of him. I don’t know how he made it since it was so hot!. That evening, we used one of our Living Social deals to eat a local establishment called the Peddler. Our favorite features about the Peddler are the salad bar and the atmosphere. It’s set in this old stone building which feels like a dungeon when you walk in. If you want prime rib, they will bring it out to your table to cut it right in front of you. We were told the wait was 45 minutes, which we were fine with since I have been practicing patience. Well, the wait turned into an hour and fifteen minutes, but all was well, because we found a checkers board. Too bad for Jon, his losing streak continued, and he forfeited just in time for them to call our name. *As I write this, Jon is telling me that I must put that he would have beaten me if we had continued playing…however, I had more kings than Jon, so this statement is VERY questionable.

After supper, we took a late night stroll downtown. It reminded me of when we were dating. We would walk on the bridge and hang out in the park. I was experimenting with my camera while down there. I am not very good yet, but I do enjoy taking pictures where the shutter stays open longer grasping as much natural light as possible. They are a bit blurry, because it is a suspension bridge so even though I was still and the camera itself was still, the bridge was moving. I’ve been trying to learn the terminology and features of my camera a bit more before our big trip. Here are some pictures of what I was able to capture. I’m super excited too because I bought some photography books and a new lens this week with some money I have been saving, so I am hoping to learn a lot. Maybe I’ll share with you my practice pictures along the journey of learning…or maybe I won’t. Oh, and the house you see, Jon and I like to drive around looking at houses sometimes, and this one caught our eye…..we think it’s far out of even our dream’s price range, but we found it beautiful and unique. Hopefully, you enjoy.

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Enjoying the “slow” times….

Our week started slow and surprisingly relaxing…then, it just sped up. It was so slow that I had time to keep the house clean during the week. As I was cleaning on Saturday (i.e. vacuuming, washing the sheets, dusting, etc.), and a crazy revolution… that it’s crazy how easy those tasks are when you are able to keep the house picked up during the week. Don’t get me wrong though, this week was filled with its stresses. As most of our readers know, Jon and I travel a lot, and we use our cars for most of that travel. Well, this week turned out to be car repair week, and I mean car REPAIR week…like they had to replace a tow bar on my car whatever that is, Jon got new brakes, my rotors got rotated, and other small repairs. It’s so sad to throw money into huge pieces of metal, but to counteract it, I decided to price out our insurance and it saved us about 60% of our car costs. It might sound weird to you, but I was SO thankful to recover some of the costs.  We still have to buy Jon some new tires…I was so excited to save money that I tried to win them during a raffle at a United Way even that we went to this weekend. Sadly, we lost.

Thursday was the first night of our new study. I was very humbled by what God did that night. We had 15 ladies crammed into my living room, yes, FIFTEEN. I had been joking with the ladies before this study that I had no problem buying some pews and bringing them in, so they all found it a bit humorous that I had a “back row” set up behind my couch. The first tour of the Truth Project helped us determine what is Truth and encouraged us to ask ourselves the question, “Do I really believe that what I believe is really true?” After the video we had great discussion that ultimately led into us throwing out some practical ways of learning truth. One woman mentioned that in the secret service, the men study the real money so that when they see the fake stuff, it’s obvious. The same should be the case in life. We need to study the Word so much that when a lie of the world is presented we will instantly be able to spot the Truth.

Unfortunately, Jon had to work most of the weekend, but thankfully we spent Saturday afternoon together. A few months back, we purchased a Living Social deal to rent two bikes for half a day. We finally had a moderate weather day, so we rode all the way to Travelers Rest which is 11 miles away from downtown. Man, my legs hurt! Round trip was 22 miles, but it was a great time together. Jon and I had a great time together and added some great memories to our marriage. Here are some pictures until next week….

Date night, birthdays and work…

What a week. Do they ever slow down? On Friday, Jon and I had plans to attend another United Way event, but somehow Jon and I both misread the invitation so we unexpectedly had an evening free. We had both recently heard about something called Foodie Fest. Some really fancy restaurants in Greenville are were offering an appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $30. We decided to take advantage of a restaurant that Jon has wanted to go to for three years! American Grocery…our meal included Rabbit Sausage, Tomato Salad, Duck, Steak, and fresh fruit cobbler. The neat thing about the restaurant is that absolutely everything is locally grown. It was all really good. Due to the high volume of patrons, our reservation was not until 8:30 (which is basically past any accountant’s bedtime). We did not end up getting seated until 9:15, so you can imagine that I was basically a zombie.  Before our reservation though, Jon and I played some card games downtown. Jon put up a valiant fight, but in the end, I was the master of Phase 10.

This was a Bible Study week, and we had a great group of ladies sharing about what they learned at Ladies Retreat. We are so excited to be starting our next study this week. It’s Focus on the Family’s Truth Project. I have been so blessed by our group.

Saturday brought a bunch of yard work. My mom was so gracious to come help me weed and plant some bushes. I have been trying hard to re-use items to save on our yard, so I spent the early morning digging up some monkey grass and that afternoon, my mom helped replant it around my larger flower garden. It’s really hard to see in the picture, but she re-planted them as a border to my big flower garden (doesn’t have too many flowers) since the Hostas that I planted 4 years ago never grew…well, one lonesome one did, but I did learn my lesson about buying from bulbs…sometimes instant gratification is a good thing. We also got some grass patch stuff that we are experimenting with to get our grass up to snuff. Jon has been faithfully watering and tending to it, and if it works, he’s going to fill the rest of the patches in the front yard and then move to the back which is still basically a construction zone due to last year’s patio project. Mom and I also installed some borders to the flower beds in the front yard. It’s amazing what work can get done when you aren’t at the office. 🙂

 

Well, Sunday just brought more of the same. We were able to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday. Dan and Isabelle came over for lunch, and we had a great time catching up with them. Somehow they live in the same city, but it’s sometimes so crazy that we don’t get to see each other for months at a time. Anyway, Isabelle has been running faithfully, and she and her sister are going to be running a half marathon this fall, so Jon and I thought we would help her stay hydrated with a new water belt. Beyond that I went to help a lady in our Bible Study unpack since she recently moved and has three little ones occupying her time. I love organizing things so it was right up my alley. My girlfriend and I were able to get the kitchen unpacked while the mom ran some errands, so I consider it a success. I came home and just did more laundry…what’s to be expected, right? Speaking of that laundry…I must get back to it. Until next week!

Long awaited….

Were you expecting me to say something else. Well, sorry to disappoint, but I finally snagged some time to upload some pictures. I have been trying lately to take better pictures rather than taking lots of pictures if that makes sense. I can’t take credit for too many of the pictures from the Bible Study Ice Cream social, but can I just say I love kids. They are so uninhibited…is that a word? I think catching candid photos of kids is too funny. Like the picture where the sweet girl got in the back of the bike. She did it all on her own, and it was so precious. Or watching the kids run through the sprinkler. The one little girl asked me to run through it with her since there was a ring of adults around the outside of the sprinkler….I couldn’t resist.

I also loved watching the kids with the dogs. Look at the pic in the upper left corner. It looks like the boy is terrified, but I wish you could have heard the squeals of excitement when he saw the dogs. His mom said he didn’t really want to walk from the car to the house, but when she told him there were dogs, he began almost running to the house. So cute. I think my favorite picture though is the little girl in the middle trying to give Lexi a pretzel M&M. So cute. Would you believe we had adults at the social too? All of the ladies were from the Bible Study, and they brought their hubbies and obviously their kiddos too. Such a fun time of fellowship.

And back two weeks now…my pics from camping with Ethan. I can’t remember if I mentioned it in the original post, but Ethan helped me put up the tent. We didn’t even need Jon’s help! I was SO proud of him. It still makes my heart swell just thinking of how much fun he had. Even yesterday, he asked me if he could go back with us for Labor Day! Love him!

Falling behind….

I’m falling behind! I figure getting the memories down right now is more important than the pictures, but I PROMISE I will get back to the pictures. I do have a lot of great ones.

This week was a bit busy since I was in Atlanta for a few days, but the weekend was packed with many activities. Friday night we had all of the families over from the Bible Study that I host at our house. We had an ice cream social on the patio, and the kids got to play in the sprinkler. They were soaked, but had a great time, and I do believe that everyone enjoyed ice cream. Jon and I supplied the ice cream and everyone else brought the toppings. My chocolate ice cream with oreos, hot fudge, and gummy bears was delicious in case you were wondering. 🙂 The dogs even had a great time. The kids kept them on their toes, and they got a lot of exercise in.

Saturday morning, Jon had signed us up to serve for United Way. Originally, it was supposed to be a mile from the house and we were supposed to be gardening. If I were to be honest, I would have to tell you that I wasn’t really that interested in serving on a Saturday morning by weeding someone else’s garden when my own beds need to be weeded, but I begrudgingly went. Turns out the event was 25 miles from our house, and we would be gleaning. Yes, gleaning…like Ruth did. It was actually pretty awesome. We gleaned zucchini and squash that would be donated to local charities. In a little over an hour, we collected 1,000 pounds of vegetables that were donated to places like the Greer Soup Kitchen, Greenville Rescue Mission, Miracle Hill Children’s Home, and Shepherd’s Gate women’s shelter.

We attended a wedding of a girl that I used to play soccer with which was pretty fun. I always love weddings, because assuming it’s a Christian wedding, I take the charge to the bride and groom as a reminder for Jon and me. Satruday evening brought some much needed rest and relaxation with my awesome husband. He surprised me by making crab dip from scratch with no recipe. It was SO good.

Sunday was relatively normal with church, small group and of course, our spaghetti lunch. I left to go to Switcharoos which is a big children’s consignment sale. As usual, I had so much fun and got lots of great deals! I can’t wait to send the stuff off to the respective parents. I think buying the stuff is probably more fun than them getting it. Not sure if that’s fair to them or not, but it makes me happy. 🙂

I promise to get some pictures up this week from the last two. I know you must be faithful readers to read with no pictures. It will get better!

Camping…

Due to my long delay of not getting the pictures up with this post, I decided to post without pictures. I know blogging cardinal sin numero uno. I will catch them up next week, but I still wanted to share what we did this weekend even if I can’t show you in pictures yet. This was written in time for last Monday’s post, so don’t be confused that it talks of the week being over. J

 Another week of travel is behind me! Wouldn’t you know…I leave again Tuesday. Will it ever end?

Jon and I got home yesterday from another great camping trip. This one was very special because we took my nephew Ethan with us. It was his first time camping or fishing, and he says he had a great time! Ethan was REALLY good at casting his fishing rod which really surprised me since it was an adult rod, and he had never fished before. I was also surprised at how much he enjoyed fishing even though no one caught any fish. I would like to say the fish just weren’t biting, but in fact, they were…they were just biting people. Jon got nice little fish bite on his back.

We spent most of yesterday in the water, and Ethan’s little red cheeks would prove it. I wouldn’t trade anything for this past weekend. Jon got to go exploring and fishing, and of course we had our fair share of smores.

We came home exhausted and hot and found our upstairs air conditioning out of commission. The thermometer read 93 degrees. It looks like we may be sleeping on our air mattress a little longer. Hopefully, the home warranty company can get here early this week. Is it bad that I’m praying the unit is broken? The whole reason we have had the warranty was banking on the old units going bad, so yes, I’m crossing my fingers and toes.

 *Update: Air conditioning has a mind of its own…it keeps working, then not. We can’t have the warranty come if it happens to start working because then we have to pay, so we’re waiting it out until it dies. Last night was our first night not on the air mattress.

**Update 2: Here are some pictures on facebook. You do NOT have to have facebook to view them.