Friday, January 30, 2009

On Marriage...

My heart is heavy tonight as our upstairs neighbors are rapidly becoming a statistic. I am referring to a divorce. My mind is completely a blank as I try to imagine how a couple who were just married in August of last year can be ending their marriage after only five months.

This evening we came home to our neighbor, *Sam, packing his car. With much confusion, Chris and I looked at each other. As he walked down the stairs, Sam said with obvious disdain in his voice, "I'm moving. We're getting a divorce". Just like that. As I stood there baffled, all I could stutter were a few "I'm so sorry's" and uncomfortably shuffled inside. A moment later Sam came knocking on our door and for about 20 minutes he stood there telling us about the problems he and his wife have been having the last few months. Months! Didn't they just get married! For the sake of their privacy, I will not disclose the details, but I can tell you that my heart is hurting for both of them right now.

Let me take you back to the weekend we moved Chris into our apartment. It was a beautiful, sunny day in May and I was as giddy as could be. Our neighbors, Sam and *Amy were very quick to introduce themselves and give us all of the useful tips we could possibly need. We instantly felt at home. The four of us shared how we were both getting married later in the year. The best thing about them was how much they LOVED Abby and better yet, she loved them. Whenever they walk by our patio, they coo over Abby as she slobbers all over their happy faces.

So what went wrong? Did they think getting married would make everything better? Change their financial situation? Make them stop fighting?

I can only give my own humble thoughts about this sad situation. It's got me thinking about marriage and how the world view's this union with such shallow sentiment.

My mind goes back to June 21; our wedding day. I can remember the vows exchanged between my husband and myself and I can assure you that they were not made out of mere loving feelings and hopes that we would always have butterflies for each other. I will say this one time and let me make myself very clear...Marriage is a PROMISE and not to be taken lightly! I hope it has never been unclear that while I post blogs about our love and how lucky we are to have each other, our life is not perfect and we have difficult times like everyone else. However, we have made a choice to stick together through those rough patches. We will not give up on our marriage when (I say when and not if) things get hard. Why do so many couples miss that? What is it about our culture that makes us feel so entitled to comfort?

Forgive my rant, but I find it hard to understand how half of all marriages end in divorce. The only conclusion I can come to is this: Marriage was meant to be between three people. Husband, Wife and God. He must be the rock on which we build our foundation or it will crumble.

Please don't disregard me as an ignorant newlywed, but rather a woman who seeks to make the Lord my first Love and my husband my second. We are all capable of the same choices, which is why we must fix our eyes on the Lord. If anything, please take away that I believe marriage is a loving commitment intended to last until we leave this world.

*Names have been changed for privacy

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I am a firm believer in the idea that, when it comes to food, simplicity is the best policy. If I could have it my way, I would have a whole garden of fresh fruits and vegetables that we could feast on and know exactly where they came from. Unfortunately, living in an apartment does not accomodate these desires. So, I go to the next best thing-shopping at a store who shares my ideals of fresh, wholesome and whenever possible, local ingredients. I am reffering to Whole Foods. I know that I might pay more for certain ingredients, but I feel that the few extra dollars are worth me having a clear conscience. Plus, it makes me aware of the things I buy so I only purchasing what we really need to sustain our bodies. After all, food is meant to be just that, fuel for these ever working machines.

I think this state of mind is catching on in our house:) Last night is a perfect example. I came home from the gym to a delicious, healthy and amazingly fresh tasting meal (prepared by my darling husband!). Chris had prepared a very simple dinner but it was exactly what I needed to recover from my workout. He made a Vita-Mix soup (a staple in our house) and grilled chicken with some spicy seasonings. I know it sounds silly, but I couldn't help but rave over this amazing meal! The soup was one we hadn't tried yet. It was a simple vegetable soup with fresh carrot, tomato, celery, pepper etc. Yum!

I was reminded last night (and again at lunch as I licked my bowl clean) how satisfying "real" food is and and wondered why more people don't realize this. I honestly believe our nation would be a much better and healthier place if we got back to the basics of food.

Wishing you good health always!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Better than Caffeine

Chris and I have the great pleasure of spending lunch together during the work week. This consists of us occasionally running erands, going to the bank, lookig at local model homes and of course eating (and sometimes stopping at Starbucks!). Our typical lunch spot is this super cute park that was built last summer. For the last few weeks, I have wanted to take a little walk during our hour break. For some reason or another, something has permitted us from doing so. Well, today was the most gorgeous, breezy day and we finally got out there and took a 30 minute brisk walk. There is nothing more refreshing than getting some fresh air and having great conversation in the middle of the day to help you finish strong!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some of the Best Things in Life are Baked!

As a kid, didn't you just love the smell of fresh baked cookies during the holidays or just a good ole' Tuesday afternoon? Well, I have always had a huge sweet tooth. Any baked goods, especially cookies, can win me over every time! About a year and a half ago, one of my old roommates gave me a recipe that had stood the test of time. I have made these on countless occasions and I can assure you they have always been a huge hit. They happen to be Chris' favorite cookies. Tonight as I whipped up a batch I was thinking that it is time to share this recipe with you! The best part about them is they are a reasonably healthy cookie~if you can believe that! I like to keep that my little secret as people gush over how delicious they are! So, drum roll please:

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies
Cooking spray
3/4 cup natural unsalted peanut butter
1/2 cup dark honey
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt (I use plain nonfat yogurt and add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla)
1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar-free jam or fruit spread

Preheat oven at 300 degrees, lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

In a bowl, combine the peanut butter, honey, yogurt, egg white, and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the flours, oats, baking soda, and salt and stir well until combined.

With a cookie scoop, form balls with the dough and space them about two inches apart on cookie sheet. Make a little well in the center of each cookie with your thumb. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each thumbprint.

Bake about 12 minutes or until the cookies are slightly browned on the edges. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Enjoy the goodness of the great American PB&J!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thankful for Rain

Today I can't help but feel overjoyed and extremely grateful for life. I am learning to be content in any and every situation. It is the small, beautiful and too often overlooked things which get us from big exciting milestone to the next.

After an unusually warm and dry few weeks, we finally have rain! My desk at work is directly in front of four huge windows that give a wonderful view of two benches in the middle of a large grassy area. I have enjoyed watching the rain trickle down to quench the living ground. How amazing the Lord is to provide so perfectly!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Festivities and a Sunny California Day!

Since I was little, birthdays have been a huge ordeal in my family. Well, mostly to my Mom. She always makes sure that my birthday is as wonderful as it can possibly be. It is no surprise that I have inherited her desire to celebrate those I love on their birthday.

While Chris and I have been together for his last five birthdays, I have only been with him on 2! For some reason or another, I have been away for the others. This year was my year to make up for my previous absences. I had been planning exactly how I would make it special for weeks!

These pictures are a peak into His day:)

The day was complete with blueberry pancakes (his favorite breakfast food), the Braun Pulsonic shaver he has been talking about for weeks, and dinner at Johnny Garlic's with those we love!

There was only one glitch...we were suppose to go up to the the snow today with some of his Auntie's and a bunch of cousins, but, well, we are having an unusually warm week and there is no snow!! Ha! Oh well, we will have to go in a few weeks when it gets colder and actually snows! We still had an incredible day. The weather was amazing today! We ran some errands and drove around with the windows down. There is simply nothing like the relief of the warm sun shining down on you!

While at Whole Foods today, we decided to make panini's for dinner. We got some amazing ingredients and enjoyed a delicious meal! To accompany our Italian sandwiches, I made a Tuscan Chickpea and Tomato soup. What a divine combination!

Just a warning, you may get very hungry and drool just a tiny bit while looking at these pictures. Approach with caution:)

We also tried out our popcorn maker tonight for a treat while we watched Swing Vote. Chris flavored his with an array of Southwestern spices and I stuck with Cinnamon and a touch of brown sugar! Look at that goodness!

Ah, two more days to savor until we go back to work. Thank you Mr. King!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday My Love!

Exactly 24 years ago a man was born. I have come to know this man as the most fantastic, wonderful, spectacular, loving, forgiving, argumentative, hard-working, handsome, hilarious and adorable guy there ever was and I am so proud to call him my husband, my best friend, and my soul mate. You all know him as Chris:)

My Love, I could not have asked for a better man to spend my life with! Thank you for being exactly who you are and always striving to be the very best. You are loved!

Happy Birthday!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Getting in a Groove

I am a huge creature of habit as I am sure many of you are too. Now here's the truth, I absolutely love taking care of Chris, Abby and our home, etc. I cherish the first six months of being married and being able to do these things almost exclusively.I had such a geat routine worked out and it was going so well. Bah! Why did I have to go and get a full-time job? I'm kidding...kinda;)

Anyway, the coolest thing happened last week...I finally got back into a groove! You know, where you have a routine that just clicks? And it only took me 5 weeks!

Allow me to elaborate. my dear friend Emily is home from Chicago (the one getting married in May!). So, of course, we needed to make a date ASAP. It was Friday night and I simply had to make my Whole Foods run since our weekend was pretty booked and we were completely out of produce:( I have come to the realization that I must become a multi-tasking woman if I am ever going to get everything done! So, I asked Emily to keep me company while I shopped. Who knew what a good and productive time two friends could have while scanning the aisles at the grocery store?!

I also realized that this was the first weekend that I didn't feel overwhelmed by my list of "to-do's". Not only did I accomplish making homemade bread, peanut butter and an Italian wedding soup for lunch this week, but I also had time to clean the apartment, finish laundry and still had time to relax and spend an afternoon with Emily! Phew!! In addition, we are also making it a habit to go to the gym most nights after work, it's about time! Like I said before, I got my groove back:)

On another note, Me and Em went to see her dress on is GORGEOUS! I am getting so excited about her and Mark's wedding in a few short months!

I am also super excited about My Love's birthday this Thursday! He will officially be in his mid-twenties! I can't wait for him to know about all of the surprises I have in store for him. I can't share them yet since he always reads my posts:)

Hooray for Birthdays and fabulous weekends!

That's all for now:)


Friday, January 2, 2009

What a year! Bring on 2009!!

As we have rung in the new year, I am filled with excitement and wonder of the many new adventures and trials we will face this year, but I must admit I am a little sad to see 2008 in my rear view mirror. I would like to take a minute to reflect on the past year and share some particularly wonderful things that have happened.

1. Well, the biggest and obviously most exciting thing would be Chris and I getting MARRIED!! This, by far, was the highlight of our year! I would do every single moment of planning again (even the stressful parts!) I cannot imagine sharing my life with a more amazing man and having the most incredible wedding to remember!

2. Our Honeymoon! Ha, we would! Besides the actual day, and night, of our wedding, our honeymoon was the most wonderful week to take a breath and celebrate the huge commitment we had just made to each other. Plus, when else will we be care free enough to order room service almost every morning?!

3. Finding our apartment and making it our Home. This is something I have been dreaming about for years! Seriously, we have been so fortunate to find such a great apartment where we can have Abby. No matter how great the places are that we live in the future, we will never forget our first real Home!

4. Our trip to Chicago! Not only was this our first married trip, but such a cool opportunity for Chris to spend with my family. We had such a blast!

5. Our friends getting engaged and married! I absolutely adore weddings! What a blessing to take part in such a happy time with those we love! I can't wait to see what beautiful brides Emily, Stacey and Jessica make this year!

6. Learning to be frugal. While maybe not the most fun thing in the world, understanding the responsibility that comes with taking care of ourselves has been a really cool journey. Besides, we're Newlyweds, surely we can find things to do without spending money:)

7. He ups and downs that come with "real world" living. This past year, Chris and I have really learned what they don't teach you in school. We have had some real disappointments with jobs and some great victories. Thankfully, we can come out of the year saying, "We're in a good place".

8. Celebrating our first holiday season as a married couple! This was, hands down, our best Christmas together! Being able to start our own traditions as a family is such a wonderful thing!

9. Getting to know the intimate things about my husband. Don't worry, I won't get too personal, I just mean those things that you can only know about a spouse. Even though we dated for five years before getting married, there were things I didn't know until the last six months. I think that is pretty cool:)

10. So, this last thing actually happened at the beginning of the year but I feel is important to mention. My internship at Cooper. I could not have asked for a better internship. I took so much away from my time there and the experiences I was able to have. I am truly thankful to have worked with the Best!

Hopefully you too have had a year full of happy memories! Now I guess it's on to another year full of opportunity and I am excited! Every year I make goals for myself. This year my list is a pretty hefty one:) The biggest physical goal is to complete the Chicago Marathon!!! I can't wait to start training!

Wishing you a year full of fresh starts and new adventures! Bring it on 2009!
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