Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just a little TPing

Well, the senior high girls from church just had to continue the tradition . . . we had to TP the youth group leader's houses, well except for ours 'cause I was the leader and coordinator of the event.

You must first know that TP in this case doesn't just stand for toilet papering someone . . . it also stands for Totally Prayed for. So, we start the evening praying for the youth leaders and Sunday school teachers. Then, we decide who we'll "show a little love" to. Then, the "love" packages begin: a toilet paper message that says, "Congratulations! You've been Totally Prayed for by the senior high girls" and we all sign our name. The toilet paper message is accompianed by lots of candy . . . all inside a clear bag with the family's name written on it.

After we eat a few pieces of candy, we out to the car and ready for some adventure. We hit up 5 houses, perfecting our technique more and more with each house. Everyone had their job and we were completely silent. (We've learned our lesson in prior years -- silence is definitely best). Some toilet-papered bushes, trees, and whatever else they could find in the yard. Another placed the bag on the front door step. Others were "on the lookout". And another had the job of ringing the doorbell and running to the getaway car. I was of course the driver. I had the car started and was ready to gun-it after the doorbell ringer made it to the car.

It was a blast -- quite exhilerating! We had a chance to hang around for 2 different family's responses. Some leaders love our demonstration of love . . . others aren't too sure of it all. But, hey it could be a lot worse. Toilet paper is easy cleanup. And, the girls got really into it. They're already planning next year -- full camo . . . the whole deal. We'll see about that. Here are some pics:

The preparations
Goofy Laura, I think we have enough TP
Approaching our next target
In action
Some of us girls
A happy recipient
Getting a little carried away
I think we're losing it

Monday, October 22, 2007

Movin' on out . . .

Yep, that's right . . . we just found out we have to be out of our house by Thanksgiving weekend! We thought it might be soon, but not that soon! Yikes! Life has been a whirlwind apart from thinking about moving, . . . and now it's really a whirlwind :).

Last Wednesday I got a call from our landlord, who really is the most wonderful guy to deal with -- honestly -- but, he said they are doing a major push to get the house finished by Nov. 9th. You can see the kitchen is coming along (in the top picture). So, he hoped we could move in the next weekend though (the 17th) -- yikes! We'll actually be away that weekend for a seminar Brian has about 2 hours from here. Brian can't miss it, and we have our hotel booked already. So, that weekend is out.

So, it's the week of Thanksgiving . . . when tons of family and friends will be in town . . . which is a blessing and I curse I think. We'd love to chill and spend time relaxing with everyone, but I don't forsee this Thanksgiving being quite like that :). Maybe they'll all help us . . . hee, hee. I really need to get cracking on the packing scene.

It seems like this is the busiest time of year for us with other things, like this weekend for instance. On Friday night, we had Brian's brother Mike's birthday party at our house -- dinner for 12. It was a fun time and well worth the work. Then, Saturday was helping church friends move and providing lunch for all the movers. And, the evening was girl's Bible study with dinner and dessert. And, next weekend is one-thing-to-the-next too. We'll figure out how to pack one of these days :).

Part of the birthday peeps, I'm where the flash is :)
Mike excitedly blowing out his birthday candles
Mike and his framed Dawkin's jersey

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Introducing . . . little Gavin Marshall

Last Tuesday, we got to take a meal to our friends Jeff and Trish . . . and their new baby boy, Gavin Marshall. We had such a great time with them -- hearing about the birth, life as new parents, the joys and struggles, . . . good times. Here's a few pics of us with Gavin:

Brian and Frank . . . BFF

Yes, that's right Brian and Frank will be best friends forever. Frank graces us with his presence at most meals. Brian often misses him if he's not around. Frank spices up Brian's life. Frank has helped Brian get through 10 months of marriage. I don't know if you could ask for much more from a best friend. Meet Frank:

While Brian and Frank spend time together at lunch, I can't help but notice a little friend that appears on my plate of enchiladas and corn cakes. It's a little sun, chilling with his sunglasses on . . . staring up at me. I gasped and had to get the camera. Can you believe this was just sitting on my plate?

Yes . . . we're really into food . . . as you can tell :).

Monday, October 8, 2007

Where's Fall?

So, it's still feeling a bit like summer in Philly . . . mid-80s. Pretty crazy. I must say I do like warmer weather in general, . . . but, for some reason our central air conditioning has decided not to work these last two weeks, so we would actually like to say goodbye to this heat and humidity.

It's official . . . I've got braces on my teeth again. Some of you know that my current jaw issues have led to this braces-situation. It's honestly been dreadfully painful, and I want to rip out my teeth -- tooth by tooth. I'm thankful I can't remember all the pain from having braces on as a teen for 2 1/2 years, along with jaw surgery. I think it's a blessing from God to have memory loss about the severity of pain. So, this time around, it's braces for a year and jaw surgery in January '08. Through this process, I hope to: have my teeth touch when I bite (only 2 touch right now), not have a bite that slides around (never really knowing where to bite), grind my teeth less at night (and I think my mouth guard was only making things worse), and hopefully have less jaw pain (with popping, cracking, and ear pain). So, here's to soft foods and lots of food getting stuck in my teeth . . . It's exciting to look like a 12 year old again . . . no, not really :). No really, I'm thankful to be able to deal with this now in my life.

After we worked at my grandparent's house for a few house on Saturday -- doing yard work, cleaning, cutting and styling my grandma's hair, and other odds jobs -- Brian and I headed home and prepared for some relaxing time together: a picnic at one of our favorite parks, Peace Valley Park. I made a chicken tortellini salad, got some mandarin oranges, packed up the picnic basket and we were off. We got there around 4:30pm and just chilled until 6ish. The fall sunshine was spectacular against the lake water and fall foliage. We both read some . . . and had a few laughs as we watched this one guy in a kyack . . . he spent more time under water with his boat flipped over than he did upright. And, when he flipped upright he would rock back and forth (seizure-like) until he popped back under. Everyone couldn't help but stare at him. People all had the classic response as they rode/walked by: initial concern and worry for the kyacker, long stares, then a few head-shakes in sheer wonderment. It was hilarious.

Family and Friend Time
We celebrated my grandpa's 83rd birthday last week. It was a fun time together as family at a super fancy restaurant: The Duling Kurtz. He got an ipod for his birthday . . . and he was so excited. It's funny to think back a few years when he didn't want to have anything to do with a computer, and how he now is the expert -- filming and editing all family functions and has all latest gadgets.
Friday night, I got to spend some time with Krissy who was up from Savannah to help her mom recover from surgery. We had a great time together. We're so excited for her husband to come home from Iraq in a few weeks! He's served our country faithfully there for 2 years.
Sunday, we got to catch up with Meridith who's a freshmen at Temple Univ. this year. She's a good family friend and goes to our church. Brian is like her big brother. We got to go to another one of her soccer games, and we took my sister Joy along. It was a fun time . . . except for when Mer came down from a head-butt, and landed on her foot wrong . . . spraining her ankle. It was a bummer. She's a trooper though, and I'm sure she'll heal up fast.

The New House

And, here are some pictures of the progress on the house.
The outside, repainted
The kitchen, coming along
The sunroom, got primed

Happy Columbus Day . . .

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Last Week

Last week sure flew by. Here's are some day-by-day glimpses. . .

Monday night we had a trip to IKEA, trying to scope out what we might need for the new house. It's been fun thinking about the new space. The place is really coming along . . . the exterior has been repainted white, all the overgrown bushes were torn out, the kitchen has been completely gutted and awaits new cabinets (and everything else), the walls have been spackled and sanded, . . . and we're going over often to see the progress. It's almost unfathomable to have someone else doing all the renovations. I must say we're pretty thankful though -- my back and muscles are thankful! We'll post some pictures soon.

Tuesday night was a meeting at church: a Worship committee meeting. (Both Brian and I are on this committee). Our church has had a traditional service and a contemporary service for many, many years. And, our pastor is looking to make both services a blend of music -- some contemporary and traditional. And, that is what our committee is discussing -- this change. It's been a hard transition for the church so far -- many of us quite particular about worship style. It's undeniable that music impacts our worship in a very large way. But, I think we're all learning what it means to unite on this -- realizing that it's really a matter of the heart (not a particular music style) and that ultimately worship is about God, not us. It's amazing how we can often think, "Oh, I couldn't worship God with that type of song." Instead, we ought to ask, "How can we glorify God and draw near to Him in this worship time?" I think it's been challenging, but it's been a good challenge. It's funny -- no one likes change . . . and this can be particularly apparent within the church, . . . but God is working.

Wednesday night, I had the senior high girls over for doughnut-making and then Bible study. I got the doughnut idea from Erin . Let me tell you, these were a hit! You get some cans of biscuits, lay each biscuit out on wax paper, punch the center out with a soda bottle cap, place each one in about 1/2" of hot vegetable oil in a frying pan, cook until golden brown, place on a paper towel to blot off some oil, shake in a bag of powdered sugar (or whatever you want). And, waalaa . . . warm and yummy doughnuts . . . that we all enjoyed. They are admittedly quite rich.
Then, we had a study on women: a helper by design . . . how God has created us to be helpers in whatever phase of life we're in. And, we talked about the positive and negative connotations people (and our society) has with this . . . and looked at all the Scripture passages where God and the Holy Spirit are referred to as Helper . . . and talked about the high calling of a helper . . . and discussed women in our lives that we view as helpers . . . It was a good study. We touched on a lot more . . . more than my hands could type on here :). A good challenge -- especially for me as a relative "newlywed" . . . clearly seeing my calling as a helper.

Thursday night . . . was dinner with Jenna and the season-premiere of The Office. I must say that I've only ever seen it twice . . . so this was my third, . . . unlike most people who I know how are addicted to this show. (Really, I'm not very committed to anything on t.v.). I definitely enjoyed it though. I think you need to work in an office to fully appreciate it . . . I often now invision various conversations while I'm in my cubicle at work :).

Brian and I then enjoyed a date night together on Friday night -- much needed after a busy week. It was dinner at Uno's . . . and watching the Phillies game while I gave Brian a haircut. Believe it or not, it was relaxing and fun.

Saturday morning was the WIC (Women in the Church) Kick-off Breakfast that my step-mom and I had planned. It's a time for women to learn about the events for the upcoming year, and hear about all the ministries they can get involved in. And, a time to get inspired and to enjoy fellowship together. We had about 45 women, and I brought a new friend at the church. It was such a great time -- I love helping women connect and feel like part of a community. God is so good! And, I'm excited about a bunch of our new ministries. (I created the flyer to the left for our WIC event).

Then, it was off to lunch with Joy, my little sister! Oh, it's wonderful to catch up with her, and hear about her 13-year-old life in middle school. She is such a little ray of sunshine in my life. After lunch, we were off to a Mary Kay party for her and her friends . . . learning skin-care for their teenage faces and how-to with makeup. You can imagine the fun they had! Then, I headed home to prepare dinner. Rachel Watanabe came over for the evening and we enjoyed a wonderful evening of chatting, eating, and chatting some more. It was so great to see her, and I'm so glad she's close by now!

And, I'll top off last week by saying . . . Sunday sports provided a rollercoaster of emotions . . . those Phillies are awesome . . . and those Eagles are . . . umm, concerning.