Hey, y'all!  This may come as a bit of a shock to some of you, but I've stopped posting to this blog.

Yeah, it happened about 5 months ago....  My good friend, Mindy, asked me to be a contributor on her health/lifestyle blog and I said I would.  This one kind of fell by the wayside, but this other blog has become my new place for documenting all of the things that are most important to me.  SO, y'all should update my blog address in your feeds so you can follow me at Wonderfully Balanced!

There's a good chance that anyone who follows this blog has already seen my posts about Wonderfully Balanced on my facebook page.  Still, I thought I'd cover all of my bases :)

Love you guys!

I love everything.

So, I got to thinking while I was driving home from work today.  I got to thinking about how I love a lot of things.  On my trips around town, I often pass yards with goats or sheep, horses and cows, even camels and alpacas.  Literally every time I spot them I giggle with glee that cannot be contained.  Seeing animals (especially the less than glamorous ones like sheep and pigeons) makes me that happy.

During this time of the year, I see the leaves change colors on the tree and littering the ground like confetti.  It's like the Earth itself is celebrating the season!  Every yellow tree, every bright red shrub sends a flood of emotion through me.  Honestly, I don't know why.  But, it makes me that happy.

I flip through the radio stations in search of some good music and when I find it, I get so pumped.  I don't just sing the music, I feel it.  It uplifts me, it relieves my stress, it helps me to express myself.  It makes me so happy!

Whenever I see well-dressed people, or beautiful architecture, whenever I read books or poems or learn something new I find it so exciting--the fact that people can create such beautiful things to wear or in which to live and work, the fact that people have such profound thoughts and ideas, the fact that people can make sense of so much of the world around us...frankly, it blows my mind.

I LOVE all of these things.  These things, among so many others make me uncommonly happy every day.

I think that, of all of the blessings in my life, my uncanny tendency toward loving stuff is one of my favorites.  I can't imagine seeing the world any other way.  Sometimes, I think about all of the bad things that happen all over the world.  It is heart breaking and overwhelming and I often feel helpless as I try to think of what I could possibly do to improve the situation.

While those things certainly shouldn't be ignored, I feel like too much emphasis is put on them sometimes.   Yes, bad things are happening.  Yes, we as a society and as individuals have a responsibility to do whatever we can to make things better.  But, lest we forget, there is beauty all around us.  There is wonder, and excitement and knowledge and love.  Isn't everything great?


5 Years

We postponed our Anniversary celebration this year because I was in Missouri, being the MOH in one of my best friends' wedding on our actual anniversary!  Now, I won't have any issues remembering when our special day is!  In our relationship, I'm the one who forgets important dates :)

As per tradition, we made celebratory banana splits in honour of our love!  Unfortunately, we couldn't get a good picture this year because the camera on Buck's phone is exceptionally lame.  Oh well, it'll have to do!

I give you Buck & Lizard through the years:

Wedding Day 2007

1st Anniversary 2008

2nd Anniversary 2009

3rd Anniversary 2010

4th Anniversary 2011

5th Anniversary 2012

We've certainly been forced to grow a lot in the last five years, and I can see now that it has been kind of a refiner's fire for our relationship as eternal companions.  I don't expect that the trials will get any easier, but I'm confident that we will continually find ourselves better equipped to handle them.

People always say "I love you more now than I did the day I married you" or "I love you more and more each day."  To be honest, I don't always feel that way, haha.  There are days when I love my husband, but I don't necessarily like him.  I can't imagine he's ever experienced that!

I don't feel like I love him more now than I did in the past, but I can say with conviction that I love him differently.  My love feels more complete, less naive.  I no longer love the idea of him--the version of him that has been supplemented by what I imagine him to be.  I've spent 5 years learning his quirks, his nuances, his likes, dislikes, insecurities, the way he handles stress, the way he celebrates, what's important to him, how he communicates, etc.  In many ways, the husband that I see now is different from the husband I assumed I was marrying.  And, while it has sometimes been difficult for me to adjust the lense through which I view him, it is such a privilege and a blessing to get to know him so much more intimately.  

The excitement that I feel now doesn't compare to what I felt during our engagement or on the day of our wedding.  It's so much better now that I've had a real glimpse into our future.  How grateful I am to have a real relationship with someone who loves me enough to really get to know me, and is still committed to me even after witnessing so intimately how utterly imperfect I am.  

Here's to 5 more years!  (Maybe even more!)

For Jill:

(and also for a $10 gift certificate to Shutterfly :))

It's been a coon's age!  My good friend, Jill, has respectfully requested that I update my blog since she and her family have moved away and don't get to witness our antics firsthand anymore :(   Allow me to explain my hiatus.  The camera on my phone broke, so I haven't been able to take pictures like I used to.  And y'all know I don't do blog posts without pictures.  End of explanation!

We are in luck, however, because our very most favorite person in the world came to visit us last week and girlfriend always has her camera in tow!  In addition to that, Shutterfly is offering a free 8x8 photo book (or $30 toward a more expensive one) to all of its members, so I got to use the pictures she took to make one :)  Auntie Stef sure delivered!  The offer ends tomorrow, so there's still time if any of you guys want to get on board that train!

Here's the one I stayed up until 2:30 am making:

I'm so excited!  We barely have any pictures actually printed out of the thousands we are constantly taking.  That's something I plan to remedy and making this photo book has got me itchin' to print some more!  Anyway, once you've made your photo book, Shutterfly gives you an opportunity to earn a $10 credit toward your next purchase just by sharing your project on your blog or personal website!

Have I mentioned that I love free things?

A Day in the Life

It was pretty much gorgeous outside again today.  We have been basking in all of the sunshine we've been getting recently.  Great job, Heavenly Father!  Lola came over for a bit and took the boys to the park.  You can see how excited they were about that.  Here, we see the Bean jumping for joy and the Bot having happiness spasms in his face.  Then, we see them showing how much they love us.  And, finally, showing how much they love each other.

Later on this afternoon, my cute cute  visiting teacher stopped by with another amazing holiday treat!  (See the first one she brought us here.)  As far as days go, this one wasn't bad :)

One For One

My ol' buddy from the United Postal Service dropped by again today!!  Before you guys go judging me for my online shopping gluttony, I didn't actually order this package.  Well, not technically.  I found some adorable shoes whilst surfing the interwebs and posted a link to them on my facebook account.  My home slice, Anna, is like a walking billboard for the company that makes them, so I tagged her "because I knew she wanted to buy me some."  Girlfriend totally hooked me up!  This makes her awesome for numerous reasons, only two of which being that 1) I get a new pair of shoes, and 2) so does a child in need!!

If you guys haven't heard about them you need to, firstly, crawl out from under that giant rock and, secondly, hurry over to TOMS.com and educate yourself! It's simple:  for every pair of shoes you buy, they donate a new pair of shoes to a kid.  They even have a program called "Ticket to Give" where one customer is selected each week to follow their One For One purchase around the world and see it in action.  Seriously?!  So, so cool.

As for the shoes, they're super comfy (I read the reviews and ordered a half size down) and they're 100% adorable.  I'm so happy!
The boys went surprisingly ga-ga over them.  Looks like I'll be ordering a few more pairs!