Love, homemaking, and ear wax

There are some things I knew marriage would be. I knew it would be fun. And challenging. I knew I would get to live with my very best friend, that we would share a lot of laughs, some tears, and that we would grow closer than we ever knew was possible.

But three weeks in, I never knew we’d be SO COMFORTABLE with each other. Like, scary comfortable. Look-at-each-others’-ear-wax-comfortable.

That’s right, we decided to undergo an ear candling experiment, and we’re hooked! It was pain-free, effective, and both of us will do it again. We’ve had a lot of “I can’t believe we’re doing this” moments since we got married, but this one might have been the funniest. I’m not sure a couple has ever laughed as hard as we did as we took turns holding a giant flame 12 inches from one another’s heads. A total riot.

I think my hippie husband is starting to rub off on me. He even has me listening to NPR. (gasp)

Other than the wild and crazy ear candling date, we’ve been hard at work trying to get our home unpacked and organized. I’ve lived here for four years now, but suddenly combining my things, his things, our new wedding gifts, plus all of our wedding supplies made for an unruly house. Slowly but surely we’re tackling the house room-by-room until everything is finished. As if everything ever could be finished.

Here’s what I want my entire house to look like:

(photo from the decor8 blog)

But this is what my spare bedroom looks like right now:
Now, in my defense, this is the VERY LAST ROOM on our list. This is what we have so lovingly called “the wedding room” because it housed all of our wedding supplies, wedding gifts, and anything else that I had to furiously move out of the way so my beloved Mr. Right could move in. It’s still where we stash all the stuff we don’t know what to do with, and it’s so easy to close the door and make everything disappear. It’s my lowest priority. But very soon, I promise it’ll look like this:

(Photos from decor8… can you tell I’m sort of in love?)

Never fear, my whole house isn’t in shambles… just that one room. And maybe a closet or two. Last night I tackled my home office, and I’m quite proud of how it turned out! I even ended up with TWO EMPTY CABINETS! Go me.

The Latest

Here’s the latest:

Two years ago I saved up for a new dining room table, and right before I was set to buy it, one of my best girlfriends asked me to go with her on a 3-week Mediterranean cruise. Plans for that dining room table were quickly abandoned in favor of one of the best adventures of my life. Fast forward two years, and I’m now inheriting a gorgeous, hand-made dining room table that belongs to Mr. Wright. I promise I’m not marrying him for the table, but it was certainly a nice perk. Last night Mr. Wright moved his beloved dining room table into my our dining room. Now all I want to do is throw a dinner party. It may kill me. (ignore the mess on the table… those are wedding invitations that are going in the mail next week.)
My tornado-riddled fence has been repaired. Praise Jesus!
I have a new obsession: Cuppies & Joe cupcakes. Someone served them at our first wedding shower, and now it takes every ounce of restraint I have left in my body not to hop in the car and drive 3.5 hours to Oklahoma City just to get their carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing. I should add that I don’t like carrot cake OR cream cheese icing, but these cupcakes are change-your-life good. Oh. My. Goodness.
I turn (cough cough) 30 in about a week. I’ll admit that I’ve been dreading this birthday since I turned 26, and I’m not overly thrilled to be entering a new decade. But I’m working on getting my mind right and I’m determined to rock any age. But it still sounds so much older than I feel.

We took our engagement pictures this week with McGowan Images. These photographers are amazing–some of their photos are going to be published in People magazine! They shot 750 pictures of us in less than two hours, so I figure they’ll have at least a handful where my eyes are open and I’m not acting like a total dork. Here’s a sneak preview of one of our pics (the rest are posted on their blog on Tuesday). It helps that Mr. Wright is total arm candy. (sigh)

She’s alive!

Boy, I stink at this whole blogging thing these days. I would apologize and feel bad about it, except that I don’t, so I won’t. There’s so many exciting things going on with life at the moment. If only I could tell you everything, but some things will have to wait. So I’ll just wink at you through my computer instead.
In the meantime I’ll post a picture from my last dinner party – this was my second annual Easter lunch. Last year we had about 20 people, this year we upped it to 30. I’m not sure if that means next year I should plan for 40, but if that happens I think we’re going to have to add another wing to the house, or serve meals in the bathroom, because this year I had folks squished into every spare nook and cranny of my house I could possibly find. And I loved it.
I’m already gearing up for my next party – a wedding shower brunch for a dear friend. Oh the possibilities! Of course, that’s not until June, so just this past week I started getting the itch to have some of my Sunday School girls over for a big spaghetti dinner on my back porch in the next week or two. Maybe that will hold me over…

Two-for-one special

I have been off work for five glorious days now. After several years of living in a state of perceived chaos, I am relishing all this free time and have decided to make good use of these days off by organizing and cleaning everything. At this point, every cabinet, drawer, and closet in my house has been cleaned out. I’ve got a huge stack of clothes and kitchen items to donate to charity (along with 146 pounds of canned goods my very generous friends brought to my graduation party last week, which I carefully weighed and then have since left in the middle of my entry way for me to stumble over every time I leave my house… simply because moving 146 pounds of food is no easy task).
After my crazy organizing kick, everything I own is in some sort of plastic bin, carefully sorted and organized. My house looks amazing.
And yet, with all this new found organization, I can’t seem to find a darn thing! Every time I get dressed, I can’t seem to find my clothes (I’m a bit worried that some of my favorite clothes may have somehow jumped ship into the “donate” pile… never to be seen again). I can’t find my shoes. I can’t find certain items which used to be stuffed into a junk drawer. Now that my junk is so meticulously organized, I’m baffled.
This is why I should just come to terms with living in chaos. Being disorganized is a bit easier to handle. Let’s face it… I’m no Martha Stewart. But please do me a favor and don’t tell anybody… I must at least give the impression that I am domestically inclined.
I’m really more of a Rachel-Ray-meets-Punky-Brewster-while-trying-unsuccessfully-to-pass-herself-off-as-a-Grace Kelly. I’m not sure that’s working so well.

You should be reading this

I’m working on a couple of posts… a 2009 recap, my 2010 New Years Resolutions, and a scripture/church one that may not ever get posted, but will at least be sent out to the lovely ladies in my Sunday School class. So much to do, and so little time.

Oh wait. I’ve got all sorts of time these days! And I am so very grateful! Not only am I done with school, but I’m enjoying a bit of a Christmas holiday from work. I truly adore my job, but I also am one of those people who realizes that I’m a much better employee if I have some time off to myself to play and recharge. And that’s exactly what I’m doing this week… and man is it nice!
So while you anxiously await future blogs (nah, I know you’re busy too!), here’s some reading for you:
The Pioneer Woman – Recipes, plus fun stories from a “regular gal.” I like regular gals, seeing as I’m about as regular as they come.
Copy Cat Chic – This gal takes trendy, expensive items, then points you toward a cheaper-but-equally-chic steal somewhere else. I’m on a big home decorating/reorganization kick, so this one is right up my alley.
Beth Moore’s Blog – Anybody who knows me knows I simply adore Beth Moore and her Bible studies. I find a lot of encouragement from reading about this great woman of God who is another one of those “regular gals” who finds humor in normal female things. One of my favorite Beth Moore stories was when she forgot her hair stuff and had to tease her hair with a fork. I’ve been known to use any random sharp object I can find to part my hair… including a pencil, tweezers, my keys…
Back to organizing those closets and cabinets. There’s something so refreshing about regaining control of your life, one messy cabinet at a time. Yet somehow the more I organize, the more junk I seem to accumulate on my kitchen counters that no longer have a “home.” Luckily I’m taking a car-full of goodies to my church’s food pantry/clothing closet this week – so I can get rid of all this superfluous stuff and somebody else can be blessed with items they need.

Just the facts, ma’am

I had someone else tell me yesterday that I’m the most organized person they know. I get that a lot. Which is hilarious, because it’s a TOTAL ACT. Seriously. My life feels like chaos about 99% of the time. The only 1% of the time that I feel organized… is when I have advanced warning that someone is coming over. And that only comes after a mad scramble around my house, with me shouting things at my dog and peeling my laundry off the fan. Or something like that.

I would like to present you with Exhibit A: My car. Here is a list of the items currently in Snowflake, my trusty (and dusty) white 4-Runner. 
-My sassy gold wedge sandals.
-A card table that belongs to a co-worker.
-A yellow chair that belongs to my church.
-About 4 pairs of pantyhose (the moment I leave work and that dress code behind, I shimmy right out of those torturous stockings… usually right there in my car. Those horrible things should be banned forever… I HATE pantyhose).
-A case of Diet Coke.
-A case of water. (I’ll be well prepared in a natural disaster).
-A 30 lb. dedication plaque for a patio we’re about to open up at work.
-About 5 umbrellas. None are within reach during a rain storm though… I have to crawl over two sets of seats to get them. Poor planning.
-A first aide kit. And a roadside rescue kit (a quite stylish roadside rescue kit, actually).
-A gift certificate for some free tennis shoes.
-800 coupons.
-Several CDs. Several pairs of sunglasses.
-A spare jacket I wore about three months ago and subsequently forgot about.
-Two school bags. About 400 pages of research for my upcoming paper. And 12 highlighters.
Yep, folks, there’s my list. I’m not preparing for an event… I don’t have a master plan to take all of these items and use them for something productive… I just haven’t gotten around to unloading my car. I’m busy. And I honestly don’t know when that will happen. Maybe in June?
So remember that the next time you want to label me as “organized.” Instead, label me as a “good actor.”

What’s a little salmonella?

It turns out that I may not be the domestic goddess I thought I was. One of my guests from yesterday’s dinner party went to the ER today with salmonella. I really don’t think she got it at MY party… I had 17 guests, and only one ended up getting horribly sick. Those are pretty good odds if you ask me…

Besides, just because I soaked all of my vegetables in raw chicken juice before adding them to my salad doesn’t mean that people should get sick. That’s what immune systems are for.
If Martha were here, I know she would be shaking her head in disappointment. I still have so much to learn!

The Luncheon

Today I had 17 people over for Easter lunch. It was a blast! One of my joys in life is throwing parties. It’s right up there with Christmas and getting a tax refund.
I did my best to decorate in Martha Stewart style… check out the floral centerpieces… I made them myself (total cost for four of them… less than $20)…

Everybody brought a dish… I’ve never seen so much food in one place. It was a regular feast.

It was such a good day… I am so blessed to have the best family in the whole world, and some pretty cool friends that sometimes feel like they’re part of my family. 

Happy Easter, and praise Jesus for all that this day means. 

Cookin’, and hangin’, and wishin’, and dreamin’

I have so much in my head that’s just begging to spill out onto the page, but it will have to wait. I’ve got somewhere between 15-20 people coming to my house for Easter lunch on Sunday, and I’ve got tons to do to get ready for it! I absolutely LOVE hosting people at my house, and can’t WAIT to have everybody here together. Most of the people, besides my immediate family, are other single people from church whose families are out of town and needed some place to go. It has become a tradition to host at least one random person at our family holidays, but this year is definitely a new record! I figure, the more, the merrier! I’m so happy to have friends take part in a special celebration. Plus, I like an excuse to cook for hungry people.

And in true Bethe-the-overachiever form, I am determined to have a well-decorated dinner party! So my good friend is coming over to help me hang curtains on Saturday (the ones that have sat in a box since they arrived in early January), I need to plant some spring flowers in my garden, and I need to figure out how I’m going to seat 15-20 people in my rather small dining room. I have purchased perfectly color-coordinated placemats and napkins for the occasion, and even found some of my discontinued dishes on E-Bay so that I could increase my collection from 9 to 15. I’m not sure what the other 5 people will eat off of, maybe a paper towel or something. I’ll be sure to buy the 2-ply just in case.
In other news, I found out that my research article is going to be published next month in a major academic journal! We got the official approval this week, and while you normally have to wait months to see your work in print, ours just fell into place and it worked out that it’s coming out in the very next edition! Ten months and 28 pages later, I think it just might be worth it! My professors are happy to have a student get published, I got a free trip to Miami out of it, and I learned a thing or two along the way. Of course, the next time I get published, I’d prefer to actually get PAID for my work. But that’s the beauty of academia. 

Weekend Wrap-Up

I’ve had such a good weekend. Friday night I got a pedicure with my sister and another friend, and then the three of us, plus one more, met up for a quiet dinner. It was so nice… just laid back, lot’s of laughing, comfortable shoes… I love nights like that. The pedicure place used a chocolate exfoliator thing on my legs… you haven’t lived until you’ve had a stranger rub chocolate on your legs as you sit in a massage chair sipping a cappuccino. Hmmm… that sounds a bit racier than it really was. After the pedicure, I felt like a new woman. A new woman with dark purple toenails… again. The edginess is back. And maybe here to stay.

Then Saturday I spent the whole day cooking and cleaning to prepare for a shower I hosted tonight for sister Lindsay (the one getting married). I absolutely love the preparation that goes into throwing a party. I like the cleaning up afterward part a lot less. Saturday night I turned my iPod on “shuffle” (yes, the iPod magically works again), and cooked for hours. I cooked for the party, and also made Christmas goodies for some of my favorite coworkers. Since they put up with me for another year (almost five, actually), I figure they deserve some baked goods.

I did such a good job of preparing yesterday that today I was able to sneak in a quick nap after church. A nap on a party day is so very rare, and it was just the thing I needed to keep me going through the party. The party went fantastically well, many of my sister’s bridesmaids, old roommates, and friends from childhood came by, along with some of her new family members. It’s weird to see that my sister is going to have NEW family members… new sisters-in-law. Part of me finds the whole situation a bit strange, but I’m thankful that these new family members seem to be strong Christian women who treat her well, so I guess it’s okay to share her a little.

So it was a good weekend. I got to spend quality time with friends and family, got rubbed down with chocolate, danced in my kitchen and ate large quantities of cake. Yes, it was a very good weekend.