Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Weekend Summary: Allison's Wedding!

Well, after a whirlwind weekend (seems like most of my weekends are like this these days!), I have finally caught my breath, and am I ready to blog about Allison's wedding!

I was so excited to be a bridesmaid for Allison (not just any bridesmaid...the maid of honor!). However, I was overcome with nerves and anxiety the entire weekend. We joked that maybe I took all of her nerves, because she was so relaxed the whole time. I kept feeling like I was going to throw-up...but all of the nerves were for nothing because the wedding was flawless, my dress zipped *sigh*, my speech went great, and the reception was lots of fun! 

Friday night was of course the rehearsal and dinner at Puerto Vallarta. We had tons of fun as a wedding party, but the real fun began when we left the restaurant and thought we were headed to go to see the movie, "The Proposal." Well, we got stuck by a train, and we were already running late, so we decided to just have fun anyway and blare some Michael Jackson, roll down the windows, and belt it. All joking aside, I am still stunned about MJ's death, but it was fun to pay tribute to his awesome song, "Man in the Mirror" on Friday night. We also decided to head to our former Bethel houses and take some pictures. When we finally got back to Allison's mom and dad's house, we just hung out, talked, and painted our nails until 1 a.m. 
Us at "Old Bethel" (we lived there from August 2004-July 2005)

Outside of "New Bethel," Al and I lived there from July 2005-May 2007, and Laura and Nikki joined from 2006-2007

Saturday morning came around, and we went to get our hair done! They all turned out great, and on the way to the church, we picked up some McDonald's (of course!). We killed some time before getting ready by dancing and talking...just having fun together. When we got the dresses on, the time came around quickly for pictures and the wedding to begin. I was shaking before walking down the aisle, but I made it without tripping! I teared up when she came down the aisle...she looked beautiful and radiant...and I am a sucker for music at weddings. It gets me everytime! 

Laura, me, Al, Jenn, and Nikki waiting for the ceremony to begin!

Al and me!

Once the ceremony ended, we took some full group photos, then headed out to the reception. It was so great to see our friends and sorority sisters! Al's reception was in a tent in her parents' yard, so it was beautiful and romantic and summery and perfect! I delivered my speech just the way I wanted to, and people laughed, so I think it went well! I also didn't cry! Woohoo! I know there is no reason to be sad...our friendship will go on forever! 

My baby and me at the reception!
My AOII family! 

Stacia, me, and Kel

Cutting the cake!

I was dead on my feet by the end of the night. The stifling heat caught up with us by the end of the day. It was definitely 90 degrees...but there was no rain! 

Now, as I type, Al and Chris are either on their way or have already landed in Jamaica! I can't wait to hear honeymoon stories and see pictures. I am definitely feeling nostalgic and remembering my own wedding and honeymoon almost two years ago. We are happier than ever and ready to see what the future holds!

Congrats to Chris and Allison Overholt! Marriage truly is a blessing!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I've been slacking...

Well, one would think that with the endless amounts of free time that I have during the day, I would be just full of blog entries, but really, it has been a busy week! Finally, I have some time to stop and catch my breath.

Last weekend was totally, insanely busy, but it was so much fun. Friday night, we had a whole bunch of high school friends at our house for a "cookout," but really we sat inside the whole time and drank some adult beverages, held the new babies (those two things sound bad, back to back, don't they?), ate good food, and had some great conversations. We are always so happy when we have our friends in our home. 

Saturday, we had a bridal brunch for Allison at the Delaware Country Club. Her grandmother put it together, and it was a fun, girly, traditional event. The bridesmaids, her mom, her two grandmothers, and Chris's mom, aunt, and grandmother were all in attendance. We got to wear pretty dresses and eat some incredible cheesecake! I can hardly believe that she is getting married THIS Saturday! 

Saturday night, we went to the Toby Keith concert. I went with my dad, and then Luke tagged along with our friends. It was an awesome concert, as always, and Luke had fun because it was his first concert! :-) 

Sunday was Father's Day! I got my dad a Concannon's gift card...now who wouldn't want one of those? Luke went to spend time with his dad while I decompressed for a while. We had something big to gear up for that night...WICKED! These are the tickets I  bought back for Luke's birthday in April. We ate at Ruby Tuesday's and then went to the Murat for the show. We were in the 16th row, on the floor. I was a little disappointed because we were pretty far over to the right, but after the show started, it ended up being a pretty  great view. Some of those songs...I just get goose bumps and I actually teared up a little! When you are in the presence of such amazing talent, it just moves you! We had an incredible time.

I suppose the most recent news is that we finally closed on our home mortgage refinance! Yay! Haha. You know when you are an "adult" when you refinance your house and you are excited about saving $65 a month on your monthly payment. :-) Any little bit helps.... 

Well, for the rest of the day today, I plan to be outside, and I also need to start getting things ready for this weekend. Another big weekend lies ahead!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ode to Aldi

In a world where, on any given Saturday afternoon, I can drive down 96th street and see men and women standing along side, holding signs that read, "Homeless, Hungry, Help Me," I hesitate anymore to say that we are poor. We, in fact, are the very opposite of poor. We are very rich. We are rich with love, blessed with all the material possessions we could possibly need and most of what we want, and I have a stable, steady, honest income that provides food, entertainment, shelter, and savings. Luke is in school to become a physician, which will pay off in the future. We are rich, compared to the true poor. 

However, I am into saving a buck anywhere I can. I love coupons. In fact, I used a 50% off coupon at Michael's today on a $6 can of spray paint. Hey, that $3 I saved can get me a value meal at McDonald's...(I shouldn't be thinking about McDonald's...)! I feel that I am a pretty competitive shopper...I won't pay more for something at one store if I can get it for less someplace else. However, for months, I have resisted the urge to go into the Aldi grocery store just a stone's throw from my favorite supermarket, Meijer. I love Meijer, and I always thought they had really great prices (and they do, compared to Marsh and the poor quality of Wal-Mart). I am a creature of habit. If I like going to the bright, shiny, mega store, it is going to be difficult to get me to switch. However, Luke convinced me to go to Aldi for our groceries because 1) we were extra low on money due to the Kiawah trip, and 2) Luke went there before Kiawah and I really liked the food he bought there. Why not?

We went in and did a fair amount of damage. The goal was to spend $60. We ended up spending about $65, but we got a ton of stuff, including some very comparable, high quality items that I normally get at Meijer. I knew that we ended up saving a lot of money, but I really wanted to know exactly HOW much we saved compared to the already low-priced Meijer, so I went last night and priced out the receipt with comparable items at Meijer. I even tried to find the cheap Meijer generic brands to compare with. I did the math, and we ended up saving around $32! Our bill would have been about $100 at Meijer, but only $65 at Aldi! Yesssssss!

I will say that Aldi doesn't have the best selection of "health" foods. If you are into organic or sugar free (which I especially look for), you will need to go to a bigger store. However, for your frozen products, milk, eggs, baking needs, cereal, chips, salsa (they have some amazing salsa in their deli for about $2.50 less than Meijer), cookies, cheese, etc....Aldi is your jam! :-) 

So, people, in this day when "the economy" is a common mention at the dinner table, don't pay more when you could swallow your pride, go to Aldi, and swallow a whole lot food for a lot less money. Be smart!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Cleaning

I know this is nerdy, but I had a lot of big goals this summer to do some cleaning and organizing around the house. I am pretty proud of myself because, thus far, I have only been home for about 4 days total since our vacation, but I have managed to clean the pantry, the "shelves behind the blue curtain" in our kitchen, the fridge and freezer, the cabinets under our bathroom sink and above the toilet, and now the office closet! It feels so good to purge and organize! I am also thrilled because I only had to spend $37 on organizers at Target. I think that is a steal! 

Anyway...if you're a nerd like me and enjoy this type of thing....have a look.

This is the fridge, once we removed all of the food, including the yogurt that was 1 year old yet never opened. See that dark spot on the shelf in the door? Yeah, that is soy sauce that  has been bugging me for a long time! I don't have an after picture of the fridge, but just picture it with fresh food and that sick soy spot removed. Heaven!

These are the contents of the office closet, mainly scrapbooking and card making supplies, on the floor. 

Now, previously mentioned office contents put into containers and organized neatly on the shelves. DONE!

For your viewing pleasure... :-)

This was taken at Erika and Jason's wedding reception. I just had to post :-)

Luke and I doing a duet to "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer is in Full Swing!

I hate cleaning. I may have sounded really motivated in a previous post to do all kinds of "cleaning" things around the house, but actually, I have changed my mind, and I now despise it. Ok, I will make a correction. I despise cleaning when I have a deadline. My old roommate and dear friend Laura is arriving around 3, along with Allison and Jenn. Laura (Lo, as we nicknamed her in college) and Allison have to rehearse some music for Allison's wedding which is now officially less than 2 weeks away! Ahhh! Jenn and I plan to shop around for some shoes for our bridesmaids dresses while they are gone, and then we are going to reunite for a dinner later on. Anyway, the point of this is that I have to have the house looking top-notch by 3, because Lo has never seen our home! This is a tall order, given that we have vacation laundry to wash and put away, I am knee deep in reorganizing the office closet (almost done though!), the guest bedroom looks like the guest from you-know-where has been living in there for a month (even though it is just our junk), and I have to clean the kitty box...EW (that is Luke's job for a reason)!

Anyway, I am going to talk about the positive aspects of life right now! We had a fabulous weekend, beginning with a Friday night dinner at Jake and Amanda Eichenberger's home. We ate tacos and talked and laughed and shared stories. It was really a fun night. Saturday, we had to hit the road to New Albany to attend Luke's cousin Erika's wedding. It was a beautiful day and wedding. We had a lot of fun at the reception, too. After the reception, we went to see the movie "The Hangover" with Jonathan and Ashley (Luke's cousin and wife). That movie is every fiancee's nightmare,  but it was so funny! I am still laughing about some of the scenes.

Luke getting some daddy practice in by carrying the sleeping Gus.

Liz was a bridesmaid. Look how pretty she is!

The "electric slide" :-)

10/11 Ernstberger children with their mom, Mary Ruth! WOW!

Sunday, we had a pool party at Luke's Aunt Marcia's home. She has a great pool and hot tub, and she generously opens her home each summer to have all 100 Ernstberger adults and kids over. I love spending time with the family!

Luke and I got home late last night and were really not motivated to do anything around the house. I did manage to get some laundry done, but it is the putting away that I really have problems with. I hate putting laundry away!

Well, I suppose I am not being to productive by complaining on this blog about all I have to get done before 3 (which is less then 3 hours away now). I need to just get my butt into gear and get it done. I am sure I will be very relieved when all these jobs are complete.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Vacation....Gone with the Wind!

We saved and planned and dreamt about our Kiawah Island vacation for nearly 6 months, and it was over in just seven short days! However, we made many memories, took tons of photos, and really enjoyed ourselves with Luke's family. 

It would be difficult to go back through and document each day's events, but I will try to do a summary.

The daily routine usually consisted of waking up around 8, eating breakfast (for me, it was the sugary cereal like Captain Crunch and Froot Loops that never, ever buy myself), then lounging around until 10. At that time, E and I especially would get our suits on and go to the pool. We would bake for a couple hours, come in around noon, eat some lunch, then head back out for the duration of the day. I enjoyed a few daiquiris by the pool (at $9 a pop, I will emphasize the word FEW), read the book "Divorce Party," and started on "Chasing Harry Winston." I am having trouble focusing on the second book, however. Maybe I will get more into it throughout the summer.

We would come back in around 5, shower, then relax or go on a bike ride until dinner. The dinners were my favorite parts of the night. Each couple/family took a night to prepare dinner for the rest of the group. The first night was Abe/E and "Love Shack Chicken." The second night was Seth/Liz and Taco Soup. The third night was CeCe/Clare/Marcia and Pork Chops. We took a night off when we went to Charleston and just really ate a bunch of junk food and ice cream. Luke and I cooked pasta with shrimp, asparagus, and bacon. YUM! The last night, Eric and Lisa treated us to seafood at the Charleston Crab House. It was fun seeing the couples in the kitchen together and preparing dinner with love.

On a couple nights, we played a lot of games like Apples to Apples, Mafia, "Wah," and other fun little "summer camp" games. We also did some shopping in Charleston and in the island's marketplace. I managed not to buy one single souvenir, however! In my old age, my favorite souvenirs are my photos of the trip. I don't need anything else if I have those.

We got to spend a lot of time with our nephews, Gus and Sol. It was so fun to see this vacation through their eyes, getting excited by water, sand, the ocean, alligators, etc. It's amazing how this Kiawah tradition has come full circle...from Eric and Lisa bringing their little ones to the island so many years ago, to now Seth and Liz bringing their little ones. I pray someday that Luke and I can do the same.

I didn't enjoy the 12 hour car ride home as much as I enjoyed the 4 hour plane trip there. However, being with Abe and E, we shared many laughs and had good conversation. 

We were so tired when we finally got home, but we are few skin shades darker and feel rested and ready for the rest of the summer! 

I can't post all 250 pictures that I took, but I can give a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

Before going out to dinner in Charleston

Luke when we watched the sunrise one morning

Beautiful sunrise

CeCe's world famous ugly face picture

Elizabeth and I eating lunch in Charleston

Thursday, June 4, 2009

End of Year #2!

I can hardly believe it,  but my 2nd year of teaching has officially come to an end (a whole week later than originally planned, thanks to Mother Nature's gift of snow days...but hey, I really appreciated the break in January)! It is amazing to me how quickly time can fly in a school year. If you are a teacher and anything like me, you start out the year with such big ideas and high expectations, and then you get to September and realize that you are in over your head and you are just going to put the floaties on and see how long you can just bob along. Then, about November, you are really strung out and tired, and you just need a break. Christmas comes, and then you feel rejuvenated and ready to attack the 2nd half of the year with a new attitude. By the beginning of February, you are counting down until Spring Break, and once Spring Break hits, the year might as well be over, right? ;-) This train of thought is not exactly positive or professional, but it is a reality nonetheless.

My first year, I was just trying not to drown. I was trying to just make my kids like me and keep my job for the next year. The second year, I was consumed by my 2nd year teaching portfolio. I just wanted to get that sucker done, and THEN I could focus on teaching. We tested twice for ISTEP this year, and we really were bogged down by testing, reviewing, convos, snow days, etc. Somehow, the year ended, and I still have a list of things that I wanted to do.

Now what? Now, I think about next year! However, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. I want to read books about teaching...I want to know what the experts say...and then I want to make a plan. Until then, I am going to smile as I think about the final days of school with my kids...we really had a great time, and I am always happy to end on a high note. Even though it rained on our last day, which happens to be field day, and even though we had to have 600 stinky kids in a steaming hot gym on the last day of school, it all worked out and we had fun!

Here's to another year behind me and another year ahead!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

At the Airport!

Here I sit at the new Indianapolis Airport waiting for my flight to board to Atlanta! I am really excited (mildly nervous). One thing I love about airports is the gift shop! I just bought a book and Combos and bottled water. 

Today, I finished my 2nd year of school! I was actually pretty sad as I hugged each student goodbye today. You go through such an emotional roller coaster with your class when you are a teacher...especially an elementary teacher. You have a very strong love/hate relationship with each of your students. It was a neat moment for me today because I actually got to hug several of my former students who were "graduating" 5th grade today. It made me feel special that they sought me out and wanted to say "goodbye" to me. It's a big deal to be a 5th grader moving on to the middle school. I remember that time very vividly for me. We sang "Somewhere Out There" from Fival Goes West, and I remember bawling my eyes out, worried that I would never, ever see my friends again. Those same people ended up becoming friends that I still have today, but I didn't know the difference when I was 11. I guess I have never liked goodbyes!

I am looking forward to so much with regards to this vacation. I don't want to get ahead of myself, as I know that I will no doubt have too high expectations which will be physically impossible to live up to, so I just want to be calm and relaxed and ready for anything.

I can't wait to escape this 50 degree, rainy weather! Bring on the sun!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lots Going On

Well, as I sit here on the eve of not only my last day of school but also the start of our Kiawah Island vacation, I feel overwhelmed, slightly frazzled, but really excited. I really don't like preparing for long trips. I always feel like I am forgetting something. Add to that the task of getting my room cleaned up and prepared for summer at school, and I am just an organizational disaster right now! However, my bags are packed for Kiawah, and Luke will be taking them with him as he hits the road in about an hour with Abe, E, and his Aunt Marcia. They will be driving through the night (pray for safe travels and ALERT drivers!), and I will be flying down by myself (ahhhhhh) tomorrow evening after school. I am always nervous before flights, but I am just trying not to think about it right now. I don't know which scares me more...flying, or the 90 minute layover in Atlanta by myself...either way, I am relying on faith and probably some good candy to get me through.

Since my last post, we watched CeCe cross the stage and receive her high school diploma from Wes-Del. It was surreal to be in that gym 6 years after our own graduation, and I really got thinking that it would be the last time we would be there for a good long while. No basketball games to watch, no more graduations or dances...it might be the end of an era. It was a great weekend, no less. Lots of family time, and of course time with our awesome nephews, Gus and Sol. They get bigger and cuter by the day, and we really are so blessed to have them enriching our lives. 

Luke and I successfully (if you can call it that) completed Level 3 of the 30 Day Shred with Jillian. HOLY COW it was ridiculous! If anyone out there is looking for a legitimate 20 minute workout that really gives results, it is the 30 Day Shred. We haven't done it for 30 consecutive days, but we have probably done it at least 4 times a week on average for a few weeks, and I can really see and feel a difference. It feels good to be back in shape, and I might even feel slightly LESS uncomfortable in my swimsuit on the beach! I have to keep at it and keep the long range goal in mind...to be healthy and fit so that I can be really healthy for the duration of my life, especially while I anticipate having children!

On that note, I am really looking forward to that day...I hope and pray that God's plan for us is for us to be parents. We are trying to listen and wait and be patient and ready...but until then, we are living for NOW! :-) 

What the HAIL?

We had a crazy hail storm tonight! The sky was clear and the sun was out, and then it all went black! We heard what sounded like marbles on our roof and windows, but then we realized it was hail! We took some pictures and a video. It was madness!

Yes, it looks like January snow, but this is just the accumulation of hail outside our porch in June!

Hail everywhere!