Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Traditions that Matter. AKA "Becoming My Mom"

There are certain holiday traditions that I have never really thought much about until this year.  I'm a new wife, have a whole house to decorate and no other women to contend with, decor-wise, and for the first time in my life, I won't be in my parents' home on Christmas.

One thing I didn't expect to adopt from my mom's Christmas traditions is making orange balls.  My mom has kept a bowl of them in the kitchen every Christmas I can remember.  She makes one or two new ones each year and saves the ones that keep their cloves.  Some of the oranges she has are 20 years old!  They've gotten all shrunken, but they still smell amazing.  It's a unique scent that I totally associate both with my mother and Christmas. 

So this year I decided to make my own!  I had the day off work, there's 3 inches of snow on the ground, so I spent some time today in front of the fire, sticking whole cloves in oranges with my dog and cat salivating at my feet. 

I think I'll keep them on the stovetop so they get even more fragrant with the warmth! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving time!

We are hosting 20 people for Thanksgiving this year.

Matt insists on hosting his family because he *loves* leftovers and the host gets the bulk of them.  (seriously).  :)

So as his wife this year, I get to be the hostess!

I love party planning.  I love the anticipation of everyone in our home and sharing such a wonderful, nostalgic holiday.  Thanksgiving is such a beautiful holiday- it makes so much sense to my soul- and I can't wait to welcome our west coast loved ones!

When I get excited about planning for anything, I tend to get stubborn about a few creative details- typically the first few that pop in my head during the planning process.  For this Thanksgiving, I'm most excited about centerpieces of mums in fall colors and of these turkeys with my nephews for place settings. 

adorable, right?  and a good activity for my super-energetic, culinary enthusiastic nephews!

what are your Thanksgiving plans or projects?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Puppy or Kitten?

Matt & I are talking about expanding our little family.  (No, I'm not pregnant.  We're not planning on "taking the goalie out of the net" for another couple years.)  No.  For months now, I have been bugging Matt to get a kitten.

Don't get me wrong, I love our Paris girl.  She is a perfect dog.  (Except for her love of our new leather couch...but who can blame her?  We love it too.)

Anyway.  I grew up with both cats and dogs.  Big dogs (labs like Paris).  (REAL dogs, people.)  And I love them.  But I also like cats.  They're easy to take care of.  They sit on your lap for hours while you read.  Before I met Matt, I had a cat named Lola.  She had six toes on each paw.  She was pretty great.  But she ran away the day I met Matt.  (THE DAY I MET HIM!)  Which I think is kinda weird, but I digress.  (Who am I kidding, I digress every other sentence.  If you're still reading this far, you probably don't care about the digressions.  It's kind of Kelly-speak.  Everything is relevant to every conversation, in my opinion.)

Here is Lola.  (She is sitting on my Bible.)  I used this picture on her lost kitty posters to no avail.
  My conversation with Matt on Lola's absence went like this (it was 3 days after our first date):
Matt:  What'd you do today?
Me: After work I put up posters for my lost cat.
Matt: I didn't know you had a cat...are you a crazy cat lady?
Me: Oh, totally...I knit blankets with her picture on them and tell people what she thinks of them all the time.
Matt:  (laughs..cuz I am funny and was joking and am NOT a crazy cat lady despite my unyielding desire to have a cat on my lap while I am reading...)
Matt: I like cats.
(my heart stops).
Matt: I mean, I love dogs.  But I grew up with cats and dogs and I like cats.  I never understood people who say they HATE cats.  I mean, how can you hate something that is cute and furry?
Me: You have no idea how much my heart just warmed to you right now.

I fell for him hard and fast.
Fast forward 15 months.  We have been married for over a month.  We're successfully keeping our dog alive and semi-successfully keeping our house clean.  I think we are ready to shake up our little world with a furry mess-maker.  And I have begun emailing Matt pictures like this:

these are real kittens that I could own right now and have no right to have images of on here. 
and NOW Matt is all anti-cat and is, in turn, now trying to talk me into getting a puppy!  And not just any puppy.  A lap dog that will somehow be the best of both worlds.  Which sounds ridiculous considering the way we both feel when those dogs are running around your feet at other people's houses...(they don't feel like dogs...not real dogs.)

But last night we found this:

also dogs I don't own and therefore shouldn't have pictures of on the internet...
the second picture, this one right here,   ^ ?  We squealed over that picture on and off for 2 hours last night.

I mean, my husband is a pretty big, muscle-y, manly man.   Here he is with his groomsmen, looking all B-A...

But he gushed over that puppy with me for a serious amount of time.  And now claims that "yippy dogs are only yippy when they are allowed to be".  (which doesn't really make any sense except to imply that he can train a dog to not yip.  right.  I mean, Paris was on the couch again today when I came downstairs from my shower.  She didn't even care that I WAS HOME while she was doing it!    Who are we kidding about this dog training business?)

So now we have a choice.  Free kitten.  Or $200 hybrid "designer" fluffball.  I have been given the decision.  (I think...or rather, I have been presented with the option of changing my mind and choosing the puppy.)  :)

Thoughts?  Which should we get?

Either way, I think it'll be a nice friend for Paris.  Although there may be some jealousy issues...

don't look so sad, Paris.  You're still #1.  See?  I made your picture biggest.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day

Today is the day we celebrate the lie possible truth that Christopher Columbus "discovered" America.  Most of the country celebrates it by going to work but inconveniently being unable to receive mail or go to the bank.  At MY bank on Saturday, my friend Natalie and I quickly learned it wasn't funny to ironically tell customers to enjoy their "holiday weekend".  No one got the joke.  Or appreciated it, at least.  (Which didn't stop Nat & I from repeating it throughout the day, just to amuse each other.) 

Anyway.  Regardless of the validity of the holiday, I am appreciative of a whole day off.  And what am I using my precious spare time for?  Basically to be a super-housewife! 

Laundry, dusting & some organization this morning.   Taking the dogs with me to go grocery shopping this afternoon, and THEN, I am making:

(I loooove cooking in the iron skillet.)

Chili and cornbread!
and Pioneer Woman's apple cake in an iron skillet:

I am obsessed with her.  I'm also planning to use her recipes for cornbread and chili.  Yum!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Final Countdown!

I am getting married in 4 days.  FOUR!!  Which means that I'll probably start blogging more once the wedding planning is finally over. 

I have just found the process of wedding blogging incredibly overwhelming.  I mean, I am the kind of girl who already tells everyone she knows what my new shoes for the wedding look like, etc., so my spare time has been reserved for more important (no offense) things like spending time with Matt and trying to wrap my mind around becoming a wife.   (That last part hasn't really been mastered, btw...I'm planning on just leaning on God...it's been successful in the past.)  :)

but I'm super-excited to be marrying my Matt this weekend.  This picture from my East Coast shower about sums up my feelings on the matter:

(I am jumping on a trampoline with my aunt...in the play veil that was forced upon me.  we may have had a bit of champagne prior to getting on the trampoline...)

see you when I'm a "Mrs."!  (how crazy is that?!?!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our amazing photographer

We've signed the contract for our photographer!  Gabriel Van Wyhe does amazing work, both creatively and with the classic, beautiful wedding pictures you dream of for your wedding day.  Now we get to plan our engagement shoot!

I like shots of feet: (especially like that their dog is in this one...it'd be great to have Paris in a few shots:)

and I love the lying-in-the-grass shots:

(how cute is this old couple?)

this is super-cute:

and it'd be great to have a shot of my oh-so-beautiful ring...

and I love the dips...

and the forehead-kisses:

ooh, this is cute, too:
I also (although Matt doesn't "get it") think it'd be fun to have props like red balloons...

since we're getting married in a setting with so much green & flowers, it'd be good to go in another direction for the location of our shots, I'm thinking...like an alley in downtown Tacoma, maybe...

or on some stairs?

or railroad tracks...

definitely a lot of beautiful photos to inspire our shoot! 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


In no particular order, these are the things that are on my (wedding-laden) mind of late:
-how to make 7 bridesmaids (and Matt's 7 corresponding groomsmen) NOT seem obnoxious both in photos & standing with us for the ceremony...can we stagger them somehow?  (it's on my "google this" list.)

-deciding what bling to put on my GORGEOUS, undadorned dress.  How much do I really want the black sash?  Will I regret it in 20 years when I see pictures? 

-how to shrink the guest list while still honoring our family & friends who want to see us get married.

and the exciting things:

Ok, I'm so blessed...after several unsuccessful dress-shopping trips, Matt's mom flew my mom in from Philly to surprise me on our 4th (I know...) appointment.  And I found my dress!  Best yet, we bought the sample so they cut us a deal..then we were told that  the designer takes 9 months to order & ship the dresses so I wouldn't have been able to get it in time for our Labor Day wedding.  (also, it's silk.  I die.)  :)

It was amazing to watch my mom & Betty bond while she was here.  It's been hard for my mom to reconcile the fact that I am really staying on the west coast, especially now that Anna is looking at colleges (some in WA!  yay!)  Betty's been an amazing friend & support to my mom, & recognized the importance of having us together to make big decisions before we even did.  God is good.  So is my future MIL. 

We have a date (September 5th) and a venue (Lakewold Gardens) and a dress...last night we met with a caterer and tonight with a photographer that I really like. 

So more than anything else, I have realized how much weddings are about details...most of which I had never thought of or really care about.  And they are all posed as questions that I feel like I SHOULD have a concrete answer for.  Things like, "are you wearing your hair up?" "Will you have a full cocktail hour or just 45-minutes?"  "What kind of necklaces will your bridesmaids wear?"  

(my answer to every one of these questions has been a blank look and an "ummm, I don't know...do I have to know right now?") 

I am the girl who has dreamt of her wedding day but had to put a lid on the dreaming a few years back.  I was trusting God that He has the best plan for me, but it no longer seemed imminent that that included a wedding.  So I kept some small details in my mind (blue shoes and a photo booth), but have not been a wedding-crazed single girl.  That probably scored me points with Matt, but is not so convenient for our vendors...or mothers.  So I am scoping it out, immersing myself in wedding porn (hehe) and obtaining opinions on details.  Ex: yes!  hair up!  45 minutes seems sufficient! 

Still don't care about their necklaces, though.  Maybe they can pick their own...

Monday, March 8, 2010

hail! our new website!

March is very tricksy with its weather.  And I always forget & get lured in by its whispers of a warm spring, only to get caught in a freak hailstorm without a coat (that was today). Crazy! 

At the top of my highlights for today were:
- busting out our wedding website (after over-thinking it waaaay too much.)  Turns out hugs from Matt & a new hosting site were all the inspiration I needed to get it up & running!  (I'll post it once we have the date more solidified...but it's definitely looking like Labor Day weekend!)

- discovering that Fiber One bars kind of taste like Samoas.  (I said kind of...)  One more reason to not shut up about these things.  Seriously, they're so good! 

Monday, March 1, 2010

getting married!!

umm I am engaged.  (!!)

Matt asked me to marry him yesterday on the drive back from Long Beach (where we were clam digging with his family).  

and so a NEW GOAL is to not be a crazy person who lets the wedding porn (yes, it really is like that) take over my life. 

but so far the preliminary planning has been fun.  and calling Matt my fiance and staring at this gorgeous ring is lots of fun. 

but I have no intention of letting this become a wedding blog.  (for now, at least).  :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Good morning, Jesus.  Thank you that everything I hold in my head- You hold in your hands. 

Love, Kelly

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

tuesday to-dos

I am now:

-a resident of Tacoma, WA (officially...with a change of address and everything. ) :)
-the owner of a motor vehicle again (and legally, once I get the tabs today.)
-an unsupervised B of A teller.  (okay, they still check in to make sure I'm doing okay, but I'm not "in training" anymore.) 

And guess what?  All of those areas of my life I've been trying to invest in?  I have been reminded that I do a LOT better with all of them when I am in a routine.  I just do.  As in:  I am just now, after living here for 3 weeks, finding a rhythm that enables me to think about things like running 4 miles and not eating dairy or sugar and writing letters to college friends.

So on my to-do list today is to take Rocco  (see above) on a walk/run, make Angus road-legal, do my taxes (because there's no need to procrastinate when you're getting money back!!) and brainstorm last-minute ideas for Matt for Sunday.  And maybe hang out with Lisa, too...  (umm and also work. )

Because it's our first Valentine's Day (and my first one ever in a relationship-is that weird?)  there's a lot of pressure to make it a good one.  And while I know he's feeling a little more pressure than I am, he's almost guaranteed to make it good because there's no bar even set for me.  And I'm pretty easy to please.  Pink flowers and I'm happy.  But he can be a tough nut to crack- and I'm still stabilizing my budget right now, so a nice gift is out.  And the easy thing to do when you're a girl (that would involve lingerie or whatever) is off the table for us until my last name changes.  So...what to do, what to do?  Creativity (but boy-approved, that's the pickle!) is the name of the game.

Monday, January 18, 2010

mlk day

Can you tell I'm resistant to discipline? I haven't posted a "daily" update on here in 5 days... :)

While I'm so thankful for GRACE, I'm even more aware of this real need in my life...so I'm going to just keep going here, steady on...

It's been a pretty busy week. And the coming one holds even more:

In the next 10 days I will be moving, starting a brand new job (full time with benefits, whee!), and introducing the 3 most important people in my life to each other. (!) I've been mentally preparing for all of those things for months now, it seems. So now that it's happening it's a joyful relief, to go forward. I'm much more excited than stressed (my favorite kind of planning is for the new & exciting things...) but I still see a huge need for:
  • seeing grace each day
  • trusting that God has me & delighting in Him
  • being diligent (i.e.: working my butt off) :)
My most pressing need right now seems to be just sorting all of my stuff into 3 categories: sell/give away, use right now (move with me into Amanda's house), & store "for the future" in Matt's garage. Since I tend to bounce between being overly sentimental & stubborn about things & overly calculating & minimalistic, it's a pretty big task to judge things by their importance and usefulness. I foresee a lot of caffeine-fueled evenings this week... At least I don't have the luxury of procrastination to hinder me. I've gotta just do it.

So! Today being resourceful looks like finding moving boxes. (And filling at least 4 of them. Probably with books. I love my books...)

Pursuing growth in my relationships/community by talking to my Mama for an hour before work this morning (check!), making specific plans for the future with some of my Seattle/West Seattle darlings, & going to the women's bible study at Lifehouse thursday night...

I know me. I need people around me. I'm very aware of the amazing community I've been a part of through Mars Hill/West Seattle. And as I (well, 'we'...) go forward with this new church, I'm excited both to jump in with both feet to what's available there & maintain friendships & community in Seattle.

Today there's sunshine in the Junction & I'm soaking in my second-to-last day of work in solitude, appreciating the ability to do some much-needed planning.

The question I'm chewing on today is: 'what kind of relationship do grace & diligence play in my life? what's an appropriate balance of the two, so that I can actually grow?'

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

le premiere

Okay so I can already anticipate the dread of accountability...it's amazing how what's good for us can be so uncomfortable (just at first though, right? yes...that's always how it works.)

I got my first taste of the reality of this accountability today when Leah suggested a 5k for February (!!). My first thought was "oh crap...how serious am I about these goals?? I can't be ready in a month!" But I know I could... if I'm disciplined about it (there's the kicker) & run 4x a week. So I'm faced with the need to honestly assess this goal (and really, all of them...) is this going to be just hypothetical- am I just making resolutions so I don't actually have to follow through with them or am I going for it?

(the fact that I made this post at all should serve as an answer.)

Realistically speaking, I know I can at least commit to a 5k in March...which means umm...I'd better be up & running (hehe-i love puns...) tomorrow. Because that? Didn't happen today. And it wasn't even raining when I woke up, so I really don't have an excuse other than the delicious warmth of my bed this morning. Umm any tips from other runners/a.m. exercisers on how to just GET OUT OF BED & do it??

After work today I walked 1.66 miles (mapped it! everything counts!) to the library (in the rain!) and then met Leah for a movie. One way I love to spend time with my friends is by enjoying experiences with them individually that few other people in my life would appreciate. Today this meant geeking out with Leah over Chanel & the lovely Audrey Tatou...she just makes me clasp my hands and sigh...

so...enjoyed my roommate time. walking in the rain was good for the soul. saved $$ by walking (& we hit the Admiral Theater -cheap).

Today Have I:
Done something good for my body?
- disciplined with points & water today (with peanut m&m exception at the movie) & despite not running, still logged 4 miles walking to work & to the theater & home.

Done something good for my mind?
- NYtimes.com (Haiti! ow, my soul...); French with subtitles.

Water today: 64/64oz. (but the last 8 were gulped right before bed...)
Points today: 20/20 (plus weekly extra 5/35 used)

I seriously need to give myself a shot at waking up in time to run...

But first some thankfuls...
I'm thankful for bosses who are interested in my life...those two ladies have been a joy to work for these past 7 months. And yet I'm thankful in anticipation for the busyness when I start the new job (in a week- yay!) I'm thankful for noticing little things like the way individual drops of water were glistening on tree branches during my walk tonight. And for the way our Lord quietly spoke to my soul when I noticed. I'm thankful for my sweet boyfriend for showing me how to embed links here, and for my equally sweet roommate for agreeing to do the same. It's enhanced my enjoyment of posting here (& thereby motivating me to press on? bonus!)

a well-rounded resolution

It's two weeks into 2010. Time for Kelly resolutions! By now I figure I've had ample time to think about my resolutions and goals & actually come up with a plan for consistency.

So my goal is to pursue responsibility in all areas of my life- in order to grow and "be a better woman" (which is basically my goal every year...) My plan is to follow a list of all areas of my life I want to be investing in & track every day how well I invested in each area. (By recording it "publicly" I'm hoping to stay accountable.)

Ideally it will turn into a place for ideas and stories of the impact this will have in my life, instead of just me "checking off" these categories as obligations...

The list: (with ideas in each category)

Today Have I:

Done something good for my body?
-run (goal of a 5k this year)
-yoga (try to find a Bikram class in Tacoma)
-volleyball (find an intramural team once I move)
-balance ball

Done something good for my mind?
-reading up on current events
-having discussions/debates about things that matter to me
-investing in other women (operationbeautiful.com) -sticky notes, etc.

Done something good for my soul?
- journaling
- daily quiet times
- Bible in year
- crying when I need to
- enjoying where I am, appreciating the little things & being thankful.

Invest in my relationships?
(being a good roommate, daughter, sister, girlfriend, neighbor)
- showing the people I love through their own love languages that I care for them.
- praying for them every day, specifically.
- not talking about myself or things I'm excited about in all of my conversations & listening more.
- being hospitable by inviting people over.

Invested in industriousness/resourcefulness?
(being a Proverbs 31 woman)
-learning new recipes
-DIY projects
-"making do" with what I already own

Been responsible with my money/things I own?
- planning & making my meals
- leaving money/debit card at home when I go out
- making a budget & sticking to it
- setting a timer for 10 minutes before bed & cleaning

Water today: /64oz. (128 on Bikram days)

Points today: /20 (plus weekly extra /35 used)

So I'll be back later tonight with today's report! (hmm, and a synonym for "report" that will account for humanity & still keep me motivated...)

I'm curious...do you have a similar list of areas you try to spend time on each day? Any other ideas for ways I can invest in a specific category (or a category I completely overlooked?)