Being a Bridesmaid


For the rest of the week, I'll be in Illinois. My friend Erin is getting married, and it's my [first!] turn to be a bridesmaid. Though technically I suppose I'm now a bridesmatron, right? But that sounds stupid.

That's a picture of Erin and I at my wedding, and I'm super pumped to take one of me with the bride. This will be fun.

Of course, this is also my first separation from my dear husband. I tried to set him up with enough meal choices for the week, but also I have no doubt his mom will get wind of the fact that he's home alone and invite him over for dinner. Either that or he'll cook rice every night. Ah well, I'm out of here, and he's a big boy who can fend for himself.

Illinois is waiting.

On that note, I will leave you with one of the only post-wedding picture we've taken together (minus, of course, the honeymoon pictures I forced upon him). Ignore my red face and crazy hair. I had just gotten finished with a grueling tennis match (which you can read about here, if you're so inclined).

Better Luck Next Year


The 2011 tennis season has, for me, been dismal. I play on two USTA (United States Tennis Association) teams--a ladies' league on Thursday nights and a mixed doubles league on Sunday afternoons.

The leagues started at the beginning of April, and in all that time I've only won two matches. 

This season just isn't my year for winning, I guess, though I've been giving it everything I've got, and I've played some close matches. 

Yesterday was the closest yet. 

Mixed doubles means it's a girl/guy team vs. another girl/guy team. It's pretty fun playing with and against another guy, and will say I've enjoyed my Sunday matches more than Thursday. Girls get plain mean when they play tennis.

Yesterday, at 2:00, I headed to the court armed with water bottles, Gatorade, and sunscreen. It was a ridiculous 102 degrees outside, and I started sweating as soon as I walked out on the court.

For those of you who don't know (because scoring in tennis can be confusing), you win a set by being the first team to win six games. If both teams get to six [games], you play a seven-point tiebreaker. Then, you play another set. If one team wins two sets, that's it. But if both teams win a set, following USTA rules, you play a ten-point tiebreaker to decide the match.

Our first set went back and forth, with each team winning a game until both of us were at six. We were all dying by that point. It had been over an hour, it wasn't getting any cooler, and it looked like we were evenly matched. Though Ryan (my partner) and I were playing some good tennis, we ended up losing the tiebreaker 4-7. 

So started the second set. 
We were tired, but somehow we quickly got ahead and ended up winning the second set 6-3, forcing a ten-point tiebreaker.

By this point, the other matches were finished, and there were at least fifteen people sitting on the bleachers watching us. Each side cheered when their team won a point, and I could really feel the pressure. 

The first point of the tiebreaker was a long rally, and when the point was over, everyone roared in approval. All four players were playing amazing tennis, and it looked like it was going to be a close tiebreaker. And yet, in the anti-climactic way of things, I'll just say that we ended up losing the tiebreaker 4-10. I was dead on my feet and very depressed. I hate losing probably more than anything, and I'd honestly given everything I had to that match, only to come up short once again.

I've since decided that it obviously just isn't my season. Looking back over the previous months of heartbreaking losses, I can only hope to have better luck next year. This season in 2011 I've learned about defeat. Losing graciously is not something I'm good at, and I guess I needed the practice. 

But for next year, I think I'd like to learn about winning humbly. After this season, I really need to practice that too.

Flashback Friday--Crazy Bridesmaids


So here's another flashback with wedding pictures. (Cuz I can't stop looking at them and think no one else should either.) This time, I'd like to highlight my crazy bridesmaids. 

As you'll notice in the next picture, they took their shoes off for optimum jumping height.
Also, why is my grandpa standing out there with all the girls? The confused look on his face is normal, however. He always looks confused in pictures. Though since this is a candid, I guess that means he looks confused in real life too.

Finally, here's what happened with I actually tossed the bouquet. 
Crazy bridesmaids. 

* * *

Linking up with Lauren for today's Flashback! 

I'm Running Again


Last week I signed up for the Kansas City half marathon, which will be held in Kansas City (duh) on October 15. This will be my second half marathon, though this will actually be the third time I've trained for one. (For more info on why, see this post.)

So here's to 4ish months of training--logging miles, 100-degree heat, wind, and sweating. A lot.

Oh yes, and here's to my awesome GPS watch that Jordan gave me for Christmas last year. It really does make running outside so much more fun.

(Photo taken from this post, mostly because I'm too lazy to take another picture.).

On Blogging and Such


Remember when I got that award for being beautiful? No, maybe it was for my blog being beautiful. Whatever. Well, now I'm also stylish! Thanks to Traci, who is quite stylish herself. 

So once again I will write down seven things about myself and then pass the award to someone else. 

1. Middle school was a pox on my life. I will not send my children there; luckily, I already know they’ll be geniuses who will skip right to college at the age of nine anyway.

2. I often have to resist the urge to use disclaimers in my blog posts and emails. I worry my sarcasm will be misunderstood (except by Audra, who just gets me).

3. I get inexplicably freaked out by the thought or act of running over plastic bags in my car. I fear it might get sucked up underneath and cause my car to break/explode.

4. I like walking on sidewalks.

5. I have played the violin in three weddings. No, I didn't play in mine.

6. Baking chocolate chip cookies calms me down when I'm stressed. Running does too, which works out well, since I usually make myself sick and fat eating cookie dough.

7. I currently am reading a very long book, which, at the rate I'm going, will take me months to finish. Jordan really wants to read it and has to wait till I'm done. Maybe he should have started first. 

Okay, and now to pass the award along. Here's to my good friend Cori. She's a wonderful, beautiful person who makes a daily commitment to live a life of frugality and humility. I think that's pretty stylish. 

Notes, Dinner Ideas, and Tips from the Kitchen of a (Semi) Thrifty Newlywed


{or, what I have found to be useful foods to have on hand when living with a boy}

I used to go to the grocery store a lot, probably at least every other day. I never really kept a cornucopia of food staples; I would simply go to the store when I needed something like, say, a green pepper or an onion or a pound of ground beef. There are two grocery stores in relatively close distances to my apartment, so it wasn't a huge deal to run out for one or two things, and I never kept track of how many times I went there to spend seven or nine or fifteen dollars at a time.

But now I'm living with Jordan, and where before we really only ate dinner together, and not even every night, I have since realized that he needs breakfast too, and he needs to make his lunch too. And--shock!--we don't necessarily like the same things. And, oh yeah, he eats twice as much as I do, so the supply dwindles quickly. What I make for dinner and can eat for the rest of the week, with two of us there's hardly enough for leftovers at all sometimes. 

And, hello, it's not 1957, and I'm not going to stand at the oven cooking meals every night in my apron. I also don't have time, nor do I want to, go to the store every day to pick up one or two things.

So what to do?

Maybe this isn't a revelation for anyone but me, but a few weeks ago I called my mom, and she happened to be at the grocery store. 

"I'm just picking up some things," she said. 
"Like what?" Then I proceeded to launch into my recent this-boy-I'm-living-with-needs-food-like-all-the-time-and-I-don't-know-what-to-cook-for-dinner frustration.

That's when she hit me with a brilliant mom bomb. 
"Do what I'm doing right now," she said. "Go to the store and get all sorts of things. Frozen chicken, frozen pizzas, instant rice, a few packets of taco seasoning, crackers, frozen vegetables, ground beef. And what does he like for lunch? Does he like deli meat?"
"Yeah...I think so."
"Then get some deli meat! Some turkey and ham and some cheese. Lettuce, maybe some pickles."

She continued on like this for a few more minutes, and I was finally starting to understand. That's why people only go to the store a few times a month (unless, of course, they need something specific). They stockpile food and buy a bunch of stuff that can be used for a number of different meals!

This obviously should not have been an ah ha! moment. I realize this, and I am ashamed. However, it was, and there's nothing I can do about it except move forward with my new outlook on cooking and food in general.

And so I bring you...
...a list of some easy ideas for dinner that involve ingredients you can have on hand so you aren't going to the grocery store every day. I also have included some tips that have saved us money on things we use a lot.

Block of cheese vs. cheese from a bag. This is tried and true: the cheese most definitely lasts longer than if you buy a block. Also, a block of cheese is a better deal. Plus, it's better for you. Did you know that in the bagged cheese they use wax to keep the cheese from clumping together? But who cares about clumps when you're just going to eat it? I'd rather not have wax, thank you very much. I bought the Pampered Chef cheese grater, and it has most certainly changed my life. Yes, it takes slightly more time to grate than to scoop out from a bag, but you're 1) burning calories grating 2) not eating wax. It's a win any way you look at it.

Real garlic cloves vs. garlic from a jar. I used to buy the crushed garlic that came in that small glass jar. Jordan loves garlic, and we use it on almost everything, so I decided to buy a garlic press and see how that worked (again, Pampered Chef, but I swear this isn't a PC advertisement). This handy kitchen gadget has also changed my life. Did you know real garlic is so much better than garlic from a jar? Yes, that seems obvious, but it's actually very true. Also, using a garlic press is fun.

Ground beef, chicken, pork chops, etc. Up until a few weeks ago, I rarely bought more than one meat at a time. I would buy whatever I had planned for that night, and that was it. I was worried it would go bad and I'd end up wasting money. Then I discovered a little thing called a freezer, and I've decided it's quite handy. Last time I went to the grocery store, I bought two pounds of ground beef, a case of chicken tenders, and some boneless pork chops. I froze everything but what I wanted to use that night, and I've had meat on hand for a few different meals now! Again, this isn't rocket science, but for whatever reason I am just now figuring out how to organize my food and plan meals.

There are also many ways to cook said meats. Last night I Googled "how to cook pork chops" and found a number of different articles. I ended up using Pioneer Woman's recipe for pan-fried pork chops. They were so easy and delicious, and I didn't even need to run to the store for ingredients.

I also make sure to keep a packet or two of taco seasoning in stock. Tacos are a relatively easy meal (as long as you have shells). And you can make them as complicated or bare as you want!

Potatoes. I've made potato wedges twice now, and both times they have turned out brilliantly. (Here's an easy PW recipe that you can adjust as needed.) First, though, you need to buy a sack of potatoes. It's like $5 at the store, and they last for a while. I wash a few (maybe 4 or 5), cut them into wedges, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook in the oven at 400 for 45ish minutes. You just need to take them out and turn the wedges over once or twice. Jordan loves these, and they pair up well with a meat you already have in the fridge and/or freezer.

Frozen vegetables. I buy the bags you can steam by cooking in the microwave. They're about a dollar each, and they're delicious. I stock up on these when I'm at the store, and we have vegetables on hand for weeks.

A bag of whole carrots vs. a bag of baby carrots. Much like the grated cheese vs. bag of cheese issue, I've found that buying a bag of whole, unpeeled, uncut carrots is a better deal and lasts longer than if I buy a bag of baby carrots. Yes, it does take longer because I have to cut and peel them all, but I think they are much more delicious. Also, I've found that I kind of like cutting carrots. Maybe that's just me. (Cut up some carrots and cook them in the oven with the potato wedges. Just do it. It's the most delicious thing ever.)

A bag of onions vs. one onion. Onions last a long time; at least, they seem to with me. But it's annoying to need an onion and not have one. One time I bought a bag of onions, and it was the best thing ever. When I needed an onion, I had it, and they took a while to run out. But I knew when I was running low and could prepare adequately. I will never go back to buying just one onion at a time.

Hot dogs w/chili, onions, and cheese. If you're like us and don't have a grill, you need to improvise. Cook hot dogs in a skillet and chop up some onions and saute them in some butter in the same skillet while the hot dogs are cooking. Then, you can either eat them as is or add some [grated] cheese on top! I've also started buying a few cans of chili, which makes for a super quick and easy chili dog. All I do is heat up the chili and get out the buns. A pack of hot dogs and a can of chili [with beans] can last awhile.

Instant rice and chicken bowl. Remember those veggies I told you about? Well if you make sure to have a box of instant rice on hand and a bag of frozen chicken in the freezer, you can make a chicken and rice bowl in no time. This is one of Jordan's favorite meals, and it couldn't be easier. Just cook some rice, heat up the chicken, put them together in a skillet with a bag of veggies, some cheese, and some spices/seasonings, and you have a delicious, healthy meal. And if you make enough, you can have leftovers for a day or two.

* * *

Those are just a few of the many new things I've been trying over the past month or so. And I've found that the supply of recipes is endless (thank you, Google). You just have to think outside the box sometimes or the bun or the take-out menu. Though we did order Chinese last night. But you can't really make that.... can you?



Yes, this post really does deserve all caps and three exclamation points. Because I have them. My disc of 813 wedding photos came in the mail today, and I am so excited. They turned out great. Perfect. Brilliant, in fact, and I can't stop looking at them. 

I'm normally not this self-centered, but right now I really don't care. 
So here are just a few in no particular order. Don't ask me to pick a favorite. I love them all.

Right down to the eight hundred and thirteenth picture. 

Reason No. 8,698 to Be Wary of Pets

[Note: names have been changed to protect the innocent. seriously.]

Yesterday was my first violin lesson with Grace, the cute, sweet flower girl from my wedding. Her mom, Abigail, asked if I would be interested and able to give Grace some lessons this summer. She'd never played a violin before and didn't read music, but she was so excited about playing, and her parents wanted to see if she really did want to pursue it. 

So I showed up at their house at 4:45, holding my violin in my left hand and ringing their doorbell with my right. Abigail opened the door with a smile and invited me in. Grace was standing by, ready and excited to begin our lesson.

I went through the basics of holding the violin, holding the bow, and what the strings were called. Everything was going great, until their cat calmly walked into the room. As a rule, I am not a cat lover, but neither am I a huge pet fan in general (don't hate me). However, as long as the animal doesn't bother me, I'm fine, and I'd been over to their house before. I didn't have a problem with this cat specifically. 

So the cat, as cats do, meandered around our instruments and music that were strewn about. My violin case was sitting open on the floor behind me, and Grace sat in facing me, her back against the wall. I was just in the middle of explaining how to tighten the bow hair, when her eyes got wide. She sat up straight and stared intently at something behind me. 

I turned and saw the cat sitting inside my case. 
Oh that's funny, I thought. It's sitting in my case. 

Then, to my surprise, amazement, and, shock, it stood up, lifted its tail, and began to pee. 
"It's PEEING!" I shouted. 

Then I started laughing. 
I laughed as Abigail jumped up in horror. 
I laughed as she grabbed the cat, said, "I'm so embarrassed," and ran from the room, shouting something at her son about cleaning the litter box. 
I laughed as I turned and looked back at Grace, who said quietly, "I've never seen him do that before."

I should have been horrified, and I guess I was, but it was just. so. funny. He just squatted right down on the green felt that lined the inside of my case and peed his little heart out.

To end this little story, I'll tell you that the cat mostly just peed on the green covering, which, thankfully, could be removed. So that got washed, and the little spot where pee got on the case itself is nothing a little febreze won't fix. Overall there was no harm done, except now I'll be much more wary of that cat. 

And next time I'll be shutting my violin case. 

Movie Review--Bridesmaids


On Friday, Jordan and I went to see Bridesmaids. He'd pretty much been boarded up in our apartment sick for a week, so he wanted to get out and see the world. Or... at least see a movie.

We narrowed down our choices due to time, length, and, most importantly, what movies were playing at the theater: Thor, X Men, Bridesmaids, and Super 8. Our final two picks were Super 8 and Bridesmaids, and since I'd heard from a couple of different people some good things about Bridesmaids, I made that our final choice. 

It started off with a scene showing two people involved, so I immediately was like, "Is this what this movie is going to be like?"

It, however, turned out not to be. The movie was funny, entertaining, even emotional at times. I really enjoyed how there wasn't a whole lot of crudeness or cursing, though the F word made an appearance more than I would have preferred (one of the reasons it was rated R). Overall, it was a good choice for a fun movie to see on a Friday night, and though I wouldn't say it was one I would care to watch over and over again, I would watch it again--with some girlfriends this time.

On a more personal note, I did enjoy watching those crazy bridesmaids, making me thankful for my friends, who certainly act (at least in public) more mature.

Oh yeah, and there was one super disgusting scene, which takes place after the characters get food poisoning. So beware. It was pretty gross.

Also, I made popcorn (NOT microwave; the real stuff) and stuffed a huge bag in my purse along with a bottle of water and a box of sour patch kids. Are you allowed to do that? No. But I did, and it was delicious. When you're forced to pay $10 each for a movie ticket, you gotta do what you gotta do. 

Bottom line: movie of the year, it was not. But if you want a funny, entertaining movie, this is a good one. Jordan liked it too, so even though his first choice was Thor, in the end I don't think he minded seeing this chick flick with me.

22 Months and/or 27 Days


As of today, June 10, Jordan and I have been dating 22 months. But four weeks ago from tomorrow we got married, so we had to start over at 0, which means today we're at 27 days, which isn't actually a very interesting number, so you probably don't care. Heck, I don't even care.

I will, however, tell you that in the past 27 days I have learned two interesting things about Jordan that I didn't know before; both of these things probably would have been helpful to know before we got married. Back then (27 days ago), I had the freedom to reevaluate my relationship status situation. Now, I'm stuck. 

Interesting thing #1: When Jordan gets sick, it hits him immediately and it hits him hard. I bet he's probably contagious for a while before it hits, flying under the radar, infesting me with his germs. And strikes, and he's laid up for a week, drinking two liters of Sprite a day (not kidding), leaving boxes of pills strewn about, and coughing all night. And, we're living together now, so I can't very well just say, "I'm going home now. See you later." Duh, we are home, and it's me (instead of his mom) who takes him to the doctor now and picks up his prescriptions. Because I'm his wife. Weirdness. Not that I mind taking care of him, but some warning would be nice. At least give me time to stockpile liters of Sprite.

I guess maybe that thing isn't so interesting. But it's something I learned, because on Sunday Jordan was running a 101-degree fever, and he's been sick all week. Poor guy.

Interesting thing #2: Jordan has a serious problem in the form of a man crush on Nathan Fillion. This became extremely evident two nights ago while we were watching an episode of Castle. (This might be a repeat story, because I posted this on Facebook as well, just to make sure I really got the word out. People need to know.)

Anyway, so we recently started going through seasons of Castle, which, in case you didn't know, stars Nathan Fillion. Occasionally while we're watching, Jordan will make a comment about how awesome Nathan Fillion is, how funny, etc., but this time in the opening scene Nathan Fillion walked out in his character's outfit from the show Firefly, which Jordan is also a fan of, seeing as how it stars Nathan Fillion. 

So Jordan leaped off the couch (wait...I thought he was sick?) and shouted, "WHAT?!"
Then he paused the screen.
"Mal?" I asked.
He proceeded to text two of his [read: male] friends and then continued to be giddy with excitement. 
He continued on like this for a few more minutes before finally sitting back down. Then he pressed "rewind" on the remote and watched the entire scene again.

When he finally turned to face me, I must have looked upset, because he immediately put his arm around me and said, "But don't worry. I have a woman crush on you."

Hmm. Honestly, I'm...not sure what that means. And, sorry to tell you, Jordan, but that doesn't really make it less weird. A woman crush? Yeah, no more of that.

Pleaseandthank you.

A Tale of Two Honeymooners, Part Four-San Antonio River Walk, Sea World, and Free Stuff!


{Note: In case you were wondering when I'll stop writing posts about my honeymoon, wonder no more. This is the last honeymoon post.}

{Note #2: This one's long, but it's mostly pictures, so you shouldn't have to exert yourself too much. You're welcome.}

After Jordan and I finished getting sick on free samples, we left Fredericksburg and headed west to San Antonio, were we would stay at the Westin--a hotel that faced the famous river walk, where, I might add, we were on the top floor and had a balcony. (It appears I am not a cheap honeymoon date. Sorry, Jordan.)

I drove this time, because, well, I'm actually not sure why. I think because Jordan was tired of driving. In any case, I turned on our trusty GPS, and we headed into the big city. We arrived in San Antonio after an hour and half and began looking for a place to park.

It's important to note that we had made a few major adjustments based on the previous day of driving. 1) I was driving, which negated my being a backseat driver and annoying Jordan. 2) We were not hungry. 3) We were not worried about our GPS taking us to the middle of nowhere. 

Still, for some reason, we reached our low point. Wednesday, May 18, was the day we got into our first married fight. I'm not going to go into it; we survived and we still love each other, so the details aren't important. What is important is the fact that we made it to our hotel, saw the Alamo, said, "I love you," and decided we weren't going to fight ever again...

...until later, when we argued because I wanted to go exploring and Jordan wanted to lie in bed and watch more Man vs. Food on the travel channel. Like I said, low point. 

But our smiles are genuine. I promise. Even at our lowest point, we were still happy to be together on our honeymoon. And our view was pretty cool too, so that helped.

See? Jordan wanted to lounge about. 

But I made him walk to the Alamo with me.

When we got back to our room, we found chocolates! Actually, a guy came and dropped them off for us along with a note that thanked us for spending our honeymoon at the Westin. That's why you tell people it's your stuff!

Then I told Jordan we were dressing up and going to dinner on the river walk. And we finally found someone to take a picture of us! That whole holding-out-your-arm-to-take-a-picture thing gets old. 

When we got back to our room, we found this:

It had come with a box of chocolates and a note thanking Mr. and Mrs. Hampton for spending their 20th wedding anniversary at the Westin. Since we didn't want to be charged for champagne we didn't order, we went down to the front desk to tell them about the switch. We were informed that the first box of chocolates (the ones that had been hand delivered) hadn't been for us. This, however, was ours. I thought that sort of thing only happened in movies. Not so, my friends, not so.

Again, that's why you tell people you're on your honeymoon.
You might get free champagne and more chocolate! 

The next day was Sea World day! We had talked about finding admission coupons, but it never happened, so we were resigned to paying the full $60 per ticket. But when we got up to the counter, I decided to try something I'd seen my parents do on occasion.
"Hello!" I said cheerfully.
A bored-looking girl stared at me, most likely confused by my cheerfulness. "Hey."
"How are you doing today?" I asked.
She smiled slightly, and I knew she was warming up to me. "Fine. How are you?"
"Great! You know, we're here on our honeymoon. You don't happen to have any coupons for honeymooners back there, do you?"
She shook her head.
"Nothing?" I asked again, looking sad. "You sure?"
She laughed. "No, ma'am. Sorry."
"That's okay! Just thought it wouldn't hurt to ask."
Then she said our total was $101 and some change. I looked at Jordan, and he shrugged his shoulders. We looked at our tickets later, and sure enough, she'd given us both the "child" price.

I couldn't believe it. "It worked! I saved us twenty bucks!"
So that's apparently how it's done, people.

We took a picture by the entrance and then headed in. We saw a couple of shows, some animals, ate lunch, and headed out six hours later. It was a good day.

As you can see, it was a bit cloudy, but it didn't rain on us, and I think it kept the people away, because it wasn't crowded at all.

We got back and went out to dinner at County Line. 
We sat outside on the river walk and ate a lot because it was delicious. 

Then we went back to the room and played Scrabble while watching the Thunder game, which they won. Wanna know who did not win? Me. Never mind the fact that I had four 30+ words; Jordan ended up winning by adding an s to some of my words and getting a bazillion points while I tried to come up with real words of my own. Don't worry, though, I'm not still mad about it. 

I tried to take an artsy picture of the board, but all I really got was a shot of the terrible, useless letters I had. Seriously. This is what I had to work with.

We left the next morning, and I didn't take any other pictures besides a few attempts to get a good one of the sunset as we drove home. All we got was a blurry picture of a truck, and I didn't think that would interest anyone. 

So there you have it--our honeymoon tales in four parts. If I learned anything from my week with Jordan, it's this:

--Eat often/bring snacks
--Announce your honeymoon status and get free/discounted stuff
--Take pictures and journal/take notes so you'll remember it all later and annoy your friends with lengthy blog posts (oh wait, maybe that's just me)
--When taking pictures, embrace feeling awkward and "touristy." You'll never see these people again.

And the important one...
--If your new husband groans about anything (exploring, taking unnecessary pictures, eating out, etc.), use this magic phrase: "When will you ever go on a honeymoon ever again?" He'll do what you want every time.

So basically I learned that manipulation is the key to a successful marriage.

The end.

The Void


My wedding was perfect.

But I suppose every bride says that, so I don't think anyone (besides my mother) would feel inclined to believe me.

Still, you should just take my word for it, because it was perfect. And all those things I was worried about? (Things like caring what other people thought of the wedding?) Yeah, I didn't worry about them so much. It really was, for me, a wonderful, beautiful day--the kind I'd dreamed about.

There was one thing, however, that was missing. Two people, actually, and the absence of those special people left a noticable void. And as this blog serves its purpose first to document funny happenings in my day-to-day world and second as a documentation of my life,  I would be remiss if I did not take the time to write about how sad I was that my paternal grandparents were unable to fly to Oklahoma and come to my wedding.

What made it even sadder was that the tickets had been purchased; the plans had been made. It was only on Friday, the day before the wedding, that they made the final decision to stay home in Illinois.  Earlier in the week, my grandpa had complained about pain in his right ear and headaches. Then I heard that he had gotten sick and been taken to the emergency room.

Still, we hoped he would be released, and they could simply change their tickets and fly in later on Friday. That ended up not happening, and on Friday morning my grandpa was still not feeling well at all. So they cancelled their flight, and my grandma called my mom to tell her they weren't coming.

I am so blessed to have four living grandparents. I have a strong Christian family tree with marriages that have lasted for decades and are still going strong. My dad's parents have been married for over six. For being in their late 80s, Grandma Lee and Grandpa Bernie are in great health. They had initially planned on making the thirteen-hour drive to Oklahoma. And they could have done it. They're crazy.

So I never even for a moment imagined them not being at my wedding, and when I heard the news I honestly didn't know what to think. I called my grandma first. It was Friday around noon, and she was at the store getting some food for Grandpa. We both barely held it together while we talked, and at the end of the call she was on the verge of tears. I can't say I've actually ever seen my grandma cry, so to hear her voice break as she told me she loved me and would be praying hard for our wedding almost put me over the edge.

I called my grandpa next, and he almost started crying too, which of course made me start crying. It was a mess. It had been bad enough when Jordan's beloved Papa Bob passed away less than two months earlier. Now my grandparents were going to miss our wedding too.

I told my grandpa to not feel bad; of course I understood why he couldn't come, and all I wanted was for him to feel better soon. Even though it made me sad, I was so glad I called them.

I found out later that my grandma told her brother (Uncle Bill) to "take some pictures for her." He took over 700.

I said that if I'd known that, I wouldn't have hired a professional photographer.

My wedding was perfect. But without sounding like a crazy person, I'll say that I believe it was because I had two people praying like mad for us all day. They left a void, yes, but my grandma put it best when she said that they were where they were supposed to be--at home, resting and getting better, showering us with love and blessings from three states away.

So thanks, Grandma and Grandpa.
Your granddaughter had a wonderful, beautiful, perfect day. The kind she'd always dreamed about.

Photo of Jordan, me, Grandma Lee, and Grandpa Bernie. Taken Christmas 2010.

A Tale of Two Honeymooners, Part Three-Sampling Fredericksburg


If you read Part One or Part Two of our honeymoon adventure, you know that on the morning of Wednesday, May 18, Jordan and I were preparing to leave Fredericksburg, Texas, and drive just over an hour to San Antonio, where we would stay until Friday before beginning the long journey home to Oklahoma.

After a breakfast consisting of apple juice and two HUGE muffins, we drove back to the reservations house to turn in our key. But since we weren't going to be able to check into our hotel in San Antonio until 3:00, and since it was only going to take an hour to get there, we figured it was the perfect time to explore the Fredericksburg shops. (We'd been foiled the day before when we discovered all the shops closed at the extremely late hour of 5:30--just when the early-bird dinner was being served up at Denny's).

It was 11:15  a.m. by this time, but neither of us was particularly hungry due to the hugeness of the muffins we'd inhaled just an hour earlier.

Our first encounter was this eagle, which had been carved out of a tree. Maybe it's one of those things you just have to see in person, but it was cool.

Not that impressed? Just wait. It gets better.

So we're walking along, window shopping and commenting on the cuteness of the town (okay, that was just me), when we came upon a window displaying a few jars of salsa and some BBQ sauces. We were about to walk past, but I stopped Jordan and commented on the salsa (I grew up with a dad who was always on the lookout for strange and interesting foods, especially salsas).

"Okay, let's go inside and check it out," he said.
"Welllll, all right."

If I knew what I was about to walk in to, I never would have considered not going in.

It was, in our estimation, the greatest store ever.

I only wish I would have taken a video or something, because the pictures I have don't even begin to show the awesomeness of this store.

There were counter tops everywhere filled with jars of BBQ sauces, marinades, dips, honey butter, apple butter, salsa,  jellies, jams, spreads, guacamole, and dry spices of any and every flavor you can imagine. There was at least six alcoves, and each one had three giant bowls filled to the top with wheat thins.

Yes that's right--we could sample whatever we wanted.
And we did. For a good forty-five minutes.

Oh yeah, and there was a fudge counter.
You better believe we sampled that too.

Considering the fact that we hadn't been hungry when we went in the store, needless to say we made ourselves sick eating sample after sample. And my goodness was it delicious.

By the time we dragged ourselves out of there, it was after noon. We congratulated each other on scoring a free lunch and continued down Main Street, holding our stomachs and occasionally glaring at each other.
"Why did you let me eat so much?" I asked Jordan.
"Are you kidding me?" He groaned. "Why did you let me eat so much?"

That's how it went for a few minutes. Then,
"Where do you want to go now?" Jordan turned and looked at me.
"Well," I said, pulling out my map (yes, I'm that person), "I really wanna go to the Amish Market. Amish people make good stuff."
What exactly I was referring to when I said "good stuff" wasn't clear even to me; I just knew I wanted to go. So we walked a few blocks down to the Amish Market, where we found a friendly woman wearing an apron, who welcomed us in and explained that all the cheeses and crackers and meats were processed and/or grown on an Amish farm and, oh by the way, we were welcome to sample anything we liked.

Our stomachs protested, but Jordan informed me that Bumgarners are nothing if not committed. And we'd committed to the Amish Market, and we were going to eat from the Amish Market.
Twelve crackers with assorted cheeses, two sticks of beef jerky, some red twizzlers, and a few handfuls of chips later, we were limping out of there and heading back to our car.

"We've got to get out of here," I said. "I can't take any more of this."

That's when we saw a sign for the chocolate shop. We went in, of course, because you need chocolate to wash down a lunch of samples. We were greeted by a kind, dimpled lady as soon as we walked in.

"Hello! How y'all doin'?"
"Pretty good."
"Have you ever been to Chocolat before?" she asked as she moved toward the back end of the store and stopped behind a chocolate counter.
"No, we haven't," I replied.
"Well, then." She slid open the counter door. "First timers get a free chocolate sample."

I chuckled and looked at Jordan. Of course they did.

Apparently these chocolates are a Fredericksburg specialty. They have pure liquid centers, so when you bite into the piece, you instantly get a shot of liquid. Wanna know the best part? Some of the chocolates are filled with alcohol.

I myself chose to sample the peach schnapps, which was soooo delicious. Jordan sampled the Baily's Irish Cream. Holy. Freaking. Cow.

So of course we bought three boxes (one for us, one for his parents, one for mine). His parents aren't alcohol drinkers, so we bought them chocolates that were filled with coffee. My parents like wine, though, so we got them a box of chocolates that were filled with either red or white wine--made in the Fredericksburg vineyard.

And then we left for real. After all, we'd stuffed ourselves of everything Fredericksburg had to offer.
So then we folded ourselves into our car and left for the second honeymoon destination: San Antonio.

That's coming up in Part Four. Stay tuned.

Wordless Wednesday (One Fish, Two Fish)


We went to the lake this weekend with my family, and Jordan caught a fish.

Then he caught a bigger fish. We named him Big Boy Jasper.
He's currently chilling in our freezer (pun INTENDED), wrapped in a towel. Jordan is in the market for a taxidermist. 

As my mom said, "You've got a manly man on your hands."
That I do. 
And a fish.