Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Well, tomorrow's our last day in Abilene. This week has been bittersweet. We're very excited about moving to Urbana and settling into our new house, but it's hard to say goodbye to everyone in Abilene. I'm not particularly attached to the town itself, but I sure have made a lot of good friends here. I had my last Book Club meeting on Thursday; went out to eat with my aunt and uncle Saturday; Darby and I went over to our friend Aaron and Laura's house to play a game on Sunday; I hung out with Erin and Em last night; and I went out to lunch with my Student Life ladies today. That's a lot of goodbyes! Plus, tomorrow night is our last night at Westgate. That's going to be hard. We love all the people at Westgate, and we've just recently started to get close to a lot of the young married couples. I know we'll find another good church in Illinois, and I'm sure we'll make new friends, but it's hard to say goodbye to all of the great friends we have here.

My mom came in today to help us finish packing and cleaning. It's so nice to have her here. She and I watched 27 Dresses tonight while Darby was hanging out with a friend. A chick flick and pints of Blue Bell ice cream with my mom...pretty fun night! Both of our dads are coming in tomorrow night. It's really happening!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

T Minus 7 Days

In exactly one week, we will be on our way to Illinois. It's so crazy! The last month has gone by so quickly. We're both busy packing, finishing stuff up for work, and squeezing in last-minute visits with friends.

Here's a couple pictures of the mess that is our apartment. (I took these pictures several days ago, so it is MUCH worse now).

The holding area. We now have about 25 boxes stacked in that tiny area of our living room.

The Goodwill pile. It has also grown considerably. I just want to make one trip, so I'm waiting until the day before to make a Goodwill run. (If you see something that you gave us in this pile, please do not be offended; we are pretty brutal in our paring down!)

The mess is kind of stressing me out, but I know it's only temporary. We're actually doing really well on our packing. We packed up almost the whole kitchen last night. That's always the most difficult room, so I feel good about our progress.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fat Tuesday Reunion!

All of my Fat Tuesday gals got together at Lake Travis this weekend to spend some time together before Kalyn and I make our big moves to the Midwest. We stayed in a condo on The Island on Lake Travis, which was so nice. We spent a lot of time talking, swimming, and, of course, eating. On Friday, we went to downtown Austin and walked around. Then we headed over to The Oasis for dinner. If you ever are in Austin, definitely eat at The Oasis. It was such a beautiful restaurant; the view of the sunset was amazing, and the food was really good, too. It was a great relaxing weekend, and it was so much fun to spend time with all the girls. We're definitely going to make the reunion a yearly thing.

Google Maps definitely failed me on this trip, though. Erin, Em, and I were riding down together, and I looked up the directions for us. I thought some of the roads looked kind of small, but I figured it would be fine. Well, we ended up on this tiny country road for about 25 miles. Erin was driving, and she has a big fear of getting stranded on a country road, so she was really nervous. It was getting dark, so that added to the tension. But, we made it out, finally. The map was correct, but we looked up another route for the way home. It was a much better road, and MUCH faster. So, lesson learned...if the road looks tiny on the map, it is tiny.

Em, Kalyn, Carolyn, and Erin

Carolyn at the Austin Museum of Art. They had a little family room where kids could make their own art projects. So naturally, we had to participate.

Me, Erin, and Carolyn being dumb at the State Capitol.

Me, Erin, and Brittany at The Oais.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Penny Pinching

I'm finding it kind of funny all of the news segments and magazine articles that are being written about saving money now that the economy is not so hot. These are the most popular tips I hear/read:

1. Buy generic brands at the grocery store.
2. Walk/carpool as much as you can.
3. Eat at home rather than eating out.

Seriously? Can people not think of these things themselves? Also, what if you have been doing those things for a long time? Is there no way for you to cut back on your expenses?

I've found a couple of more creative ways to save money. One of these is making my own cards for birthdays, weddings, etc. At $3-4 a pop, store-bought cards can really set you back. I enjoy crafty things, so I've started making my own cards. It takes a little more time, but since it's something I enjoy doing, I don't mind. I buy boxes of 50 blank colored cards at Michael's for about $7. I use scraps of paper and stickers leftover from my scrapbooking, so the cost is very minimal. I'm estimating that I save on average $8-10/month. It might not be a whole lot, but it adds up. Plus, I get the satisfaction of creating something myself and personalizing every card.

What about you? Do you have any creative tips for saving money?

Monday, July 07, 2008

One Year

It's hard to believe it's already been one year since Darby and I got married. The past year has gone so quickly. In other ways, though, it feels like we've been married much longer. It's hard to remember what life was like before we were married. The past year has been the best of my life. I love being married to Darby, and although our wedding day was so much fun, I am so glad we are through with that phase and into our actual marriage.

Below is a picture of the mini-scrapbook I made Darby for our anniversary. Each page highlights a different season of the past year. I had a lot of fun putting it together and thinking about all of the fun memories we've had.

(Am I a dork for taking a picture of my own scrapbook? Probably so. What can I say? I was proud of myself.)

We were going to go to Cypress Street Station (a nice restaurant in Abilene) on Saturday night, but they were closed for the holiday weekend. So we ended up going to Olive Garden, our old standard, instead. I was kind of disappointed about Cypress Street, but Olive Garden was still a great meal, and we're going to try to go to Cypress St. right before we move. We're not doing anything too fancy tonight since our weekend in Dallas was part of our anniversary celebration. We'll go to Starbucks after dinner because we have a free coupon. And we'll eat the pieces of wedding cake my mom saved for us. I don't have high hopes for cake that's been in the freezer for a year, but we'll see! Whatever Darby and I do, we always have fun. I am so thankful for this past year and look forward to many, many more.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Darby!

The love of my life was born 23 years ago today. We've known each other almost half of our lives and been together more than a quarter of our lives. We've had so many fun memories over the years, and it's incredible to me that our journey is just beginning. I could go on and on about how great he is, but I'll spare you readers the mush, and just say that I'm so blessed to have him in my life.

We technically already celebrated our birthdays together, but, of course, I still wanted him to have a few special things on the actual day. We went to Sharky's for lunch and had red velvet cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting (his choice...I cooked the cake a little too long. Grrrr... But he assured me it still tasted good). Tonight, we're having one of his favorite meals (cheesy stuffed shells), and there's a homemade ice cream night after church. Perfect timing, huh? I'm making dulce de leche ice cream. I hope it turns out! It stinks that Darby has to work today, but we're both looking forward to the long weekend!