Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!





















Today is my beautiful mom's birthday. She is such a great mom, I can't even tell you how blessed I am to have her in my life. Although at times my mom and I, like all mother/daughters, had some major fights. When I was younger, I remember us getting into a fight and she got on the phone with my dad. My response was, "Oh, go call daddy on me!" Sometimes she would get upset and tell me that it didn't matter because "daddy" would just take my side.

Some might think that we have an unusually close relationship as we have talked about anything from sex to bowel movements. That's right! Poop!

One of the many things I love about my mom is that she is the one person I can tell anything to and I know she will still love me the same. When I got pregnant with Eastan, she was there for me through the entire experience. From the "official" phone call confirming I was pregnant to the moment Eastan was born. I never felt that she loved me less and she was willing to support me with any decision I made during that time.

My mom has made a big impact on many people's lives. If you told her that, she would disagree, but it's true. From being a counselor in the high school department at our old church, discussion leader at BSF, children's leader at BSF, Sunday School teacher at Fellowship, Children's Director at Fellowship, friend, wife and mom - she has made an impact.

My mom is also a delicate person but at times when she is needed, she is so strong. Amazingly strong. The first time I realized this strength was when my grandpa passed away in 2002. My dad was in Nicaragua at the time and she remained so strong for the entire family. When my grandma got sick this summer, she again, was the rock. She took care of all the details (as my dad was again in Nicaragua) and kept it all together during such a difficult time.
To wrap it all up, I love my mom! I can always count on her to lift me up, cry with me, tell me the truth when I need it most, share a bottle of wine with me, laugh with me....I could go on and on!
Mom - thank you for being a SPECTACULAR mom! I love you!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A few of my favorite things...

Every year, I am excited to pull out my Christmas ornaments. I have a few favorites, including new additions, that I thought I would share!

This cute little snowman on a stick was purchased about 2 years ago when I went shopping with my mom. She has one too and even though her table centerpiece is a little better than mine, I think I did a decent job on his centerpiece display this year.
This little guy was purchased the same day as above snowman. I try to hang him on the tree, but he is a little too heavy for our real tree's branches. Instead, he receives his own little spot on our entry table.

The above 3 ornaments were purchased about 3 years ago from Countryside Cottage. The "candy men" ranked no. 1 in my list until this year.

This Santa has been with me every Christmas since I was a little girl. My mom painted him a long time ago, so he has double sentimental value. She passed him on to me a few years after Nick and I got married.



This is a new addition to the ornament family. I got this Santa in a canoe for my little St. Nick.


I received this Santa at our annual "CG" ornament exchange. Thanks, Crystal! I found the whimsical ball ornament on my shopping trip with Jessica a month ago. (See "Squirrely Girly Crafts" entry.)

This monkey is now my no. 1 favorite. Although he isn't your normal Christmas ornament, I think he is so great! As some of you know, I have a small obsession with sock monkeys...I had to buy him!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Crazy Adult Party

Nick and I invited a few friends over to celebrate Nick's birthday & Christmas! Eastan told Nick's parents that we were having a "crazy adult party." I laughed at his comment but when the night was over, I decided Eastan gave a correct description of our party. I don't think writing about this party would serve it justice, so I will use pictures/video to tell the story.

I made sugar cookies (Nick's favorite) for the party.

Jeff Kelley, former member of the Ghettoblasters, was at our party.
Ashley Webster joined the fun....

as did the Bertholdi's
and, of course, Micah

Katie was festive in her Christmas shirt and silver scarf
The newlyweds were all smiles!


We were all having a grand time!

Jessica saw a picture of Eastan on the computer with his moon shoes. After asking what they were, I ran out to the garage and grabbed them. Since Jessica's nickname is "Safety Patrol" I grabbed Eastan's bike helmet so no one would get hurt. Jessica Bertholdi and Bethany also got in on the moon shoe action.



The fun continued with a few card games. While others continued to play the games, Ashley Webster decided she wanted to try the moon shoes out. Pay close attention to the commotion toward the end of the video. I'll explain on the other side.
video

I love that Jason and Justin are laughing so hard! They weren't the only ones laughing.

After the pieces of the table were taken out the garage, Nick decided it was time to read the story of St. Nicholas to everyone.

I apparently decided it was time to drink more wine.


The end.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nicholas


Nick turns 28 today! Happy Birthday!

I met Nick in 2000 but I saw Nick the first time in 1999 at Fellowship Bible Church. My parents started going to Fellowship and encouraged me to go with them. The first time I went, my mom pointed this guy out to me and said "he is really cute, don't you think?" I looked at her and said, "MOM, he is just a baby! Look, he has braces. I doubt he would want to date me, I have a baby!"

I began going to church regularly with my parents and didn't think much of the "cute boy" until he graduated high school and got his braces off. A mutual friend (Emily Shivers) introduced us after Nick told her that he thought I was "hot." For months, our relationship consisted of us saying "hi" and "bye" to each other at church until I called and asked him out on a date in May of 2000. We went to a wedding on our first date, fell in love, got engaged, got married and lived happily ever after.

Too bad all stories aren't like ours, right?! Ha!

Nick and I had a rough first three years of marriage. Really rough. It's amazing that God got us through it. Even though we went through things that would end most marriages, God brought us closer. Today, I love Nick more than I ever thought I could. I always wanted to be married to my best friend but I started to believe that wasn't how it really worked. I can now call him my best friend. He makes me laugh, he is the first person I call when I am upset and I look forward to spending time with him at the end of a long day. I respect him for the man he has become and for the dad he has become to Eastan. He has shown me unconditional love and I thank God for him all the time!

Here are a few things you may or may not know about Nick:

Contrary to popular belief, Nick does not love to workout. He says that out of the 5 - 6 days he works out, he only enjoys 1 or 2 of them. He is just very dedicated and does not want to be fat.
Nick does love to run in 5K races. His time is normally 20 minutes and a few seconds. Even after a night of drinking beer! I think he is super human.

Nick is addicted to playing pick-up basketball games at the gym. He has jammed many fingers, rolled his ankle, had a few black eyes, fingernail scratches, and has "almost" been in a few brawls. He is not quick to tell me about any injuries or mishaps because I quit giving him sympathy months ago. I know, I'm heartless. But really, he does it to himself and he can stop playing any time he wants!

One of Nick's gifts is discernment. After Nick meets a new person, he will usually tell me if he gets a "good" or "bad" vibe from him/her. My response is, "He/she seems really nice, you are too critical." Nine out of 10 times, he is correct and proves me wrong! I envy that gift because I am too trusting.

Nick is a very patient person. It shows when he practices spelling with Eastan. I almost poke my eyes out just listening and Nick remains very calm. I need a double dose of Lexapro to be as calm as him!

It takes A LOT to get Nick to raise his voice. If he does raise his voice at me, I know that I have done something really wrong. Then I cry.
Nick loves Jax. Wait, everyone knows that!

He loves, loves, loves Christmas. It just so happens that he was born on St. Nicholas' Day but that is not why his name is Nicholas. His name was decided before he was born. It fits great though because he loves Christmas so much!

I call Nick the human calculator. He is constantly calculating numbers in his head. I am totally dumb when it comes to math. I envy him in that area too!
Nick's favorite show is King of Queens. It's programmed on our DVR and he watches at least two episodes each day.

I could go on and I am sure as soon as I post this, I will think of something I should have added. I'll end with this:

Nick, you are an amazing person. You have grown so much since I met you in 2000. I am so proud to call you my husband and I only pray that I show you the love you have shown me. Have a GREAT birthday! I love you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Squirrely Girly Crafts

On Friday, Jessica and I took the day off to shop for Christmas decor at all the little gift shops in town. We visited approximately 11 shops and left each store with disappointment as we told each other that our next stop would be The One. When we did see something that was slightly appealing, one of us would say, "We can make that! All we need are a few pipecleaners, Styrofoam and glitter."
After visiting all the locally owned shops, we went to Pier 1. "Maybe this will be it," I told Jess. "We should have just come here first. All those foo-foo stores just aren't our taste." Again, we left empty handed. How could you disappoint us, Pier 1?

Our final stop was Hobby Lobby. Keep in mind, it was now a little after 4 p.m. and we began our outing at 10 a.m. We looked around at all the Christmas madness that is Hobby Lobby and ended up in the "decorate yourself" isle that was filled with pipecleaners, Styrofoam, glitter, paper mache reindeer, etc. Suddenly, our minds went CRAZY! Jess grabbed a package Styrofoam snowflakes and clear ornaments. I grabbed the paper mache reindeer. From there, we got a bottle of mod podge and headed to the scrapbooking isle. After getting caught up in the dark hole of scrapbooking, we finally found retro Christmas stickers and retro Christmas paper.

I don't think I could fully describe in words how crazy we got at this point. We were coming up with all kinds of ideas and even came up with a name for our new craft business - Squirrely Girly Crafts. We knew we couldn't quit our "day jobs" but we could at least sell our goods on esty.com. We decided not get too out of hand and stick to one project a piece. We finally left Hobby Lobby after about a hour and a half and decided we would spend Saturday afternoon on our crafts.

On Saturday afternoon, Jess came over to my house and we began. Our excitement slowly came to a calm when we realized maybe our ideas weren't so great after all. Nick came into the kitchen every 10 minutes or so and would say a few words of encouragement. After we finished our projects, we sat them out to display and went on to something we are a little better at - knitting.

As the night went on, our creations grew on us. We decided that we would bring them to work with us on Monday to see what our fellow crafty co-workers thought. "Maybe we are being too hard on ourselves and when the girls see them, they will really like them. Carla will tell us that we did a good job! Maybe we can even lead a craft night," I told Jessica.

Monday came and my optimistic thinking didn't pan out so well. Carla laughed, Marti thought we were a little "special" and it went on from there.

Here are a few pictures....constructive criticism is appreciated!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Best Movie Theater EVER


This weekend, Eastan, Zoe and I met my friend Carla and her kids at the new Hollywood Theater to see Madagascar 2. Not only did we see a hilarious movie, but we really liked - wait! LOVED the new theater.

Why, you ask, am I making such a big deal over a silly new theater? Let me tell you! If you know me AT ALL, you know that I have a little obsession over popcorn. Well, at Hollywood Theater, there is a butter/salt station. After you get your popcorn, you can walk around the corner and put your own buttery substance on the popcorn yourself. No charge! That's right, no charge! Just stick your bag under the butter machine and push the button. Want to shake your bag around so you don't have all the butter on the top pieces and none on the bottom? Feel free! Shake it a little. Add more butter! AMAZING!

Other awesome features at Hollywood Theater? Oversize seats, movable armrests, stadium seating, etc. Check it out!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween Fun

Here are a few pictures from our Halloween festivities. More to come at a later date!

A Word from Eastan...


I think Obama shouldn't be president because he will raise the tax prices, plus that means less food for the poor and less security for our troops and the people in Nicaragua.

I think people should vote for McCain because he will lower tax prices, fund more for the Nicaragua and the military in Iraq.

Vote McCain!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My mom and dad


Sunday was my dad's 53rd birthday! When I talked to him on the phone, he was celebrating with his best buddies on their annual pheasant hunting trip. He said he was having a great time, as always.

As you all know, I am a major daddy's girl and proud of it! I love my dad and am very proud to be known as Kim's daughter for a number of reasons...here are just a few as it would take way too long to list them all!

1. My dad is an honest man. Used car dealers have a bad reputation but my dad built his business on honesty. So much that he had many returning customers and when he sold his dealership, the buyer purchased the name "Bradley Motor Company."

2. My dad would scratch my back every night when I was little. It didn't matter how tired he was, all I had to do was lay on the couch next to him and he would scratch until it was time for me to go to bed.

3. My dad left his successful business to become a missionary. Along with his hunting buddies, they began the non-profit organization Project H.O.P.E.. They have built countless homes, helped many with medical needs, trained pastors for communities, and provided preschools for the Nicaraguan children.
4. My dad showed me "tough love" during a very difficult time in my life. Although I did not understand his logic at the time, I am very thankful now.

5. People love my dad. I'm not just saying that because he is my dad. They truly love, admire and want to be around him.

6. My dad taught me that love is a choice, not a feeling.

7. My dad is very strong in his faith and has been a great example to me.
I could keep going, but I will save it for birthday number 54!
I love you, Dad!
A bushel and a peck,
And a hug around the neck.
- Pooh




Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Perfect Sunday

On Sunday, we went to the Rutledge Wilson Farm with the Bertholdi's. We had a terrific time!

Here are a few things we learned:
1. Eastan was a great big buddy to Finn.
2. Finn likes to poke horses in the eye.
3. The $3/person hayride probably wasn't worth our $9.
4. Pumpkins start out green.
5. Troy is better at milking a cow than Nick.
6. Goats poo looks a lot like black beans.
7. Finn's answer to everything is "no." It's not JUST his response to Ashley.
8. When other people aren't around, Finn really does like Ashley.
9. A corn maze would be better if you couldn't see over the corn stalks.
10. Rutledge Wilson Farm is a really cool place that we never knew about.

All in all, we had a GREAT time. We went to the Bertholdi's for an after "pumpkin patch" party that carried on into the evening. Perfect Sunday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Winner, winner. Chicken dinner!

I won something! Earlier this year, I joined an online community http://buffbrides.ning.com/. It was started by Michelle Sherwood at KSPR to help others get fit, eat right, lose weight and live better. Anyone who joined the community was entered into a drawing for a calorie counter...and I won it! I was so excited because I rarely win drawings. Michelle dropped it off to me at work today and I can't wait to try it out.

Thanks, Michelle!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Passionate Republican

Over the past year, I have realized Eastan was born a republican. During the primary and going into the Presidential election, E has been very vocal about his dislike for the democrats. I'm not really sure where he gets it as Nick and I rarely discuss politics. Here are a few examples:

During the summer, I took the day off to spend time with E. We had to stop by my office for a second. I was sitting in a coworker's office and out of the blue, E says, "I hate Hillary Clinton. She is stupid!"

During the primary, anytime a Hillary ad was on, E would say, "Down with Hillary." When asked why he didn't like Hillary, his response would range from "her husband was a bad president" to "she isn't a nice person."

E was very happy when Hillary lost the primary.

This morning, E and I were watching the Today Show and they were talking about Barack Obama. E's response to the topic of discussion:
"Suck it, Obama."

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Behavior Report

Nick and I requested a daily report from Eastan's teacher when we realized he was not turning in his homework and failed to bring a behavior report home. On this report, Eastan's teacher lists all the homework Eastan has for the day along with a "grade" of his daily behavior. We then sign off on the report after his homework is completed. The report goes back to his teacher each morning.

Nick and I love to open the report to a bright, shiny "S" (for satisfactory) glowing at us. Then there are the days when we have a "NI" for needs improvement...or worse are the days when a big, ugly "U" glares at us. I imagine this "U" laughing it's villain laugh as Nick and I decide how to handle the situation.

The second Nick sees the "U" he goes into depression. OK, maybe not that bad, but he is the one that wants to fix it immediately. He wants to correct E's behavior. Nick wants to know why E can't just have all satisfactory days.

I, on the other hand, tell Nick that we can't always have a satisfactory day. Some days are bad. Then I remind him of all the progress E has made over the past year. Nick will agree, but still the big, ugly "U" lingers in the back of his head and will usually cause tension through the evening.

Yesterday was a "U" day. Unsatisfactory. YUCK!

Nick went into his usual, "What do we do? How do we fix this problem? Why doesn't he get it?"

I went into my usual, "Let's wait to find out what he did. At least it isn't as bad as last year...blah, blah, blah..."

Since we were at Community Group last night, we weren't able to discuss the problem with E until this morning. Nick got up and began E's daily devo as usual. When they were done, Nick asked E why he got a "U."

This was his explanation:
E: I was just in class and we were discussing the Germans and I said that Nazi's suck balls.

N:(After taking a second and trying not to laugh)
How could you have rephrased that?

E:I could have said Nazi's aren't good.

N: Who did you learn that from anyway? Like how to talk like that?

E: My friends.

So, that is why E got the "U" on his behavior report yesterday. I really don't know what else to say...

Monday, September 22, 2008

"He said what?!"

On Friday, Eastan was playing on the computer while waiting for the bus. I looked at the clock and saw it was past time for him to go outside. I told him that he better get out outside or he would miss the bus. This sent him into a panic. "I don't know where my shoes are!" he cried. I looked down and they were sitting at my feet. Frantically (I'm not exaggerating here!) he put them on as he cried, "I am going to miss the bus!" I looked out the window, "The bus is there Eastan."

As Eastan ran out the door, I called after him "be careful!" At that moment he bit it. Then he laid there for a while.

"You're okay, buddy. Get up and get on the bus!" I said. He just stood there crying and then began to walk back to the house. I waved the bus driver on.

Before you start to think that I was being mean and the least bit sympathetic, I have to tell you that he fell on the wet grass. This was not a fall on the concrete.

He came inside and his jeans were wet from the dew on the grass. I got him a dry pair of jeans and a new t-shirt. After he changed, I told him that we should hurry so we could catch the bus while it was still in the neighborhood.

This is when it happened. Eastan looked down at his wet duffel bag, kicked it and said, "shit."

Ashley (shocked): Did you just say 'shit'?
Eastan (nonchalantly): Yes, I am mad.
Ashley (still shocked that he is acting like it's no big deal): I don't care if you're mad. You can't just say that.

As those words left my mouth, I felt like a hypocrite. How many times have I used that word when I was mad. I haven't used it around Eastan, but I've used it. How many times, when I was in 4th grade, did I cuss with my friends thinking it was "cool."

I didn't know what to do. I had a flash of The Christmas Story run through my head. You know, the part where Ralphie cusses when he drops all the bolts in the road while helping his dad change the tire. I thought about putting Eastan up on the counter and sticking a bar of soap in his mouth. But I didn't and I had no idea what to do. So we got in the car and I dropped Eastan off at another bus stop.

I called Nick when I got back home to tell him our story. His response, "He said what?! You didn't do anything?"

Suggestions on how to handle this situation the next time my (almost) 10 year old throws out the s-bomb or worse?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bitten

I began reading the Twilight Saga this summer and am now on the fourth and final book. Amazingly, I haven't had any vampire themed dreams...until last night. I had a very vivid dream that I was about to be bitten by a vampire.

For those of you who have not read any of the Twilight books, here is a little background. According the Stephanie Meyer (author of the series) when a human is bitten by a vampire, the venom flows into your blood and burns your insides as you transition into a vampire. This process lasts approximately three days. THREE DAYS of your insides burning!

So, back to my dream...I was on my kitchen counter with my knees up to my chest, pushing myself against the back splash. The vampire was laughing at me, telling me that I could not get away. I kept begging him to not do it. "Please! I don't want to be in pain for three days. I don't want to be immortal!"My mind was flooded with thoughts from the book as I remembered all I have "learned" about the agonizing transition from human to vampire. I was so scared but I couldn't do anything about it! I was bitten by the vampire.

This morning before getting ready for work, I sat down with my coffee and read another chapter of Breaking Dawn. I have a little under 200 pages left and I will be finished with the series. But don't you worry! Twilight, the first installment of movies based on the series is coming to theaters November 21. I hate to admit that I have watched the movie trailers multiple times. I am officially a twlighter. I am bitten.

Now Boarding the Bandwagon

Blogging...it's the new trend among our family and friends. Nick suggested that we (meaning I) start a blog. My response was, "What would I write about?" After thinking about it the past few weeks and reading other blogs, I realized I could write about anything. Even the every day mundane life we live. If anything, I can look to see where we have been and where we are going.

Warning: If you know me at all, you will know I tend to tell what is on my mind even if it's totally inappropriate. Saying that, I am sure you will read posts that tell too much personal information, make no sense at all or make you laugh and cry.
Welcome to my family!

At a Cardinals game in May
Brooke and Tyler's wedding reception
E at Kanakuk