Sunday, May 29, 2011

When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Beach Bum

We went to Rehoboth Beach for Josh's birthday this week and it was fabulous!! We had never been to a beach together before (awful, I know) so this was a much-anticipated trip. The beach is about 2 hours south of us so it is close enough to make a day trip, but we stayed for 2 nights/2 days this time.
We didn't really do much besides lounge in the sand, play in the waves, and eat birthday treats. These capture the trip better than my words could:
Birthday morning cinnamon rolls
Birthday Dinner at Fish n' Chips
A mess of a birthday cake

Even though the cake turned out a mess, it tasted delicious! I used bakerella's moist yellow cake and buttercream frosting recipes found here. My downfall was that I didn't double the frosting recipe like she suggests because I didn't want to overdo it (I'm very particular with the amount of frosting) but I learned my lesson-it is better to have too much than not enough when it comes to frosting. Oh well, at least it tasted heavenly and we still have some to snack on 3 days later :)

It was a great trip and it made me like it here a lot more. Now we'll just have to go a lot!

I should wait for this, but I can't--a few weeks ago, a friend gave us a coffee table and side table for free. We were in need of those items, and while they wouldn't have been our first pick of furniture, we weren't really in a position to complain about something free. They can be seen here and here. When we got them, we decided a fresh coat of paint and some new drawer pulls would spruce them quite a bit, so we finally did it yesterday! For our first DIY project, I am incredibly pleased. Anyway, we are still waiting for the drawer pulls, so I will update as soon as we get them. Be excited.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Midlife Crisis

Let's just hope the title of this post isn't completely accurate, because that would mean I would only live to be 44. But it is how I felt last night.

Josh and I watched 180 Degrees South last night on NetFlix. You can learn more about this movie here. Josh loves documentaries and the outdoors, so when it is his turn, we usually end up watching something similar to this. Typically, they are very educational and interesting and we feel much better after watching them than after the "fluffy" movies I usually pick.

Last night's choice had a different effect on me though. It made me question what I am doing with my life. I spend so much time analyzing mundane things (where the picture frames should hang, what I am going to wear today, who's beating me in Words With Friends...) when there are so many bigger and better things to be doing and worrying about. I don't want to end up living in suburbia in 15 years and look back and think "I wish I had done something cool when I was younger and had time/energy/motivation/no kids." Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things that are worse than living in suburbia. I just don't know if it is what I want. I don't want to be caught up in the typical nothingness that consumes so much of our lives and seems to thrive in upper middle class areas in America.

The ultimate point of this is that I want to live a simple life. I want to have a large garden, a cow, 2 chickens, and a horse. I want to be entertained by nature, not by tv, movies, and celebrities. Along with all of this, I want to live close enough to a town/city that we can ride our bikes to the local market for whatever we need.

This all sounds very quaint and nice, but to be honest, I have no idea how to really live a simple life. But it just sounds so much better than the usual chaos that can surround us.

I think I want to live in Europe.

Josh and I had quite a lengthy discussion about this after the movie. Anything that makes you stop and look at where you are and where you are going is wonderful, because it is too easy to just keep sprinting down a road that you don't always choose or want to go down. We are happy and we both feel like we need to be where we are, but we had a chance to peer deeper at where we want to be.

The conclusion that I have come to is that this desire I have for simplicity could come in a multitude of ways. It could be camping locally every weekend or hiking the Appalachian trail (this is one of Josh's dreams). It could be volunteering in different countries (this is our organization of choice at the moment after watching that movie!) or simply volunteering at the homeless shelter. And it will be a lot of simple things, like recycling, making our own bread, and having a garden.

The biggest impact the movie had was the realization, or reminder, that the world is bigger than me. Moving has made it easy to focus on myself and what I need. It was so good to remember that there are bigger problems than what I have.

This has been somewhat of a rant, but I believe those are necessary and healthy once in awhile.
I hope I can look back at this in 10 years and smile as I look around and see I am living how I wanted to.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Getting Settled

We had to move again. Or I guess I should say, "got to move again?" Because our first apartment smelled like smoke, Josh complained enough until they let us move to a different apartment. The only smell in this one is paint, and I can handle that. That can be covered by air fresheners and candles, unlike smoke. We had a few guys from our new ward help us transfer everything over and we got it done in just a few hours. Everything is not completely settled here yet (we're still working on picture placements) but it's feeling like home.
a separate dining area!
my favorite spot, with a chair we got for $20!
the couch we finally picked after hours of study and research
a dresser that belonged to somebody's great grandma: $50

I have to brag about some of the great deals we got because we worked so hard to find them and we love everything we found. It's been fun to work on decorating our apartment now that we have so much more space!

One of the best things about getting the couch was that we got to go to Washington DC. We took advantage of the trip by going to the temple there, too. The DC temple is where Josh got endowed and where his family was sealed, and it was my family's temple when I was a little girl, so it has a special place for both of us. It was always the temple I wanted to get married in, but unfortunately it was a bit impractical at the time. But now I just get to go there with my groom whenever we want, so it all works out!

not a great picture, but it proves we were there!

The unfortunate thing about moving is that it is really expensive. We have essentially not had any money (or at least any fun money) since we got here and so our activities have been limited to Netflix, tennis, running, and Scrabble. Not bad, because those are some of my favorite things to do, but my most favorite thing to do has been an impossibility because of our current situation--eating out. I Love eating out. But, Josh's birthday is next week, so he got a free burger at Red Robin. We decided to splurge and it was just as wonderful as I could have imagined. I am just so obsessed. Plus, it was fun because Red Robin was where we went with a bunch of Josh's friends 2 years ago for his birthday. It was our first outing together as an official couple, so it was a nostalgic event as well.

There are so many great restaurants here that I am just itching to go to and try out, I can't wait until we can! The top two on my list are Buffalo Wild Wings and Chipotle, two of my favorite restaurants that I had to go without for far too long while living in Provo.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We made it!

We finally made it to Delaware/Maryland! The past three weeks have been full of several adventures and excitement, and yes, stress.

On one of our last days in Provo, we went to the Provo temple for one last time (hopefully not ever, but who knows!). It was really good to have a little bit of peace and time just with one another amid the business of graduation, family, goodbyes, packing, and moving. It was a tremendous help and strength. It wasn't easy to go, because we both felt like we had so much to do, but the best things are never easy, it seems.

The next day, we picked up our U-Haul trailer at 8am and had it loaded by 12pm. About 12:01pm, we realized there was no way our beloved Volvo was going to haul that thing across the country, or even around the block. The tongue of the trailer was about an inch off the ground, and the chains were dragging. This was not part of the plan. The Volvo had a tow capacity high enough for this trailer, we had gotten a good hitch put on (the day before), and everything was supposed to be perfect! But alas. It never is. I am a planner, and this move helped me realize that however much planning I do to prepare for something, it will still probably not go as I anticipated. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the Volvo struggling under the weight, but I think at this point that's a good thing because it would only make me sad (I really loved that car!). Anyway, it became clear that the best option would be to sell the Volvo and get a bigger car that could handle towing all of our stuff. The next 24 hours (literally--Josh and I were up at 3am looking at cars on KSL) were spent looking at cars, test driving cars, and trying to sell our car. Luckily we had looked into the option of another car a few months earlier, so we already knew what we liked and what was in our price range.
The miracle of the story comes now. We had also put the Volvo up for sale a few months earlier, just to see if we would get any interest, because we were wary of the struggle that long of a drive might be on a car with quite a few miles on it. We had one person contact us about it, 3 weeks after we posted it online. When we posted the Volvo up this time, however, we had SIXTEEN people contact us about it! Most importantly, we had one person buy it :) We were definitely being watched over and aided along in this journey.
Long story short, this is what we ended up with:

It does not have many of the comforts of the Volvo (i.e. heated leather seats, pull up booster seats, an auto dimming rearview mirror, etc) but look at how that trailer is sitting! And we are coming to like it more and more. I always wanted a Jeep!
So amidst all of this, I graduated college! And Josh got his Master's degree!
It was good and fun and it feels official now. I'm glad I walked and I strongly recommend it.
We finished packing up, our moms cleaned our whole apartment better than it had ever been cleaned before, and we finally said goodbye and got out 12 hours later than anticipated! Not bad, considering the major adjustments we went through.
Saying goodbye to the Knight Mangum Mansion--our first home together!
Then, after a 3 day drive, we got to take a break in Ohio and visit Josh's family. It was the first time in forever that we got to sleep in and do as we pleased all day. Much needed!
We had one more short 8 hour stint and then we arrive in Maryland, our new home. It was a gorgeous drive, but we were more than ready for the journey to be over.
We walked into our new apartment that we researched hours on the internet to find, and it smelled like smoke. Big letdown. Luckily, they cleaned the vents yesterday, and I think the problem is cured, but the verdict is still out on that one. I hate the smell of smoke, it permeates everything. Ugh. But-- our apartment feels huge after moving out of our studio+, so we are in the process of getting new furniture and making it feel like home.

our barren living room

hanging curtains
It's been quite an adventure, but through it all, we've had each other and we've been watched over and helped all along the way. It is a relief to have it over, though.