Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 15, 2008

sounds like somebody needs to sing a christmas carol...

If you haven't seen the movie Elf, you should. There are enough one-liners to get you through the entire Christmas season.

I've looked forward to our first Christmas for a while. As I'm sure you've figured out by now, I'm extremely sentimental. I'm always looking for some sort of memory in the making. And Christmas is pretty much the perfect time to do that. So, Christmas has crept up more quickly than I expected, and all of the Christmas moments I had imagined have been getting choked out by unemployment, a few common colds, and a crazy work schedule. I've been fighting to make - and enjoy - the memories of our first Christmas. This week, I started to sit back and breathe and talk myself into a little relaxation. I love Christmas and I didn't want to lose sight of that. So we've been experiencing a Christmas extravaganza of sorts. The list includes, but is not limited to:
  1. Christmas Movie Marathon: Home Alone, Elf, Polar Express
  2. Christmas Candle: Sparkling Cinnamon
  3. Christmas Pajamas
  4. Apple Cider in my reindeer mug
  5. Company Holiday Masque Party
  6. Nanny Johnson's Christmas China
  7. Wrapping presents with the Rat Pack
  8. Oh Holy Night on the Christmas Piano CD
Get the idea?

I've been merry-ing up our Christmas and intend on doing so for the next week. Join in on the fun, okay?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas with the Castrodales

We promised a tour of our Christmasy home, and here it is...

A before shot: inspecting the Christmas trees...

Our first REAL Christmas tree - full of ornaments from each of our childhoods. And a few new ones that we gave to each other in honor of our first Christmas.

This is what my sweet husband does when he doesn't have a job. After we made our stockings, he wanted to sew yarn on everything in sight...

I think this picture is crooked because I was focusing on the stockings...which are crooked. Oops.

Merry Christmas!

In other news, you remember that Andrew got laid off a little over a month ago, right? He really hasn't had any leads at all, until this week when he got TWO interviews! He's on his way to the second one as we speak. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. It has made this whole situation a lot more bearable. And the Lord is so good to provide for us...again and again and again. Keep your fingers crossed and we'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

giving thanks

I don't even know where to start! Thanksgiving was wonderfully relaxing. We started with a trip to Concord to stay with Andrew's family - complete with parents and a grandmother and aunts and uncles and cousins and Laura - who I all love. Just a lot of eating and laughing. Doesn't get much better than that, does it? Here we are on Thanksgiving day....

And on the day after Thanksgiving, having a late brunch at Waffle House (we all shopped at midnight, so sleeping in was inevitable) From left to right, it's Jeff (Andrew's cousin), Laura (sister), Dixon (cousin), Uncle Patrick, Preston (cousin) and Luke, mid-bite (cousin).

After enjoying our time there, we headed to Youngsville to see my parents and brother. Our delayed Thanksgiving dinner? BBQ Chicken, mac and cheese, potato salad, creamed corn and field peas. Love it!

We settled in back home on Sunday and began the task of dragging Christmas decorations out of the attic. I've been waiting for this since last year when I bought a ton of stuff for 75% off the week after Christmas. And my mother also packed up a box for me, so I was anxious to remember all that I had. I'll wait until I've put the final touches on our house to show you all pictures. We're finishing our homemade stockings and I'd like to put up a wreath so you can get the full effect! Until then, here's a sneak peak...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

a wintry weekend with friends

Every October since I was a freshman in college, a big group of our friends pile into a few cars packed high with sleeping bags, hot chocolate and the makings for grilled cheese sandwiches and head to the mountains in Virginia, where one friend's grandparents have a house. We stop at Meredith's parents' house on the way for a bbq dinner and then head up north, getting in when it's late and usually pretty cold. We spend the weekend playing games by the fire, hiking, catching up and - when we were still at UNC - enjoying Fall Break and not thinking about schoolwork. This year, we continued the tradition for a fifth year, but we couldn't get our schedules aligned any earlier than this past weekend. And so, with a our winter weekend getaway, came snow! It had melted away from the roads, but was still on the ground and trees and it was absolutely beautiful. It was bitterly cold, so we spent most of the time inside. I'm convinced that aside from snowball fights and snow angels, snow quiets the earth so we can rest. And while the topic of conversations has shifted from quirky professors and exams to health insurance and company Christmas parties, it was amazing how we were able to pick up right where we left off.

So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

in the air there's a feeling of Christmas...

Andrew and I enjoyed another lovely weekend in Concord. We took the trip this time for the Southern Christmas Show in Charlotte. I have been looking forward to this all year! It was absolutely beautiful and even though it was 70 degrees outside, I felt Christmasy the second we walked in. The picture above is one of the "Christmas Around the World" displays. I don't remember what area or era this display represents, but I liked it because it reminded me of the Nutcracker. I especially like the little girl reading on the stairs. I think she's cute.

We had such a wonderful time. There was lots to see - arts and crafts, pottery, jewelry, food, Christmas decorations, etc, etc. Maybe my favorite part of the day was meeting Bill. Andrew and I were taking a rest on a bench, waiting for his family to meet us for lunch. Bill, who was probably in his 70s, dressed in a suit and Christmas tie, sat down beside us and preceded to take some snacks out of his neatly packed lunchbox. I started a conversation with him because he seemed nice. He worked at the Christmas Show, manning one of the many exits to make sure sneaky people didn't creep in without paying. As he was munching on a cherry turnover and sipping on some lemonade, he began to tell me about his job at the Christmas Show. The whole time, I noticed one of the other door watchers (a nice lady) kept looking his way. And smiling. And I thought, "Way to go, Bill! You've caught the eye of the pretty door watcher!" As we talked, he told us that he worked the Christmas Show every year with his brother, sister-in-law and his wife. Then he smiled and pointed to the door watcher and said, "That's my wife."

You guys...I melted. I can only hope that in 50 years, Andrew and I eye each other like my friend Bill and his sweet wife.

So that was our Christmas Show adventure. We got some Christmas shopping done, but mostly we just enjoyed Christmas things with family. And now, it is officially Christmas at the Castrodale home. We've been listening to the music since Sunday. Soon it will be Christmas Day...

Friday, November 14, 2008

for better or worse

Well, folks, it's been one week since Andrew got laid off. It was a huge shock and obviously not the most ideal of circumstances, but we really believe that it is absolutely an answer to a prayer. Andrew has been miserable with his job for a while. Lately it's gotten even worse, pushing us to consider the option of quitting. Before we could even make the decision, he was let go. I think that was God's way of telling us that he heard our prayer and would make the difficult decision for us. And because we know that God orchestrated this series of events, we know that he'll continue to work it out. I think that if Andrew had quit, and then months later found himself still without work, we would have doubted the decision. Now we know that it was out of our hands and in someone else's. What peace there is in that!

Everyone that knows has been so supportive, which is very encouraging. My aunt said that this will be one of those times that we look back on in 20 years and say, "Remember when we were newlyweds and you got laid off? Wasn't it awesome how everything was still provided for?" Honestly, we've been very blessed for the last eight months and having to exercise our faith has been refreshing. Sometimes we get comfortable in the good and forget to be thankful and I had forgotten the peace that comes with trusting when things are foggy. Does that make sense? Rambling, I know.

So things are little more conservative around the Castrodale household, but there's nothing wrong with that. Andrew spends his time looking for work (full time and part time, whichever comes first) and helping out around the house - which I LOVE. He's such a sweet man. I did have to talk him out of growing a "lay off beard." Not something I want to see every evening, you know?

Just keep us in your prayers, if you don't mind. Other than that bit of news, things are pretty normal. Nothing fancy or exciting going on. We'll keep you updated!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

take a moment to enjoy the brilliance of autumn colors

That's what my Dove candy wrapper said the other day. I think that this is the prettiest fall we've had in a while. But Andrew called this morning while on his way to work to say that he thinks the leaves are at their peak and I'm a little sad. I have this urge to leave work and go for a scenic drive. Only I work in downtown Durham so I'm not sure where I would go. But there's this tree outside my office window that's a swirl of amber and rust colors. And suddenly, the Nanny Dee comes out in me and I want to press a leaf or two in a big book to save for later. I get a lot of joy out of the pretty colors God chose to paint this earth with and I pray I can enjoy it for just a few more weeks. At least until I can be distracted by Christmas :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

unoccupied time

Andrew has had to work late twice this week. And I don't do well when I'm alone with nothing to do. I come from a family who doesn't handle down time very well. My dad hibernates when the days get shorter because there are no more outside projects to be had. My mother goes on cleaning frenzies when she's not teaching because she knows that sitting still probably isn't a good thing. And one of the saddest summers of my entire life was when I was at Carolina and summer school was finished and I was only working 15 hours a week. Yikes.

But the good Lord has showed me that I can prepare for down time and find great joy in it. So this week, I planned ahead: grocery shopping, a girly movie, some laundry, etc. I laugh looking back on Tuesday night...

1. I bought Gerbera Daisies for myself
2. I bought Oreos for myself
3. I rented PS. I Love You. Geez...cry fest coming right up...
4. I painted my nails

Don't worry, I recovered. Tonight has been much more joyful. I decided to use a gift card to Crate and Barrel so I headed to the mall after work. And what I found was pure bliss. (WARNING: Random tangent ahead) Believe it or not, it was decorated for Christmas. My first thought was, "Really? How about we get past Halloween?" I've always been the strongest proponent of the whole Christmas post-Thanksgiving tradition. But in my little hour at the mall, I convinced myself that this isn't necessary. I bought a Christmas ornament. I spent my gift card on Christmas cookie cutters and a Reindeer coffee cup. I called Andrew on the way home and told him that the Castrodale tradition should be celebrating Christmas whenever you want. What a beautiful holiday and why do I only get 3 weeks to enjoy it? I don't like that. And he agreed.

So here I am, sitting in my sweatpants and my husband's t-shirt. I can smell that the heat just kicked on. I'm finishing up some leftover lasagna and listening to James Taylor at Christmas, the most amazing Christmas CD...EVER. And I am completely full of joy because it's October 30th and children will change their identities for candy tomorrow, but I have been sweetly reminded that Christmas is right around the corner. I do get lost in the commercialization of it all, but mostly I love that I can celebrate Jesus. I always think about Mary and how totally freaked out she must have been this time 2000 years ago. My heart always does little flips when I remember what Christmas is about and THAT should not have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving. So in the words of my friend James, go tell it on the mountain. That Jesus Christ is born.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Hal - oween

This weekend, we carved a jack-o-lantern. We didn't really want a scary one (I didn't want to scare off any of our potential trick-or-treaters!), so we opted for a silly one. And we're calling him Happy Hal.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a fair occasion

As you know from last week's post, we went to the fair this past weekend. It was Andrew's first time and although it may not seem like a big deal, I was very excited to share the experience with him. And believe me -- it's an experience.

After checking out a few of the exhibits - namely the Green Tent with all sorts of eco-friendly booths and some random exhibits selling general merchandise, we decided it was time for Fair Food #1: The Turkey Leg.

(Don't worry, we shared!)

Then it was on to the produce and livestock exhibit, which was very cool. Here's the blue ribbon pumpkin, weighing in at 667 lbs! (Any ideas on how you actually transport a pumpkin like that to the fair?)

And snack time again: a cortland apple. Very tasty.

We also shared a roasted ear of corn and an elephant ear. Fair food can't be compared to anything else, so we came hungry. We didn't ride any rides, but we did go through a fun house. The moving stairs didn't move and the conveyer belt didn't convey, so it was mostly just a regular house, but still fun. We enjoyed all of the exhibits, but I think our favorite was the Village of Yesteryear. We spent over an hour walking around to look at all of the handmade crafts - pottery, carved wood, leather art, Christmas ornaments, baskets, was amazing. And everyone was dressed up like they were from another century, so that was entertaining too.

As we wrapped up our fair experience, we had a pretty cool ending. Every night of the fair, at 9:45, they shoot off fireworks. We made our way to where the fireworks were, but all of the good seating areas were roped off. We decided to just hang out until they actually started going off and then we could move accordingly to get a good view. We walked to the top of a hill and found two folding chairs leaning against the building - perfect for a little break. Turns out, we had the best seat in the house and we didn't even know it.

We were tired and slightly smelly when we got home, but it was totally worth it. Maybe, this can be the start of a fun tradition. (As long as there are turkey legs and elephant ears)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

it's almost the weekend...

And that means many things:

I'm attending a scrapbooking party on Friday night with Mir. I get to sleep in. I plan to start a new book. I'll see my parents and brother for a Sunday afternoon visit. AND I get to spend some time with that boy who's been working too late this week. And we're going to the State Fair. Andrew's never been and I'm sure that after a few turkey legs, elephant ears, fried twinkies and apple cider, he'll never be the same.

Welcome, weekend!

Monday, October 13, 2008

welcome to nahunta, georgia

That's where we spent our weekend. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere. If we drove straight through, it would have been about six and a half hours, but once you calculate gas breaks, bathroom breaks and dinner breaks, it ended up being about eight. YUCK is what I have to say about that. Luckily, the end result was a fun weekend with Andrew's awesome family. They've been so welcoming of me and I always have a great time -- lots of food and laughing, can't get much better, right?

With a long car ride, we had to come up with fun things to enjoy about the trip. Which is hard to do when 90% of the trip is on I-95...home to inappropriate billboards about adult bookstores and South of the Border.

YUCK is what I have to say about that also.

So we played to expression game...

"Hours and Hours of Driving"

"Ryan's Steakhouse for Dinner"

"Cracker Barrel for Dinner"

And we found this place somewhere along the way. I thought it was funny. "Hey, are you having car trouble? Just take it to OK Service. They do an alright job. Pretty mediocre, but it'll do."

It could have easily become torture being on the road for that long, but we managed to still love each other in the end. That's good news, considering my hatred of being in any car for over an hour. Good thing I didn't marry an annoying guy :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Shack by William P. Young

I just finished reading it and it was amazing. I HIGHLY recommend it. I had never heard of it until about a month ago and in one weekend, it came up three times in conversation. Then on that Monday, I heard about it on the radio and found out that a friend of mine was reading it. So I decided to get it myself. I had no idea what it was about, but I figured that anything that organically makes it to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List is worth a shot. And it totally was.

I won't go into any detail about it, in case you read it, but it definitely goes in the genre of "books that shape your faith." Right along with Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and Kingdom of Couches by Will Walker (both of which you should also read, right after you read The Shack) It took me a few weeks to read it, as there is some pretty heavy stuff in there, but every time I read some I would stop several times and read parts to Andrew because I thought it was all so profound. He's next in line to read my copy.

Oh, and don't get it at the library. Buy it to keep. I'm so thankful that I bought a copy because I know that there is going to be a season where I need the encouragement that this book offered. And I can flip right back to the underlined portions that I left behind.

So that's my shameless plug for The Shack. I hope it refreshes you like it did me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cookies, courtesy of the castrodales

Last night, thanks to a quick and easy dinner, Andrew and I had quite a bit of down time. You can't possibly understand how much we love having time to do nothing.

This particular occasion, we were both in the mood to read. As I was sifting through my Real Simple magazine and he was perusing the Wall Street Journal, I stumbled across a picture of chocolate chip cookies. Just like that, I instantly wanted my own. So off to the kitchen we went to make a batch of cookies. And they were totally worth it. We decided that it is absolutely necessary to always have the ingredients for cookies on hand, because what a wonderful treat it is to be able to give in to such a craving.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Some husbands bring home flowers--mine brings home pumpkins. A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with Andrew while he was driving home from work and he passed a pumpkin patch. I got a little excited and rambled on about getting a pumpkin to sit outside our door because it's fall and I love get the idea by now...

So this past Friday, my sweet husband showed up at the door with a pumpkin in hand! He said, "I picked out the prettiest and most expensive was $3.50." It must have been a fancy pumpkin patch :) For now, it's greeting our guests as a pumpkin, but we've got plans to carve it once it gets close to Halloween. Our apartment complex is full of potential trick-or-treaters and we've got to be ready for action, so stay tuned for the Castrodale Jack-O-Latern!

Dear Great Pumpkin, I am looking forward to your arrival on Halloween night. I hope you will bring me lots of presents.

-Linus Van Pelt

Thursday, September 25, 2008

i love thursday

Thursday is my favorite day of the work week. I love it because when I get home from work, I know that tomorrow is Friday. And Friday means that the weekend is almost here. Knowing that just puts me in a good mood. The other reason I like Thursday is because it means Pub Thursday at my office. I'm ridiculously spoiled having this as my first job, but at 4pm we have Pub Thursday, complete with an array of pub snacks -- pretzels, chips and salsa, guacamole, bruchetta (is that a pub snack?) and cheese balls. I never appreciated cheeseballs until I worked here. But something about being able to be a grown-up and eat cheeseballs at work is something to write home about, you know? So I love Pub Thursday.

But my FAVORITE part of Thursday is what Andrew and I have coined...LEFT OVER THURSDAY! It means that there is no cooking, only cleaning out the fridge from this week's meals. It's awesome and I highly recommend it. This week, because all of our leftovers took the form of lunches, we only get the homemade chicken noodle soup that simmered to goodness in the crockpot all day yesterday. Which is fine by me, because the gray sky I see outside my window right now just screams "chicken noodle soup". And yes, I'm blogging at work. What can I say, it's Pub Thursday and everyone has officially stopped working for the afternoon.

I'm looking forward to cuddling up with some chicken noodle soup and my sweet husband. And the best part is, we got the final disk of Friends: Season 1 in the mail today--courtesy of Netflix. It's going to be awesome.

Happy Thursday, one and all...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

fall is here

It's true. I saw some trees shedding their green today in preparation for this season that I love. And this past Saturday, courtesy of my sister-in-law, I had some pumpkin soup. Indeed, fall is here.

As I write this, I'm sitting at the kitchen table watching my sweet husband cook dinner. He got off work early (a rarity) and so I get this special treat. We've got the windows open because it's a delightful 65 degrees outside and our Fall Festival candle is spilling into all the rooms of our apartment. Mixed with the smell of what's in the oven, I'm in heaven. Also, Daddy is coming over tonight to help Andrew lug our new dryer up the stairs, so all in all, it's a good evening.

If you were to come over right now, you'd be greeted by a wreath on the door. Inside you would find pumpkin-colored hand towels hung over the handle of the oven, a leaf-shaped tray in the middle of the table and an arrangement of fall flowers that Mrs. C helped me assemble standing near the fireplace. It's happy here.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
-George Eliot-

Saturday, September 13, 2008

a few of my favorite things

In the few months that our house has been completely decorated--it didn't all come together until May--I've come to cherish a few things. They are all mostly gifts that people have given us, but seeing them displayed in our home, each with its own spot, makes them seem much more special...

My best friend, Martha, gave this to me as a birthday/housewarming present. It says "May this home be filled with love and laughter." It hangs right by our door to greet us and our guests and we enter. Martha is living overseas for the next year, and I miss her a lot -- I love having this little reminder of her friendship.

There are two very cool things here. The two books are recipe books that belonged to Andrew's Great Great Grandma Wilson and Great Grandma Castrodale. His Aunt Anne bound them as our wedding gift. What a treasure! The wooden cross came from Jerusalem - my grandparents brought it back from their trip to the Holy Land in February. Both of these gifts have such sentimental value and I love having them displayed on the table in our living room.

Here sits the best conversation peace in our house! A friend from Andrew's church, Lee, who has been living in South Korea, sent these as our wedding gift. It is the culture there to have wooden ducks like these displayed prominently in a couple's home. If the ducks are facing each other, it means the couple is getting along. If they are turned away, it means they are fighting and it serves as a warning to any guests. So far, there have only been threats of "turning the ducks." We love our ducks!

Go Heels! This is the front page of the UNC student newspaper from the day after we won the National Championship in 2005. I had it framed for Andrew as his graduation gift and this is what inspired our Carolina room. We love it!

This recipe box came from my sweet mother who had everyone in our family and Andrew's handwrite some of their favorite recipes. Not only do I have a stack full of awesome meals ready to be made, but I have them in my precious family's handwriting. This, I know, I will treasure forever.

This precious piece came from my Aunt Rita when Andrew and I got engaged. It's called "Promise" and the tag attached to it said, "Hold dear the promise of love." It sits on my dresser in our bedroom and it's a sweet reminder of how much I adore my husband!

Isn't this beautiful? My Nanny Johnson has cross stitched one of these for everyone in our family who has ever gotten married. I always admired my parents' and am now blessed with my own. This is absolutely priceless and I love having it in our home!

So there you have it...a few of my favorite things! I wonder how many little treasures will find their way into our home over the years. I love being sentimental :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Countdown to Fall

Our home is anxiously awaiting the start of fall! I've had such fun time waiting for September 22, the first day of fall and the shopping bags are there to prove it. After two visits to HomeGoods, I found too many good deals to pass up on and now there are some new dish towels, a table centerpiece and a wreath just waiting to make an appearance. And then there's the Yankee Candle -- probably what I'm most excited about. Many of my favorite memories have some sort of smell associated to them: Black Mountain, where my mom's family is from, smells like flowers; Andrew's parents' house smells like Christmas year-round; I will forever associate my mother with the smell of her Lancome perfume...etc, etc. Do you get the picture? Anyway, I decided that I wanted our house to have a smell during fall and the holidays. I presented Andrew with this idea that we could have a candle that we lit during fall so that we could have a smell associated with our fall memories. And when our kids come home from college for Thanksgiving, they will smell the fall smell and immediately feel like they're at home. Cheesy? Yes. Do I care? Absolutely not.

So off to the Yankee Candle store we went in search of our fall candle. And there we found Fall Festival: "A luscious autumn medley of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, maple, walnut, citrus and caramel." It's delicious and I can't wait to light it!

Stay tuned and in about two weeks you'll have a glimpse into the our first fall :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Six Months?!?

Believe it or not, we've been married for six months today. It's so hard to believe! Six months ago, we had been married for approximately 5 hours and everyone was cheering on the Heels while we watched the Carolina-Duke game -- which we watched in the lobby of the hotel with about 50 screaming Carolina students AND we won...when we get married, we bring good luck!

In honor of our six month anniversary, we decided to make a list of six things we know about each other that we didn't know before we were married. Enjoy!

What Page knows about Andrew...
  • He does not believe in expiration dates. If it isn't growing something or it doesn't smell, he eats it.
  • He snores when he sleeps on his back.
  • He's the most encouraging person I've ever met -- whether it's when I'm doubting my outfit for the day, feeling inadequate and insecure, or questioning the paint color.
  • He's really good at folding fitted sheets.
  • He HATES tangled cords.
  • And I already knew he was sweet, but he's still just as sweet as before.

What Andrew knows about Page...

  • Don't wake her up.
  • Don't suggest WHEN she should wake up...or how...or why...
  • Don't do anything without a plan.
  • Make sure she knows she's loved.
  • She's as sensitive as I am insensitive, as emotional as I am emotionLESS and as sentimental as I am practical. We believe this is by design.
  • I could only come up with 5 things. And I'm sorry.

...oooh, marriage :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

veg (věj): vegetable; to vegetate; to engage in complete inactivity; to rest

That's the plan for this weekend. We've been out of town for the last four weekends and while we've enjoyed every bit of it, we're looking forward to two days with no commitments. I think I might start a new book and stay in my pajamas and maybe organize my closet. It looks like Hurrican Hanna is eyeing NC for a visit this weekend also, which is fine with me because any chance of rain makes the idea of being lazy even more appealing. Andrew and I will kick off the weekend with our ritual date night on Friday and then at bedtime, we'll turn off the alarm clock. Oh, how glorious that sounds :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


If you were to ask me what I loved most about my time at Carolina, there are many things that I would list. I loved the campus and the way it smells in the fall. I loved studying in the hidden corridors of Davis library. I loved the Dean Dome and every second that passed inside that sacred building. I loved Carroll Hall, the Student Union, A Southern Season, the Caribou on the corner of Franklin and Columbia Streets and the Bell Tower. But without a doubt, I loved the people I met more than anything. I made some amazing friends at Carolina. I met three girls who would be my roommates and best friends. I met my husband. And in August of my sophomore year, I met a group of freshmen girls that completely changed my life. I led a bible study that year and the relationships formed with those girls were absolutely priceless. All this to say, I returned to Chapel Hill this past weekend for a visit with these ladies. It was like picking up a good book and turning to the dogeared page where I'd left off. It was rejuvenating to say the least. Thank you, friends!

But the fun didn't stop there! I met Andrew back at the house just in time to hop in the car and drive to Clayton. It was my Aunt Mir's birthday and we came to babysit my cousins, Merrit and Ollie. We had a blast hanging out with them for a few hours while Mike and Mir got a break from the little ones.

Andrew, Merrit and Ollie (in the stroller) coming back from the park

Ollie on the move

Merrit making a post-nap snack

I don't think we're pros yet. We may need a few more years of babysitting before we can handle it full time :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the best medicine

Andrew and I laugh a lot. I realized that tonight and it made me happy. We laugh at each other when anyone else would think we're crazy. We laugh hard at things that happened months ago as if it were happening for the first time. We laugh in the middle of a disagreement (not on purpose) any time it gets silent for longer than 10 seconds -- and that's a very quick method of disarmament, especially for me. And Andrew has a contagious laughter, so I crack up any time he does. It's precious, I think, to have a husband that I can laugh with and I pray that we always have that. It keeps things interesting :)

"You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants."
Hearts of Atlantis

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

a summer wedding

This weekend, Andrew and I went to Concord for a wedding that he was in. We stayed with his parents, and it was nice to have the chance to visit with them while we were there. On Saturday, Andrew left for the church around 11:30 and I spent the afternoon with Mrs. C. We made a throw pillow for our bedroom! She's made the curtains in both the kitchen and the living room, and they turned out beautifully. With some of the extra fabric, we decided to make pillows. I think I'll make her my personal decorator and call it a day :) What do you think?

Did I mention that Andrew wore a seersucker suit in the wedding? Not sure when he'll ever wear the complete ensemble again, but who knows...

So handsome! :)

Sunday was church and a wonderful lunch and a relaxing remainder of the afternoon before heading back to Raleigh. I was even able to squeeze in a nap! Thanks to our great hosts for a great weekend. We love you guys!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a going away party

This past weekend, Andrew and I hosted a surprise going away party for my best friend, Martha. Martha and our friend Kristi Lee (KL) stayed with me Friday night for what was supposed to be one last fun weekend with Martha before she moves overseas for a year. But we made up an excuse for Martha and KL to run some errands without me on Saturday, and in two hours we had a decorated house full of friends. Andrew and I met through mutual friends and if you asked us to name our closest friends we would probably list off the same people. That makes for a great time when we all reunite. That, of course, was a blast and Martha was really happy with her surprise. Andrew and I grilled burgers and hotdogs and all the guests helped by bringing condiments, sides and desserts. Martha's family even drove down from Hickory and my mom dropped by with a homemade peach cobbler (with peaches from my very own peach tree back home, thank you very much) It was a wonderful afternoon and we had a great time! Here are a few pictures...

We love you, Martha!
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