Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day, 2nd Anniversary and Power washing

What a title, huh? My title could actually just be "Power washing" and that would pretty much sum up my life these past few days.

My Memorial Day weekend started off with a wedding in St. Louis at a gorgeous winery/vineyard in Defiance, Mo. The hubs and I had actually looked at Chandler Hill Vineyard for a wedding spot, but ultimately decided on the Hobbs Building in Kansas City...still a good choice confirmed by the both of us. But, the vineyard truly was beautiful as was the bride. Weddings are just so happy. I love being a part of them and attending them. I mean, who doesn't love celebrating love!? 

Photo by me
Photograph by Blake Peterson

Photograph by Blake Peterson
On Memorial Day, the hubs decided he wanted he and I to tackle a project together. Enter power washer. We decided to power wash the house (a very much needed project!), the deck and the fence. Power washing took 2 days, and it was a heckofalotta work! Two sunburns, many bug bites and buckets of perspiration later, the house, deck and fence are now power washed and stripped clean of all mildew, mold, dirt, grime, etc. Next step, stain the deck and the fence. Lord help us.

The hubs blasting the heck out of the fence.

Left side is before power washer and the right side is after the power washer!
In addition to Project Power Wash, the hubs and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. Its hard to believe two years have already passed since our wedding day. It still is one of the happiest days of my life. We watched our wedding video yesterday, and all the memories and emotions came flooding back to me. So much joy, love and hope was all packed into that day. And two years later, there is still so much joy, love and hope in our marriage, if not more than the day we got married. I love being married and being able to serve my husband, cuddle with him on the couch and in bed, make him laugh on a daily basis and see my best friend every day and every night. Saying "I do" to forever with him is one of the best decisions I've ever made. And I look forward to the many years of joy, laughter and love that lies ahead for us.

Happy 2nd Anniversary to my best friend. Thank you for choosing me.

Photograph by LemonLime

Friday, May 18, 2012

Eyes open and hearts full

Image via Katie Daisy
Something happened to me while I was in Australia, New Zealand and Bonaire, N.A. I became a full-on nature lover. I always loved nature, but the ocean, rainforest and mountains gave me a new appreciation for God's creations. Also, I've been reading Genesis in the Bible and read that we are to be stewards of God's creations. Reading that gave me this sense of responsibility to protect, love and nurture God's beauty. For example, when I was in New Zealand, there were two young women throwing rocks at the ducks, and I yelled at them. Yea, ME! I yelled at two complete strangers. And they stopped, but not without talking back to me. But, I think the ducks appreciated it and then proceeded to show their love by surrounding me and getting a little too close for comfort. But, I let them and even fed them some bread.

This little lady loved me and wouldn't leave me alone.
Anyways, I digress...I felt responsible, and while traveling, I began to see the beauty in birds, fish, trees, plants, etc. One of my favorite things the Hubs and I did in Australia was see the bird exhibit at the Cairns Tropical Zoo. Birds are seriously cool! And, while in Bonaire, I had the most amazing experience with turtles. One turtle swam so close and spent a lot of time with me and my friends, and another turtle, who was perched on a sea fan, let me swim right up to him. I was literally a foot away from him and he leaned into me like he wanted to kiss me. I melted. 

A friendly sea turtle.

And of course, there was my experience with the manta ray at the Great Barrier Reef and the eagle ray in Bonaire. The Lord really blessed me  on these trips. 

Me and the Manta Ray diving the Great Barrier Reef.
I returned home wanting to serve God in my own little way. I began planting and planting and PLANTING lots of flowers. The more flowers the better. I've been planting zinnias, daisies, cosmos, basil, geraniums, marigolds, ferns, hibiscus trees, a vibernum bush, and lots more flowers. My hibiscus tree has attracted a hummingbird, which I'm very excited to watch feed this weekend as I sit on my deck drinking coffee. Also, my mom gave me a some bird seed for our bird feeder that we got from the Hubs' "Mammy." I filled it to the brim the other day, and the birds are loving it! So far, I've seen cardinals, robins, mourning doves, chickadees and finches. I'm excited to observe them too!
The Hubs and I also will be digging up two trees that died :( and planting two new trees, but we're going to wait for the fall to do that. BUT, we are thinking a ginkgo tree and possibly a globe locust or a smoke tree.

AND, here's something crazy...I want to own chickens. Like really bad. I even got pamphlets educating me about chickens and building chicken coops at an Earth Day exhibit. And I posed with a chicken too...

Can't you see the love in that chicken's eyes for me!
One day, I will own chickens, ducks, goats and a donkey. Maybe even a cow and horse, if I'm really lucky :)
I think the Hubs is feeling this sense of responsibility too because he has been building a fish tank for almost a year! And last week, he finally completed it. I believe its a 65 gallon tank with a 40 gallon tank below it to help filter, monitor, etc. the tank above. Currently, we have 2 hermit crabs (Barnacle Bob and George), 2 snails and 1 coral, but we hope to get more soon. He has put a ton of work into the tank, but I'll feature his craftsmanship in a different post. 

Anyway, the Hubs and I are loving God and all His beauty, and are doing are best to glorify Him.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend basking in the sunshine, sipping on ice tea and smelling the roses. 

"Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind." ~Job 12:7-10

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why hello there!

Posers at the Sydney Opera House
I'm back. It's been awhile since I last blogged because the Hubs and I went on two of the most amazing trips of a lifetime - Australia and New Zealand, and Bonaire, N.A. Yea, we did that.

About a year ago, the Hubs decided he wanted to do a HUGE trip before he started residency. Australia has been on both our bucket lists, so we decided, "Ok, let's do Australia," and then I thought, "Well, while we're there, why don't we do New Zealand too." So, we began saving and saving and saving and some more saving. Seriously, we had no lives. I think I went out for lunch with a friend once and I brought my own lunch because I didn't want to spend money on food. Oh, the things you are willing to give up/do for a crazy  awesome trip.

The Hubs and I at the Sydney Opera House with the Sydney Harbor Bridge in the background.
After saving EVERYTHING for a year, the trip finally rolled around on February 18. We left the States for Australia, and started our journey in Sydney, Australia. We spent 3 days in Sydney in King's Cross district. The area was pretty central to Sydney. We walked EVERYWHERE! We took what was suppose to be a 3 hour walking day tour that turned into a 6 hour walking tour, but it was worth it...Hello, it was FREE! We saw and learned a lot of things we would have definitely missed out on had we not done the tour. And we loved it so much, we pretty much did an unguided tour again the next day!

Two bronze whalers below us scoping out the cage. Photos by Blake Corcoran Photography
The Big Guy, aka Bruce. Photos by Blake Corcoran Photography
Next stop was Port Lincoln, Australia where we were to go cage-diving with the mother of all sharks - the awesome Great White. The Hubs and I were the first in the cage, and probably stayed the longest in the cage too. I think we were down there for about 1.5 hours. Reason being, we saw bronze whalers for the first 45 minutes of the dive thinking they were Great Whites - how silly were we for thinking such a thing. Because, when you see a Great White, there is no "I think that is a Great White." There is only "Whoa. So that's a Great White." I spotted the awesomeness that is the Great White first. While we were bouncing around in the cage trying not to get motion sickness or hypothermia, I see the Great White come out of nowhere, and all I could do what to tap on the Hubs shoulders with my eyes open as wide as they've ever been. The Hubs notices my enlarged eyes, and turns around to stare the Great White in the face. It was awesome. It was AWESOME! HELLO! We dived with a Great White, and it even hit the cage with it tail as it went after food. We were in awe.

Our Dive Station off the back of our Dive Boat.
And we continued to stay in awe, as we traveled from Port Lincoln to Cairns, Australia where we headed to Lizard Island to begin our three-day diving expedition on the Great Barrier Reef. There are no words for how awesome the Great Barrier Reef is. The hubs and swam with a manta ray, potato cod, tons of sharks, and lots of little nemos (aka clown fish). It was beautiful beyond beautiful. I have a whole new appreciation for the ocean and the life that calls it home. 

After the boat dive, we explored a rainforest and hung out at the Cairns Tropical Zoo where I held a koala and the Hubs hung out with some roos. Awesome.

Blake and a kangaroo.
Then, it was time to say good day to Australia and hello New Zealand! First stop in "Oz" was Queenstown, where we skydived. Yes, skydived. We jumped out of a plane at 12,000 feet and soared high above mountains. It was crazy and not scary at all. No fear.

Getting ready to jump out of a plane!
 After jumping out of a plane (no big deal), we then took a car trip to Te Anu where we took a bus to go kayak Milford Sound, which is actually a fiord land and not a sound. It rained early that morning so instead of seeing the usual 2 waterfalls, we saw more like 28 + waterfalls. And we saw a seal. Boom!

Kayaking Milford Sound.
Next, it was back to Queenstown where we chilled on the beach and fed some friendly ducks.

Final stop, Auckland, NZ. We didn't have much money left (haha) so we dined at a delicious French restaurant, visited a museum, and strolled around the city. 

It was such a fun, adventurous trip! I highly recommend doing it with your favorite loved one. I had the best time bonding, exploring and looking death in the face with my Hubs. He is my favorite person to travel with and my favorite person in general. Thanks for always encouraging me to do and try new things, and to not settle for average. I can now say that I have cage dived with a Great White, dived the Great Barrier Reef, skydived, kayaked a fiord land and explored the Land Down Under. 

God is good.