Friday, March 30, 2007

I Call Him Tweeder Pete

I think the nickname just naturally emerged from my affectionate greetings when I walk through the door and see him awaiting me in his crate. Very different from Marlow--not even close, but he's the same dog. And sweet as ever. We had great adventures last night. Read below:

Last night Chris and Marlow and I picked up dinner and went to the Greenbelt. We've gotten a ton of rain here recently, which is very abnormal. I was afraid it'd be too wet, but the earth really soaked it up and it wasn't too bad. The closer we got to the "river," the muddier it was, but that made it more fun. We went to what is usually the dry creek bed, but it was full and people said that it was the first time it had happened in 3 years. Marlow had a blast! Other dogs were there and he got introduced to water play for the first time. He was fearless; jumping and running and falling and scraping himself. He really had a lot of fun. And boy was he muddy at the end of the night. We took him home and gave him a bath.

Here are pictures that document the fun that was had.

Us on our way to the photogenic he is.
At the creek bed. The "before" picture.
This one makes me laugh. The "after" picture. (And my good-looking husband!)

And this is from this morning...he was checking out the rainfall out the front window.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Looking to the Summer

I had the day off today...again. I'm ready for a job change, or at least a supplemental job. I need something consistent and something more full-time. I like my job, but I can't count on it for budgeting, and that's tough.

Chris leaves Friday for Singapore for a month. Veronica is staying here though, so I'm thankful for the company. I will be gone almost every weekend until his return, too, which will make the time fly. I'm planning on going to Colleyville to visit my in-laws over Easter weekend. I also have a Women's Retreat for church another weekend, working another weekend, and a Girls Night Out.

Marlow is growing. He's already learned his name, what "no" means, how to sit on command, to lay down, to stay, and we are practicing "shake." He is full of energy sometimes and I can't help but laugh at him. Last night after we got back from Community Group, Chris and I went on a late night walk with him. It was good for Marlow, I think, since he was in his kennel that night. We got him exercised so he slept well and was calm the rest of the evening.

One of my personal goals recently is to look people in the eye when I'm speaking to them. For some reason, I've noticed my discomfort with this for awhile now. I don't think this is necessarily a good thing, so I'm trying to break myself from the habit and really make eye contact.

Tomorrow night is our Date Night, and I think we'll eat dinner here, then go hiking with Marlow, maybe introduce him to water since the lake is high because of all the recent rain.

Andy and Amanda should be leaving for England sometime soon. I'm excited for them. And Michelle is engaged and about to start the wedding planning process--how fun.

Most of all I am excited for all the visitors that will come to Austin this summer:
- Kara
- Andrew and Whitney, with their new baby girl Chloe
- Curtis and Catherine, along with the Mims
- Susan over Memorial Day weekend
- Dick and Sandi
- Mom and Dad and Aaron for my graduation

I'm ready for some fun this summer. I've got a lot planned:
- Grow Up Children's Ministry Conference in Atlanta, GA
- Bonser Family Vacation to Hilton Head
- 2 concerts
- Graduation
- ACL Music Fest with my brother

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wide Awake

On Sunday I painted the guest room and made a headboard for the bed. On Monday Chris mounted the headboard. On Tuesday I worked 14 hours. On Wednesday I worked only 10. Today was my day off. I mounted 3 shelves in the guest room and begun ripping off yucky fabric from a chair that I'm going to reupholster. I went to the bank, then headed to one of my favorite stores, Hobby Lobby. I still had credit on a gift card that I got at Christmas time, and I ended up spending all but $3. Then I met a friend for Happy Hour, then came home and hung out with my two favorite boys. Tonight I cleaned and organized up until a few minutes ago. Sometimes I get in the mode where I just don't want to stop. Strange behavior, I know. I'm a rare breed. So now I'm wide awake. Chris is in bed. Marlow is sleeping on the floor next to me. I work tomorrow late into the night, but when I get home, the weekend will begin. My in-laws are coming to visit and I'm pumped. I'm also looking forward to going to the Farmer's Market on Saturday, as well as taking my puppy for a walk, cooking up something yummy for the Bonser Bunch, and painting trim in the bedrooms. I feel like I am really enjoying learning to decorate and remodel on a budget. I was inspired to paint the guest room last Sunday when I was (get this...) cleaning and organizing the garage and found some extra paint that I had forgotten about. It was "mistake" paint, or paint that we had purchased that we had decided not to use for one reason or another. I took the chance and just went at it on the walls in the guest room. It looks really nice. It's a tannish color of sorts. I bought 4 cinder blocks from Home Depot for $1.20 each to raise the bed and give it a more normal height. I put on a dust cover to hide them, used a red blanket that we got with wedding money and bought a special decorative pillow I found for super cheap. I'm finding all sorts of things we already have that I'm tying into the room and it looks great so far. My motivation for doing this much is 1.) Chris's parents coming in town this weekend, and 2.) we are going to have a girl from church stay with us for 3 weeks. It will be great for me since Chris will be gone to Singapore for a month. She and I will hold down the fort, along with Marlow, for the duration that he is gone. I want to have a nice place for our guests to stay when they visit. A comfortable place with adequate amount of privacy is necessary, I think. Maybe these crazy ideas stem from a gift of hospitality. If I were to identify a couple of spiritual gifts I think I possess, they'd be the gifts of hospitality and encouragement. What are yours?

Friday, March 16, 2007

God As Our Romancer

"Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears has been given to you from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart. God's version of flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners comes in the form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on lakes and cricket symphonies; warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens, and fierce devotion...He knows what takes your breath away, knows what makes your heart beat faster." (Captivating)

The Latest

Since Marlow's arrival, my struggle with depression has really gotten better. I think it's simply God's blessing in giving me company, something that is happy and wagging its tail when I walk through the door. I'm not saying that Chris doesn't give me happiness. He definitely does and I adore him, but it's not having close friends yet that makes me lonely. Marlow gets me outside more, which is a good reminder that God is bigger than me. Walking Marlow is fun and a healthy activity and restful for my soul. I had gotten into the pattern of just working a lot, going to school a lot, and staying inside when I was home. It really is beautiful the world that we live in.

Tonight we are eating dinner and watching a Purdue game with our friends, Casey and Megan. Marlow is coming, too, and he'll get to meet their dog, Jackson. Last night we went out to eat at Freddie's, a local dog-friendly restaurant. Marlow was very nervous and freaked out a bit at first, but after the wait for our table, he warmed up and nestled under our table. Lots of people came up to touch him and talk to us about him, which I'm not sure helped his nerves. But he did get to try broccoli and cucumber.

The women in our community group have started a Book Club. Individually, several of us talked about how we couldn' t find one to join on the south side of Austin, so we just decided to begin our own. We plan on meeting monthly to talk and discuss each selection. This month it will be at my house. Chris is leaving again for Singapore for a month, so any social activity while he is gone is good for me. I'm looking forward to having people over. This month we are reading, "Cry, the Beloved Country," by Alan Paton.

Congratulations to my wonderful friend, Michelle Jones and her fiancé, Ryan. They got engaged yesterday in Central Park, NYC! They were there for their Spring Break and he popped the question while taking a picture of themselves on a bridge, so he got real-time pictures of it, too. Yay, I'm so happy for them!

Another book I've been reading is "Captivating," by John and Staci Eldredge. It is basically the woman's version of "Wild At Heart." It started getting good in the middle of the book. Usually, I don't get into too many Christian inspriation books. I think it's because I can't really get past the whole cheese factor of them, especially when written by a woman and for women, they sometimes make me want to gag. But I think that some of those books have good points to them, so I'm trying to get back into reading more Christian literature.

Did I mention that we went to the G-Love concert last week? I don't think I did. They were at Stubb's BBQ downtown, same place we saw Nickelcreek when we first moved here. G-Love and the Special Sauce was good. I like their music.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Family Picture

Last night we had two of Chris's co-workers from Singapore over for dinner. What a great time with them. Again, more gifts were brought to us. They enjoyed meeting Marlow, too. I hung out with a friend today and we trekked around Austin to a garden sale, then went to IKEA, then to lunch. Chris worked on the yard this morning and when I got home, there were tons of brown bags filled to the brim outside on the curb, waiting the arrival of the trash truck on Monday. Both of my boys are pooped and they are taking a nap together. This evening we are going to look for new glasses for Chris, and catch a movie with some friends. Good times.

Here's our family pic:

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

My Day

I feel like I have fallen in love in a whole new way. I absolutely looove my new puppy. He is so sweet and cuddly, but he also likes walks, eating sticks, leaves, bugs, and his new favorite play place, which is the ivy on the ground in our backyard. He's mastered the doggie door on the outside patio, which was left from the previous home owners. He's realizing that his name is Marlow, and last night he slept perfectly in his crate from about 11pm until 7am...we only heard him cry once! He's such a puppy because he loves to play and tackle and love on us. He really likes it when I give him leg massages. He's going to the vet for the first time tomorrow (besides his initial immunizations). We're gonna make sure he stays healthy and happy.

Congrats to my brother and sister on being Uncle Andy and Aunt Mandy!

I am officially finished with my internship for school, so now I am DONE! Graduation still awaits me in July, but I am now on the job search. I kind of want to do something temporary until the fall, then start my "real" job. I plan on sticking with my current employer for the meantime. One of the perks is that it's pretty flexible as far as my schedule goes. There are a couple of things this summer that I will need off for, so I feel like I should stick with it until after those things are over.

Chris's responsibilities at work have really increased. Several co-workers have left in the last couple of months, and more are leaving, so that means more work for Chris. Longer hours, more responsibility, late nights. Not fun, but we are learning to love each other well through these times.

We have really enjoyed hanging out with our new friends, Casey and Megan. They also went to Purdue and moved down to Austin for jobs. Casey works with Chris at AMD and Megan works for another tech company in town. They are fun people to be around. We always appreciate their company. They understand us well in the areas of feeling nostalgic for Purdue, Indiana, and family that lives a long ways away. One of my personal goals is to invest more in a friendship with Megan. I think we need each other. :)

And I have really enjoyed my Tuesdays with Jenny. That would be Jenny Kant. She's been my best friend for many years. Even though we do live miles apart, we have been talking weekly and sharing struggles, joys, and thoughts for the purpose of glorifying God all the more. We have committed to fasting together on Tuesdays and we are accountable to each other for how our our day went in our prayer time, not eating, etc. It has been a growing experience for me, but also very encouraging to know that she is doing it with me, lifting me and my family up in prayer all day long. I love her!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Meet Marlow!

We drove a little north of Waco to find our new puppy, Marlow. He's 10 weeks old today and we love him so much. He's an English Springer Spaniel. Marlow loves to play and cuddle, but he also loves to just be in the same room with us and be at our feet. We are working on the whole potty thing, but first we're trying to teach him his name. We went on our second walk ever this morning on a leash, and he did very well.