Saturday, December 6, 2008

San Diego

Garrett took me on a little getaway weekend. I finally got to go to San Diego! It is beautiful down there and so much fun. We spent our time mostly in the Gaslight District, which is filled with delicious restaurants and fun shopping. We walked around Balboa Park. We though it seemed very "Europe-esque." We went through lots of great antique shops too. I loved it there...can't wait to go back again. But we have a few more boxes to check off up, hopefully in the Spring...San Fran!!

Julie's Wedding

Today I celebrated Julie and Ben's marriage! The wedding day was beautiful...Ohio looked like a "winter wonderland" with sprinkling snow. We had so much fun celebrating this new step in their journey together.

Mr. and Mrs. Swain!!

She had such a beautiful dress!

Finally back together again...I missed these girls like crazy!

Don't they look so happy??

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm home!!

Michelle McKibben, our wedding photographer, sent me this today and I love it!!

I'm home and it feels so good to be back! I have some fun things planned while I'm here for 3 weeks!!! I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with friends and families. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Even though we weren't able to be with family on Thanksgiving, our day still went great! We had some friends over and each person brought a dish. Everything was delicious. Someone said at dinner,"This tastes like when our parents do it." I guess that means it was a success. :)

It was a beautiful sunny day! A view from our porch...see the ocean passed the lightpole?

The "mishmosh tablescape"... adorned with mismatched chairs, caramel apples, pretty flowers, and a makeshift table runner.
Here is a view of our new house... (In the beginning of this month, we moved to a bigger, better place!)

One of my favorite things to do now is visit the local Farmer's Market every week and get fresh produce and a bouquet of flowers...these were only $6!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Audrey and Erika come to visit!

My niece, Audrey, and sister-in-law, Erika, came for a week-long visit. We had so much fun spending time together and showing them around the area. Audrey, Erika, and I had our first trip to Disneyland! It was so much fun seeing it through the eyes of a 2 year old. Audrey loved the beach, as you can see from the photos....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Which one should I make?

I'm really excited to try these recipes...

Friday is game night with some AF spouses and I am bringing dessert. These both sound delicious. Which one should I make??.........Maybe both! :) Will let you know how they turn out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Garrett!

Garrett turned the big 2-9 at the end of October. We were supposed to move into our new place on his birthday but our house wasn't ready so we had a last minute birthday celebration. We rounded up a small group and headed to Culver of our new favorite spots. We went to a Korean BBQ and then hung out at a really cool wine tasting bar. We had a great time as you can see from the photos...

Roomies: Dennis and the Married Folks
The surprise birthday dessert
Garrett did the "no sweets" challenge with me through the month of October. But we had a great deal of peer pressure to partake in the above green tea donuts. We did good...really, really good...except on this night...we decided to have one little donut as an exception for his birthday. By that point, I'd learned my lesson of self-control. Oh, and boy was it good!! Well worth it. They brought out delicious raspberry topping to pour over it.

Garrett, Me, Lisa, Ellie, and Kyle

Saturday, October 11, 2008

a great fall dinner idea

today i made a delicious fall dinner. johnna had shared this easy recipe with me and i was eager to try it:

-1 can apple pie filling (i used no sugar added but i think regular old sugary pie filling would have been a tad bit better)
-stovetop stuffing-chicken flavor
-pork chops

pour filling into a 9X13 pan. put pork chops on top of filling. prepare stocktop mixture as directed and spread on top of the chops. bake at 350 for 1 hour. yes, it's that easy! and it is SOOOO good!

i made a side of sweet potatoes, rolls, and a spinach salad with apples, nuts, and poppyseed dressing. fantastic!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


let me start this post by saying i have no problem sharing. whether it be sharing a seat with one of my girlfriends when there's no chairs in a lobby, sharing a bag of popcorn with Garrett at the movies, or even with a chocolate chip cookie with my dad....well maybe i went too far on that one. but regardless, like i said, i don't usually struggle with this age-old teaching concept. well that was until last night...

Garrett, Lisa, and I decided to go see a music show. the venue has extremely comfy seating areas and great food so we decided to order a burger and one of our favorite snacks....sweet potato fries. ( have to try them if you haven't) in our seating area, a small group of people joined us. about the time that we were first meeting them, the food arrived. as soon as my plate was in hands reach, i go to grab a fry. imagine my surprise, no shock, when i see a set of unidentified fingers entangled in my sweet potato goodness. looking up, i realize the man seated across from us is reaching to get some fries from MY plate. as he is bringing the handful to his mouth, he asks me, "so what are these?" "sweet potatoe fries," i reply still astonished at what is taking place. and if that isn't enough, the woman on the other side of the couch, stands up, reaches across the table to sample some of my fries for herself as well. "MINE" i want to declare like a two-year old would her cheerios. at the same time, i just wanted to laugh. again, i said i'm all about sharing. but this was weird...just plain weird, right??

you too will come to a point when someone will invade every bit of personal space (maybe even your own plate). will you pass the test?


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

a sweetless month

as many of you know, i have taken a passion to cooking recently. above anything else, my favorite thing to cook is dessert. we're talking cookies, pies, cobblers, cakes, bread pudding....okay...i'm sure you get the point. unfortunately, i was blessed with a sweet tooth like no other. i credit this to my mother, who almost always had a dessert for our family after dinner.

when i make something sweet, it is usually gone by the next day. i would love to blame this on my husband or our roommate Dennis, but alas, i cannot...the culprit is always me. because of this, and unfortunate event of the disappearance of almost an entire batch of oatmeal cookies, i reluctantly said to Garrett, "i think i need to withhold sweets from myself for an entire month." knowing my issue, he agreed that this was a great idea.

later that night it hit me....his birthday is in october!! "wait Garrett...i have to make you a cake for your birthday" he responds appallingly..."i don't need a cake" you don't need CAKE?!? silence....

"wait's Halloween this month too. i love this little snack that i make with candy corn and's delicious!" "Meg! you don't need that either" silence....

so with great pity, i acknowledge that he was right, and yes, october is going to remain sweetless for me. this will be a tough one for many of you know.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

a few photos from Michelle

Michelle, our photographer, posted a few of our wedding photos on her blog:

These two photos I absolutely love because of the beautiful scenery behind us. We saw this amazing tree grazing over the water in the park where we were taking photos. We decided to climb on it to grab some great pics. I had to wobble over to Garrett, hoping I wouldn't fall in the water. You can see the reflection of the water in the first one. It was definitely worth it though. I love how they turned out!

Friday, September 26, 2008

my new favorite website

Recently I was doing a search to make a modification for a recipe and came across my new favorite website, The Pioneer Woman, Ree, has fun contests, daily blogs, and some tasty recipes. I have made:
-her Apricot bars (TASTY treat!)
-her favorite salad (now my favorite, favorite salad--DELICIOUS!!)
-Pastor Ryan's Mexican Lasagna (A crowd pleaser!)

There are so many more I want to try. She takes pictures of each step in cooking so it makes it extra easy. You should check it out if you are looking for some great recipes!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

funny thing about famous people...

one of the fun parts of living here in LA are experiencing a star sighting every once in a while. since garrett moved here a year and a half ago, i have had a few run-ins. so here they are:

Seth Green from Austin Powers
he ate at the same restaurant as us in Santa Monica. my mom was the one to actually spot him.

Juliette Lewis
she was on my flight to LA. we were waiting to board the plane and she was reading a People magazine. i thought that was pretty funny.

Santino from Project Runway
saw him while we were eating breakfast in Venice. he's SO tall.

the hobbits from Lord of the Rings: Elijah Wood & Dominic Monaghan (Lost)
they were standing right next to us at a small concert and our friend asked, "hey, aren't those the hobbits?"
Amber Tamblyn from General Hospital/Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
i almost hit her in venice beach. she walked out right in front of my car and i slammed on my brakes. she looked over at me and i realized it was her.

Justin Long & Kirsten Dunst
we saw both Justin Long (the apple computer guy commercials) and Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman's Mary Jane) together at a concert

funny thing about famous people... they never look quite as good as in the movies & pretty much are just living life like the rest of us. I'm sure they appreciated the fact that we didn't bug them. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

more wedding pics

although we are still waiting on our professional photos, i have a few more pics. above is Garrett dancing for the garter. he had to dance until i approved to win the garter off my leg. it was hilarious! you can tell by my expression. he outdid himself with booty shakin and all. :) i highly recommend it to any bride-to-be's.

my beautiful bouquet made by my cousin, Debbie (she's such a talented florist!!)

bridesmaid bouquets: just married!
fake toss...haha

Saturday, September 20, 2008

oatmeal: ya gotta love it!

We currently have barely any food of substance in our fridge or pantry. Last night, I pulled out Easy Mac and put it away like 3 times. I really didn't want to eat it. Went for cereal but we were out. I was going to make spaghetti but all of our sauces were expired. Then, I spotted it....good ol' fashioned oatmeal.

I whipped it up in the microwave and jazzed it up with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans, and a little bit of milk. It was muy delicioso!! You should try it...a nice fall treat. So of course, not only did I have it for dinner but breakfast this morning too. Guess I need to make my way to the store today....

Friday, September 19, 2008

a few wedding pics....

We are so excited to see our wedding photos! We've been trying to wait patiently. I've seen only a few photos.

This is our sparkler exit at the end of the night:

A cool shot from our amazing photographer, Michelle McKibben:

Another beautiful shot from Michelle of our adorable niece, Audrey:

The Tale of the Dead Scooter

So, this is a photo of Garrett's cute little ride to work. We save a bunch on gas and I get a car to drive so it's a great gig. Except for one thing...this little annoyance keeps occuring. The scooter is dependable when given several hours in between rides. However, if we need to run errands, it doesn't want to start after just a short time being turned off. Knowing that, you would understand why last night I didn't want to ride it over to the next town to grab dinner. We debated on riding our bikes, but Garrett thought the Buddy would be okay if we kept it running, grabbed dinner to go, and hopped back on.

Well, we arrived at Pita Pit...and it just didn't look as appetizing as I remembered from my college years. So we made the decision to turn it off and go try a new brazilian bbq restaurant that just opened. Anyways, after our bellies were filled with delicous bbq chicken, rice, and veggies, we headed over to our little orange guy. Imagine to our dismay (not really) when after several tries of starting....nothing happened. After trying about six times, Garrett was pretty sure the engine was flooded (he's had this happen a few times). When this happens, you simply have to let the little guy sit for 1-hour and then try again so we decided to grab a cab...

We had to go across the street to get some cash for the cab. Being hopeful, I just felt like we should try it again. Garrett said he knew it wouldn't work and we'd just have to drive back later. I told Garrett we should pray about it. Garrett said he felt silly praying about that and God had more important things to deal with. I said I was convinced that God cared about our little situation, along with every small care or burden that we have. We both agreed this was definitely in God's power and to give it a go.

We approached the crosswalk to go back and as we crossed we both prayed our own separate prayers. I told Garrett,"pray like you mean know God is more than capable of starting the Buddy." We got there, both believing, he turned the key once...nothing (not even a rev).

Twice....VAROOOM! The little Buddy was purring just like new. Our faces lit up with smiles. God delivered a blessing directly to us, in such a small way!

This was another great reminder that God DOES care, even about the little things. I was reminded of two great verses:

1) Cast ALL your burdens on Jesus because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Notice it doesn't say, just the big'ens, but ALL burdens. Praise God that He does care about all of our needs, heartaches, cares, and burdens--big or small.

2) Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERYTHING, with prayer and petition, present your requests to God and the peace, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6
It clearly says...pray about it ALL.

God can use anything to show us more about Himself....even a dead scooter. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

in almost 24 hours....

i'm bursting with excitement for tomorrow....

one of my best friends, sarah, is coming to visit. and if that isn't exciting enough....she's bringing out my handsome feller of a son, jack. (im saying a prayer for her that jack behaves himself in the plane and refrains from his constant meowing!)
i can't wait to see them both!!

i've been so blessed to have some of my friends and fam come for a visit! johnna came out for a week in july, my parents came out just a few weeks ago, and my friend lisa will be out this saturday. not only is that great....but lisa has decided to move here in oct for a couple months! im having such a great time hosting and showing people around this town!

so please come out....i would love to have more visitors!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our Samaria

This is something cool my hubby wrote this summer:

"On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria... Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city." Acts 8:1-8

Here Meg and I are, 2 weeks before we get married and start a new life. Christ has called Meg to uproot from her beloved family and friends, her church family, and her amazing teaching job. I guess you could say that in a way, we have been "scattered" from our homes (me by choice, Meg by association) and will follow God and the Air Force until he opens up another door. We will live a great life, but one of constant change. Moving from place to place, interacting with different people and cultures, joining different churches and ministries. You might say that God will be sending us to "Our Samaria."It is interesting to look at the context of the passage above. A couple thoughts to ponder:

Abundant growth did not occur through comfort. The new Christians didn't settle in their dream house after getting married, but instead God moved the founders of our church through "great persecution." Despite this, none of us want this life. Meg and I desire nothing but to be "happy" and live the good life. I guess there's nothing wrong with this desire. It seems normal to pray for blessing. But maybe God will use our constant moving as an indirect blessing. The military can be difficult; it can bring trials and daily challenges. Meg will serve her country by being a military spouse just as I am by putting my uniform on every day. I hope God will use any challenges to mature us and force us to rely on Him. I hope God will make me a stong enough leader to love my family and constantly point them to Christ...

It seems no one wanted to go to Samaria, but they went by necessity. While there, they "preached the word wherever they went." They proclaimed Jesus Christ and brought "great joy to the city." Manhattan Beach is amazing, but how will Meg and I react if/when God calls us to move somewhere less appealing? What if our next move is to the middle of the Mohave Desert (neither of us really seem to be the desert type)? I hope we can take on each place we live as "our Samaria", boldly proclaiming Christ and the word of God. I hope God will provide these opportunities. I'm excited to have Meg join me as my wife on this journey. She reminds me that this life is not easy for everyone. I do not think this would have been her first choice if she got to choose her path. But it is so encouraging to see her following love and following God--to California and wherever we go next. I know God will use us to shine His light and share His great joy.

Meg's faith and courage will carry her here and this blog will capture our journeys through Samaria. She told me the other night she felt God has been calling her to start a blog for family and friends. I encouraged her to follow His calling. To share our experiences as a living testimony to others. In many ways, we will be missionaries, spreading God's word wherever He takes us.
What is your Samaria? Where has God called you to go and spread His word? Are you recieving your trials and persecution with joy?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

a few changes

i decided to start a blog so that friends and family can see what kind of little adventures i'm getting myself into across the country....

life has included a few changes as of recently....

-i'm newly married!
i'm enjoying having garrett by my side everyday. im so blessed to have married such an amazing man of God. he's such a support and always keeps me moving forward. we've loved the first two months of marriage and have learned so much about each other.

-i've moved!
although my cute lil condo still hasn't sold, i packed up everything i could fit in my suitcases and moved across the country. my sweet little jack is on his way out next week and then our family will be complete. :) life is just not the same without his morning meowing and kitty cuddles.

-i got a new job!
well kind of...i was going to try and get a teaching job but found out i still have to jump thru many hoops to get a teaching license here. so instead, i looked into nannying and subbing. God blessed me with a job interview three days after i arrived with a great principal who hooked me up with a long-term sub position. i also found a great family, with one of the cutest preschoolers to babysit here and there. i started my job last week and it's only part-time. i would have to say i am definitely getting used to this and love only working part of the week. :)

-i've gotten into cooking...okay WAY into cooking!
instead of watching tv, i find myself spending hours looking up recipes. i'm sure this blog will consist of many meals and recipes i have been trying.

-and last but not least....I'M PREGNANT!!!!
okay no not really, but i couldn't resist.

will fill you in on more later, along with wedding and honeymoon pics.