Monday, December 2, 2013

Full of thanks and ripe with love...

Do you remember your first holiday as a married couple? The joy and warmth in your heart knowing you not only share a home with your best friend, but that you have someone to hold and cherish with each coming holiday and momentous event. Ryan and I have come to appreciate the simpleness of being together. When 1,000 miles separated us before, we don't take it lightly that we don't have to wait months at a time to see each other. We simply roll over and say good morning :)
As a half a year has passed already we are most certainly counting our blessings, down to the very joy of sharing a meal. We experienced two Thanksgivings this year and did our best not to allow gluttony and food comas to overtake us. The weather brought a nice chill and a few freezing nights, but overall the weather is very mild.

Something I am proud to announce is that Ryan and I completed our first 5k. You might be wondering what our time was, and well, I'm embarrassed to say I got a side stitch not even a mile into it and had to walk partially... so with that said, we'll try for a better time next time. Although Ryan's brother Lance smoked us; he was there along with Kristina and Cole to cheer us on to the finish line.

Sooo, what happened to that nifty kite of ours? It flew, it fell, it broke. It was a fine piece of craftsmanship on Ryan's part, however, with a vital piece missing (a tail to keep it balanced) it flew to the ground one too many times until the wooden dowel supports snapped. It could've been avoided, but overall, still pretty cool to say we built our own kite. So we made the most of our time at the lakefront that morning and hung out with the Mercier's 3 (soon to be 4!). 

A few successful new recipes to add to my repertoire this month! Andrea's  (from Kesslers) famous Apple Crisp was delish and yum, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream paired with it. A scrumptious breakfast or tea time snack of Pomegranate Scones was a big hit with Ryan. I was a newb and completely new to french onion soup and did my best to recreate a classic.And lastly, Stuffed Eggplant, just a enough flavor and fun to make a cute little dinner for the two of us. 

We were blessed to have the entire week of Thanksgiving to spend with each other. We rode bikes on the Trace to burn off all the food we ate and visited the Audubon Zoo where Ryan hadn't been since he was a kid. Some of the quintessential memories for Ryan was the taffy cart and the goliath oak tree he and his brother would climb as kids.

A few other excursions of ours was trying our hand at pole fishing on the lakefront. That was an epic fail. Later Ryan walked out the end of the wave breaker, and it made for an awesome shot! Our day was redeemed :) We went for breakfast at the quaint 'Broken Egg' Cafe in Mandeville, which filled us to the brim! And although we only came for tear down, the annual Servolution outreach with local churches in Hammond was an amazing success. There were 2,400 free hot meals served and many lives impacted all in the name of the Lord!

 Our dear friends Jason and Sarah got married this month! We are incredibly happy for this couple. Consequently we are even more excited because they are now our new neighbors just a few buildings away! They had the most precious wedding ever. Everything from the unique rustic venue to touching ceremony, their marriage is a beautiful thing to witness. Even with the rain that came that day, nothing was going to ruin the beauty of two of them in love.  Ryan was honored to stand in the wedding, and we had a great time dancing the night away and seeing the two of them off!

We could not contain our excitement!

(They've officially joined the married club!)

In a coffee lover's world, there is a never ending search for the perfect cup of coffee, and by golly, I think we found it. The Aeropress. Don't knock it til you try it. And along with the Aeropress, we wanted to step it up a notch and see if we could turn this awesome coffee into a latte. So we purchased the AeroLatte, a small aerating device that gives amazing froth to simple coffee drinks. It's awesome! I feel like I'm giving a commercial for these items, but I promise you they aren't large investments and make great stocking stuffers for the coffee fanatic in your life.

In our great anticipation of Christmas, we made the most of our week together and got our 1st Christmas tree!!! It's cute and perfect! And we added a few other Christmas touches to the apartment to make it twinkle a bit. Ryan and I had a great time decorating the tree and putting on some ornaments from my childhood. We're officially ready for Christmas!!

To tell you all the lessons we've learned thus far, would take too long, as everyday is truly a learning experience. We've learned patience and reverence, honesty and balance, give and take, push and shove (just kidding)... we've learned how to say sorry sooner, and forgive more. We've laughed so much, and cried a bit too, but our eyes are looking forward. To say we are done learning these lessons is far from the truth, but with God's help everyday is a step in the right direction. We want to finish out this year strong, and dream big for 2014. In looking forward, we are currently praying in a new job for me. I have decided to forgo my job as a nanny in order to obtain a job that would afford growth and promotion in administration. And with God all things are possible. Pray for my peace in waiting, seeking, and applying. I know God has the perfect job set aside for me, and I will not hesitate to ask and knock on heaven's door for it.

Words can't express how much we are looking forward to Christmas in Wisconsin. 7 days of wintery goodness with family and friends, and enjoying the company and quality time of those we love. 21 days to go! So close!

Audrey & Ryan

P.S. For those of you that might still be wondering, we replaced Ryan's ring, and I gave him a stearn warning that the next one will be out of a cracker jack box if he loses this

Friday, November 1, 2013

5 months and counting!

Hello Family and Friends!

Here we are 5 months into marriage, and life has continued to be adventure filled! Whether it's something as exciting as celebrating a birthday or taking a walk by the lakefront... it seems the memories of this 1st year as well as the years to come will forever be cherished. Of course documenting the sentimental parts of our life as well as the random experiences Ryan and I have are so fun, and this month was no exception!

As much as I love ducks (and do I ever!), Ryan loves turtles. And this poor little dude was found trying to make his way across our apartment parking lot when Ryan scooped him up and placed him safely into the pond nearby :)

*I wish ducks were that easy to catch* lol.

 Northlake Christian has an annual Dodgeball Tournament every year around Homecoming. Ryan was asked to join the "Teachers" team and they called their team 'Old School'. Well, they definitely got schooled that's for sure. It was only two rounds for the them to be out of the tournament. Better luck next year Ryan *wink*.

And while we are on the subject of sports, we are also proud to support Northlake Christian's football. We went to a very highly anticipated game with their biggest rivals, Hannan High School. And as a result they are now 8-0! The theme was 'white out Hannan'. Needless to say Ryan was properly dressed for the occasion.

 Ryan was white from head to toe!

Here is a link to his excitement for the game:

 Ryan and I experienced a first on his birthday -- our 1st NFL game. The New Orleans Saints vs. Buffalo Bills. I must say it's impressive to be in the Superdome and we enjoyed the fans around us as well as the game itself! I will always be a Packers fan, but the Saints are doing pretty awesome this year!

Our experience was dampened though by the fact that my wallet was like a 1/2 inch too big according to the new policy for carry ins and there was a lot of stupid rules that made for a frustrating time getting in. Oh well... we were together, the Saints won, and the family dinner and quality time afterwards was great :D

                  Ryan before the frustration with security. And then after. (actually not really, this was before we even got there. He happened to make this disgruntled face accidentally.. but it makes for a funny story!)

The weather is definitely still warm for being October, but winter (or cooler weather I should say) is short and summer is well...almost year round. On one of the more mild days with clouds cooling things down, Ryan and I took a bike ride. 

However, with 10 minutes left, I took a fall off my bike when my tire slipped off the edge of the road. Whoops! My response to my fall was something like 'This is stupid..' Lol. Because for as bad as it looked later, it wasn't that big of a fall. Bike riding overall = something we should do more often. (just with less falling)

My gifts to Ryan on his birthday were all about him. Things that he likes to eat, things that make him look good, smell good. It was a practical birthday in which I wanted to keep my husband looking dapper as ever ;) Of course, his way of showing off his gifts is... well special.

And as far as the 'smelling' good gift. I must admit it was a bit of a gag gift. It works though! 
You have to watch the commercial for it -- it's so random!

After I had given Ryan some new dress shoes, it was out with the old and in with the new. I had no idea it'd be such an ordeal. This pair of dress shoes has lasted Ryan six years. He'd be better off walking in thick socks then depend on the soles of those shoes for support. Hahaha.

As a spontaneous and ingenious idea, we found ourselves at Whole Foods and decided to embark on a Wine & Cheese date. Being that some of the finer cheeses tend to be pricey, Whole Foods is so gracious as to have an entire bin with cheese 'scraps'. Essentially we picked out a bunch of tiny blocks of cheese, some maybe only $1 or less because they were so small. So after we blindly chose our morsels, and purchased some wine, fruit, and crackers to go with them.. we devoured them! 

We know we can't be deemed 'cheese connoisseurs', but we were sure to document all the tastes and flavors so we could go back and actually purchase a larger block :) Some of them were a total failure and we gave them a low score. Definitely something we'll have to try again.

As far as new meals and recipes, I haven't tried too many new things.
I made some Candied Almonds (they were yum, except I left them on wax paper too long and they stuck!..whoops.. still yummy though!)

When cooking for two, as always, freezing extras is extremely convenient. I made a large batch of this Cheesy Baked Chicken Penne.

Lastly, I JUST made Stuffed Flank Steak, which other than the cut of meat being a little too thin, this was awesome!

A week ago I was unpleasantly greeted with a sore throat followed by a sinus infection. Yuck + Ugh = My experience. We ran out of tissues a day into the sinus infection...and so I made do. Some antibiotics along with some TLC from my husband have me bright and cheery again :)

My mother will be happy to hear that I have taken my earrings out. Yes, sad day. But it's only temporary, as I wait for them to heal up from getting infected. Other than cleaning them I could not figure out why they were not healing up right. My one other guess is that I was allergic to the earrings that I was wearing and need to wear 14k gold posts. We'll see how it goes the next time. In the meantime, my ears will just have to be naked for a bit :(

I've taken up a new craft/hobby and it's super easy and quite inexpensive. It's embroidery hoop art. 
I saw this done many different ways on Pinterest and wanted to give it a try. The first picture is my first piece. And although the heart looks blue in the picture, I can assure you it is a nice complementing purple.

"love abides here."
And this one I am not sure what to do with. I am thinking a Christmas theme. But I don't fully have inspiration for it yet. Any ideas??

Tuh-dah! A new phone for me! It's a new-to-me iPhone 4s from my sister-in-law Kristina. And I will definitely need to enlist her help in showing me how to troubleshoot it. I am so android minded that it may take a while for me to get used to a new operating system. 

I wanted to leave you with a picture of somewhere that Ryan and I love. And that is the lake front in Mandeville.
We just missed the sunset but it was still so beautiful to see the light slowly fade from the horizon.

We love everyone near and far! 51 DAYS til our Christmas in Wisconsin! Wooohooo. We are excited for that like no one's business!! And we want you to give feedback to this blog. What do you want to see on these? Perhaps we might update twice a month? Let us know!

~Audrey & Ryan

P.S.  Tragic news -- Ryan lost his ring 2 weeks ago. It only took 4 1/2 months... sheesh! He lost it while at the gym... tsk tsk tsk.