Anniversary Weekend: The Real Deal

On our actual anniversary weekend, the weekend of May 23rd, we had a TON of fun as well. As I mentioned, Bryan had to "lay down his tracks" for the next Anthem CD. He went up on Friday night and got back around 4pm on Saturday.

I took advantage of this time to clean everything and make pita bread. Can I just say, that this pita bread is the best I've EVER eaten? I was SO PROUD of myself that I ate two whole pitas fresh out of the oven! DELICIOUS!

When Bryan got back from Minneapolis, we left for Iowa City almost immediately and arrived by 7pm. The Robinsons (our future Trailer Park buddies) were awesome enough to put us up for the night. We met up with my little brother and his girlfriend and we all went out on the town for the evening.

On Sunday we went to Parkview Church, which was fun because after we plant our church, we won't really be trying out churches in Iowa City, you know? Then we grilled out:
and hiked:
and watched LOST for the next...9 hours. Yep. That's what we did on May 23rd, watched LOST for 9 hours. We wouldn't have had it any other way!

The highlight of my weekend was actually Monday, though. We called our workplaces and told we weren't going to able to make it. We really did need to figure out the problem with our mail key [our mail keys didn't work for some reason], and thankfully we were able to do that. But we also got to hang out with the Robinsons for an EXTRA day! We played the Farming Game with them for around 6 hours. They, of course, loved it. We ALSO found out that that the BOWLING ALLEY/MINI GOLF (you read that right, bowling and mini golf in one?! YES) which is located RIGHT NEXT to our Trailer Park is AWESOME!!! It's only $2.75 for mini golf, $4.75 for bowling and $.25 for arcade games! And me and Miranda got to ride on Chuck-E-Cheese-like RATS!!!
In other words, we are excited to live in Iowa City and our actual anniversary weekend was a major SUCCESS!

"Anniversary Weekend"

Bryan has been the best husband ever lately! Well, he's always the best husband ever, but he planned our "anniversary weekend" wonderfully.

Bryan had to record his bass tracks for the next Anthem CD in Minneapolis on our actual anniversary weekend, so the weekend before, Bryan treated me like a queen.

On Saturday, Bryan had to go to work, so I lazed around the house until he got home. He came home with pretty yellow daisies and said, "I thought we could go to The Spice for lunch." Are you kidding me?! I love the Spice, it's pretty much tied with the Cafe as far as restaurants in Ames go. They have amazing Thai food, but really just amazing food! Yum!

The Spice is on main street, so Bryan conveniently led us over to Chocolaterie Stam where I proceeded to pick ANY chocolate my heart desired. Again, YUM!

I was then whisked off to the land of Reiman Gardens, where we Gnome hunted:
After the gnome hunting, we went to an AMAZINGLY FUN WEDDING and danced the night away.

AND (as if this weekend couldn't get better) Bryan also surprised me by getting a room at the Gateway Hotel, which is probably the nicest hotel in Ames. We ordered breakfast in bed the next morning and everything! What a treat!

I love my husband, isn't he the best?!?


The first ANNUAL Alsbury update!

People have been asking us lately, “How was the first year?”

As I’ve been answering that question, and thinking about the answer to that question, I began to consider what everyone told us about what the first year of marriage was sure to be like. You see, many, many people in our lives whether friends, family, or complete strangers made sure we knew what to expect as newlyweds. And while I’m thankful to those friends, family members and strangers who gave their opinions, advice and warnings, I must say, we were generally misinformed.

We were told that this first year was going to be hard. We were told that this first year was the “honeymoon” phase, and that we were unlikely to find anything wrong with each other. We were told that we would find ourselves in conflicts with our in-laws. We were told that this would be the best year of our marriage. We were told that this would be the worst year of our marriage. We were told we would fight about money, sex, and/or family. Etc.

I can’t say our first year of marriage matched any of those descriptions, but I also can’t say that our first year of marriage matched none of those descriptions. I suppose that’s the problem with blanket statements. Although, those advice-givers who had been married 30 or 40 years, I can see how to them, the entire first year could be blanketed with one such statement.

But Bryan and I haven’t been married for 30 or 40 years, we’ve just been married for one. And this one, wonderful, crazy, fun, whirlwind of a year ended yesterday.

I replied to one asker, “It feels like we’ve been married forever.” He laughed as he understood my words to be a negative thing. But I meant those words in the best way possible. I meant them to say, “I know our marriage has been short in the grand scheme of things, but it’s so…right that I feel as though it could have been forever.”

My best (girl)friend, Audrey, has told me several times that she admires the companionship Bryan and I share. That is a great compliment! Yet, I couldn’t agree more. We truly are best friends. We can’t stand to be apart and he still calls me every day (which started about nine months before we started dating). More recently, I’ve discovered that I absolutely despise going out in public without him. Thus, I’ve discovered the meaning of the phrase, “my better half.”

I’m getting mushy already, that’s what this kind of love will do to you.

We have a deep kind of love for each other, and this love has manifested itself in many different ways over the past year:
  • Telling Bryan how crazy he is for wanting 71,894,167 different types of cleaners so that every different surface in the house has its own special cleaner when we could just have ONE bottle of Shaklee H2 Multipurpose solution that cleans everything. That is love.
  • Bryan sending me all sorts of texts that start with, “help me remember…” and me remembering almost everything. That is love.
  • Organizing all of Bryan’s video games, computer games, movies, and records. That is love.
  • Bryan allowing me to create, decorate, and rearrange our house whenever I darn well please even when he has no idea how it’s going to turn out. That is love.
  • Bryan telling me, “you’re amazing!” when he sees the final product of the above noted creations, decorations, or rearranging adventures. That is love.
  • Bryan telling me how crazy I am for thinking we don’t need a toilet brush. That is love.
  • Working hard to stick to our budget and save a ton of money so that Bryan can graduate college without school loans. That is love
  • .Bryan doing the dishes. That is love.Bryan cleaning the bathroom. That is love.
  • Researching cleaning products, recipes, coupon methods, natural remedies and countless other things in order to care for my family in the best way I possibly can. That is love.
  • Bryan telling me I’m beautiful, that he likes my outfit and/or that I look cute. That is love.
  • Deciding to leave everything I’ve ever known as home and move to Iowa City with my husband who also decided to leave his home. That is love.
  • Making Broccoli Braid every week for about two months because Bryan can’t get enough. That is love.
  • Ceasing to make Broccoli Braid for about 4 months because Bryan’s had enough. That is love.
  • Encouraging each other to stay in the word, stay pure-minded, stay joyful, stay humble. That is love.
  • Fighting because I want Bryan to be the best husband ever. Making up because Bryan is the best husband ever. That is love.

What more do I need to say? We love this marriage thing. We think we’ll do it forever.

Now that this year has come to end, as has this post, I’d like to let you know that my monthly marriage updates will also end. Nobody likes those people who say their kid is 39 months, and I don’t want to be disliked for saying my marriage is 14 months, 17 months, 21 months, etc.

Now, I’m off to celebrate my anniversary by eating our year-old-frozen-now-thawed cake topper and watching the season and series finale of LOST. Happy May 23rd!

Click any of the pictures to see a facebook album of all of our favorite wedding pictures taken by Mandy Bee Photography.


Bedroom Update

When I was in Minneapolis in March, we took the inevitable trip to the best place on earth IKEA. I was planning on looking around and maybe getting some new bedroom stuff. I had been discontent with our bedroom for a while now, it just felt really dirty and cluttered and well, the opposite of a bedroom. It was basically a dusty storage room where we happened to sleep.

"Maybe" turned into definitely when I stepped into IKEA, and I'm so glad I decided to revamp. I'm extremely satisfied with the results. Here are some before and pictures:

Before BEFORE:


Personally, I think my style is improving. : )


How to make a "Quilted" Nursing Blanket

Disclaimer: I just teach myself how to do things, so I'm sorry if my lingo isn't correct. If it doesn't make sense, I'll just come over and teach you! : )

Things you'll need:

  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Lots of Pins
  • (2) 1"-1.5" D-Rings
  • (6) Different Patterned Fabrics, 12" cuts (to make two 12"x12" squares from each fabric)
  • 1.5 yards of a solid fabric (for the back)
  • Matching Thread
Step #1
From your fun patterned fabrics, cut out 12 (two from each pattern) 12"x12" squares. Try to get your cuts to line up with the pattern of the fabric. Another helpful tip is to really try hard for exact squares so that all twelve pieces are identical sizes to each other, this will make sewing a lot easier. Here are the fabrics I picked out:

Step #2:
Arrange your fabrics in the pattern of your choice in a 4x3 arrangement. When you love your arrangement, pin it ALL together. It may seem easier to sew the pieces together one at a time, but trust me, it's way easier to go through the work of pinning it and sewing a few straight lines. Mine looked like this after I got done pinning:

Step #3:
Sew it all together! I started with the two long stretches, then sewed the three shorter stretches. I used a 1/2" seam allowance to make the measurements easy. When you're finished sewing the pieces together, hem the edge by 1/2" as well. The front of your nursing blanket it done! Here's what mine looks like:
Step #4:
Cut out the backside. I used a plain white solid. If you were exact on all of your 1/2" seams and your cutting on the 12"x12" pieces, the backside should measure 45"x34". But I can never get things perfect so I made sure by simply laying my finished front side on the white fabric and cut around it, leaving 1/2" allowance on all sides.

Step #5:
Hem the back side by 1/2". Pin the front to the back, with all of the rough edged facing the inside and sew together the two short side and one long side.

Step #6:
You should have a long edge of your backside fabric. Cut this down to 2" wide. Fold in half, sew the rough edges together. Flip inside out. Sew a 1/2" seam on each side to make it look prettier. Cut about 5" off of that long strip.

Step #7:
On the edge of the blanket that has not bee sewn shut, pull the 5" piece of strap through the D-rings, and pin it to the edge of the blanket. I placed mine at the halfway point of the middle right square. Pin the longer strap opposite the rings, about halfway on the middle left square. Sew the last edge.

That's it! You're done! The last step will probably be to iron the finished project, as you can see I still need to do here:


I've been quite crafty lately...

Here is some proof...

I made a nursing blanket for a dear friend of mine and one of my favorite blog readers, Leah. (Love you, Leah!) Her sweet baby is due June 15th and her baby shower was in West Liberty the other weekend. Leah is the one who designed and helped me so much with my wedding invitations and programs. She's a graphic designer, so I was inspired by the black and white patterns and solids. I think she liked it. : )

Speaking of Nursing Blankets and dear friends, I also made a nursing blanket for my friend, Paige who just had her SWEET baby girl, Penelope. Penelope was part of my inspiration for the fabric, but mostly, if you know Paige, these girly and "old-womany" (as she would say) fabrics are totally her. I'll be posting a tutorial soon on how I made the nursing blankets. I'm kind-of a "make-it-up-as-I-go" kind of girl, so no, I didn't use a pattern or anything.

I've been really into Owls lately, and I needed to let it out! So I made an owl pillow. Again, in case you're wondering-no pattern. I found an owl I liked online, free-handed my own little version in pencil and stitched with yarn onto a very linen-y fabric. Then I measured the fabric and sewed it into a removable pillow cover for a pillow I got at IKEA a while back. Wha-La! Here's a close up of the CUTE (if I do say so myself) owl!


Chopped Onions-Piece of Cake!

That is when I'm using my food processor!