Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Karen Kingsbury Baxter Family Reunion

Karen Kingsbury is probably my favorite author. She writes Christian novels about problems that real people have. I love how she uses Scripture and God to get the characters through their hard times. I have bought 29 of her books and enjoyed every one of them, but I especially like that my grandma will read the books too and then we can talk about them together. My mom, bless her heart, wants to read the books too but she never has time to read. Her job has her looking at a computer and typing a lot of reports through out the day so come evening, the last thing she wants to do is read. But, luckily, she was able to take off from her job to take the trip with me and grandma to Karen Kingsbury's Baxter Family Reunion.The Baxter Family Series takes place in Bloomington, IN so we left for Bloomington around 2:00 hoping to make it to this building, the auditorium on Indiana Universities campus, by 7:00. This is where Karen was speaking. After a few potty breaks and a Subway stop we actually made it into Bloomington around 6:30, but finding this place was a bit of a problem for us. We have a history of getting lost in St. Clair Square, a place we have been to probably a thousand times, so finding a place we have never been to was pretty near impossible. As soon as we got onto Indiana's campus we asked somebody for directions. We followed his directions to a T and then asked somebody else for directions. He sent us in a totally different direction. Finally, my mom spotted signs that said "Baxter Family Reunion" so she told me to park and that we could walk the rest of the way. We parked with about 2 minutes to spare, however, we didn't realize that we had parked over a mile away from the building. We laughed the entire time we were walking so it felt like we burned a lot of calories. Or maybe it is just wishful thinking. We finally got seated, after another important potty break, around 7:10. When I walked in Karen Kingsbury was up on stage talking.

This is the famous Karen Kingsbury. I took many many pictures during the evening but this is the only one that turned out. We sat 17 rows back and had a great view of the entire show. Karen is a wonderful speaker and she had me in tears and bursting in laughter many times through out the evening. We even were able to meet many of the characters from her book and see some performances from a Christian Kids Theater. She talked a lot about her books but she also gave a motivational speech telling us to 'Love much, Laugh often, and Live in Christ.' I think that is great advice and I will probably make that my motto for this year. It was a memorable evening but once the presentation ended it was full out madness. Karen was setting up in the front for autographs and she had booths full of books for sale. You would've thought she was giving away a million dollars. The women at this event were ruthless. They would knock over anybody who got in their way including my mom and grandma. I was looking forward to meeting Karen but there was no way I was going to make my mom and grandma fight with that crowd for what looked like would be hours. After we got our free copy of her latest book we headed off toward our hotel for the evening. The next day there were many things planned for the Baxter Family Reunion but we skipped them all and instead shopped around Bloomington and just hung out and I am so glad that we did.
Here is my beautiful mother. She is just as beautiful on the inside as she in on the outside. This is a picture I took of her sitting in our hotel room the next morning before we left to go shopping. What you can't tell is that she didn't sleep at all the night before. I slept in the same bed with her and I didn't sleep that well either but neither of us knew the other one was awake so we both just laid there all night.

This is my beautiful grandma who looks just like my mom. The funny thing was, she didn't sleep the whole night either, despite the fact she took some sleeping drugs.

This picture was taken near the square at Bloomington. You will always see these two women walking arm and arm. They are best friends just like my mom and I are best friends. Plus, my mom doesn't want my grandma to fall.

This is the large beautiful building in the center of the square. My guess is that it's the court house, but I could be wrong. We went to many different stores and saw some really neat things. We talked to a lot of different people and ate at a neat downtown restaurant. Then we went to the mall. The problem with the mall for us is not that there is so many clothes to buy but that there is a pet store.

This is Maggie Mae - well - it would've become Maggie Mae if my dad would've let my mom buy her. I called Mr. G first and asked if we could have her and I got a quick "no." Then my mom called my dad. She started off the conversation by telling my dad how much she loves him and that she missed him so much. She also got a quick "no." My grandma just sat back the whole time and laughed at us. We are crazy people.

But wouldn't you fall in love with that puppy face too. Well, the trip was great and the company was even better. I enjoyed Karen Kingsbury but I enjoyed spending time with these two wonderful woman even more. I hope to someday grow up to be just like them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

House Renovation

Our wonderful home was built in 1979 when it was believed to put as many walls in a house as possible. Our home is very well built and we love it very much but we decided when we moved in that someday this wall would be gone. Well, the time finally came when we were able to take that wall down and start our home renovation. (In this picture you can also see Rudy. He is my brothers and sister-in-laws dog that we were able to babysit while they were on vacation.)
This is the wonderful man who did all of the electrical for us. We could not of done this renovation without him. And the other man there is my dad. He led the wrecking crew who took down the wall. He worked so hard that day that he ended up with a lot of cramps that evening. God Bless you Dad! And by the way, the wrecking crew consisted of me, Mr. G, and my brother.

Here Dad is as we are just getting started. He is taking off the beautiful brown 1970s trim on the bottom of the wall. It wasn't an easy task.

Finally we were able to start in on the wall. Here is my brother and my dad. We have just taken the first huge chunk out of the wall. This is when the mess really started. Because the house was built in 1979 it was a plaster covered wall. This made the work a bit harder and a bit messier. But, thankfully my uncle let us borrow his truck to load up the mess and haul it off.

Now, this isn't just any ole truck. If you look real close you will see a name on the drivers door. It says "Orville Boldt, Woodlawn, IL." Orville Boldt was my grandpa, but he passed away when I was only about 6 or 7. He was a great man and I miss him even though I don't remember much about him. My dad and my grandma have shared many stories about him and I look forward to someday getting to chat with him in heaven. But this is his truck and I thought it was priceless to see my dad driving his dads old truck.

Back inside we were continuing the tear down. That huge piece I am pulling was one of the biggest chunks of wall we tore off. The only other one that was bigger was pulled off by my brother and he kindly informed me of that. What a good brother he is.

Here I am with my brother carrying out part of the mess. You can see the 1970s wallpaper that used to hang in our kitchen. Seeing that reminded me of all the other wonderful families who had once called this place their home. I bet everyone of those families wished this wall was taken out too.

Unfortunately, my brother suffered an injury during the process. He tried to kick down the wall and when his foot went through the plaster he fell forward where he was pierced in the hand by a nail. This took us away from our work for about 30 minutes so that we could console my brother. He now believes that he understands a bit of what Jesus went through when he was crucified because he too had a nail in his hand. My brother believes that the Lord was sending us a message especially since this happened on a Friday. My brother informed us that when we went looking for him Sunday morning in his room, he would not be there. I maybe don't need to tell you this, but my brother is very dramatic.


Anyway, back to the renovation. It was already looking great and we had only been working for about 2 hours at this point. My brother unfortunately, had to leave because our mom said he had to go get a tetanus shot. I informed him that Jesus never needed a tetanus shot.

Finally Mr. G arrives and we start taking down the wall together. What you can't tell by the picture is how hot it is in our house at this time. We had to turn the air conditioner off so that plaster didn't get circulated through out the house. We were both hot, sweaty, and smelly at this time, but we were having a blast.

He is so cute when he works and he loved using that SawZaw. Nice work Mr. G.

This is a picture taken from our dining room into our living room. Just a few hours ago you only would've seen a wall, but now you can see into the living room and out the window. We are already pleased with the renovation and the process isn't finished yet. In fact, we have lots left to do with finishing the ceiling, painting, adding laminate, and changing the trim. There will be many more house renovation updates to come. And in case you were worried, my brother is doing fine. He has had a full recovery from his injury, however, he does remember the experience as a life and death situation.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Grandma's Flower

This is a gorgeous flower that now sits in my front yard.

The amazing thing is this flower just looked like a giant weed as of yesterday. I could see the potential for a bright beautiful flower but I had no idea when this flower would finally decide to bloom, if ever.

There is a wonderful story though behind this flower that you don't know.
I was given this plant from my grandma Bonnie. My grandma has many flowers in her yard and she tends to them often. About 2 months ago she decided to take out a bulb and give it to me to put in my front yard. I was worried that doing this would eventually kill her plant, but she reassured me that her flower will be just as big and will continue to grow and prosper, she just wanted to share this beautiful plant with me.
The best part about this story is that my grandma has planted many more seeds in my life than she will ever know. From a little girl she has shared the love of Jesus with me and has taught me so much about what it means to be a Christian woman. In fact, I am so blessed that I have two grandma's that have shared so much of their faith with me that I know I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for these two women.
A grandma's love is so special that it is even mention in the Bible in a letter written by Paul to Timothy.
"I have been reminded of you sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5)
The sincere faith that started with my grandma's has been passed down to my mom and dad, which in turn has been passed down to me. And God-willing I hope to continue to pass the seed on to my children.
It would've been easier for my grandma to take care of her flower in her yard instead of going through the trouble of taking out a bulb, wrapping it up, and transporting it to my yard. She still could've enjoyed the beautiful flower she had without all the trouble, but she chose instead to pass that wonderful blessing on so that I can also enjoy its beauty and its grace.
Thank you Grandma!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

First Pick of the Year

I went out to the garden today and found these. Our first batch of green beans. Now, this isn't just the first batch of the year, this is the first batch of our marriage. We moved into our home in August of last year so it was too late to plant a garden. We have been anxious all winter to start our first garden and finally June 11 we have our first pickings. I know this may sound corny, but I feel like I should pray for our harvest. Even though it is small, it is truly a gift from God. On day 3 about 6 thousand years ago God made grass, flowers, and plants, and here we are today still benefiting from that blessing.

Dear Lord, thank you for this first picking of green beans. We know they are straight from you. Thank you that Matt and I are able to enjoy the blessings of a garden this year and thank you for the blessing of my dad who has kept the garden going. These green beans would not be here today if it wasn't for him. I pray for the farmers who are truly making a living off of their harvest and I pray that they will be blessed. I love you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Now, I must go start the stove top and cook these delicious green beans. I am so excited. I feel like I am on Little House on the Prairie!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mr. G #23

This was a big day in the G household because it was Mr. G's 23rd birthday. I think I was as excited as Mr. G. This was Mr. G's first birthday married and I wanted to make it special. I asked him if he wanted a party at our house with friends and family and he said that he would enjoy that, but he would rather it be just him and I. So...I knew I had to make it special and I was actually nervous about it.

To the left you see the gifts that Mr. G received on his birthday. I don't know why the flowers are in there. That was not part of the gifts but it does add some color. To the right you see the homemade chicken and noodles I made him. That was a special request by Mr. G. I ended up using the Duggar chicken and noodles (From 19 Kids and Counting) and it turned out pretty good. Although, I just realized that Mr. G has never asked for it again.
And, of course, in the middle you will find my hunky husband, Mr. G.

Now as I planned this birthday bash for my man I had of course planned the perfect homemade birthday cake. I got all the stuff to make it (the box and the icing) And I made a delicious cake, but I had never decorated a cake before. When I was a little girl I always loved to see the design that my mom and dad would make on my birthday cake. We couldn't afford a store bought cake, but that didn't bother us any because mom and dad's homemade cake was always better. So, that is what I wanted to accomplish for Mr. G.

Well, let me just say that you should never judge a book by its cover, or a cake by its icing in this case. The cake actually tasted delicious even though I couldn't fit "birthday" on it, and the entire thing looks like a 3 year old did it. Apparently, I am bad at making a circle. I thought I was suppose to learn that skill in Kindergarden, but obviously the ability to make a circle did not stick with me.

Now, I don't know why this picture is on the side, or maybe I purposefully made the picture this way because my cake looks better from this angle. No, it still looks bad from this angle. Let me just add that it was really hard to push the icing through the little hole. I was actually worn out by the end. Luckily, Matt still loved the cake and we ate it all in just a couple days. Maybe next year his cake will look a little better, but I won't be expecting to make it to any cake decorating show anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


This is an image I see most every morning.
I know you are probably someone who believes it is wrong to let your dog sleep in the bed with you and your husband and if I had a normal dog I would maybe say the same thing. However, this here is Mickey Mantle and he is anything but normal. He truly believes that he is a little boy and that he owns this bed just as much as Mr. G and I. He usually gets cozy right in between us every night, but when I get up in the morning to take a shower Mickey is thrilled to take my spot. He really prefers his head on the pillow as you can see, and most mornings you will usually see him covered with the blanket as well.
And then there lies Mr. G. Oh my sweet husband who views morning as a war that has to be won everyday. I am quite different, however. I am someone who will hear the alarm, turn it off, be a bit upset that it's already morning, and then go ahead and get up and move on with my morning routine. This is not true for Mr. G.
Mr. G will usually turn off his alarm, apparently sometimes without even waking up, and he will proceed to lay in bed asleep. As most of you know, this is bad when you have a job that you have to go to in the morning. Eventually Mr. G will realize that he has only 15 minutes now to get ready for work so he must get out of bed. This is where the war begins.
If you watch it will take him multiple attempts to get up. He will try sitting straight up, but he only makes it a tenth of the way there and will fall back down to the pillow. He then will try to let his legs drop off the edge of the bed, but then he finds that this is actually pretty comfortable too, so he will just lay there, half on and half off of the bed. Finally, he will do the roll. He will proceed to roll off of the bed trying to catch himself with his feet and hands before his face hits the ground. Praise God the first battle of the war belongs to Mr. G.
Then he will try and walk. This is the second battle. I have never seen my husband drunk but I don't have to because seeing him in the morning is virtually the same thing. When he tries to walk every step goes a different distance than the step before it. It might be a short step, then a long step, followed by two really quick short steps, and maybe a medium step in there once in a while. Awkwardly he walks towards the bathroom. The frustration is written all over his face. Frustration because he knew that he could walk when he went to bed last night and he is not for sure why today he has lost the ability. Then he turns the corner for the bathroom but unfortunately, he never makes it through the door on the first try. Somehow he can't seem to make it through the doorway and again frustration arises because he knows just yesterday that doorway was a lot bigger.
Now whatever happens after that I do not know, and I do not want to know because that is a part of my husbands world I don't want in.
Once my husband makes it out to the living I am usually almost ready to leave for work but we quickly have breakfast together. While I try to enjoy my cereal and the news and my wonderful husband I am amazed at the sounds that come from his body. I never knew that a human can make such noises. Often I will ask him what he did to make that noise and he will always reply, "I didn't hear anything."
Then usually my husband will make it fully awake usually right before I walk out the door. Here I had been awake for almost 2 hours and now I am between 5 to 10 minutes late and my husband decides that now is the time that he wants to wake up and give me a long sweet romantic kiss.
Now, don't get me wrong. I love to kiss Mr. G. He is a wonderful kisser and I usually look forward to it everyday, however, at this point in the morning he has not showered or brushed his teeth. Mr. G is then surprised when I only give him a peck and he will say "Come on sweetie" and try for a better kiss. How this man does not know that he smells like soured milk and old farts I do not know, but he is oblivious to the fact. Some mornings I am the good Christian wife and will hold my breath and give my sweet sweet husband a loving kiss. Other mornings I will simply give him a peck, an I'm sorry and I love you and will give him another hug before I am out the door.
Every morning is the same, but even still it is our morning together and for that I am grateful. I know there are many couples who are unable to see each other when they get up so I am thankful to God that I can spend my morning with my husband. I do wish my husband did not have to be on the front lines every morning and fight his war of waking up, but hopefully once we have kids this war will end. I will not hold my breath, though. I will still, however, enjoy the picture I see every morning of Mr. G and Mickey sleeping side by side.

New Home

Welcome to our new home. This picture was taken on August 2009, just 3 months after our wedding. Up until this point we had been living in a beautiful rental duplex in a town about 30 minutes away where my grandma lives. It was a perfect location because my grandpa had died just a month before our wedding and so we wanted to be near my grandma during those first months. Because I am a teacher I was free the whole summer so me and my grandma were able to hang out a lot.
Those were wonderful days, but this house became open and before we knew what we were saying we put an offer on it and it was accepted. It was a bit of a surprise at first but we were extremely excited because we were only going to be 7 miles from my folks and it is a perfect neighborhood. At his point we had owned this gorgeous cottage for almost an hour and Mr. G and I were shocked at how easy it was to buy a home. We thought surely we were doing something wrong because shouldn't buying a house be stressful and hard. I guess we were just lucky or maybe blessed would be the correct wording.
The two windows to the left are our garage and the two windows to the right are the extra bedrooms that someday will be filled with approximately 7 children, God willing.
By the way, it is not that important that Mr. G only wants 2 kids. I really think that we will learn the true meaning of compromise and end up with a number in the middle of my 7 and his 2. So, as I was saying, those two rooms will be filled with 7 children, God willing. (My math never was very good, but it might go in my favor here)
The large window in the middle is our living room and behind it is our kitchen and dining room. The only down side is the mass number of unnecessary walls. Our goal is to eventually tear down at least one wall, as well as add laminate or hardwood floors, paint every room, and chang the wood work. Not to mention I would love to add a fence and change both bathrooms.
So far everything has been so easy and I am sure the renovation will be a breeze as well. But what do I know.

At this point we are just excited about having our own home and being able to have room to put all of our stuff.
By the way, do you see that large beautiful tree in the background? Well, once fall came around we became very closely acquainted with that tree and the 3 others that look just like it in our yard. These are our beautiful gumball trees.

Excuse me if I don't jump for joy at the sound of gumball. Those sharp little pesky balls got old fast and it is only our first year here. I would love advice from anyone who knows the best way of picking them up.

One of our wonderful neighbors suggested we drill a deep hole into the trunk of the tree and pour gasoline in the hole. He says this will get rid of the gumballs for good, but I'm thinking that will get rid of the tree for good. I can't imagine pouring gasoline into the tree being good for the tree or anything near it. So, like I said, any advice would be much appreciate on ways to pick the gumballs up. This last fall I actually used a rake some and a Frisbee some to get the gumballs into the wheel barrel. Good times!!

Well, we are a Happy Go Lucky couple just starting out. Nothing really tying us down. We are just living day by day enjoying every moment and looking forward to what lies ahead. We are positive that hardships will arise with this house, but why worry about that now.


Is it just me or is this picture priceless?
Mr. G is holding Mickey Mantle, my little boy, and they are both fast asleep. Mickey has grown to love his new daddy quickly and here is living proof of it.
This is a Sunday afternoon and I had already woke up from my nap.
You must first understand the severity of a nap on Sundays. My family could not survive without them. You see my father is a minister, as is my two older brothers. As for my mom, Mr. G, and I, we all do the children's Sunday school and children's church downstairs. So, as you can imagine Sundays are very eventful and take a lot of work and energy. So, ever since I was a little girl, naps were always taken on Sunday afternoons.
But here sleep Mr. G and Mickey, both equally as sweet but in very different ways. I simply could not resist taking this picture before they woke up.
FYI - they both woke up after they heard the snap of the camera. Whoopsie!
At least I am married to a man who wakes up in a good mood. He just smiled at me and I rewarded him with a kiss and reminded him just how cute he is.
Just keep being you, Mr. G, and you will make me the happiest woman in the world.


This is Mr. G - my hunky husband and the sweetest man in the world. I love the huge smile on his face. We had only been married for about 8 hours at this point and he was so excited about the honeymoon.
This is me, the new Mrs. G. I am just as excited about the honeymoon as Mr. G but I do have a few concerns about leaving behind my mom and dad. How sad is that, but it is true.
At this point we are on the Amtrak headed for the cruise ship.
What's that?
You want to know what we will do first?
Well, that is an interesting question.
We, of course, headed straight for the all-you-can-eat buffet.
I appreciate the fact that you didn't notice that I had more food on my plate compared to Mr. G. You must understand that for the last 3 months food and I did not have a relationship. that the wedding is over, all bets are off.
Just try and also not notice the 10 lbs I gain by the end of the trip.

This is the view looking out our room on the ship. We had a balcony that we sat on often enjoying the scenery. All though most of the time it was just blue water.

Every day we would come back to our room and find one of these. We had a different animal every day and I believe this one might be a dog. Which of course reminded me of my little K-9 back home. I love you Mickey Mantle.

The first night we went to the fancy meal in the fancy dining room, but we didn't get enough to eat so after dinner we went back to the buffet.
Here is Mr. G being sweet as usual. He was the first one to write our names in the sand at Labadee Haiti. Then everyone seemed to follow. The whole beach was full of names and hearts and wedding dates.
Way to be a trend setter sweetie.

These are the jet skis we went on out in the ocean. Mr. G had to hold on really tight to me because I was not letting off the gas especially after the leader told me I was too slow to go in the front. Grrr. Mr. G had to hang on for dear life after that.
A little later we made a pit stop and just sat out in the ocean on our jet skis with our group. The leader suggested to everyone to get out and swim.
Um, has this lady not seen the movie Jaws? Does she not know what lives in this big body of water? I have seen Jaws and Shark week on Discovery Channel. Um, we are definitely not getting off these jet skis. Mr. G and I were the only ones who stayed on the jet ski and fried.
Did I just hear you call us chickens?
I will pretend I didn't hear that.

Now we are at Jamaica and this is the cruise ship and these are my feet. I know you see the huge calf muscles and you maybe assume this is Mr. G's legs, but I am positive these are my feet. Mainly because of the toenail polish. Mr. G isn't a big fan of pedicures.
We didn't just sit around the whole time though. We got to work.

This here is the huge sand castle that Mr. G and I made. We had found a used plastic spoon and it was our tool in making this beautiful architectural castle.
We did consider the fact that we didn't know who used the spoon and what gross diseases might be on it, but we had to make a sacrifice for the greatness of our castle. That is dedication.

We finally got back to being lazy and just laying around. Unfortunately, the top of our heads began to burn so Mr. G got smart and put his towel over his head. Doesn't he look peaceful.

Back on the ship we headed to the very front of the boat. It actually took us a while to find it because the ship was so big. We were going to re-enact the scene from Titanic but there was a couple there before us that beat us to it and they looked really silly so we just decided to get in our usual pose and have someone snap a quick one of us. Isn't the view gorgeous.

This is our captain who started every announcement by saying, "This is your captain speaking. The worlds smallest captain driving the worlds biggest ship." Mr. G loved that line.

This was where we swam with sting rays. I absolutely loved the experience but Mr. G kept yelling out, "I don't like this. I don't like this at all."
It could be because these huge massive animals would basically ride up on top of you or take your feet out from underneath you. Anyway, it was fun and we both kissed a sting ray for 7 years good luck.
Well, at least I did, I think Mr. G just pretended to.

We were getting close to the USA again. In the background is actually the skyline of Miami but our big heads are in the way. This site actually attracted a lot of families as many of them came out to take pictures. It was beautiful.
I, however, am really excited to get back to land so I can call my folks. I had exchanged e-mails with them during the cruise, which usually left me in tears because I missed them so much. Mr. G was so good about not letting that hurt his feelings. He comforted me and led me back down to the buffet to make me feel better. What a good guy!!

Wow, God even reminds us of his wonderful promises even thousands of miles out in the ocean.

And this is us on the trip back home. Yes, we were exhausted, but, no, we weren't really asleep. We are just good actors. Mr. G actually took the picture! Sometimes we think we are funnier then we really are. Oh well!!
It was the perfect honeymoon with the perfect man. This is the beginning of our journey and I can't wait to start our lives together in our new home.