Benadryl to the Rescue

I’ve posted previously about our chocolate lab, Laila, here.  Well, we didn’t make it very long before she was post worthy again.  We made it a little over a month with a healthy girl.  When Paul and I went to bed Sunday night she was happy and healthy.  When I woke up on Monday morning to this face, I’m sure you can imagine my surprise.

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Check out the snout on that girl!! She looks like she might as well be a cartoon dog like Goofy or something! (sorry for how dark it was – but it was 6:30 in the morning). I immediately freak out, I do not do well when there may be something wrong with people/animals I love… God help me when Paul and I have actual children.  I woke Paul up and I started taking pictures and giving Laila Benadryl… AGAIN!  My friend’s brother is a vet, so I wanted to document everything so she could get some insight from him. Lo and behold – the vet says she is having an allergic reaction and it probably isn’t necessary to take her in unless it kept getting worse or she started puking, etc.  This made me feel better, but as Laila’s swelling went down, her hives came out.

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This poor girl just can’t catch a break!

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Luckily, the swelling in her snout has gone done.  Now we just have to wait out the hives!  We are pretty sure she got bit by something this time, and unless something seriously changes in her condition she won’t be making a vet visit this time.  Paul keeps joking that we are going to have to drop her off with his parents in Virginia next week until the Florida summer has passed and the bugs/plants are gone so she can safely return home… This is not happening.  She’s my protector when he’s gone!

So almost 1 month to the day – Laila has made her second blog appearance… and not for the best reasons!  Paul and I are hoping she will be back to normal by Thursday before we leave for Tampa on Friday!

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Weekend Wrap Up

This past weekend was busy, but so fun!  I finally switched around my work schedule for my second job so I have Friday nights off and I can fully enjoy my weekends.  The last few weekends have been consumed by yard work, and though they’ve felt so productive when the day is done, we needed to relax this weekend.

Friday night we went to a Mexican restaurant with some friends and just relaxed and had a great time.  I enjoyed some rare margaritas, or maybe I should say margarita.  When I ordered the 2 for 1 I wanted the smallest size, and Paul encouraged the medium (I never drink and cut loose, and he likes when I do).  So I went for the size up, and after the first drink I was feeling it.  While I was drinking the second margarita I could definitely tell that it was watered down, but I was assuming the ice was melting and I wasn’t drinking it fast enough.  Come to find out the next day, Paul was a little worried I would end up a little too drunk, so while I wasn’t looking he drank my drink and filled it will water.  Apparently, I had enough to drink that I really didn’t think much of it until he told me the next day.  He just didn’t want me to have a headache the next morning…so thoughtful of him after encouraging the larger drink! Honey has jokes.

Saturday was a little early birthday celebration for me.  I turn the big 2-5 tomorrow, but we started celebrating early.  Paul told me earlier in the week to keep my Saturday open, and he ended up taking me to the mall to spend the day shopping to buy whatever I wanted.  So sweet and thoughtful, and we had fun spending the day together.  Then he told me we had reservations for dinner that night, and I got all excited and curious about where we were headed!  We went to a local restaurant called Kool Beanz Cafe.  It’s an eclectic little place and their menu is always changing.  Well when we walked in, I hear “SURPRISE” and I turn to see a group of my friends waiting for me!  We had a great night and my friends are so awesome at making events special!  Paul and I apparently really liked planning surprises for each other this year 🙂

Sunday we went to church and after I finished worked in the nursery we headed out to the beach to meet Paul’s friend Griffin out at his parents beach house.  It ended up raining most of the day, but it was really relaxing just to hang out on the deck with a great view of the marshes and the gulf right in front of us.  Griffin’s family is so sweet and they are so much fun to hang out with.

So to make up  for our last couple of busy weekends, we spent this weekend catching up on the relaxation part which was definitely needed.  We will be headed out of town for the next two weekends so a nice relaxing weekend was just the ticket!  Paul and I are truly blessed to be surrounded by such great people, and a weekend like this one just helps see that so clearly.

 

 

Money Makes the World Go Around

When I graduated from college I got really good at saving money (why I waited so long to start beats me) then Paul and I got engaged and my savings account rapidly began to dwindle.  Apparently a wedding will do that to your savings account.

After we got married, Paul and I took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course through our church. To say I loved it would be an understatement. In Dave’s words, I am a full blown nerd. I’ve always loved numbers (my mom is an accountant and my sister worked in finance before becoming a SAHM so I guess it runs in the family), so it was really easy for me to latch on to his basic concepts and hit the ground running! Immediately after Paul and I got married I became obsessed with paying down debt. My biggest fear is the lack of money to provide for our family. I want to give my kids an amazing childhood and be able to let them partake in activities the way my parents did. I want to be able to give them a great house, in a great neighborhood in a great school zone. I want to be able to pay for their college so they can graduate debt free the way I did. I want Paul and I to be able to retire and enjoy our time together instead of working forever.  This course provided solutions for all of my financial fears.  Sacrifice now and I won’t have to worry later! Well, Paul is more of the free spirit and has a much more faith based concept with money.  Completely rational, unless you’re his crazy money obsessed wife.  Our goals are the same, but we have slightly different ways of getting to the end result. Mine is complete sacrifice, working two jobs until we have kids, and followowing Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps entirely.  Paul’s is to be conscious and smart, but still have a life and splurge occasionally.

After Paul and I paid off all the credit card debt we decided it would be best for our family to save to buy a new house and then focus on paying off student loans. So we started saving, and the harder Paul and I worked to save the faster money left our accounts. I’ve said before, that 2014 has not been an easy one financially, and we are only half way through! The faster money left our account, the more obsessed I became.  My obsession with money became an issue. Money became an idol for me, and this realization smacked me straight across the face on February 20, 2014.

Paul has a herniated disc in his back. Long story short, he threw out his back and after a week of being in pain he became physically unable to walk. He texted me at work and told me he could not put weight on his legs. I had a little panic, and after calling around to a few doctors we were told we needed to go to the emergency room. Paul is by no means overweight, but he is much bigger than me and there was no way I could get him down the steps and into the car to get him to the hospital. I called my brother-in-law and he came over and we could not get Paul to the car. I finally asked Paul if we should just call an ambulance, and his words were “we can’t afford that”… My stomach literally flipped over. Here is my husband, in excruciating pain and unable to walk and his concern is MONEY. His concern was money because he was thinking of me and what I would think.

While I followed the ambulance to the hospital I just started crying and praying. I was crying because I felt so awful that my husband thought money was more important to me than his health. I was crying because I was scared that 6 months into our marriage my husband may be paralyzed from nerve damage. I was crying because it finally hit me, God has been trying to tell me all along that HE will provide for Paul and I. That I need to let go of financial control and obsessing over savings and running numbers to figure out when we can have things paid off, and when we will financially be stable enough to have children. God was telling me to put my trust and my faith in Him that everything will work out, and I needed to stop worrying.  Dave’s teachings are based on Godly principles, but I was not incorporating God into our plan.

God has been testing Paul and I this year, probably more so me than Paul.  We continue to have huge unexpected expenses each month, and I truly feel this is God giving me this lesson over and over to make sure I’ve learned where to put my focus now.  I have come a LONG way in the last 6 months, and I still have more work to do.  I stopped logging into our bank account every hour of the day.  I am not using money as the determining factor to decide when Paul and I will be ready to start trying to have a baby.  I am not running numbers everyday to figure out what we can save and when we may be able to move.  I am not so crazy about our budget, but I do still try to follow it.  Everytime I get anxious about money, I have learned to pray.  I am letting go of control.  I am letting God’s plan unfold and trusting that we will be fine.  I am so grateful that I can rely on Paul for his strength and his faith when I feel discouraged.  This is just the beginning of our journey, but I am so thankful that Paul is the one next to me to go through it. He gives me more grace than I deserve, and he has helped me more than he probably realizes.  Just another reason why God brought Paul into my life.  He always knows just what I need.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

That’s What I Love About Sundays

Growing up my parents always made sure we went to church.  It was a non-negotiable in our house, and it often drove me crazy.  I was NOT a morning person growing up (I’m still not, but the requirement to be at work by 8am Monday -Friday has really helped force me to adjust), and I would miss out on fun things my friends were doing.  Needless to say, my parents waking me up to be at church by 8:30 on a Sunday, one of the only days I got to sleep in, was not high on my list of things that made me happy.  Then add that I missed out on sleepovers, beach days, etc. with my friends, which to a teenage girl is pure torture not to be involved in activities all your friends are doing.

Eventually, our parents actually changed our church schedule to Saturday nights for a few reasons, and I was so excited!  It helped my whole sleeping in issue, and I got to have sleepovers and go to the movies, etc after church on Saturday night.  As time passed though, even that wasn’t a good enough compromise.  Once I had a car and my own freedom, my Saturday night plans really filled up quickly only to be reminded by my lovely mom that we had church.

Fast forward to college when I transferred to FSU.  Church became something I attended very sporadically for a year or so.  I guess after a while, a part of me realized I needed to be going so I started meeting my sister and her husband at church on Sundays.

Fast forward even further to the present.   I have grown more in my faith in the last two and a half years then I have my entire life.  My parents laid the foundation of my beliefs for me, but I never really grasped the importance of applying it to my daily life.  I don’t know what exactly made it click for me, but I know exactly when it started.

Now I look forward to church on Sundays.  Paul and I plan our day around attending church.  I feel refreshed after we go and I started volunteering in Sunday School to get more involved.  It’s the best place for me to go when I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious.  It is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my Husband, even though we aren’t talking with each other.  Nothing makes me feel closer to God then a great worship and spending time in His Word.

My outlook on Sundays have forever changed, and I have my parents to thank for providing a strong Christian household for us to grow up in.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” Proverbs 22:6

SURPRISE!

Based on the title of this blog post I have a feeling I may have an aunt or two that may think this is a pregnancy announcement… Spoiler alert! It’s not – not yet anyways 🙂

Yesterday was Paul’s birthday – and ironically, the first birthday of his that we have ever spent together! Apparently he likes to plan to be out of town for his birthday, and then I don’t get to do any fun stuff with him to celebrate! This year I was so excited to get to actually spend it with him!  When I asked him what he wanted to do I wasn’t  huge fan of his response… He wanted to have a cookout with friends at our house.  It doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with that idea – it’s actually pretty great, but our house is not the house for entertaining.

We have no parking – Our street is really narrow and if you park in the road – the person across the street will probably hit your car when they try to back out of their driveway.   We have a couch and a kitchen table – seating for 7.  If people don’t mind getting up close and personal.  Our backyard is dirt, and our kitchen is tiny.  Really not the house that was built to entertain a bunch of friends.  So he created a new plan which was dinner out with his friends for his birthday and he proceeded to invite people.

Meanwhile, on Friday night we were out with our friends and the girls were asking me what we were doing.  I was explaining how he wanted to have a cookout, but our house isn’t made for that yada yada yada.  Our friend, Danielle, then volunteered her house for us to throw him a party (Bless her heart – how sweet is she!!).  Leave it to a group of girls to immediately start planning a party for 2 days later!

Plan of action:

  1. Figure out food (dividied up between 4 girls – easy peasy)
  2. Invite people (So easy thanks so social media and private event pages)
  3. Get Paul there without spilling the beans…

I told Paul that Danielle and her husband, Justin, were having a cookout for the Heat game (expecting him to be all in as usual) and his response was “Tell them maybe – I wanted to do something with you on Sunday for my brithday”… GREAT! That was not the response I expected.  So I kind of blew off what he wanted to do for his birthday plans and changed around the schedule he had in his head in hopes that it would work and he wouldn’t put up a fight – thankfully he didn’t!

Sunday night we got dressed and headed over to Danielle and Justin’s for the game and I told him it was all of my friends from work that would be there.  While we are driving there he was telling me all about how the guys were giving him crap for not hanging out and watching the game with them, while I stiffled laughs and smiles.  When we got to the house I had Paul go in front of me and when Justin opened the door everyone jumped out and yelled “SURPRISE!” (obviously).   Paul was definitely surprised – but he looked ANGRY! Come to find out that was Paul’s confused face.

The night was awesome and I really can’t thank our friends enough for all of their help and last minute efforts for pulling off the surprise and making his birthday special.  Not to mention we finally got to spend it together!  I definitely won wife points that night, but then I lost them for taking basically zero pictures.  Wife fail.

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28 Never Looked So Good

My handsome husband is 28!  Which according to him means he has already reached his “prime” and is on the downward spiral… at 28!  (It’s okay to think he’s crazy – I may have told him myself.)  So today I would like to tell you why you are so far from your prime My Love.

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  1. You work so insanely hard, and I am so incredibly proud of you.  You are just getting settled into a career, and I know you are far from reaching your potential.  This means that you still have not reached your prime.
  2. We have had 1 real vacation together which was our honeymoon.  We have way too many places on our bucket list that need to be crossed off before you can reach your prime.
  3. You have the most amazing heart and one day you will make the perfect father to our children. I can only imagine how in love with you our kids will be. You cannot reach your prime until after we have children!
  4. We just got married (almost) 1 year ago – I think we make each other better and our story just got started! So you obviously have NOT reached your prime!

This list is short, sweet and to the point, but this is by no means the end of it.  Everyday I have more reasons why I love you.  Everyday my appreciation for you grows.  We have so many ideas and so many things we have yet to do.  With each day that passes our dreams grow larger and closer.  We still have to have babies, and grandbabies,  go on vacations, buy new houses that will need loads more yard work, plenty of home renovations,  and so much more!  One day we will sit on our front porch when we are old and grey, reminiscing on our amazing life we built together, but until that time My Love, you have not reached your prime.  We have far too many adventures left ahead of us.

Happy Birthday Handsome!

Lo and Paul (4 of 29)

Turning Our House into a Home {Part 1}

When Paul and I got married last year I excitedly packed up all of my things and moved into his house.  He bought his house about 4 years ago while he was in school, and while it was a great choice for him back then, the house was not purchased with the intentions of a family.  It was a great purchase for the college bachelor he was at the time.   The house is on the college side of town, it isn’t in the best area, and our “neighborhood” (if you can call it that) is a little sketchy for lack of a better word.  Our initial plan was to live there while we looked for a new house to buy; however, lately our plan does not seem to be lining up with God’s plan for us.

2014 has been rough on our bank account to say the very least… we are barely 6 months in and Paul and I have had over $8,000 in unexpected expenses!!  From a tree falling on our house which led to tree removal required by our Homeowners Insurance, to medical bills, vet bills, escrow shortages, computers being replaced, car accidents and the list keeps going.  As you can imagine these events have done nothing to help us save to buy a new house, but it is a testimony in itself that we have made it through each of these without going into debt.  As frustrating as this year has been, Paul and I are learning A LOT.  We are learning from each other, about each other and ourselves, and we are learning HUGE life lessons from God. (I can post more on this later, but this really is a whole post on it’s own).

This being said, recently Paul and I decided we should just try to list our house and see what happens.  If it takes a while to sell its okay because we aren’t in a rush.  If it does sell quickly we can go rent somewhere until we find a house we want to buy.  So I reached out to my sister’s friend who happens to be a Realtor to discuss everything, and it was a really large dose of “you are not ready to buy a new house yet” from God.  Our initial plan was to list it “As is” with hopes of an investor purchasing it and preventing us from making costly repairs while trying to buy a new house.   Then we found out about the house that just sold next door… Our new “comp” in the lovely world of real estate.  This house sold for much less than the asking price (and much less than we wanted to list ours for), it has a relatively new roof, new A/C unit, etc, etc. Basically all the things we wanted to avoid replacing on our house, and it just sold for much less than we hoped it would. We were SO frustrated!  We both want to move.  This is not the neighborhood or the side of town we want to be on, we need more room, the house has ZERO storage and I could go on.

So that brings us to where we are today.  For anyone who isn’t trying to listen to God, all these “house” things may seem like a small series of frustrating events to get through, which they are, but Paul and I also know these events are God teaching us a few different lessons.  We are going to learn to be CONTENT and THANKFUL in the house we have, because after all at least we have a house.  We will be working on our house over the next few months to get it ready for the market (i.e. replacing the roof, replacing the insulation, yard work, curb appeal, etc.)  We will be PATIENT while we follow the path that God is laying before us, and while we are waiting we will turn our house into a home.  We do not know what His plan is for us, but we know His plan is ultimately better than ours.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Two Years Ago Today…

Paul and I had our first date. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize that Paul and I have not had the ideal “length” of a relationship before it is socially acceptable to get married these days.  When people find out how long we have been together their face says it all.  Most people think we are crazy, and I’m not denying that we aren’t, but I also wouldn’t change a thing.

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Our first date was so easy.  We talked about everything, and when we got up to leave neither of us was ready for the date to be over.  Unfortunately, since I’d just had knee surgery a week prior I wasn’t really able to do anything, so we said our goodbyes with huge smiles. I immediately called my sister to tell her about it. I explained how conversation was so easy, I felt so comfortable with him, and he seemed like such a great guy. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, but for some reason I just felt that we would have some kind of future relationship. I had no idea what it would entail, but I knew there would be another date. There was… the next day, and then everyday after that.

Paul and I both have birthday’s in June, and with the help of my friend Malarie, they planned a trip for the four of us (Malarie, Eric – her then boyfriend, now husband, Paul and myself) to go to Destin for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. It was during this trip, only 19 days after our first date, that I knew I was completely in love with him. I wanted him to be the man I spent forever with. I didn’t tell him this then, but I knew it.

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It wasn’t just apparent to Paul and I though. Our families knew. I went shopping with my sister, and her exact words were, “David and I think you’re going to marry him.” This was about two weeks after our first date. My parents knew the first time they met him. After we got engaged, my dad let me in on a secret. After they met Paul, they knew they had to start saving up for a wedding in the future. Paul’s mom may have been my biggest fan from the start. She hadn’t even met me yet, and she was ready for Paul to propose (he must have really talked me up to her…).

Paul and I don’t celebrate our dating anniversary anymore (especially not with our first wedding anniversary coming up next month!), but I still love it.  Our little whirlwind relationship timed perfectly by God.  He answered both of our prayers on June 5, 2012, and 19 quick days later I knew I wanted this guy in my future.

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The Agreement.

Before Paul and I ever got married we made an agreement. I don’t know how this came about but our agreement is as follows: I will do all the laundry as long as he does all the yard work. It works out great for us. I do laundry and I don’t have to venture into the yard where snakes are waiting to jump out at me, and Paul avoids folding laundry.

Randomly, Paul helps me with laundry without me ever asking and breaking our agreement (he’s so good!). So this weekend we wanted to get some yard work done and I voluntarily headed outside to help Paul. It was a productive day, but we were fighting off mosquitos and all sorts of random critters that had me screeching and running on occasion while Paul laughed at me. Luckily there were no snake sightings!

Towards the end of the day Paul and I were exhausted and both fighting off colds. I was pretty over the day and the horseflies apparently really liked me. After a few slaps at my ankles to fend them away I made a dramatic exit from the yard in true Lauren fashion. Paul finished up and headed in for the day.

In the middle of the night, I woke up itching like crazy only to find that my ankle was swollen from the 4-5 bites. My ankle is so swollen it hurts to walk and trying to fight the urge to itch it is killing me! So for now I will lay in bed with my fat ankle, drugged with benedryl, and remember why I don’t do yard work.

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