Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Grown Up Christmas

This Christmas is going to be a different one for me. I am excited about it, but I'm also a bit apprehensive. This year, we will be spending Christmas in North Carolina at Herschel's brother's house with the rest of Herschel's side of the family. This will be my first Christmas that I have not spent with my immediate family - hence, the apprehension.

Of course I knew this day was coming. It's expected with marriage. Along with the sharing of the house, chores, money, remote, etc. comes the sharing of the holidays. And honestly, in this department I've become a bit spoiled two and half years into our marriage. We have yet to spend a Thanksgiving or Christmas with Herschel's family. (I can see it now - several of you are having intense feelings of sympathy towards Herschel for having to spend all holidays with me and my family, but don't worry, he likes it. Trust me. Ha!)

We didn't really intend for it to end up that way, but for one reason or another it just did. Honestly, I think I was hoping the first holiday we would spend with his family would be Thanksgiving. I think it would be an easier transition for me. Still tough, but better somehow with endless amounts of turkey, dressing and pumpkin to drown out my sorrows.

Regardless, here we are. Christmas 2009 will be my first grown up Christmas. I'm trying to prepare myself as best as possible, but how do you really prepare? See, with my family, like most families, we have traditions. I know exactly how things will be, and I enjoy that. I know that we will have a big breakfast waiting when we get up, we will have to repeatedly wake up my brother so that we can finally open the presents, our stockings will be filled to overflowing and set at each of our chairs and my mom will be badgering everyone to throw their wrapping paper immediately into the garbage bag that she seems to have attached to her hand every Christmas morning. They may seem small, but through all the changes in our family over the years, these things have been constant.

I don't know what traditions the Acosta side of the family has, and chances are they are different than the ones I am used to. This all began to sink in for me last Saturday, as Herschel and I started planning out the details of our road trip to North Carolina. It wasn't long before the who, what, when, where and how of our trip turned into an interrogation for Herschel. I spent most of our lunch firing off questions to Herschel about what Christmas in his family was like, and in typical Herschel fashion, he didn't elaborate much and told me to calm down. I got answers like, "We open presents." Well, thanks. I'll be sure to prepare for that one.

It wasn't too long after that when I decided that I would try not to worry about the traditions - new or old - and enter into this year with an open mind. This Christmas is going to be different in a lot of ways. In addition to a change of location for me, we have spent significantly less than we have in previous years and we aren't giving each other presents, instead we are buying one thing we both want and can use. Maybe it's a sign of maturing or maybe it's just a reaction to all that we've been through this year, but all the "stuff" just doesn't seem to matter as much this year.

I'm trying to get back to the heart of the Christmas season. And honestly, I'm not quite there yet. Ironically, I've been too busy and distracted with all of my preparations. Christmas is about a love greater than you or I will ever be able to comprehend, hope for a struggling world and peace beyond our understanding. In small doses, I have each of those things - love, hope and peace. But I could sure use more. More love for friends and family when I don't understand their choices, more hope when I'm discouraged and don't see an end in sight, and more peace to know that I don't have to have all the answers.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Test

I'm just playing around on my phone tonight and testing out some new apps. I want to make sure I can tell everyone all about our trip to North Carolina next week as it is happening - I know how much you would hate to miss a single detail.

Anyway, I hope this works!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Quiet

Unfortunately, I did exactly what I didn't want to do. I went almost an entire month without updating my blog. I knew things were going to be busy, but somehow everything still got the best of me. But now, it's all over.

About an hour ago, my family backed out of the driveway and headed to West Palm Beach to catch their flight back to Little Rock. And now, it's quiet. Our little world jumped from two and a half (Oscar counts as a half in my book) to five and a half overnight, and while it was a very welcomed change it was a big one. Last Sunday afternoon, my mom, brother and grandfather arrived, and it seems like I've been on-the-go ever since.

There have been meals to make, dishes to clean, beds to prepare, schedules to keep, etc. But it has been fun. I'm so thankful that they were all able to make it. It was the first time my mom and grandfather had even been to visit us since our move to Florida over nine months ago. So, it was a welcomed visit indeed.

When Herschel and I moved to Florida in March, we really had to work to create our own new little family in a way we never did in Little Rock. Sure there were changes that had to be made there after we got married, but we had built-in friends, a house, a church, jobs - a whole life. But this changed drastically when we moved. It's been exciting, but also difficult at times. More so for me than Herschel, but difficult nonetheless.

There has been so much change this year, and we have learned to rely on one another more and more. Our relationship has been strengthened in so many ways in such a short time. Where bitterness and disappointment could have easily creeped in, contentment and mutual love and respect have flourished. I am so grateful for our marriage and for the Godly leader I have in my husband. I know this is quality is rare, and for that reason it is so very precious to me.

BTW, in my blogging hiatus, I missed out on mentioning Herschel's birthday. I won't say how old, but let's just say, he's half-way to 70!

I have pictures of his birthday and the time we got to spend with my family that I will post soon. But right now, I'm relishing this quietness with a very grateful heart.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November - Hello and Goodbye

I can not believe it's already November! Last night, Herschel and I were talking and we realized that he has been in Florida for almost a year now. It's so hard to believe how fast the past year has gone - and how much things have changed.

As we were talking about this, I got slightly stressed as I started thinking about all of the plans we already have for November. It is going to be super busy, which of course means that it will only go by that much quicker. So, just so that you're up to speed on what's going on in our lives during the next few weeks (and I know you want to be), here's a quick run-down of our activities - at least the ones we know so far.

1. I'm having a get-together for Pampered Chef at my house this Thursday.
2. Saturday some of our dear friends are coming in town!! Sooo excited about this! They'll get to be here until Monday.
3. We have just over a week off, to prepare for family visiting and Thanksgiving.
4. November 19 - my family arrives! Also, very excited about this. They will be here for a week and a half!!
5. November 25 - Herschel's birthday!!! :)
6. November 26 - T-Day - the main event
7. November 30 - Family leaves
8. November is over.

Oh yeah, and at some point in the middle of all of this, I'm starting a new part-time job at our church. I'm really excited about the opportunity, and it should be a really good thing for me.

I'm getting so excited about everything that we have coming up, but I'm also exhausted just thinking about it. I've already started plotting out Thanksgiving dinner - but then I realized that I need to think about feeding everyone for the entire week that they'll be here before we even get to Thanksgiving. Yikes!

Happy November!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

An Open Letter to Parents of Young Children

Dear Parents of Young Children,

Congrats! You're parents! I'm sure you're very excited about your little one's first Halloween. And, of course, they are adorable. It's great that you've found "the perfect" costume for your precious baby, but I have a little bit of news for you. As cute and cuddly as they are, you're not fooling anyone - we all know they can't quite have any candy yet. They don't even have that many (if any) teeth. So here's where my beef with you comes in. I'm absolutely fine with you dressing up your child, in fact, I encourage that - I would dress up my dog if he wouldn't try to eat his costume. I don't even mind you parading your baby around in his or her costume. If I had a baby and I dressed him or her up, I would definitely want the whole world to see and tell me how cute he or she is. And I will do that one day, so get your compliments ready. But where I have to disagree a bit, is actually getting a candy bucket for your little one and trick-or-treating for him or her. I mean, really?? That would be like me dressing up my dog, putting a bucket around his neck and then taking him door to door to collect candy. Everyone knows that I will not be feeding him the candy. It's a front. And I'm on to you. If you want some candy, make a little effort and come up with a costume for yourself. Here's a thought, you could even think of a costume that accompanies your little one. But don't try to kid yourself or anyone else. And if you show up at my door tonight, you're not getting any candy. Happy Halloween.

Thanks for your time.

XOXO,
Julia

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Alone...and hopefully I stay that way

I have mixed emotions about the next two nights. I used to love my alone time - crave it actually. And to a certain extent, I still do. But at the same time, I really like having my husband around - for company, for conversation, for protection, for a laugh...oh yeah, and because I love him. But for the next two nights, not only will he not be around, he will not be within the same time zone. And it wasn't supposed to be this way. But, that just seems to be the story of my life.

This weekend Herschel has a meeting in College St., Texas. We had made great plans a while back that I would go with him and we would make a long weekend out of it and meet up with some other friends while we were in the area. We thought it would be even more perfect because during our last trip I got an email offer Southwest where I could get quadruple credits on my next rental car. PERFECT - that would give me a free ticket! So we did it, no questions asked.

Turns out, it wasn't so perfect. While we did everything we were supposed to do to get the credits for my free flight, it hasn't been processed yet. I've called the airline and the rental car company repeatedly over the past few weeks and gotten about 50 different reasons for why it hasn't worked, all the while being told not to worry that it should definitely be posted by the end of the month. Well, here I am...still in Florida...still 1.5 credits shy of the free ticket that was all but guaranteed to be mine by the end of the month.

Because we waited so long for my phantom free ticket, the cost went way too high to justify me tagging along for the weekend. Believe it or not, I'm actually really trying not to be too whiny about it, but it's not easy. I'm trying to get reacquainted with my enjoyment of alone time. And I've decided that I do still enjoy it, it's just that it gets overshadowed just a bit by the thought of frogs and lizards and other Floridian creatures making their way into my house without anyone else there to "take care of them" besides me. See this doesn't actually happen to us, but I'm TERRIFIED of the thought. I see these creatures everywhere right outside of our house, so really, what would stop them from wanting to come in?

I actually had a dream last night where there were frogs - everywhere! I was completely freaked out and barely slept last night. Herschel just about had me calmed down and talked off my frog-fearing ledge as we were walking back home from our morning workout, when what should happen as we walked in the door?? Yep, you guessed it - frog! In. Our. House. Until that moment, my dream was just horrible fantasy, but in a split second, it became a horrific reality. I get it, I'm a big baby, chicken, whatever you want to call me. But I can't help it. That's just who I am. Everyone who knows me knows my absolute fear of crawly critters. That's the way it is.

So, during this alone time that I'm relearning how to enjoy, I'm praying (quite literally) for an uneventful rest of the weekend and that we have no more uninvited guests. Granted, Oscar has already spent the day throwing up, but that, I can handle. On the up side, there's some really good TV on tonight, and I'm very excited about that. At least it will keep me distracted for a while.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall is in the Air?

I was warned. "Florida is seasonless," they said. But I was tricked. I got caught up in the all of the other evidence - the calendar, which btw does read October 23, the pumpkin patches, the fall decor in the stores, the appearance of pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks. And then, to make matters worse, we had a "cold front" move through south Florida last weekend. That's right, lows in the 50s - check. us. out. And, quite frankly, it was lovely. Perfect, actually. Everywhere I looked, Fall was in full bloom. I was beginning to think that I had proved everyone wrong. But, I just gotten caught up in it all.

See, "they" were right. Florida doesn't have a Fall. Much to my dismay, the cold front was a fluke. As much as I wanted that weather to stay, the temperature today and for the foreseeable future will be in the high 80s. I've been told to look forward to January. Really? January? It seems so far away. Fall has always been my favorite season. So when I pulled out my pumpkin decor and bought a bag of candy corn, it just didn't feel right. I think it was the fact that I was doing it in flip-flops and a tank top, or maybe it was the hum of the A/C in the background.

All I can think about is Thanksgiving. It's supposed to be cold, or at least moderately cool, at Thanksgiving. How are you supposed to eat that much food when it's hot outside? Maybe this year we'll have to trade our turkey, for some hot dogs and a boogie board and head to the beach. I'm sure we wouldn't be alone...

I hope you're enjoying Fall where you are. And drink a pumpkin spice latte for me. I'm headed to the pool.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Old Men and Nail Clippers

Sunday was just like any other Sunday in so many ways. We got up, thinking we were right on track to be on time for church - and who knows, maybe even a little bit early. We got ready, somehow realized that we were, in fact, not early, and actually not even on time. Argued about whose fault it was that we were late. Rushed out the door. Got in the car and backed out of the garage. Realized we forgot something, ran back inside, retrieved forgotten item, ran back outside, blasted air conditioning from all of the running around in our Sunday best. Finally pulled out of the neighborhood. Apologized to each other for arguing and decided that we'd do better next week.

This is just an average Sunday in the Acosta house. And I hadn't really given it much thought until I was sitting in church on Sunday. I would like to say that it was some of the wise words that came down from the pulpit, full of the Holy Spirit that touched my heart and made me shout, "Hallelujah!" but that really couldn't be farther from the truth.

It was actually an older gentleman sitting a couple of rows in front of us during the service. During the sermon, I noticed him reach in his pocket looking for something. After a good bit of fidgeting, he retrieved his nail clippers. Now, I'm going to have to insert a side note here. Hearing people clip their fingernails ranks just below the sound of nails on a chalkboard in my book. I can't exactly explain why, but it just is. I know it's necessary, but I just find it kind of gross. And I don't feel like it's something people should do in public. Weird, perhaps. But that's just me.

Now knowing this fact about me, you can begin to appreciate the horror that flashed through my mind at that very moment. It was as if the sermon had completely stopped and all I could focus on was this man and his nail clippers. And all I could think was, "not only am I going to have to listen to this, but I'm going to have to watch it, too!" You might say, just look away. But I couldn't. It was like a bad car accident. I was transfixed.

Somewhere in the midst of this "average Sunday," my mind took me back to many other "average Sundays" in my not-so-distant past sitting in church in Little Rock. This time not seeing, but still hearing the sound of an older man who sat a few rows behind us regularly clipping his nails during the service. I was equally distracted and horrified at this event. Especially since it seemed to happen on an almost weekly basis.

All of these thoughts led me to realize that anytime I've found myself in this horrible situation, older men have been the culprits. And this realization caused me to wonder, is it an age thing? Or is it generational? What I mean is, did a whole generation grow up thinking that it was entirely okay to cut your fingernails in public - I mean, what do you do with the clipping??? Or, is it that after a certain age, men just don't care what's going on around them? If they have something that needs to be taken care of, they just do it. No questions asked.

I find that the answer to these questions will be somewhat important to my sanity. You see, if it is in fact a generational thing, this phenomenon will eventually fade away, or at least drastically decrease. On the other hand, if it is an issue with age, it will only become more common the older I get. And if that is indeed the case, I'm going to need to find a way to cope. Either that or develop a campaign to end public nail clipping.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We're baaack!

Weekend before last, we were in Little Rock for one of my friend's wedding. As usual, our time there was too short, and we didn't get to see half the people we wanted to see or do half the things we wanted to do. I don't know how I always seem to convince myself that "this time" it will be different. It never is.

But we did have a great time, and I got to see several of my best friends from high school. We have been close friends for a very long time, and the distance between each of us now makes that even more remarkable. Of course, email, Facebook, and blogs don't hurt, but it is definitely easier to fall out of touch with someone when you don't actually see them on a regular basis. I am so thankful that I have these relationships in my life, and I hope I continue to for a very long time.

One moment from the weekend when this sort of hit home with me was during the rehearsal dinner. As we sat around talking, we started telling stories from high school. And naturally, we started laughing uncontrollably, until one or more of us broke out into a gasping for air coughing spree, which only made us laugh more. But what was so great about this whole situation, was that we didn't actually even have to use full sentences to tell the stories, we only had to say a word or a name or a quote here or there, and it would send us all into uproarious laughter once again. To the point where we were actually being shhh'd by other people at the dinner. I mean, really? Sorry, you're not having fun. But anyway, I digress.

I'm thankful for these people and these memories. I love these friends dearly, and I know that they are part of the reason I am the way I am today - for better or worse. Enjoy some pictures from the weekend.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Confession

So, I'm a self-proclaimed celebrity gossip junky. I've never denied that. I mean, it IS number one in my "Interests" on my Facebook profile, if that tells you anything. And that stuff never lies.

But lately (basically ever since I took over the household budget), I've been making a conscious effort to cut back on my addiction. I used to love few things more than tearing through the newest InTouch, People, Us Weekly, etc. It really didn't matter as long as the results were there. However, since I've become the budget master (also self-proclaimed), I've been trying to save us some money. And I take my job very seriously. This has involved some sacrifices and self-restraint. Two things that aren't necessarily my strongest selling points.

So, I've drastically cut back on my trash mag purchases. Like, to none. At all. Unless I'm on a plane, because they just don't count then, and I'm mean, what else are you going to do when you're trapped on a plane for hours on end. Don't judge me. Anyway, I've recently discovered a new way to get my fix, and that is where my confession comes in.

Now, when I'm at the grocery store and I'm not in a huge hurry, I'll pick a line with just a few more customers or maybe a line with just one person whose basket is slightly more full than the person in the aisle over, and I'll get behind them. You see, this usually allows me just enough time to browse my favorite pubs without actually having to purchase them. In fact, the other day, I found myself disappointed when I actually had to go up to a register with no other people in line. But I had already made eye contact with the checker, so there was really no turning back.

I know, I know. You're thinking I have too much time on my hands, and maybe I do. But at least I'm not spending money! However, you better believe I'll be loading up on the goods before we take off to head to Little Rock tomorrow!

That's right, we're headed to the Rock this weekend for another wedding. Should be lots of fun! I'll post some pictures when we get back. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Slowly, but Surely

Despite having moved to Florida almost seven months ago, we are still getting settled in to our house here. I definitely don't have a "decorator's eye," so this sort of thing doesn't really come easily to me, but I'm trying my hardest. Which is why when we were at TJ Maxx a few weeks ago, and I saw this set of pictures that I really liked (on sale, nonetheless!), I decided I'd give them a try. I'd been looking for a couple of pictures to put above the tub in my bathroom. There is this huge blank wall above the tube, and I wanted to add some color in there.

On a side note, after we left TJ Maxx we were on our way to meet up with some friends, and upon showing them the pictures, I was met with great approval. I also received the comment, "Oh, those totally look like you!" which I was assured was a compliment...but given my lack of decorating abilities, I'm not so sure.

Pretty much ever since we bought the pictures, we've been traveling nonstop, so this was the first real opportunity we had to finally hang them. So, I had to take a couple of pictures and share them with you. I think I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out. I need some more stuff in there - and in other parts of the house, too - but, we're getting there! So, seriously, we need some more visitors! Just remember, it's getting ready to get cold where you are, but not here on the Treasure Coast. :)






Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sick Baby...err, Husband

Disclaimer: I love my husband very much. And what you'll find written below is nothing he isn't aware of or anything I wouldn't say to his face. Just thought I'd get that out there. Enjoy!

This has been an interesting week around the Acosta house. Starting last weekend, Herschel began to feel like he was coming down with something. I had already had my round with the head and chest congestion stuff that has been going around, and I was just beginning to think he was in the clear, when it got him. I realize that simply by thinking that, I am the reason he got sick. But, I digress.

As I was saying, Herschel started feeling bad last weekend. Did I mention that we took another quick trip last weekend?? Oh yes, that's right. We went across the state to Fort Myers, Florida, for a convention for our church. So, by the time we got back home on Saturday evening, he was quickly approaching the point of being miserable.

Like a champ, he taught Sunday School, but then quickly went downhill. This led to him going into work on Monday morning for about an hour before heading to the doctor. By the time he got home from the doctor, something incredible had happened. The strong, independent, man that I married had somehow been unmistakeably replaced by a helpless, borderline whiny, sick baby.

As soon as he walked in the house he came into the kitchen where I happened to be, and stood there, put on his most pathetic face and whimpered (I'm not exaggerating) "I'm hungry." I was so stunned at this transformation, that I just turned and looked at him, almost speechless. I guess he took my confusion for annoyance or defiance, to which he tried to defend his original statement with an equally sad sounding whimper of "But I didn't eat any breakfast!!"

This was only Monday, so I couldn't help but laugh. And being the good wife that I am, I promptly went to the store and got him some groceries and made him some vegetable soup.

I apparently took such good care of him on Monday that he decided to spend the rest of the week at home. I know, lucky me. If only I'd known, I would've started out slowly with something like toast and a sprite and then worked my way up to homemade soup.

Since we don't have any kids yet, I can't say for sure, but I felt like having a sick husband this week prepared me (only slightly) for having a sick baby. Helpless, check. Needing lots of special attention, check. Slightly whiny, check. Lack of sleep, oh yes.

In fact, it was the last item that just about did me in. Anyone who has been close by when Herschel blows his nose when he's not sick realizes that he has sinus issues. It is only amplified when he is sick, but add to it some of the loudest coughing, hacking, and throat clearing noises you've ever heard, and you'll know what I've woken up to several times a night and every morning for the last week. In fact, I was so tired that I didn't even realize that I would wake up, grab his pillow or whatever was closest to me, place it over my head, and fall back asleep until he came back to bed and removed it from my head.

So, you will understand my excitement when I woke up this morning to silence. It was absolutely beautiful. I just laid there. It was a day I wasn't sure would ever come again. To be sure, he's definitely still sniffing and snorting, he just graciously postponed it ever so slightly until I woke up this morning. But I'll take it any way I can get it.

I am exceedingly happy for a variety of reasons to report that my husband is on the mend, and I am beginning to see him transform back into his old self. But one of the most interesting things to come of all of this came on Monday night. I was doing a Pampered Chef party at a lady's house and I mentioned that my husband was sick, and without missing a beat, every single woman there groaned in unison, and uttered some form of "Aren't they pathetic when they get sick? They are just like children? Good luck!" I guess it doesn't matter how old they get, men will always turn into babies when they get sick.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Thankful

It seems like I've heard a lot more bad news than good in the past few weeks and months, even in the past few days. And it's easy to have a full and heavy heart in the midst of all of this. But this morning I had to just stop, and realize that I can't help but be thankful. You see, we have a loving Heavenly Father who is bigger than any problem or trial we might ever face. And He is willing to take on all of our problems, cares and concerns, if only we will let Him. He offers undeniable, unfathomable, incomprehensible peace in the midst of chaos. And for that, I am so thankful. I hope others can take refuge in that truth regardless of your situation in life - because wherever you are today and whatever you're going through, it doesn't change.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

No TV Sunday


I am currently blogging in complete, glorious silence (except of course for my typing and the occasionally snort from Oscar). This is especially notable because Herschel and I made a deal not to turn on the TV today.
I'm not going to lie, it was actually more Herschel's deal than mine, but I'm so glad we did it. We've been talking for a while about needing to watch TV less and read/talk/rest/do absolutely nothing more. So, we decided to actually put it into action today. And, oh what a fabulous day it has been! After the busy travel-filled month we've had, this was a true vacation.
When we got up for church this morning...silence. In fact, instead of scrambling around at the last minute to figure out something for breakfast, or (as is more commonly the case) skipping breakfast all together, we actually made breakfast and sat down and ate together - at the table!
After church we went to eat lunch and to Barnes & Noble, we then came home and read and napped. Herschel's been reading all afternoon and evening, and I've been able to catch up on things around the house, which was actually relaxing for me, considering how out of control things have felt lately. Then, we made dinner again and ate at the table for the second time today! Incredible! Too often, we end up enjoying our meals on TV trays on the couch, so while our table may have been wondering what the occasion was, it was definitely a nice change of pace.
With the new season of TV shows starting up this month, I can't promise that this challenge will continue for long, but I'm all for more days like today. We lose ourselves in that little box, and we miss out on conversation, learning, relaxing, and life in general.
So, now it's your turn - turn off your TV!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friends

I don't make friends very easily. Let's just go ahead and get that out there. I'm more than a bit awkward, I'm extremely sarcastic, I have a "different" sense of humor, I usually try too hard to get people to like me, and until I do get to know you, I'm a little bit shy.

However, once we become friends, you're pretty much stuck with me. Most of my best friends, I've known the majority of my life. And, I know things will continue to change as we get older and life happens, but for the foreseeable future, I don't see any major friend changes in my life. Hope this doesn't ruin anyone's hopes of getting rid of me.

I wasn't totally aware of this until college. Since I attended the same school from the time I was in pre-school until I graduated, I never really had to worry about "making new friends." Sure, friends changed and people came and went, but I had my core group, and come each August, I was set. No first day of school worries here. That is, until I went to college. I had built-in friends that made the trek to Texas with me, but they were all looking for new friends, so I figured I should, too. And that's when it hit me, I didn't have a clue how to make a friend.
Even after I graduated and got married, I met a girl who visited our church in Little Rock one Sunday. Her husband was in the military, and she was by herself. Herschel and I invited her to lunch after church. It turned out that we had a lot in common, we exchanged numbers with the idea of getting together again sometime soon to go to dinner or hang out. But as soon as the exchange took place, I got nervous. I felt like I was going on a date. When should I call? How soon is too soon? How long should I wait? Does she even really want to be my friend? These are the things that were actually running through my head. Ridiculous, I know.

All this rambling, brings me to a point. Since we've been back from our cruise, I was thinking about the friends we went with. We moved to Florida just over six months ago, and during that time we've been fortunate to make some good friends. Especially Zack and Nicole, the couple we went on the cruise with. I mean, think about it, during that six month period we met these people, got to know them and then decided that they would be good candidates to not only take a vacation with, but a vacation on a boat!! Where were we going to go if things didn't work out?

And even this friendship, I can't really take credit for. Herschel and Zack struck up a friendship first. Nicole and I had things in common, because she grew up in a town about 15 mintues from where my grandfather lives. But Herschel and Zack hit it off from the beginning. I remember one night at our house when Nicole and I were cleaning up from dinner, being completely ignored by the boys, and Nicole looked at me and said, "I'm glad we get along or else this would be miserable." My sentiments exactly. But luckily for us, we did get along, and our friendship has grown as well.

Which leads me to today, Zack and Nicole technically no longer live in Florida. Last night, all of their furniture and belongings were loaded onto a truck headed for Kansas. We'll get to see them one more time in Orlando, before they head to Kansas to pursue a new job for Zack. And while we are so excited for this new opportunity for them and for the possibilities that it will bring their direction, we can't help being a little bit sad for ourselves.

In addition to our friends, they have been our dog sitters, our tennis partners, our airport shuttle, our Easter dinner hosts, and the list goes on and on. It has been a special friendship, that's for sure. And one that I am incredibly grateful for. God knew exactly what he was doing when he paired us up.

So, all that to say, I'm glad we are friends, and they should consider themselves warned - they are stuck with us. It's also taught me a valuable lesson, which is that sometimes the best thing I can do is to put myself out there and just be myself, because that's when true friendship is allowed to form.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wayfarers Chapel

I fixed the link...I think. Take a look at Wayfarers Chapel! It's BEAUTIFUL! If my blogging skills have failed me once again, just go to www.wayfarerschapel.org.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Here We Go Again

Okay, so I don't have any energy to post any pictures, but I'm trying to get better about staying up to date my blog, so I at least wanted to post an update. We are back from our whirlwind weekend in L.A. We actually just got home, because we went straight from the airport to a party at some of our friends' house.

I'm about to start unpacking/repacking so that we can get up and get ready for the cruise tomorrow morning! We are beyond exhausted, but also soooo excited. Since I am almost too tired to form actual sentences that make sense, I thought I'd leave you with a few highlights from the weekend.

  • Two Words: Wayfarers Chapel - Click on the link (if it will work), Google it, go there, something. This is where the wedding took place and it was unbelieveably beautiful. I told Herschel that it was where I was going to have my next wedding, to which he replied, "Could you pass the water?" Concerned??? I think not.
  • Went to the top of City Hall and got a panoramic tour of the L.A. skyline from some of Herschel's friends - pictures to come
  • Ummm...L.A. is burning. More pictures to come to support my claim.
  • Ate DELICIOUS food and looooots of it - amazing shrimp, Korean barbecue and MOCHI ICE CREAM are just some of the highlights
  • Met some of Herschel's college friends, and heard some hillarious stories, and some that make me wonder how he is still alive today
  • Came home, hung out with great friends, ate fresh sushi, and then got to play with Oscar, and tried to do a blog entry with a link and I can't figure out how to get the underline to go away!!!!!

Okay, this means it is time for bed. Hope you all have a great week!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cataracts, Kidney Stones and Cruises, Oh My!

So, I realize that I seems like I've kinda fallen off the face of the earth lately. But seriously, the title of this entry has been running through my head for the past couple of weeks, because I've literally found myself muttering it. Okay, maybe not exactly...but close.

It all started around the end of July when my mom asked if I could come up to Kansas City to hang out and help her with my grandfather who was scheduled to have cataract surgery. I looked at flights, but the exact dates I needed had outrageous prices and I told her that I would have to postpone my trip for a few weeks and meet her up there on her next trip to KC.

Well, apparently my answer was not satisfactory. Because, when she arrived in Kansas City on Sunday, August 9, before my grandfather's surgery on Wednesday, August 12, she was awakened in the night with what she described as the worst pain in her life second only to child birth. I'll spare you all of the details, but long story short, she ended up having a family friend take her to the emergency room Monday morning.

After some tests and X-rays, the ER doctor proceeded to tell her that she had a kidney stone that had ruptured a ureter (which Wikipedia tells me, are "muscular ducts that propel urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder") and would need to have a stint put in the following day. Her options as he saw it were to spend the night in the hospital or go to a urologist. She wisely opted for the urologist.

At this point, I realized things were not looking ideal, and that original plane ticket I looked at in late July probably should've been booked...but then again who could've known. So, I promptly booked a ticket for early Tuesday morning and flew to KC to begin Julia's Nurse/Taxi Cab/Housekeeper/Dog-Walker/Anything-else-you-might-need Service.

In the mean time, thankfully, the urologist called off the ER dogs and told my mom that he wanted her to try to wait out the kidney stone and gave her pain medicine and sent her home with a lovely strainer, which accompanied her everywhere she went.

As I said, my grandfather's cataract surgery was schedule for Wednesday morning, and like most surgeries, he was not supposed to eat or drink anything after midnight on Tuesday night. This is something we told him repeatedly throughout the day on Tuesday and late into the night. However, he has become progressively forgetful, and we awoke on Wednesday morning to find the coffee made and a tray with crumbs and an empty coffee mug in my grandfather's room. When asked about it, he said he "might've eaten some breakfast." When asked WHY??? since he had surgery in just a few hours, he simply replied, "Well, why don't you guys tell me these things??" Clearly, it was our fault.

Once at the surgery center, we explained the morning's events, and the nurse was very kind to only push back the surgery a few hours rather than completely rescheduling it for another day. This, only after my mom and I almost crumpled up into the fetal position on the floor of the surgery center when the nurse said she would have to reschedule his surgery. It's amazing what a little sympathy can get you!

So, after killing some time out and about in KC - we refused to go home for fear that he would eat again! - we returned to the surgery center and had a very successful cataract surgery.

The rest of my week consisted of coordinating and dropping patients off at their respective doctors appointments, overseeing eye drops and medication, and making sure we had food to eat. So, when Herschel called on Sunday night before I was supposed to come home on Monday, I was so excited to hear him ask nonchalantly, "So, do you think you'd want to go on a cruise in a couple of weeks?"

Maybe he was hoping I'd taken some of my mom's pain pills and would say no...but he got quite the opposite reaction. One small hiccup though - he had an expired passport and I had one with my maiden name. Enter the Miami Passport Agency.

One emergency "appointment" with the Passport Agency, three hours in the waiting area, and two trips to Miami later, we have our passports and we leave for our cruise on Monday!!!! Hello, Key West and Cozumel!

Oh, but just one more thing. We leave tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn to go to L.A. - for the weekend. Who does that?? Us, apparently. But yes, we'll be flying coast to coast this weekend to go to a wedding, returning Sunday night and leaving for a cruise on Monday morning.

I know it's nothing to complain about, in fact I'm very excited. But to be honest I'm worn out. Oh, I forgot to mention that when I got home from KC on Monday, I went straight to church to help out with our Vacation Bible School. Oh, and then I got sick.

Okay, I really am done with all of the complaining for now. I'm so excited!! I've never been to L.A., and while it will be a very abbreviated trip, I can not wait to be out there! And, as it turns out, one of my best friends in the world will be there too! It's funny, she lives in New York City, so naturally we would both have to go to L.A. to see each other.

And speaking of friends...the reason for our last-minute cruise is somewhat bittersweet. While Herschel would love to go on a cruise, he would not have ordinarily just called me up and surprised me with the idea all on his own. Some of our closest friends since we moved to Florida just found out that they will be moving in a couple of weeks. We have been talking about taking a cruise with them at some point, but that point had to be moved up quickly in order to accommodate their moving plans.

So, while it's been a bit stressful making it all work, I'm beyond thankful that it's worked out. Herschel and I are so grateful for their friendship during the past few months, and we will miss them desperately. So we are excited to spend one last week with them before the big move.

I'm going to try to keep blogging over the weekend. Not so much next week, since I'll be in the middle of the ocean, but I'll update everyone when we get back. I'm sure we'll have plenty of stories to tell. Just PRAY that Herschel doesn't get seasick!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Obedience

Maybe it's because we've spent the last couple of months in one form or another of puppy training classes, or maybe it's because I'm still trying to get the hang of it myself, but lately, obedience has been on my mind.

We were talking to some friends the other day, and they were commenting on how much Oscar's behavior has improved since we first arrived on the scene down here in the Sunshine State. And it's true - while he still has a long way to go - he seems to be getting the hang of this whole obedience thing.

I only wish I could say the same thing about myself. While my issues are (thankfully) not potty training, pulling on my leash while on walks, jumping on people when they come into the house, nipping people's hands, chewing on shoes, etc., it does seem that I need a refresher course on who is in control.

Obedience tends to get a bad rap in our culture today. It's become more of a sign of weakness than freedom - or so it would seem. But to keep going back to my Oscar analogy, since his obedience classes, he has spent a great deal less time behind closed doors when we've had company over to the house. To me, that means he's had more freedom, not less. To add to that, he's also received a whole lot more positive attention and many, many more treats because of his behavior.

Not to get too heavy, but God calls us to the same thing - obedience. And once we hit that mark, we receive His rewards. Our heavenly treats, so to speak. And that's where I am. Knowing that I need to be more obedient, but yet still pulling on the leash, thinking I know best. Sometimes I don't know why I can't just realize that I have a Master who knows exactly where I'm going and exactly how and when I'm going to get there.

What a refreshing promise! Now, if only I could tattoo that on my brain somewhere so that I wouldn't forget it. But for now, I guess I'll have to stick with good ole fashioned trial and error and hope that one day it sticks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sweaty Socks, a Half-Eaten Empanada, a Score Card and a Bottle of Water

You may be asking yourself what all of these things could possibly have in common. Well, fortunately for me, the answer is my husband.

That's right. Last Saturday afternoon, I was cleaning up the kitchen and noticed an insulated lunch box sitting on the cabinet. Assuming it was left over from Herschel taking his lunch to work during the week, I pulled it across the counter to put it away. That's when I noticed that it was unusually heavy. I immediately thought the worst -he didn't eat his lunch from two weeks ago and left it in the car and it's now a pile of mold. Not quite...but close.

You see, when I opened the lunch box, I found all of the things listed above: a pair of sweaty socks, a half-eaten empanada, a golf score card and a bottle of water.
This is why I love my husband.

This sight probably would've driven me completely crazy about a year ago, but on Saturday, after I had opened the lunch box and taken inventory, I couldn't help but laugh. And laugh even harder when I asked Herschel about it and he immediately started trying to defend himself, but then realized that he had absolutely no excuses. This is my husband. The man I fell in love with, and the same guy I love a little bit more everyday - sweaty socks in his lunch box and all.
This is the same man who while we were dating "didn't have time to clean" when I was coming over to cook dinner one night and decided that instead of doing the week's worth of dirty dishes that were sitting in the kitchen sink, he would put all of them in the cabinets so that the kitchen would "look better." I was COOKING DINNER!!! After I pulled out about the third dirty dish, I raised my suspicions to him, and he finally fessed up. See, in his mind, it made complete sense.

And two years ago today, I made him all mine.

Happy Anniversary, Herschel! I love you and I'm so proud to be your wife. You are truly an incredible man, and I consider myself blessed to get to share my life with you. I look forward to many, many, many more years together. I love you!!!




Mini versions of our wedding cakes that he surprised me with last year on our anniversary



This year we are headed to the western coast of this beautiful state to go to St. Petersburg to celebrate with a weekend getaway. We are both so excited! Neither of us have ever been, so we are just going on the suggestions of friends. Anyone ever been to St. Pete (that's what us "locals" call it)?? I'm taking suggestions on places to go and things to do? If I don't get any, I guess we'll just have to find a beautiful beach to lounge on instead.

Monday, July 13, 2009

No Hablo Espanol...or How I Learned that Michael Jackson was Dead


As I mentioned in an earlier post, Herschel and I had our first official houseguests a couple of weeks ago. Herschel's parents came to visit! After several fairly intense days of hard work and stress in getting the house presentable, buying a guest bed (!!), cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and general panic, the day finally arrived. And in typical Acosta fashion, we had some friends help Herschel pick up our new guest bed approximately 30 minutes before we needed to leave for the airport to pick up his parents. Like I said - typical, but the important thing is that they had a place to sleep.


We had a great time with them. We showed them all of the sights, went to the beach, ate seafood, etc. However, like most of our time together, much of it was spent with me saying, "What?", "Huh?", "Oh, were they talking to me?" You see, no hablo espanol. But, they no hablo ingles, if you know what I mean. You can see where we might have a bit of a problem. For the most part, I'm used to it. I've accepted the fact that I will not be able to tell you what the heck is going on about 80-90 percent of the time that we're together. I've even accepted the fact that this will often make me look stupid - literally. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror a couple of times over the week and realized that I had an almost pained baffled look pretty much plastered to my face. I had to consciously try to relax my brow, so that I didn't look pained in general conversation. It's not that I wasn't enjoying myself, it's just that I really wanted to know what was being said, and I guess I thought if I contorted my face enough, I might start speaking Spanish. As of today, no such luck.


I don't say all this to complain. After all, I really do love my in-laws. They are truly some of the sweetest, kindest, most sincere people you will ever meet. However, where they live in Texas it is honestly not really necessary to speak English. So they don't. And I've know this since I started dating Herschel. But, I'm very fortunate in that Herschel is absolultely wonderful about translating for me (which means I laugh at all the jokes about 10-15 seconds after everyone else has stopped). So, when Herschel is around, things usually go very smoothly. But, as you can imagine, during an entire week, Herschel had a few things he had to take care of without me - bathroom, shower, work, just to name a few. So, there were those moments of complete and utter awkwardness when me and the in-laws sat and stared at each other. I'm not exaggerating. One day at lunch, Herschel had to make a phone call for work. After I think we all took as long as humanly possible to read every detail of the menu, his parents and I were left to try to make conversation. I thought I would give it a go, afterall, his dad speaks a little bit of English. So I asked some sort of question about five times without any luck, to which his dad politely replied (in English), "I don't know what you're saying." That quickly put an end to the conversation, and I started re-reading the menu.


The next day, Herschel had to be at our church for music practice for what he claimed would be about an hour. It turned out to be closer to two. During this time, we'd just gotten back to the house from the beach, and we were all getting cleaned up and ready to go to dinner. I figured everything would be fine with Herschel gone briefly, as we would all be doing our own thing. Well...it doesn't take anyone in our family two hours to get ready. So, once I was clean, dressed, and groomed, I emerged from our bedroom, to the living room.


His mom was watching Telemundo. Despite, her objections that I watch something that I wanted (at least I think this is what she meant, since she was shoving the remote in my direction), I decided that this might be good for me. Afterall, the news was on. This might be my chance to learn some Espanol in action. While I sat there, again with the crinkled, pained look on my face, I was understanding very little. Then all of a sudden out of what sounded to me like gibberish, I heard something very familiar. "Blah, blah, blah...Michael Jackson...blah, blah, blah." My ears perked up. And just to make sure I wasn't imagining, I looked up at the screen to see an image of the King of Pop himself. As I listened, I knew he was sick, but I couldn't tell exactly what was going on. I guess my mother-in-law noticed my attention and she motioned toward her heart and said, "Michael Jackson." So, I took that to mean he had a heart attack.


At this point Herschel, walked in the door at approximately 5:55, and we had to be at Oscar's puppy trainig class at 6:00. So, we rushed out, leaving me to think that Michael Jackson had a heart attack - no big deal. An hour later, we get home, and one of the first things I hear Herschel's mom say was something along the lines of "Michael Jackson...muerto..." And my Spanish is far from good, but I blurted out, "Michael Jackson died???" As it turns out, my Spanish was good enough, as I quickly reached for my iPhone to clear all of this up in English (because, clearly, something was getting lost in translation!), only to find my broken Spanish reports confirmed. Michael Jackson....muerto...


I'm in no way trying to make light of his death. But, I've always heard people talk about where they were when they heard that someone famous died, like JFK or Elvis. Well, I don't think I'll soon forget how I learned that Michael Jackson died.


I'm so thankful for Herschel's parents, and I'm so glad that they got to come down here and see us. And who knows, I might just have to learn a little bit of Espanol before their next visit.

At Downtown Disney in Orlando

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's been going on

So, as it turns out I've been completely irresponsible with this whole blogging thing. I don't know if I was uninspired, busy, or just plain lazy, but it's been entirely too long since my last entry. I'm telling myself it's because I was too busy. I'll tell you what's been going on in my life and I guess you can make up your own mind.

If you can all remember way back when we first moved to Florida in March, I got a job waaay faster than I ever thought I would (as in the week we got here!). My job also involved a long commute and that, in turn, pretty much put a hault to most of our unpacking. To give a brief summary - long commute was too much and I quit that job after two months. My last day was May 15. When I first stopped working, I had lunch with Herschel fairly frequently, lunch with friends, and basically just tried to get reaquainted with the life I'd been ignoring for the past two months.

Then, I went back to Little Rock for a week to visit friends and family and see one of my friends get married. All and all a great trip. But that brings me to now. Now, is when I'm facing the boxes that have been in our house for four months. The pictures that need hanging, the files that need organizing and the chaotic mess that is our life spilling out of cardboard boxes.

I've been cleaning, cooking, laundrying...anything to not have to face the boxes again. But it's time. Herschel's parents will be here in just under a week and then some of our friends from Little Rock are taking the Acosta's spot in the inn the day they leave. We are very, very excited about our first official houseguests, but I am not looking forward to all that has to be done before they get here. It's kind of like those days when I really don't want to work out. I keep telling myself, oh, but it will feel so good after I've finished and I'll be so proud of myself. Well, I'm hoping I feel the same way when I have all of our stuff put away and neatly organized.

And I guess I'm starting to get there. Yesterday I spent the entire day on the floor in the office going through boxes. And that's probably what I will do most of the day today as well. Maybe when it's all said and done I'll actually get around to taking and posting those pictures I promised about four months ago.

However, there's already been a little bit of a payoff during this whole process. Yesterday, I found a $160 gift card to Target that was given to us as a wedding present almost two years ago!!! We thought we'd used it, but as it turns out - it's still good! Guess you know where we'll be this weekend!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OSCAR!

I can't believe I didn't mention this in my first post today - today is Oscar's 1st birthday!!! He's playing it off like he doesn't care, but deep down, I can tell he's pretty excited. So far today, Herschel and I have sung "Happy Birthday" to him and given him extra treats and bones. He's also been on an extra long walk this morning and rounded out the afternoon by napping on the couch with his daddy. All in all, a grand 1st birthday for any dog, I would think. Celebrate with Oscar by taking a look at how he's changed over the past few months....Enjoy!












All-American Saturday


So far today, we've done our part to celebrate Memorial Day weekend to its fullest. We did a little bit of shopping earlier to help stimulate the economy. For lunch, we had Nathan's hot dogs... that we grilled outside, of course. And we've topped it off with some watermelon. Oh, and we washed it all down with some good, old fashioned Coca-Cola (it was actually Coke Zero and Cherry Coke Zero, but it's the same idea). Hope you're all enjoying your Memorial Day weekend as much as I am. It's been a fabulously lazy day, that I'm planning on turning into a fabulously lazy evening. Tomorrow night we're extending the celebration to a dinner out with friends. And on Monday, we're either doing a beach/cook-out day or heading up to Orlando to visit our nearby and neighborly Ikea store. I'm pretty sure either way, we win. Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Catching Up

Okay, so I said I was going to get better at writing more often, and then I didn't. Consider this my second (or third or fourth) chance. I'm back! AND, I'm no longer working out of the house for 12+ hours a day! So, things are good.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I quit my job. Yes, the job that I just got and I was so excited and thankful for. Now that we have that out in the open, let me explain why. First off the commute was too much for me. I understand that a lot of people make a similar (or even longer) drive and they are just fine with it. Well, I wasn't. I like to be able to live my life in more than three hours a day and on the weekends. It was just wearing me out. Oh, and call me old-fashioned, but I really do enjoy cooking dinner for my husband and sitting down to eat together. I know we probably won't be able to do this forever, but while we can, I'd like to. I've also toyed with the idea of getting started in some writing of some sort. And, I figured now was as good a time as any to start trying to get involved in some freelance writing. (By the way - if you know of any leads, feel free to send them my way!)

All that to say, I'm no longer working in Palm Beach. That might lead some people to ask, what ARE you doing now? Well, I'm glad you asked. First off, I'm catching up on all the things I didn't have time to do while I was working for the past two months. Primarily cleaning my house and finishing the unpacking process! Ridiculous, I know. I've also very recently become a Pampered Chef Consultant. Another thing I've toyed with for a while. It involves all of the things I love - food, friends, cooking and shopping - so I thought, why not? It will also give me the chance to meet some new people down here and (hopefully) make a little bit of money. I'm actually really excited about both of these opportunities. Not so thrilled about the cleaning part of the equation, but I know I will be happy when it is finished.
Along those lines, I need to finish quickly, because we will have our first official visitors in just over a month - Herschel's parents are coming to visit! They'll be here for about a week towards the end of June. They'll stay with us for a few days before we all head up to Orlando for our church's General Assembly for the weekend. Then, they will leave from Orlando and our friends Mark and Janice, who will be attending the Assembly from Little Rock, are coming to see us. We are so excited to have visitors! Hopefully, they will go back and tell everyone how much fun they had and more people will want to come and see us. I mean, seriously, we live at the beach!

One last thing - I promised pictures from the wedding Herschel and I went to in Little Rock a few weeks ago. For some reason, I didn't take hardly any pictures, and I'm really annoyed with myself about it. But, take my word that the wedding was absolutely beautiful! We were so honored to be a part of it, and Katie and Chris make the most awesome couple. Here are a few of the pictures I did take. Enjoy!

Roomies!


We've known each other a loooong time. (That's why we're color-coordinated.)



Classic.


With the Bride

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Going Home!

So, I've been slightly less than frequent with my posts lately. The truth is, I've wanted to write about a lot of things. But I've been trying to stay positive, and most of what I've wanted to write about has been...well, not positive. I can explain that later. BUT, I did want to write about something that I'm extremely excited about! Herschel and I are going to Little Rock this weekend!!! One of my very best friends in the whole world Katie Johnson is getting married and Herschel and I are in the wedding. It's going to be such a fun time of being home, seeing family and friends, and celebrating Katie and Chris. Not only am I excited to be going home, but I'm so excited for them to finally be getting married. They are such an awesome couple, and I just love them to death, and I couldn't be happier for them!


Here's an awkward picture we took of ourselves a couple of New Year's Eves ago...this is when we knew things would work out.

I'm sure there will be much to report after the trip home and many pictures to share. I promise I will get better at blogging soon. Hopefully around May 15...that's my last day of work. For those who don't know, I quit my job....more on that later. For now, congrats Katie and Chris!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Good Friday!

I was beyond pleased to have today off of work. Especially considering that, like a lot of new employees at a new company, I don't qualify for any vacation days until I've been there for six months. I am, however, taking one day to go to my dear friend Katie's wedding in a couple of weeks. (I won't be paid for this day.) Anyway - like I was saying, sooooo excited not to have to work today.

We went to breakfast at one of my favorite places around here - Bagle Brothers - whoever comes to visit will get to experience it. Then Herschel had planned to play golf with some guys from church, so I in turn decided to treat myself to a manicure and pedicure. Best decision I've made in a while!

I also got to do some baking - which always makes me happy. And we get to enjoy the cookies I made, but they don't have to stay with us (huge plus so that we don't eat all of them!!). I'm taking them to church tonight for a movie night. We're watching the moview Passion of the Christ. I haven't seen it, but I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be able to be reminded of the true reason for Easter...and here's a hint, it has nothing to do with Cadbury, bunnies, flowers, pastels, jelly beans, baskets or new clothes. While I enjoy all of the above, it simply isn't what Easter's about.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I love Saturdays

Last night, before we went to sleep, I told Herschel that I was truly excited to go to sleep, especially knowing that there would be no alarm to wake me up in the morning. And I meant it. In fact, excitement really didn't begin to cover it. It was probably more like ecstatic. But, don't worry, it didn't keep me from quickly drifting off to sleep.

The past week has been non-stop, which in turn has translated into no sleep. Between working a little bit later, which means getting home even later than usual, trying to have a social life and just general house and life upkeep, there hasn't been a lot of room left for sleeping. And last night, as I cross the finished line of the work week, I was exhausted.

It was so nice waking up on my own - no alarm blaring, no Herschel telling me that I have to get up and no Oscar pouncing on my chest. Just me.

So far, we've had a lazy morning. Coffee and donuts. Playing with Oscar. Breeze blowing in from the back patio. And, for some annoying reason, I can't help but feeling like we have to be doing something. Every time I let myself slip into enjoyment of the moment, I just as quickly find my mind racing, thinking "what do we need to be doing?" Can't we be doing something more productive. Of course we could! But, sometimes these lazy days are just as important as accomplishing your whole to-do list.

Our little family needs today. Everything else will get taken care of eventually. Sometimes you just need to take care of yourself.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thank Goodness for Crock Pots

So, I've finished my first week at my new job. I have to say, it's going to take some getting used to. I've become accustomed to being able to come home, make dinner, and enjoy some time with Herschel and Oscar before going to bed and getting up to do it all over again. Well, my new commute doesn't quite fit my schedule. I know a lot of people do it, but I can't say that I'm a fan of driving close to an hour in each direction to get to and from my job. Especially, when that means I don't get home until close to 7 p.m. - at the earliest - every night. Maybe I'll adjust, maybe something else will work out, who knows, but for now, I'm developing a very close relationship with my Crock Pot. I've got a great Crock Pot cookbook, but I'm just wondering...does anyone else have any good Crock Pot recipes that you'd want to share?Obviously other than the typical roast - I've got that one pretty well covered.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rain, rain go away...


When I was somewhere around the age of 9 or 10, I was beyond excited about the idea of going to a water park in Little Rock called Wild River Country*. Most of my friends had been, but I hadn't. In my mind, it something close to what heaven would be like.
I'd heard about the "Wave Pool," which was supposed to be like a mini version of the ocean, except without the annoying salt water. There were also rides and slides of every shape and size that twisted and turned and splashed. And then, when you needed a break from all that fun, there was the Lazy River. All you had to do was grab a tube and float, but even on the Lazy River there were waterfalls that would pour out of a wall onto your tube. I desperately wanted to go to this magical water park.
When one of my friends asked if I wanted to spend the night at her house on a Friday night and then go with her and her family to Wild River Country on Saturday, I did not even hesitate to say yes, despite the fact that I was terrified to spend the night away from my house until I was much older. This was a special exception.
When I got to my friend's house after school on Friday, her mom let us drink cokes, which was rare because my friend never drank soft drinks. But, there were coupons for the park on the cans, so again, an exception was made.
I'm not quite sure what we did that night, however, I'm fairly certain it included some combination of pizza, a movie and Nintendo...because isn't that what most spend-the-night parties consisted of when you were 10?What I do know is that I was so excited that night I could barely sleep.
So you could imagine my disappointment when I awoke the next morning to the sound of rain - and not just rain, but thunder and lightening, too. I was heartbroken. Trying to cheer myself up, I thought, maybe this is just a small storm, it will blow over quickly, and we'll still be able to go in the afternoon. However, after talking to my friend's mom, we were told that there would be no water park today. Rain all day. I was devastated.
Even as I think about this today, I can't help but blame the mom in this situation just a little. While I realize she doesn't control the weather, couldn't she have at least warned us that there was a chance of rain, much less a storm? I think that would've helped lessen the blow at least a little bit.
I'd actually forgotten about this story until today. During the past week, Herschel and I had been talking about how much we were looking forward to this weekend and laying out by the pool at the club house in our neighborhood. The weather has been perfect all week. It has been nothing but blue skies and sunshine with a slight breeze since we got here. That is, of course, until today.
Just as we got ready to go eat breakfast and run some errands this morning before our afternoon at the pool, I heard a familiar, yet dreaded sound. Yep, rain. And similarly to when I was 10 years old, I've asked Herschel probably no less than 10 times today if he thinks it looks like it's going to clear off and we can just go later. It is now 2:15 p.m. I don't think it will be clearing off any time soon.

Oh, and just to clear ourselves of blame in this particular instance - I've watched the weather everyday this week, and there has been nothing but sun in the forecast. In fact, everyone has been complaining about how dry it is here, and the meteorologist has made a big deal about the fact that there is no chance of rain in the forecast for the next week. Yeah, right...
Moral of this story: if you want to do anything fun outside or water-related, don't invite me. Apparently, the weather gods hate me.
*I now know the truth about this (and most other) water parks now and am no longer disillusioned. I also realize that I was probably spared skin disease and other water-related illnesses by not going that day. However, I was 10 at the time and did not recognize this.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pictures!

I finally got around to loading some of my pictures to our computer today, and I thought I might share a few of them with you. Plus, this is a great excuse to put off all of that unpacking that I have left to do.

First, a few new ones of the cutest Acosta - Oscar.


Posing.




This is how I found Herschel and Oscar the other day. Oscar is having a little bit of trouble adjusting to the lack of freedom he's used to. At our house in Little Rock we had a huge fenced backyard where he was free to run and play, or simply lay in the sun (which is one of his very favorite things to do). So now that he can't do that here, he acts like he needs to go to the bathroom, then after some gratuitous sniffing, he plops down in the grass and ignores your pleads and tugs to get him back inside. As you can see, during this particular occassion, Herschel didn't find it all that cute.


I may be a little bit partial, but seriously, how cute is he???

I also have a few "before" pictures of the house. However, it may have been the long drive, or the fact that it was really late, or simply that I'm not a very skilled photographer, but I apologize in advance for just how horrible these pictures are. I'll do my best to explain what you're looking at.

This is the view of the living room when you walk in the front door. The doorway you see to the left goes into the master bedroom. The windows at the back of the room are actually sliding glass doors that open up to a screened in porch. We keep them open most days. It's wonderful!


Our new kitchen and dining area. This is taken from the office, which has a pocket door leading into the kitchen.



Our glorious cabinet space!!! I'm fairly certain that light is not from our house, but in fact shining down from heaven. Oh yeah, and you can see through into the living room from the kitchen. It's kinda hard to tell from all the stuff on the counter in this picture, but trust me, you can.




Hallway off of living room leading to guest rooms and laundry room. That's right TWO guest rooms...all ready for some guests. So, let me know when you're coming.


Laundry room with more storage.

View into master bath from the master bedroom. Three closets!! And a bathroom for Herschel and bathroom for me. Mine is straight ahead with the tub. A shower connect the two bathrooms. It's strange, but wonderful!

Since these pictures are clearly horrible, that's all I'm going to post for now. I'll take more as I get more done on the house.

Also, we're going to watch a space shuttle launch tonight. Some of our new friends from church invited us to go with them. We're both really looking forward to it. I'm going to try to take some pictures of it. Hopefully they'll come out better than these. If so, I'll post them. If not, I'll spare you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sometimes when it rains, it pours

As Herschel and I have shared with some of you, we've had a couple of rather interesting "church shopping" experiences since we've been in Florida. For example, there was the congregation which was made up of about 10-15 people, all of whom where at least 65+, where we were required to wear name tags. I mean, really?? The young white girl and the Mexican guy didn't stick out enough for you?

Anyway, after coming from a fabulous church family in Little Rock, we were beginning to become a little bit discouraged that we weren't finding anything that seemed to fit us. It was starting to sound a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears - this one's too big, this one's too small, this one's too traditional, this one's too contemporary, etc. But on Sunday, it would seem that we found a church that was "just right." At least for us.

A few weeks ago, we were in Kansas City for a meeting for a church board that Herschel is a part of, and while we were there, one of the representatives from Florida heard that we were moving to the state. He made mention of a couple of churches and made a couple of promises that people often say in those sort of settings, and even more often don't keep. However, a couple of days later while we were packing up our house back in Little Rock, Herschel received an email from one of the pastors from a church in Florida. He said he was given Herschel's name by the guy we'd met in KC and he'd love it if we could come and visit. Needless to say, we were impressed.

Herschel replied and let him know that we planned to attend his church on Sunday, and things were left at that. Little did we know that the pastor, in anticipation of us attending his church on Sunday, had gathered a few young couples and invited all of them over for lunch after church for barbecue. So, of course, when we went to church there on Sunday, the pastor nonchalantly mentioned he was having some people over and asked if we'd like to join them. We did, and it was like we'd known these people for years. We were getting to know one another, laughing, sharing, and there was even plenty of sarcasm - which made me much more comfortable.

We left that experience feeling blessed beyond words. This was exactly what we've been praying for since the moment we found out that we were moving.

But it doesn't stop there.

Literally less than an hour after we'd left the pastor's house, I received a call from a family friend that heads up a public relations office in Palm Beach. A couple of months ago we'd talked about the possibility of an opening at her office, but with the economy the way it is, it didn't look like they would be hiring anyone new - at least not right now.

Well, apparently, God had other plans. My friend was calling to tell me that they had an opening come up completely unexpectedly that they were needing to fill immediately, and she wanted to know if I was interested. We talked again yesterday, and I start work on Monday!

And just to sweeten the deal a little bit, I got a call from one of the girls we had lunch with on Sunday, and she and another girl wanted to know if they could come over and help me finish unpacking on Thursday. Absolutely! The funny thing is, if they had asked me even a couple of days earlier, I probably would've said no. At that point, I think I still thought that I could handle it all on my own. But the truth is, it took three professional packers most of a day to pack us up, so it's certainly going to take more than just me to get it unpacked and put away in a timely manner. Plus, it will be nice to talk to someone besides Oscar for a little while. He's a lot of things, but one thing he's not is a great conversationalist.

I am overwhelmed with the blessings in our life right now. We've sort of been on an emotional roller coaster over the past couple of months, so I'm absolutely thrilled by every bit of this. And I'm trying to soak it all in as much as I can, because I know these moments are rare.

Friday, March 6, 2009

We Made It


Well, here we are in sunny Florida. We're officially Floridians. At least that's what our address says...although for some reason we aren't getting any of our mail, so maybe we aren't really Floridians. Anyway, we're here.

We were very fortunate that Herschel's company paid to have movers come to the house and pack everything up, load it onto the truck, move it down here and unload it. Having never done anything like this before, it was fascinating to watch. They packed everything we owned in about 4 hours. Please note that the packers told me that we had more inventory in the garage than we did inside our house. To translate, that means my husband has a ridiculous amount of tools. It also means he can never again complain about any clothing, shoe or purse purchase I ever make - ever again.


Apparently, all of the loading and unloading was the easy part. We now have boxes everywhere! I've been unpacking for what seems like non-stop for the past three days, and only now do I feel like I've started to make a dent. The kitchen is pretty much finished, which is a huge relief to me. I was even able to make dinner last night. I'm in LOVE with my new kitchen. It has cabinent space, a huge, deep sink - with a garbage disposal, a pantry, counter space, and more than one person can fit into it at a time.

We've gotten the living room semi-situated. And our bedroom is coming together, too. However, our mattress somehow came off the truck smelling like the truck driver had stopped somewhere along the trip, gotten some gas and then doused the mattress in diesel fuel. We've filed a complaint. Our official complaint form is supposed to be in the mail, but again, we aren't getting mail. So for now, we have a diesel scented mattress. Jealous, aren't you?

We're enjoying the house and enjoying settling into a house together for the first time. It's a process, and one that I don't think will be coming to an end anytime soon, but for now, it's exciting. Hopefully it will stay that way until we're finished!


I've taken some "before" pictures when the house was still empty, and I hope to have those posted on here soon. I also plan on taking some pictures once we get everything unpacked, which might take a while, so I'm thinking that I might need to go room by room. Anyway, if anyone ever reads this - which I'm not totally convinced they do - this can give you something to look forward to.

Also, we are officially accepting visitors! We have lots of extra room, and we have NO friends here, so old friends are definitely welcomed and encouraged! We hope to see you here soon. But until then, you can keep up with us on here.




Monday, February 23, 2009

Observations

Well, I got back from Kansas City this afternoon. I was so glad that my mom and I were able to go and visit my grandfather before Herschel and I make our final move this weekend. But, during our visit, I learned a thing or two. Here are just a few of the things I observed in no particular order.

1. Getting old is no fun.
2. Watching your parents get old is no fun.
3. I have an incredible amount of patience...which was tested multiple times a day during our trip.
4. I have a ridiculous obession with my dog, and I miss him like crazy when I don't get to see him everyday.
5. I am spoiled by our king-sized bed.
6. I require more alone time than I got this weekend.
7. Never trust your mom when she says she going to be inside somewhere for "just a couple of minutes" - it will inevitably turn into 2 hours and you haven't had lunch.
8. Kansas City is home to many of my very favorite restaurants, and none of them are healthy.
9. I am addicted to my DVR, and I feel lost without it.
10. I love Emily's Frozen Custard, and I think it's really cute that the guy who owns it named it after his wife.

I'm too tired to think about anything else. Overall it was a pretty good trip, but I'm happy to be back home - even if this won't be our home for very much longer. We have a very busy week ahead. Herschel comes home tomorrow night, movers are here Thursday and Friday, and we leave on Sunday. Please help us pray that everything goes smoothly over the next few days, especially as we close on the house on Friday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Well, Hello Again

Over the past week or two, I have not been nearly as faithful to this blog as I would've hoped. I'm not sure what more to say, other than I'll try to do better. It's something I enjoy, but like most things we enjoy, it requires making time for it. Okay, enough of that...

Over the past couple of weeks, things have been very busy. We finalized the offer on our house in Little Rock, I made a final house-hunting trip to Florida, we found a rent house in Florida and are in the process of finalizing things with that, our house passed its inspection with no repairs needed (hallelujah!), Oscar apparently found his first girlfriend while he was visiting the Pet Resort during my trip to Florida (a Shar Pei who I'm told "likes to play just as rough as he does"), and now I'm in Kansas City with my mom visiting my grandfather.

As hectic as things have been over the past couple of weeks I'm afraid that it will in no way compare to the week that's awaiting me when I get back home. I will be back in Little Rock on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Herschel will fly home to start packing. Movers arrive on Thursday. Friday we close. Movers finish packing and leave on Friday night. Saturday we catch our breath. (Yeah, right!) On Sunday, we're on our way to Florida.

Today, I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that exactly one week from today our house will be empty. It's changed so drastically from when I first met Herschel. The duck wall paper, which I'm sure was hung with care by the original owners, is no longer there. (Sidenote: Herschel was not the one who actually picked out duck print wall paper, but he did buy a house covered in one.)

The dingy carpet is gone. The walls have changed color twice. The "church lady" furniture that Herschel first had when we got married has thankfully been replaced with pieces from this century that have no scent of moth balls.

The house changed as our relationship changed. As we matured together, so did the house. While we were dating, we thought it would be a fun excuse to spend time together to take down the wall paper and paint. While I was living in New York for a semester in college, Herschel distracted himself by tiling the entire living room. Once we got engaged, things really picked up - the "grey" (which turned out to be baby blue) paint that Herschel picked out while we were dating was replaced with something more neutral, furniture was purchased and placed, the tile was extended down the hallway, and the dingy carpets that were left in the bedrooms were cleaned.

It transformed from "his" house to "our" house. And while I continue to complain about it from time to time, it's still our house - our first house together. And it always will be. When I think about the tranformation of that house, I think about the different stages our relationship has gone through over the years.

I know we will have many other houses and many, many more memories over the years. And I look forward to them. I'm already excited about our new house in Florida and have labeled it "the first house we've picked out together." You might be saying, "It's just a house, get over it." But frankly, I don't care. I can't wait to see how things have changed when it's time for us to move on to our next destination...wherever that may be.