Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bridal Shower Fun!

I attended my first bridal shower this past weekend, hosted by Kyle's mom Mary Ann, Aunt Cheryl and Aunt Marjean. It was so much fun and I'm very thankful for everyone that was there! Here are a few pics:

Jan, Marjean, Pat, and Gayle

Jo Ann and Brooke

My gram handmade all this stuff- how amazing is she?!

The grams chatting :)

Watson gals - Shirley, Pat, Beth and Brooke

My sisters! Rebekah, Brooke, me and Heather

Sherri and Beth
Giving it grace: If you've ever wanted to see me be really awkward (and potentially ungracious), put me in a room full of people who don't each other (and some who don't even know me) and then put all the attention on me - and viola: awkward city and I'm the mayor! Accepting gifts from people requires a gracious demeanor (even when I want to yell to everyone: "I can't accept your gifts, I'm just happy to spend time with you!"), and it's something I really need to get more comfortable with. God is teaching me (and Kyle) how to receive gifts with a gracious heart. Fortunately I got a lot of practice at the shower - we were pretty spoiled with gifts - and very blessed!


More changes going on (when really does it ever stop?). As it turns out, writing a thesis, planning a wedding, preparing to be a wife, and working a full time job is harder than one might think. Or perhaps, it's as hard as it sounds and I was just painfully optimistic. I've been struggling the past few months with where I'm supposed to be putting my time, talent and treasure. I made the mistake (and for a while there) of trying to fit Kyle into the life I already had before I met him - and it just wasn't working. Something had to give (before I plain gave out!). After lots of prayer and repeated advice from Kyle, I'm leaving my job at the church to nanny part-time while I finish grad school (and get married!).

So, where does the trading come in you ask? Well, I'm trading in the grown up men I was working with at the church for...cute little boys! Hooray!

Aren't my cousins the cutest ever?

I hope that's ok with cousin Ted that I'm posting pictures of his kids on the internet...he does it, so it must be ok right? 
Starting in December, I will be nannying part time for my cousin (the little guys above are his adorable offspring) and a delightful woman in Queen Anne with an equally adorable little boy (not quite close enough to that family to start posting pictures of their kid on the internet...but trust me, he's a heart-melter).

I'm truly grateful for a reprieve from the past two years of working full-time while tackling grad school full-time. My gratitude is to God for His perfect provision  (the strength to get me through the past two years) and now a situation to provide relief as I re-focus my life on priorities He has put before me: being a wife and finishing school, both to the glory of God!

Giving it grace: Anyone that has known me for longer than oh...a minute(!) knows that I like to "do it all." Being able to do it all has always been my strong point, my comfort zone and my identity. At some point, I had to know that God would strip me of that pride because I was placing my identity in it, and not in Him. Because God is so loving, not only did He strip me of that pride, He then showed me what it looks like to rely on Him and follow His perfect plan for my life. What a relief! A perfect God with a perfect about taking the pressure off me to be able to "do it all!" It's a lesson that I'm still learning, and definitely (almost daily) have to fight myself as I feel like I'm "quitting" because I couldn't meet the ridiculous expectations I was setting for myself. What God is showing me though is that my only expectation should be to honor Him, which means to follow Him and trust in Him (instead of myself)...while I'm learning, God (and others) are being gracious with me, and for that I am truly thankful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Even God rested on the 7th day...

Confession: I need to get better at taking before and after pictures. In the meantime, I will just have to tell you about the before and after images and you can paint a picture in your mind...

We kicked off last weekend with a cleaning session of Kyle's condo. As much as this sounds like the most boring thing on earth, it was actually kinda fun. Clearly I had fun (I love a good cleaning session!), but Kyle also enjoyed it too (or at least enjoyed the finished product).

Without boring you to tears with the details, I do have to share two particularly funny moments caught on camera. After seeing this post on my favorite blog, I asked Kyle if we could move the washer/dryer unit about 6 inches to the left inside the little closet. Turns out, it is not as easy as one might guess to move a stack-able washer/dryer unit...
Here is a perfect example of where before and after (instead of during) photos would have been helpful...Alas, you'll just have to trust me that it looks WAY better and my dream of custom shelves are somewhat within reach now:
Custom shelves = laundry room delight!

After we finished cleaning (I'll try to remember to post a photo of the "office-turned-storage room" so you can see what I mean by cleaning)...we headed out for a much needed afternoon off at the Husky Game.

Thanks to the Kalles bunch for their tailgate hospitality!

Giving it grace: This is going to seem like an obvious one...but, it's a tough lesson that I'm learning so I think it's worth sharing. I have a really, really hard time just taking time off and doing what most people call "enjoying life". Over the years, I've settled into a way of thinking that is just plain not good, and it's actually quite sinful. The Bible actually commands us to rest, and that is a command I have not taken seriously - like, ever. Recently, that was pointed out to me as a sin I'm committing against God. By not taking time to rest, or just enjoy leisure activities, I'm essentially saying "God, you created us to need rest, and then even commanded that we do rest. Thanks for that, but I've got a different plan that's better than yours that doesn't involve resting." It's been a hard adjustment for me, and fortunately Kyle has been helping me with this a lot. Thus, last Saturday we did a compromise: work, then play. We spend a few hours working on the condo, and then spent the rest of the day at the Husky Game. While I wasn't able to completely feel comfortable with taking the whole afternoon "off", I am warming up this idea of "rest" or "play" and grateful that God is working on my heart in this way. His grace continues to abound...

In other exciting news, our engagement photos arrived! Check them out here.

Friday, November 4, 2011


If you can't tell by now, life is like a giant, continuous song. Lately, life has been to the tune of David Bowe's Changes...

I changed where I live:
My dad, Kyle and his brother Zeke moving me
home with my dad for a few months - thanks guys!

And we changed what we do with our spare time:
Save the Dates 
Hand-made "advice cards" (thanks Dad and sissy for making these!)

Wedding invites
Decorating your home could be a full-time job (for me, not Kyle...)!

Thankful that our church takes marriage seriously!
We've really been enjoying this 8-week class on how to honor God
 (and each other) through marriage.

Lot's going on (for both of us!). Everyone keeps telling us to "enjoy this time" and I keep thinking "Enjoy it? it's FLYING BY. I can barely remember it!" That was part of the motivation for this blog (another change, if you're keeping track...). One day Kyle and I will sit down and read out blog back and have a few laughs about all the chaos. For now...ONWARD!

Giving it grace: with all the change going on, it's easier than ever to loose sight of who we are and what our purpose here on earth is. It's not all about "us" or "what we want" (speaking about Kyle and I specifically here), but about "us" and "who we will serve" or "what legacy we will leave". Sounds like big ideas to consider before even getting married. The first question is easy: we are sons and daughters of Christ adopted into his family. Really, nothing else here on earth matters in terms of "identity". The second question is a little more up in the air; we don't know yet where our marriage will bear fruit and we pray about now so that we will recognize it when the call presents itself. Keeping our focus on these bigger questions (who are we and what are we doing here) has really made us able to give and receive grace with all the changes going on. 

Oh - before I forget! Some people have asked us what we learn during pre-marriage class. Without giving away all the fun, here is a great resource of materials that the course theology is built around: Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We're Floored!

After painting, it was time to do something about the floors.

During our first Home Depot trip, we decided to scan the laminate flooring aisle. Turns out, there was some laminate flooring on-sale and we decided to just purchase it on the spot (this was a big decision-making day).

Here's Kyle, thrilled with our new flooring choice:
Isn't he it pretty?

Being manly, loading up the new flooring.
We ended up buying about 6 more boxes than we needed. This was ok, because we were able to return those without the receipt (that got lost in all the hustle-bustle of remodeling) because we bought it through Home Depot's special order service desk thingie. Hooray!

Here are some photos of the floor remodel in progress:
Bye-bye carpet...
Bye-bye linoleum!
The warehouse phase...glad that's over...
(Notice the fridge in the living room, we kind of liked that!)


Ahhhh...(ignore Clothes Mountain)

So pretty...
Walls: done. Floors: done. Where does that leave us? Just counting down the days until we get married and I can move in and "Kyle's condo" will become "our home". In the meantime, we're picking out decorative items, maping out future purchases at Ikea, and trying not to let the "transition" phase make us both crazy. Once I'm moved in and we're completely settled, I'll post official before and after photos.

In case you're wondering, no we did not put the flooring down ourselves. We were blessed to have Kyle's sister-in-law's Dad (did you follow that?) complete this project for us. He did a FANTASTIC job and we're very excited for the new floors!

Giving it grace: The remodel project has been a source of contention many times for us. Kyle's been living happily in this space as it was long before I came along. That makes remodeling it seem...unnecessary, on it's face. Part of the motivation to remodel was to increase the re-sale value, however. The other motivation was his vow to me to let me make his bachelor pad a home for us to start our life together in. Sounds like fun, right? Enter: pride, control-issues, laziness and mixed expectations and you have a less-than-fun situation on your hands. Fortunately, God has been generous in showing us how we can better serve each other during this time (which glorifies God = everyone wins). God has been swift to help us remove the wedges that build between us as we practice turning petty bickering into productive conversations. I'm learning to trust Kyle to handle things (even if it's at a slower pace that I would do it), and Kyle is learning that it's not enough to just be "less lazy than the next guy". We're both learning about how to make decisions together as a team, and taking joy in the makings of our future first home!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

We like to party, we like, we like to (paint) party...

(In case you missed my subtle Vengaboys reference, get caught up to speed here)

I was so excited to pick out paint colors, I had kind of forgotten all about the actual painting part. Kyle, however, was eager to remind me with this less-than-real smile (ignore the power tool) when I bounded through the door the morning of the paint party.

Kyle loves painting. 
Fortunately, we are SUPER blessed to have one awesome friend (Alayna), one awesome previous co-worker (Brittany), 4 awesome siblings (Zeke, Rebekah, Heather, and Adam) and some awesome parents (thanks for all the painting supplies, parents!). We rallied the troops (aka bribed them with Subway, Diet Cokes, and promise to pay back the favor) and so began the painting party (cue the music again!).

Kyle prepping the furniture and walls...

I did this wall! Applause please!

Brittany tackled the accent wall...
We are forever indebted to Bekah for "cutting in" ALL the walls!

The lovely Alayna making our bedroom blue!

This whole party took a lot longer than fact, this "party" continued to drag on for a few weeks while Kyle and I did all the cabinets and doors. We thought we'd "save time" by not sanding down those surfaces and just painting over the pre-existing beige. In the end, we had to put 2-3 coats of white paint (with primer mixed in) on the cabinets and doors which probably took just as long as sanding them down would've taken. Also, because the new paint is just stuck to old paint, it chips off really easily. You can image how much I hate this, and how I'm considering banning anyone with fingernails from touching any white surfaces in the condo.

Giving it grace: We're still giving this one grace...I'm constantly finding areas where the old paint is showing through, an area we forgot to paint, or the evil paint chipping off our cabinets and doors. The other night Kyle surprised me by digging out the yellow paint and painting over an annoying phone-jack cover to make it match the rest of the wall. That was really sweet of him, and now the wall looks normal - hooray! Kyle commended me on my paint color choices and I must admit, I'm pretty proud at my first act as future wife.

The sunny side of painting

It's now November Kyle's condo has officially been in "renovation mode" for three months (although he might tell you it feels like a life-time). The official condo over-haul all started with a whimsical conversation nearly two months before that about Kyle and I getting married and living in his condo together "one day". Well, turns out "one day" meant "within a year" once our relationship really started to pick up speed. The original conversation went something like this..

Stephanie: "Well, if I moved into your condo would we keep in the same or change it?" (see how I try to set him up for success?)
Kyle: "Oh we'd definitely change it." (Success achieved!). 
Stephanie: "What could we change" (my mind running wild...)
Kyle: "Well I suppose we could paint...and I've been wanting to put down laminate flooring for a while. How does that sound?"

Well, that sounded GREAT! Fast forward two months and we found ourselves at Home Depot picking out paint samples: 
Now we're not so great. Why so many choices?!

This experience reminded me of 2nd grade when you open up a fresh new box of crayons, minus the whole "I'm in 2nd grade and my biggest concern is when is recess" aspect. We've got real life problems on our hands this time: if the kitchen doesn't match the living room, we're doomed.

After about 20 minutes of being "that couple" ("honey...this green or that green?"), we narrowed it down to: 
Don't worry - the green and blue are not in the same room
Feeling accomplished, we set out for home to test our colors on the walls. Kyle made the mistake of leaving to run some errands while I used the walls as my painter's playground. No one told me that it's not good to paint designs in the walls...

Sunshine pictures make everything better.
Apparently, it's reallllllyyyyyy annoying to paint over designs on the walls.

Oops. Lesson learned, when Kyle tells me to test the paint by painting it evenly on the wall, he really does mean evenly on the wall (and not in the shape of a sunshine).

Giving it grace: Kyle was incredibly patient with me while waiting for me to finally decide on colors, and not over-reacting when I painted designs on the walls (and spilled on the carpet - good thing that's coming up!). I got to teach Kyle a thing or two about colors (no canary yellow is so-not-the-same as morning sunrise yellow), as well as map out the entire color-scheme for the condo's updated look. Just getting my toes wet at this whole "going to be a wife" thing...


It seemed customary to create a welcome post before just launching into our lives. Kyle and I met in March of 2011, were dating one month later, and engaged by August. Currently, we're knee deep in wedding planning, condo updates and remodels, and the general business of life. 

We decided to keep a blog (well, Stephanie decided and Kyle agreed) about the ins-and-outs of life to share with you what we learn as we go and hopefully enjoy a few laughs along the way.