Thursday, July 24, 2008

L: Little People

We like to make new friends. Especially when they’re brand new people. I think babies are a funny thing because that’s exactly what they are: brand new people. And they’re so little. Perhaps an obvious observation but it’s hard to imagine ever being that small.

We’re made quite a few new little people friends since we’ve been in Louisville. Our church typically has upwards of fifteen pregnant couples at a time, and that might be a conservative guess. Here are some of our friends we made during the winter:
Lydia He! We met mama & papa, Kristen & Buddy, when we first moved to Louisville. Buddy was in the same degree program as Kevin & they were our neighbors in the same apartment complex. I think Buddy is one of the reasons that Kevin began to love the country we're moving to. In fact, Buddy & Kristen just returned to that part of the world this week. We look forward to seeing them and their new little person this summer when Kevin & Buddy have class on a tropical island. No, I'm not even kidding.

Jude Schuknecht! Mama & papa, Stevi & Troy, are some of our dear friends from Louisville. They're from the west coast and lived in Austin for a while, so we've got a lot in common. They just recently moved back to Austin and bought a house on Mint Julip Drive (how appropriate). We're looking forward to seeing them again when we head south for the summer.

Landry Young! Landry is our little neice who's back in Texas with Kevin's sister & brother-in-law. We technically haven't met her yet but mama Robyn certainly keeps us in the loop by posting plenty of pictures on her blog.

Granted, all of these little people are now sitting up by themselves and eating real food. But they're still our little friends!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

K: Kevin's Health Kick

We learned before that Kevin’s idea of a home-cooked meal in college was tater tot casserole. My dearest also loves cinnamon rolls. Homemade ones are the preference (and was honestly the inspiration for my mother-in-law to buy me a breadmaker—see “B” post) but Pillsbury in a can will do as well. In fact, whenever we go to the grocery store, Kevin will without fail disappear and then will later bound up to my cart with cinnamon rolls in hand, exclaiming, “We neeeeeed this!” It’s like shopping with a four year-old. A 6’4” four year-old. That makes me laugh in the mundaneness of grocery shopping.

We’ve come a long way since college’s tater tot casseroles but not beyond cinnamon rolls. So says my husband says: there’s just some junk food that you gotta have. Between the two of us, I’d say I probably have a bit more of a health bent than he does. He just follows suit because I’m usually the one who does the cooking, and he knows that it makes me happy when he makes healthy choices. So how pleased I was when his picture pops up in my work email account one day:

Kevin had taken our dinner left-overs and made a salad out of it. He does this exact same thing all the time, but he’s never taken a picture of it before. A bright spot to my worker day most definitely. Now if we could only wean him off those cinnamon rolls…

Monday, July 21, 2008

J: January Joys

Fact: It does not snow where I’m from. Some winters we like to think that frost is the same thing as snow but in the back of our Texan minds, we know it’s not.

Fact: It does snow where I live now. When we first moved here in 2006, I HATED the cold. It would make me grumpy, and that’s not helpful for a brand new marriage. It took about two years but I can genuinely say that I enjoy cold weather now. Reason one being that I learned what in the world to do with a scarf. No, it’s not just a cute accessory but it actually serves a purpose. They just don’t teach you things like that in Texas. To be precise, I think my friend Ashley learned how to wear a scarf from a J Crew catalogue and taught me. Thanks Ashley! Thanks J Crew!

Here are some snow pictures of our good times this winter:

Snow in our parking lot. We spelled out last name if you can't tell.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I: Injury Strikes

The letter “I” brings our alphabet tour roughly through the month of January. It was about this time last year that thoughts of marathons began dancing through my head. So in January of ‘07 I set a goal to complete a half-marathon. Trained for it, ran it, survived it, loved it. So when January approached this year, I pondered if I would like to run the Derby race again. I started training again, raised my weekly mileage, and registered for it. (Which again poses the question I raised last year of why in the world people pay money to run around for a really long time? It seems just silly but I'm beginning to understand it more & more) It was winter of course, and I learned to appreciate cold weather running with my tights, mittens, and ear warmers. Being on the very edge of the eastern time zone, training was especially difficult because the sun went down so early. It was hard to get a long run in after work when it was getting dark out. But no problem some reflectors wouldn’t fix! I was training in true cold-weather style.
Not a very good picture but that's because the sun
was going down & it was getting dark. And this just proves my
point of how winter running (and picture taking) is such a challange!
When an ice storm came through town one day, my office closed early so we could all make it home safely. In a moment of foolishness, I thought I would try to beat the storm in order to get in a good run that day. So out I go, slip-sliding across the icy sidewalks. I’m not sure if it was that run that did it or if I just raised my mileage too fast but for whatever reason, later that week I could barely walk. My right foot had a twinge in it that was excruciatingly painful. I researched online and decided I must have a stress fracture. It got so bad that I even went and saw an orthopedic doctor. The x-rays didn’t show a fracture but the doctor told me to take it easy for a while. Thus my training dream imploded.

You’ll have to stay posted through the rest of the alphabet to see how it turned out but I will say that the injury was indeed a gracious gift and trial from God. It was really tough for me to slow down and to separate my identity from that of a runner. I realized that running is something that I love but it does not dictate who I am. My identity must solely be founded in Christ and all other pleasures that He gives me should be fodder for thankfulness. When a pleasure is removed from my life, I can still be joyful as I am reminded that I will never be removed from Christ and He will never be removed from me. As Job reminds us, He gives and takes away. So I learned a little more about suffering and how to go about it in a God-honoring fashion. I’m certainly not an expert but I’m thankful for the opportunities to grow in it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

H: Happy Anniversary!

Two years past and I'm still this happy!
January 7, 2008 marked our second anniversary. We had a pretty tough first year with all the transition, so we were very thankful for a much calmer second year. We had a very special anniversary celebration. We stayed at a hotel downtown and went to a fancy steak dinner at Jeff Ruby's just a few blocks from our hotel (ok, ok so I had fish at a steak restaurant...what's the big deal?)
Then Kevin took me to see "Phantom of the Opera." I LOVE "Phantom" and had actually purchased the soundtrack for Kevin as a Christmas gift before we had even decided to see the show for our anniversary. So I sang the night away and have continued to do so while doing dishes, cleaning, etc. Everything is better with Raul and Christine, right?
But my favorite part of the weekend was how intentional my husband was. A good friend of ours lent Kevin some questions from a marriage retreat that he had attended, and we set aside chunks of time during our weekend to evaluate our marriage, give thanks to God for His faithfulness in our strengths, and to pray, plan, and set goals to overcome our weaknesses. If you'd like to plan your own marriage retreat, here are some of the questions we discussed:
What could I do to cause you to feel more loved?
What could I do to cause you to feel more respected?
What could I do to cause you to feel more secure?
What could I do to cause you to feel more understood?
What could I do to cause you to feel more confident in our future direction?
What attribute would you like me to help you develop in yourself?
What attribute would you most like me to develop?
What achievement in my life would bring you greatest joy?
What would indicate to you that I really desire to be more Christ-like?
What mutual goal would you like us to accomplish?
How is your relationship with the Lord doing?
How is our sex life?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

G: Guitar Playing Fool

When you’re a kid, learning new stuff is easy. Plus kids have no choice but to give themselves a lot of grace in learning because there’s just so much they’re learning to do at one time. Tie your shoes, ride a bike, eat with a fork…the world is just full of unknown skills! But for an adult, the tables are turned. We’re used to efficiency and competency.

For years, my dear husband has wanted to learn to play the guitar. He finally took the plunge when the whole family (my parents & his) chipped in to buy Kevin a guitar for Christmas. This picture is the “third” that my parents purchased.

He took lessons last semester and has been plugging away ever since. It’s not been easy to acquire this new skill (especially since Kev’s singing voice is somewhat lacking) but he’s persevering. I’m so proud of him! He’s actually strumming away right now as I type. We’re planning to go on tour shortly to debut Kev’s mad skills, but until then, I'll leave you with this picture of my rockin' musician. Who knows…maybe one day it will be worth millions!

Monday, July 14, 2008

F: Flu Outbreak

When Kevin & I were dating in college, the poor guy didn’t take very good care of himself. He averaged about five hours of sleep a night and his staple diet included tater tot casserole, $.99 frozen Italian meals, and canned green beans. When he got sick, the idea of slowing down to feel better never seemed very convenient so he just plowed on through. Needless to say, this eventually caught up with him. I was leaving for a trip when Kevin finally admitted that he was sick. I did my faithful duty as a girlfriend and made a big vat of soup for him to eat while I was away. I even wrote him a poem entitled “Soup for My Sickie,” which elicited much playful teasing from his roommates.

So it felt like quite a flashback when Kevin started feeling puny in February. (As an aside, my mom always used to call my brother or me “puny” whenever we didn’t feel well. I imported this phrase into my marriage but my husband didn’t find it as quaint as I did. Offended his manhood or something like that) And it turned out to be…dramatic pause…the flu. All the poor guy could do for a week was lay around and moan. And I literally mean moan. The doctor couldn’t do anything either because apparently the flu is a virus and it just has to run its course.

Eventually, we became a happy & healthy home again. The whole ordeal did make us much more thankful for our health. We certainly take for granted the ability to wake up in the morning and hop out of bed, ready for the day. (Well, maybe not hop every morning but you get the point) So we are more thankful to our Creator & Sustainer for the gift of health. And this wife is certainly thankful that she gets to hum a different tune from “Soup for My Sickie.”

Monday, July 07, 2008

E: Everyone Dry Your Eye

When this sugar mama finally found her sugar (ie-a job), part of the sweetness of it was having a desk five feet from dear Beth Wilson. Beth is a college friend whose life took a turn similar to ours. After marrying Lee in 2005, they moved up to Louisville to go to school at Southern. When we moved here six months later, she & Lee were at our door, ready to move in our boxes in the snow. A few months after we got here, I was hired at the same law firm as Beth. So we became friends, coworkers, fellow sugarmamas putting our husbands through school, and, best of all, Christian sisters trying to encourage one another at work and at home. I’ll be honest that with desks so close to one another, sometimes our work ethic gave way to chattiness, but overall I think we were both better workers because of the other. At least I know I was. God gave me Beth to help me adjust to the demands of the corporate world, and I’m entirely grateful.

What began as Jack Bauer Power Hour eventually evolved into what we now endearingly refer to as MND. The Wilsons began opening their home every Monday night for six of us, then ten, then twelve and even upwards of twenty. She graciously put food on the table for us all as we chatted, laughed, and enjoyed either “24” or “Last Man Standing.” I have never seen the gift of hospitality so evidently displayed as I have through Beth.

But all that God did to use the Wilsons here in Louisville, in His gracious plan, He has decided to use them elsewhere. Lee accepted a job at Union University and he & Beth bought a house and moved there in January. They moved there just before the tornado hit and were able to be there for the ministry to the students & community that followed the destruction. We had a going away party at work and the last MND at the Wilson’s home. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it at the office without Beth’s encouragement and sensitivity. But the Lord has certainly sustained me the past five months without her. Beth’s legacy of MND has lived on, and we now alternate host homes between the five couples.

So, yes, dry your eye that the Wilsons moved on. But we are oh-so thankful for how the Lord intersected our lives for a season and for how He is now using them where they are. And in that we can rejoice.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

D: Dunder Mifflin

We admit it...we're Office fans. It started with me. I love the dry humor and something about the reality of corporate life that this show portrays really resonates with me. Kevin hated it. He made fun of me for liking it. But then one day, the light dawned in his heart. Now we love it & laugh together. And that is a good thing. We're not sure if we like Dwight or Andy Bernard better. Dwight sure does know a lot about beets but then again Andy has walked two marathons. Anyway, if you're ever up for an Office party, we're all about it!

Friday, July 04, 2008

C: Crazy good times--New Years '08

Whoever said that seminarians don't know how to have a good time sure hasn't been to the Peek at the White Butts parties. Before you get any crazy ideas of what we do to entertain ourselves out here in Kentucky, let me explain. To welcome the new year, the Peeks (all four of us!), Blake & Alicia White, and Dustin & Jamie Butts all got together for dinner & games.

We also got to celebrate Sarah's birthday. A mere twenty-four years ago, she was the first baby born in Spokane, WA. Happy b-day Sarah! Glad you're alive!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

B: Bread Mania

The rest of my family really puts me to shame when it comes to domesticity. Sister Sarah--well what doesn't she do? She bakes, sews, knits, and churns her own butter (maybe not the butter thing but I wouldn't put it past her one day.) Sister Shannon crochets like a champ (I'm so far from that, I don't even know how to spell it!) Me? Well...umm...does running count as domestic? I can cook and put food on the table but I don't delight in the crafty/cook-y side of life like these ladies. But all of that changed at Christmas thanks to my dear mother-in-law! I am now a bread maker!

Yup, that's me and my first loaf of bread. That I made. OK so it was with a breadmaker but I dumped all the stuff in, didn't I? So what if sometime I get the yeast/water/flour proportions a little off and it sinks in the middle? (When that happens, we call it bunny bread because when you slice it, it looks like the bread has ears like a bunny.) Kevin has awarded me exponential domesticity points because of my new found hobby. And you'll be pleased to know, dear mother-in-law, that I haven't purchased a loaf of bread from the grocery store since the breadmaker made its debut in my kitchen. If any of you remember my Blog post from last year expressing my disdain for Martha Stewart, I think I'm over that now because I'm pretty sure she & I are on an equal playing field now.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A: All Aboard to Tejas

Merry Christmas from Apartment 422!

(Belated of course!)

As usual, we traveled the great divide between Kentucky & Texas to spend the holidays with our families. This year was great because we had roadtrip companions in Chris & Sarah. More drivers=more sleeping time! That was especially helpful for me since 1) I stink at driving at night and 2) we left at 5 PM right after I got off work and drove through the night. But we made it safe and sound. We dropped Chris & Sarah off in Denton with Kev's parents and headed down to Austin to see my family.

We spent a few days with my family in Austin. Mark & Valerie flew down from New York but we didn't get to connect very long because our schedules didn't mesh very well. Just long enough for lunch though! (Aren't we so cute in our matching red!?!)

We got to spend some time with some friends as well that I've known & loved since high school. Fun times!

Then we went back up to Dallas to spend Christmas with Kevin's family. This was my very first Christmas not to wake up at my sweet Granny's house in Houston. The first of many I'm sure but neverthless it was quite a shift for me. What made it easier is that Kevin really does have such an amazing family, and I love spending time with them. I almost felt like I was cheating to get to spend Christmas with my best friends in Louisville (Chris & Sarah). We saw Kevin's sister Robyn's big ol' prenant belly (Landry came about a week later--we just missed her grand debut!) and played nerf gun war with the nephews--until Kevin shot me in the eye. Not the best way to love your wife but oh well.

Then back home to real life (and real cold!)

Absence Make the Blog Grow Fonder

For some reason, this seems to happen every year. I go strong with the blog during the end of the year and then the Christmas holiday throws me for a loop. Then I receed into blog-cave for about six months. Yes, it's been six months. You see what happens is that I have this thing for chronology. Life happens in sequence. I can't just leave out Christmas and move on. I've got to post Christmas. But then Christmas becomes anniversary and anniversary becomes the first snow day and it quite literally becomes a snowball effect until I'm just so far behind that nothing but a large chunk of time dedicated to blogging can redeem me.

Another apology is certainly due to all of your blog readers, though it wouldn't surprise me if I've lost you all by now. And it shouldn't surprise you all if I do this again next year. So bear with me, poor, feeble blogger that I am.

So in order to make it up to all of you, I present to you the Peek's ABC's of 2008. I will catch you up on the past six months (and oh it's been busy!) and it will be in oh-so cute alphabetical AND chronological order. So the moment you've all been waiting for...

(And yes, Shannon, the parrot will thankfully no longer welcome you to the blog.)