Saturday, August 23, 2008

Z: Zoo of kiddos

One of the things we’ll miss most about Louisville is our rowdy bunch of four & five year old kiddos we got to hang out with on Sunday mornings. We loved teaching them, laughing with them (and at them), and learning from them. If I could skip infancy, I’d just give birth to a four year old. I’m sure all you parents can come up with a million and one reasons why that is a terrible idea, but let the youth be na├»ve, ok? We’re thankful for all we learned about parenting and family, most of all the fact that your kids don’t have to drive you crazy all of the time. Sure, they’ve got their moments but gentle correcting and shepherding can create and enjoyable family. Again, I’m sure some of you parents understand the dynamics of this way more than I do, but hopefully one day soon we’ll learn.

We are excited to join the families in our city overseas. By the time we get there, there will be roughly 8.5 kids (I say .5 because the ninth will arrive about a month after we do!). We’re hoping to be able to use some our lessons with these kiddos too.

And we’ve made it to the end! From A-Z, now you know all things Peek. I would promise not to take another 6 month hiatus again but who even knows what I’ll do? So you’ll get no empty promises from this blogger. Life is actually quite interesting right now so there is certainly plenty to blog about. Thanks for hanging in there for all 26 letters!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Y: Yosemite in Louisville

Who says the ultimate camping is in the northwest? (Well, I’m sure my sis-in-law thinks so but she is way biased!) By way of the final Peek Showdown, all four Peeks took a weekend camping trip to Taylorsville Lake the weekend before we left town. This was my first real camping trip. I’ve realized that no one really camps in Texas because it’s just too hot! Well, maybe some people camp in Texas but I was certainly not one of them. But it turns out that I absolutely love camping! Once you get camp set up, there are no expectations of you whatsoever. We played games, told stories around the campfire, went on a hike (sort of), roasted marshmallows, cooked over the fire, and had a water balloon fight to fend off the July temperatures.

Chris & Sarah are by far our best friends in the whole wide world, and we are so thankful that we got to steal away with them for a few days. We’re also thankful for the full year we got to spend together in Louisville. We just love them. We want to raise our kids together and do life together. Eventually, they want to end up on our side of the world so we’ve got big plans to reunite in 2016. Until then, email and phone calls will have to do. They always have had a heart that wanted to love…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

X: eXiting Louisville

Sad, sad day. After two and a half years of being a Louisvillian, those days have ended. Now we’re not sure what we are. Maybe I’ll call us Civic-ilians or just plain Civilians since we’re more or less living out of our car right now. We packed everything we own into the Civic and have been cruising across state after state visiting friends and familiy.

It was difficult to end our season in Louisville because we just loved it. We had several friends go above and beyond to make our closing days special. Since we lived in on-campus housing, our lease had to end either in June or December. Not helpful for a family who intended to leave at the end of July! So we sold our furniture, vacated our apartment, and spent the month of July living with Chris & Sarah, the Bitner family, and the Bonura family. In hindsight, I’m really glad it worked out that way. We got the stress of packing and getting rid of a lot of our stuff out of the way early so we could focus on relationships at the end of our time. From going away parties to hanging out, we felt so loved by all of our friends. So thank you to everyone who helped make our closing days special. We feel that we will not soon be forgotten as we trek off to the other side of the world!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

W: Washington DC

If you recall, our unlucky patient experience took place in Virginia. Since we were in that neck of the woods, we decided to take a trip up to Washington DC. Neither of us had ever been to our nation’s capitol and we figured it was worth a tour. We visited all the monuments, the Air & Space Museum, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Here are some pictures of our sights:

Monday, August 18, 2008

V: Viva Europa

About a year ago, I came up with this plan of what I wanted to do during the interim period between Louisville and East Asia. Visit family & friends of course but what better way to reward a season of hard work at school & the office than a fun vacation for just Kev & me? And what other time will we be without kids and have the freedom to take a vacation of this magnitude? Thus it was conceived: VIVA EUROPA! We’re going backpacking through Europe!

Kevin was skeptical at first. To assuage his fears, I made a coffee can with a whole cut out of the top to begin funding our trip. I think I only collected about $22 (including a $20 bill) but nevertheless the sweet man agreed that we could make the trip.

So we’re going to Europe! We fly out on September 22 and get three glorious weeks across four countries. We’re flying into Munich, Germany (during Oktoberfest), will travel down through Switzerland, then through Italy, and swing through France before heading back to Munich to head home on October 15. We’re working with an extreme shoestring budget, so that should make things interesting. If you have an Europe tips/pointers or things we HAVE to see, let us know!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

U: Unlucky Patient

You can ask my mom…needles and I have not been friends for a long, long time. It goes back to when I was eight and decided that I wanted to have my ears pierced…and passed out when having it done. Needle after needle, shot after shot…and I’m out cold on the floor. I finally got to the point where I starting telling the nurses to lay me down unless of course they wanted to deal with my dead weight.

Enter Kevin. He tries to be tough, he really does. But it’s hard to forget that one time in college when he went to get an immunization for an overseas trip. Four nurses ended up picking him up off the floor.

So once upon a time, this unlucky pair gets to go to the doctor. In May, we flew to Virginia for some interviews and physicals with our company. When I say physical, I mean we were poked and prodded in nearly every place imaginable. And then comes…the needles. Kevin, being the chivalrous and sweet husband that he is, let me go first. I warned the nurse that it will be in both her & my best interest to lay me down. Oh and don’t forget that no one has ever in my whole life has been able to draw blood from my forearm. She didn’t seem phased, found a spot to lay me down, and went away with that needle on my right forearm. After what seemed like endless stabbing, she commented that I must have small, rolling veins. Hence why I told her not to even try for my forearm but that is neither here nor there. So she tries for the top of my hand. She found a vein but it was so cold in that office that my tiny, rolling veins had constricted to the point where they weren’t going to give up my blood without a fight.

To make a long story short, two nurses, five stabs, two barf bucket warm water bathes for my cold hand, surgical gloves, and an X-ray blanket later, my nurses were pleased to have the blood they needed to set me free. They bandaged me up like a boxer and sent me on my way. To make it an unlucky pair and not just an unlucky patient, meanwhile Kevin tried to be brave and watch his blood. No good. He passed out.

So three cheers for the unlucky patients who survived their arch nemesis—the needle!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

T: Tejas Trip

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter T and brings us up through the beginning of April. My dear, dear friend Ashley Marshall wedded Mr. Nick Absalom (and inherited the coolest last name, in my opinion) at the beginning of April, and she asked me if I would stand beside her as a bridesmaid. Since she had given me the pleasure of being my maid of honor, what was I to say? The wedding was the perfect blend of worship & fun. The ceremony was God-centered, Scripture-saturated, and Christ-exalting. And man oh man was the reception fun! I got to see a few old friends from college there, and we feasted and danced and laughed and celebrated. I think that we were able to celebrate so well at the reception because we had worshipped so well at the ceremony. And I think the worship was so full because our celebration was so full. This is but a glimpse of what it will be like when Christ returns for the church, his bride! We will worship & celebrate abundantly, and that will be a good day!

Call me crazy but my short time frame gave me no choice! The reception ended a little bit before midnight and I made the three-hour drive to Austin. I wanted to visit my parents and my baby-booming friends. My friends Sally & Justin Lopez had just welcomed their first little one, Annabel, and my friends Amber & Logan Gentry were pregnant with their second son. So I got to hang out with my friends’ babies, which is always a bit surreal. But I guess that’s just what you do in your mid-twenties, right? After a quick lunch with my parents, I drove back to Dallas to catch my evening flight. Lots of people to see, lots of things to do so how could my trip have been any different?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

S: Sweet

They say that 25 is supposed to be a difficult birthday but birthdays don’t really phase me. Maybe I just say that because I’m still young. Who knows? But I like to think that each year is a gift from God and that age means wisdom. Someone please remind me of this every birthday, ok?

For my day-o-birth, Kevin took me on a picnic to one of my fav parks in Louisville called Cherokee Park. We had lunch out on the summer lawn and watched this strange group of people beat on each other with medieval weapons made out of PVC pipe. Strange. Very strange. Chris & Sarah came and joined us shortly after and we all watched the strange people and their comments much resembled ours. Strange. Very strange.

The most interesting event of my birthday was my gift. As a curly haired gal who appreciates convenience, there’s not much time invested in my hair when I can just scrunch it and go. But my dear husband loves it straight. I straightened it everyday on the honeymoon for him but it certainly takes time. I had told him I wanted a Chi straightener a long, long time ago. Well, the sweet man ordered one for me for my birthday, but then did some research and found out that there are tons of fake Chi's sold online. Once mine arrived, we looked at it a little more closely to see if it was fake. I even took it to a salon across the street from my office to compare it to theirs. Sure enough…as fake as my Gucci wallet I bought at the Pearl Market in Beijing. Unless of course my Chi was made in both Houston and Korea, like the box said. So we sent it back and the curly hair lives on.

The best part for wife about birthday presents that don’t work out is that she gets the surprise of another one. The worst part for husband about birthday presents that don’t work out is that he has to come up with another birthday present idea. Still pending. We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, it’s still great to be 25.

R: Recovery! Runner Again!

If you're not keeping up with the Peek alphabet, go back and read "I" before you read this one. Then and only then will you truly be able to rejoice fully!

So I found myself all busted up and nowhere to go. That pesky foot was still giving me problems. I tried everything...I even took up swimming (which I found out I'm not very good at). Though I'd already registered and paid for the Derby Half-Marathon, I knew there was no way that I'd be able to race it. Sure I was sad, but I knew that my race shirt would be an Ebenezer of contentment and submission to my husband, who knew unbiasedly that my foot was not up for a race.

But as the day drew nearer, I was able to run just a bit. I had some friends who were planning on walking it, so I decided to join in with them. It ended up being a blast! We walked and we ran and we danced. I mean literally...on the course, we passed several radio stations and whatnot belting out inspirational running tunes. You know..."Eye of the Tiger" and things like that. Since I wasn't too concerned about my time, I took a break from walking or running or whatever I was doing and just busted a move right there.

After that race, my foot was more or less healed. I slowly picked up the miles again and was so thrilled to resume my Saturday morning ritual long run.

Welcome June. One afternoon while I was working (read: wandering around online), I found the link to the Indian Celina Challenge. The course was both a half and a full marathon, and it boasted to be the most difficult trail run in the region. One of my coworkers had started running within the past few months, and we decided to register. I was a little fearful of what I was getting myself into but a race is a race...

Welcome race day. The race started at 6:30 AM so we had an early morning. Philip & I drove to Indiana and lined up in the middle of a forest with a handful of other crazies. In trail running, anything is game. Dirt, mud, rocks of all shapes and sizes, tree roots, grass up to your kness, creeks up to your knees, inclines like you wouldn't believe...good clean fun! But clean was the last thing that we were when we finished! It was SO much fun though and I finished faster that the walk/run/dance mini. Here are a few pics from our race:

Dear Philip, if you read this (which I'm 99% sure you won't, please don't be mad at me for posting this less-than-flatering picture of you. I can't stand posts only of me. You are my equalizer. Philip is way more hard-core than I am. He's running an ultramarathon in October. An ultra, for anyone who doesn't follow the terminology, is any distance beyond a marathon. This race he's running is around 30 miles.

Any marathon dreams bouncing around my head? We'll see...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Q: ummm...

I'm sure you were all wondering what in the world I would do when I hit this letter. Answer: I will punt. On to "R"...

Monday, August 04, 2008

P: Peek family Easter

OK back to April…I heart in-laws. It’s true that you get to choose your spouse but you don’t get to choose your spouse’s family. Well, I couldn’t have chosen a better set of in-laws, especially when it comes to Chris & Sarah. It’s no news that Kevin has a twin brother, and that we just love them to death. In fact, having already left Chris & Sarah in Louisville and now writing this post about the Easter meal we shared together makes me even more thankful for the year we got to spend together in the same city. Our hope & our goal is to be together again one day, hopefully overseas. But enough reminiscing or I’ll just start crying over my dear Speek (that’s what I call my sis-in-law/best friend Sarah) again…as if I haven’t been missing her enough. (Too long, Clancy, too long…)

As I’ve shared with you all before, Sarah wears the domestic hat in our family. But come Easter, I thought I would give it a try. To be honest, three months later, I have no clue what I made but I’m nearly certain that the Breadmaker was involved. It’s like my secret weapon of domesticity…or my only weapon. The fact that I can’t remember what we ate should be a reminder to all our us hostesses that your hosting is not about food, it’s about fellowship. We enjoyed one another’s company, and most of all, celebrated the sweet reality of our savior’s resurrection. And the fact that Christ was raised from the dead is just as relevant now as it was three months ago on Easter!

O: Out of things to say

So I’ll just give you a current update on Peek life. Sadness of sad, we are no longer Louisville residents. As most of you know, we’re in the process of moving overseas. Over the past few months, we’ve slowly been downsizing, organizing, selling our things (I heart Craig’s List!), and figuring out what exactly we need to make the move. At the end of it all, our wordly possessions now all fit in our Honda Civic. Wow. How would have thought that possible? It’s a little surreal but very freeing in one sense.

I quit my job about two weeks ago as well. It was sad to leave the coworkers that I had labored to love & serve over the past two years, but there was a great sense of satisfaction as well to be finished. Kevin & I came here for him to do school and for me to work in order to pay tuition. He’s done so I’m done. It was a crazy place to work, and I’ve certainly got entertaining stories to prove it. And now that season is closed.

Sell stuff…check. Quit job…check. Cram all possessions in car…check. Say goodbye to people that we love a whole, whole lot...check. Now what? We’re now making a grand tour to visit friends & family in Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma. It will be a wild ride so pray for our hearts as we transition through it all.

N: Never Ending Winter

As previously stated, it doesn’t snow in Texas. Though my sweet sister-in-law chides me for my southern interpretation of snow, even she would agree that our early March snow storm was pretty intense. (I think she would say that at least…) Kevin was gone for the weekend to Texas for Travis’ wedding so I got to wake up early and watch the flurries fall. How serene! Then I went outside to play with some neighbors. The seminary where we lived has an amazing hill for sledding, if you can avoid the trees that is.

M: Mawwage is what bwings us togeva today

Can’t you just hear the sweet old priest from “Princess Bride?” Well, his sentiments were certainly true for us this past spring. Beginning in March, we had one wedding every month through July. For many of you, this might not be a big deal, as it might be a common occurrence for your mailbox to be inundated with invitations. But when it means traveling from Louisville to Houston, Dallas, and Wichita, KS, weddings bring on an entirely different flare. But we were thankful to accept the travel challenge in order to join our sweet friends for their marriages. So for your viewing pleasure: 21 Dresses Peek style! The "L" post is for babies, the "M" post is for weddings. Isn't that what life is about in your mid-twenties?

Wedding #1: Travis & Cori Mitchell in March in Houston. Kevin was a groomsman...and I'm sure the most hottest one! My apologies for the poor picture. I actually don't have any at all since Kev left the camera with me in Louisville, so I had to steal this one from Jamie's blog. Thanks JB!

Wedding #2: Nick & Ashley (marshall) Absalom in April in Dallas. My dearest maid-of-honor is a bride! More on this wedding in the "T" post but it certainly needs to be said that this wedding was a beautiful balance of worship & celebration. And the bride was H*O*T! And she picked the all-time best bridesmaid dresses ever...I've already worn mine again three times!

Wedding #3: Caleb & Rachel (seitz) Brown in May in Louisville (only clocked 1.5 miles of travel for this one!) Rachel & I began meeting together nearly two years ago and I've gotten to walk with Rach through the seasons of dating, engagement, and now marriage. I was her quasi-wedding coordinator and realized that this stuff is tough! So props to you, Mrs. Kari Breed and Mrs. Valerie Corbin, for making a profession out of it!
Wedding #4: Jeff & Damaris (johnson) McClain in July in Wichita, KS. This wedding by far put the most miles on our friendly Civic but it was a joy to serve Damaris and stand beside her. The best part of this wedding was that I got to take a date. Weddings are much more fun when you have someone to dance with I think.