Sunday, July 29, 2007

H to the Izzy, P to the Pizzy!

We are currently consumed with the 7th Harry Potter book, 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'. Last Monday I bought two copies at Target so that Ben and I could read it at the same time. A few nights this week we have sat in bed reading and reading and reading... We even spent about 15 minutes at a Harry Potter party in downtown Naperville where there were thousands of people just hanging out, enjoying some Butterbeer, Polyjuice Potion, pictures with Dumbledore and Severus Snape...and much, much more!

Ben is not as determined as I am to get through the book quickly. I'm at the point of paranoia where I think that someone is going to ruin the ending for me if I don't hurry and read it all. Two friends at work, who's cubicles are right next to me, have read it and want to talk about I need to finish before they let it slip!

Beyond Harry Potter, we do have other things going on in our lives keeping us busy as ever. Tuesday we attended our new Growth Group, which was definitely fun. Also, some friends and family have been in town visiting and there are more to come! Last weekend, Ben's parents came to visit. Ben and his dad golfed almost every day, and his mom and I got to partake in the golfing fun one afternoon too. What a lovely course it was!

This last Wednesday we got to see our friend, Jared Mott, from Nashville. He was with his Youth Group staying at the Hostel International in downtown Chicago. So, we met up with him, had dinner at the hostel, attended the evening chapel service, then headed off with the youth to compete in a scavenger hunt around the city.

Friday, we went down to the city again to see our friends, Jeff and Amber Carlson who were in town from Texas. It was so good to see them and spend time with them talking and laughing. We met at "the Bean" (which the creator prefers to be called "the Cloud") in Millenium Park, then hung out at a Chocolate Cafe on Michigan Ave for quite a while. Dinner was at Gino's East (Chicago style pizza) where we continued to just share stories and crack each other up. As always, it was hard to say goodbye at the end of the night.

Us, with Amber and Jeff Carlson

Yesterday (saturday) was a nice lazy day for me and Ben. We just hung out inside the house all day, reading Harry Potter and watching movies. We actually attempted to watch The Last Mimzy, only because "Dwight" from The Office is in it. What a boring movie, even for little kids! We couldn't make it through the whole thing.

Now, Ben just left for Madison, WI to help his brother, Joel, move to his new place. He'll be back later tonight, so he can rest up for teaching Greek class tomorrow at Wheaton (as a substitute teacher).

In a few weeks, I'll have much more to tell since my parents, little sister, and big sister and brother-in-law will be coming for my birthday weekend! I'm so excited! Then, the weekend after that (Labor day) we have some really good friends coming to visit! We can not wait!

That's it for now. Check out the food blog, too, because I've been updating it once again!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

We Love Our New Home!

"It's only been a week." These are the words that just came out of my mouth when deciding how I was going to start this post. Ben came home from Notre Dame only a week ago Friday and we have already made ourselves a nice home in this new rental house of ours.

It amazes me on how our energy level is so completely different now that we have more space. This house is probably too big for us, but we are having a blast! Ben has been working on the lawn and completely enjoys it. He's already mowed twice! We also painted our kitchen blue, so now not EVERY wall in the house is eggshell anymore.

Many friends were over this week to enjoy our new home with us. The previous tenants gave us their fire pit, so we have spent numerous nights sitting on the patio roasting marshmallows for s'mores.

On another note, we went to the Harry Potter IMAX (3-D) movie the other night with our friend, Wendy, and her two sons. It was really good! I'm now starting the 6th book since the 7th book will be released this week. I can't believe no one has ruined the 6th book for me yet. I know something major happens in it...but I don't know what.

That's it for now. You can see pics at these links:
Whitman Home Before Pics

Whitman Home After Pics

Wheaton Fun

Thursday, July 05, 2007

How I Will Miss the Venables

Wow. What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been. All the events have been leading up to this day... the day the Venable's left me with an empty home until Ben comes to join me tomorrow. "Who are the Venable's," you say? Where do I begin?

Let me give you the short story first, then if you want to continue reading you can get the long version next. The Venable family consists of parents Steve and Michelle and their adorable children Sarah, Steven, Rebekah, and Moriah. Steve was our previous landlord who was also our savior in providing a wonderful safe home for us to rent after a disturbing event occurred in our last apartment complex making us realize we needed a new home to feel safe. We quickly became good friends of the entire family and now they left today to make the long trek to Phoenix where they will start their new home and Steve will continue his new job at Harvest Bible Chapel.

This last week and a half I've been living with the Venable's. If you read earlier posts, you will understand why. The first week I was actually not around much because I stayed with my friends Jenn and Scott for two nights, then picked up Ben at Notre Dame to spend the weekend in Michigan with my family. But, this week (Sunday night through today) I was able to spend a lot of time with the Venable family and really enjoyed the short-lived time.

First I have to explain my admiration for Michelle, who has been trucking along quite well (although rough at times) with her cancer treatments. I've learned that she is a ridiculously strong woman! I don't mean muscle-strong, I mean faithfully strong, motherly strong, energetically strong! She doesn't even know it...but I've learned so much from her just this week.

Now Steve... what a worker and a care-taker! Not only was he busy taking care of his own family, but he made sure we were taken care of, too, like we were his own. (Of course he's not quite old enough to be our dad, though. ha) Both he and Michelle made sure that Ben and I were taken care of through-out the last (almost) two years. While I was living with them, they made me feel so at home and I am very grateful for that.

And on to the kids... all four of them... precious, sweet, little angels that I will miss dearly. I don't want to be mushy, but my eyes really are tearing up as I'm typing this part. This week Moriah, Rebekah, Steven, and Sarah allowed me to remember what being a kid and using your imagination is all about. The most special part was our walk in the park...Was it 4 miles? They showed me their "common"...their secret open field that has a hidden trail where no one else goes. How privileged I felt that they shared this secret place with me, so now I can escape there and maybe read a book, bring Ben and play Bocce ball, or just walk around and practice using my own imagination. We spent more time playing in the I haven't played since childhood. Like, "Red Light, Green Light" and "Mother May I". Every one of these kids have their own unique personality that just shines and shows their extremely good upbringing. Now I really can't wait to have kids of my own.

Thank you, Steve, Michelle, Sarah, Steven, Rebekah, and Moriah for sharing your lives with me these last few days. I really enjoyed myself and hope you have a safe journey to Phoenix. You'll all be in mine and Ben's prayers. We love you!

How Many Since 3/19/07?