Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 Goals

I just looked back at my 2017 goals and it's amusing that my top goal was to increase our Molly Maids cleaning schedule to twice per month. Days after I wrote that post, Brian changed some things in our budget and we ended up cutting out Molly Maids altogether.

2017 became the Year of Cleaning.

Just kidding!
It was the Year of the Dirty House.

We went to the Avett Brothers' concert on New Years Eve, so that was a wonderful way to ring in 2018!

Love these people ^^^

My goals for 2018:

1. Learn How to Garden

One of my biggest complaints about our house is the lack of sunlight. Unfortunately a garden is not a possibility on our wooded lot. Instead of continuing to complain, I had to get creative in order to achieve my garden dreams.

There's a church that's connected to our neighborhood a few streets over and I remembered seeing a huge garden there a few years back. I reached out to the church last Spring and discovered it's a community garden and that each gardener must donate half of their harvest to the food pantry in Wake County. I told them to notify me if a plot ever became available, and sure enough, on January 2nd I got approved for a 5x10 plot!

Of course I have zero gardening knowledge, but I plan to fake it 'til I make it. I had to sign a contract committing to two 8-hour work days in the garden this year and one harvesting day per month during the growing season. I was a little hesitant about this, but you know what I always say: Life begins where your comfort zone ends.

So, here's to gardening in 2018!

2. Read More

I'm a big reader in general, but I want to read more books this year. I started a list -- Uninvited, Year of Yes, Behind Closed Doors, A Simplified Life, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I've already read two books in one week. I hope I don't lose steam.

3. Be More Creative (Vague and immeasurable, but hear me out...)

Writing is my preferred creative outlet, so that's probably where I should start. I want to do more cooking and baking, too.

The area where I want to get most creative, however, involves coming up with things to do with Cam that are fun for him and me. I hate being bored, and I find that I often get bored playing with a toddler unless I have planned activities. The summer is easy when I can just go to the pool every weekend, but the winter months are more challenging. I don't necessarily want to go places and spend money, so I need more to do around the house or something. Maybe he can help me clean!

4. Help Nurture Our Sunday School Class

The "Thirty Somethings" Sunday School class at my church has really taken off since we started in September. We've had new people coming almost every week and it's a really fun group. My mom teaches the class and she does a great job. She is incredibly smart in general; something I've always known, but it's more apparent to me now that she's teaching this class. I've learned so much that I never knew before, even though I've gone to church my whole life. Also, she has a way of making it stick with me. I feel like I could dominate Jeopardy now if the questions involved Bible trivia (well, specifically Exodus and Acts since that's all we've studied so far).

I plan to take on a larger role in coordinating and planning activities for the class in the coming year.

If you're in the area and looking for a church, I would highly recommend visiting Grey Stone and our Sunday School class! It's always a highlight of my week.

5. Cure Our Dog's Mange (Filing this under "Goals I Never Thought I'd Have in My Lifetime")

Otis has had mange for well over a year now. The vet calls it "Demodex." I suppose that sounds better than mange, but it's the same thing. There's redness and hair loss on his chest. Luckily his case is pretty mild, but it's been nearly impossible to cure. It will involve more bathing, more brushing, and applying special creams that smell terrible. Really it's just a matter of more elbow grease on my part; I just hate dealing with it.

----------------------------------------------------

As an update to one of my 2017 goals regarding our dogs, they've gotten much easier overall. They still drive me crazy, but Otis particularly has been less stubborn, less aggressive, and overall an easier dog this past year. Also, we've never had a single issue with our dogs around our baby (now toddler), so that's definitely an answer to my prayers!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What Do You Love About Your Spouse?

A couple weeks ago, I was caught off guard when someone asked me the question "what do you love about Brian?"

I'm a really good talker when I can mentally prepare my script in advance, but in this moment there were crickets. Surely there is something I love about the person I married, so I stumbled my way through what I assumed would be an acceptable answer.

As I was driving in the car later that day, it came to me.

I love that Brian knows I don't eat subs for dinner.

Two months ago, as I was standing over the stove cooking dinner and casually chatting with my mother-in-law and our friend Rob, our conversation turned to food and what we liked to cook for dinner. Rob said "I usually just pick up Jersey Mike's."

That's when Brian chimed in and said "Kelly doesn't eat subs for dinner."

I almost had a heart attack right there on the spot.

My husband, Brian Strawberry, who didn't notice a huge blob of green paint on the wall of our house for three years, knows that I don't eat subs for dinner.

It meant nothing to anyone else that day, but to me, it meant the world.

In all our years together, he's noticed that I keep subs reserved for lunchtime.
(I mean, they strictly belong in the lunch category, am I right?)

I hope that everyone has someone like that in their life, because it feels really good to be known.

Brian, thanks for surprising me that day and making me feel loved. I bet you didn't know it was that easy.

Monday, May 22, 2017

On the Eve of My Thirtieth Birthday

Tomorrow I turn thirty.
Holy smokes.

I can't decide if my thirties are going to be characterized by one-piece bathing suits and bags under my eyes, or if this is going to be my decade of hotness.

I'm really gonna shoot for the latter.

...which just reminded me of Chutes and Ladders, one of my favorite childhood games.

That moment when you land on space 28. Holla!

To my surprise, turning thirty has been a hard pill to swallow. This is the first birthday where I remember feeling trepidation. I'm pretty sad about leaving my twenties behind and panicked that each year seems to be moving faster and faster.

I took a class called "Life Stories" during the spring of my senior year of college. I also took Yoga and Golf that year, which might explain why I give Brian a strange look every time he mentions putting money into our son's 529 account.

I mean, is college really necessary?  You tell me.

(It was Advanced Yoga.)

Our final assignment in Life Stories was to write three essays about where we saw ourselves in ten years. We had to imagine three potential lives that were all different yet reasonable. Where were we living? What did we do after we woke up? Who were we with? What was on our nightstand? That sorta thing.

I think I wrote two really good essays. In one essay, I was single, and thirty, and living in good ole Mebane, North Carolina in a brick ranch house on Bason Road with my dogs and my truck, and working as an English teacher at the local high school.

In the second essay, I was single, and thirty, and living in Honduras and working as an English teacher abroad.

I must have really wanted to be an English teacher. And be single, apparently.

I can't remember my third essay, but knowing myself fairly well, I likely wrote something smart like "I died."

(Remember this was the spring semester of my senior year. Motivation was minimal.)

So those were my ideas of where I thought I would be back when I was a senior in college, but alas, here I am now and I am none of those things.

It was a great learning assignment because I learned I know nothing about what the next ten years will hold, and that even my best guess is a crapshoot.

It wasn't what I predicted, but my twenties were a blast.

As I enter into my thirties, my goals for this upcoming decade are to be more relaxed (a challenge when you have children, but doable) and to be more kind (always doable).

And just a final reminder for myself -

Don't waste good moods and sunny days.


Here's to this next decade. You have a tough act to follow.
So long, twenties.
It's been real. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Story - Part 4 (4th and Final Chapter)

Intro
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Even after creating the MySpace profile, nothing happened. I stayed busy with school and my job, so I'm not really sure how much time had passed before our next interaction. I think it was Fall of 2008 at the Mill Creek Invitational.

I remember it well. I was standing in the pro-shop talking to my boss Adam. I had probably just finished driving the beer cart that afternoon, and there's always a dinner and after-party for the Invitational on Saturday night. In walk Jason and Steph to the clubhouse, followed by Brian...and some blonde chick!

(I'm not sure "chick" is the most accurate word to describe her, but you know what, I'm working on being a nicer person.)

It was very clear to me that they were a couple. I was introduced to his girlfriend like it was no big deal. (WTF, I created a MySpace profile for you!)

In Brian's defense, it really was no big deal. Nothing had ever happened between us. I had rejected his attempts to go on a date and I never admitted to liking him, so he probably didn't find it awkward at all that he was there with his girlfriend.

(There's a lesson to be learned here. The best way to get someone to like you? Get someone else to like you.)

I had to work the party that evening, serving dinner and drinks to the guests. It was a pretty humbling experience having to serve dinner to Brian and his new girlfriend and also bus the tables after they finished eating.

I wonder if Brian remembers that night.

During our forced moments of interaction that evening, I still remember there being chemistry between us, just like there was the first day we met.

Over the course of the next several months, I didn't see Brian at Mill Creek anymore. It was my senior year at Elon. I would occasionally ask Stephanie about him when the topic would come up. "We're going to Vegas with Strawberry," she told me one day in the pro-shop. "Oh, how's he doing?" I asked.

He was still dating that same chick. She told me her and Jason thought that this girl was "the One" and that he was going to marry her.

I never asked about Strawberry again after that.

In June 2009, I sat down at my computer one night and had a Facebook Friend Request.

Brian Straw.

I accepted.

Relationship Status: Single

Hmmm...I guess that chick wasn't "the One" after all!

Thankfully Facebook has kept documentation of our lives ever since.


I had been babysitting for the Phillips kids that summer, and I remember we had just gotten home from the pool that afternoon when I checked my Facebook and had a message from Brian:

On July 23, 2009, I invited him to the Wooden Nickel in Hillsborough, and as you already know.... 

The rest is history.

If anything, I hope this story goes to show you that God's timing is always perfect. I thought Brian was going to marry someone else not once, but TWICE, during the two years before we went on our official first date. 


I've put up with a lot of crap over these past ten years (and so has Brian!!!), but I am so thankful for my best friend, and thankful that I have this story to tell.