Latte for two

The evening was August 8th. I had [lazily] wrapped a baby micro fleece for Mr W. to open before we were to head out to celebrate our 2 year marriage anniversary. We were also celebrating Mr W's amazing work recently at his job. Lots to celebrate. I believe the baby news took up all the available space in our brains and we entirely forgot the other reasons until looong into dinner.

I was dressed up [for California's standards] and eagerly awaiting for Mr W. to get home.  I had no idea he also had a surprise waiting for me. Once home and dressed for a night out, we were both left sitting on the couch. Music was playing, I think it was Matthew Kearney.  I had decided to let the non literal cat out of the bag before we left for dinner. I had this bizarre day dream of telling Mr W. in the restaurant resulting in a loud-profound I'M SORRY DID YOU SAY YOU'RE PREGNANT!?l; thus interrupting all other's dinner around us. Mr W. would probably start sweating bullets. I wasn't expecting the dreamiest of ways this could go but I certainly felt I could avoid that specific day dream. So I decided it was time, Mr W kept checking his phone in an almost nervous twitchy way and I wasn't sure how long I had before we needed to leave.  

As calmly as I could muster I turned to my husband I've got an anniversary surprise for you. He grinned and waited on the couch while I retrieved what felt like a tick tick ticking bomb I'd stashed in the closet. -I actually started shaking.- Mr W. smiled and starting opening the bag actually exclaiming Oh, I think I know what this is!. Oh you Sir, have entirely no idea. He pulled out the teeny tiny micro fleece, then [because I didn't want him to doubt whom this gift was for] the positive pregnancy test toppled out the bottom of the bag. His eyes became so big. As you can imagine, the whole look down at the pregnancy test, look back to the fleece, gaze back at me tango happened for not as long as it seemed like before he actually spoke. My husband, speechless We're are having a baby? It was both a statement and a question the way he said it. I was already crying [the hormones already a very real thing]. I smiled and said Yes, I'm pregnant and you're going to be a daddy! Although, there was a lot more sniffling and mascara-catching in person. I honestly saw both excitement and fear momentarily race across Mr W's face. I think we said the same things back and forth to each other for another 8 minutes. Only this time, Mr W was doing an excellent job of only being as joy filled, happy and encouraging any wife could ever wish for when sharing this news.

Suddenly, Mr W hopped up and stated how he had a surprise for me, only now it was serving a different purposed. He walked me outside where he had arranged a car to take us to dinner. He explained he thought it responsible to have a car pick us up because in his words he had hoped we'd get tipsy over dinner and enjoy being driven home.  Now that I would not be partaking in the festive part of the festivities, it seemed silly but still a good way to celebrate. We talked the whole drive to dinner of the baby news.

Dinner was phenomenal. We threw caution to the wind and signed on for the 12 course tasting menu. Mr W. also partaking in the 12 course wine pairing. I partook in small tastes of all things bubbly, rationing that only 2 days ago [pretest] I had downed 2 beers over pizza with friends. As the wine pairings went on, Mr W. was more easily able to express himself about the news. Both sides of excitement and [forgive the french] Holy Shit You're Pregnant! were exchanged.

Dinner, which had started at 7pm, had stretched into dessert nearly at 1130. It was the perfect way to share in the news together. Delighting in the calmness on that night that we were the only two people who knew. A secret between us [and The Lord] and well, our waiter Michael; we let him in on the secret after I made a big production of not ordering a drink. I ended dessert with the best [decaf] latte I've had in a long while. 

A latte for two.
At 1130, we were more than thankful for a car waiting to pick us up -spoiled-.
Mrs [Mama] W.



We are going to be parents! [who's nervous?!]

Technically Mr W was the first to say that I was pregnant. I vividly remember meeting him at work for lunch on a random weekday afternoon. It was towards the end of July. Mr W had traveled most of June/July so we were spending an unusual amount of time together making up for the month apart. Sitting down to lunch across from him I mentioned feeling like a sloth because I had felt sick. I thought NOTHING of this statement. Mr W looked up from his plate and met me square in the eye, asking in a whisper and a glint in his smile "are you pregnant?". I hardly paused and replied with "no way, just a headache that made me sick". We continued on with lunch and our lives for another 10 days.

Time for discernment. Girl talk ahead.

Then on August 8 instead of pouring over books and blogs with my coffee I was pouring over a positive pregnancy test. Rewind, I had felt prompted by a weird dream early that morning. I was compelled to confirm it with an at home pregnancy test. Pee hadn't yet breathed upon that test before a positive plus sign appeared. I immediately thought it was a false positive and took another brand of test. I've always been a fan of repeatable results.

Upon seeing a second plus sign, I instantly smiled and began jumping around our apartment.  [sidebar] Growing up with dogs whenever something exciting in life happened I'd jump around all crazy like to get them excited too [end]. Forgetting our cats run and hide over too much excitement, I did two laps around our place jumping, grinning and practically shrieking.

Then in what I can only assume was the beginning of my pregnancy induced emotions; I cried. I cried because as much as the plus sign(s) were confirmation, it totally wasn't. I have many friends/family/acquaintances who have experienced miscarriage and my female heart was immediately afraid. I thought over and over Lord, protect my heart.  Its not that we were exactly expecting to be expecting at this point in marriage but I have been so looking forward to the day I became a mom.  A contributing factor for Mr W taking his new job last year was better pay/benefits to allow me to stop working full time sooner.  This was all in preparation for one day when I would be raising our children at home. Realizing NOW was God's timing for all this was very overwhelming.

So, I promptly dried my tears and went off to run errands; stopping extra long to graze over the infant onesies at Costco -they all have animal-ear hoodies! My last stop was to the Patagonia store where luckily they were having a sale. I picked up the most not-needed baby thing I could buy, a 12m baby micro fleece.

Mr W and I ironically had special dinner plans for that night and I had the perfect way to share the news. Although, technically, he had already discerned that I was pregnant and I totally did not even entertain the notion.

Until later,
mama and daddy Dubyah to-be


Personal Life Slacking

Mr W and I have this phrase personal life slacking. It very much means exactly what it says. We are slacking on our personal lives.

Now I don't mean slacking on our relationship, although our goal of bi-monthly dates sometimes looks like devouring a season of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix [in preparation for the final season starting this Sept!] while I make homemade pizza. I mean we are slacking on the [gestures hands] general area of social life outside of work life.

In risk of sounding melodramatic, if we're not at work, we seem to be recovering from work.  I realize I must be very careful to talk about this because both Josh and I think we have been blessed with slightly greater than average awesome jobs. I wont go into specifics other than a sampling of evidence..

As you can see there are plenty of reasons to spend extra time at work. And if Mr W and I were both single instead of married, it'd probably be a huge perk to us. However, we are awesomely married to each other and don't appreciate repetitive evenings spent at home, alone without our companion when we work at companies located in our neighborhood.  Thank The Lord for short commutes!

California Silicon Valley is so weird in a way in that work appears so awesome that we feel ready to give it all of ourselves. I'm not being melodramatic here, neither of us can recall a big-person job we honestly looked forward to almost every day. If we said so previously, it was because we had yet to be enlightened. 

Our jobs can tempt us pretty hard to spend just a little extra time at work instead of home.  There is a huge problem with this though, we give our best selves to our coworkers instead of to each other. Some days [trying to make this less often but I still totally fail] I am completely spent from having used up all of my social-ness on people at the gym.  On those days I can't listen to Mr W. tell me about his work, successes and anxieties. That is when my patience is drier than the Mojave desert and I'm totally not giving him the fresh-and-able-to-listen-and-respond-wife that I am called to be. Now this doesn't mean Mr W. is a saint; he has his days too but I am not about airing his dirty laundry.  However, mine is fair game.

So I've cut back on my hours at the gym, though I do love what working there does for my inner-child extrovert self. Mr W. has made our [mini] vacations a priority on his calendar. Some morning coffees he spends with me instead of pouring over his inbox. We set two alarms for church on Sundays because we STRUGGLE to get going on the weekends. No plans get made for Sunday afternoon so we can freely chat over lunch. I have made more friends with wifes of Mr W's co-worker's. Mr W and I make time each week for each other that is non-negotiable. However, on the occasion that a once in a lifetime opportunity comes up [funny these come up way more often since we moved out of the Midwest] I totally encourage Mr W to prioritize for it. Usually it means way more hours away from me and our home but I know this is temporary.  Notice I said prioritize, which means we try to ascribe to the whole emotional bank account. Meaning deposit before you over withdraw. Took us a lot of IOU's to figure out we didn't yet truly understand that system.

Living in California has completely strengthened our marriage because it's thrown so many 'nice things' at it that sometimes it feels too easy to be distracted by something new and shiny. But --we've also got a loooooot of work ahead of us!

slack no more
-Mrs W


Jump. (No 7)

In the days following our kayak date, Mr W and I would continue to talk during work hours via office communicator, planning several more boating trips.  I would help him pack up the boat and take it back to his aunt's house. Afterwards we would drive together back to town, usually stopping for dinner at Subway or at 7-11 for Slurpee's, chatting the entire way.  

One night, after the obligatory Subway stop for dinner, we stopped at Plymouth Park, a block away from Mr W's childhood home. We walked laps around the park, sharing about hopes/dreams and failures/disappointments.  At one point in our endless lapping of the park, Mr W noticed a gazebo with a fairly flat rooftop and stopped abruptly in front of it.  Anyone who knew him growing up could see this part coming. On the side of the gazebo were 2 plastic trash cans with lids on top. He walked over, grabbed a can and rolled it to just underneath the ledge of the roof.  Within 20 seconds he was perched on the top of the gazebo roof, extending out an arm.  I can't remember any words being exchanged until I was standing atop the trash can, lacking a few inches in height to swing my legs up onto the roof.  I must have something like "help pull me up" and he held my hands for some balance until I not-so-skillfully pulled myself a safe distance from the edge of the roof.  

Mr W was lying back on the roof-top, hands behind his head, gazing up at the clear Michigan night sky. I instinctively did the same, though less gracefully as I was trying to keep the tar roof-top from sand-papering too much of my elbows. 

It must have been at least 15 minutes -which is a long time now that I think about it to have not said anything- until Mr W shared an earth shattering "look at the sky".  Which, was less like sharing and more like a statement of what we were doing. I replied back with an equally fascinating observation of "yea, its amazing".  Deep, emotional stuff was being exchanged here people. A few more cliches were said that are usually shared under a starry sky.  Mr W again broke the silence, wondering out load about what God intended for us. 

My brain didn't understand, what do you mean what God intended for us? He continued wondering out loud; about his heart’s desire, God's plan, Heaven.  I remember key phrases because while he was deep in thought, I was mentally sweating.  I was trying to draw upon 12 years of private, Catholic education to recall information on any of the things he was saying.  I was blank. I remembering singing songs about Jesus loving us, studying the crusades and learning God knew all of our sins. What he was talking about sounded so.. personal, so real. I finally interjected, trying to sit up and look at him while forgetting I was on a slanted roof-top and beginning to slide down. "What do you mean about God's plan? God has a plan?". He sat up also [without sliding around on the roof I might add] and told me that the Lord has plans for all of us which intend for us to live for Him. 

Mr W mused "What if we actually all loved each other like God intended? What would the world be like? What would our lives be like?".  I asked if that was really possible, if everyone could really be good just because God made them.  Josh simply replied with "God created all of this [life], every person was created in His image. And He did [all of this for us] out of love." I said that is a really cool thought, how did you come up with that? His response "I didn't, it's all in the Bible". 

Dumbfounded, embarrassed and very curious were a few of the feelings I had.  I'd grown up reading the bible, well reading it from a this-is-going-to-be-on-the-test perspective. Which , is where I now know how I missed focusing about God being a loving, creative and all-powerful God. Mr W loves God and God loves him and I saw how confident Mr W was in that love.  I was beyond curious and frankly, I felt like I had been left out of something big all my life.

Time was rushing past us, I usually started work at 715am, our conversation needed to be put on pause.  Mr W climbed down off the roof-top and as he reached the top of the trash can I called out "Wait! How am I going to get down?” He paused from his spot, standing on the can's plastic lid, looked down the ground then back up at me hovering at the edge of the roof.  The moment he reached out his arms "Jump"; the plastic lid buckled under his weight, denting inward towards the ground.  In one fluid motion I pushed off the roof's ledge, my feet landing on the mere inches left of the collapsing piece of plastic. Mr W's arms surrounded me to stabilize my landing.  The plastic lid could stand no more and quickly folded underneath our feet.  We jumped off merely escaping the remaining 5 foot tumble onto concrete.  

The following summer we would be in Michigan again, walking around that same park.  Only this time it was during the day and we would notice how that roof-top was roughly 12 feet off the ground.  A detail neither of us deemed important that first night at the park.

-Mrs W


..and what do you do?

I have a new job.

Well, I'd use the term job loosely.   I have a new take on life and it begins with my employment status.  See, I've started working at a rock gym and I hardly view what I do as "work".  Its more like I get to play at a gym with people who use the words double fisherman, crimp, jug, sequenced and projecting in regular conversation. The climbing community is an awesome one.  It is a very inclusive in a-kids-coming-together-on-the-playground kind of way.  Everyone is allowed to play, regardless of rank. And everyone cheers each other on in a new accomplishment. There are a few exceptions but those people aren't the rule.

For anyone who doesn't agonize over the details of my life <read no one> I left my job in November 2012 and have been floating ever since.  I have been sitting on the couch, eating bon bons watching Downton Abbey. I do stuff like laundry, pay bills, clean and take care of our new dwarf lemon tree named Bob.

Meet Bob
There has been a significant reduction of stress in my life. I had the bad sort of worldly stress. Stressing about how I spend my approx 12 days of vacation, how much I know about so-and-so's position at work, or why I wasn't invited to a meeting that obviously involved my job. I stressed over worldly stuff.  I still have stress but its manageable.

See, I'm really trying to do this thing a friend once told me about working for the Lord. That friend is named Heather and she just recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Talk about doing work for God! When I worked at my old job, I was doing it for ME. For selfish reasons of feeling I had to prove myself to someone.  Last time I checked, my husband, family, close friends and certainly not God have ever asked me to prove my existence.

Anyway, back to working at the gym. One afternoon my husband very blankly told me to DO SOMETHING. An hour later I was dropping an application off at the gym. It was a surprise after a month of not hearing back I got a call for the job at the perfect moment. Mr W was just about to leave for a 2 week business trip. We (husband and I) were worried I'd sink into a couch surfing bum. But God provided for me a way fill up my days and a way to meet new friends. The killer biceps have also been a pretty nice perk ;)

That pipe dream just became a teeny bit more plausible though, I'm still intent on walkin' where the Lord leads.

-Mrs. W


As I went down to the river (No 6)

If you missed it here is where Mr W asked me on a [I didnt realize it was a date] date.

We spent the afternoon kayaking down the river. Sometimes paddling through the shallow sections but mostly we were carried downstream by the lazy current.  The sky was clear, the sun was out and it was warm. The rare trifecta of Spring Time in Michigan.

Our adventure lasted over 3 hours.  We talked the entire time. Josh told me about his childhood. How much of a hand full he was (my words).  His word choice was more four lettered than mine. He told me when he reached 5th grade, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news broke his world. He began acting out even more, enraged that his mother was sick. His parents sent him to Spring Hill summer camp.  It was there that he found Jesus and experienced the power of His Love.  He was changed. His parents noticed how different their boy is. His mom promised to send him back to camp every summer if he wanted.  He even went back to be a counselor. He told me about his high school years and the group of friends who accepted him as their own. How he watched crappy daytime television and shows like The OC with his mom when she battled round 2 of cancer. He would host OC watching parties and his mom would make desserts. It was during these nights where the entire female population of Midland High would show up to watch the show at his house.  [What a stud]. In Mr W's words It was a one two punch get Josh a lady friend combo.  He talked about her sense of humor. She gave him space to make mistakes but showed up quickly to console him. He learned his passion for snow skiing, boating and water skiing from her.  She would say life is a bowl of cherries and I want to eat every last one.

Josh paused his story telling as we approached where the river had churned out a cove in it's bank. He pulled our kayaks in where the current could no longer tow us downstream. I did not want him to say out loud what  I knew in my heart he would tell me next. I had only met his father and sister.  In his childhood home, there were books kept on the coffee table with her name as the author.  Those walls held pictures of this woman I would never get to meet. His mother had lost her battle with cancer. She died his freshman year of college.

He continued to tell me about his time in school but I don't remember all of those details. What I recall hearing was a boy who was changed by the love of Christ. A boy who deeply loves his mother. A man who tightly embraces family. Man o man do I admire how much he loves his family. And that is what I thought about through the rest of kayaking, driving back to his aunt's and stopping for milkshakes on the way home.

Mr W has given me permission to tell his story. Which, is a big deal because everyone knows how much he loves to tell stories. But he let me have this one. It is one I've been wanting to write since that day back in June of 2009. I realize how precious it has been to get to know my mother-in-law through all of these stories. The stories told to me by her son Mr. W, her daughter, her husband and the entire population of Midland who know she is pretty special. Someone, whom the Lord has taken from us but still remains so alive in people's stories makes her an inspiring woman indeed.

For my mother-in-law, Darlene.
I am so jealous of the time Josh and Jessica had you all to themselves.
Your daughter-in-law


[Yes, I'm asking you on a] Date (No 5)

Part No. 4 left off with Mr. W calling to ask me on a date.

I believe this was on a Wednesday or Thursday. I had just gotten off work and was getting ready to leave on a run when my phone rang. This is almost word for word how it went down.
Josh Hey, are you free this Saturday? For like, a 4 hour chunk of time?
Me  Yes, I'm totally free.
Josh  Awesome! How about I pick you up around 1130? Oh and don't worry about eating lunch beforehand.
Me Okay.
Josh Great, I'm excited! I'll call when I leave my house. Bye..
Me Wait! Um, this might sound high maintenance but what should I wear? I mean, I'm a girl- we need to know these things.
Josh Oh right. Wear a bathing suit under your clothes that you wouldn't mind getting wet.
Me  Okay then, see you Saturday.
And that was how Mr. W asked me on our first date.  I actually had no clue this was, in fact a date. See, Mr. W had (up until this point) always been inviting everyone along for activities ex boating, playing cards, bbq's, movies, tennis clinics, bowling.  So when we hung up, I actually thought he was asking me to go boating on Saturday with a group.  He had invited me boating several times already so I don't know why I thought we were boating. Wouldn't he have just asked me to go boating instead of being all mysterious? This was [Clue No 1].

Saturday morning just after 1130 Josh arrived to take me on our [I didn't know it was a date] date. I hoped in his car, fully expecting to make more stops along the way to pick up other friends.  When that didn't happen [Clue No 2] I noticed we were on the highway and headed out of town.

Midland is tiny. Out of town = greater than 3 miles from the downtown strip.

I can't remember what we talked about but my memory picks up when we stopped at Subway for lunch. I ordered my "usual" veggie on wheat, pepper jack, toasted, everything but olives and jalapenos, with oil and vinegar.  Josh ordered ham on italian with monterey jack, lettuce and mayo.  I tell you all this because after 4 years of ordering Subway together, Josh now orders everything but olives, jalapenos and peppers on his ham sandwiches. Evidence I've pulled him away from his meat and potato roots; though, he still eats ham. Can't win 'em all. Josh then paid for my sandwich [Clue No 3].

He drove us to his aunt's house on the lake. I had been here before because his dad kept The Boat in their driveway during the summers. He introduced me to his Aunt Eileen.  He set up lunch for us on their back deck which overlooked the lake.  It was just the two of us for lunch [clue No 4]. Again I can't remember what we talked about and this is probably because I still didn't realize it was a date.

After lunch, Josh drove us to his parent's property. It was an empty lot with a lot (pun) of wild grass and a trail that led down to the water.  The water is actually a river that feeds the lake his aunt lives on.  It's really simple to picture but having hardly lived in Midland for a few weeks, I had no concept of this middle-of-no-where country Josh had brought me to. Josh pulled two blue kayaks [Clue No 5] out of a shed by the water and hauled them up to the car.

I know I should have picked up on all the other clues but I am terrible at dating so I missed them all. Except this one. My brain clicked. I finally got it. There would be no one else coming with us and no one would be waiting at the final destination to join us. Josh wanted to spend a whole afternoon with me. Just me. Anyone who knows him understands he prefers to invite everyone and anyone along. He deeply desires to make others feel included. However, today everyone else was being left in the dust.

With the kayaks stowed on the Jeep, we drove to the top of the Tobacco River..

To be continued.
Mrs. W


Not a date (No. 4)

psst. here is the beginning just in case :)

Ice cream is a thing during Michigan summers.  There is a quaint, non-chain ma and pa that makes in-house, from scratch ice-cream on almost every corner of town.  My apartment for the summer just happened to be a mile from Great Lakes Creamery.  They have blue ice cream there which tastes exactly like Paramount's Kings Island Blue Smurf ice cream.  Smurf ice cream is the stuff my childhood dreams were made of... Anyway, Great Lakes is the bomb and everyone should get a chance to eat 3 scoops while catching up with a close friend.

A bunch of the other co-ops had left for the weekend to visit family except for me and a guy from Northwestern named David. It was my roommate, Jane's birthday and I think it might have also been Easter weekend. Which explains why everyone was fleeing Midland. David and I tried to entertain ourselves but Midland is tiny.  By Saturday afternoon we were board. Before anyone gets fuzzy on who I was interested in at this point, David is a great buddy but he was in a serious long term relationship and I was pretty keen on this Josh kid. Though, I hadn't told ANYBODY. Except for my girlfriend from school who had just started a pretty special relationship with a boy named Jon ;)

I texted Josh that afternoon asking if he wanted to grab ice cream with me.  I guess I had sort of initiated things but I totally don't remember it feeling like that. During co-op, you were always away from home and familiar friends so everyone was game for becoming instant friends. You invited everyone to join in whatever plans you had all the time. It kept us from being board in the world's smallest town for a global company's headquarters.

Josh was reffing a soccer tournament all weekend (I later found out). So he was too busy earning money to respond back.  I took his non response to mean he was busy so David and I went for ice cream. Later that day Josh would call me and explain how he would LOVE to go for ice cream because it had been hot all weekend while he was reffing. My response [that I am so not proud of and we still talk about it to this day] was "sorry we already went, maybe another time?". Yes! That is what I said. Can you believe me? Well, I can't either.

Flash forward 2 nights later. Josh texted me after work asking if I would get ice cream with him to make up for inviting him along then ditching him over the weekend. I said I would meet him there. I got to Great Lakes when my phone rings. It's Josh telling me he is outside my apartment.  He was there to pick me up.  Whooops! I told him thanks for coming to pick me up but I was already there. I can not believe my 21 year old self now but there are many more of those moments to come.

This moment had arrived where I was face to face with this gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed man.  I felt like I was talking to an old friend, even though we hadn't really talked much before this moment. We talked about our childhoods, what high school was like for us.  I shared about loving college and my study group of girl friends I couldn't live without.  He told me about his high school buddies who became irreplaceable friends. We talked about his younger sister. I told him about my older sister.  We bonded over sports and playing soccer.  I would later find out all about more about why soccer was so important to him and why he started reffing.  We shut down Great Lakes and they kicked us off the porch at 11pm.

Josh had offered to buy me ice cream that night but I had just eaten dinner and wasn't very hungry. I had rejected this guy twice now without even realizing it. What was I thinking?! I was too busy listening to the stories he was sharing and enjoying his incredibly loud [some times obnoxious but mostly charming] laugh.

It didn't phase him. Though, he still does tease me about rejecting his ice cream offer. He called me about a week later asking me if I had plans for Saturday..

Anyone's guess what was being planned ;)

Mrs. W


Lately [In Pictures] With Words.

After I said I would blog more often, I didn't for another 2 weeks. Isn't that life sometimes?

Well, how have I been spending my days? Perhaps eating bon bons and watching daytime soaps.  Some days [when I feel super awesome] it feels like that.  If only I knew what bon bons were actually made of and we believed [not] in paying a ridiculous amount of $$ for cable then I'm sure I'd be glued to All My Children [negative].

So here's a picture montage iPhone dump of things. It is essentially random but the last two weeks have felt pretty random.

Tazo's Passion Tea which I hoard year round until the outside temps warm enough to drink chilled tea.
So Purpley  it stains my teeth 
 I don't know what it is about California water but it makes me cringe whenever I drink it straight. There is something so very earthly about it. I haven't inspected our local water treatment plants but I wouldn't be surprised if it was entirely using organic buggies and ground up hippies. Mmmm. With my chlorinated and fluorinated Ohio water, I always knew what to expect and it was delicious.

Other things I drink to avoid straight up California water is this stinky drinky..
Organic, Raw Fermentation.  
All of the fruity flavors I've tried taste like death.  But this gingerade flavor gets along with the fizzy [almost too] vinegary drink.

And last but not least, plenty of juices and smoothies.  I really like these because I can drink them straight up. I also tried cold pressed green veg juices (which are delicious btdubs) but I have to cut it with a fruit juice. Otherwise, the all veg juices are like drinking the smell of the salad bar.
Green Machine
Kitty cuddling. At least, with the one that loves me.
Cat in my bed. Never thought I'd see the day.
My new ride. I call her Sheila with an Australian accent. It sounds more like ShiLer in my head. That's probs not PC. Anyway, she is a Specialized Vita Sport. She's last years model but the only differences was color availability.  You bet I made my choice based on color then on price. I'm a girl but I'm practical.  She has a few Sharpie accents courtesy of Moi, for identifying traits in case she gets stolen. At which point I doubt will help but at least I'm doing my part here.
Sheila, in black.
A sampling of my [not] finest graffiti.
Most days I've been showing Sheila around town and introducing her to the neighborhood. Other days I am pillaging Home Goods and rounding out our tiny home. I've been scouring for cheap pillows with cases I can wash for our couch, Blue.  I've scored some other boring  necessary housewife things like rugs, mirrors, picture frames etc from the clearance section.
[Finally] Throw pillows for Blue.
These 2 wood canvas were scored from Home Goods for $5 each.  A canvas the same size would cost roughly $10 each. So two for one :)  While I agree, Money Can't by [me] Love, it does by 2 canvas for cheap.

I sanded down the fronts and primed them up for a mini surprise for Mr. W.  It involved some special song lyrics that have been substantial in our lives.  The song even appeared during our wedding day :) I just need to get a finished photo.

Transition to food stuffs. I make a mean pizza but when I run out of dough I turn to my next carb, Bagels! Mr W. would not like these because I topped them with peppers. Not that you can tell under that cheese blanket.

Caesar salad mixing bowls. Combine organic romaine, finely grated parm, lemon juice and Marzetti's Simply Dressed Caesar.  Toss with chopsticks and consume. These chopsticks were favors from a friend's wedding.  For whatever reason, we possess 6 pairs. Thanks Jon and Kait!

All this eating happened after I cleaned out our fridge.  We eat at Mr W's place of employment most nights so our fridge was outta control with stank. I donned my bio hazard suit and went to town. Here is the finished product.
Fridge wiped down with white vinegar and lemon.
Lastly, sunshine. Lots. of. Sun. Shine. This is California after all. The cost of living dictates I'm paying for sunshine.  

That is all.
Mrs W.


I got my flippy floppies (No. 3)

After our official introduction, co-op life continued.  There were weekly 1hr lunches scheduled that we would stretch into 2hrs simply by showing up early to reserve the table and ending late.  We would talk about how awesome our work groups were, this one really cool operator that has terrible humor, a project that was exciting until 4 weeks in when progress had stopped because your boss was going out of town or those silly people you emailed hadn't emailed you back yet (the horror!).  We also talked about weekend trips. Going to Loon's Games (baseball), car trips to Cedar Point (I ended up never going), and camping at Lake Michigan.  We also talked about BOATING.

It appeared Mr W was accustomed to boating in the summer.  Specifically, hours spent in the sun shine on a ski boat wake boarding and tubing until your arms fell off.

Growing up in Ohio, there was limited access to pretty blue water for boating.  Sure the Ohio river is there but no one actually goes in it.  Actually, I know of 2 boys who swam across from Ohio to Kentucky in it for a school project.  They both contracted pneumonia.  I had water skied and gone tubing before but that was only for a few summers at a close friends lake house in Tennessee.

Anyway, our first boating trip happened in April. On the first day that broke 60, a small group of us [stupid enough] who wanted to try wake boarding took off work at 2pm.  We met at The W's home and drove out to the lake.  I remember I didn't actually get in the water on this trip because the water temperature was roughly 50 and I was sick with a cold. Mr W. let me off easy that time [he later told me].

We went boating again in May and the water was still too cold. But in Mr W.'s mind that just meant less people would be on the lake.  He was right and the water was as freeze your swimsuit off as before.  Mr W. taught me how to wake board on this trip and I loved it.  Even though I had a hard time crossing the wake and would always end up face down in the water (one thing at a time!).  Another high light from this trip was Mr W's mad tubing skills.  Anyone who's tubed with him knows, he's cray cray.  At one point, he was being torn across the water, skimming the thin ripples from the edge of the wake and he was being really loud.  An eruption of noise and then nothing, he had let go of the tube and was bobbing in the water.  As we approached him with the boat, he started screaming "Jon! Jon! Dude, my pants are gone!".  Yes he rhymed. Once he got back into the boat with some one's spare pair of soccer shorts he told us this dramatic (is anyone surprised?) story of how his swim trucks had peaced out while he was tubing.  He eventually realized losing his trunks weren't worth tubing longer so he let go and tried to hold onto them.  But apparently the lake swallowed them up.

A lot more boating happened in May and June as Michigan was still thawing itself. Eventually, Mr W taught me how to drive the boat.
Need for speed.
He told me later his reasoning was two fold. (the following are his words).  1.) You  are [I am] really hot so teaching you [me] how to drive the boat would only make you [me] hotter and 2.) I [he] was tired of always taking everyone else tubing and wake boarding.  So if you [me] learned, I [he] could have more fun.

Wow! You still with me?

Also, I can't leave this out. The more I hung out on the boat with Mr W, the more comfortable I became.  Until one trip I decided Mr W. shouldn't be the only one pushing everyone else in the water for fun. Mr W was teaching Leslie how to get up wake boarding and I thought he looked too dry. The following series I shot with Papa W's camera while David did my dirty work.

I miss boating. I miss Michigan... Wait. Northern California is breaking 65 today. I just miss boating :)
Mrs. W

The title of this post references a song that was pretty popular that summer. I won't link the song here cause it's not clean and makes my ears cringe. But these two lines sum up boating while everyone else is at work.  "I got my swim trunks and my flippy floppies. I'm flipping burgers you at Kinkos straight flipping copies." 


Pipe dream

Mr W. and I have a pipe dream and it is climbing El Capitan.

Pipe dreams are interesting creatures because they may never happen.  That's the whole point.  The dream part indicates the impossible.  But the pipe part of it is all about being on a path, a journey that could one day lead you there.   This pipe dream was born from being a child of the 90s.  [Like every kid] I too, dreamed of taking home a piece of that glowing, radical rock. As a kid growing up in a family who, once saw a rock wall in a mall in the middle of Ohio, I truly thought that Guts was representation of truth in climbing.  Then I moved to California and fell in love with the real thing. You can read a tiny recap of our climbing history in this post.

Table Scraps
Well, we are re entering the pipe simply by returning to the climbing gym.  After moving in November, our gym bags haven't seen the light of day. We are incredibly far away from this dream.
90ft wall, Tahoe
My hands are no longer covered in the dense, thick skin pads required to pinch, crimp and swing myself to become an extension of the wall.  My forearms and shoulders, while still reminiscent of muscles, have lost most of the strength they used to carry.  The flexibility to swing, stretch backwards and touch my toes to my ears has been replaced with stiff joints and an inability to get my heels flat in downward dog.

I am by definition. out. of. climbing. shape.  But there is a difference between today and yesterday.  Today, I am lacing up my shoes, tying figure 8's and getting a new belay cert.  I am making the effort to get back on the wall.

Will doing this lead to my pipe dream? Definitely not.  But stringing days like today over the course of years just might.

And that's just fine with me.  God may certainly have other plans for us; if that involves spending a crap ton of time training and immersing myself into climbing, so be it. I'm letting Him know I'm totally game.

Do do do do doooooo you have it?
-mrs dubs


I would never date an engineer. [No. 2]

This post is No.2 in a series called Divine Romance.  Which, is actually a song by Phil Wickam Mr W. and I danced to on our wedding day. To read how about my first impressions, see post No. 1.

So, when did we finally meet? It was about a week after the movie diss that we planned Mexican themed potluck. Probably to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I had heard from my roommate that one of our friends living in the apartment across the hall from us was going to host.  I am sort of ashamed of this but I actually persuaded my roommate, Jane, to ask Mr W. if we could have the potluck at his dad's house instead.  See, Mr W. was actually from the small town we were living in during our summer co-op.  The rest of us were living in corporate housing while we were working.  Ie, our apartments had the bare bones of kitchen supplies and minimal space.

Well, it worked, suddenly we were meeting at Mr W's childhood home for a potluck. I think it was a Wednesday.  I brought supplies for root beer floats [guess I thought it'd go with the Mexican theme??].  Mr W. was making a batch of taco meat and chatting.  He looked like a man who knew his way around the kitchen. I would later find out he could cook pretty well -a skill my sister reaffirmed was scarce in men these days.

"Hi, this is my dad's house. I'm Josh"

[Exactly what I thought] Finally, this kid introduces himself to me! And I notice he has wonderfully blue eyes, dimples in his smile and an ability to dress himself.  He was wearing a button down shirt and khakis.  I would find out later his sister dressed him for work, thus the nice work clothes. Though, it takes a strong man to admit he needs a woman to help dress himself.

We eventually settled into the basement to play hold 'em and pool. I had just sunk a ball in the corner pocket and I think we were talking about relationships. [I hope] because I distinctly remember exclaiming how "I could never stand to date another engineer", and "you'd never get anything done because you have two very smart people battling out how to do something most efficiently".  Cue thunder and lightening; I had just challenged God.  Or at least, that is how I feel now thinking back on it.  Oh, how silly I was [and still am] thinking I could go around making these all-encompassing statements.  

At this point, Josh. had just been mercilessly beaten at hold em' by none other than his Dad! He joined us for pool; he wasn't on my team but I forget who was.  I can remember sinking the eight ball, kicking butt and taking names.  I had beat Josh at pool.  To which he retorted "I can't win in my own house!" and proceeded to be melodramatic for the rest of the evening.  All in good fun, of course.  His sense of humor made me laugh.

I thought here is someone who doesn't take himself too seriously.  Which, is something I did do. All. The. Time.  A few weeks later I realized how he could influence me to be so not-stick-up-my-bum serious.

Not a straight face in the crowd.
But that happened weeks later. There is still a bunch of in-between ridiculous details to savor.  And that was the last time I thought about him for awhile.  Least, until several friends started inquiring about what we were.

And least you forget how handsomely studly Mr W. truly is, I'll leave you with this little gem.

Yes, you are very welcome.
Mrs. W.


First impressions

I was 21 years old.

Just moved to Michigan for the summer. [I thought] It was freezing for April.  I remember having to scrape ice off my windshield while trying to avoid the black snow. You know the nasty stuff that sticks around for weeks after the last snow fall.  It has accumulated all the dirt into one convenient spot right next to the driver side door and refuses let your khaki slacks go unmarked.

My roommate and I were both going through a short hair phase.  Engineering can be such a man's world. Even we felt compelled to have short hair. Makes it easier to recover from hard hat hair (sigh).

We went to the movies to meet the other [co-op] students who were also working that summer.  These pictures are from Cinco de Mayo a few weeks later.

B-dubs to celebrate Mexican independence.
Like civilized young people, we introduced ourselves to the group.  Except, for one boy who showed up a little bit after everyone else was already at the theater. I thought he was pretty cute for a engineer [nerd].  But he never introduced himself to me.  Nope. I was told by another girl who he was.  I remember he brought his dad to the movie with him.  I love hanging out with my family (more than an average young person) and liked that this boy valued time with his dad.**

The movie we went to was "I love you, Man".  Now that I think of it, I haven't seen that movie since.  What happened to it?

Anyway, that was the first time I didn't met Mr W.
-Mrs. Dubyah

**Mr W. would like to clarify here. He ALWAYS went to 5 dollar Wednesday movies with his dad.  He was simply inviting all the co-ops along to partake in their tradition.  Knowing this made me melt even more. What a family man. ;)



I have been very absent lately.  Absent as in absentminded, absent from thoughts, absent from everything. Life.  I've also been absent on here and I don't really understand why.

They see me rollin, they hatin.
See, I like blogging, I love writing down my thoughts, agonizing over the proper word descriptors and I adore reflecting on moments.  However, I haven't been able to do any of that for nearly 2 weeks. I have been every definition of absent.

New things are on the horizon.  Quite like spring seems around the corner in Northern California.  I was sitting outside, watching 2 interesting characters in the park talk very loudly about a secret mission they were going to embark on.  Then one got up and meandered down the middle of the street in a not very straight line.  #IloveCalifornia.  Once they left I had nothing to do but think about how absent I have been lately.
While I was sitting there, thinking myself into circles, I felt a warm tangible weight on my shoulder; the Sun.  He was rising, beginning to bake the air into Spring.  There is a sweet smell associated with Spring.  Scents of fallen rain combing through fresh cut grass and an earthiness..  Sort of like when you were 3 and dug up earth warms for the first time in your mom's freshly planted flower bed.  Then, the breeze rushes in; the damp, heavy, mineral air which has been hiding beneath the shade since the last frost. The vibrations of life beginning to bloom.  This movement is elusive until time allows the Sun to cure Green into the colors of his fiery kiln.
So here is my prayer to be less absent and more present.  Especially now as winter seems to be dying to Spring. Let the old me die and be left behind.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old is gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

-Mrs. W.


we are (now) cat people

Meet Legend
Meet Dairy. Aka Mr. Fluffy.
I like to yell at them at the same time.  Not because they are bad but I enjoy exclaiming Legendary and feeling remarkable about my life. Yes, our cats are named Legend and Dairy because we adopted them at the height of watching season 5 of How I Met Your Mother. The brother/sister duo were feral kitties rescued by our friends.  Mr. W adopted them and surprised me for Christmas (2011). I was thrilled!

Baby Legend and Dairy
We tried a lot of other names (Samson and Delilha) but none of them fit their personalities. Legend sort of hates that she is someone's pet.  She gives me this look like she would rather die than sit in my lap.  But I hear that's just how cats are. She also likes Mr. W a lot more than me.  She'll dodge my hand all day but rub up against his leg.  We call Legend the Turd-burglar. That is the sort of potty humor we have in our family.

Dairy, on the other hand, is my boy.  Maybe because he is needy.  He would rather be in my lap than on the couch..  He thinks he's the size of a chihuahua but really, he is a puma. Which has led to many falls off our furniture. He runs and hides when  the mail man comes to our front door.  He has indeed tried to sniff a candle and melted all of his left side whiskers off. Sometimes I wonder if he's eternally toasted on catnip.

Legend wonders how Dairy tolerates such torture.
You can see me?
These two kitties make me talk in baby voice.  I call them "my fluffies". I remember my mom used to talk like this to our dogs.  I actually used to make fun of her for doing it.

Now look at me, meowing back to my cats.
-Mrs. W


love birds

Pretty paintings. Bad Lighting.
Art is something I haven't "done" since high school.  I did take a few art classes in college to satisfy graduation requirements but my biggest motive for taking them was 1.) I got to spend 2.5 hrs a week with my headphones on, in a semi transient state and 2.) there were no tests.

Did anyone else take courses in college to avoid tests? I felt like I took enough with my regular course work and didn't want to see a test in my electives.

Anyway, here is a DIY art project to add personal touch in your home decor.  I like having homemade pieces of art on my walls because its so personal.  The pieces all have a story and I really like talking sharing.    I also like asking other people about artwork I see displayed in their home.  
"Where did you get that? I like it." 
"Oh that? I made it!"
"No, really?! Its so cool/awesome/pretty/interesting."
 "Thanks, I just whipped it up, you know" If you want to feel like a big deal.
"Thanks, I made it because it makes me think about (insert memory)." If you want to get personal and share why its special to you.
Supplies:  I got everything @ Michael's
(2) 16 x 16" primed canvas.
(1) large straight edged brush and (1) small fine brush. I use CraftSmart brand because I like the squishy finger grips.
(3) colors of acrylic paint.  For this I used Basic Black, Lemon Custard, and Thunder Blue.  I have the FolkArt brand because they were cheapcity (on sale).
(1) piece of cardboard. I used an empty cereal box.
other items you'll need: cup of water, scissors, painters tape, Sharpies, paper towel or napkin.

Basic Black, Thunder Blue, Lemon Custard.
CraftSmart brushes.
1.) I painted 1 canvas with Lemon Custard, starting with a 2" solid section at the base of the canvas, not forgetting to paint the edges.  I forgot to take pictures as I went, hopefully this explanation helps!

Then, I cleaned off my brush in water until the water ran mostly clear.  I thoroughly wet the brush and used broad strokes to brush water onto the line of yellow I had just painted. Repeat this process several times until you've "pulled" the paint up the canvas with a wet brush.  This is how I got the ombre effect.  You might have to load up your brush with more paint, then dip in water to help things along.

2.) I repeated Step 1.) with Thunder Blue on my second canvas. I let them dry for 2 hrs.

I went back and layered up the blue with more color to match the fade effect on the yellow canvas.
3.) I did a Google search to find silhouettes of birds I liked. You could use these for inspiration and paint the birds free hand or move on to step 4 to make stencils.
4.) Trace the birdie outline onto a napkin (or paper towel). Don't be like me and use Sharpie, use pen.

Terribly blurry but this was my method of tracing.
 5.) Using a heavy Sharpie, I traced over my birdie outline onto cardboard. The entire image didn't transfer but I just filled in the missing parts.  I needed to trace the image to get dimensions. I can't free hand birds, mine always look deathly ill.
Tracing my bird.
Fill in the lines that didn't transfer.
 6.) I repeated Step 4.) and 5.) to get my second (love) bird onto the cardboard.  Here you can see I used the mirror image of the second bird so they appear to be gazing lovingly into each other's eyes.

birdie love.
7. Cut out birdies to make a (rough) stencil.

8.) I measured 7" on the side of each canvas and laid 2 strips of painters tape down to create the wire for the birdies to sit on.  I forgot to take a picture before I painted my wire with black (sorry, I got all excited to paint my birds). I let the wire dry for a few minutes before slowly peeling off the tape at an angle.  I recommend using tape to keep your wire straight.

Blue canvas with birdie wire.
9.) I used the stencil as a guide to trace out the birds.  You could try taping down the stencil onto the canvas and filling in the bird shapes but you could have issues with the paint bleeding outside of the stencil.  I went the safe route and just outlined.  Then I removed the stencil and filled in my bird.  I went back and edged out each bird to get the feather details.

love bird.
10.) I gave my birdie about 30 mins to dry before adding the second one.

love birds.

11.) I hung each canvas by hammering a short nail into the top 2 corners and wrapping twine around it.

My love birds greet me every morning on my way to make coffee.
You could give this as a gift for a friend's wedding shower? You could personalize it using each person's favorite color.  Or, perhaps a monogram or the couple's wedding date.  Endless options here, the idea is to expand your options.

I went back and forth on adding a date under the wire. Like this..

Add wedding date for personal touch.
In the end, I liked how the one, heavy image on the light and airy yellow canvas balances out the dark, stormy blue canvas.  The wire ties the two together while keeping the mood of each canvas separate. Oh boy, I say stuff like that because I took 4 years of art courses and now that's just how my brain has been conditioned to think.  It's ok if it just looks right to you as well ;) 

It's art, do whatever looks right to you
Mrs W.