Thursday, January 27, 2011


We are hoping for good news today. Good news about our house and a potential house. I won't go into details, as those are long and tedious. But I believe my anxiety level is quite low for what could potentially happen today, and I credit that to a song I heard this morning.

Before we were married, I burned a CD of all of our wedding songs. This CD also had enough room to put a few more tunes on it, so I burned John Mayer's Battle Studies album first. And then I added Canon in D, Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, etc. etc. After adding all of those, I still had room, so I put some random tunes on it that I thought would be nice to hear driving to and fro.

Disclaimer: I'm a dweeb. And on my drive to work this morning I listened to all of our wedding music (yeah i know- dweeb) and then this song came on at the end of the CD- Steven Curtis Chapman's "Miracle of the Moment." I'm not sure if I was that in tune with the lyrics this morning or my Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frapuccino had already pulsed through my veins, but I was feeling it. My favorite lyrics of the song have to be "'Cause we are who and where and what we are for now, and this is the only moment we can do anything about." (full lyrics below)

But that verse just got me. This is the moment. Life is really made up of decisions and turning points, milestones and adventures. And whatever happens today will shape what decisions we will make tomorrow. So remember to live in the moment, because "There's only One who knows what's really out there waiting in all the moments yet to be. And all we need to know, is He's out there waiting, to Him the future's history."

"It's time for letting go, all of our if only's 'Cause we don't have a time machine. And even if we did, would we really want to use it? Would we really want to go change everything? 'Cause we are who and where and what we are for now, and this is the only moment we can do anything about. So breathe it in and breathe it out, and listen to your heartbeat. There's a wonder in the here and now, it's right there in front of you. I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment.

There's only One who knows what's really out there waiting, in all the moments yet to be. And all we need to know is He's out there waiting to Him the future's history. And He has given us a treasure called right now, and this is the only moment we can do anything about. So breathe it in and breathe it out, and listen to your heartbeat. There's a wonder in the here and now, it's right there in front of you. I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment.

And if it brings you tears, then taste them as they fall and let them soften your heart. And if it brings you laughter, then throw your head back and let it go, let it go, yeah you gotta let it go. And listen to your heartbeat. Breathe it in and breathe it out and listen to your heartbeat. There's a wonder in the here and now, it's right there in front of you, I don't want you to miss the miracle of the moment."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Our 2 Year Celebration

Our 2nd Anniversary was January 10th, and we had such a wonderful day! Like I mentioned in the previous post on our actual anniversary, I helped Ryan shovel snow that morning before heading to work. It was interesting to think that it was just any other day for everyone else but us. :) Even though it snowed most of the day (I felt like someone shook Nebraska up in a snow globe), the sun peeked out just as I was driving home.

Ryan is lucky enough to work from home if there happens to be inclement weather, so thankfully when I walked in the door at 5:30 everything was ready for our evening. Ryan had our wedding song playing on the ipod and he was peeling potatoes for dinner. We popped open a bottle of wine and enjoyed our steak and potato meal before heading to the basement to watch Despicable Me. Overall it was a wonderfully relaxing evening, and a great celebration of 2 years of marriage!

I am so lucky to be blessed with my wonderful husband, Ryan. Knowing that I have him as my partner in this crazy world means the world to me.

We hope you all had a nice weekend!

Mashing Potatoes

A New Bath Towel! YAY!

Trying It On For Size

My Taste in Movies

My Hubs

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Ryan and I experienced our first ever snow in our new home this January. Or at least the first recordable snow. We had flurries and 1/2" of snow in December, but nothing like this! I believe the weather predicted snow to start falling Sunday, January 9th and that it wouldn't stop until mid Tuesday the 11th! Well, the weathermen were sure right about Sunday and Monday.

When we returned from Columbus on Sunday afternoon we had at least 6 inches already on our driveway. Thankfully, I had purchased a snow shovel from our local Menards only a few weeks ago that Ryan used, and I ran back up on our large push brush as Ryan shoveled.

It was good teamwork, but by the time we were done with our 2 stalls, (we decided to forgo shoveling the 3rd stall), the snow had already fallen another 1/2"! After seeing that we decided to head in for some hot chocolate and to warm up our fingers and toes before heading out to scoop again on Monday morning.

As much of a nuisance as it is, I really do love the cold and the snow and I'm pretty sure Ryan feels the same. Good thing as we move up north! When the metrodome collapsed, the twin cities had 17 inches in a 2 day span! wowee...I think we'll get a snow blower!

Shoveling begins

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Crazy Game of Poker

Playing cards has got to be the most traditional thing we do with both of our families. Whether its poker, rook, spades, hearts or Uno. When we're with our families, we're usually playing cards. I'm not exactly sure how this all got started, but I'm glad we all have something to do together that doesn't include our cell phones, ipods, computers or blackberries.

I hope that we instill this in our kiddos someday. And teach them to play card games and board games and generally anything that doesn't need batteries to have fun.

Playing Cards

And what my mom was doing while everyone was playing cards. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One Zany Zoey

My parents got a new puppy a few months after our beagle, Maddie, passed away this past summer. Her name is Zoey and she is definitely still in the puppy stages. Here's my take on getting a picture of Zoey. Enjoy...

First, I focused on Zoey sitting in her pet bed. But she had none of that!

And she wanted to get up close and personal to see what I was up to.

As I put my hand out to pet her head, Zoe decided to lunge past me and into her toys.

After about 15 shots, I finally got her to sit. And here's the winner! :) She's pretty cute.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Saturday Soiree

The family love just keeps on flowing! Any time there are cousins that are home from a far distance our families get together. Not just my mom's side or just my dad's but everyone together! Thankfully there was enough room for all of them at the Holiday Inn in Columbus. This is where we gathered on Saturday, Jan. 8th to celebrate Tyson and Meggan and Brie and Jason's visit home to Nebraska.

Crock pots were warm with cocktail weenies, Swedish meatballs, cheese and hamburger dips. Veggie trays and crab dips, sugar cookies and cakes all adorned the food tables. Each aunt, cousin, and friend of the family brought something to share. This is something I'll definitely miss when we're living in Minnesota. While I hear that Minnesotan hospitality is fantastic, I will miss being able to head out to each and every family gathering. Or... will I just miss the cheese dip? :)

My Aunt Vikki, Mom and Cousin Kristi
(Ty and Meggan gave her that hat- she doesn't usually wear it around)

Showing off their work in Africa

Bride and Groom to be

Tyson, Grandpa and Mom

The Girls
Meggan, Me, Brie and Mom

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Very African Christmas

I'm pretty sure if you told my parents 20 years ago that one of their sons was going to live in Africa for a few years, they would've looked at you sideways. As you know, this year was the first year for Christmas with everyone together. Where Tyson is living there is no Target, Wal-Mart, or big department store. Just a few street vendors with some pretty sweet stuff.

We all received African presents from Tyson and Meggan wrapped in African cloth and string. Very authentic gifts, that I'm sure we'll all cherish for a long time.

After our dinner at the Husker House, we all arrived back at the house and jumped into our pajamas. It was time for presents! Mom received a small African chair, that you can actually take with you and disassemble into 2 pieces for easy transfer, Dad got an African mask, Brie and Jason received an African Drum, Jared received an African Soccer Jersey and Ryan and I received an African painting and some pretty neat elephant coasters.

Along with our gifts, we recalled past Christmases and Dad played a Christmas CD. The kids did secret Santa this year, since almost everyone was traveling, we figured buying only 1 gift for 1 person would be easier than exchanging with all 7 kids. Mom of course got the present bug and gifted us some new clothing, watches, wallets and calendars. Apparently she wants us clothed and on time. :) Thanks Mom!

It was a pretty fun time to be around each other and just enjoy the time we had together. Who knows where we'll all be this time next year!?

Me and Ry- with African Wrapping

Dad did get a new Christmas Stocking...literally stocking! haha :)
I crack myself up!
Tyson, Meggan, Ryan and Me

Monday, January 17, 2011

Would You Like Spaghetti with Your Steak?

Continuing on with the posts of family togetherness....the Thomas family Christmas took place the weekend of January 7-9th while everybody was home. Everybody means everybody. When we were younger, I remember feeling like we had a big family compared to a lot of my friends that just had families of 4, I was lucky enough to have a family of 6. And now today, we have a family of 9 + Zoey.

On Friday, January 7th, Ryan and I prepped our place for an open house that weekend and headed to Columbus to enjoy Christmas with the Thomas fam. All of us headed out to The Husker Steak House in Columbus, NE to enjoy some yummy Midwestern fare. My Aunt Pam, Uncle Scott and Cousin Eric also met us for the occasion.

The Husker House is a quaint little place with floral wall paper and brass coat hooks. The menu includes many choices of steak: filet mignon, hickory grilled rib eye, new york strip, etc. But along with the steak, Ryan noticed a very odd side option. Spaghetti? Yes, that's right....with your steak you get a potato side (french fries, hashbrowns or baked potato), cup of soup, garden or Caesar salad, an Italian roll and your choice of a vegetable or spaghetti.

An odd combination? Yes. But nothing goes to waste when you're with the Thomas'. Any side that was not completely savored was passed around, usually to Jared, to finish it off.

Steak and Spaghetti anyone?

The Whole Family

What a silly couple

Aunt Pam talks to the newly engaged couple.

Monday, January 10, 2011

2 Years as Mr. & Mrs.

Today is our 2nd wedding anniversary. We woke up this morning to 6 inches of snow covering our front porch and driveway. After rolling over in bed and kissing my husband good morning, I showered and prepared for my day at work. This is quite a departure from what we were doing 2 years ago today.

After blow drying my hair and putting on my makeup, I laid back in bed next to Ryan and we recapped exactly what we were doing at this very moment 2 years ago. I had anxiously woken up to freshly fallen snow, my sister knocked on my door and brought in a wedding day present- a container of everything we would possibly need for the day- clear nail polish, mints, lipstick, Kleenex, etc. After a big sister hug and my wedding day shower...we were off to the salon to beautify ourselves for the big day. Ryan woke up in a hotel room at the New World Inn, his dad as his roommate for the evening. He remembers that the boys were to help with centerpieces that morning and putting out wedding favors on each place setting.

2 years ago, we were full of excitement, anticipation and love. Today- we're filled with very similar emotions.

Although I didn't head to the salon this morning, I helped my husband shovel snow off of our driveway, smiling with every huff and puff and push of snow. In all aspects of life, we're still in it together.

God has blessed us with each other. With every day that passes, I can't imagine life without Ryan. Over the past 2 years, we've been through a lot of life experiences together. We've cried together at funerals, experienced pure joy riding roller coasters at amusement parks, we've been stressed and excited at building a home of our own, we've planned for our future and watched those plans turn 180 degrees in another direction. We've spent quiet evenings together reading books in front of our fireplace, traveled to new places, and experienced life-threatening situations. We've created scrumptious dinners and praised God together.

2 years ago, I knew I was marrying my best friend, but I didn't know that I would love him more and more with each passing day. Happy 2nd Anniversary Ry! I'm so excited to see what's in store for us in the coming years.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ping Ponging

Ryan and I bought a ping pong table about a month or so after we moved into our house. I think its safe to say that out of all the fun and interesting things in our home, the ping pong table wins...hands down.

Usually Ryan doesn't have much competition, since I'm still learning my ping pong skills. But this past weekend, my dad and brothers challenged him to some pretty wonderful duels. I'm not sure if its their tennis background or the fact that they remembered their ping pong skills from the old makeshift Thomas table, but they're pretty good. Meggan, Tyson and Jared have been hanging at our house this week and most of the days you can find them playing ping pong.

I guess it was a good investment. :)

Pure Determination
Team Plaid Pants

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


When my brother Tyson mentioned he was going to be in the states around Christmas this year, my family jumped at the opportunity to spend as much time with him as possible. However, Tyson has been sharing some of his time lately with his girlfriend, Meggan. So they decided to come back and split time between both families...from Florida to Missouri to Nebraska, they will be a very busy couple these next few weeks.

Thankfully, we were able to meet up with them for New Year's Eve in Kansas City. After spending a week and a half in Florida and Missouri, we would then take them back to Nebraska with us. Are you all singing the UPS logistics sound right about now?

Thursday night, we all headed out to 810 Zone sports bar to watch the Huskers in the Holiday Bowl. It wasn't a pretty game, but the conversation and the food was great! The next day, we all enjoyed a leisurely walk around the plaza. It was about 48 degrees and sunny which made for great shopping in the Midwest, in December. That evening, we met Meggan's family and some of Tyson's close friends for dinner at an Italian restaurant called Figlio's. The group split up after that, some went down to the bars on the plaza to ring in the new year and the other half enjoyed the low key vibe in the hotel lounge and watched the ball drop in a much quieter atmosphere. :)

It was really nice to meet Meggan's family. They are such a lovely bunch, very personable and talkative. They reminded me a lot of my family and we all enjoyed each other's company. Can't wait to see them again soon. ;) wink wink.

Lounging- literally

Shopping on the Plaza

My dad and Ryan - Urban Outfitters

Thomas boys and ipads

The Mills Family
(blurry picture-sorry)

Meet the Parents

Meggan & Tyson

Miss Brynn was the hit of the evening
but she's a little camera shy here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our 2nd Christmas

Ryan and I have kept up the tradition of celebrating a Christmas of our own. Even if its just the 2 of us...we still think its important to have our own celebration. Last year, we were in the process of deciding whether or not we would buy/build a house, so we pared down gift giving to just swapping stockings. It worked like a charm! So, we did the same thing this year!

Among Ryan's goodies: new pj pants, a Minnesota twins stocking cap, vikings ornament, Reese's pieces, a new toothbrush, new boxers, and a new video camera (that didn't work- boo).

Amberly's goodies: Minnesota cookbook, Minnesota t-shirt, new sunglasses, and NEW spatulas (woo!)

Overall, we stuck with fun necessities that we'll use over and over again. We had a great night!

Ryan patiently awaits the opening of his stocking.

New Shades!

Trying on the new PJ pants.

Twins Hat, Sunglasses, Minnesota shirt and cookbook and spatulas. :) merry christmas to us!