Friday, December 31, 2010

Single Lady?! and Budgets...

The other night I was on the phone with one of my oldest and best friends when we started talking about careers. This gal is awesome in that she has always pursued what she wants to do and really seeks out something that she's passionate about. Currently she's a head coach at one of the community college's swim programs down in California, and I've always talked the talk about teaching at the JC level one day but never followed through with pursuing it.

Somewhere after college life starts happening and that newly graduated feeling of "I can do anything I want if I just put my mind to it" starts slipping away. All you college students out there (sis- I'm talking to you!)-- don't forget what it feels like to know you have the world at your finger tips and really can do anything you want.

"Why don't you call one of the AD's at a local JC and just see if they'll talk to you about what you can do to be a successful candidate for something in the future?" she asked me. "It can't hurt and they are always looking for qualified people. You have nothing to lose!". While I really love my job now and have no plans on leaving, one day if I'm (Lord willing!!!) a stay at home mom I know I won't be in the corporate environment any more. My job will be COO Lillard. Operating officer of our home and family! I will have other little people to be responsible for and that will be my full time job. It's funny, because that time of life is still a couple years away but I need to mentally prepare for it now LOL. I'm somewhat of a planner, and somewhat not, but for major life things I like to think them through in my mind and plan for the ideal scenario. Some people would call that dangerous, putting all these expectations into something unknown... I just call it fun. I know my heavenly father ultimately is CEO LilLORD (haha!!!) and he will direct and lead us as long as we are seeking him and including him in our decisions; putting him first. I just like to plan so I'm ready for the future. So her advice got me thinking. I have nothing to lose, start looking into what it takes to teach at a JC- I have my master's degree so at least that part is covered!

"You're right," I told her. "I am at a point in my life where it's the perfect time. I already have work that I enjoy, and I have very little responsibilities at home. I might as well start looking into what it would take now, while I'm young and single."

Young and SINGLE?!

David was making jello and he promptly turned around with a huge grin on his face and mouthed the words "single?" while his brow raised and his smile grew even bigger.  My mouth dropped way open and I said "did I just say single?!  I meant young and... Young and... I don't know!  You know what I mean!"  Michelle laughed and said she did know but it was funny and I should just talk to someone at a local community college to get the ball moving and get things started.  We laughed and chatted a bit more and then hung up.

"So you're a single lady now," David said as he came up to me and drew me into an embrace.  I laughed and told him I didn't know why I said that.  I was so embarrassed!  "It's okay, now I know how you feel," he joked, "I am away a lot!" 

This has now been the running joke in the Lillard house for the past few days.  David thinks it's hilarious, and I am like, well, trying to rummage through my subconcious as to why that would have come out of my mouth.  The only thing I can come up with is the fact that I'm a field traveler's wife. =)  Cheers to all my other "single lady" field traveler wives out there!

That very same night David and I were snuggled on the couch watching Criminal Minds, my very favorite show (other than The Biggest Loser!).  On this particular occasion David pulled out the laptop and during commercials began clicking away.

 "What are you doing?" I asked him, half asleep with blankets all around me.

"Creating a budget," he replied.  Tick tick click tick click.

I was suddenly awake.  "A budget?!"  We'd talked about creating a budget last year, and did one and then deleted it. :)  David's CFO Lillard, and does all of our banking and bills.  He's always been extremely savvy when it comes to finances and he keeps all these numbers in his head regarding our financial situation, and knows what's coming in and out like you wouldn't believe.  But we've never actually had a real life budget where we allocate money to certain categories or anything.  I perked up and looked at the screen.

Click clack tick tick click.  "I think this shows us where we spend our money," David said to me.  "And if we stick to this, we can put more money towards one of our mortgages.  That would help for when we have kids one day."  I couldn't believe my ears.  David was thinking about when we would have kids one day?!  Has he lost his mind?  He gets nauseated whenever I bring it up!  I looked at him and smiled.  "Okay!  I'm in!  What's it gonna take?!"

He proceeded to plug in numbers, and at the end of his analysis we now have a Lillard family budget.  This is totally new to us, and I'm so excited!  It feels like a challenge.  I won't bore you with the details, but one thing I will share is our grocery budget.  We decided to allocate $250/month on groceries.  I feel like this should be WAY doable since I am a "single lady", right?! :)  I am going to do the same thing my mom did when I was a kid, put that $250 in cash form into an envelope, and use it when I go to the store.  When it's gone it's gone.

We're probably the last family to get on board with a budget but I'm glad and excited we're taking on this challenge.  If you have any suggestions or tips, I welcome any and all advice!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Painting the Future

Over the past year that we have lived in this house that is now our home, I lost my motivation to paint.

Most people paint a room, or a dresser, or maybe an actual painting. Not at the Lillards'. We paint trim. And lots of it.

It started right after we bought this house, a year ago. We were so excited to be in our own space where we could litterally throw paint all over the place and no one could tell us differently-- the place was OURS! And boy were we excited. This home was (and still is thankfully!) in great condition, but it had no updates or modern features. It was (and in some rooms still is, unthankfully!) stuck in the 80's.

We decided that to give it more light and brighten things up, we would paint the medium toned brown trim around the windows and doorways white. It sounded like a brilliant idea. So we bought primer and paint, and began in one of the spare bedrooms.

We quickly realized that brown trim soaks up the primer and requires about 4-5 coats before you can actually begin applying the paint to make it worth it. So we primed the window, the other window, the closet and bedroom doors and trim over and over, and over again. By the time we actually got around to applying real paint, we'd been working on this stinking bedroom for a week. I kept thinking of the remods on HGTV and listening to the designers say that paint was the easiest, most inexpensive and quickest way to transform a room. I'd agree in the transformation, but quick and easy? It wasn't hard, but man, coats later it still needed more!

After the bedroom was done, we admired how much more light the room had and how it looked more modern and updated. We decided to proceed with the stair banisters and railing. OMG. Can I just say that was a PAIN in my rear. I think I spent all last Christmas painting. And I still look at it and think, you know, if HGTV came over they'd say we need another coat! We finished that and then moved to our bedroom, where we retired the paintbrushes and rollers. Yes, we took some time off (ahem, about a year!) and last weekend I decided to pick up the paintbrush again. Well, I really didn't volunteer. Since David was in CA for the weekend working hard on one of our rentals, I made a deal with him that I would work just as hard by painting. I would commit to him to paint while he was gone. No, I didn't say how much (wiggle room people!) but I did commit. Not to me, not to the house, to him.

As I poured my primer into the tray, there were chunks. Literally chunks like rotten milk. Gross. I contemplated how I could get out of this. David would understand, chunks?! How do I get the chunks out, I need a big strong man to do that. Oh Rachel stop it, just open another can. Yes. I can do this, I have to finish. I've got to finish this project before I can do anyting else. And geez, there is so much more to do!

So I began priming. Since David was in CA for the weekend and I didn't have any engagements until the evenings, I decided to commit my entire Saturday to painting. I got a late start (a girl's gotta gym it and have her starbucks run!) but I finally got up the gusto and stirred up a fresh can of primer, chunk free. It was beautiful. So smooth and creamy. I can do this. I started on the window in our bedroom. We'd already started this, but it only had a couple layers of primer. With zest and motivation I quickly began applying primer. Move to the closet door jam and the bathroom doors and door jams. Move to the hallway and start on the linen closet doors. Argh. These things are so annoying, just let me tell you. They are essentially accordion shutter doors and getting between those slats tried my patience. I began wondering if I had arthritis. Excuses excuses. I primed over and over again after letting it dry. And you know what? It felt good to move forward, to accomplish something!

I promptly primed again the following day after church and Christmas shopping, before the women's dessert at church that evening. Discipline Rachel, you've got to get this done.

After the gym this evening and my lovely dinner of ceasar salad and banana bread, I began applying the paint. Our bedroom and the hallway linen closet are close to being finished. Only a few more coats. Finish. Strong. :)

I ate a snack. Apple time! I wrote this blog entry about painting. I went back upstairs to finish.

The blue tape surrounding the closet and my bedroom window was a constant reminder of something I was choosing not to do. Something that required effort and time. Something that could be beautiful. While this is really only paint, and is kind of trivial as it pertains to my life, I actually learned something this weekend throughout the painting process. Someday I will have lots of things (kids!) that I don't want to do and that require my time and effort. How am I ever going to be a good mom if I can't even finish painting our house when I have no responsibilities except for my job? My husband is gone during the week for goodness sake, I don't even have to take care of anyone! That bucked me up. I have always been a determined person, a disciplined person, a motivated person. Yet somewhere over the past year I lost that along the way with the doors and trim. :) So here's to being disciplined and showing my husband I love him with this paintbrush. I am painting the future with each stroke, learning to find joy in doing something I don't want to do!

The entire upstairs must be done by the end of January. Oh my goodness I said it. Out loud. Cheer me on. :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Dragon Slayer

Last night David and I went out to dinner and over the largest salad of my life, we conversed about relationships and what the basic needs of men and women are.  I love talking about relationships, especially with David.  Not too long ago I read the book "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura.  If you've read the book, you know that in her opinion the two basic needs of men are food and sex.  While that may be true (LOL), David thought that was significantly demeaning to his male comrads who are actually out slaying dragons all day long to provide and care for their beloved women.  So we began to chat about what really were the basic needs of men and women. 

Since I'm a woman, I'll speak from the gal's perspective here and will only speak for myself since I can't comment on behalf of anyone else.  I yearn to be cherished and delighted in.  I know I am this way.  I want love, the unconditional kind-- the takes your breath away, can't live without you, Carrie-Big kind of love (well not really but you know what I mean if you love SATC) that listens and makes gestures and holds hands and hearts and all that goey love stuff.  I long to be cherished and taken care of.  To know I am the only one, to be secure in my husband's love for me.  I also desire to be deligihted in, for my husband to see beauty in what I have to offer much beyond the way I look.  Growing up my pastor, Ken Korver gave a sermon on marriage and he said "The more you love your wife, the more beautiful she will become."  I yearn for beauty.  That's probably why I love cooking and giving it a pretty presentation.  I love clothes and accessories and decorative home goods. I want to know I am worth slaying dragons for.

Isn't every good love story the same?  I mean that in a good way.  Girl meets boy, they fall in love, conflicts arise and separate them, boy fights for girl and pursues her, rescues her and they live happily ever after.  All the fairy-tales have this theme, even good romatic movies hold this mantra.  I, as a woman, am drawn to this kind of story as well.  I love a good chick flick where I leave the theater feeling oohed and awed by the love story developed on screen.  As David and I finished our ginormous salads and talked about dragons and love, we were reminded of our own love story.  While nothing ever tore us apart or caused us to ever breakup before we were married, there was plenty of pursuing and dragon fighting.  I think dragons will always exist, and wicked witches will always attempt to consume my disposition and/or situation.  That being said, I am grateful for my Knight who fights for me daily. :)

  • I love that you love to be home!  I especially love it when you come home a day early and surprise me (or scare the heck out of me!) with your just being here.
  • I am grateful that you get out of bed and make coffee the mornings that you're home.  My coffee never tastes as good as when you make it :)
  • I love that you look at our life as an adventure.
  • You demonstrate your love for me even with small things like rearranging the furniture. 
  • You take care of all the bills and don't get upset when I try to pay them and pay the dentist instead of the discover card. You are gracious and gentle towards me.
  • You listen and don't assume.  I need to be more like you in this area.
  • The way you constantly learn and strive to know more inspires me.
  • I never doubt I am the only girl for you.  You make me feel like I'm the only girl in the room!
I am so proud to be your wife.  Thank you for being my dragon slayer. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Historical Success!

So...  The turkey was a SUCCESS!!!  Can I just tell you how much fun it was to cook a turkey with all the trimmings with the hubby for our family.  It was a blast!  And we went all out.  Now that we've done it and it was so much fun, I'm not sure we ever need to do it again.  Just kidding.  It was a rocking Thanksgiving at the Lillard home, and we documented the entire experience with our trusty camera.

Normally, Thanksgiving means spending the night at Best Buy.  Yes, I'm serious and no, I'm not joking!  In college David started what he calls "tradition" of spending the night at Best Buy on Thanksgiving night.  He makes friends in line, shares his food, brings music, coffee, Bailey's...  When we first started dating (which was right before Thanksgiving) he told me spending the night at the retailer was part of his holiday plan.  I thought it was the weirdest thing ever and told him I'd come visit him for an hour or so.  I did, and there was David, with some friends, his grandpa, and his new buddies in line.  I ended up staying for more like 4 hours, intrigued by it all and left right before all the mahem of the store opening and people running mad for their TV's.  We still hadn't even had our first kiss yet, but we'd shared a night together in the freezing cold at Best Buy!  We continued the tradition the next year, and the year after that (2006 was a crazy Best Buy year you'll have to ask us about that story one day) and then we were on our honeymoon so I got out of it in 2007.  Then we moved to Portland, and, well, it truly IS freezing here in November so we've balked.  Yes, I think we did it-- he's weined off of that tradition. :)  Let's hope so!!!

All that being said, it's even more of a joy to have a "lazy" night of games and movies on Thanksgiving evening and to spend the day watching Miracle on 34th Street (the old school version!) while we cook.  So here it is... A step-by-step play-by-play of the day and all it's goodness!

David got up early (7:30 a.m.!!!) and prepped the Traeger.  It snowed a couple days before, so the deck was still scattered with leftover snowflakes.  We got that thing toasty before we put the bird in!

We had marinated the turkey in a brine for 12 hours the night before.  Then we took it out and David put some seasoning all over and under the skin.  In you go, turkey!

My California self hates this picture!  Yes, that is me in my rain boots and pj's prepping for the day ahead.  I litterally just woke up!

David was reading up on how long we had to smoke the turkey.  He did a fabulous job because it was the best turkey I've ever tasted.

Oh my goodness can you believe we made that?!

Everything's ready, we're hungry!

No more rainboots.  California self would feel better about the UGGs. :)  We are so proud of our turkey!

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