Monday, September 19, 2016

here's to one year

It has been a whole year since Austin and I vowed before God and everybody to love each other forever and ever.  It feels like it was just yesterday, but at the same time I can't even remember my life before marriage!  Of course I remember it, but it just seems like an eternity ago. 

It is crazy how much one year can change things.  I remember the first "meal" I ever cooked in our house.  I diced up chicken and cooked it in a pot on the stove with very little seasoning.  I think I made some instant mashed potatoes to go with it and Austin didn't eat it because he thought the chicken was raw!  I don't even know who that girl is anymore and why she was dicing up chicken for supper. 

The me before marriage would leave my leftover lunch in the fridge at work for days on end.  Whenever I finally did get my lunchbox from the fridge, I would leave it in my car for awhile. Sometimes I would eventually hide it or throw it away so I (my mom) wouldn't have to clean it. It wasn't just the dishes that I didn't think much of.  Whenever Austin came over to my house to see me, I remember him complaining sometimes because I would have so much stuff piled up on every surface of my room that he couldn't even sit down. 

A year ago, I could probably count on my fingers how many loads of clothes I had washed in my lifetime and probably wouldn't use a whole hand to count the meals I had prepared! But today-- 365 days later-- I can half way hold my own in the kitchen (Austin says I do not season anything), our house stays rather clean and I do laundry like it is my job.  I guess it is my job.  Except ironing-- I don't iron like it is my job.  I really despise ironing. 

Austin has always been very neat, clean and organized.  He thinks way ahead about everything and always has a plan.  He has always and probably will always have it all together.  A short time after we got married, we were laying in bed and I got up to get something to drink.  He hollered from the bedroom into the kitchen and told me to bring a napkin so that my cup wouldn't sweat on the furniture.  I couldn't help but laugh at what I had gotten myself into.  I love that he is like that and hate it all at the same time.  I am also aware that his tendencies may be rubbing off on me a little bit.  I drive myself absolutely crazy about some of the smallest things now.  I hate clothes being in the floor, knowing that dishes need to be unloaded from the dish washer, anything on the cabinets, dirt on the back porch, etc.  These are all things that the me before marriage would have never given a second thought. 

Whenever we were on our honeymoon, Austin was adamant about washing clothes in the room while we were in Hawaii.  He did so much laundry that we didn't take a dirty article of clothing home with us.  I remember wondering what in the world he was doing.  It did not even cross my mind to do laundry on our week long vacation & I did not understand why he was doing it.  But....on our latest trip, I had taken on his role and I made sure we didn't bring any dirty clothes home. 

I have always heard people say that whenever you have children, you just know what do.  You fall right into the roll of mom and go with it like you've been doing it your whole life.  I feel like that's kind of how being a wife happened with me.  Once it happened, I just knew what to do and now I don't really even know the person I was before.  I do know that she worried wayyyy less about trivial things like no clutter in her car and spotless floors.  I think it has a lot to do with these things being my own and wanting to take care of them.

While all of that sounds a bit uptight, Austin and I have had a whole lot of fun in our first year of marriage.  After we got married, people always asked "how's married life?!" I always responded- "it's fun!" And it is! It is so much fun.  I love coming home to Remus and Austin and Bandit and Daisy. I feel like being with Austin is my safe place!  Whenever I pull in at home after work, it's like I've reached the finish line or something. 

I am so thankful and so proud of the life Austin and I are building together.  It is a simple life, but it full of the purest kind of happiness.  A few months after we got married, I remember laying in bed one night and telling Austin that I was living the life I had always dreamed of. That is something super special.  

As cliche as it sounds, Austin is my best friend.  He can read my mind and he knows my quirks, but he loves me just the same!  Sometimes I wish I had a camera in our house to record some of the funny stuff we do!  If I feel like busting a move in the living room to no music at all, I do! And sometimes he pulls his pants up to his chest and walks funny just to make me laugh. We don't take things too seriously, and I love that!  

Don't get me wrong, there have been times throughout this year that I could have screamed because he was driving me absolutely nuts, but the good times far exceed the not so good.  

I am thankful to love and be loved by Austin Byrd, and I look forward to all that the Lord has planned for our future.  Good or bad, I know we will face it together.  

God is real good.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

a year ago today

This post from Facebook came up on my memories today and I thought I would make it a blog post because I want to keep it forever!  

September 18, 2015

Whenever I was a little girl, I sat in one of the pews of this church with my head bowed & shyly raised my hand whenever our pastor asked if there was anybody in the room who felt like The Lord was calling them to be saved at the end of a week of VBS. In a room off the back of this church, I nervously said the sinner's prayer & committed my life to The Lord. Days later, I walked the aisle of this church & made public the decision I had made & in the evening service I was baptized & friends & family made a line and hugged my neck to welcome me to the family of God- something my eleven year old self had dreaded for days!
Over the last few years, I've slept in the pulpit of this church in a sleeping bag surrounded by youth, I've sat on the front steps of this church and taught Sunday school lessons because my crew wanted to have class outside, & I've danced around this church like a crazy person with vacation Bible schoolers.
I sat on the far right, second row of this church with Austin for years on Sunday mornings,( we recently moved to the back) & spent rides home from this church discussing what we got out of the day's message. I've seen myself and Austin both mature in our faith and understanding of who God is and the life He has called us to largely because of the influence of this church. 

And in this church tomorrow at 6:00, I will become Mrs. Austin Byrd & nothing makes my heart happier than that!

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church & in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:21

Monday, September 5, 2016

Jackson Hole- Part 3

    On Wednesday morning, we were up for the third straight morning around 5am.  I struggle to get out of bed before 7:00 for work every morning.  I guess it was the adrenaline that kept me going.  I decided a shower was a good idea since we would probably be late getting back.  We gathered up our cameras, maps and snacks and we headed to Creekside Market a few miles up the road.  In all of the reading I had done before the trip, I found this little place.  It's a hole in the wall convenient store/deli and they open at 6am for people like us who were headed out to Yellowstone.  They'll fix you a mean sandwich for a pretty reasonable price.  I brought a lunchbox, so we put our cold drinks and sandwiches inside to save for a "picnic" in Yellowstone.

    Since the South entrance to Yellowstone was closed, we had to go through Idaho and Montana to get to the west entrance.  It took two and half hours to get there, but it was not an ugly drive.  I think Austin loved the scenery on the way as much as he did in the park.  There were miles and miles of land as far as you could see.  The man checking us out at Creekside warned us of road construction on our way into the park.  About an hour from the entrance, we passed a sign that said we could expect a one hour delay.  Ughhh.   Thankfully after ten minutes, we were moving again. 

Whenever we entered the park, everything was super smokey.  I was worried we may be breathing in smoke all day and I was about to choke.  I think this smoke was coming from controlled fires, but it was still pretty rough.  Super glad it didn't last long. Shortly after entering the park, we had spotted bison on the side of the road.  It was awesome!  The whole place just took my breath away.

     Since we knew our time was limited, we really tried to be particular about the places we stopped!  Our first big stop was at Old Faithful.  It killed our time!  We waited for it to go off for over an hour.  After arriving at the visitor center, they let you know an estimated time of the next time it will go off.  If I am being honest, there were a lot of other things in the park that I enjoyed more than Old Faithful.  Maybe it was the wait, I don't know!  Besides the wait, I was trying to record and by the time I had it on video, it was over.  Womp womp womp.  We got there super early so we had a good seat, but there were a ton of people watching Old Faithful with us.  The Old Faithful area is one of the most developed.  They have a visitor center there as well as places to eat and a lodge to stay at.  We should have checked out the lodge.  Maybe next time.  There were also a lot of other small geysers around the area that people were checking out while they waited on Old Faithful.  Austin and I were too busy holding our seat.  

Other big stops along the way included the Grand Prismatic and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  I have seen much better pictures of the Grand Prismatic, but this is the best we could do.  It is a body of water that is is bright blue with different colors around the outer rims.  
    The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was without a doubt our favorite stop.  We stopped at the first turn out that mentioned it, and whenever we got out the view was of just the waterfall.  I was pretty disappointed because I had seen pictures and knew there was a better view somewhere!  We set out to find it, and I am very glad we did. This was one of our last stops and I think Austin wanted to keep going and forget it.  I was right.

Oh and remember that picnic I mentioned?  That turned into sitting in the car near picnic tables.  We were hungry and hadn't seen a good place to stop for a few miles.  We finally decided to forget the picnic with a view and just pull over and eat the sandwiches.  There were some sketchy vehicles where we pulled in so we just stayed in the car.  #picnicfail
The whole park was absolutely stunning.  I am super glad we decided to take one day to see what we could of it.  We were also happy that we did it ourselves and didn't do a guided tour.  If we ever do it again, I think we will stay in the park for at least one night in order to give ourselves more time.  
We made it back to our room before dark and walked down to McPhail's Burgers just off of the square for supper.  Austin had a buffalo burger and I got a chicken sandwich.  Austin pretty much at burgers the entire time. 

    Thursday was our last day and since we had done a lot of what I wanted to do, we didn't set an alarm and were planning for it to be a little more laid back.  We were still up at 6am. That was fine by me because we got an early start at Grand Teton National Park.  GTNP is just a few miles up the road from the town of Jackson Hole.  Since we went early, I knew we were bound to see some animals. The place was BEAUTIFUL.  

We had a map with the top 10 things to see in GTNP and we hit all of the stops except Jenny Lake.  The lady at the visitor center told us there was some renovation going on there and parking was cramped.  I was okay with missing it because at this point I had seen a ton of pretty scenery and I didn't think there was much that could impress me more than what I had already seen.  GTNP took about half the day, and then we headed over to Teton Village to ride the tram.  We took a pig trail of a road to Teton Village.  At one point it was dirt and one lane.  Austin almost had a heart attack.  When we made it Teton Village, I bought the tickets for the tram online on my phone because it saved us $20.  Before we got out of the car, I started to tell Austin the real truth about the tram.  It is a popular attraction because when you get to the top, not only is the view spectacular, but there are lots of hiking trails.  Some folks like to do it because the tram takes you to the top and you hike down, making the hike not quite so hard to accomplish.  Austin informed me that he had no plans to hike and I could forget that!  After making it to the ticket line to redeem our vouchers, we spotted a map of the hiking trails available.  My plan was to take the tram up and hike 3.5 miles to the gondola to come down.  We both looked at the hiking map and I laughed until I couldn't stand up at the thought of how miserable Austin would probably be hiking 3.5 miles.  (We were delirious by this point.) I decided to let the hiking thing go and just make it to the top.  

Once we got on, the ride only took about 12 minutes.  It took my breath away a few times.  I think I may have a small fear of heights.  Once on top, the view was very much worth it.  It was awesome. I wanted to spend some time taking it in, so we found a super small loop to make before we headed back to the tram.  After our small loop, I was thanking my lucky stars we didn't hike.  Some of it was uphill, and that was killer.  Also, I almost busted my tail a few times.  I insisted we get the selfie stick out despite Austin's wishes.  He REALLY hates the selfie stick.  

I think we did the "top of the world loop"- a whoppin .3 miles. 

A tram went back down the mountain every 15 minutes and I was practically running to make it.  I caught my breath on the way down and we found a spot close by for lunch.  I had cheese pizza and Austin had yet another burger.  

After lunch  we went back to the room and then headed to the square for ice cream and shopping.  I love the Jackson Hole square.  It is the cutest.  I took a picture with the stuffed moose the last time I was there, so I thought it was necessary I reenact that.  
I didn't buy anything at the candy shop but just being there made me happy.
Austin and I both picked out a tshirt and I got a Christmas ornament and magnet.  I am going to try to do that on all of our trips!  So far we have Hawaii and Jackson Hole.  I hope one day whenever I'm old and I put up my Christmas tree, I'll get out these ornaments and it'll make me happy.

After the downtown shopping, we went back to the room and relaxed for a short time.  We headed out to the Million Dollar Cowboy bar early to eat and then take dance lessons.  I was probably a little too excited about this.  Whenever we got back down to the square, a dinner theatre group was acting out a "shoot out" downtown.  The setting was perfect and it held our attention until it was over.  We got our picture made in front of these antlers that are at each corner of the square and then went onto the bar for supper.  
 Whenever the class got started, lots of couples made their way to the dance floor.  We first learned swing dancing.  These folks were not playing and really wanted you to learn!  It was quite informative, but since we haven't practiced I don't know if we will even remember what we learned!  All I know is I had a ball.  There were several men and a lady teaching.  If they saw you having trouble, the lady would take Austin and the man would take me.  They would work with us a little bit and then put us back together.  After the swing dancing, things started to get a little crowded.  We didn't catch onto the two step quite as well because there were so many people.  Austin was a trooper, and I was super proud.  He really did just as good or better than I did at catching on!  When the band started up, we went out and showed off our newly learned moves.  Everybody was doing the two step and swing dancing on the dance floor.  There was no swaying back and forth.  We tried to fit right in! ;)  Whenever 11:00 rolled around, I was almost sleep in my chair and we decided to walk back to the room.

We slept later the next morning than we had been and then got our things together to head to the rental car lot for a shuttle to the airport.  BUT, not before we hit up McDonald's for some chicken nuggets.  Yes, we went on vacation and ate at McDonald's.  The Jackson Hole airport is super little so there weren't many eating options.  We made it in plenty of time to the airport this time, and waited to board.
All went well on our first flight and then we got delayed a few times in Dallas.  I'm not sure if I'll ever get Austin on a plane again after our missed flight and the delays coming home.  It doesn't bother me much to hang out in an airport.  I got baskin robbins ice cream and then hit up the candy store for some jelly beans.  I was pretty happy.  Austin isn't really a sit in the airport kind of guy.  I guess we will find out how serious he is about the airport the next time I get ready to go somewhere.  

Words and pictures really fall short whenever it comes to describing a place like this.  It was a great trip and I hope we will make it back to Jackson Hole one day, even if we are old and retired.