Repost: My Minivan is Cooler Than Your Lexus!

Originally posted on October 20th of last year, this post still makes me laugh.  Mostly because I still remember how NOT cool I felt watching my minivan get a scrubbing in between all them fancy cars. 

Due to several car trips in the last few months, our minivan has taken a bit of a beating.  Covered in dead bugs, splattered with mud and sporting the drop marks accrued during our deluge of rain last week, her sleek black exterior has lost a little bit of it’s luster.

It’s not often that one reads the words “sleek” and “luster” in the context of a minivan, I know.

So yesterday afternoon, I took my rockin’ hot minivan through a specialty car wash.  You know, one of those car washes where actual humans scrub your car?

After pulling her loveliness into line, I got out and shopped around the convenience store for a few minutes before heading out to watch them remove the layers of dirt that had been holding her back all these weeks.  And what did I find when I came out?

I found my minivan sandwiched between two Lexus’s (is the plural Lexi?) who were also being scrubbed to shiney perfection.  Then a third Lexus pulled up, followed by a BMW and a fourth Lexus.

And finally, the Créme de la Créme – a gorgeous (and I’m not a car person) sports car pulled up and parked nose to nose with my van.  I have no idea what brand it was, but it was somthin’ fancy, let me tell ya!

And guys, I kid you not, my van blushed and giggled when that thing parked in front of her.

And so, there I stood, the girl who brought her hoopty van to a class act party.  I was the like the stray dog at a country club.  The sore thumb.  The minivan surrounded by Lexi!

I tried to play it all cool like this was only my day car, but you should see what I drive at night.  But my mom garb didn’t help the situation – that being my unwashed hair, jeans, tennis shoes and puffer vest.

Oh, then there was the fact that I forgot to bring cash to tip the boys washing my car and had to scrounge for enough change to make it worth their while.  I, my friends, am nothing if not classy.

The best part of the whole process, though, was watching the boys attempt to work my tricked out van.  What she lacks in style she makes up in sheer awesomeness!  I mean, hello!  She has an automatic back hatch and one automatic side door, which I have child proofed, so the poor guys kept getting stuck inside the car when vacuuming because they couldn’t figure out how to open the door and got confused as to which was automatic and which was manual.

Good times.

And then, of course, there are the multiple – and I mean mul.ti.ple – scratches on the car from the kids running their bikes down the sides.  Yep – that’s how I roll.

So when the guys finally finished her up and handed me the keys, I climbed inside my now sleek and lusterous minivan and started her up.  Next to the purring sports car, she sounded like some sort mammoth as she roared to life.

And with that I held my head high, looked down upon the lowly sports car and I pulled out of Lexusland, driving her hotness off into the horizen.  I hope everyone watching wasn’t too jealous…

Boy Proposes (Girl Says Yes)


It was November, 1999 and Lee and I had plans to go visit my parents for the weekend.  We had been talking a lot about marriage, weddings, rings and so on, so I knew an engagement was soon in the making.  I had a sneaking suspicion that the weekend we went home, Lee was planning on talking to my dad and asking his permission.  And then I figured he would officially pop the question on Thanksgiving.

We were flying out of Austin, Texas that weekend and they had recently opened a new airport, which Lee and I had never been to.  The original Austin airport was small and easy to find.  The new one…wasn’t.

We left ourselves just enough time to get to the airport, park Lee’s sexy Grand Am and get to our gate with about thirty minutes to spare.  This was pre-9/11 days so we figured we could zip through security in no time.  What we did not plan on, however, was how long it would take us to get to the new airport.  It was significantly farther away than the original airport and as we drove and drove and drove and…droooove, we got increasingly nervous about missing our flight.  With an hour to go from departure, we were still roughly thirty minutes from the airport.  And I started to panic.

No worries though.  Lee floored the Grand Am and we broke the law to screech into the airport with no time to spare.  Lee dropped me and the bags off at the front and he raced to park the car.  I dashed inside to the ticket agent and asked him to call the flight and tell then we were coming.

“We?” he said, looking around me.

“My bo-erm…My friend is on his way.”  I stammered, still not comfortable with the term boyfriend.  The guy raised his eyebrows and looked me up and down then nodded and said, “Mmm-hmmm.  And where exactly is your ‘friend?‘” he asked, actually using air quotes at me.

And just then, like a knight in shining armor, Lee tore through the door all red faced and sweaty.  I motioned, the guy rolled his eyes and told us to hurry.  We made it moments before they shut the doors.

When we arrived in St. Louis, I found myself very nervous and jittery.  On Saturday morning, Lee and my dad were going flying.  My dad had his pilot’s license and he was taking Lee on a flight to Sikeston.  And the story I got from that morning goes something like this:

The guys were prepping the plane for take off and talking business.  Lee was busy trying to figure out where he was going to work after his two years with K-Life ended.  He had recently met with Drayton Mclane, owner of the Houston Astros, and he was exploring some options.  My dad, who was on one side of the plane, asked, “So, Lee, how did this meeting come about?”  He was asking Lee how he got connected with Drayton Mclane.

Lee, however, was so nervous about asking if he could marry me that he wasn’t really thinking of anything else.  So, thinking that my dad wanted to know how the meeting that morning came about, Lee blurted out, “Well Richard, IwantedtoknowifIcouldmarryyourdaughter.”

awkward pause

It took my dad a second to figure out what Lee was talking about and why he had so swiftly changed the subject.  Then he made Lee get in the plane and told him they’d talk more when they got to Sikeston.  So for an hour, Lee had to sit next to my dad, in a small plane, nervously awaiting his answer.

Cruel.  But funny too…

That night, Lee and I went to dinner with my parents.  I hadn’t had a chance to talk with Lee to see how the conversation went with my dad.  I knew my parents loved Lee so I wasn’t worried, but I was curious.  We went to a country club for dinner and as we waited on the salads to come, I ran to the bathroom, throwing my napkin down on my plate.

When I came back, I regaled my parents and friend with my fascination over the country club’s fancy bathroom, which had a light that came on automatically when I walked in.

I’m easily please, folks…

“I mean, how did it know I came in?” I asked.  “And how did it know how long I was in there?  How did the light know to stay on for me?  It’s crazy, huh?”

I looked around to see robotic stares in return.  My mom picked her napkin up off her lap and kind of flipped in around a couple of times before laying it back down.  But nobody said anything…they just stared at me.  It was weird.  Finally, the waitress came with our salads and I grabbed my napkin off my plate so she could lay my salad down.

And staring up at me from inside a red lined box was a beautiful diamond ring.  I gasped, laughed and looked at Lee who slid down onto one knee.  At this point, the whole restaurant was watching as Lee said a few nice things then popped the question.  I don’t remember at all what he said, but I know I said yes and I think I said it kind of loud.


Everyone clapped and moved one.  I, however, couldn’t stop staring at my hand, with the sparkler glaring at me from my finger.  It was so surreal and exciting and I don’t remember anything else about that night.

It was November 6, 1999.  We would be married 8 months later.

To read the more of the love story, go here.


Girl and Boy and a Cricket Makes Three


As Lee and I lead up to our 10th Anniversary, I am chronicling some of the favorite memories of our years together.  You can read our love story here.

By the fall of 1999, Lee and I were an official “item.”  Although neither one of us could ever really call each other “boyfriend and girlfriend.”  It sounded silly and trivial and we’d giggle every time we said it.  We also felt very strange and junior high when we would walk and hold hands.  Because we knew that marriage was imminent, it almost felt like hand holding and labeling trivialized our relationship.

When we returned for what would be my senior year at Baylor, Lee decided to go to the K-Life Board of Directors and tell them about our relationship and his intentions for it.  Because he was on staff and I was a volunteer leader, technically we weren’t supposed to date.  I was willing to step down as a volunteer if I needed to in order to officially date Lee, but I did not have to do that.  The Board was not only supportive of Lee and I, they were excited for us.  And for that entire school year, they really poured into us as a couple.  What a blessing that was.

So we were free to move forward as an official couple, and move forward we did.  Every available moment we had, we spent together.  Because I was in my final year and it was kicking my tail academically, Lee and I spent a lot of time at Barnes and Noble – me studying, him staring dreamily at me…

Okay, not really – I think he usually prepared his K-Life talks or Bible studies, but I like to think that he was so distracted by my beauty that he got nothing done at all during that time.

For those of you who have been in Waco in the autumn, you will know that what I am about to write is no exaggeration.  Every fall, Waco experienced what can only be described as the Plague of Crickets.  Thousands upon thousands (maybe millions) of crickets would swarm the town, covering buildings, falling from the sky and altogether making my life a living hell.

I’ve told you about my unnatural fear of crickets here.  This fear stems from my years as a Baylor student.  And the fall of 1999 was the worst cricket infestation of all my years there.  You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing one or 10,000 crickets.  They were in restaurants, churches, libraries, classrooms – every-freakin’-where

One evening, as Lee and I sat in a quiet corner of B & N studying and talking, I kept a wary eye on the crickets that were crawling on the wall next to us.  It was at a particularly intense moment of conversation that I felt a tickle on my calf.  I gasped and slapped at my leg, shaking my pants around a little.  Lee laughed and called me paranoid and we moved on. 

A moment later, I felt another tickle on the back of my knee.  I yelped and shook my leg under the table.  When no cricket came tumbling out, I decided that maybe I was being a little crazy.  Until…

I felt something crawling on my thigh!

At this point I leapt to my feet in the silent but crowded book store where several people were studying and began hopping and dancing about as I stuck my hands down my pants and dug for the voyeristic little cricket.  I finally felt my hands close around it and I snatched it out of my pants and threw it across the room with a scream.

I looked around to see all eyes on me and Lee doubled over in laughter.  I gave a little smile and wave, then slowly sat back down all shaky and hot.  Lee was still laughing.  I glared at him and leaned forward.

“Lee,” I hissed.  “Did you see that?”

He snorted.

“Lee!” I was desperate for him to understand the seriousness of the situation.  I had just been viciously attacked, for crying out loud.

“That cricket was in my pants,” I stage whispered in horror.

Lee sat up and wiped his eyes, then looked straight at me.  “Well,” he said with a grin.  “Lucky cricket.”

My mouth dropped open and my face got hotter still.  Then we both started cracking up. 

And then we left…And I have had a severe Crickiphobia ever since.

Boy Says I Love You

Alternately titled, Girl Needs Pants.

Part One

Part Two

In June of 1999, I was working as an intern at First Baptist Church in Conway, Arkansas and was slowly but surely wading into the waters of forever with Lee.  Toward the end of the month, he came for a visit and during this time we met up with my family in Branson (where I learned that my future husband, Mr. Super-Athlete-Who-Can-Play-Any-Sport-Like-A-Pro, cannot, in fact, water ski.  He looks like gumby when he water skis and I will confess that it brings sweet joy to my soul to know that there is one thing I can do better than him.)

As we drove back to Conway, we had the official moment when Lee laid out his intentions for our relationship.  I’ll never forget what he said as we twisted and turned through the dark hills.  “I just want you to know that I plan on pursuing this relationship to marriage.  Are you okay with that?”

Um, yeah.  I’m good with that.  Totally.  You’re hot. We’re good.

Some of the details of my summer in Conay are murkey.  For example, I can’t remember if Lee came once or twice to visit.  I know that at some point Fourth of July happened, you know – like it happens every year.  And my parents came to Conway to meet Lee’s family.  I can’t remember if this was the same trip as the Branson visit or a different one.  I do remember that the night of July 4th, Lee was goofing around and through a fire cracker at me and it popped right at my feet.  And my dad was standing right there watching.

Bad move, dude…

The other thing I remember is the obssession that Lee and I had back then with roller blading.  In fact, I’m fairly certain we roller bladed the entire town of Conway at 1:00 in the morning the night before he was to return to Waco.  From Texas, he would be leaving to Germany for a month to play basketball.  So the night before he left, we stayed up until the wee hours talking, laughing and enjoying the energy that comes with youth and new love.

Around 3:30 that morning, we said good night to each other and went to our separate rooms.  I climbed into bed exhausted but ecstatic.  And not five minutes after I laid down my head I heard a little knock on the door.  It should be noted that I was wearing nothing but a small t-shirt at this moment.

“Can I come in for a second?” Lee asked.

I pulled the covers up to my chin.  “Okay,” I said, assuming that he just wanted to say something quickly before heading back to bed.

He walked in the room and turned on the light.  Then he grabbed the desk chair and pulled it to the side of the bed and sat down, leaning forward to put his elbows on his knees.  And I did not move or sit up,  but stayed firmly planted beneath the covers with the blanket pulled up around my chin.

“I just wanted to tell you something before I leave tomorrow,” he began.  His eyes were all serious and I sincerely wished I had asked him to wait a minute so I could have gotten dressed before he came in.  “I have really been praying about this and I want you to know that I don’t take these words lightly.  I fully understand their meaning and I wouldn’t say them if I didn’t mean it with all my heart.”

At this point I’m thinking, Crap! But I’m not wearing any pants! 

“Kelli – I love you.”

*awkward pause*

For the few agonizing seconds that I made him sit there in silence, I ran through my options.  Stick out one arm for a brief hug and thank him?  Nah.  Sit up and pull the blankets around my waste and say it in return?  Nah – because not only was I not wearing pants, I wasn’t wearing undergarments…and the shirt was white.  I was ready for bed, people!

So I said the only thing that really made sense. “Um…could you go stand in the closet for a second?”

Lee’s eyebrows furrowed.  I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the response he hoped for.  “What?” he asked.

“Just for a second.  Go stand in the closet.”

He stood up and walked slowly to the closet.  Poor guy.  I could see the worry in his eyes.  I leapt out of bed and got dressed as quickly as I could, then told him it was okay to come out now.  He opened the door and stepped out and I grinned.

“I love you too,” I said.  And we hugged.  We did not kiss – not yet.  I wrote about how long it took my chivalrous husband to kiss me here (and about how terribly I tempted him).

“What was with the closet?” Lee asked as we embraced.

“Well…” I said, “I wasn’t wearing any pants.”

And that, folks, is the day my husband told me he loved me for the first time…

Girl Falls in Love

Lee and I are just months away from our 10 year Anniversary (July 22).  Last week, I purchased our tickets to Milan, Italy for mid-September where we will spend ten days driving through Switzerland, Austria and Italy (we may even try to swing through France if we have time) to celebrate.  As we ramp up to this big milestone in our marriage, I will be recording some of the favorite memories of our life together…

Read part one of this story here.

While I was in Kiev, Lee and I emailed back and forth several times.  We both had the purest of intentions, of course.  I mean, obviously, I was concerned with how his first few months as area director for K-Life were going and I was emailing him solely to encourage him in his new endeavor.  And he was clearly concerned with how I was coping in a foreign country all by myself and just wanted to encourage me in my endeavor.


I still have those emails, by the way.  I printed them off and saved them.  Because I knew I was going to marry this man.  Turns out that the night I left for Kiev, Lee called his parents and told them he was pretty sure he had just met the girl he was going to marry.

So when I returned to Waco in January of 1999, I prepared myself to see Lee again for the first time.  We worked together in ministry so I knew I had to tread carefully.  I couldn’t let on that I had a mad crush on the new guy.  So when I arrived at that first K-Life meeting, I made a very concerted effort not to look down the aisle at Lee.  We met in an old movie theater and he was standing right up front and it took every bit of willpower to not head straight for him and say hello.  Instead, I very slowly meandered my way down to the front, stopping and talking to friends along the way.

Two of my sweet friends had caught on a bit to Lee’s crush and told me later that they were watching Lee when I walked in the room to see what his reaction would be.  Apparently he was a little obvious because they both say that their suspicions were confirmed by his point blank stare.

Lee says he still remembers what I looked like when I walked into the theater.  Short hair (due to a very unfortunate incident in a hair salon during one of my side trips to London that involved an orange-haired stylist from New Zealand…), orange coat and blue jeans.  I don’t remember what Lee was wearing – probably jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball hat – but I remember that when I finally got to the front of the room and spoke to him, my heart started racing and my palms sweating.

After the meeting, I hung around a bit to catch up with my future husband.  I believe we talked for about an hour.  He sat on one side of the aisle, I on the other.  I left on cloud nine and practically floated back to my apartment.

That second semester of school found Lee and I dancing around one another, both coming up with random reasons to call each other.  I worked really, really hard to hide my feelings for him.  And, for the most part, I succeeded.  The only person to figure out what I was up to was Dana, Lee’s partner.  Lee, however, did not do as good of a job hiding his feelings.  Almost everyone suspected that he had a bit of a crush. 

Lee and I both led Friday morning Bible studies that semester – I with the senior girls and Lee with the senior boys.  My girls were supposed to meet me at the K-Life house at 6:45 and Lee’s Bible study started at 7:00.  I would always arrive around 6:40 so Lee and I could have a few minutes to talk.  My girls caught on to this and decided to take it upon themselves to hook us up.  So they conspired to show up late every week.  They never showed up before 7:00.  I did not know about this until much later.  Turns out they were certain that Lee liked me, but they weren’t sure how I felt, so they wanted me to have some alone time with him to figure it out.

Brilliant girls. 

In April of 1999, I drove with Lee to Conway to interview for a position as a youth intern at his home church.  Even though I had offers that may have been a little more exciting for the summer (I had a job offer coaching gymnastics at Bela Karolyi’s camp in Houston and I also had an offer to intern at a church in Orlando), I really wanted to go to Conway, Arkansas so I could get to know Lee’s family and have easy access to him for the summer.  On the way home from that trip, Lee asked me if he could keep in touch with me over the summer – he would remain in Waco for part of the time and then go to Germany to play basketball for a month.

That was as close to a DTR as we got.  And that day, I bought a journal and began secretly writing letters to Lee.  I gave him that journal a little over a year later the day we got married.

To be continued in which I will share the first time Lee told me he loved me.  Definately a story worth recording…

Girl Meets Boy

Lee and I are just months away from our 10 year Anniversary (July 22).  Last week, I purchased our tickets to Milan, Italy for mid-September where we will spend ten days driving through Switzerland, Austria and Italy (we may even try to swing through France if we have time) to celebrate.  As we ramp up to this big milestone in our marriage, I will be recording some of the favorite memories of our life together beginning today with when we met…

scan0003It was March of 1998.  I was a 19-year-old sophomore at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  One of the things I did with my free time was volunteer with a youth discipleship organization called K-Life.  Our two area directors were getting married and moving on, so they brought in a new guy, who would start serving as the Waco area director in the fall.

His name was Lee Stuart.

He came to one of our leaders meetings and the memory of that night is seared into my brain.  He was sitting on the floor, against the wall next to the front door of the K-Life house.  He had on a baseball hat, shorts and a T-Shirt and I thought he was adorable.  I tried not to be too obvious with my staring…

Did I mention that I was dating someone at this point?  Yeah – I should mention that.

We were split into groups to write monologues for an upcoming Easter Cross Talk where people would portray different characters from the crucifixion.  Lee was placed in my group and we were assigned Peter.  He laid on a bean bag behind me and we contemplated what Peter must have been thinking and feeling during that long night.  I fought hard not to be a silly, giggly girl.  I was being all aloof and cool.  I wasn’t going to be that girl who fawned all over the new guy, even though my heart was racing… 

After the meeting was over, I stood talking with a couple of the other girl leaders about the new guy.  “My only fear with him,” one girl said, “is that all the female leaders are going to see him as someone to date and he’s going to be a distraction.”

“Oh yeah, totally,” I agreed.  “Hopefully people can remember that he’s not here to find his wife but to lead the ministry.”  I said this while envisioning myself in a wedding gown.  Nice.

It should also be noted that Lee does not remember this first meeting.  Boys! *eyeroll*

Lee left the next day and I went about my business at school, dating my current boyfriend and planning for my next semester, which would be studying abroad in Kiev, Ukraine.  I went on a tour with my choir in May to Spain, then came home for a little downtime with my family.  During that time, I found out that Lee was working as the Program’s Director at Kanakuk Kamps, so I did what any self-respecting girl who had a little crush would do.

I wrote him a letter.

You see, I had worked at Kanakuk the summer before and I knew what kind of girls were there.  Cute girls.  Athletic girls who loved God.  The kind of girls that would  be very attractive to someone like Lee.  And he was quite the catch so I didn’t doubt at all that girls would be after him.  I knew I had to get my name out there before some other girl swept in and stole his heart.  And yes, I was still dating someone else at this point – but I was keeping my options open.  Clearly…

So I wrote Lee a letter telling him how excited I was to have him come to Waco and that I was praying for him as he prepared to move and change jobs.  I was completely shameless and my motives were anything but pure. 

I headed back down to Waco in June for a semester of summer school and while I was there, Lee and the other director, Dana, came down for a couple of days to meet some of the kids.  I met up with them for ice cream.  I laid on the charm and sent Lee on his way, confident he would be thinking about me at least for a little while.  Turns out he was pretty smitten by the time he left Waco. 

I’m good, folks.  Really good.

A week later, my boyfriend and I broke up.  I really liked that guy and I was very sad to see the relationship end, but I was equally relieved because I had a feeling, deep down, that Lee was the man I would end up with.  It’s the terrible cliche that you always hear, but in my case it was true.  I just knew.

I would see Lee one more time the night before I left for Ukraine.  I went to the K-Life house where a group of the leaders was hanging out.  Lee and I tried swing dancing together.  We were flirting terribly, but both trying not to be obvious.  I’m not sure we totally succeeded.

The next day, I left for Ukraine and I wouldn’t return until January.  And the first time I saw Lee upon my return is a pivotal moment that both of us remember…

To be continued at a later date…

Does this mean I still got it?

Sunday mornings are crazy hectic here at chez Stuart.  I sing lead vocals at church, Lee plays guitar.  Which means nearly every Sunday one of us has to be there early.  And yesterday I had to be there particularly early – 7:30 early.  So, like I do every Sunday when I have to leave early, I got up before the sun and got myself ready so that I could help get the kids ready before leaving.

Because if I don’t at least get Tia’s dress on and her hair done before I leave there is no telling what she’ll look like when I pick her up after church.  One time I picked her up and her dress was on backwards.  That was the day I realized that I needed to stick around long enough to help.

As I walked out the door at 7:20, Lee called out, “Hey, my right front tire is really low, so you’ll probably need to put some air in it on your way to church.”

Duuuuude.  Wha?!

I was wearing heels.  These lovelies…


And he wanted me to do what again?

So, like the loving, dutiful, amazingly incredible and humble wife that I am, I stopped at the gas station and pulled up to the little air-filler-upper-dooly-bopper.  And right there, in my dress and rockin’ red heels I filled up his tire.  I contorted this way and that to make sure that my dress stayed in it’s proper place as I knelt down to fill up the tire (it was really, really low).  I tucked and twisted and held tight as a slight breeze blew, all the while perched precariously atop the teetering heels.

And then I heard it.  At 7:25 on a Sunday morning.  A honk.  My head snapped up and I caught site of two boys who didn’t even look old enough to be driving as they puttered past in a shiney black truck.  One of them gave me a thumbs up.  Seriously?

I gave them a nod of thanks and a small smile and went about my business trying to put air in the tire trying all the while to keep my flaming cheeks from spontanteously combusting.  I texted Lee and told him he owes me one.  He texted back and told me I should have flashed a little leg and really given the boys something to talk about.

So if I got a honk on a Sunday morning, does this mean that I still got it?

‘Cause I think the boys had just been up all night and may have been a little delerious…

Check out my post today at STL Family Life.  I interviewed Kelly Stables, an old high school friend who is now an actress.  Her new show, with Alyssa Milano, is called Romantically Challenged and it airs tonight on ABC at 9:30/8:30C after Dancing With The Stars.

I’m married and dating a younger man!

Did you ever fear when you got married that you would miss dating?  That you might long for the excitement of going out with someone new and different – the butterflies, the joy of a shared moment, smiles exchanged, hands held?

I will confess – I did worry about it.  It wasn’t a worry that kept me up at night or made me question whether or not I should marry Lee, but I did think about it some in the months leading up to our marriage.  I was barely 22 when we got married.  I was very young and I knew that by marrying so young I was giving up a bit of “life.” In fact, when Lee proposed to me I was only eighteen months out of my teens.

In short, I was a baby.

Of course, I didn’t think that at the time.  I felt more than grown up and I was mature enough to step into marriage.  But looking back at it now, 22 seems so very young.

So yes – a couple of times during our engagement, I wondered if I would miss dating.  I worried that maybe the thrill of the chase would be over and I would never get to experience that excitement again.

Now that I’m so old (eyeroll), though, I have a little perspective.  First of all, I’m happy to say that I still get excited to go out on a date with my husband.  How naive I was to think that marriage would squeeze an ever tightening noose around the neck of excitement.  If anything, I get more excited to be alone with my husband now than I did back in those early days when I took for granted the endless alone time we had.  My husband can still make me giggle and he still gives me goosebumps when he comes out all dressed to the  nines and dapper.  That didn’t die when we said “I do.”

But, I also now have the opportunity to date someone else.  And going out with this young man gives me a new and different kind of excitement.  When he smiles at me, my stomach flutters and my heart skips a beat when he holds my hand in public.  And he’s only six years old.  I never imagined it could be so fun to date my child.  Seeing his eyes light up at the prospect of having alone time with me is better than any new romance I ever experienced in college.

I also get to date my daughter.  Tonight she and I went swimming at the gym.  Just the two of us.  We giggled and laughed.  We talked directly to one another without interruption.  We played and splashed and hugged and kissed.  And I had the time of my life.  And soon Landon will be old enough to date – although I have to say that the alone moments he and I get when the older two are at school are priceless and precious.

So gone are the feelings and fears that life will somehow be monotonous with the same person day in and day out.  I experience a lot of feelings on a day to day basis and I can guarantee you, monotony is not one of them.  I am dating more now than I ever did before and while Lee and I don’t do the best job of carving out alone time with one another, the fact is we don’t really have to.  I’m perfectly content sitting right here with him as he plays LEGO Star Wars on the Wii and I type away on Lucy.  I don’t need the fancy dates that I needed back when I was but a whipper snapper.

I just need my husband by my side and my children close by and all is well.

Although a glass of wine would be nice too…

Excuse me.

My bid for Wife of the Year

Earlier this year, Lee and I attended an auction for a local school where we bid on and won a backyard grill package. This item included a huge grill (which we ultimately sold) and a party that would be completely planned and catered for us.

So, in the spirit of awesome wifedom, I cashed in on said prize and threw Lee a surprise party for his birthday.  And I actually managed to pull it off, which is no small feat when you’re married to a man who tends to smell surprises and weasel them out of you early.

I may or may not have told a couple of little white lies in order to pull it all together, but I’m pretty sure that somewhere in Leviticus the Lord tells us that lying to protect a good secret is permissible and encouraged.

Or maybe it’s in the book of Nahum…

Whatever the case, my fibs worked – thankfully.  I thought my secret was blown Friday when he came home at noon to find someone cleaning our house.  I had made a big deal out of the fact that I was planning to clean the house, when in fact I was really out running my last few errands.

So when he came home early (noon – he came home at noon!  He never comes home at noon!) I spun a fantastic tale about my mom wanting to bless us with a deep house cleaning and I called this girl and she just happened to have an opening that morning and blah, blah, blah…

He bought it. 

It’s like feeding candy to a baby.

And so, after my poor dad had to stall for quite some time, Lee showed up having already downed a couple of margaritas, a hot dog and a quesadilla.  And he was surprised.  Very, very surprised. 

The party package included a caterer who made amazing appetizers, a grill master who smoked a brisket over night and delivered it hot to our door and an amazing Jazz band.  The weather was perfect; it was crisp and cool – perfect for sitting around the fire pit and listening to the music and enjoying family and friends.

And we have sweet, sweet friends.  I am constantly amazed at just how blessed we are to have such amazing people around us, pouring into our lives.

I got a few pictures.  They’re not great, because I’ve finally embraced the fact that I’m not a good photographer.  I’ve messed around with my camera so much that I think it’s finally gone on strike and is refusing to take a decent picture purely on principle.   I can almost hear it laughing at me every time I take a picture.

But these shots should give you a basic idea…


Now, earlier this year, I left my dear husband for eight days while I romped around the Caribbean.  That trip really set me back in my bid for Wife of the Year.  But this party, my friends, this. party. put me back in the running – big time.

You all are going to have to work pretty hard if you want to catch up now.

The end.

To hang or not to hang

For some time (read, two and a half years) Lee has been not so subtly suggesting we hang our television over our fireplace. 

When I say not so subtly, I mean he’s been saying things like, “Hey babe.  We should hang the TV over the fireplace.”

He insists that in order to fully utilize the awesomeness (my word, not his) of our TV, it should be hanging on the wall. 

You know – because it’s a flat screen. (his words, not mine)

This week, he has almost convinced me to give it a try.  But I’m still not sure.  Do I really want my TV hanging on the wall above my fireplace?  How will that look?

Oh my, what to do!

Here are a couple of pictures to give you a visual.  After viewing, please take a moment to vote on the poll.  Because I know that men and women will have different viewpoints on this matter, I’ve included gender specific choices. 

You’re welcome.

This first shot is where the TV is now.  A brief background (because I know you’re dying to know more).  Lee won that TV in a work contest a few years ago.  We had a lovely armoir unit that housed our old, non-flat screen, TV, but the new one wouldn’t fit in it. 

What to do?  We didn’t really want to buy a new TV stand, and I nixed the hangitoverthefireplce idea, so we sawed the top of the armoir off.  Yes, we are indeed hoosiers.

Summer '09 194

This is where Lee wants to hang the TV.  I’m just not sure.  It seems odd to me to have a TV hanging over the fireplace.  What do you think?  Vote below!Summer '09 195