Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mad-Time in Maine with the Madsens!

Originally, on Josh's b-day weekend, the East Coast Madsens (Nate & Amy, Jane, Josh & I) thought we'd get together in Maine for a quick celebration. Well, once Adele caught wind of it, she just had to come (she hearts Maine). Then, when Kasey found out, there was no way she would be left out and then lo and behold, before you know it, the entire Madsen clan (minus Kasey's husband Steve) were on board for an impromptu trip to one of our favorite places. We stayed just south of Kennebunk Port and though it was a short, unplanned trip, it was filled with mad fun times, Madsen-style. Some of the highlights: shopping at the best outlets ever (plus, the huge L.L. Bean store) in Freeport; devouring plenty of helpings of Ben & Jerry's ice cream; staying up late to play "Murder" (I have to give props to Adele for her fine acting ability--ha!); giving ourselves (manly men included) micro-derm abrasion facials; playing woofle ball at the beach and just enjoying one another's crazy company. Luckily, Kasey took lots of pictures and I stole them off her blog to share with you. Thanks Bard and Adele for our Maine adventure; can't wait for more mad-times with the Madsen clan!

The grandkids, Sarah & Beth, outside L.L. Bean's famous boot made out of sand.

The entire Madsen clan (sans Steve, sadly) outside of our favorite Freeport shop: Ben & Jerry's (notice little Beth holding tightly onto her ice cream cone). Top left to right: Kasey (with her daughter Sarah), Jane, Josh, Nate (with his daughter Beth), Annie, Ryan, Adele & Bard. Bottom left to right: me and Amy.
The ocean!!!! (Not the ocean, ocean, but little tributaries that would ebb & flow with the rising tide).
Jane, Annie & Josh applying their micro-derm abrasion. Nice face, Josh!
Josh and Ryan, Annie's hubby. Their skin looks better already!
Yeah for Madsen facials! And, boy, were they much-needed. My skin felt better for days.

Monday, August 13, 2007

This Ain't No Garden of Eden!

Behold, the beauty of our largely overgrown, shamefully neglected, and ridiculously fruitful garden. Though our garden is no Garden of Eden, it, too, has a story. Back in May, Josh's mom, Adele, came to visit, with the intent of helping us on a yard project, since she herself is a lover of the great outdoors. Josh and I had contemplated growing a small vegetable garden, so we thought we would put Adele's expertise to use and plant one in our backyard. Well, Adele, of course, would hear nothing of this small, simple garden. What she envisioned was two 8'x20' garden plots, terracing out of our backyard hill. Catching her enthusiasm and vision, I thought this was a brilliant idea.

While Josh was at work, Adele and I traveled to her favorite store, The Home Depot, in her tiny, two-door rental car and bought the necessary supplies: planks of wood at least 10' long, plenty of nails and, of course, 8 patio chairs (4 for us and 4 for Josh's brother in VT. When I mentioned to Adele that she might be able to purchase the 4 chairs for Nate & Amy at The Home Depot in VT., she insisted that they were all out of the chairs in VT. So, after lugging the chairs three hours to VT. on the top of her car, it turns out they weren't, in fact, out of stock. Hmmmm.....). So, imagine loading all this into the tiny rental car: lots of rope, more patience, three offers from 3 different truckers to give us a ride home, an abundance of time spent on the roof of the car, more than enough strange looks, mounds of embarrassment, and a 30-minute drive home. Once home, we unloaded our spoils and got everything prepared for when Josh would arrive and he could start the drilling, hammering and constructing. Adele, only there for the weekend, just knew we could finish this project before she departed. Little did we know......

Well, after three and a half-weeks, millions of wheelbarrows full of rock-solid shale, hours of sweaty work, and a large supply of drugs to heal the back aches, Josh FINALLY dug out the two 8'x20' plots (he wasn't as thrilled at Adele's and my grand vision) and created the terraced garden boxes. Now all we needed was some dirt and manure and, of course, some vegetable plants. Dirt we got delivered on a large truck (mind you, to fill these two plots it took almost $300 worth of dirt). Manure was delivered on a small red truck--our red truck. Fortunately, a family in our ward has a farm and they offered us manure free of charge--we just had to get it ourselves. Then came the vegetables--oddly enough the easiest, cheapest part of the entire endeavor. Now, come the spoils. Since Josh and I claim this is our "practice garden" we've learned a few things: don't plant everything so close together, never plant pumpkins or else they will take over the garden (and the whole world for that matter), and never, never plant 7 tomato plants or 4 cucumber plants! We have so many vegetables that they're growing out of our ears; we can't give them away.......Like I said, our garden may be no Garden of Eden, but next year, I'm sure, it will be. Enjoy the pictures, Adelee! Thanks for all your help and expertise!

The right garden plot: tomatoes and cucumbers.

The left garden box: corn, pumpkins, basil & onions. (Ignore our hill and yard; they need much work, money & time to make them presentable. Perhaps next summer--what do you think, Adelee, are you game?) The lawn chairs. Try fitting 8 of these on the roof of a two-door car. You better be enjoying those chairs, Nate & Amy! Our first spoils! Lots & lots of cucumbers, some green peppers and a few tomatoes (though we don't know what kind since we planted 7 different types of tomatoes. They look like cherry tomatoes, though I am almost positive we didn't plant any of those).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

7 Things I've Loved and Learned During 7 Years of Marriage!

Since our wedding was pre-digital cameras, I just took pictures of our pictures. Nice, eh?

One of our engagement pictures. We look so happy, so young, so in love. Oh, how naive we were.

Yes, Happy Anniversary to us. Today is the day when we celebrate the beginning of our lifelong journey of love and happiness (ha, ha--who knew we'd make it this far?). Really, though, I feel impressed to share some of my pearls of wisdom, as far as married life goes. Indeed, I am sure that most of you look to Josh and me as the epitome of marital bliss. So, here are the 7 things I've loved and learned during 7 years of marriage.

1. I've learned that love really does mean never having to SAY you're sorry; rather, instead of SAYING you're sorry, you need to beg, plead and implore for forgiveness. After a door-slamming, name-calling, shouting-match of a fight, it's best to just get down on your knees and start groveling. I'm sure none of your fights are like this, but if they are, it's advisable you start learning how to beg. I've become a pro (shocking, I know! Who would have thought I'd ever even raise my voice?)

2. I've learned that it's really okay if you're husband is more domestic than you. I've accepted the fact that Josh is a better cook, seamstress (seamster for males?), and grocery shopper than me. In reality, I've really learned to love it. Take, for instance, the night of my Personal Progress slumber party for the Young Women. Picture all the Young Women and the leaders looking to me for guidance as to how to make the calzones I'd planned on creating for a sumptuous dinner. I stood there, puzzled, because it was Josh who always rolled out the home-made dough. Desperate, I called up to Josh to come downstairs for a moment. I whispered my plight to him and he gladly rolled out thirteen perfect sized calzone rounds. Then, imagine my bewilderment as I went to instruct the girls on how to make these adorable fabric belts. Again, there I stood, puzzled, wondering how to thread my two sewing machines. Luckily, Josh was there again to the rescue. Not only did he show the girls how to thread the machines, but he also taught them how to make the belts, using the one he had already made for me as a template. Unfortunately, with so little time, he could not teach the girls how to sew in a straight line. None of their belts were as fabulous-looking as Josh's. Yes, I've learned to love that my husband is a domestic genius; I don't know how we'd survive without him.

3. I've loved seven years of snuggling with Joshy. Josh is the best cuddler ever. If you've never had a chance to snuggle with him, I highly recommend it.

4. I've learned that no matter how hard I try, and no matter how much I plead, gramiccis and hand-me-down/free t-shirts will be Josh's choice of attire. If you don't know what gramiccis are, let me tell you. They are camping/hiking shorts or pants, made of khaki, with an elastic waste band. I know, so attractive. Don't get me wrong, gramiccis have their place; they're acceptable to be worn while either hiking or camping, but not, however, at a fancy restaurant where you're celebrating your 7th anniversary. It's lucky for us that I have enough fashion sense to make up for the both of us:)

5. I've learned that the best way to shop is to "secret shop". After I go shopping (which I rarely do, of course), I just bring the clothes home, cut off the tags and hang them in my closet--just like it's been there all along. Then, a few days later, when wearing the new shirt, if Josh happens to notice what I'm wearing (which, again, is rare) and wonders if it's new, I just respond, "This old thing? Oh, no! I just pulled it out of my closet!"

6. I've learned that the only way to get good presents from your spouse is to buy them yourself. For example, for our anniversary we decided not to spend any money since we just went broke buying plane tickets. I decided I'd make him a coupon book from me, offering my wide array of services (e.g. "Good for one day where lids are put on everything." For SOME reason, he hates the fact that I leave lids off of everything: the toothpaste, the milk carton, the peanut butter jar. I think it's endearing). While making the coupon book, I had a brilliant idea! Josh should make ME a coupon book, too. And since I knew he never would, I made it for myself. I got the best coupons: "Good for one pristine bathroom cleaning"; "Good for one hour of talking about Jerusalem" (where we met); "Good for one hour of putting stuff on the walls without complaint" (Josh hates hanging pictures on the wall. Who knows why?!!). So, when Josh got home and I gave him his coupon book, I told him now it was time for him to give me my present. Confused, he told me he didn't get me anything else (besides flowers and two Peppermint Patties--my candy of preference at the moment). I told him that he did, in fact, get me another present and then I whipped out the coupon book. I think he was soooo glad he thought of it! I can't wait to use that bathroom cleaning one. Why, oh why, did I limit it to one bathroom??

7. I've learned that marrying Josh was the best decision I've ever made. I'm glad that 8 years ago, when we met in Jerusalem, I didn't let anything deter me from snatching him up. I love his easy-going attitude, his willingness to help anyone, his ability to "do anything" (as his mom always says), his 12-year old enthusiasm, his love of puppies, his tender heart, his giggling like a school-girl and, most of all, his patience and love for me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I AM a Hiker!

Me, looking stunning after a day of hiking. That must be why I enjoy hiking so much: it does wonders for my look! (Apparently, we need to use the flash on our camera because our pictures are so dark. I can't tell, though, if our camera even has flash. We inherited the camera from Josh's dad who took pity on us when he realized we didn't have one and gave us an old one of his, but it's too fancy and has too many buttons. And the manual--like 70 pages. Would it be too much to ask if the camera just said "flash" and had an arrow pointing to a button????)
Josh in his favorite "model" pose!

Since I listed "hiking" as one of my interests in my profile, I am so glad that I actually have proof that I am, in fact, a hiker (you know that half the time, when asked what your interests are, you just make things up that sound interesting. No one REALLY wants to know that all you're interested in is watching T.V. or browsing random Internet blogs--not that I do either of these things--oh, no)! I really do enjoy hiking, though. Fortunately, Josh and I live near the Adirondacks in eastern New York so we get to do a lot of hiking. They're no Rocky Mountains, but Lake George and the beautiful deciduous trees are breathtaking. Last 4th of July, we hiked Buck Mountain. It was a cloudy, rainy day so when we got to the top it was quite chilly. But at least we now have proof positive that I am, in fact, a hiker!

The Happiest Day of Josh's Life

I'm sure if you would ask Josh what the happiest day of his life has been thus far, he wouldn't say that it was our wedding day or the day that he graduated from either colleges, but I AM sure he would say, "The day I went to the Boston Red Sox game." Thanks to my parents, who bought both Josh and me tickets to a game last May (Yeah! Four hours of baseball; I couldn't think of a better way to spend my time), we got to experience Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox. Honestly, I can't tell you much about the game, except that Kurt Schilling pitched the first half, that Big Papi did NOT hit a homerun and that the Red Sox blew out the competition, the Baltimore Orioles, in one inning alone. I CAN tell you, however, about my favorite parts of the game: dreamy polish dogs outside the gates of Fenway (if you look closely, you can see I enjoyed the dogs too much--I spilled ketchup on my pants), getting "Peanuts and Cracker Jacks" from the vendors, singing "Sweet Caroline" at the 7th inning stretch, and shouting "Yoooooooooouuuuuuuk" every time Kevin Youkilis got up to the plate. For Josh, a dream come true and, I'm sure, the happiest day of his life. For me, it was all about the food and the singing. When is it not?

Last Random Photo: Image 046

Here I sit, with my niece Beth, at Krispy Kreme Donuts in Montreal, Canada, in May 2006. Yes, we saw breathtaking cathedrals, ate at authentic French cafes, and walked along the beautiful pier, but do you think I have any pictures of those lovely cultural experiences? No, apparently, my camera and I thought the best place we visited while in Montreal was Krispy Kreme. And, by the look on her face, I think Beth would agree!

Image 086: The Red Chair

Just to give you a taste of what my camera and I have been doing these last few years, I downloaded some more pictures at random. This dazzling picture is Image 086. Here before you sits the red chair--the very red chair that wasn't always a red chair. In fact, it once was a chair owned by Josh's grandpa (and so kindly donated to us with three other chairs and a table) that once had seat covering after seat covering all in that oh-so-popular orange and olive green color that was all the rage in the seventies. Last year, deciding that this look was so three decades ago, I determined to paint the chairs and recover the seats. And what a surprise did I find! Layer after layer of lovely seventies seat coverings; I never did find the bottom--I was too afraid of what might lie beneath. Then I painted the chair red (a little brighter than I anticipated, but still an improvement on the faded, scarred wood) and recovered it with a trendy stripe. All in all, a job well-done. At least, that's what my camera and I think.

First Picture Ever Downloaded

This picture has a lot of meaning to me. It brings back a special time in my life, a time of wind-swept hair, a time when I apparently enjoyed wearing different hues of brown and, of course, a time when I found pleasure from putting my hands in my pockets. Really, though, this picture is most significant because it is the first picture I ever down-loaded from my camera. Why this picture, you may want to know? Well, in reality, I had no idea what picture I was downloading, since I hadn't saved them, so I had to pick an image at random. And the image I chose? Image035, which just happened to be of me, standing on the Brooklyn Bridge in March of 2006 when my mom, my sister, Josh and I toured the Big Apple.

Watch Out Blogging World, Here I Come!

Well, here it all begins. After much consideration, and not to mention an alarming amount of prayer, I've decided to join the blogging world. It was not an easy decision; I wasn't sure if the world of bloggers was ready for me yet. However, it was brought to my attention that too much would be lost if I did NOT start a blog. What, pray tell, might be lost? Well, let me inform you. If I never started this blog you would never get a day-by-day detailing of what it is I do with my life (and trust me, this will be scintillating, seeing as how I am currently unemployed); you would never get to see treasured pictures of my handsome husband and me, taken by a photography novice (you mean I have to wait for the click to actually take a picture? Who knew?); lastly, if ne'er I started this blog you would never learn the inner-workings of my highly intelligent & uniquely creative mind (again, scintillating, seeing as how I am still unemployed and I am currently addicted to reading random peoples' blogs). Quite frankly, I don't know how the world has survived without me on http://www.blogger.com/. So, watch out blogging world, here I come!