Friday, June 24, 2016

Five on Friday: Puppies, Pools, and Precious People

We've been back from our great "anniventury" for a week- and quite the week it has been. We love love love traveling, but it's also been oh so sweet to be home and to just enjoy a little bit of the unstructured freedom that summer brings for us teacher folk. There's nothing quite like alarm-free days and just filling the hours with sunshine, pool time, and a whole lot of hanging out with the really awesome people we are blessed to do life with. It's been a week of visitors, relief, and catching up. Here's what we've been up to!


1. Puppy Lovin'

My parents were out of town for several days, and so we got back just in time to watch Bandit for them! He was my little shadow for the entire time we had him, and he just couldn't stand to be left alone when I was out watering plants or trying to fold the laundry. He had a rough go on the first night, but after that he was golden and so sweet. It was so fun getting to see his little personality and have a puppy in the house for a few days.


2. Family Time

We are so thankful that we have some wonderful family that is so close and willing to help in the midst of hard times. At the tail end of our anniversary trip, Aaron's dad fell and was in the hospital, and we are so grateful that he was released this week and is doing well at home. With family in town, we also got to enjoy hosting some sweet kiddos for a few nights and going to the Royals game with them (which was extra special because it was their first game ever...and the Royals also had 21 hits!)


3. Marriage Surprises

Now that we've officially hit three years and counting, I'm still falling in love with my sweet hubby more and more each day. I could get all mushy gushy about him for days, but I'll just say that I'm so grateful for someone who challenges and cherishes me in such an amazing way. He's been off leading a cabin of guys at Wyldlife Camp (the middle school version of YoungLife Camp) this week, and I've definitely missed his sweet self. In case you missed it, I did share a few thoughts on marriage in my recent post, 5 Things that Surprised Me About Marriage. Did they (or would they) surprise you too?


4. Pools and Punches

With Aaron's absence, my extroverted self has been able to make great use of my time by catching up with all my "people" that I've missed during our travels (or just haven't seen for a while). From pool time to punching dates at 9Round, every moment has truly been such a great reminder of the amazing people that the Lord has placed in my life. The mid-20s can be strange and hard, which no one tells you, and I'm so grateful that I've got some pretty amazing friends who are real and intentional- people to share meals, stories, and life with.

Okay, you caught me. This isn't a pool. But isn't it lovely? Jamaica was the bomb.

5. Decor Dreaming

If I haven't been living at the pool, reading books, or running softball workouts, I've been doing some dreaming about a few small changes to our front room. I've decided that it's a little too dark and there's too much going on in there. I've also decided that I didn't really know what my "style" of decorating was until the last four or five months or so. Better late than never, right? I'm super happy with our Rustic Dining Room and our kitchen area, as well as our basement. But I'm ready to try to brighten the front room. I'm hoping I can do so by painting some accents and brightening the decor, and avoiding painting the walls for now. I'll keep you posted!

Hope you're having a wonderful June (isn't it flying?!), and not overheating too much! Happy Friday!

Currently,
Kelsie

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #33

Hey there, party people! We're back- and not only do I mean with the Link Party, but I also mean that my hubby and I are actually home for a few weeks! I've already been making the most of our time with pool dates, sonic shakes, and Royals games! Definitely hot around these parts. We've been keeping my parents' dog while they are on vacation, and he's been the sweetest little companion. I'm fitting in haircuts, appointments, and a massage (YAY!) this week. I also finally had time to write a new blog post: 5 Things That Surprised Me About Marriage. If you're married, engaged, or hope to be someday- head on over and check it out. Have a fabulous week!

Currently,
Kelsie

The Alder Collective Link Party

Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:  

  The Alder Collective Link Party
Each week we pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Things that Surprised Me About Marriage

Marriage is one of the hardest, most wonderful adventures I've ever been on. The last three years have been the best of my life, and I would marry Aaron again in a heartbeat. He challenges me and cherishes me in the most amazing way that makes me fall in love with him all over again. But I'd be lying if I didn't say this: from the moment you say I do, life is never the same. Two people merging their lives into one is an incredible process, and there are bound to be misunderstandings, differences, and some surprises along the way. Here are five things that have surprised me about marriage, along what you should do about them.


1. You'll realize how selfish you are.

Boy oh boy, is this a biggie! I never considered myself to be a super selfish person, but once you get married you are aware of just how much your world revolves around you. Suddenly the plans for the day, expectations for holidays, or even what you want for dinner involve another person. It's easy to want your way and to try to take charge, but there are other feelings and opinions to consider.

What to Do About It:

Don't just assume that things will happen a certain way, especially your way. Talk about them. Ask questions. Come to compromises and figure out plans together. Just because you're married doesn't mean you have to give up your own individual hobbies or passions (see number two), but it DOES mean that you need to keep your spouse's needs and wants in consideration. If you work to out serve one another, and put each other's needs first, then you'll be just fine. And when you do have selfish moments, and you will, apologize and make a change for next time.

2. You may not do every single thing together, and that's okay. 

As some of you may already know, I'm a huge extrovert.  I love to be outside, work out, and be around people. But my hubby can only do "extrovert" things for so long. He doesn't recharge with people around, like I do. He recharges with some TV time or even just sitting and relaxing (without conversation). For a while, I thought he needed to be running, outside, and with people- just like me. But then I realized that while we have much in common (music, our faith, teaching, loving sports, etc), there are still things that make us different. And that's amazing! So it's okay if I go for a run by myself, or if he works on cars and watches some TV on his own. Because that's how we recharge.

What to Do About It:

Talk through this. Make sure that you are aware of each other's individual needs, and be real about the solo or "friend" time you'll need. You're still people with unique personalities and passions, and as spouses it is our job to cheer on each other in those passions- even if it's from the sidelines. Don't be upset or feel unloved if your spouse spends time doing their own thing every now and then- it doesn't mean that they don't love you. And if you are truly interested in being a part of your spouse's passions too, then say it! Don't be silent and angry- communicate, communicate, communicate.


3. You've got to learn to speak your mind (with kindness).

I know this one seems kind of obvious, but it's actually trickier than you think- especially for women. Coming from the dating world into marriage means that we've got to flip the switch from being reserved and nervous about what our significant others will think into being totally honest. That doesn't mean we just blurt out our emotions right way in the middle of an argument, but instead that we give our spouse our honest opinion when they ask for it, or tell them what we're thinking when they can't guess it.

What to Do About It:

Always assume the best in your spouse, and give them a reason to assume the best in you as well. If you're struggling with something, tell them. If you're scared about something, tell them. Marriage involves you both, and when things go unsaid then feelings get hurt, expectations go unmet, and confusion appears. Speak thoughtfully, and with kindness. And often. Communication is key.

4. You will have conflict, and that's okay. 

In a perfect world, married folks would never have any sort of disagreement. But because marriage involved two imperfect people, there is bound to be conflict. You'll fester over dirty clothes that are left on the floor, or he'll be annoyed that you change your outfit four times before you leave. Sometimes arguments will be quick and loud, and other times they'll go unspoken for days. But guess what- this is normal! You are not the only married folks in the world who have ever had an argument. That's far from the truth. Now obviously if things are getting abusive or if you are regularly struggling with conflict at a high level, you may want to reach out for help or see a counselor (which is also perfectly okay!) But for the most part, don't assume that your marriage is a failure or strange just because you don't always agree on everything.

What to Do About It:

Be real. Figure out the heart of the matter, and examine your heart. Be sure to take responsibility for what you have done and can change. Decide on your action steps to change things, set goals, and put your plans in motion. And take time to be alone with the Lord and to keep Him a priority. It's hard to love others well when you aren't loving Him. For more on this topic, check out my post When Conflict Comes.


5. You're going to keep changing. 

For some reason, I had it in my head that once I got married I would stay the same Kelsie forever and we'd just ride off into the sunset together. While parts of me have stayed the same,  I've also seen a lot of change in myself over the last few years. If we're honest, everyone is changing- all the time. We are constantly being shaped by our experiences, hopes, dreams, failures, and successes. This isn't a bad thing, it's just something that we have to be aware of. In fact, this is part of my heart and mission with this blog: to recognize the world is changing and moving around us, and to love fiercely, learn fearlessly, and live fully.

What to Do About It:

If we're going to change, we can either change together or separately. Aaron and I are committed to making our marriage work, and so we make an effort to change together. We will be different in five, ten, and fifteen years, but we want to continue to know and love each other, in the midst of all our flaws and failures. Because of this, we're still dating. (Check out my post on Why I'm Still Dating My Husband.) Share your hearts. Share your words. Continue to know and love each other through all life brings your way!

Currently,
Kelsie

Are you following along on Facebook and Instagram
Be sure to check them out for updates and special photos! 

I'm linking up with Tell it to Me TuesdayBliss and Faith,  Sweet Little OnesTestimony TuesdayIntentional TuesdayTwinkly TuesdayWomen with IntentionA. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeUniquely Unfolded,  Momfessionals,Life in Leggings, and Quintessential Mommy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #32

Tomorrow is our anniversary, and we are still adventuring for a few more days! We've been to Orlando, Jamaica, Niagara Falls, and DC! I've been away from the blog for the most part- but it's been nice to unwind and unplug. Be on the look out for lots of stories about our trip!  Hope you're having a great week, and thanks for linking up!

Currently,
Kelsie

The Alder Collective Link Party

Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:

  The Alder Collective Link Party
Each week we pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #31

Happy Tuesday, y'all! The hubs and I are off adventuring around in celebration of our upcoming anniversary. I'm jetting off to Jamaica today, but if you'd like to hear a little more about our story, check out my post on How the Ks Came to Be: The Story of Us. There are also some fabulous features from last week's party. Thanks so much for linking up!

Currently,
Kelsie

The Alder Collective Link Party

Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:

  The Alder Collective Link Party
Each week we pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Friday, June 3, 2016

Five on Friday: Summer Fun & Our Third "Anniventury"

I can't believe that we are already into June, and halfway through 2016. Time sure does fly! This week we got back from one adventure, and are already preparing to jump into our next, more extended, adventure this week. It's been nice to be home and enjoy summer at its finest: sunshine, pool time, dear friends, late nights, and sleeping in! Here's what we've been up to this week, and what you can be looking for in the weeks to come!


1. San Francisco/Napa/Sonoma Getaway


As you may have seen, we finished up school last Monday, and then headed off early Tuesday morning for our first trip of the summer. We had an amazing time exploring the beautiful vineyards and wineries of Napa and Sonoma, and then spent two and half days visiting San Francisco for the first time. We rented bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge, visited Alcatraz, and so much more than I'll be sharing in a post or two in the next few weeks. We'll be back for sure!

Disclaimer: This isn't my parents' pool. But I've been a pool lover from the start! 

2. Pool Time! 


Right after we got back, we celebrated my momma's birthday with family at my parents' house. In about 7th grade, my parents put in a pool in their backyard, so I grew up super spoiled and just had to walk out back for pool access in the summer. It was a lot of fun eating, catching up with family, and enjoying the sunshine out by the pool. I got to go up again yesterday with a sweet friend and there isn't much better than good conversation poolside with no commitments to worry about. (Teacher perks, y'all!)


3. Memorial Day Fun


Another fun thing this week was spending Memorial Day afternoon with lots of friends. We got to spend the day pontooning on the lake with several of our very favorite couples, and other than a brief rain break, there was lots of time to enjoy the sun, doughnuts, and each other's company. My guy even caught a fish! Summer is the best because it offers built in time for slower days and lots of outdoor fun, which are two of my favorite things!


4. Softball Camp


When I wasn't at the pool or lake, I've been spending pretty much all of my time on the softball field the last few days. We had our three day softball camp, which ran for two hours with the high school kids, and then another two hours with girls in grades 1-5. The days were long, but super fun, and it was great to be back on the diamond hitting ground balls and seeing some awesome girls again. Yesterday we wrapped up our week with a little laser tagging, and I am officially terrible at it. All in all, I wasn't mad about being outside from 2:30-8, and I'm looking forward to another season of softball in the fall.


5. Our Third "Anniventury"


As we will be quite a bit this summer, we are already packing and finalizing things for our next trip, which we've decided to call our "anniventury". What better way to ring in our third anniversary than to travel around from place to place for 13 days of fun, adventure, and sweet time with each other. We're off to Orlando to be kids at Disney and Universal Studios, then down to an all-inclusive in Jamaica for beach relaxation for a few days, then up to Niagara Falls to see something we never have, then over to DC for my students to compete in a National competition, and to celebrate our third year of marriage. It will be a little crazy, but time with my hubby is my favorite, and I'm looking forward to all the silly fun, memories, and good long talks that we'll get to share in the coming days.

Cheers to summer fun and all of the time spent adventuring with friends and family! I hope you're enjoying this new season, and finding time to rest, read, and have wonderful intentional time with those you love most. To keep up with us on all of our adventures, be sure to follow along on Instagram or Facebook if you aren't already! I'm sure we'll have some crazy stories and a few funny photos along the way!

Currently,
Kelsie

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Alder Collective Link Party #30

Hey, y'all! We missed you last week, and are happy to be back with the link party! We enjoyed last week in San Francisco, and had a blast checking out Napa and Sonoma. It's so beautiful out there. In case you missed it, I recently shared a post about What to Do in Kansas City. Hopefully you will check it out and then come see me in our city :) Don't forget to enter the travel giveaway on the post for a free travel app for the city of your choice!! Have a great week!

Currently,
Kelsie

The Alder Collective Link Party

Welcome to The Alder Collective Link Party! We're so happy you stopped by to show off your stuff. A friendly reminder before we jump into the party: make sure you're visiting at least as many posts as you're linking up. This party is no fun if you don't see traffic and comments from it. Now check out what your hosts have been up to this week:
  The Alder Collective Link Party
Each week we pin every link to the Alder Collective Link Party Pinterest board, where it will be seen by thousands of people. Here are our favorite links from last week's party:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Stay Salty

This spring, the hubs and I took a trip to the Northeast. On our first night in Boston, we stopped in for a delicious dinner. A sign on the wall in the restaurant caught my eye. "Salty", it read. I had to stop and snap this picture, because this statement was one I heard quite a bit from my very own high school students. But for some reason, on this particular day, and in this particular place, I thought about the word a whole lot differently.


I recognize that not all of you may spend the large amount of time around high schoolers that I do (as a teacher, YoungLife leader, and coach), so I'll help you out if this word means nothing but a spice to you. In today's lingo, being salty means that you are upset or bitter. For example, if I gave kids a hard time about doing their work, they'd respond with something like this: "Klein, you're so salty today!" or "Mrs. K, you're still salty about the Royals' loss last night." Strange, I know. But this is what the kids are up to these days. God bless 'em.

Just as I was snapping a quick pic of the sign, I found myself thinking a whole lot differently about being defined as "salty". Yes, there's quite the gap to bridge between Urban Dictionary lingo and a Bible verse, but my mind jumped that gap with little effort. Salty. Funny how the kids have taken it to mean something negative, when in fact being "salty" in another way is a Biblical calling of sorts. In Matthew 5, Jesus is giving his famous Sermon on the Mount, and has just finished teaching the Beatitudes. He goes on to say this in verse 13:

"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." 

The salt of the Earth, huh? Think about what salt is and has been used for: flavor and preserving. Just as salt was used to keep food good and to offer it flavor, Christians are called to do the same. To enhance the earth with a positive influence, and to preserve the good in it from the wicked ways of man. To maintain a focus on the Lord and His will for us all. 

You see being "salty" is a good thing- something we are called to. By following the Beatitudes and the Word of God, we become "salty" in a whole new way. We have the ability to help prevent the moral decay around us. The call to look different, and to be set apart in our words, deeds, and love for others. But we are cautioned in the passage above that if we lose our saltiness, we are no longer "good for anything". In fact, the very effect of our saltiness is lost if we become like this world. We are not called to be like the world, but instead in it and set apart from it. Our very influence for the kingdom depends deeply on our ability to be distinct, instead of identical.


This isn't always easy. We're human. We mess up. We can't save ourselves, but instead depend fully on the Lord and His loving grace. But we've got to remember to be salty. To be set apart, a light in the darkness, a city on the hill. We've got to live and love in such a way that others wonder why we do it. How we do it. And then when they notice, and ask, we will have an answer for our hope. And it will be the Lord. 

We are salt and light. We are tasked with moments day after day where we can look like the world, or be set apart. Where we can choose to live out our faith, or lose our saltiness. So I'm adopting this mantra: stay salty. Choose life. Choose the Lord. Choose to look and love in a different way. We are the salt and light of this world, friends. Let's not forget it. Stay salty.

Currently,
Kelsie

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

4 Mini-Projects That Will Refresh Your Home

Today's guest post is from Lana, an architecture student and interior decorating fiend! She offers some fabulous ways to tackle small projects in your home that can make a big difference! Check it out. 

Homes need constant updates and refreshments, and sometimes making the right decision could be tough. Instead of engaging into big renovation projects your home might not even need, opt for making small differences that will make a change. Start your mini projects and do everything yourself, and achieve a whole new and better atmosphere of your home.

 Image source: Pinterest 

Gallery Wall in the Living Room 


 As its name suggests, the living room should be lively and offer comfy living. However, if your walls are white and blank, you cannot fully enjoy the comfort of this room. Dust off your boxes filled with family photos, frame up some of your kid’s best art or even gather some posters of your favorite classic movies and bring this room to life. Organize the frames above the couch or a fireplace and create an entertainment corner. Think outside the box and display your best memories and show off your creativity. You can even frame some old postcards, old money, inspirational posters and anything else that comes to your mind.

 Image source: homemydesign.com 

Green up Your Home 


 The most refreshing things in your home are plants. Not only do they look good and bring the soft colors inside, but they are also filtering the air and providing you with a fresh batch of clean air every day. You can go big with potted plants in the corners of your living room or hallways, or go small and build your own indoors garden. Arrange a few plants inside of a terrarium and decorate with small rocks, marbles and sand and bring fun refreshment into the home. Probably the best plants for such DIY decorations are air plants which are the portrayal of cuteness and the best air filters that exist. Also, if your days are too busy and you find it difficult to grow plants, than you can opt for cacti or even faux plants that still look gorgeous and can last forever.

Image source: abeautifulmess.typepad.com 

 DIY Racks for Everything 


 If you are tired of constantly misplacing your keys, scarves, jackets, purses and other small objects you need on a daily basis, it is time to roll up your sleeves and start building. Racks for any purposes are quite simple and easy to make. All the necessary tools can be ordered online, and honestly, you will need a few wooden planks, a hammer, some nails and desired decorations. In your hallway, nail a wooden plank into the wall and hang up some hooks for all of your jackets. Decorate it a little bit with paint or even glitter and voila! Also, right next to the door, you can hang up a small magnetic rack for your keys and another wooden one for your bags and purses. Another useful and interesting rack is a wine rack. For the most minimalistic look, get some help from your man and build together a simple wooden wine rack and display your best wines, while providing your kitchen or dining room with a touch of elegance.

Image source: diys.com 


 New No-Sew Pillows 


Refreshing your bedroom and furniture does not require refurnishing or buying new bedspread and covers. All you have to do is change the pillows or add some if you do not have them. If you are tired and bored by your old used up pillows it is time to either get rid of them or give them new cases. Go to the mall and make your afternoon all about the pillows. Look for some new cushions for the couch and bedroom or simply visit the fabric store and pick new patterns and designs for the pillowcases. The best thing when it comes to modern pillowcases is that no sewing skills are required. Everything is made simpler because of the cute buttons and easy zippers. So pick your pattern and give those pillows new outfits. 

 As you can see, your home can get a whole new vibe without spending a fortune. The secret is in the details, and that is why you should try out some of these ideas. Turn these mini projects into fun family time which will result in a cozier home.

Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and an advisory editor at Smooth Decorator.  She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that's where she gets most of her inspiration. Thanks to her for sharing this great post!

Currently,
Kelsie