Friday, December 20, 2013

To My High School Sweetheart.....

Dear Steve,
You remember that day when we were watching a movie
at the house on 107th,
and you leaned over and kissed me?
Do you remember what happened next?
You said you loved me.
For twenty years I've wondered if you knew that it FREAKED
me out.
Oh yeah, my heart was pounding and I
instantly panicked because I knew
I was supposed to say it back.
But, I had never said that to anyone I wasn't related to before.
In that moment, I saw my life flash before my eyes.
My childhood seemed like a thin veil, and I wasn't quite ready to lift it.
If I recall I said something like,
"I like you a lot too." in response.
Even then it seemed horribly inadequate.
But here's what my heart said:
You love this boy, and in a few years he'll be a man.
He'll love you unlike any other. He'll protect you.
He'll be patient, even when you are being super emotional.
He will be a loving, but strict father to your children.
He will be exactly what you need, everyday,
for the rest of your life.
He won't be perfect, and neither will you.
But you will be your best when you're together.
Then a few months after we graduated HS, we had an argument
about something stupid I'm sure.
And you blurted out a proposal.
And I said something about the lease I had just signed.
That is so us.
That's how we roll, you and I.
And then we laughed at ourselves and started telling
Pretty sure, everyone thought we were crazy.
I know I did.
So I started planning a big, Spring wedding.
You went off to basic.
But in true Amber/Steve fashion, while you were home on leave,
we woke up on a Wednesday
and decided to get married as soon as we waited the 3 days
for the license.
Do you remember how livid my mom was?
Oh man, I really ticked her off that time!
Thankfully, she didn't stay mad.
I remember the evening of December 24, 1994 like it was yesterday.
You stood in Grandma and Grandpa's living room in your uniform,
and I thought I had never seen anyone as handsome as you
in my life.
The short walk toward you felt like miles.
My heart was racing and I was really sweating in that heavy dress.
Hopefully, you didn't notice **wink**
I didn't hear much, because I was trying not to pass out.
Were you that nervous too?
Probably not, you're the calm, collected one of the two of us.
Before I knew what was happening we were saying "I do" and putting rings on and stuff.
No fancy wedding, no reception.
Just two dumb kids, who met in HS, and fell in love.
So now it's a few days before our 19th anniversary.
And I'm not sure if I'll hear from you.
I don't know why you insist on being deployed on our
anniversary so often.
I don't mind saying, it's a little annoying.
But I have things to say to you.
You, Steve Infante, complete me.
But for real, you do.
You are everything you were promised to be, but more.
You are loyal and honorable, and brave.
And I don't just mean because you're a soldier.
When we had our horrible car accident and you
pulled us all out of the car one by one
without any regard for yourself and your own injuries, that was amazing to me.
It still is.
That's just who you are, quietly amazing.
You are brave in a way that's understated, which I admire.
You have been my most trusted friend all these years.
You bring out a desire in me to be the best version of myself.
You are loving in deed and in fact, and that's hard to come by.
Thinking about you makes my heart skip.
So 19 years, 4 kids, 7 deployments, and I lost track of how many moves later,
I want to say what I should have said over 20 years ago when you told me you loved me for the very first time.
So close your eyes and pretend we're teenagers again.
I'm gonna whisper it.
I love you too.

Let's get crazy old together.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

From, Jesus

Well, despite my best intentions, I didn't post about Thanksgiving.
And I won't be posting a bunch of pics of my Christmas decorations.
Things just aren't happening that way this year.
I thought they would, but they aren't.
Ya see, my hubs is deployed.
This isn't new.
We've spent 9 holiday seasons apart because of deployments.
The thing is, I've never felt so little holiday mojo before.
I LOVE Christmas!
I love the spirit of the season, and the gatherings, and the fellowship, and the food.
And I really love that I get to celebrate the birth of my Savior.
Usually the day after Thanksgiving, the kids and I bust out the Christmas bins and go to town.
This year, we busted out the bins and.....
they sat in the middle of the dining room floor for days.
I took things out, looked at them, and put them back.
I thought maybe it was the deployment, but now I'm not so sure.
Something feels different.
Not bad, just different.
There's a quietness.
At first it really bothered me.
I have four boys, I like noise.
And I'm used to 24/7 Christmas tunes, shopping for gifts,
the typical yuletide hustle and bustle.
This year I feel like presents are irrelevant.
We have enough....more than enough.
(I'm sure my boys will be appalled to read this, but it's true.)
God is at work on me.
He's always at work on me, cuz I'm stubborn.
In a world where parents are racing to fulfill every whim, every desire of their children,
I'm fighting not to fall back into that trap.
I don't want that for my boys.
I don't want to give them so much that none of it means anything at all.
I don't want to raise brats.
And I'm not saying that all children that get a lot are brats.
But let's be real, a lot of them are.
We were on our way to Bratville for quite a few years.
I'm not sure what changed us.
Wait, yeah I know exactly what changed us.
I'm not gonna get all holy roller here, but Jesus broke it down for us.
We were stressed out, going broke, burning up our credit cards (yeah plural).
And for what?
To celebrate Jesus' birthday?
Not so much.
Our hearts broke because we were struggling to say yes to everything.
But Jesus gave us the greatest gift.
Pretty sweet right?
The Prince of Peace....get it?
In 2011, we said goodbye to all of the worry, stress and guilt that we felt every. single. Christmas.
We asked for grace for ourselves and our kids as we made a HUGE change.
We decided we would each get 3 gifts.
Our homage to gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
We bought each boy 3 gifts, with cash.
We prepared ourselves for tears and disappointment come Christmas morning.
It makes me chuckle now because we were doing this to
focus on Christ, and yet we had so little faith.
Ya know what happened?
The boys loved their gifts, they were thankful.
He gave us peace.
And now, we're in a changing season and He's being as faithful as ever.
I'm still me so,
I still love a beautifully trimmed tree.
Ours is up and looking fine.
And even this year, when I feel so different,
there are a few of my old faves.
Sometimes less really is more.

Sometimes what we need can't be wrapped with a bow.

Sometimes we just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy the quiet.
I've been asked so many times what I want this Christmas.
My list is short.
I want him.

But he won't be home for a bit.
So until he is, I'll enjoy the gift that Jesus gave me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Annie Sloan update

So, it's been a while since I've posted.
I don't know how other people feel
about this time of year,
but I feel like I'm a wind up toy
at the end of the wind.
Still, with all that has been going on I've
 eeked out progress on some
painting projects with my new
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
Remember this...

Hello again sad, lonely mismatched dining chair
I shared last month.
See, right before we moved to Germany
I thought I would refinish the dining chairs.
But it was hot.
Like sweat dripping in places it shouldn't be dripping kind of hot.
Not good.
I abandoned the project after about 2 minutes.
Fast forward about 6 months.
In Germany, ASCP in my possession,
mismatched chairs screaming for attention.
I couldn't ignore my neglected chairs any longer.
They were mocking me.
They were all,
" Hey you, when ya gonna quit watching this Dance Moms
marathon and paint us?"
Obviously, I had to just do it already.
Ever-so-slowly, I got the four chairs painted.
They still aren't "done".
I plan to distress them, and throw some furniture wax
on them, but since this is an update.....
not a reveal, it's all good.
Here are the chairs in all their Annie Sloan glory.

I really love the soft, slightly antique look of "Old White".
And **happy dance** I ordered some numbers from the House of Smiths shop
to put on the back of the chairs.
So, I'll be back with a complete reveal of the chairs
and my Thanksgiving table soon!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Help for well used furniture...

Have you ever seen something that just made you oooh and aaah?
Something so amazing and awesome that you just got giddy at the thought of it?
Me too.
The first time I saw a post about
Annie Sloan Chalk paint it was over for me.
I was all,
"I HAVE to try that!!!"
That was two years ago, and I still haven't tried it.
I have excuses reasons.
We have four busy boys.
And we moved from SC to a tiny town in the Bavarian countryside.
And my husband deployed.
And I didn't know how to get it here.
And a lot of other excuses reasons.
But see I have this...

Hello hope chest.
I'm sorry about the horrible botched attempt at faux finishing.
And then there's this...

Hello abandoned dining chair.
I'm sorry you no longer match the rest of your brothers.
And then there's this...
Hello old, old, old, mistreated coffee table that I love.
I'm sorry you're so banged up.
The thing is we live in all of our spaces.
Me, hubby, our 4 boys, their friends, our friends...
all of us.
So our stuff is abused well used.
Now that we're settled in Germany, I can focus on
making our well used, or poorly faux finished stuff pretty again.
Perfect time for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, right?
And I love the fact that there's like no (or little) prep.
No sanding...dusty.
No priming...boring.
Just painting...fabulous!
Plus they have all these amazing colors,
and you can mix them!!!
Just look at this fabulosity...
After a little digging around I found a place in Bremen
called Vintage Sisters that are stockists.
Next thing ya know I placed an order.
I ordered Old White, Provence, and Antibes Green.
Once I get my ASCP, it is on like donkey kong!!
Can't wait to see what wonders this paint will work on
my poor, neglected pieces!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween...the gateway holiday

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday of mine.
Not as much because of the costumes
or candy,
but because I feel like it's the gateway to
all things Autumn.
The air is cooler, the leaves are falling, and spiced cider
steams in heavy mugs waiting to be gulped down.
Pumpkins, corn stalks and hay bales decorate front porches.

And who doesn't love seeing kids giddy at being
a fairy, or a superhero for a day?
Each time my doorbell rings on that one night a year
I know I'm about hear a
chorus of
Trick or Treats.
Despite my love for Halloween,
I don't do a lot of decorating for it.
This year, my littlest little told me we "had to"
He sweetened the deal with an offer to help.
And he really did.
Meet our friend one-eyed Willie.
He's been with us for years.
In our dining room my helper supervised the
placement of his batty buddies.
I don't know about you, but I love me some blackbirds for a slightly spooky vibe!

Whether you dress up or not, or trick or treat or not
All Hallow's eve ushers in Autumn-y goodness.
So I say...
Happy Halloween ya'll!!