Monday, April 30, 2012

the one with a book update

As you may or may not remember, I am reading 12 books in 2012 and Rob is reading 20 in 2012. I've been pretty slack (although I started off with a bang (see here). But this month I got back on track and completed my 3rd book (I've started two more but they are heavy reads so it's taken me awhile to finish them). 

This book was another one picked out by the fabulous Book Club I am in. "The Fault in Our Stars", by John Green. It was way better than I originally thought it would be - the title just sounded new agey and weird. But it is actually a line from Shakespeare, so as soon as I found that out, I jumped on board :)

I thought it was very well-written, but also just an easy read. It's an easy story to get lost in. I cried like a little baby at the end...Rob did not quite know what to do with me. I also always identify too strongly with the main character, which was unfortunate in this case since she had cancer and so I then felt like I had cancer for about a week. (Don't worry, I'm not ruining anything - that's a stated fact from the beginning.)

Anyway, if you are looking for an enjoyable, delightful, easy-read book written from a unique perspective you should check this sucker out. I loved it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the one about promises

We can trust Him. Look how He has been faithful - not only to us, but throughout all of history.

God is good.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the one about our first marriage retreat

This past weekend, Rob and I got to go on our very first marriage retreat! Chick-Fil-A sponsored us and 12 FCA coaches from the Triangle to attend for free - what a blessing! (Another reason to love CFA - they love FCA!) 

It really was so refreshing. I'm not gonna lie - I was kinda dreading the cheesy talks/seminars and the forced/guided conversations. I'm gonna blame most of that on being tired at the end of a long week (it can't possibly be because I have a bad attitude sometimes, right?). BUT I think it was the best thing we could've done early on in our marriage. 
Family Life is a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ ( It was all very well-run, the speakers were awesome and funny, the sessions weren't too long, and they really did encourage very helpful conversations that helped us learn a lot and grow. I had a couple takeaways that I want to jot down to remember:
-Decide the "rules" for your conflict BEFORE you are fighting, not in the middle. Avoid generalizations like "always" or "never". Focus on one issue, not many.
-Hard times in your marriage will come. Be proactive in preparing for them.
-There are a lot of things in your life that are "good things" that can drive a wedge in between you and your spouse. Too much of any of the following: ministry activities (dead on for us), materialism, careers (i.e. ministry :) ), family dependency, etc. 
-Rob and I are opposite communication styles, except that we both like to talk more than listen! :) Ha! 

Overall, it was really refreshing. Rob and I are blessed right now with being in a really good place in our marriage. Our time together is easy and we get along most of the time. I feel like we are connected and understand each other. So these conversations were really great to have to prepare for when things aren't this easy and we aren't clicking as well. I think this type of weekend is great for both times in your marriage - to prepare and get on the same page, and to heal and work through difficulties. It was neat at the end of the weekend to hear testimonies from both places.

One of the best parts of the weekend was spending time with the coaches and their spouses! It was so fun to meet so many people Rob works with and hear about their ministry on their campuses. We all went to lunch on Saturday and I almost teared up hearing everyone share about FCA has impacted their life and ministry. I'm so thankful to be a part of this ministry!

I did a terrible job taking pictures but here is a totally inaccurate, tiny snapshot of our weekend :)

We will find hot doughnuts wherever we go :)

Obsessed with these nautical flags and need them in my home.

Fuddruckers for the first time! Love a good burger!

Ha I was really excited to see the state line on my iPhone map!

Cruising on the way home, windows down, listening to the new Summit CD! :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

the one with yarn poms

One of the crafts we made for Caitlin's party were little yarn poms! It is such an easy craft and didn't take long at all :) Sarah and I split them up too - she did some dark pink ones and I did some light pink ones! We think it turned out great and was such a cute little detail!

We used this "tutorial"/picture from pinterest (duh). It worked pretty well. Except we found that we liked the poms better when they were a little bigger - so I used a serving fork and Sarah used her fingers. Much easier.

First little pom. So teeny.

Building a little collection of furry friends.

Finished product! Love!

Friday, April 20, 2012

the one with mandatory staff fun day

This past Tuesday was probably one of my favoritest days in a long time. You see, about once a year, we have this awesome event called "Staff Fun Day". Sure, it may be mandatory... but that doesn't make it not fun! :) We shut down the office for the day and all get outside to hang out, get to know each other better, blow off some steam, and have FUN. 

2 years ago, we went bowling.... And I won an award.... It was for the lowest score out of everybody.... And it was because I bowled a 26. Yes, you read that right... a 26. (For those of you that don't know bowling (like I didn't/dont), there are 10 frames with a possible 10 points per frame...). It was slightly humiliating (yes I was actually trying) and demoralizing. I mean, that's BAD. Being the competitive person that I am, I buried my shame and moved forward. Until...

They announced we were going bowling AGAIN this year. I'm not gonna lie, I groaned out loud when I read the email. I woke up the day of our fun adventure and I actually had a little anxiety... which is ridiculous. And then I thought "I have absolutely nothing to lose". I mean, worst case scenario, I get below a 26 and I just face the reality that I should never bowl again. And I wasn't even thinking of redemption as a possibility ( can see where this is going. That's what we English majors call "foreshadowing".)

Here's some of our staff for Staff Fun Day. It was such a hilarious, loud, fun group. They can make anything fun :)

And here's the best team ever. Seriously.
Sean, Gaynor, me, Ashley, and Eric.

And y'all. I BOWLED A 129! Seriously!! I honestly cannot believe it! I got 5 spares and 1 strike in one game! It was glorious. I was just enjoying it so much...and then we all went to lunch (Moe' good) and Stortz had a little awards show and I WON AN AWARD. And it was actually a real award - not one that's a joke making fun of how bad at bowling you are. I won Best Female Score. What?! It was so glorious and makes me laugh so hard when I think about it. Just awesome.

This is the picture I sent to Rob so that he knew he was married to a real winner. (Yes I got a legit bowling trophy. Note that she is wearing a skirt.)

And the day just kept getting better! Another friend and Susan Michael (two of my dearest friends who used to work at the Summit, pre-babies) came to join us for lunch!!!! You'll remember my friend & her family from my updates about their baby boy (see here, here and here) and Susan from the little baby shower we threw for her and her sweet twin girls (see here). It was so unbelievably good to see my sweet friends and their beautiful, adorable, perfect babies.

Sweet baby boy! He is now over 7 lbs!! Praise God!

And because my iPhone photography does not nearly do him justice, see this adorable professional photo by Amy Wentzel Photography. SO CUTE.

I finally got to hold him! This is me doing my best baby talk to make him smile :)

Susan's girls were adorable as well, rolling up in their cute stroller with pink bows and all. I am just obsessed with twins and Susan's girls are only making me more obsessed :)

Sweet Sarah holding Evelyn!

Abigail was very low maintenance and slept the whole time!

And again because you have to see better photos than my little iPhone ones, look at this adorable photo by CBM Photography. I could just die from their cuteness.

After an amazing first half of my day, I got to go hang out with my Caitie bird! It was so good to do normal things together and hang out and enjoy new music and sunshine :) I'm so glad she's home!

What an amazing day through and through! :) So thankful for God's grace in allowing me to serve with such amazing people! Thank you, Jesus!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

the one psalm 112

Here's a little Word of the day I wanted to share. It's really helped me fight against anxiety and fear, especially as I think about our future and prepare for a big transition ahead - moving into a new home, and into a very different & missional community. I want my heart to rest in the Lord and trust Him always, as we embrace the days ahead!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

the one on rice krispie treats

I made these little chocolate dipped rice krispie treats for Caitlin's party!! They were super easy (they are rice krispie treats...cmon) but in the spirit of over-documentation, I took pictures of every step :) (In my defense, I had a hard time finding instructions, so that's really why I'm sharing it here.)

3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for buttering pans
1 (10-ounce) package regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups crisp rice cereal
12 ounces semisweet chocolate (baking chocolate or chocolate chips)
pink sprinkles

Melt butter over medium heat

 Then melt the marshmallows....

Then mix up the rice krispies with melted marshmallow

Melt the chocolate in 1 minute increments at 50% (or less) power in your microwave. I melted mine at 30% because I know it's easy to burn chocolate. 

Dip your rice krispies in the chocolate and cover in sprinkles! All done!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

the one saying goodbye to the finnerans

we're sad here in the shields household. we recently had to say goodbye (for now) to our dear dear friends, the finnerans. 

on april 1st, rob and i helped matt & beth pack up all their things so they could drive across the country to move to san francisco. (and really i still can't quite believe it!)

i cannot begin to describe what these two mean to us and how much they have impacted our lives with their loyal, Christ-like, FUN, and selfless friendship. they are two of our dearest friends and while we are so thrilled for this next opportunity in their lives, it's a hard pill to swallow. it's so weird to not be able to drive 15-30 minutes to see them. the upside? i know for sure that we will be going to cali to visit (and we can then say that our friendship has had adventures from coast to coast). AND now we can have hilarious face time/skype conversations that i know will be awesome. 

while i know i can't begin to do our friendship justice on this little ole blog, i wanted to at least do a photo montage of our good times together. (photo montages are so cathartic and so necessary) matt and beth - we love you more than we can express. you are two of our dearest friends. you have taught us so much through our friendships and we are truly thankful to be in your lives. here's to the next adventure and to many more years walking through life together!

it all began with these two younguns. 

and then these two cary-ites became friends at a house called mrs. d's...

and these two had a STN and never looked back :) fast friends immediately... oh and beth and i were too :) (beth - you know i had to give a shout out to foster and roscoe!)

sweet middle school dance moves.

even our ghosts were friends
(beware...this is about to turn into a nicole + beth montage... sorry rob & finn)

my favoritest photo of me and my dear beth

our #1 classic pose

on the night we celebrated their engagement - oh happy day!

the gang! (minus our newest sweetest member - lauren!)
rob, me, beth, finn, and daniel

on their wedding day :) - best photo of us ever.

them on our wedding day! :)

finnerans goodbye party 
(thanks laviss :) )

and what better way to say goodbye than one last sakura?

we love you guys so so much! miss you already!

Monday, April 9, 2012

the one saying happy easter from the shields!

one day late, but while I'm enjoying my day off and stepping away from the computer, I wanted to wish you a Happy Easter from the Shields! :)