Eclectic Living, my year through pictures

Friday, December 30, 2011

I did this last year on my single lady BLOG. It's fun to look back on the great things that happened in the last 365 days of life. So much has changed in mine! I read forty-three books, graduated college, planned a wedding, hung out with my amazing troll friends, married the best guy in the world, burnt like 785 dinners, crafted til my fingers bled, and have learned and grown with Grahm so much! Man, oh man, it was a good year. 

Valentine's Day with Grahm. Yes, my hair is brown. It was an unfortunate phase.

I celebrated my twenty-second birthday on campus corner with great friends. 

Grahm sent me on a scavenger hunt to significant places in our relationship and then popped the question. I think you can tell what my answer was ;) He picked my beautiful ring out all by himself!

A week later, I graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Professional Writing degree.

We took engagement pictures in Nashville over the summer in the midst of all the wedding planning. Grahm is the most hilarious person to take pictures with. "Baaaabe, I'm bringin' my best smoulder look over here!"

The majority of my summer was spent wedding planning: sending (Lord only knows how many!) emails, shopping for the perfect dress (how many versions of white are there?!), having lots of fun showers (it's incredibly hard to come up with something witty to say after every gift), getting the dress fit/praying I didn't gain 100 pounds, bachelorette party (yes those are poles in the background), etc. etc. I loved/hated this time. Most days I wanted to pull my hair out, but by some miracle (my mom) it all got done.


I quit my job as the Editorial Assistant at the OU Press and moved out of my college house with my favorite room trolls before the wedding. Best roommates ever!

I married my best friend on September 4 in Tulsa, OK. It was the perfect day. So many people helped make it so memorable, but none so much as our parents. The Lord truly blessed us that day, and every day since!

We went to Hawaii for the Honeymoon. I think the above picture is from our second day there, and as you can tell, we're already burnt. Turns out I'm the worst paddle surfer in the world. The natives took notice. 

We moved into our spacious one-bedroom in OKC, and it didn't take long to discover its quirks. Gas oven. Gas heater. No closet. It's amazing we're still alive.

We went to a Halloween party dressed as Audery Hepburn and Keith Stone. Classy.

I've learned (and will continue to learn) the ropes as a wife, one burnt dinner at a time.

We found out Grahm got a new engineering job in San Antonio. We took a house hunting trip down there and found a great place to live. It's three times the size of our home now. Umm YES.

We went to Nashville for Thanksgiving, and apparently really struggled with taking a decent picture.


We set off to Tennessee again for Christmas, before we went to see Grahm's folks in TX.

This weekend we will be in Dallas bringing in the New Year with our fabulous friends. It's our last hoorah before the big move next week. So thankful for this incredible year and the amazing people I got to share it with!

Another year, another resolution

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The lovely Mckenzie asked me to be a guest blogger on her sweet little blog. I'm such a noob, I've never done it before! Here's the post I wrote, but seriously go check out her blog at! You'll love it.
I love making goals for myself. I also love lists.
So New Years is like DefCon5 on my millions of bad habits. (The hubs just informed me that that doesn't make any sense.) But you know what I mean.

I have a love/hate relationship with January 1. At the beginning of the year, I basically forget who I actually am. On paper, I magically transform into this robust "I-can-do-anything-good" kind of woman. And then January 2nd rolls around, and I remember "Ohhhh yeah. There's a reason I haven't been doing any of this." I'm Jena, not Carol Brady on steroids.

Every year I usually make some sort of monstrosity list, but very few of them actually get accomplished. My resolutions are kind of like a to-do list for the first week of January.

I also almost always have resolutions remorse, because everyone else always thinks of something better to improve on than I do. Maybe that should be my numero uno this year: make better resolutions.

Last year I wanted to (among other things) go skydiving, read all the Harry Potter books, start a food journal, run my third marathon, and watch all the Star Wars movies. And I ... read the HP series. That's it. (Ten points for Griffindor me!) I should have made a list like: "Plan a wedding! Get married!" Cause I mean, check and check. Doneskiis.

Run.  I'd never call myself a runner, per se. Unless there's only one piece of cheesecake left in the fridge, and I have to beat Grahm to it... Then I'll go all non-aquatic Michael Phelps on your buns. That being said, I have run two marathons. (It's not blogging without a little bragging, ya?) I'm posting pictures just to prove it, cause I know you all are thinking of my perfectly chiseled calves and thinking that I'm probably sitting on a throne of lies.


Basically, I've been eating every day like it's Y2K. Let good times thunder thighs roll. I don't even have an excuse for it, really. I'm cooking for a bottomless pit, who has a whoppin' .05 percent body fat (disgusting, I know)... and somehow I convince myself that I, too, can eat everything I see.

My life can be summarized by this statement: It's a constant battle between my love of food and not wanting to be fat. Post-wedding, I've done a lot of sitting around, blogging, and crafting. Notice what all these delightful activities have in common? I don't have to MOVE. And good lord, that's starting to take it's toll. I got mistaken for the Pillsbury Doughboy's twin sister yesterday.

Write.  I graduated this year with a Professional Writing degree. I'm one of those people who believe great writers are avid readers (cause it's true), so I read way more than I write. This is a problem only because I don't have a life goal of reading all the books in the world (Quantum Physics killed that one for me). I want to write and write well. The real stuff.

I'm talking about really putting my degree to use. Grahm and I are making payments every month for that darn piece of paper, might as well flaunt it, right? It's time to start writing something, besides this hilarious dorky blog of mine that I love so much. My book will never get written if I keep picking up someone else's. Less reading, more writing.
Love. This seems like a stupid one, really, and slightly hippy-esque of me. "I just want more love in the world, man." But seriously. I can be really mean and hurtful with my words, especially to those I love the most. Nothing reveals your true colors like marriage does, and let me tell ya... my "colors" aren't always donut and rainbows.

Whoever coined the phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is a freakin' idiot. Growing up in a sarcastic family, we always say "Just kidding" after we say anything... as if those words can erase whatever hurt we just caused. I'm one of the worst. I justify it, because I assume they get that I'm trying to be funny. But sometimes it's not, sometimes it's just hurtful. I want to start watching what I say. Loving people more in the way I treat them and speak to them.
2011 was the best year of my life, so 2012 you've got big shoes to fill. I hope you're full of miles of running, pages of writing, and lots and lots of lovin' on people.  

Christmas Roaches

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

You know you're obsessed with blogging, when you commandeer your father-in-law's computer to update the world on your Christmas vacation, while you're still on your Christmas vacation. 

As many of y'all know, this was our first Christmas together. My first Christmas as a Roach, a crunchy transformation if there ever was one! Grahm and I crammed into my sister's car, presents and all, and headed to Tennessee on Thursday to spend some time with my family. Christmas Day we flew to Texas (our future home!) to be with a house full of Roaches (that's an interesting mental image).

Remember how I told you that Grahm's dad is the ultimate crafter and hand makes over a hundred pop-up cards every year? Well this time around... he truly outdid himself, but of course, I'm a teensy biased.

Isn't it beautiful?

The in-laws made me feel right at home by designating the trick chair for my plump buns to sit on. Don't worry, I didn't fall... exactly. 

We opened stockings, and I got these "Don't be stealin' my lunch" sandwich baggies. They have a bug on them, so no one will snag your sandwich from the fridge at work. No need to worry about labeling our lunches anymore! I think with this stocking stuffer, I've officially been inducted into the Roach clan (herd? cluster? colony? swarm?).

We also had an intense marshmallow gun war (grandmothers included) in the middle of present opening. We ran out of ammo pretty quickly, so reloading made us feel real empathetic toward all the men who fought in the Revolutionary War. I was shaking trying to stuff these little fluff pellets into my plastic gun, nervous that I was going to get caught in the crossfires of my 85-year-old grandmothers. I can't even imagine being in actual war. I bet their bullets hurt a little more. 

             I'm pretty sure we'll be finding marshmallows around their house for the rest of time. 

To top off a wonderful Christmas celebration filled with delicious Mexican food, a plethora of Star Wars references, and lots and lots of salt shakers and snow globes (don't ask), my amazing in-laws granted my crafty heart's deepest wish!

I can't describe my heart's delight at this little baby. Now I can really get my crafting on. Imagine the possibilities! I just need to learn all the ins and outs of this machine... like what's a bobbin? And how do you thread the needle? (I obviously have a lot to learn.)

All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas with the Carpers and the Roaches. We are truly blessed with hilariously fun families, who we love so much.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Love your family. Be sweet to your husband. Hug everyone you see. Yes, even those annoying Salvation Army bell ringers outside of Wal-Mart.

And remember that this was the day that the world was changed forevermore.
This was the day that love was born!

Our First Christmas... another ornament

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One of the signs that we're newlyweds (besides playing poop music when one of us needs to get down to business since there's nowhere to hide in this apartment), is our Christmas decor which (in total) consists of three Our First Christmas ornaments. These are randomly hung around our little room. Real classy. Remember, we decided not to put up any big-girl-and-big-boy decorations because we're moving soon... which makes sense, but I'm still sad.

I splurged last week and bought a green and red JOY sign at the dollar store, but it broke five seconds later. Now it's JO. So people who like coffee (aka Grahm) are real confused.

Because I put the PRO in procrastination, I decided to add to our teensy ornament collection instead of taking a stab at the Mt. Everest-like laundry pile (didn't I JUST clean our clothes?), packing our bags for our trip to Nashville tomorrow afternoon (that's right TOMORROW), or wrapping everyone's presents... which are still sitting on the floor in their original bags. We bought way too much stuff. Like whoa.

I would make a terrible terrible terrible elf (besides my short stature). That or I already make a terrible wife. Although I'm beginning to think the terms wife and elf are synonymous. We (us wives/elves) do all the grunt work like clean, wrap, and pack, and Santa (husbands) get all the credit. I guess, they do kinda pay for it all (in my case). Maybe it evens out.

Back to my ornament.
I bought this little baby today. Plain clear balls are nonexistent. I searched the ends of the earth (Hobby Lobby), and this was the all I came up with. Darn all that color and glitter. It's like Tinsel Town on steroids in that store.
This was the program my mom, dad, aunt, and anyone else who we could  convince  force into this crazy project made these for the wedding. They're fans. Aren't they fab? They better be after all the man hours we poured into these bad boys. Those flower embellishments are sewn on by hand, people. And there are three more on the other side. Grahm designed the flowchart, we printed these at kinkos, folded and glued the tongue depressors in the middle, and sewed til our fingers were screaming at us and then some.
So after all that time, you may be wondering why I have a pair of scissors in my hands. That's right, I cut the crap out of one of our leftover programs. It was kind of freeing, in a weird way. Just think of what I could do with a machete and some garland.
Turned out pretty good, huh?

Now we have another ornament to add to our ever-growing collection. Another way to remember our first crazy fun Christmas... although with our hectic travel plans to Nashville to San Antonio to OKC to Dallas to OKC to San Antonio and back and all the packing/moving/etc that's about to take over our lives, I doubt we'll be forgetting it anytime soon.

a change gonna come

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nothing makes you appreciate the trolls in your life more than knowing they won't be there
soon. Don't worry, no ones dying. We're just moving to San Antonio -- in case you missed it, or forgot, or don't have every detail of our lives memorized like the McDonald's dollar menu (Oh, is that just me?).

We had a fantastic weekend, and it was a big reminder for us that our lives are about to really really change. Like super drastically. Like that one day you woke up when you were thirteen and could suddenly play connect the dots on your face. 

Now brace yourselves for an onslaught of pictures.
Bekah, one of my crazy friends got engaged on Saturday! Please note her gorgeous ring (man, I need to get mine cleaned!) and the feminine way she's displaying her new bling. I probably don't need to explain to y'all the sharp contrast from her dainty hands to my man hands and little smokey sausage fingers (my dad always warned me about popping my knuckles as a kid). 
Beks and I have been friends since our freshmen year of college. We lived on the same floor and instantly bonded because we're both INSANE. No, really. It's crazy how God brings people into your life, who are gonna make a huge impact on you. I love this girl so much, and I'm so happy that she found a great guy who decided to put a ring on it. I happen to know that marriage is like the best thing ever, and I'm thrilled she is gonna get to experience it soon. 

Also, since wedding planning is a time in my life that is over rover, I'm going to live vicariously through her these next few months... which (I guess) isn't nearly as sad as vicariously living through Pinterest (you know who you are).
Fiance and Fiancee telling their cute story. Four years of French, and the proper spelling of these words was all I got out of it. Technically these aren't even spelled right, cause there aren't accents. French fail. 
The boys looking at Nathan like, "Dude. You just made a huge mistake, bro." Notice that participation was super limited -- aka this picture basically sums up the difference between men and women.

Grahm wanted to wear his "Game Over" shirt that my brother got him. I didn't think that was very encouraging, so I vetoed. His wardrobe choices function more on a dictatorship level than a democracy.
The gals. I need to remind myself that I'm 5'1'' -- as in not tall enough to be in the back row. Ever.
And this is my delightful husband, the official cameraman of the day. He's apparently a little bored with his job at this point. I have about 1100987 more photos like this one on my phone. At least he's cute, right?
After the engagement party, we headed back to our tiny home with my delightful friend, Katie, who was in town for the weekend. I haven't seen her since she played MOH in our Roach Partay (our wedding).

This is us playing Settlers of Catan, a super nerdy board game. It's all about strategy. Normally I'm not a huge fan of games that require thinking (the hair is blonde for a reason, folks). My favorite games are ones that let you shout at uncharacteristically high decibels (Catchphrase, Nerts) or dance around like an idiot (Charades or anytime I watch Singing in the Rain).

Sunday we had our last church service with our church home. Tears were definitely shed. I love those people, and our sweet pastor. This will be one of the hardest part of the move, finding a new church.

I celebrated Christmas last night with my favorite trolls, Molly and Bekah. We brought our men over and played an intense round of Picture Telephone. One of the opening sentences was, "Take off your shirt and jacket." So I'll just let you imagine some of the drawings that came from that old school lyric.
This weekend was wonderful and so fun celebrating all different kinds of relationships. I seriously have THE BEST friends of all, and words can't describe how much I'm gonna miss them when I'm shipped off to Texan land.

Christmas conundrums

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Over here in the Roach house, we aren’t exactly Grooges. (My version of a Grinch and Scrooge mash-up, the ultimate seasonal grumpasaurus.) But we can’t help but notice the funny/ridiculous Christmas lyrics, movies, and traditions that you encounter this time of year. My better half helped me think of some of these Christmas conundrums.

1. The ox and ass kept time – First, you’re the drummer boy, shouldn’t you be keeping the beat? And second, I’m pretty sure the only thing that these wildabeasts were keepin’ track of was the hay. Move over baby Jesus, we’re hungry.

2. Charlie Brown Christmas – Quite possibly the worst animation to date topped with some seriously whiny voiceovers and mediocre (at best) plotlines... is, for some reason, a Christmas “must see.”

3. Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer – Since apparently an old fat guy living at the North Pole and flying around the world in a sleigh isn’t far fetched enough, lets top it off with a highly credible tale of how having a light bulb nose is not only super practical, but will also make you cool.

4. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” – I’ve listened to this song approximately 1223.08 times already this season, and it still hasn’t gotten old. This song is kinda like Taylor Swift to me. It’s embarrassing to admit we love it/her so much, but we all know we crank up the volume when it/she comes on the radio.

5. Carol of the Bells –Why is one of the most epic Christmas songs merely about what bells sound like?

6. “Gosh your lips look delicious” – Excuse me? Are my lips a tasty snack for you to munch on? No, creepy seducer man. They are not. I’ve already told you “I really can’t stay,” now let me go home for Pete’s sake!

7. Mistletoe – Why is it acceptable to kiss randos under the mistletoe, but no other time? If I were still single, I would dry a piece of mistletoe after this Christmas and always carry it in my pocket, just in case I happen upon a ridiculously good lookin’ individual. I’d whip it out and plant my delectable lips on theirs. They couldn’t even complain. It’s mistletoe, after all.

8. The twelve days of Christmas – False. There is only one day of Christmas. That’s why it's called Christmas Day instead of Hanukkah and a Half. And don’t get me started on a partridge in a pear tree.

9. Let's be honest, no body wants a hippopotamus, especially for Christmas.

10. Figgy pudding – it’s up for debate as to what’s more unbelievable, the fact that the carolers demanded this grody snack, or that this family just happened to have some laying around.