Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pics from Laura's Birthday

My baby sister, Laura, turned 18 last week.

Even though my family is spread out all over SoCal now, we were all able to get together to celebrate Louly.

It was a wonderful night.

Momma B, Kate, Jesse and I drove together, and met the rest of the gang at Sisley.  It was fun to go there again, because when we were really little, Sisley was the traditional Mueller family meeting place for birthdays, since there was one located between my grandparents, my uncle and aunt, and my family.  I hadn't been to a Sisley in about 15 years.  I was giddily trying to fill Jesse in on the family tradition when I realized that I don't remember much about it.  I just remember that we always got the private room in the big Italian restaurant so that Papa Chuck could hear all of us better.  I remember the never-ending breadsticks, the funny plastic cups kids' drinks came in, and the colorful fountains outside of the restaurant.  I remember praying as a family around the big table--everyone holding hands--and peeking through squinted eyes to see if Papa's eyes were closed during prayer.  They never were, and he always winked at me.  When we prayed together on Laura's birthday, the sweet/painful memory swept over me, and I missed Papa's smiling blue eyes.

Our reunion with Sisley was a wonderful way to celebrate Laura's birthday.  Now that we're all so spread out, we've learned not to take family time for granted.  What a blessing this amazing family is to me!


Around the table L-R: My mom, Laura (18), Dad, Kate (20), Megan (Jon's beautiful girl whom we all love and adore), Jon (22), Uncle Todd, me, and my handsome Jesse.  Momma B (Jesse's mom) took the picture.  ♥

When glasses of red wine were passed around the table, our wonderful waitress brought in complimentary glasses of cranberry juice for the mommy-to-be and the under-age birthday girl.  How sweet is that?

We were excited to get to toast with the rest of the gang :-)

Opening presents

Jesse and I were very excited about our gift to Laura--pretty diamonds for the pretty girl.

(Jesse picked it out--didn't he do a good job?  It looked beautiful on her!)

Amaaaaaaazing tiramisu

What a wonderful night of laughter and love.

I'm so thankful for this family!

Happy birthday, Lou!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Tomorrow Will Be Better"

One of my absolute favorite children's authors is Kevin Henkes.  I love his stories, I love his use of excellent vocabulary, I love the characters he creates and the depth they have.  My all-time favorite Henkes book is Chrysanthemum.  I grew up loving it, not even knowing that there were other Henkes gems out there, too.

But today, I read Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse to my class.

It had been a day.  Ok, it has been a week!

Never before have I been so utterly overwhelmed by behavior--from students and parents alike.  I spent the majority of yesterday in the office trying to calm down a very unhappy mother of a child who received a bloody nose from a classmate on Monday.  Today was not much better.  By lunch time, I looked at my sweet coworker and said, "Can we both just call in sick tomorrow?  Let's just call in, and then spend the day at the beach!"

I've had it.  Miss Bethany needs a day off!  (Not that I would ever actually do's just the first time that such an irresponsible act has even sounded appealing!)

By our afternoon reading time, I needed a good story as much as my class.  I went to my bookshelf and pulled down Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse.  I knew it was what my class needed today: the story of a student who makes a big mistake, and on top of learning an important lesson about following directions and trusting her teacher's judgement, realizes that even when she makes mistakes, her parents and teacher will still love and support her.  One of my favorite lines in any children's book is in this story:

Today was a difficult day.  Tomorrow will be better.

After a day like we had had today, my students didn't need another lecture.  But the subtle assurance that everything was going to be ok soothed my heart, and I hoped they felt it, too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Oh Jesse...

My Handsome Man left me for a week.

The house is so quiet and empty without him!

He chaperones the week of Outdoor Education that the 6th grade class gets to go on every year.  He loves this week to bits.  It takes him back to his days as a camp counselor, and I can bet my money that he'll dance through the door on Friday afternoon singing every camp song he ever learned...and then he'll sleep for 17 hours straight.  When he wakes up, it'll be more lively camp songs until I have to beg him to stop.  He loves it!

I don't love this time away from him, though.  I hate being away from him--even for one night, let alone 4.  I'm thankful that he isn't away from me often (probably a total of 3 weeks a year) compared to my friends' husbands who are deployed, take extended business trips, or work 24 hour shifts at a time.  Still, these times away from him are more than enough for me.

I sat on our bed last night helping him pack his bag.  Up in the mountains, it's supposed to be in the 30s and 40s during the day, dipping much lower at night.  I insisted that he bring along his heaviest jacket, as well as a medium-weight hoodie so that he could layer as much as he needed to during the day.   He laughed at my concern, but was thankful that I helped him find his gloves, hat, and boots, too.

Before we went to sleep last night, we sat at the kitchen table together and wrote 5 notes to each other: one for each day.  We've always done this--ever since we were dating.  I'm sure it's mostly for me; I hate being left behind and looking forward to curling up in bed at night to read a love letter from him keeps me going through the day.  (But I suspect he enjoys them, too).

Also, according to tradition, he put some of his aftershave on my pig.  I'll have to put up a picture of the beloved stuffed animal that keeps me company every night Jesse's away from me.  Way back when we were dating, I slept with the pig every night.  Jesse started scenting it with his aftershave (I love that scent so much!  It still makes my heart flutter to smell it on his neck when he comes home) so that it would sweeten my dreams.  I loved that he did that, because the longer we dated, the harder it was to say goodbye to him at the end of the night.  I couldn't wait until we were married and could "say goodnight and stay together!"  Aaaaaaanyway, Jesse still scents my pig on nights that he is away.  I love it.  (And don't worry, when I have something much more attractive to sleep with, the pig occupies a lonely chair in the corner!)

I took as long as I possibly could to get out of bed this morning.  It's hard to leave warm arms when you know they won't be wrapped around you for 4 more days.  Jesse got up, helped me pack my lunch, and waved goodbye to me from the porch as I drove off to work.

I came home to an empty house tonight.  Jesse usually isn't home until after I am, but on nights when I know he's not coming home, the house seems much more empty without him.

Guess what I found on our bed, though, next to my freshly-scented pig?  Jesse's jacket, hoodie, gloves, and hat, with his boots on the floor below.  Ack!  Crazy man!  How do you head up to the snow-covered mountains and forget your SNOW GEAR?!?  Lol, only my guy...

Now I'm just praying he doesn't freeze.  I really want him home on Friday.

Thinking Back...

To 3 years ago today.

April 11th, 2008 was the day Jesse and I found out where we would be for the next year (and two more, as it turned out!)

It's fun to think back to that day.  So much has changed since then, and I'm thankful for so many things!

I'm thankful to be married to Jesse; I'm thankful that even though our time here hasn't always been easy, God has provided for us every step of the way; and I'm thankful for this new adventure we're beginning with our first child!


Here's looking back to the post I wrote three years ago:

Meet The Brubakers: Beginnings

Ok, so we're not officially "The Brubakers" yet, but we're getting close (8 weeks/55 days/1320 hours...) Anyways, thought that it would be ok to title it that way, because that's what it's going to be the rest of our lives!We found out on Friday night where we will be living for Jesse's internship! The Celebration of Ministries service was Friday at 7:00, and it was absolutely beautiful. Jesse's mom, Bianca, came and she and I sat next to each other and tried not to cry the whole time, we are both so proud of Jesse! It's at the Celebration of Ministries that all of the DCEs (Director of Christian Education--Jesse's major) find out where they are going for their internship. They walk up on stage and it is announced to them there in front of everyone! Definitely a rush :) Jesse's name was called, he went up on stage, and was told that his internship will be at Hope Lutheran Church.  We are so excited! We met the pastor that night, who is actually the father of one of our friends here at school. Jesse said that night, "That's awesome! I even know their dog!"Anyway, we are very excited to finally know where we will be living after our wedding. But first things first:

Graduation: May 9th

Marriage: June 8th

First day of Jesse's internship: July 1st

God has really answered our prayers! Because I am working on my California Teaching Credential, we knew we had to stay in California for Jesse's internship. He has provided a church that we are both really excited about that has opportunities for both of us to get involved and use our talents in. He's also kept us relatively near our families! Jesse's mom will be about half an hour away, and my family will be within 2 hours. Pastor told us that he would start looking for an apartment for us right away. Eee!

I'm so excited about this new chapter in our lives, and can't wait to begin it!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Secret Smile

Life just hasn't been the same, lately.

You probably noticed a huge dip in my postings over the last few months...(my ratings sure did!)

A total lack of new recipes...

No new products in my Etsy shop...

And a general absence of the Bethany that a lot of people know.

Well, there's good reason.

There's a reason why the stack of dishes in the sink is nearly as tall as I am, and why silly sentences like "My coulders are shold," come popping out of my mouth (my amazing husband knew exactly what I meant and immediately wrapped a blanket around my shoulders to keep them warm--God bless him!)

There's even a reason why Miss Bethany has been found getting sick in the classroom trashcan on occasion (as lovely as that is...)

It's still kind of hard to tell...

But God has blessed us with something amazing.

Our very own little one to pray for and love.

We are so blessed, so excited, and so thankful to be entrusted with this precious gift!

This picture is nearly a month old already.  It's exciting to think about how much our baby has grown by now.  I'm 16 weeks pregnant.  Next month, we'll be finding out whether our little one is a girl or a boy.  I can't wait!

Jesse and I have been keeping a blog for our baby.  You can go to Letters to our Little One to find out how I shared our exciting news with Jesse, and how we told our family.  You can also vote whether you think we're having a boy or girl, and follow along on our journey!

This is the biggest secret I've kept from you as a blogger, and I'm so excited to finally be able to share with you!
And don't worry, the old Bethany is returning to life (what a miserable first three months!  more on that later...)

I still haven't cooked a true meal since January, but I'm itching to get back to it as soon as our kitchen/house return to normal from all of the remodeling our landlords are doing.

There will be many recipes, craft tutorials, and more of the good old stuff back up here soon!

Thanks for being patient with me.

Please join us in the prayer that God will protect our little one and bless him or her with a wonderful, healthy life!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Laura!

The day she came home from the hospital, I thought I was being given the best baby doll ever created.


Laura showed us right from the start that unlike her older three siblings, she was Little Miss Independent.


We all just adored her.  She fit right in to our quirky little family.



Sometimes, I think we had a little too much fun with her...but she put up with us like a champ!



Being the youngest in a big family like ours must have had its challenges,

But she never let on that it was too rough.


She was always well protected!



We just loved her to pieces


Even back then, Laura had impeccable fashion sense.

Easter dress and Jon Jon's cowboy boots?





You captured our hearts from the first day (even though Jon got sick and went into depression that you weren't his long-awaited brother...)

We've always been your biggest fans, and we love supporting you in all of your amazing endeavors.  Your talent always amazes me, and the way that you use your gifts for singing, painting, writing, and playing the guitar, makes me glow with pride.

Even though you're the youngest of four, you've never lost your identity as your own person.  You make us laugh with your cute and quirky expressions, you tug at our emotions through your incredible writing, and you inspire us as you excitedly anticipate sharing God's word with children in the Czech Republic again this summer.

It's crazy to look through these baby pictures of your cute little pixie face, and realize that the baby doll I loved when I was six years old is turning into an adult today.

Don't let adulthood scare or confuse you.  You've got a strong, determined head on those slender shoulders, and I think the trials you faced growing up as the youngest of four have prepared you for whatever comes your way ;-)  Stretch your wings, enjoy the freedom, but always know there are a bunch of crazy birds in this nest rooting for you and waiting for you to come home.

I couldn't be more proud of my beautiful baby sister.

I love you, my little one with "Big Blue Eyes!"

Happy 18th birthday, Laura!

Love, B

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mrs. Brubaker: Revisited

As I was hurrying out to my car tonight after work, I passed a mom and her jr. high-age daughter on the sidewalk.  The girl brightened when she saw me and said, "Hi Mrs. Brubaker!"

I said hi back, wondering  whose older sister I had just greeted.  She looked familiar, but I couldn't place her.

It took me until I unlocked my car before it hit me: I'm not Mrs. Brubaker at this school.  I'm Miss Bethany.  As used as I am to being referred to as Mrs. Brubaker, no one at this school calls me by my last name.

I turned around to see if the girl was still in sight, but she and her mom had disappeared into the school, and an impatient driver was waiting for my parking space.

A student of mine from years past recognized me today.  It makes me smile to think about it.  Three years as a substitute teacher broke me, but I did meet and come to love hundreds of children.  I may have had her in my class for a week, or even a month.  Who knows?

But she remembered me.  And I love knowing that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Color Inspiration: White

I love white.  And I've recently fallen in love with Home Made Happy, a site I clicked on after reading Megan's gush about Tricia's lovely new studio (I want one of those, too!)

(photo from Tricia's blog. Click to visit!)

White is so tranquil and lovely.  Doesn't it just make you sigh?

I loved Tricia's post this morning on White.  Just beautiful!  I'm even more inspired.

What do you think?

Happy Homemaking!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Handsome Man's Notes

Jesse and I leave notes for each other all the time.  I love knowing that he'll find a quick "I love you!" reminder in his sock drawer after I've left for work, and I love coming home to a "See you soon, Cutie!"

We leave them for each other on the fridge...

In the hallway...

And even on the ceiling fan...

So when I came home the other day to a Post-It note in the kitchen, my heart beat with anticipation to see what sweet little note my guy had left for me (how considerate since he knew he wouldn't be home from a church meeting until10pm!)

Anticipation turned to confusion when I read the first line.

Does this pen work?

Not very well.

How about this one?

Write slower and more legibly.

Oh yes, my life is filled with romance!!!

Silly Jesse was filling out some important paperwork, and carried on a conversation with his pens while finding just the right writing instrument.

Lol.  It may not have been what I was hoping for, but it still brought a smile to my face!

He cracks me up!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Sweet Surprise

I came home straight after church today because I had an awful migraine Friday and Saturday and didn't want to push it today.

When I got home, I relaxed on the couch with a book and ate some lunch.  I was only home for about 20 minutes when my phone rang.  It was my friend Emily.  She's been my cherished friend since we were 5 years old, and our phone conversations are never short.  Excited to have some company (and some extra incentive to clean house), I turned on my blue-tooth and settled in for a good chat while washing dishes.  We talked about her new kitten, and my weekend migraine, and my sister's upcoming 18th birthday.  At one point during our conversation, I heard a knock on the door.  "Hold on a minute, Em," I said as I walked toward our entry, "Someone's at the door."

When I opened the door, I nearly fell over.  Emily and her sister Julia were standing on my porch with a bouquet of flowers!!!

I haven't seen Em since before Christmas, and I wasn't expecting to see her again until the end of this month when we stay at her house the weekend of my cousin's wedding.  It was such a wonderful surprise!

She and Julia had been in the area looking at a college campus, so they decided to stop by and surprise me.  Boy was I!

It was so wonderful to get to sit on the couch and enjoy their company for nearly three hours.  They are such dear friends, and getting to see them so unexpectedly was such a bright spot in my week!

I'm so thankful for our nearly two decade friendship.  What a blessing to grow up with such wonderful friends!


I just love this girl to bits!

And now I have these beautiful flowers as a sweet reminder of this beautiful Sunday afternoon surprise.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Giveaway: Anya's Green Baby

I'm tickled pink each time I go to my friend Anya's blog and see that many of you have become her followers.  Thank you for supporting her!  I hope you're all being inspired by her many wonderful ideas.  I know I am!

Anya is hosting another giveaway today for a beautifully hand-embroidered burp cloth.  Two winners!  How precious are these little bees?  I just love them.

Entering is simple!  Just visit Anya's Green Baby.  If you're already a follower, just leave a comment.  If her blog is new to you, simply become a follower and leave a comment saying hi!

That's not hard, right?  :-)

Enjoy your Saturday!


♥ Bethany