Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas! Love, the Romeneskos

My mom writes a Christmas letter (almost) every year to update our friends and family about the goings-on in our lives.  I didn't write a Christmas letter because it's only Peter and I and we're really boring.  But then I was driving to work the other morning and thinking about our year, and I was like, "Actually, we've had the best year ever!!"  So instead of getting a Christmas letter in the mail, you're getting a virtual one.  


Darling friends, family, and people of the world,

Our year began as a newly engaged couple who thought they had 17 months to plan their wedding.  We took a trip to Las Vegas for a long weekend with our friends Kim and Stew right away in January to get a break from the cold, snow-less Wisconsin weather.  Great trip overall: I lost money, but Peter won money so in the end I didn't care because in 17 months our finances would be one in the same.  

My first cash-out.  I think that I put in $1.00 and came back with $3.41.  So that's good!

Also in January, we entered a wedding contest with LAKE 961 out of Lake Geneva.  We were one of the three couples chosen to be voted upon to win.  Listen to our interviews here:

Radio interview part 1
Radio interview part 2

Please don't judge us; we were trying to be lovable.  But if you judge us, I don't care because we won.

February came and we had to sell ourselves at the Winterfest in Lake Geneva to get people to vote for us.  That was fun and embarrassing, just how I like it.

The day before Valentine's Day, we found out that we won the wedding!  And that we were getting married in April!  14 months earlier than we originally planned!  Listen to the phone call where I found out we won here:

Winning phone call

Again, please don't judge me.  I was very shocked and surprised and I still can't believe that we won.

February, March, and April were all a blur with appointments, breakdowns, stress and excitement as we, along with the LAKE 961 listeners, our families and friends planned our wedding.  Monday mornings were highly anticipated, as we got a new piece of our wedding puzzle at that time, along with the rest of the planners.  It was really exciting, but at times I was ready to rip my hair out!  But then I would think about how I wanted my hair to look nice for my wedding, so I wouldn't rip my hair out.

In the midst of the wedding planning, both of us got promotions at work, so that increased our excitement level.  A lot.  A ton, actually.  

At the end of April, Peter and I got married and are still in awe at how perfectly everything turned out for the wedding day.  It was so beautiful, and I love everyone for helping put together the perfect day, especially all of the people that had to deal directly with me because I was horrible.  God bless Peter for still wanting to marry me after all of that...

We honeymooned in St. Thomas, which was just what we needed after 10 stressful weeks.   Lots of margaritas, pina coladas, and sun were consumed.  It was great!

A month after the wedding, we decided to start looking at houses, and at the end of June found our dream house and put an offer in.  The offer was accepted and we went through the paperwork and moved at the end of August.  We both love our house SO much, and want to be in it all the time.  I promise that soon I will put up pictures of the house so that you can see it.  It really is great.

Fall flew by, I literally can't even remember what happened to September and October.  In November I took a 3 week trip to South Africa and Brazil for work.  I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and got to see a lot of amazing things.  I love my job.

Now all of a sudden it's December and we are closing out the year as a young married couple, and we are so beyond blessed that it isn't even funny.  I'm still a little dizzy thinking about our incredible year.

It's actually awesome that 2012 was the best year ever because the world is supposed to end later this week, so it worked out for the best.

But seriously - thank you SO much for voting for us to win our wedding and not de-friending me because I was so obnoxious about self-promotion.  I was annoyed with MYSELF.  BUT.  Without that change of plans in February, the rest of the year wouldn't have happened at ALL like it did.  2012 will be a tough one to beat, but that's ok, because I think that we'll need 2013 to fully soak in everything that has happened this year.  

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas is coming

I feel like everyone and their brother has started blogging about food and recipes and yummy things, and I'm sitting here like, "I like to bake, but not my own recipes soooooooooooooo..."  So if you still read this blog despite my two and a half month hiatus, I'm thankful for you and happy that you haven't given up on me.  Also, I'm still just writing about my life, so if you're looking for a blog about food you'll have to look elsewhere.  But if food will make you stay, here's a picture of a pizza that I made:

It's pepperoni, naturally rising crust, in case you're wondering.  

Growing up, my mom never did Advent calendars for us.  I think it had something to do with the fact that there were 7 kids and 25 days, and 7 doesn't go into 25 evenly, so that would have resulted in a lot of fighting and stuff that you shouldn't do around the holidays because you're supposed to love everyone and Jesus, and you know, get along. 

But then when we got to college, my mom was like "OH MY GOSH I DON'T KNOW HOW TO LIVE WITHOUT MY KIDS" so she bought these cute little houses and filled them with goodies for us and our roommates and it was wonderful.  I mean, I know she did it for my older sister Jenna and I, but the younger kids might have missed out since Jenna and I are the favorite children and had the best roommates ever my mom is busy and designates her holiday cheer towards things more important than deciding what 25 little gifts she should send to her kids.  Like Christmas movies.  And eggnog.  

My mom started a new tradition when Jenna got married.  For Jenna's first Christmas without the last name Vanderstappen, my mom sent Jenna a gift for each of the 25 days of Christmas.  I hadn't thought about my mom doing it for Jenna 3 years ago until Saturday.  On Saturday, I got a package in the mail from my mom, and I remembered what she had done for Jenna.

There were two packages wrapped in pink, one labeled "day 1" and the other labeled "day 2".  So of course, I ripped open the package and found this:

And was like, "Awwwwwwwwww I have the sweetest mom in the whole world!!"  And Peter was all pouty because there was nothing for him.  Then I used more self-control than I've ever used in my life to wait until Sunday to open my gift for day 2.

On Sunday morning right after I woke up, I went to the kitchen to open my gift:

These are those things that you put in a vase and are supposed to be decorative and not touched, but then you can't help yourself and you submerge your hand in the vase and it feels awesome.  Needless to say, I'm excited for my new springtime decoration.

Then, day 3 came along and I thought that my mom forgot about me because there wasn't anything in my mailbox.  But when I went out to the front porch there was a really big box out there!  And it was addressed to me!  And I was SO happy and excited!!!!  

And then I opened the box.  And plugged this in.  And stared.

But Peter was really happy, because he got his Advent gift, even though it was addressed to SARA Romenesko, not Peter.  So.  There we go.

In other news, we put up our Christmas tree over the weekend and it's beautiful and fun and exciting!  And it makes our house feel all cozy and warm.  But the problem is that it's a real tree and we don't have a watering can.  Yesterday I decided to water the tree by myself, and I actually didn't water it.  Because the water ended up all over the tree skirt and the rug.  So now that's Peter's job.

Also over the weekend, we took our Christmas card picture!

I made that wreath!

After many attempts, at a nice picture in front of our new house all decorated for Christmas, we decided on this one.

Can't you feel my love for him just radiating from my eyes?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's not JUST a haircut.

When my hair used to be short, I would get my hair cut every 6 weeks so that it would keep it's shape and I wouldn't look like an overgrown mess.

Now my hair is long and I get it cut every 4-6 months because I STILL (after nearly 2 years of living in NE Wisconsin!) haven't found someone that I like as much as the amazing woman who cut my hair since I was in 6th grade.  SIXTH GRADE people.  That's the longest relationship I've ever had!  It'll be (how old are you when you're in 6th grade? 11? 12? Let's go with 12) eight more years before Peter and I surpass that mark!  So anyways, I really really REALLY miss the woman that can work magic with scissors in Lake Geneva.

When I first moved to Green Bay, I would try to schedule a haircut when I was home, but this woman is a hot commodity and was always booked WEEKS in advance.  WEEKS.  And so began my search for a new hair stylist. 

Over the last two years, I've gotten my hair cut 5 different times by 5 different people.  And I'm always nervous.  With my stylist in Lake Geneva, I would say, "I want something different" and gone would be six inches of hair and I'd have a bob cut.  And I'd LOVE it.  But it takes TIME and CONSISTENCY to build that level of trust with someone.  So when I go get my hair cut, I just get a trim (or as I tell them, "Make my hair look healthy, because I know it looks terrible") and that usually works.

Since we moved to our new house in our new town and are getting settled in (not settled enough to show pictures yet!), I thought I'd try a hair salon in the new town of 3,500 people.

The good news is that it was only FIFTEEN DOLLARS.  ONE. FIVE.  When she told me the total, I had to ask her again because I just couldn't believe it!  What a deal!

The bad news is that I left the salon with wet hair.  Like, she didn't dry it.  Or style it.  I left the salon without even knowing if I LIKED my hair (I got about 4 inches cut off yesterday, so this was enough to warrant a little bit of anxiety).  When I was sitting in the chair and she was combing my hair, she asked me how it felt.

Sara: Well, it feels good... and healthy...
Stylist: Great!  Come on up front!
Sara: *blank stare*

What I SHOULD have said was, "It feels good and healthy, but I don't know how it LOOKS because it's WET."  But I was just so caught off guard that I was leaving a salon with wet hair, that I didn't know what to do.  Usually when they dry my hair, I have them make a couple of changes, or trim a few long ends that they missed.  But I wasn't able to do that this time.

When I got home, Peter asked me if I colored my hair because it looked dark.

Peter: Your hair looks nice!  It doesn't even look shorter!  Did you color it??  It looks dark!!
Sara: My hair is four inches shorter.  That's a lot.  You don't think it looks shorter?
Peter: I'm just surprised because it's so dark!
Sara: It's not dark.  It's wet.  She didn't blow dry my hair.
Peter: So you didn't color it?
Sara: No.  But she didn't blow dry it.  Can you believe it?! I don't know what to do with myself.
Peter: I think it looks good!  

What a loving husband, lying right to my face to make me feel better telling me my hair looks good when it's sopping wet and he didn't even notice it was shorter.  That's why I married him.  

So anyways, I was nervous to blow dry and straighten my hair this morning, but alas, everything turned out fine.  

But only kind of because I still really miss the woman with magic scissors.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It all started with a dresser...

I have some news.

Really exciting news.

So exciting that every time I've started a new blog post since June 22 I've almost spilled the beans and haven't been able to finish the post.  (There are 5 started posts in my draft folder right now.)

We're moving.

Because we bought a house.

AND I'M SO EXCITED THAT I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I WANT TO USE EXCLAMATION POINTS ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm also so excited that I can finally share this news that I'm bouncing in my seat.

All the madness started with a dresser.  A DRESSER.  After we got back from the honeymoon and started moving all of Peter's stuff into my our apartment, I was in a bit of a tizzy.  He has a lot of stuff.  I have a lot of stuff.  So where was all of this stuff going to go??

Now, our apartment is a two bedroom; the "master" bedroom even has two closets!  A very large and spacious walk-in, and then a good sized normal closet (what's a normal closet called, anyway?).  And there's a nice closet in the spare room.  And a large walk-in closet off of the living room.  And a linen closet.  And a coat closet.  Contrary to what you may be thinking, this apartment even has ROOMS, not just closets!  Large rooms!  When I moved in, I thought to myself, "What on EARTH am I going to do with all of this SPACE???"

Well, I found something to do with it.  And it was all fine and dandy until we got married and there would be two people sharing this large apartment that was built for two people, which one person who has the amount of stuff for two (ish) people currently occupied.  So when Peter moved in, I had to re-evaluate.  

I cleared out the smaller closet in the bedroom to make room for Peter's things, but he has a surprising amount of clothes, all of which he actually wears, for a man.  I would say that I have an average amount of clothes, shoes, and accessories for a woman.  Naturally they fill the entire walk-in closet.  So, I decided that we needed a dresser.  Let me rephrase that.  We needed a NEW dresser.  Peter had his toddler dresser that has drawers that are made for toddler clothes in his old apartment, and I wanted nothing to do with it.  But it came with Peter to our apartment.  Before we moved it into our apartment, I decided that we needed a new dresser.  An ADULT dresser.

I already knew just the one I wanted - the same one that my friend has in her bedroom.  It's big and beautiful and I coveted it from day one (she's not my neighbor, and she doesn't have a wife, so it wasn't a sin).  I knew where she got it and how much it cost.  I had done my research and gotten the approval of my spouse to buy a dresser.  So Peter and I made a trip to Ashley Furniture.

I found the exact dresser that I wanted and was very excited.  And then Peter sat down on one of the beds.

Pete: "You know, Sar, instead of getting just a dresser, maybe we should get a bedroom set."

Sara: "Are you serious?"

Pete: "Well, that way you'll have a matching set, and you won't get mad when you come back to buy a bed and stuff, and they don't have the matching set to your dresser anymore."

Sara: "Sounds good to me!"

So then we walked around the entire store again looking at bedroom sets.  We even picked one out!!  But then we decided not to buy it, because we wanted to take some measurements and make sure it would fit into our bedroom.  We left and went to dinner.

Pete: "Maybe we shouldn't get a bedroom set at all."

Sara: "Peter.  I am SO excited about getting a bedroom set, and now you're not going to let me get one?  You just said we could get one!  We picked one out!"

Pete: "I'm not saying that you can't EVER get a bedroom set.  I'm just saying that maybe we shouldn't get one right now."

Sara: :|

Peter: "... Maybe we should start looking at houses... and then we can get a bedroom set... when we buy a house."

Sara: *chokes on food*

Now, Peter and I have had the house discussion many times.  Many, many times.  Long story short: he has been ready to buy a house for a couple of years, but I'm a wimp and am scared to buy a house because it's such a huge, permanent, EXPENSIVE decision.  And I can hardly stand being in our two bedroom apartment by myself during a storm, how in God's name am I supposed to be in a HOUSE during a storm?????  AND because 2012 has been such a whirlwind already with the wedding craziness and job change that I just didn't know if I could emotionally handle another HUGE change in such a short period of time.  I mean, seriously!  A year ago I thought Peter was proposing to me when he wasn't, and then I had a huge meltdown because I didn't think he'd EVER propose to me!  And now we're already going on our fourth month of marriage!  I AM GETTING DIZZY JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.

So anyways, I didn't want to talk about buying a house less than 3 weeks after we got married, so I was really adult about it and kept shoving food in my mouth because it's rude to talk with your mouth full.  And then after 15 minutes of silent eating, I changed the subject.

The next morning, after a night of no sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that I didn't have any more excuses to delay a house (Before engagement: "There is NO WAY I'm buying a house with you if I don't have a ring on my finger." ... Immediately after engagement: "We can't afford a house!  We are going to be engaged for a year and a half because we are poor and need to save for the wedding!" ...  Immediately after wedding chaos: "I just had 9 of the most stressful weeks of my life and now you want to buy a HOUSE??" ... Three weeks after wedding chaos: *crickets chirping* [which coincidentally we hear all the time at the new house.  They sound much better there then they did when I was trying to think of an excuse not to buy a house]) I IM-ed Peter.

May 17th.
: I made a decision this morning on my way to work.
 Peter: ok
 me: I think that we shouldn't get a bedroom set right now and we should move your dresser from the old apartment to our apartment. And I think that we should get a real estate agent and start looking at houses.
 Peter: Wow. That was not what I was expecting your decision to be
 me: What were you expecting?
 Peter: I don't know
  That I should get my haircut today instead of tomorrow
  me: Well, it's a fact that interest rates are slowly starting to go up on houses, so I really think we should start looking.
 Peter: I agree
 me: So I'm putting you in charge of figuring out a real estate agent and all that stuff.
 Peter: got it

Three hours later, I got an email from Peter.  "I got a real estate agent!!"  Well THAT happened faster than I thought it was going to!!

A few days later, Peter asked me what we were doing the following Tuesday.  "Nothing??  Great!!  We're going to look at 4 houses!!!"

I felt a panic attack coming on.  This was happening WAY WAY WAY faster than I thought it was going to.  I knew that Peter REALLY wanted to start looking at houses.  So I agreed.  Because I knew that we wouldn't be buying anything because there was NO WAY that I was going to sign those papers Peter is so wonderful and I just want him to be happy.

Over the next few weeks we looked at about a dozen houses.  

And then something completely unexpected happened.

I fell in love with a house.  It was love at first sight as we were pulling up the driveway.  The brick outside. The beautiful inside.  The partially finished basement.  The yard, oh my, what a yard.  

And suddenly, I had to have this house.  So Peter started working on it.  He researched loan rates, did the math on how much we could afford, made phone calls, and had meetings.  I went to Mexico for work, and my busy little bee kept at it.  When I came home from Mexico, we went to see the house again.  And we decided to make an offer.  And then I had a heart attack.

June 19: Sara and Peter make offer.
June 20: Sellers counter-offer.
June 21: Sara and Peter make final offer.
June 22: Our offer was accepted.
Picture taken moments after we pulled ourselves together after
speechlessly staring  at each other because the real estate agent just
called us to tell us that our offer was accepted.
June 23: Sara left on a 10 day trip for work.

Our entire summer has been filled with signing papers, being afraid that we would get denied a loan, signing more papers, packing, thanking the Lord that we didn't get denied the loan, and finally, on August 27, four months to the day after our wedding, moving.  I know that I committed myself to Peter before God and the church and our family and friends when we got married, but I only had to sign my name once for that.  ONCE.  Now that I've signed my name a kajillion times and we're locked in to paying for this house for the next 30 years, I REALLY feel committed to Peter.  SUPER committed.

Our first photo as official homeowners.  My palms were so sweaty
that there was condensation on the table when I lifted up my hands.
But hey - we're homeowners!
So, this is our house, and I am so scared beyond belief to be a homeowner because now I'm REALLY an adult  thrilled about it that I could just look at it all the time.  I may have to quit my job because I just like being inside our new house so much.  But I can't do that because we have a mortgage payment, and if I quit my job we would lose the house that I already love more than almost anything in the world.  I didn't know it was POSSIBLE to love an inanimate object so much.  

Isn't it adorable?
I could look at it all the time.
In love with the yard (but not with the idea of mowing the lawn...)
 I sure am happy that we didn't buy that dresser.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Engagement Pictures

Fun fact about me: I change my desktop background at least once a week.  I also change my phone backgrounds a lot.  I don't know, I just need a change of scenery.

Then I looked at my blog and decided that I wanted a change of scenery there, too.  My dad didn't like the pink anyways.  

Anyways.  Guess what we got a few weeks ago in the mail but I just decided to do something about it today!!!  Our engagement pictures! 

I love them so much.  And since I love our engagement pictures so much, I decided to share them with you.  Let me tell you - if you are getting married and you need a photographer, please contact Ebley Photography.  They're amazing.  Not only do they take awesome pictures, but they are super awesome to work with.  

Even before When Peter and I got engaged, I knew that I wanted engagement pictures done.  And then we won a wedding, and I decided that engagement pictures were going to be cut from our short schedule because time was quite tight, if you recall.

THEN I kept seeing aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall of these HAPPY couples being happy BEFORE they got married in their engagement pictures, so I decided that I wanted engagement pictures, too.  I made this decision the first week of April.  (Note: we were married the last week of April.)  After some hee-hawing back and forth with Peter, I told him that I would contact ONE photographer and offer the TWO dates that we were available.  And if they said no, I would let it go.

Lucky for us, five days before our wedding, Peter and I made the trip to Madison to have our engagement pictures taken.

And I'm SO happy we did!!!

Peter and I are really good at the "smile nicely and look at the camera" pictures.  

We're not that good at the "now look into the distance and imagine your future together" pictures.  Future's looking preeeeeeeeeetty grim based on this picture.

Or the "hand the love of your life a flower because you love her" pictures. 

Or the "pretend it's not windy and cold outside" pictures.  

Or the "run and jump into each others' arms" pictures.

Peter was good at the (two) jumping pictures!  (Photographer: "Sara, maybe you should jump!"  Sara: "Absolutely not.")

We had a really fun time acting all in love.

These make me laugh because Peter just didn't really know what to do.

The photographers told me that I was REALLY good at showing off my ring.

Probably because I like it so much!!  (Which is beneficial, since I'll be looking at it for the next 100 years or so.)


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day...

... to the man who taught me how to tell a story.

... to the man who always believes in me.

... to the man who introduced me to my passion.

... to the man that keeps my head on my shoulders, and my feet on the ground.

... to the man who always makes me laugh.

... to the man who loved me first.

Happy Father's Day to all fathers in the world, but especially to mine.