Saturday, December 20, 2008

In the Christmas Spirit....

Well, we made it, and we're in the upstate!! YAY!!

It is SO good to be here, and as beautiful and wonderful as Charleston truly is, nothing beats the upstate. Honestly. 

We rolled into town Wednesday evening around 10 o'clock and we parked the Penske truck because after 3 hours of loading, we just didn't have the energy to unload in the same day!! We made it back safely; it was a pretty uneventful trip with no major problems. Jonathan's mom and dad have a basement room with all the furnishings -shower, kitchen area, sleeping area- so that is where we are staying for the 3 or so weeks that we are here. It's a pretty good set-up and functions pretty much as our very own house. It's very private, and sometimes I forget that we're adjacent to the rest of the house!!! We are very thankful that we could have it to stay in (I think it could possibly be the same size as our house in Charleston, ha!!), and they worked so hard to get it ready and make it "homey." It looks great and we are so appreciative!! 
Jonathan spent all of Thursday, along with the help of his dad (I snuck out to do wedding things with Bekah.....we had a GREAT time and I'm even more pumped about this wedding now!!), unloading everything in my parents' storage unit, his parents' attic, and the basement room. I was very thankful that they did this and I didn't even have to lift a finger!! :) So as of right now, there are tubs and all sorts of things taking up space in our living area (mainly lots of clothes), but only because we've got to sort through it to decide what needs to be kept out for Italy. Oh boy. 
But the main thing is, we're settled in. In familiar surroundings, with family and friends, for the Holidays. And we're oh SO very excited!!! :)

Speaking of the Holidays, we had our 1st Family Christmas get together last night. It was the Mauldin get together, which is all of Jonathan's mom's immediate family (about 13 of us) and we had the best time, but even better, the BEST food!! Jonathan's Grandmother can COOK!!!! Whew baby!! Plus, we let the kids have their time opening presents (ages 12, 8, and 8) and that is always priceless. I love it.
I was also able to get some time in to visit Calhoun yesterday with the most fabulous Jennifer Turner, and it was AWESOME to see all those bright, smiling familiar faces. I was reminded of why I adore that school so much. I loved getting to see everyone, especially some of my babies from last year!!! Incredible. Jennifer and I grabbed lunch together at Fatz Cafe afterwards, and she treated me, which was not necessary, but VERY sweet of her!! :) The conversation was awesome and encouraging -as it always is with J.Turner- and we had such a great time!! She is a true friend, and I am so thankful for her!! As far as I'm concerned, everyone should have a Jennifer Turner!!! 

So now, I am officially in the Christmas mood....officially!!! My favorite cousin, Shannon arrives from Texas today and I cannot wait. Both sets of parents' houses are decorated so beautifully for Christmas, and of course, the first time I headed over to the my parents' house, mama was baking poppyseed bread so even the aroma filling the house was so fitting!! We've got just a few more Christmas gifts to get for family and another family get together tonight which will be followed by many more!! And the Larges will get into town Wednesday night and I cannot wait!! :)
So being in this Christmas spirit, I wanted to leave you with something to help get you in the holiday spirit if you're not already. One is a video of a remake of the song, "Singing in the Rain" originally sung by Gene Kelly, but in this instance, sung by Usher. "Singing in the Rain" is a favorite of mine as far as regular music is concerned because I wish I could live every day to the lyrics of that song. We saw this on a Christmas special last holiday season, and it was amazing. So amazing that I think everyone needs to see it so I'm sharing it!! The other 2 are Christmas songs. Two songs that are probably on my list of top 5 Christmas songs of all time. The first is "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child," sung by John Legend. It's currently my Christmas ringtone for whenever anyone calls, and it's just got so much soul. In a very uplifting way, it reminds you of what this time of year is really about. I love it!!! The second one is probably my #1 most favorite Christmas song, EVER. It's "Baby it's Cold Outside," sung by Dolly Parton and Rod Stewart. As many of you know, this song has been sung by various artists, but this version truly is the best. Hands down. I love, love, love this song. I've been listening to the Christmas music non-stop, as I'm sure many of you have, and this one is the one that I play over and over and over. 

If this video and songs doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will. Enjoy!! 

Usher....singing in the rain!!! 

John Legend...."Jesus, What a Wonderful Child"

And my ALL TIME fav.....Dolly and Rod with "Baby, it's Cold Outside!!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Moving on...

Well, this is it. 
Today is our LAST day in Charleston.

I can't believe it. It seems like we JUST got here yesterday. It's been SO much fun, and school has been VERY challenging, but we've had some wonderful experiences and a great time!! This time in Charleston has allowed us to grow even closer, which I didn't think was possible because we were already so close. It's as if we've fallen in love all over again, but this time for new, different reasons!! Very exciting. 

I'm spending the day boxing and wrapping and stuffing and packing....blah, blah, blah. THIS is my LEAST favorite part about moving. If we've got to do it, I just want to be done with it and back in the upstate with it all unloaded and done. 

We decided to spend Saturday being "tourists" in the city (since the semester really hasn't allowed for us to do many "Charleston-y" things) and had a GREAT time!! We ate at touristy restaurants, went to The Market and the Christmas market in Marion Square, went to my favorite Candy Shop, and just took in as much of the city as we could for one last time as true residents. We'll probably try to grab a quick, cheap dinner at a favorite place of ours close by the house tonight, for old times sake.

In Charleston Place Hotel with one of the beautiful trees....we look a bit awkward because the guy who took the picture was so random and I wasn't sure if I should smile or what!!

Being that my parents are SO awesome and always doing more for us than they should, my dad rented us a Penske truck for our move. We'll pick it up tomorrow morning at 9 AM in West Ashley and then Jonathan's Dad and Papa are driving up together to be our 3rd driver back (in addition to Jonathan driving the truck to the upstate, we also have both of our cars to drive back so we had to have enough drivers). We plan to have everything packed, so they'll help us load it all into the truck, and then we'll head on out. Hopefully it won't be too late in the afternoon so that we can unload it all when we get to the upstate. We hope to leave Charleston around 1 or 2 PM. 

So, that's it. This part of our year of traveling is complete. On to the next adventure...Genoa, Italy. Oh, I am so excited. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

His and Hers :)

If you know me in the least, you know that I usually own and operate with a pretty junked up phone. It never seems to do anything right, and I am constantly having to apologize to family and friends for my poor excuse of a phone. 
Last Sunday it did something oh so new and different....I received a week's worth of text messages all at once. I know. Wonderful. My phone was beeping for 30 or so straight incoming texts. Fun, fun!! Then the very next morning, I put my phone on silent for work and it was fine. Just fine. No immediate problems. Well. I went to get it out to check it after work that day, and the screen was all whacked out. I couldn't read anything because all the colors were melting together and it looked like something straight out of the 70's. 

There was SO much going on last week with Jonathan's FINAL presentation so I put the phone issue on the back burner; plus I've always kind of said that if it weren't COMPLETELY necessary, I could just go without a cell phone period. I just don't really like phones. I'd much rather see the people I love in person....but of course that's not realistic, so alas, I must have one. 

With moving coming up, Jonathan and I were going to be needing all of the plastic tubs we had used to move down to Charleston to move back to the upstate. Fortunately a VERY wonderful couple from Whitefield, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, were going to be making a trip down from the upstate and offered to bring us these plastic tubs (THANK YOU Larry and Carol Lee....we appreciate it SO much!!)......I say all of that to say......I needed a phone so that I might get in touch with them to meet up and get the tubs. Since Jonathan was understandably preoccupied and living in studio, I trekked on over to Verizon Thursday evening to figure out what was to be done. 
My phone had done something very similar this past summer right before we got married and they just replaced it with a new phone. I had hoped to do this again, but quickly found out that since my phone is SO old (the original RAZR, ugh, HATE that phone) the warranty ran out in August, and they were going to charge me $50 BUCKS to fix/replace it!!! I'm thinking, "Ugh, NO! 50 smackaroos is TOO much!!!!".......but with going to Europe for a whole semester, Jonathan and I knew we were going to have to make phone decisions/plans, so now was the opportunity to do just that. 
So I call my hubby while at Verizon, give the technical support lady my phone so she can answer all of his questions regarding cellular usage outside of the States, and then patiently waited for my husband to decide what we should do. So, turns out, it was cheaper to get a newer, more advanced phone that would be capable in Europe instead of paying $50 BUCKS (I'm sorry, this just baffled me) to replace an old junked up phone. 

For the record, as much as I have always proclaimed that having a phone wasn't necessary, I didn't need anything fancy, something just to receive and dial out, blah, blah, blah.....I have never LOVED a phone more than the new one that Jonathan picked out for me!!! It's the nicest, fanciest phone I've ever owned and I even promised the Verizon saleslady that I was going to take VERY good care of it (something I haven't done so well in the past). 
It's the new LG enV2 and I'm not going to's slick rick. Jonathan has the original Voyager, but when I left Verizon, he made me immediately head over to studio to let him play with it!!! and toys!!! He was a bit jealous I think, but he was SO excited that our phones are now so similar and said that it was like "His and Hers" phones!!!

He took this picture and said it was specifically for posting on the blog about the new phone. :) He says we are "LG Buddies" now....very cute. I've always known that man was the one for me!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beautiful, historical, inspirational city...

This evening I had to make a trip, as I like to say, "out of the city" and into West Ashley. As you know, there is the Cooper River Bridge off the peninsula and into Mt. Pleasant, but there are obviously other bridges leading to other areas outside of the city. We rarely ever go out to Mt. P. unless it is Sunday and we're headed to church. So in turn, we rarely ever go over the "Big" bridge that most people relate to when they think of Charleston. 

But that's not my favorite bridge anyways. The bridge that takes you out of downtown and into West Ashley, James Island, and Folly Beach will be THE bridge I remember when I look back on our time in Charleston. Man oh man, I LOVE that bridge....but more than just the bridge, it's the VIEW. It overlooks of course, the water, but the Charleston City Marina (it's actually nicknamed the MegaDock) is located at water's edge so this is what you see as you cross over the water to come into downtown. It is spectacular. The picture posted doesn't do it justice (plus, it's much prettier at night). The boats are big and beautiful, and always lined up perfectly across the water. Nighttime is breathtaking. I have found myself many times, as I've been coming across the bridge, almost have a wreck and topple right over the bridge into the water because I couldn't take my eyes off the sight. At night all of the boats are spread out across the water in just the right spots and they have a small light that you can see on atop of each one. When you look at it, it looks just like the night sky in the mountains; millions of stars blanketing the sky....but in this case the water. And there's always a calming wind that's over the water and I promise, from my car as I cross over that tall bridge, I can see the water rippling.

It's luminous and beautiful and I hope I never lose that picture in my mind as long as I live because it's a memory I have from being a newlywed with my precious husband in one of the most beautiful, historic cities. 

So. In driving over my favorite bridge tonight, I'm inspired to do a "Top 10" --Favorite things from downtown Charleston Living-- that will explain -although extremely excited about our next traveling adventure- why I will miss city living so very, very much.

10.10 minutes from the beach. 'Nuff said. 
9. Weekend market in Marion Square and the Battery.
8. Starbucks is less than a mile from home.
7. Riding my bike to do all my errands.
6. Being able to walk everywhere. Everywhere.
5. In turn, only having to fill up on gas once every month.
4. Having only a 2 minute walk to work, which is literally across the street from home.
3. Such a diverse selection of restaurants, you could live here for a year before you eat at the same place twice.
2. The feeling of being so close to the water, seeing all the beautiful boats, and the city lights at night.
1. The history, preservation, and southern charm within the city that makes you PROUD to be from SC. 

Also, there is a song that I have listened to over and over this semester that excites me to my core. I have pretty much self proclaimed it my theme song for our "semester in Charleston." I don't even know what it is about the song. It's by Coldplay (which if you know me, you know pretty much all of their songs excite me to the core....definitely in my Top 5 of all time favorite bands) and there are no lyrics, just music. It was actually part of the wedding video that Jonathan's parents made and showed at our Rehearsal dinner, and I think there's a connection that I make in relation to our relationship through the years (it's also currently the ringtone for whenever he calls me).
It just overwhelms me with so many feelings. And I know every time I hear "Life in Technicolor" for the rest of our lives, I will immediately think back to this time in our lives!! :) 

Yeah. So...I love this city. And will miss it dearly, but have much to look back on and remember that I know will make me smile. Places, walks, talks, dinners, movies, experiences. So many memories the newlyweds made in such a beautiful, historical city.
I know we'll never forget the first 5 months of our marriage and living in downtown Charleston. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Goodbye November.....WELCOME DECEMBER!!!

Well, hello there!!! :) :)

It's been almost a month since I last posted....but November was not very nice to me. I caught whatever bug was going around (congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and a cough that could make your mama wince) and it truly did last a good 3 to 4 weeks. Ridiculous. I'm still taking Mucinex every morning and every night....maybe my body is addicted?? Let's hope not!! :)

My grandpa (my dad's dad) passed away the Sunday night before Thanksgiving and Jonathan and I were thankful that although a difficult situation, we would be able to be at the services since we had already planned to be upstate for the break, and they were held the day before Thanksgiving. I appreciate everyone who sent such kind words of encouragement and spoke to me personally about our loss. It was comforting to know that others cared, and for that I am very grateful. :)
It was hard; anytime you lose someone you love there is pain. But, I think, for the most part we all had a peace about his passing. He lived a long and fruitful life. 7 children, 12 grandchildren, and 16 What a blessing to have such a large family to turn to in times of sorrow. I think he would be proud of what we have all become today. There is no doubt, I know he is in God's arms now and fishing the days away!!! 

Me and my grandpa on Father's Day 2008 

So although November was harsh on my immune system and brought a tough loss with it, we did manage to enjoy an upstate Thanksgiving break. It was SO relaxing and the timing was just perfect. Knowing that the last 2 weeks of Jonathan's 1st semester of graduate school would be immediately after the holiday, we had to take advantage of every minute to get ready for the end of the hardest semester of Jonathan's udergrad/grad
career thus far. Daddy and Mama Edens went to Mississippi to be with Rebekah, so we spent the holiday in Pelzer with Daddy and Mama Moore. We got into town that Tuesday night around 11 PM and were able to spend a couple of hours with them before they left. We missed all 3 of them terribly, but can't wait for Christmas when the WHOLE family can all be together again!!! :)
Basically, we slept, ate, showered, and watched football over the break. I did manage to squeeze in some shopping (I know; imagine that!! Ha!!) with my mom and aunt Rita on Black Friday. We ate at Cracker Barrell at 6:30 AM and then shopped for a good 6 hours. Sad thing is, there really weren't that many good deals so we didn't buy too much.
All in all, the break was WONDERFUL and when Sunday evening rolled around we did not want to leave. It's amazing how even after being married, we can still find such comfort in being with our parents and in familiar surroundings. I never thought I would say it in a million years, but when we rolled into town that Tuesday night, we passed the Bi-Lo, and I exclaimed, "I love Pelzer!!!" Ha!!!

THE spread on Thanksgiving Day at my mom and dad's house

I know Jonathan desperately needed the break. I will be SO glad when the school part of this semester is over and I can finally have my husband back. It's funny....we actually saw each other more before we were married!! But I know this is just temporary; and in a mere 5 days it will all be over. I'm not going to lie; getting married and jumping immediately into graduate school (and not just any grad school, but graduate school for architecture) has not been an easy feat on a young, newlywed couple.
We have learned a lot about what works and what doesn't and have grown as husband and wife. Although it has really tested our marriage early on, I think I can speak for both of us when I say we came out on the winning side. And although what seemed at the time as something we may have not been able to overcome, I am so thankful for this semester and for God putting us here and at this time. I didn't think it was possible, because I have always known that Jonathan and I have a very special relationship that was set apart, but we are now stronger than ever. I know that we can always rely not only on God, but can also rely on one another to help bring the other through whatever life throws us.
In saying that, let me also say that we, as a couple, are FAR from perfect and will never be perfect. We each have our traits that are not so wonderful, but I think it's the being NOT perfect that makes it wonderful. I think that God can pour His blessings on the most imperfect husband and wife as long as they seek Him together, always, in all that they do. He'll work out all the other stuff. And looking back over the semester, did we always do the right thing? NO. Did we always make the right decisions? Goodness NO. Did we always handle the situation and speak to one another as we should have? Probably not. But I can't help but smile when I look back on the memories and experiences we shared in the first 5 months of our marriage in such a historical, beautiful city as Charleston. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us. My only prayer is that, in the days to come, we strive to glorify Him each and every day in our words, actions, and relationship with one another.

On the swings, downtown Charleston 2008

So, November ended and we GLADLY welcomed in December. After getting back Sunday night, I am more than ready for the Christmas season. I, like most of you, am listening to the Christmas music 24/7 and cannot help but sing at the top of my lungs. I want to watch holiday classics, bake cookies, drink Starbucks, hot chocolate, sit by the fire, spend time with family and friends and finally relax (and spend time with) my husband. We only had 2 weeks left in our adorable Charleston home, but I couldn't help myself and first thing getting off work Monday, I had to go buy the necessary materials and make a wreath to put on the front door.
I cannot believe that at this point we only have 10 days in Charleston left. I'm SO sad, and will miss downtown Charleston living a whole lot, and it's been an amazing experience, but we're ready for the next adventure.

Us with our Christmas Wreath 2008

And speaking of that, this is going to be a BUSY month for us!!! We're packing it all up on Wednesday the 17th to head upsate for about 3 weeks, and then its holiday parties, a Christmas shower, an anniversary party, and spending every last minute we can with family and friends before we make the move to Europe for the next 5 months!!
There is so much to do to get ready, but bring on another amazing adventure for the Edens!!! We are going to miss the States and everyone SO very much, but 2nd to our wedding day, I have never been more excited and anticipated anything before in my life!!!

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as they will be very much needed in the months to come!!! :) We appreciate it so much and feel so blessed by the love and support that we know we have from family and friends.

Until next time, arrivederci amori!