Month: December 2013

2014 Goals

I stumbled upon this on Pinterest this other day (from the blog Home Sweet First Home).

NY goals

I like this template because I often don’t know where to begin when it comes to New Years resolutions and goals. Most are about health or finance, but this list gives a variety of things to strive for. Also it uses words like “hope” and “like” so that it doesn’t feel so disappointing if it doesn’t happen!

Brad and I went through the list and I’ve decided to share mine!

A bad habit I’m going to break: Mine isn’t so much to break a bad habit, but start a good one. I want to get in the habit of having an intention time with God to read my Bible, pray, and journal. I will often read a short Bible passage on my phone when I’ve got a few extra minutes, and I pray short prayers throughout the day as things come to mind, but I am bad about really sitting down and spending quality time with the Lord.

A new skill I’d like to learn: This is not very specific, but I’d like to learn how to cook in new ways! I’m often intimidated by trying new recipes with a skill I’ve never done before or a food I’ve never cooked. Instead of just skipping over those recipes on Pinterest, I’d like to actually try to make them!

A person I hope to be more like: I’d like to be more like Julie Simcosky, my pastor’s wife from when I was a kid. Julie has come to my mind frequently in the past several months as we have been planting Freshwater Church. I’m not a pastor’s wife, but people look to Brad and me as leaders, as we are a part of the core team. I’m sure many of you have experienced that transition from youth group, to college student, to actually being an active member of a church. I can’t just come to the events that have food anymore! Julie was a great example of a godly, servant leader. She was always friendly, full of joy, and willing to serve in any way. I haven’t seen or talked to Julie in almost 10 years, but she is still making an impact on me. That is the kind of life I strive to live out.

A good deed I’m going to do: Making “blessing bags” to keep in our car to give to homeless people. We see homeless people fairly often around where we live and I always wish I had something helpful to give them. Blessing bags are gallon ziplock bags that can include things like granola bars, kleenexes, coupons, a Bible, hand sanitizer, travel size shampoo, conditioner, and soap.

A place I’d like to visit: I’m really hoping we can go to Florida to visit Harry Potter World this year! I’ve never been to Florida, and I’ve always wanted to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.

A book I’d like to read: I’m planning on reading the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. I bought the first and the third book a while ago at a thrift store and haven’t been able to find the second. I need to just buy it online so I can finally read the series! I read Redeeming Love a couple of years ago (also by Francine Rivers), and many people told me if I liked Redeeming Love, then I’ll love the Mark of the Lion series!

A letter I’m going to write: I’d like to write a letter to my brother, because it’s always fun to get mail at college!

A new food I’d like to try: I’d like to try more fruits! I get in a rut of just buying bananas and apples, but this year I’d like to eat more mangos, pears, pineapple, etc.

I’m going to do better at: Crafting! I love to craft, but I don’t do it as often as I’d like. I have tons of things pinned on my Crafts and DIY Pinterest board, but have made very few of them. I always end of crocheting, which I love, but I’d like to also try some new things.

Here’s to a great 2014! Do you have any resolutions or goals for the new year?

Our Christmas Week

Our Christmas week included baptisms, hospital visits, Christmas carols, a death, time with family, gifts, a funeral, and a new dog. Now as I sit in our home in Springfield I feel as if we finally got off the emotional roller coaster we had been on since last Saturday.

Many people have asked me how my Christmas was, to which I replied some version of Oh, it was a crazy week, because no one wants to hear that your Christmas included a funeral. My grandma’s husband, Frank, passed away on Christmas Eve. He had been battling poor health for several years now, and we had been expecting his passing for a while, but it is still difficult to deal with loss during Christmas time. However, we are joyous that he is now with The Lord, and no longer has to endure the physical obstacles he had faced for the past few years. Also, we were blessed to have two of his kids join in on our family Christmas. My favorite moment of the week was in my grandma’s basement with all of our family singing Christmas carols, led by my dad and husband before we read the Christmas story from Luke 2 and opened gifts. It was such a special experience and we decided to make it a new family tradition.

christmas carols

It was a difficult week, but I was constantly reminded of God’s goodness. I’m incredibly blessed to have a family that trusts in the Lord, and a husband that leads me with gentleness and truth.

You can read Frank’s obituary here.

Brad and I experienced a lot of joy this week as well! Our week began at Freshwater Church, Bolivar, where we had our first baptism service! God had been so good during these first four months as a church and it was so exciting to celebrate four people’s lives that have been changed because of the gospel! We also had a wonderful visit with both of our families. We even got a TV (thanks Lea!!)!

But our favorite Christmas gift was one that we had not expected at all! On Christmas we got together with Brad’s mom’s family at his grandmother’s house. His grandmother is getting married and moving soon, so she was looking for someone to take her dog. Brad and I have been wanting a dog, and we’ve always loved hers, so we called our landlord to see if it was okay if we got a dog. He said it was fine, so we picked her up the next day! Her name is Libby and she is a little cutie. She is 3/4 dachshund and 1/4 miniature pincher, so she mostly looks like a wiener dog, but not as long. We think she is dealing with a little bit of separation anxiety right now, but other than that she’s doing really well! She’s one of the most chill dogs ever and is mostly content to just sit by you (or on you). I’m sure you’ll be seeing plenty of her on my Twitter and Instagram!

20131229-134710.jpg

20131229-134723.jpg

20131229-134739.jpg

I hope that you had a wonderful time with family and friends this Christmas. I pray that you experienced the joy of giving, and the blessing of Emmanuel, Christ with us, this year.

Bartlett Christmas Card

Merry Christmas from the Bartletts!

merry christmas

We were considering whether or not to send Christmas cards, because let’s be honest, they’re kind of expensive, and most of the people that we would send Christmas cards to keep up with this blog, so people already know what we’ve been up to for the past year! So instead of sending cards out, we are doing this blog post. Brad will be joining me on this post and he will be writing in italics.

I will be writing in italics.

Okay here we go! (Also I’ll link to any past blogs I refer to if you want to read more.)

That way, she gets more views.

This was our first full year living in Springfield and as a married couple. We traveled, made new friends, tried new things, and helped plant a church.

For spring break, we decided to take a little road trip to Memphis, TN (I did two posts about this trip. You can see them here and here). It was close enough to drive and neither of us had ever been there before.

It ended up being the most expensive trip EVER!

Brad is right. On our way home back into town our car unexpectedly broke down. Zena the ZX2 had seen its last days.

Fortunately, the Lord is good and we found a great new-to-us car. It’s name is The Blueberry, our first big purchase as a married couple.

Except for that ring!

New car!!

This summer, we had the pleasure of being in two weddings. We both did the scripture reading in Matt and Molly’s wedding, and Brad was a groomsman in his friend Tyler’s wedding.

matt and molly

20131215-164651.jpg

(I just noticed I wore the same dress to both weddings. Haha)

We also went to Silver Dollar City like, a million times. We made sure to ride every roller coaster each time we went, and always ended our day with a funnel cake. How we didn’t throw up each time is beyond me. We went enough times that we got a super cool Christmas tree ornament!

funnel cake

sdc

One thing that Brad and I have always enjoyed doing together is running. We spent many evenings running at the wellness center at SBU when we were first dating. A year ago, we did a mile-a-day challenge in which we ran at least one mile every day during the month of December. That month was a great kick-starter into a year of fitness. We ran several 5Ks together this year and after pushing ourselves all summer and into the fall, we both met big goals. Brad ran his first HALF MARATHON!! And in helping him train, I was able to make it to 6 miles! I really appreciate having a husband that pushes me to be fit and healthy! A few years ago, neither of us would have thought that we would be able to run as far as we have.

half marathon!

It felt so great to finally reach such a big milestone! It was tough, but crossing that finish line made it all worth it.

We plan to run a half marathon together sometime in 2014!

This fall, we got to take another little road trip. Brad is an admissions counselor at SBU, so he has to travel to college fairs in his territory for a couple of months in the fall. He happened to have a college fair in Illinois during my fall break, so I got to go with him! This time SBU provided a rental car, so we didn’t have to worry about a repeat of our first road trip this year.

I got the chance to rent several awesome cars, and travel to some more great places throughout the Midwest. This was my longest trip of the season, so Katelyn’s fall break fell at a great time.

On our way home from Illinois, we were able to stay in St. Louis for one night. We went to the City Museum, which was really fun!

I was able to finally conquer some height-fear issues.

Then we were able get together with my old friend Lauren and her husband before we headed back to Springfield. It was a nice getaway. You can read more about the trip here.

city museum

Another huge part of our lives this year has been Freshwater Church.

The past year has been a blur when it comes to Freshwater Church. It seems like only yesterday that myself and a couple of men from Bolivar were sitting in a Panera Bread, dreaming of what a church in northern Springfield would look like. Now we have been meeting for over a year, and have had more than a hundred people enter our doors. It’s been a huge blessing to do life with these people, and in our next (and what will likely be our last) six months we are excited to see what the Lord will do with Freshwater Church Springfield.

Freshwater

My time at MSU is quickly coming to a close as I am about to begin my last semester of grad school. (Read about it here and here.) I’m finishing up my first publication right now and I plan to publish one more time sometime in the spring. My time at MSU has been a huge blessing and I’m so thankful for the people that I’ve met there and what I’ve learned. I’ll be sad to leave when I graduate, but I’m excited to see what is next!

Best of all, I’ve had awesome labmates!

20131215-164818.jpg

I also got to teach a class of all Chinese students from Qingdao University. It was a huge challenge, but such a blessing to teach them. It was so fun to get to know them and to see them learn over the semester. Getting to teach has been one of my favorite things about grad school. I’d love to get to teach again in the future.

A few more highlights of the year have been having Brad’s sister here in Springfield with us as she goes to MSU, my brother Dylan now plays baseball for Pittsburg State University, we went to our first marriage conference in February, our hometown Kansas City is actually having a great year sports-wise, and we got super obsessed with the TV show Parks and Rec this year.

Brad and I have one more week of work and school, then we are headed to KC for Christmas! We are blessed to get a week and a half break.

From us to you, we want to wish you all a very merry Christmas! May you be blessed to end the year with great memories as well. We can’t wait to see where 2014 takes us, and you can count on us sharing it with you!

20131215-164424.jpg

My Latest Afghans

I actually finished both of these afghans a while ago, but had never gotten around to taking pictures of them!

I used Red Heart yarn on both of these. I always use Red Heart for afghans because it’s the cheapest and I think it turns out just as soft once you wash it. Yarn can get expensive when you’re making an afghan!

This one is a Christmas gift, but the recipient doesn’t know it’s for them!! I had used a similar pattern before for an afghan I made my mom, but it was from a crochet book that belonged to my old roommate, so I just figured the pattern out on my own. I basically used all double crochet, and in every other row I chained every other stitch. I really love how it turned out! I think this pattern is very pretty for decorating your home!

afghan

afghan

afghan

This is a baby blanket that I made for a friend. I LOVE how it turned out! I used the blackberry salad pattern that you can find here. This was the first time I’d done this pattern and it was much easier than I expected! I’m also really happy with the colors. This can easily be a baby afghan for a boy or a girl.

baby afghan

baby afghan

I don’t have any afghans in the works at the moment, but I am trying to finish up THREE scarves before Christmas! Ideally I would like to make one more, but I don’t know if I’ll have time! So much crocheting, so little time.

Christmas Bags, a family tradition

I love holiday family traditions. I was blessed to grow up in a great community of families. At Christmas time, everyone usually buys presents for their family members, but my family also wanted to show our friends how much we love and appreciate them by giving them bags full of Christmas goodies. This tradition began one year when my family arrived home to find a Christmas popcorn bowl full of treats from my mom’s good friend Carrie. We were so blessed by this surprise that we decided to make it a tradition of our own. Each year we would spend a Saturday in December in the kitchen making breads, cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels. We would buy plain brown paper bags to decorate, then my brother and I would deliver them in person.

There are so many aspects about this Christmas tradition that I love. Your family friends get something to munch on during the Christmas season, we spent quality time together as a family making and filling the bags, and my brother and I got the joy of chatting with our friends and wishing them a Merry Christmas when we dropped off their bags.

As Brad and I began building our own family traditions, I knew that this was one I wanted to continue for not only Brad and me, but also with our children in the future.

Growing up, we had too many family friends to make bags for all of them, so we switched it up every year. Brad and I have adopted this part of the tradition too. It’s so hard to decide who to give them to, but what a great problem to have! We’re so blessed to have such a great community here in Springfield.

We had a blast making and handing out our bags this weekend. This year we are filling our bags with banana bread, white and milk chocolate covered pretzels, candied nuts, and peanut butter Special K bars (my aunt Lori’s specialty).

Pretzels, YUM!

more pretzels!

For the Carringtons

I encourage you to make this a family tradition of your own, or even to try it just this year! There are endless people to bless with Christmas goodies: friends, family, neighbors, pastors, coaches, teachers, babysitters, your mechanic, the pharmacy, your bank, or the baristas at your favorite coffee shop. It’s a great way to spend time as a family and to bless those that are important to you during this season of giving!

Lately (12.6.13)

We are snowed in today, and although Brad is home, he has shut himself up in our “room of requirement” to get some work done. That leaves me with a to-do list about a mile long, but I figured I’d procrastinate a bit and do a little blog post about what we’ve been up to lately.

20131206-105218.jpg

Brad ran a half marathon! I am so proud of him for achieving his fitness goal. I didn’t run it with him, but I did enjoy helping him train. Running the first or second half of his long runs with him helped me achieve some goals of my own. We’re planning on running a half marathon together sometime next year!

20131206-105314.jpg

This pretty lady came to visit me (and stole my rad sweatshirt). I’m so thankful that our friendship has remained so strong after so many years of living in different cities. I look forward to the day that we live near each other again.

20131206-105344.jpg

This semester I taught a cell biology lab of all Chinese students from Qingdao University. It was certainly a challenge, but I really grew to care for them and it was a joy to teach and get to know them. They gave me this card and bear as a thank you. It was really hard to say goodbye to them on our last day of lab, but most of them have friended me on Facebook so hopefully we can stay in touch.

Brad and I went home to KC for Thanksgiving. We are really blessed that both of our families live in the KC area so we don’t have to choose who to go see each holiday.

20131206-105409.jpg

20131206-105429.jpg

I always love dinners at my parents’ house. My mom does such a great job of making our time there special. I really loved how she decorated the table for Thanksgiving dinner this year. Maybe everyone thinks their parents’ house is magical at Christmas, but mine truly is. My mom has a real knack for decorating for Christmas. I know many of you that follow this blog know my mom, so I’m sure you can attest to this.

20131206-105448.jpg

After lunch at my parents’ we were off to Brad’s grandma’s for another meal. Last year, we were newly married and I still felt a little awkward at Thanksgiving, but this year was totally different. I had a really great time and felt totally comfortable with my new family. I think that inheriting a new family is one of the best things about getting married.

20131206-105508.jpg

Me and his grandma’s dog Libby became good friends.

20131206-105518.jpg

So thankful to have Heather as a sister-in-law. We are going to miss her when we leave Springfield!

20131206-105534.jpg

On Black Friday, my brother won a pair of cleats signed by the Royals pitcher Jeremy Gutherie on Twitter! He got to meet up with him and talk about baseball. How does Dylan always get so lucky? (Photo c/o @danky_don, my brother’s Instagram)

20131206-105558.jpg

We had to say goodbye to one of our favorite undergraduate students in the lab, Courtney. She’s leaving us to join a lab in the chemistry department. We will miss her very much!! I’ve been really blessed to get to work with some great people in the lab.

20131206-105630.jpg

The snow began to fall at about 1:00 yesterday. By the time I headed home at 4:00 the roads were completely iced over with snow covering the ice. It took me almost an hour to drive home! It usually takes me less than 20 minutes. I was very thankful to be in the Jeep that does well in snow. I think we’ve gotten about 5 or 6 inches and it’s still falling.

Enjoy your snow day! It’s about time I get to that to-do list…

6 Themed Gift Ideas

I love a good themed gift! It’s the perfect solution for when you aren’t sure what to get someone.

Here are a few theme ideas for this Christmas season!

1. Food. This is a great one for guys in college. Load them up on all their favorite snack food! Pringles, Cheetos, candy, pop… the possibilities are endless!

2. City. Center your gift around a cool city. Barnes and Noble have really cool coffee table books about major cities that are really fun to look through. I also love poster-maps like these

new york map

3. Sports team. The go-to would be to get a jersey or t-shirt, but try to think outside of the box! A cool car sticker, a book about the history of the team, or a picture of the team’s stadium are a couple of ideas. I like this one of the KC Royals Kauffman Stadium.

KC Royals

4. Breakfast. I love this one. Probably because I love breakfast. Include breakfast bars, gourmet coffee, creamer, yummy bread, jam, and a coffee cup! This is a really unique themed gift that I think will be a big hit.

5. Childhood. This is another great one for guys. Every guy still has a little kid in him. Buy him a Lego set, a wiffle baseball bat and ball, a Nerf gun, or a bag of water balloons. Get creative!

6. Crafts. Crafting supplies can get expensive! Stock up your crafter on washi tape, ribbons, scrapbook paper, scissors, felt, glue sticks, and yarn. Stroll the aisles of Hobby Lobby or Joann’s and it won’t take long to have a basket full of supplies that your crafty friend will love.

The key to themed gifts is thinking outside the box! Have fun creating your own themed gift!