Married Life

Two Years of Marriage

Brad and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary last week.

We went to Blue Grotto in Brookside for dinner, then to Starlight Theater to see The Sound of Music. It was a beautiful evening. Eighty degree weather- much different than two years ago. If you were at our wedding, you remember how hot it was.

Anniversary

During dinner, we read the blog post I wrote a year ago for our first anniversary. It was fun to read about all of the things we experienced that first year, and to reminisce about all that we encountered during our second year.

This year was a crazy one. The Lord was so good to us.

One year ago we were about to help plant a church in Springfield. We actually spent our anniversary weekend helping with the church’s vacation bible school! We spent 9 months there before we moved to Kansas City. We got to witness the Lord work in us, the church, and in the community in incredible ways during those months. We miss Freshwater and we pray for them continually. We knew from the beginning that we weren’t there for the long-term, so our motto was 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” Yes, we helped plant Freshwater Church. Others are watering now and others will in the future. But God is the one who has given the growth.

To find out more about Freshwater Church, go to the website, or read this blog post.

Freshwater

In November Brad ran his first half marathon! We (yep, I’m joining this time) are currently training to run another one this October! I never thought I would be a runner, but now it’s one of my favorite hobbies! I’m really thankful that it is something that Brad and I enjoy doing together.

half marathon!

My very favorite thing that happened to us this year happened in December. We got Libby. We were at Brad’s grandma’s house on Christmas Eve when we announced that she was looking for a new home for Libby. We called our landlord, got the okay, and took her back home with us to Springfield the day after Christmas. She has brought so much joy to our lives and I can’t image our lives without her.

Libby

February is when things really started to get crazy. The day after Brad’s 25th birthday, he got in a hit-and-run accident, totaling the car. We were pretty upset. We had the Blueberry for less than a year and we were not expecting to have to buy a new car any time soon. This added to what was already an unclear next few months of our lives. So we decided to wait. Sharing the Jeep was inconvenient, but we managed. Two months later we had the opportunity to buy Brad’s great-uncle’s Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight. Wanna guess how many miles it had on it when we got it? 6,000. Yep. God provided for us in a way that we never expected.

New car!

So in March, we knew that I would be graduating soon and that Brad was going to go to seminary. However, we had no idea where that would be. We’d been praying for months that the Lord would lead us where He willed, but we were still in the dark about what would happen in two months. So we kept praying and waiting. Our tentative plan was for me to start applying for jobs in March in both Louisville, KY, and Kansas City, because Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were Brad’s top choices for school, respectively. I would work full-time while Brad went to school. We figured that I would support us while he was in school as he had done for me and our goal was to pay for school along the way so that we didn’t have to take out more loans. We were looking at three more long years of watching our pennies, but we were okay with that.

Then out of the blue Brad got a phone call advising him to apply for a job that had just opened up at Midwestern as an admissions counselor (what he was currently doing at SBU). So he applied, we went up to Kansas City for an interview, and he got the job! Whoa. Again, God provided for us a way that we never expected.

Brad started at Midwestern about two weeks later. I stayed in Springfield to finish school until May, then we permanently made the move to KC. (For more about my graduation, read this post) The next item on our agenda was for me to find a job. I assumed that I would be searching for a job for months, but instead the Lord blew away our expectations once again and provided for me a job just one week after my graduation.

Now we live in Kansas City north (by Worlds of Fun for those of you from KC) in an apartment that we love, I work at Viracor-IBT, and Brad is about to start seminary at Midwestern. God clearly brought us to Kansas City. He provided for us in ways that we didn’t even know to ask for.

Kansas CityThe last piece of the puzzle was to find a church. As He usually does, the Lord led us to a church that we did not expect. We’ve decided to join Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty. We are so excited to get involved and to see how God is going to use us and grow us during our time at PV!

A year ago I thought that year two was going to be hard to top, but I was very mistaken. I can’t even begin to image what Brad and I will encounter in year three.

Brad is the best, marriage is wonderful, and God is good.

love love

Lately 07.15.14

I think it’s safe to say we’ve settled into our new life here in KC because my planner is filling up! We’ve had a super busy last couple of weeks and this week is just as packed. There are dishes to be done and laundry to be started, but I’m going to enjoy this beautiful July weather we’re having today and blog on our deck while watching the sunset.

Brad and I went to our first Royals game a couple of weeks ago and we had a blast. It was buck night, perfect weather, and they won! Tbh, it’s been a while since I’ve been at a Royals game when they came away with a W.

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Our friend Colton came to town the weekend of Independence Day, so we did a little KC exploring and experienced Oddly Correct Coffee. Coffee in Erlenmeyer flasks. Needless to say, I loved it.

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My brother was the starting pitcher in the All Star Game for the league he is playing in, so Brad, my dad, and I road tripped to Junction City, KS, to watch him play! He did a great job and his team won with a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th! It was an awesome game to see.

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I think I mentioned in a post a while back that I had won a bag from the blog A Beautiful Mess. I finally got it in the mail and I love it! I’m so excited to use it all the time. It’s definitely an upgrade from the backpack I’ve been toting around for the last five years.

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I love our deck, patio furniture, and new outdoor rug. Also I love coffee and cereal.

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Libby is still as cute as ever. Right now she is mad at me because I put her inside because she kept barking at the other dogs walking by.

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This weekend my grandma celebrated her 80th birthday! It was super fun to have (most of) the family together to celebrate! I hope I’m kicking it like her when I’m 80.

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This weekend Brad and I went to Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission. If you haven’t been, you should. You get to enjoy being outside while seeing a great show, and you can bring food and drinks! It’s definitely a cheaper date night then dinner and a movie, and I actually enjoy it more! We saw “Honk”, which was based on the ugly duckling. Tom Sawyer is playing next, so I think we are going to go! Let us know if you want to join us!

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Also this weekend we went to the wedding of one of my good friends from the church I grew up in. It was super fun to get to hang out with old friends! I think you sometimes don’t realize that you miss someone until you see them again after going a long time without.

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Last night Brad and I went to the Riot Room to see Penny and Sparrow. If you haven’t heard of them, you should definitely check them out (they’re on Spotify). They are soooooo good and they were even better in person! It was definitely worth the late night.

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Kind of a long post, so thanks for sticking around to the end!

I’m hoping to blog soon about how decorating our apartment is going so far!

Libby

Libs. Libsy. Pup. Pups. Pup-Pup. Puppy-Puppy. Doge. Cuddle Pup. Bub. Kid. Pupperoni.

These are the nicknames Libby has accrued over the last month that we’ve had her. It’s a wonder she still knows her name is Libby.

I sat down to do a “Lately” post, but when I began looking through the pictures on my phone, I realized that Libby was featured in about 95% of them. So I decided to do a little post about our newest family member!

Brad and Libby have become best buds.

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See, best buds.

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I get to enjoy sunsets like these on our nightly walks.

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We’ve taken a lot of family photos.

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And a lot of selfies.

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We even taught her how to drive!

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Our little pup has been a lot of fun. We’re looking forward to the weather warming up so we can take her on more and longer walks!

Happy 25th Birthday Brad

Brad

Today is my husband Brad’s 25th birthday! In honor of him being on the earth for a quarter of a century, I’m sharing 25 things I love about Brad.

1. He loves Jesus.

2. He watches Project Runway with me.

3. We’re the same height and similar size, so we can share clothes.

4. He takes care of our vehicles.

5. He is good at driving in the ice and snow.

6. He pushes the cart at the grocery store.

7. He has a discerning spirit.

8. He never embarrasses me or uses me as a punch line of his joke.

9. He plays the guitar.

10. He goes thrifting with me.

11. He doesn’t make me watch scary movies.

12. He likes hanging out with my family.

13. He loves Harry Potter.

14. He rarely complains.

15. He isn’t picky, so he will eat pretty much anything I cook.

16. He runs with me.

17. He pursues the Lord and His will for our lives.

18. He likes to travel.

19. He has a great family.

20. We laugh a lot.

21. He is a good steward of our finances.

22. He doesn’t play a lot of video games.

23. He’s handsome.

24. He is gentle, never says a hateful word, and refrains from anger.

25. He loves me.

Happy Birthday Brad Bear!! I love you!

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

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(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!

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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!

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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!

35 Christmas Date Ideas

Christmas Date Ideas

My husband and I love Christmas time. I was brainstorming some fun things we could do this holiday season and I thought I’d share some of them! Merry Christmas!

1. Hot chocolate and Christmas movie marathon.

2. Make Christmas ornaments.

3. Bake Christmas cookies for your friends and coworkers.

4. Go to your local Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting.

5. Decorate your Christmas tree together.

6. Memorize the Christmas story together.

7. Talk about your favorite Christmas memories.

8. Go Christmas shopping for your families.

9. Wrap presents together.

10. Go to a local church’s Christmas musical or play.

11. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. (Last year, Brad and I made an “award” for the best Christmas lights in Springfield. Once we decided on the house with our favorite lights, we left it at the house for the owners to find!)

12. Buy ugly Christmas sweaters from a thrift store.

13. Go on a nighttime walk in the park (ideally in the snow).

14. Drive through your local Christmas lights display.

15. Make home-made gifts instead of buying this year.

16. Volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. (The Springfield Salvation Army is looking for volunteers this season!)

17. Make paper snowflakes.

18. Go to your local symphony or ballet.

19. Learn to play and sing your favorite Christmas songs.

20. Make a list of Christmas traditions for your family.

21. Make a gingerbread house.

22. Watch the Christmas episodes of all your favorite shows.

23. Go ice skating.

24. Go to a local Christmas Parade of Homes. (Midtown Springfield is having a home tour the first weekend of December!)

25. Chop down your own Christmas tree at a local Christmas tree farm.

26. Write a Christmas card letter about the past year to send your extended family.

27. Decorate sugar cookies.

28. Visit a live nativity.

29. Make home-made Christmas cards.

30. Have a “summer in December” date and go swimming at an indoor pool.

31. Run a holiday 5K. (Like the Turkey Trot or Silver Dollar City’s Race to the Lights.)

32. Watch old Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas.

33. Go to a local Christmas pageant or play.

34. Go to a Christmas parade.

35. Go Christmas caroling at a nursing home.

Look for Christmas events going on in your town! Christmas only comes once a year, so enjoy it!