Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Jesse proposed to me a year ago today. I get such happy feelings thinking about that moment, those feelings, and the true excitement of beginning our "happily ever after."
I woke up this morning realizing that the "happy feelings" I have these days are far more wonderful than what I felt a year ago. Back then it was anticipation, looking forward to the unknown. Now I know what it's like to wake up in the arms of the one I love, start each day with a kiss, go through the whole day looking forward to being reunited at home, sharing dinner and the evening together, talking about the day's events and the funny thoughts in our minds before curling up together and waiting for morning again.
I don't know how I could love him more than I do today...but I've said that before :)

Today was a very different day from what I expected. Jesse woke up with a sinus infection, and I woke up with what feels like the stomach flu. We spent most of the day sitting on the couch together working on Christmas presents (we only actually purchased 4 gifts this year--the rest are homemade, which takes a lot of work!)
So much for the romantic trip to downtown that we had talked about, or dressing up and going out for dinner...but at the same time, it's still nice to sit next to each other and take care of one another. It's even wonderful to be in love when you're sick!

Hopefully we both feel better tomorrow, when we head up to Oxnard to spend Christmas day with my family. We probably won't make the trip to the beach (where Jesse proposed) as we had planned unless we're feeling much better. It's kind of become a tradition. Jesse proposed at the same spot on the beach where he asked me to date him the year before that. We've only been together for two years. How crazy is that?!? Sometimes, I can't remember life before him.

Here's a walk through time with us :)

Merry Christmas!

Exactly two years ago today! Christmas Eve 2006 at my parents' house (a week after we began dating)

Moments after Jesse proposed a year ago today

Back at Mom and Dad's--so happy!

Engagement picture my sister Kate took of us

Our wedding day! Can't believe it's already been six the same time, I can't believe we haven't been married forever!

Six months

On our way to church tonight...sick, but still happy :O)

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Celebrating Six Months!

December is a busy month with lots of special dates to celebrate for us. We have December 16th, the day Jesse asked me to date him 2 years ago (how crazy is that? only two years!); our first kiss on December 17th (tmi?); December 24th, the day Jesse proposed last year; and since we were married on June 8th, December 8th is our "6 Monthiversary."

We celebrated our six months of marriage on the 8th. It was a Monday, so I had time to get home from teaching and set up the house before Jesse came home from leading youth group. I pulled our round table to the center of the den, set it with our wedding Lenox (I was corrected by my Ami last time I called it our china. "If you're lucky enough to have Lenox, you call it Lenox," she told me.) I also put out the champagne from our wedding and our beautiful cake top that our friend Nicolene made for us (I know that's technically supposed to be a One Year sort of thing, but we need the freezer room, and I'm hoping to take Jesse to the Grand Canyon to celebrate one year).

Jesse came home to a stereo playing music from our wedding reception, a fire in the fireplace, and a wife pulling a new dish out of the oven. It's so wonderful to be married!

Jesse with our champagne

Our beautiful wedding cake! Too pretty to eat...almost ;-)

Life is wonderful...God is wonderful...Here's to the rest of our lives!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Our First Thanksgiving

What a wonderful day!

Jesse and I were so excited to share our first Thanksgiving with both of our families. We had a full house! Jesse's mom came, as well as my dad and mom, and Jon, Kate and Laura. And both sets of grandparents came! Gramma and Papa Don, and Ami and Papa Chuck were all there to celebrate with us. We have so much to be thankful for!

Here are some pictures from our wonderful day:

Dad, Jon, Mom, Gramma, Kate, and Laura hanging out in the kitchen where all the good food was happening :)

Papa Don, Ami, Bianca and Jesse

Exciting about our first Thanksgiving!

Jesse and Dad carving the turkey

The north end of the table

The south end of the table

Aaaaaand the tryptophan sets in... :)

That's one packed car for the way home!

We had such a wonderful time. I've just been glowing with happiness ever since. I'm so thankful for our wonderful family, and for the fact that we live near enough to all of them to host at our home! We truly are blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

True Thanksgiving

I received a call at school today. They announced it over the loud speakers: "Bethany Brubaker, there is an important phone call for you in the office." No one has the number to the school I'm student teaching at. I'll only be there for 2 more months, and anyone that needs to get ahold of me can call my cell phone. As I walked to the office, I was sure that someone must have died.
The secretary met me with a grim face, holding her hands primly in front of her and announced, "I must inform you...your husband has been in an accident."

He wasn't on the other line when I picked up the phone, and when I tried to call him back, he didn't answer. The secretary said that Jesse had made sure that she would let me know that he was ok, but not being able to talk to him myself terrified me. Finally, he called my cell phone, and the minute I knew where he was, I was in the car to go be with him.

Strange how things like this happen. We had had lunch together just an hour before. For the first time since I began student teaching, we randomly decided to meet for lunch and enjoy a little bit of togetherness on what is usually a very long day apart from each other. He was on his way back to the office.

I don't even truly understand what happened, but I saw both of the cars this afternoon--totaled. Jesse is crushed that his car is gone, but I'm just so thankful that he is alive!

Today was a reminder to me of how fragile life is. How precious! Jesse and I have nearly been married for 6 months now, and I don't believe that I take anything for granted, but I was reminded today how blessed we are to have each other, how wonderful it is to be in love, to have someone to depend on like I can with Jesse, someone to laugh with, to share every beautiful little part of life with...and how quickly it can all be taken away.

So easily. God really had His hand on the events of today. If I had seen Jesse's car before I saw him and knew that he was ok, I would have expected to be taken to the hospital--or to be told that it was already too late. I can't believe that Jesse came out unscathed--beside a small friction burn on his wrist that he got when the airbag deployed.

We can even be thankful that the other man involved in the accident was such a great guy. He and Jesse were sitting together in a restaurant waiting for me to come pick Jesse up, so I got to meet him. Apparently, he just got back from teaching in the Congo, and is headed to Thailand in January for two years. No sticky arguments or awkward situations. They were both so genuine and warm.

We have a houseful of people coming over tomorrow for Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for! But tonight, what I'm most thankful for, is that my husband is safe, he's at home and unharmed, and that as soon as I post this blog, I get to go curl up in his arms.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I started a new blog today. I realized that too often, I'm tempted to write about my thoughts and achievements, when the main point of this blog was to let loved ones know about the things that Jesse and I have been up to together.

Nothing's going to change; I will still be posting here with news about the two of us, but I will also be keeping a blog of my own to share my ideas, newest achievements as a homemaker, latest adventures in the kitchen, and all the crazy things that go on in my head.

I know that some of you are following this blog, so I won't add you to follow my new one, but if you would like to, please let me know!

love, Bethany

time to check out

C'est si Bon

One of my goals for this week is to finally order some wedding pictures so that we can frame a few and put them around the house (and save the other gazillion of them until I have time to scrapbook!). I spent about an hour this afternoon going through our photos and was simply mesmerized by the beauty of our wedding day. It never stops surprising me! We'll be celebrating 6 months of marriage in a few weeks, and I still can't describe how blissfully happy I am to be married.

The days just fly by! This time last year, we weren't even engaged. And a year ago in September, we were thinking we would have to wait until after my student teaching to get married. I'm so glad we didn't! Even though it would be SO much easier to start our married life when I actually had a paying job, neither of us would change things if we had a chance. Yeah, it's hard to live off of one income, but we're making it! We're hoping to be able to put everything that I earn in the future aside so that we can save it to buy our first home. I can't wait to have a job!

I actually cracked last week and went to the mall to pick up as many job applications as I could. I'm tired of not having a paying job, and since I was 15, I've never been without a steady income. Concordia doesn't want Student Teachers to be working--Student Teaching IS our job. But I figured that since I worked full time all the way through college, I could handle both. I'm not sure exactly what kept me from turning in those applications, but I'm thankful that I didn't. This part of Student Teaching is a lot more demanding than the last was. Third Grade comes with a lot more planning, and I also arrived just in time to be part of parent-teacher conferences and report cards. It will be good to learn how to do all of these things, and for now, I just have to be content with that.
January 13th is the projected last day of my student teaching. After that, it's on to filing for my credential, and substitute teaching until I can find a position.
Jesse has been so supportive--and I'm so thankful for that!

We've really been praying for families affected by all the fires in California right now. It has affected so many people that we know, and the speed and ferocity of the fire is terrifying. I'm thankful that other that a lot of smoke and ash, we have not been affected in Rosemead, and all of the fires seem to be far away from our little home.

This last Friday night was a lot of fun. The church had its annual Harvest Festival, and Jesse and I both got to take part. I helped out with a Cake Walk (I had never done one before!) and Jesse stole the show with the dunk tank! Every time I got a break from the Cake Walk, I ran out to see Jesse sitting above a tank of water waiting for someone to hit the target and send him splashing into the water below. It was the funniest thing! I sure wish I had pictures to share with you...but I forgot my camera that night.

Jesse is heading out of town this weekend for a DYG (District Youth Gathering). He is taking some high schoolers with him and should have a lot of fun. I always do my best to keep myself busy while he is gone, and this time, one of my friends is coming over Friday night to keep me company, and then on Saturday, I'm going with my family to see my brother Jon star as "John" in Biola's production of Peter Pan. Then my two sisters are coming home with me to help decorate for Thanksgiving and have some good "sister time."

Sometimes, I hear from friends who have moved off to new places (such as New Zealand, Vietnam, and Texas) and think of how much fun it would be to embark on an adventure like that. And then I realize how wonderful it is to be so close to all of our family and friends--what a blessing! Our life right here is our own little adventure :)

Just because I'm reminiscing...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oh, the days

They sure fly by! Sorry that it's been so long since my last post. September, October, and November have been pretty packed. Things really pick up near the end of the year for Jesse with the church and youth groups, and he's been busy nearly every weekend for a while now. We're looking forward to January! (That's when things are supposed to slow down).

He's been gone this weekend with the Jr. High youth group down in San Diego, and I'm expecting him back in a few hours. But before I go housecleaning crazy, I figured I should sit down and catch you up a bit.

There is a lot to catch up on!

At the end of September, our friends Kim (my college roommate) and Nathan Brauer came to visit us for the last time before they flew out to Vietnam. They'll be living and working there for the next two years, and it sure is handy that I got Kim married off to a California boy, or she might have stayed there! We had fun hanging out, playing games, eating, and laughing together. Three years of friendships and memories all bottled into the span of a weekend. It was a wonderful time!

The next weekend, Kate and Laura came to stay with us. It was the first weekend that we had both of my (or OUR, as Jesse happily calls them) sisters at our house. We had a lot of fun! Jesse picked them up on Friday while I was teaching, and then we had dinner, played Scattergories all the way through, and had a lot of fun. We bummed around the house all day on Saturday and then went to Jesse's softball game together Saturday night.
Here we are on the bleachers watching the game

and having a little fun...

I've been having a lot of fun making pies lately. Here's my first lattice-top apple pie

I made three of them and took them up to Oxnard at the end of October. It was wonderful to have a family dinner with the Mueller Clan and celebrate Papa Chuck's 84th birthday. I'm sad that I didn't get a group picture, but here are some that I do have:

Halloween was fun. We carved pumpkins the night before

and had friends over for games and food the night of. Jesse was all excited about handing out candy, and bought about 4 bags of different chocolates. He got dressed up as Indiana Jones and was all set! Sadly, though, the majority of our neighbors have reached grandparent-status, and only twice did our doorbell ring (I didn't know until later that it was the same girl twice! she brought her cousin with her the second time. haha!)

Anyway, that's kind of what we've been up to. Student teaching is going well. I've reached my halfway point, and I can't wait until January when I can start getting paid for the work I do. Doing this myself, I'm realizing that teachers are a whole lot more dedicated than I assumed before. Working full time for a semester and not getting paid, on top of having to shell out big bucks for tuition. Just doesn't make sense. Anyway, that's my rant!

This last week was my first week working in the 3rd grade class. I miss my Kindergartners! They are so sweet. They walk single-file past the 3rd grade class on their way to the cafeteria each day, and nearly topple over each other trying to wave at me as they go by. It makes my day!

One of the 3rd graders asked me if HE could call me "Mrs. Blueberry." I didn't realize my reputation would make the transfer! But Jesse has already warned me: "Blueberry" will follow me the rest of my life :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"She gets up while it is still dark"

If I didn't already know that Proverbs 31 is not a checklist for women to follow to be the "perfect wife," but rather a beautiful representation of Christ's love and diligent care for the Church, I would be jumping up and down right now pleased that at least I was getting verse 15 right!
Being a teacher (even a student teacher!) means you have to be at school by 7am. And to be at school by 7am...lets just say it's not pretty. I would love to say that I am a morning person (and really, I think I could be...if it weren't pitch black when my alarm goes off!) but 5:15 is a cruel and unusual time to be alert.

I am continually blessed by the fact that Jesse has gotten up with me every morning and made breakfast for me while I get ready so that we can sit together and enjoy our little bit of morning together. He's taken my spot on the porch now and waves while I'm the one driving away in the car. He even takes care of watering my flowers on the days I forget! Which...I think has been 7 of the 7 days I've been student teaching so far...

Yesterday marked 100 days of our marriage. While talking about it last night, we realized how much our love has changed--deepened--since the day we were married. I thought back when we were dating that I couldn't love him any more than I already did without making my heart burst with the greatness of it all. But being able to spend so much time together this summer--from a beautiful honeymoon in Cancun Paradise, to days where we were working from morning to night on our home, to evenings where "privacy hours" or "curfew" no longer exist--makes me realize how much more wonderful our relationship is now. Although we are still definitely ourselves (with our own loveable quirks and uniqueness) we are growing so close together. We truly are a team, and that makes me so happy to realize.

If that's how much things have changed in only a little over three months, then the rest of life is looking up!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

first day of student teaching!

Today was my first day of student teaching. I'm so happy to finally be starting! It was a long wait...and kind of nerve-wracking at times (are they going to get a spot for me? What will the teacher be like? What grade will I be put in? What if I DON'T get a placement???)

I woke up at 5:30 this morning so that I could give myself extra time to find the school (sad news is that I'll probably get to "sleep in" til 5:45 from now on...) I'll need to be there at 7:15 every day. Thank goodness that the school is 10 miles east of our house (a 20 minute drive) as opposed to 10 miles west of our house (heading into Los Angeles during rush hour? good luck!)

Jesse woke up with me and had eggs and toast ready for me by the time I was dressed. What a guy! Have I been incredibly blessed, or what?!?

My CT (Cooperating Teacher) is Mrs. Shelly Inglish. The minute she opened the door for me this morning, I knew we would hit it off. She is warm and supportive, and I'm really thankful to be working with her (apparently, one of the other kindergarten teachers was supposed to get me, but she opted for a Kindergarten/First grade combination class over taking a student teacher! Praise God for putting me somewhere where the teacher was happy to have me!)

Because of my love for preschool, I've been wondering for the last year or so if elementary teaching was really for me. Today made me happy to realize that Kindergarten is really a perfect balance of everything that I love about both, so I'm very happy about that. I'll be interested to see what I find when I move up to 3rd grade for my next part of student teaching.

On my drive home today, I was wishing that Jesse would be home when I got there so that I could tell him all about my first day. Not that that would ever be the case (except on his day off!), but tonight will be especially late since there is a church council meeting, and I won't expect him to be home by 9:30, if that.
As I was feeling sad about having to wait until late tonight to share my day with him, I realized that I was coming upon the freeway that leads to church. So in a split-second decision, I jumped on the 605 and headed to see my husband. I'm so glad that he's only a 15 minute drive away! Maybe that will mean we can have lunch together sometimes...? :)

It was so nice just to be able to pop in and surprise him like that today. He decided to take a lunch break when I got there, and we hopped in the car and headed for some of Del Taco's amazing "Taco Tuesday" deal. Just sitting next to him at Del Taco made me so happy. I love him!

Oh! Funny story: the kids have to call me "Mrs. Brubaker," and it was definitely an experience adjusting to hearing that today (it doesn't happen at church because all the kids are on a first name basis with Jesse, so why would they be with me?). "Brubaker" is quite a name for 5 year olds to handle, but my favorite of the day was when a child raised his hand and called for me in all innocence "Mrs. Blueberry!"

Mr. and Mrs. Blueberry

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and walk through the house, I'm still amazed at all that has transpired here within the last few months. I was completely in love with the house from the first day we came here to see it and meet Mrs. Yurada, but who knew that it would change so much and look like this?
It took a LOT of hard work, and when I look around, I see the faces of the people who worked here with us and helped us fix up our home sweet home. I remember my three siblings walking out the back door with the horrible green carpet from the guest room and a look of triumph on their faces; I remember Bianca in the kitchen, tossing out canned foods that had expired 15 years ago; I remember my dad working tirelessly to paint the ceilings and teach the rest of us padowans how to paint an even coat; I remember my mom outside with a bottle of Windex swiping through years' worth of grime on the windows; and I remember Jesse and our faithful friend Greg ripping out the orange carpet from the front room and scraping up the disintegrated rubber mat underneath--two days before our wedding!

Well, here it is folks, the culmination of all of our work so far (with many things still on the to-do list, but here's what we've got right now!)

The before and after pictures you've been waiting for!

The front room on our first day with the keys to the house:

The front room now (give or take a sister or two!) beautiful wood floors were hiding underneath that old yucky carpet! This is now our music room (in case you couldn't tell!)

The dining room had antique gold wallpaper...nasty stuff.

Painted and set for dinner!

I fell in love with the kitchen at once

It (besides the bathrooms) is the only room in the house that we didn't paint.
I love yellow kitchens! (good thing too, huh? Not much you can do when there's yellow linoleum too!)

I love the vaulted ceiling in the den...the fact that it has a fireplace...
and the beautiful hand-built bookshelves that are on either side of the brick fireplace

Here it is with our furniture in it:

Our room was already painted blue, but we gave it a fresh coat (and a lighter hue) anyway

The beautiful quilt on the bed was made by Jesse's Aunt Leann--isn't it gorgeous?!?

The guest room is one of the rooms that made the biggest transformation. From this...

To this...

And of course, one can't forget the patio out back!


It has been a lot of work (a LOT of work) but we can't be anything but sooo grateful for all of God's blessings!

Friday, September 5, 2008

time to catch up!

So, Jesse and I are in the living room right now. He's preparing his Sunday School lesson for this week and I realized that my time could be better spend catching you up on our last week instead of sitting around watching him like a pot waiting to boil.
It's been quite a week! Last Saturday, Jesse and I spent the whole day working around the house. We went to Lowe's and bought new handles and hinges for the cabinet doors above the closets in our room and our guest room. We also picked up some pretty mums to perk things up in our front yard. When we got home, it was time to trim the hedges, weed some areas, and plant my new flowers
Jesse and his crazy task: trimming the hedge!

happy to have flowers again!

We were very excited to be the hosts of this year's Labor Day with our family. Dad and Mom Mueller came from Oxnard with Kate and Laura, and Jon drove up from Biola after recovering from an "overnight Odyssey marathon reading" (or whatever it was called--pretty cool! why didn't they do things like that at my college?!?), Gramma and Papa came from Costa Mesa, Momma Bianca came from San Bernardino, Uncle Todd came, and our neighbors, Perry and Siby (who are absolutely adorable and I just love!) came over too. It was a full house! We're looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving here this year too, but I think we'll have to buy more chairs first!
Anyway, here's the whole group eating dinner:

We had a wonderful time! It was so much fun to have everyone over to our home--especially for those who hadn't seen it yet :)

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I got horribly sick with swollen lymph nodes. Here is a prayer email that I sent out, which I should have posted here too:

I just wanted to ask you to pray for me. For the past three weeks, I've been getting swollen lymph nodes under my left arm. It causes me a lot of pain and makes me feel weak, nauseous, and tired. Everything that I read online said that swollen lymph nodes are common, and can last up to 2 weeks. So far I've had 3 swollen lymph nodes, all on my left arm, and none has lasted a full two weeks. Yesterday, Jesse finally convinced me to go to the doctor, and I was told that I have an infection. The Dr. gave me an antibiotic and told me that if the swelling doesn't go down within 2 days, I have to go back for cultures. Last night another one began--this time in my right arm. It hurts a lot, and I don't know what to do.

Student teaching is supposed to begin any day (all I'm waiting for is a phone call telling me where I've been placed). It's been a frustrating experience waiting to hear where I will be, and the further I go into the school year without a placement means that my chances for getting a job in the spring are getting less and less. Jesse pointed out last night that "God knows what He's doing" since He hasn't put me in a classroom this week. Now I am thankful for that, because it's given me the ability to rest and be sick the last two days.

Please pray that the antibiotics help the swelling to go down so that there will be no need for further treatment. And also, please pray that I will hear about student teaching soon.

Thank you!

my love to all,

No fun! But God was amazing, and by Thursday, I was feeling much better. The swelling has gone down, and there is barely any tenderness left. I'm so thankful!

Also, good news about student teaching! I received a call yesterday letting me know that it is *almost* official that I will be placed in a kindergarten classroom at California Elementary School in West Covina! It couldn't be any better if I'd planned it myself. I've been thinking for a while now that Kindergarten may really be my niche, and I'm thrilled to get to do part of my student teaching in that age group to see if it's really for me. I'm also really blessed that this school is 10 miles away from my house, and in the right direction, traffic-wise. The next option was to place me in a school in East LA, and on top of being kind of scary, that would take forever to commute to because everyone is heading into LA in the mornings. But not I! Thank you, God!

I was feeling so good today that Jesse (whose new day off has officially switched to FRIDAYS as of this week) and I spent the day at the Long Beach Aquarium. We had a wonderful time. I don't think I've been there since high school, and I have so many fond memories of going there with my grandparents. Jesse had never been, so it was a lot of fun to show him around--and also be amazed with all of the changes they've made since I was there last.

This picture is especially for Papa Chuck:

After spending about 4 hours at the aquarium, we walked around Long Beach and enjoyed the harbor and some of the shops around there.
They have to have the biggest Borders over there that we've ever seen. Book stores kind of attract Jesse and me like moths to a flame, so we went in and enjoyed one of our favorite pastimes: reading childrens' books!
Good Ol' Shel Silverstein :)

Oh! I almost forgot to add one of the highlights of the day: there is actually a Bubba-Gump Shrimp Co. right across from the Aquarium. Here's Jesse's best Forest imitation :)

Well, that's it for me tonight. I feel a Scrabble tournament coming on!

p.s. I just realized that all of the pictures are pretty small. But if you click on any of them, they will show up in their own window much larger :)