Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kansas Trip! (it's about time...)

We've been home for over a month, but here it finally is! What a crazy month this has been!

Momma B rented a car for the trip, and the three of us made the 24 hour drive together. We left good ol' Cali on Thursday, November 5th, and arrived in Derby, Kansas, the next day. We met Aunt Leann and Uncle Tom (Bianca's sister and brother-in-law) there, took a quick nap at their house, and then caravanned up to Kansas City, Missouri, where we spent the weekend with Momma B's cousins from all over the country! It was fun to meet them and get to know more about Jesse's side of the family (of course, he hadn't met most of them until the same day I did, so we're kind of even in that respect!)

We went with the cousins to a really nice steak restaurant the first night (Friday), and on the way home, the hotel chauffeur who had driven us there took us on a mini tour of Kansas City's historical homes. It was quite the tour! He seemed to really enjoy being able to share the homes with us. Some of them were so big, I couldn't believe it. Very ornate and old. We don't have homes that old around here!

The next morning, we got up bright and early to meet the cousins at the Midwest Genealogy Center so that we could do research on the Jackson side of Bianca's family (her grandparents). It was an interesting 6+ hours of research! Here's a picture of Jesse pouring over family records:

And here we are outside of the Genealogy Library where all the research was conducted.

That night, we enjoyed some amazing food at Jazz. These are the only pictures I have of it, but we had a blast! Just a fun atmosphere with a live jazz band, and amazing Louisiana-style food. YUM!

The next morning, after being treated to a beautiful brunch at the Westin by cousins Susan and Celia, we said goodbye to Momma B's side of the family and headed down to Wichita, Kansas, to see Jesse's dad's side of the family.

But not before finding a Crayola store right next to the Westin!

Or playing in the fountains right out side of it... :)

Farewell, Kansas City, Missouri!

And...hello, Charlie!

Jesse just loves his one and only cousin (who you may remember from our wedding)

Who wouldn't? He is just the cutest thing!

We stayed at Aunt Alice's on Sunday night and enjoyed some Charlie-time, as well as hanging out with Jesse's dad and Diana when they finished their bridal expo that afternoon. Can't believe that we hadn't seen any of them since our wedding! (And that didn't really count as quality time).

For some stupid reason, I don't have any other pictures from that night. Guess they just weren't as cute as Charlie :)

The next morning, Jesse's dad picked us up and took us to Wichita's Museum of World Treasures. It was a really cool experience. We happened to be there on the 20th anniversary of the coming down of the Berlin Wall, and the museum had a segment of the wall. We met the founder of the museum and talked with him about the wall's history, and then while we were upstairs, we got to watch as three different news crews filmed him talking about the importance of the day. It was pretty cool!

Here are Jesse and his dad outside of the museum:

And the two of us

After enjoying hours at the museum, we went over to Dad Chris's house for a while. On the drive over, he mentioned how they had put a picture from our wedding in their living room. I applauded them and admitted that we hadn't gotten that far yet.

Imagine my surprise when we walked in and I saw THIS!

I was speechless. This is the biggest I've ever seen myself. And in my in-laws' living room! Granted, it is also their studio, and this is one of their newest products they are advertising, but STILL! It was so big that I could see my contact lenses :)

Pretty funny!

This is the view from Chris's back door. Isn't it gorgeous? I think more Californians would be at peace if they had backyards like this.

Our short visit with Jesse's dad's side of the family was at its end that night.

Goodbye, Charlie!

Goodbye, Aunt Pam!

Goodbye, Dad!

That night, Jesse and I drove back to Derby, Kansas, to join Momma B again and spend our last night out in KS with Aunt Leanne and Uncle Tom (and their 12 black russian terriers.) We did an early Christmas gift exchange, enjoyed some time catching up, and got some much needed sleep before beginning our 26 hour trek back homeward.

It really was a wonderful trip. It was great to see family we hadn't seen in 1.5 years, exciting to meet new family we had never seen before, and enjoy the beautiful countryside that was outside of windows the whole trip.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thoughts from Two Years Ago

I found this today, and it made me smile. I'm so thankful for the changes that have taken place in the last two years--that I've gone from breathlessly anticipating an engagement to being the happy wife I am today. Thankful for those changes, and thankful that some things haven't changed!

November 22nd, 2007
So many things to be thankful about...

I remembered this morning back to a year ago today...I was so completely in love with Jesse by then, but hadn't told anyone yet (nor had we shared those feelings aloud with each other). It was a secret that made me smile, blush, and ache at the same time. I remember baking cookies for Thanksgiving, daydreaming about him the whole time, and losing track of how many teaspoons of salt I had added to the batch. My heart was singing about him, and I couldn't share it with anyone else!

Now we are soon to be celebrating one beautiful year of dating. I love him so much! And I am so thankful for him. Every day of this year has truly been a blessing. I am in love with my best friend. And now, this Thanksgiving, I'm holding another secret: we're getting married! We're not announcing it until we are officially engaged. But in my heart, I am engaged to him. I've already made that promise to him. All I want is the opportunity to love him and cherish him for the rest of my life. And he has shown the same promise to me in a thousand different ways. The only thing we are lacking is a physical symbol of our promise. But it's coming :)

I am so thankful for him! God, I thank You for putting him in my life, for giving him (and me!) the patience to wait until the right time to begin dating, for the beautiful relationship we have together, for the times we've shared with friends, and for the times we have to spend together alone, for the laughs we've shared together, and for the way that he holds me and prays with me in hard times, for the way our hands join automatically whenever we're within touching distance, for our conversations about the future, for the way You allow us to find time to spend together even in the midst of our hectic schedules, for the quiet times we share together reading, for the teamwork you've created in us--helping each other with homework and projects and commitments. I thank you for the relationships we have built with each other's families, and I thank you for Bianca. I thank you for the joy we find in merely being together, for the thrills I feel whenever he looks at me, and for the dreams we have of all of our "somedays." Thank you for providing for our every need, so that even when we don't see an immediate answer to a situation, we can trust in You and know that everything will work out with Your perfect timing.

I love looking at last Thanksgiving and comparing it to this Thanksgiving, with all of the changes that have come this year. So much joy, and so many blessings. Thank You, God! Last year, I knew I loved him, and wanted to date him. This year, I know I love him, and that I want to be his wife! Looking ahead at next year, it fills me with awe to realize that we will be married, and we will be sharing our first Thanksgiving together. So many things have changed in the last year, and so many changes will be made in the year to come. Who knows? Next year, we could all be celebrating Thanksgiving at OUR house!

And we did :)

On Tuesday night at Bible study, one of our friends was talking about us and said how he "went to dinner with the Brubakers." A thrill went through me, and when I looked at Jesse, he had a big smile on his face. We're not just Jesse and Bethany--the newlyweds. In the eyes of others, we're beginning to be seen as one, a set, a family. It's a beautiful thing. We are so happy!