Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oh the Things You'll Learn

I entered into marriage knowing that I knew Nick pretty well, and that I would learn even more, not only about him, but about marriage and also compromise.  Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I do have a tendency to adopt a "my way or the highway" attitude.  I've learned a lot more in the first few months of my marriage than I really expected.  At times it isn't easy to be kind and patient with Nick.  When I've had a rough day at work, it's much easier to bring that irritation home and take it out on him, and there have been a couple of times that I've done just that. 

I've learned things like boys are messy.  I was lucky to grow up in a household of women.  My poor Dad was the only man in the house.  Even the family dog was a girl.  Dad did a great job of adapting to that and was pretty clean...or maybe Mom just trained him well.  Nick is a lot like my Dad in many ways, but he doesn't wash dishes.  He helps cook if I need it, and he puts things into the dishwasher but washing dishes is where he draws the line.  Keeping the floor in the laundry room clean is next to impossible.  He laughs at me when movies make me cry and he hogs the laptop that's supposed to be mine to play his computer games.  And regardless of how well you tend to your own finances, it's tricky to meld the two together.

Marrying a farmer has a whole other set of things to learn.  As much as I was a country girl at heart, I grew up in the city...if Salem can be considered a city.  When Nick and I started dating, I could barely drive a vehicle with a manual transmission.  The closest I'd gotten to a cow was at the county fair or feeding the neighbor's cows corn cobs over the fence.  I didn't know how to make cows go in the direction I wanted them to go and I was constantly stepping in mud with my old tennis shoes and my flip flops.  I can only imagine what Nick's Dad and brothers thought about having some idiot girl around.  But Nick was patient in teaching me what to do, and in the 3 years sinc I've been around the farm I can not only make cows move, I can lead them around with their halters, catch them in the chute, drive the tractor AND rake hay, and slog through the mud with the best of 'em.

This might sound like a bit of complaining about my husband but that's not what it's intended to be.  Because out of all these basics I've learned about living with my husband in general, I've also learned some really great things too, like how he kisses me hello when we get home every day.  And how he tells me that dinner is the best he's ever had every night, and that it's really nice falling asleep on his shoulder ever night.  So to all you girls out there preparing for marriage, take it for me, don't get too caught up in sweeping chew off the carpet and Swiffer-Vac'ing up the messes on the kitchen floor.  Take more time to enjoy the little things that make new marriage so special.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Evolution of Megan's Cooking

For most of my life, cooking is not something I've been known for.  I could cook enough to get by.  My Mom is a wonderful cook, and so is my sister.  One day when I got really ambitious, I decided to make a peach pie from scratch crust and all.  I was in college at the time, and my sister Emily was still in high school.  My beloved Grammy came into the kitchen and smiled at my attempts and asked very sweetly if Emily had helped me make that crust.  I was not thrilled, but Grammy is far too sweet not to forgive.

My cooking in college consisted of simple pasta dishes and things that I could put in the oven.  When Emily and I lived together in college, she often got angry with me for not doing my fair share of the cooking, and admittingly I did pawn much of it off on her.  However, when it comes time for dinner, we want the best food possible, and Emily's food was definitely better than mine.

When I started dating Nick, my cooking insecurities skyrocketed.  My mother-in-law is also a great cook, a catering-grade cook.  And his grandmother's food is legendary in the Elgin family.  Needless to say I was worried about sharing my cooking with not only Nick, but also with his family.  But Nick is encouraging, and I gained a lot of confidence thanks to his nephew.  One of the first things I made to take to his family was a chocolate cake.  But this isn't just a regular chocolate cake.  It's got Marscapone Cheese frosting.  A-mazing!!  On the way to the farm, the cake split in half...literally.  It formed a crack in the middle of the cake and pretty much crumbled.  I was mortified.  Nick's mother made wedding cakes for crying out loud, and here I was taking a crumbling chocolate cake.  But dispite it's...unappealing...appearance, it tasted pretty good.  The youngest nephew had 2 peices and the youngest niece ate all the icing off hers.  The next visit I made another cake, and the youngest nephew started dancing around the kitchen chanting "Choc-late Cake, Choc-late Cake..."

Since I've moved into our house, I've gotten a lot bolder as far as cooking, and feel like I've finally developed into a pretty good cook.  I've pretty much been forced to.  One of the perks of marrying a cattle farmer is the freezer of beef in our garage.  But along with that, cooking beef the same way all the time gets old pretty fast.  Food Network has become my savior.  And I no longer cringe when I see recipes that are listed as "Intermediate" or higher. 

So the moral of this blog you ask?  When you think you aren't good at something, just keep trying.  One day you might come into it.  And you might end up with one of the few husbands ever that doesn't miss his mothers cooking.  But most importantly perhaps, don't stress, because it's just all part of adjusting to married life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I love Spring.  It's by far one of my favorite seasons.  I think one of the best things is the way spring comes to southern Indiana.  Maybe it's the same everywhere but since this is where I live, this is what I know.  Be it the case or not, winter seemed to be especially brutal this year.  I love a good snow day as much as anyone but come on!!  I told my brother-in-law I was convinced that all the snow days was God's practical joke on us for wishing for snow days.  I think every teacher was really kicking themselves when we were 4 make-up days into June.  Finally it got into the 40's and all the snow began to melt.  That seemed like a huge gift.  And then all the sudden we had a day in 60's.  It was like that single day was the eye opener for everyone.  All the sudden the students at school and all the teachers were in a great mood.  On that pretty day I really started to look around and notice all the robins jumping around my yard, which was starting to green up already.  And I noticed for the first time that the flower bulbs I'd planted in a rush one afternoon in the midst of preparing our home for Nick to move in, and getting ready for our wedding were coming up.  I'd almost forgotten about them. 

I find it amazing how just one day that hints at Spring can change a person's perspective.  Winter is dreary at the end.  Sure it's great to have snow at Christmas but by February it's just down right depressing.  But then there's a hint of Spring that reminds us what is coming.  However, like all things there is a least for husbands.  As I'm sitting here in my husband's chair, writing this, I've noticed robins are building a nest in what appears to be our gutters in the front of the house.  That might explain why they don't work so well....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dog Days

Nick and I recently decided that it was time for us to add to our family...don't get excited, we're not talking  children.  From way before we were married, we decided that we wanted a dog.  I love dogs and it didn't take much to convince me that the Elgin household needed one.  Growing up, my sisters and I always wanted a dog.  Our Dad bought us a beagle, and we didn't like him much and neither did the neighbors.  He wasn't the loveable family pet that we wanted.  Buster stole things from the neighbors, avoided contact and lived to escape the yard.  One day we came home and Buster was gone.  We never found out what happened to him.  But after that we immediately started hounding our Dad for another dog.  And being the fabulous Dad that spoils his children that he is, he broke down and bought us a Golden Retriever, Millie. 

I still remember the day we went to pick Millie out.  Lindsay was little, only 4 or 5 years old.  She sat down in the middle of the Mills' yard and puppies started crawling all over her.  She was in dog heaven.  One by one the puppies got bored and went back to their playing, all except one that stayed with Lindsay to get attention.  And that was the day Millie became part of our family.  She's been a part of our family ever since that day 11 years ago.  In fact, until my husband came along, Millie was the love of my life.  I'm not sure that I can really put into words how much I love this dog.  She is probably the smartest dog I've met.  She has her different barks for different things she wants, recognizes words, and tricks us into giving her treats.  2 years ago Millie developed a limp that we couldn't explain.  I took her to the vet to get x-rays on her leg.  The vet called me back into the office and showed me an x-ray that showed vaguely that Millie had developed bone cancer.  I stood there in front of the vet that I'd known since childhood and cried like a baby.  Standing there looking at those pictures of my beloved dog's leg was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  And to make it worse I had to take her home and tell my mom and sister the diagnosis.  Millie was given 6 months to live, and like I said, that was 2 years ago.  I think God knew that we weren't quite ready to let Millie go, and Millie has been the picture of health since then...although she has had a few too many bacon treats.

When Nick started to come around my parents house, he too feel in love with our Millie.  When we started talking about a dog of our own, our first choice was a Golden Retriever and we never seriously discussed any other kind of dog.  Nick wasn't sure that we needed a dog, but Millie came to stay with us for a few days while my parents were away and he was sold.  I found a breeder in New Salisbury and began talking to her, thinking we'd get a puppy late summer or early fall.  As luck would have it, we were able to get the last female puppy from the most recent litter.  We get to bring our "baby" home on April 10th. 

It's funny how our pets become such a big part of our lives.  What starts out as an annoying stray or just a puppy to have around the house turns into a member of your family.  I think pets (especially dogs) have got to be one of the greatest things ever!!  Now on to reading puppy training books....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hindsight and How it all started

I was thinking in the shower this morning about an email I got once (I do some of my best thinking in the shower) that explained that while you might be ready to meet your significant other, that God might still be working on getting he/she ready, so to be paitent.  I never forgot that email.  And I have to admit that it was a comforting thought for a lot of years.  I said from a pretty early age, sometime during high school, that I was going to marry a farmer (Kacie can verify!).  I knew exactly what I wanted, and although my parents tried to dissuade me at times, saying I had no idea what work I would be getting myself into, nothing could convince me otherwise.  It never occured to me to question what God had in mind for me, because I just knew that I was waiting on a farmer.  I didn't date in high school, and I didn't date much in college either.  I never saw the point.  I considered it a waste of time.

I also have to admit that it wasn't always easy, this waiting.  Years went by and I saw all my high school friends get married, and then my college friends too.  There were many times when I felt like I was the only one left who hadn't met "the one" and it was heartbreaking.  Even though I was thrilled and excited for my friends who were taking these important and sacred steps forward, I often wondered when it would be my turn.  Even my own younger sister was getting married before me.  And again, as happy and excited as I was for her, I wondered what was wrong with me that prevented the things I dreamed of from happening.  I even wondered if Salem wasn't the place for me, and thought about moving.  I applied for jobs in the Lafayette area, not because of all the farmers there, but because I loved the area when I was at Purdue, and thought that if I was going to be away from my family that would be next best place.

Then one day in late April, in 2006, I went to my parents house for dinner, as I often did, using the excuse that Mom was cooking anyway and I didn't want to cook for just one.  Mom began telling me that my Grandma was playing matchmaker for me (again!?).  Grandma had been trying to set me up with someone unsuccessfully for YEARS!!  And when I say years, I'm not exaggerating.  Mom told me that Grammy and her friend Sue got lost going to or from somewhere and had decided in the course of their little adventure that they would fix me up with Sue's son.  I was less than thrilled.  I smelled disaster.  But the more I learned about this guy, the more interested I became.  From what Grammy said, he just might be what I always said I wanted.  This was where I was surprised.  I could almost see God handing me everything I'd always wanted, in a completely different form than I expected.  I guess if there wasn't some kind of plot twist, it wouldn't be interesting.

A couple of weeks later, I got an email from this guy named Nick.  It took us a month to have our first date (because of the festivities leading up to his best friend's wedding), and another month to have our second.  We were engaged on Groundhogs Day in 2008.  And as they say, the rest is history.  Nick is definitely the man I always wanted complete with a farm.  It's pretty unusual in his family to have a girl helping with the cows but I think they've all gotten used to my pink show stick and sorting pole, and the cows having names.

I share this because I thought of it this morning, and it made me smile.  
Looking back, I can see how our story unfolded and how everything that happened leading up to where I am today was all part of God's plan.  For all those years while I was waiting, Nick was just getting ready to meet me.  That's just how we are.  I make decisions quickly and resolutely.  I don't often have to think things through because I know what I want to do.  Nick is the complete opposite.  He takes his time making decisions and thinks things through very thoroughly.  We balance each other out in nearly every way, and I guess that's just another example of whether or not we know or agree with God's plan, it's probably the best.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

So it begins...

Nick has been encouraging me to do a blog for a couple of years. I don't really know why, but I thought I'd give it a try. Nick and I have been married for almost 4 months now. I can honestly say that I've never been happier in my life. I'm currently working on redoing the landscaping around our home, which I have a feeling will be an ongoing project. When we bought the house from Nick's brother and sister in law, they hadn't lived here in almost 2 years, so needless to say our landscaping was a bit overgrown.

After a very work intensive weekend filled with my dad and his chainsaw, Nick's dad and the tractor, and a huge pile of brush left for the city, our landscaping was cleared and we were able to see our front door. Nick and I made a trip to Walnut Ridge to buy half priced landscaping plants (because it was around Labor Day that we were doing this and not ideal time for planting things). Over Labor Day weekend, my Mom and I painted 3 rooms in 3 days to get the house ready for furniture. A great, but exhausing change.

The change was amazing if I do say so myself. Since then, we've painted the front door red, and the landscaping has begun to grow. Right now I'm monitoring the growth of my spring bulbs daily. It's exciting to see how these things I planted very quickly in the midst of moving, painting, and wedding preperation.

This house was the beginning of Nick and my preperations for our life together. It has been the first project that we worked together on, and is a place that we both love to come to at the end of the day. This will always be the first place we lived together, the first projects we tackled together, and all the firsts that have yet to come. It's very comforting to have such a beginning.