Friday, October 2, 2009


It's hard to believe how much has happened in 30 days! Just in case getting married wasn't a big enough change in our lives, we thought, lets try homeownership! What began innocently enough, "Lets just see what's on the market and in our price range" turned into "we found a home we love!" So as of the end of October (assuming all goes well) this is the view we will see out our window each day:

We are really excited (and a little nervous) about being actual homeowners. There is so much more responsibility in the upkeep of a house and a yard. Currently our "yard" is a 2 ft wide strip of grass that maintenance comes and mows each week. They even blow the leaves off our tiny "patio" for me! Now we'll have a yard. With a maple tree. Whose leaves will need to be raked. Big changes. But we are looking forward to it, especially having space for guests to come and stay. Currently guests share a room with David's (necessarily) gigantic desk/computer station, an exercise bike (which we do actually use) and all the boxes there was no room to unpack. Now we will have a basement for those sorts of things!

Basement. I'm from Florida. We call basements "swimming pools" there, because if you dig 2 feet hit water! "Sump pump" is a new addition to my vocabulary aswell. Fortunately, our soon-to-be sump pump is bone dry despite the rain we've been having and the current owners have never had the basement leak in the 8 years they've been there. Yay!

Outside of crunching numbers to make sure we are being wise and not steering ourselves into financial ruin, spending quality time in austere bank lobbies, and learning new vocabulary such as "escrow" we've managed to have a great time in our new town.

The month kicked off with the celebration of the county's 225th anniversary. There was a parade that reminded me so much of the small town I come from that I actually got homesick. We sat next to some friendly elderly couples who reinforced the belief that I have that everyone really does know everyone here! After greeting each person, the woman next to me explained how she knew them, "He attended my church." "Her brother-in-law was my next door neighbor." "My son is her veterinarian" "My mailman once incorrectly delivered his letter to our address."

I may be making some of those up...

Did I mention Ben Franklin is a really big deal up here? This is a pic of one of several "Bens" who attended the parade. I love living in a state, or rather, a commonwealth, with so much history. I can't wait to go to Philly sometime and see independence hall, the liberty bell, etc.

Shortly after that, Pastor Stephen and his wife Kelly, our best friends up here (well, really our only friends up here, besides our sweet neighbors) moved back to the land of humidity and sweet tea, that's right, they're in the South again. We miss them, but God has been really faithful in bringing new friends our way and possibly a new church, so we are really excited about that!

A few days after their moving van drove off, David and I headed for the Pocono mountains where he had a training for work. We arrived early so we could visit Bushkill Falls. It was a beautiful, uphill, three hours of hiking. The weather was perfect and I felt so blessed to being enjoying such a wonderful place with David. We passed 3 waterfalls, several streams, stood on top of ridges and walked through leaves that were beginning to turn yellow.

Our last big event of the month was David's birthday. We had a surprise party and a great time hanging out with his co-workers. I made a cake, but forgot to take it out of the pan and place it on the cooling rack in time. When I tried later, it was stuck fast and eventually came out in several pieces. I learned an important lesson...enough frosting fixes anything!

I'm so thankful for all the new experiences and friendships the Lord continues to bring our way, it's hard to express it all in a not-so-concise blog, especially when trying to cover a time when so much happened. Maybe I'll eventually get the hang of updating more frequently with smaller posts!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Never a dull moment!

Life has certainly been interesting here lately : ) Let's see, since my last post I turned 23 and for my birthday, David took me to DC for the first time! We rode the metro in and spent the afternoon in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It was an amazing experience. I saw the White House and the Washington Monument for the first time.

We've also found a church we both love attending. Pastor Stephen is still in seminary, but his sermons are truth filled and give us much food for thought each week. His wife, Kelly has quickly become my best friend up here. They have an 8 month old daughter and are also transplants from the South : )

This past week David and I travel to Las Vegas for a 2 conferences. The first was Blackhat. This computer security oriented conference was held at Caesars Palace. When we checked in (at 9pm Pacific time), they told us they were out of Non-smoking King rooms, they did however have a King bed in the Penthouse for us! We were upgraded to a room with a great view and jacuzzi tub. Yay early 2nd honeymoon : D

The next conference, DEFCON, was held at the Riviera. No luxury suite here, but this conference had a much smaller entrance fee and I was able to attend with David all 3 days. I learned enough about computers and hackers to know I should probably never turn on my computer again.

Las Vegas itself is not a nice city. While we did find "family friendly" things to do in the evening, if I were choosing a place to visit, it wouldn't be worth all the smokey casinos and inappropriate images we had to wade through to get there. My favorite part by far was watching the Belagio fountain. I could stand there all day...if it wasn't 107 out...David got a big kick out of the M&M Store where we saw the history of M&M's and got to try coconut flavored M&M's for the first time, YUM!

Finally, it was time to head back home. I was ready to go home and actually glad that all our adventures were coming to a close. On the flight David and I were seated with an older gentleman who noticed we were reading a book called "Financial Peace" (highly recommend it! Great for learning finance basics) he asked if he could give us some advice as someone who has been married 40 years. Of course we said yes. He then explained how he and his wife had divided financial tasks and had never had a cross word about money. Later, as we watched HGTV, he recommended we also look into buying a house. Since he was interested in giving input we started sharing our concerns with him and picking his brain for more great advice. He talked to us about resources to help assess what mutual funds to get, advised us what to look for in real-estate and even explained to me why PA is a commonwealth, not a state. Realizing this man had an uncommon depth and breadth of knowledge (and that he now knew where we lived and worked) I decided to find out a little about him. It turns our we had been receiving financial advice from none other than the Chairman of the Stimulus Package board, Earl E. Devaney! I would have never guessed he would have been sitting in coach or be interested in giving pair of newlyweds advice.

So now we are home, but our adventures haven't come to an end! I tried a new chicken a rice recipe that was super yummy (and super easy!) last night and today I locked myself out of the house...Fortunately I had a helpful neighbor who was able to fix that with a wiggle from his credit card in the door jam....and that's why I usually lock the deadbolt!

And that concludes the latest chapter in the "Gainey Tales" : D

Thursday, July 2, 2009

There and back again...

It's been an eventful few weeks in the recently established Gainey household. 6/12 we got a call from David's work that he was needed in Hawaii. On such short notice a plane ticket for me would have been around $2500. Needless to say, Sunday morning I kissed him goodbye at the airport. From there, I drove to South Carolina to meet Sarah and the kids. David and I decided it would be better for me to go with them to my parents than to stay in our home in PA since he was going to be gone at least a week, possibly two...a long time to be alone in a new town. So that week I got to give my parents a surprise visit. It was great to get to see them so unexpectedly. I also got to catch up with my "extended family" in Alabama where Jerod (Sarah's oldest) was going to camp). Sarah's family in Alabama gave me a place to clear my mind and pray two Thanksgivings ago as I tried to discern God's will for me regarding a certain young whom I am now married : )Seeing Rebecca and Rachael (Sarah's cousins) again brought that time back to me so vividly and also gave us a chance to create some fun new memories!

After that trip I spent a few more days with Sarah and Eric in SC, then went up to see Stacey for a day (also SC). It was such a blessing to get to visit so many people I hadn't expected to get to see any time soon, but I was missing David terribly. The six hour time difference made sure that when he called I was either A.) just about to eat lunch or B.) Completely groggy from being woken at 2am (when he got off work his time). Finally, after nearly 2 weeks apart I picked him up at the airport. It was amazing to both of us how little time it had taken us to take one another forgranted in many ways.

Since he's been back we've been trying to find our routine again. I've noticed that despite being able to make my own schedule, it's easy for me to get apathetic and lazy towards spending time with God. When situations in my life come up, I often feel if I can't do anything about them, neither can God. This week I finally got conviction that He is able. Which of course, led to prayer, which in turn gave me peace that He works where I can not.

In other news, David and I visited another church this week. For me, it was wonderful. For David, a little too liturgical (it's amazing how the nuances in our backgrounds change how we respond to things). The awesome part was, we both felt fed by the sermon, something we have really been missing since we left Tallahassee. Finding a church home is really important to me and probably the thing I miss most after my family, so finding one we both enjoyed is encouraging.

Now, we are preparing to leave PA again, this time to move the rest of my things up here.

Which means I will have a dresser!!!!

I wont have to live out of suitcases anymore!

This is exciting.

Oh and I will get to see my parents.

And my church family.

And my husband is going with me this time!

Life is good.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Life in the Kitchen...

I've spent most of today digging through recipes online and in cookbooks. I'm constantly humbled by how much I don't know how to do! Our goal has been to eat as healthy and frugally as possible...oh and did I mention it should taste good too? LOL. It's been a challenge, but a fun one for the most part. I highly recommend the site, it's been a life saver. Getting to hear what adjustments other cooks made to make the recipe work for them is awesome.

We've had lemony dill salmon with green beans, chicken and bean burritos,turkey sandwiches, chicken parmesan (which we justified because it was also for our neighbors hehe), chicken caesar wraps, and lentil stew. I'd like to find more vegetarian recipes that are filling and tasty. Since I don't like beef in many things and seafood is often expensive, we end up eating a lot of chicken. Suggestions welcome!

David worked from home today, which was fun for me since it meant I could bounce idea's off of him as I planned the grocery list. I broke down and decided on yummy, gooey baked ziti for dinner tonight. I'm squishing some spinach in it to make it a little more healthy. Despite my desire to eat what's good for me, I'm a pasta and cheese lover at heart!

So despite what this post might lead you to think, my day (and thoughts) do not normally all center on food. I'm also enjoying the chance to reinstate some pursuits that were lost as I finished grad school and helped plan a wedding. I'm reading a book. For fun. I actually was able to do that (a little bit) during the semester. I began C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves before Valentines Day and finished it on our honeymoon. Needless to was slow going. I loved it though and would gladly read it again. Now I'm reading Marley and Me. I know I'm a little late jumping on this bandwagon and for someone who doesn't plan to have pets it may seem an odd choice, but having grown up with 2/4 dogs who fit into the "neurotic pet" category, the book has been a riot (and a reminder of why we've decided "no pets").It's a great read and amusingly, most of the book takes place in Florida until...they move to Pennsylvania! It's the cool thing to do. You should consider it ; )

Friday, June 5, 2009

Home at Last!

After a year of being apart, it is still surreal to me that David and I are finally married. We both still feel like I'm going to have to pack up and go back to Florida again. Of course, part of the reason could be that the majority of my stuff is still there minus a few suitcases.

I'm really enjoying being a house-wife. It's amazing to me that I have all day to plan meals, grocery shop, cook, clean and organize instead of having to pile those things on after 8-9 hours at school. David has been loving it too since now he doesn't have to pile all those things on after a long work day (and, apparently, because he likes my food : )

The honeymoon was absolutely amazing. It was such a relaxing, peaceful time to enjoy one another. There have been a few bumps as we've had to "get back to reality". I've been swinging between elated that I'm finally married to such a wonderful man to sad that I'm so far from friends, family and places I'm used to. David has been wonderfully patient and understanding of those changes though, so it's made it much easier. Another fun game we have is: I like my routine and you like your routine and now we have to make a routine that we both like lol. It actually is fun most of the time.

In other news:

We have amazing neighbors: Matt, Ann and their 3 year old Gray who are really helping us learn the town.

I'm warming up to the grocery store here

I had to wear a fleece to the grocery yesterday because the high was 63 degrees

I actually liked that

I did not like that it was raining

I'm praying for God's direction about how to best use my time once the house is set up and all I have are my "cleaning routines"

That's all for now!