My Parents

My Mom and Dad came for a quick visit, but a fun one. My Mom and I did lots of shopping and my Dad and Travis played golf! We love having them come visit, especially Ryley. He whines when they leave because he loves my Dad so much! Until babies come, he's definately the first granddog!!

My Favorite Birthday Present of All Time...My Husband!

Here's a picture from my birthday dinner of my man and's been almost 4 years of marriage and I love him more and more everyday! We were laughing when we looked at this picture, because Travis said, "I think I look like Steven Curtis Chapman!" And he does...I went to his website and looked at some recent pictures and they do look alike! We haven't seen him for years, but we both still love his music and remember some of those "classics" from our college and high school years. Although Trav may look like him, he doesn't sing like him...But I'll take Travy any day over anybody else, including Steven Curtis Chapman! You should check out his website to see the

My Birthday....

Well, it's come and gone now. I'm officially 27. I realize, in the grand scheme of being 60 or 70, 27 is still very young. However, there is something about getting older that I don't like this year. For some reason, this age is bothering me. I've psycho-analzyed it with Travis and realized I'm being ridiculous, but I think there are things I was hoping to do or see by now and it's hitting me that another year has passed and they still remain on the list. Is that crazy? Maybe, but that's where I'm at this year.

Regardless, I did have a fun birthday celebration this year! Lots of sweet people made the day fun for me. I'm posting pictures of Ben and Finn, who made a cake for me with their Mom and sang me a hilarious version of "Happy Birthday" ! I believe I was told that I live in a zoo and smell and act like a monkey too! When you're almost 3 and 5, what could be funnier?? Also, my cousin Jenny made me cupcakes and her kids and husband (thanks Chris!) sang to me! Travis took me out for dinner at Maggiano's...our favorite, and my parents came at 10:30 that night! My Mom and I shopped all day Wednesday, which was fun, as I bought too many things!

I was just discussing with my small group of women last night, how discontent I can be sometimes. Isn't that a struggle of all humans? Why do we struggle with being content when God has been so good? Especially in America...Even typing this makes me realize again, just how blessed I am. What a humbling thought. How can I dare complain to the Lord when I stop and consider all that He's done for me? There is a song on the radio right now, as I type, (by Mercy Me) that talks about bringing the rain if that will bring the Lord glory, if that's what it takes to praise Him. How true. I'll gladly take the good, but how do I feel about the bad? If it will bring my Savior glory, then I hope I can say, bring the rain!

We do feel like the rain is lightly falling right now at our Church. Our senior Pastor announced last week that he feels the Lord is calling Him to take his part-time hobby and make it his full-time ministry. He's been leading a ministry for a few years now, called Strategic Renewal International, that ministers to Pastors and leaders all over the world, inspiring them through restorative prayer and encouragement in this culture of fallen Pastors and war-torn ministry leaders. He's led it for years while being a Senior Pastor, but now He is stepping out of the Senior Pastor role to do this full-time. While we are sad to be losing him, we are confident that He is right where the Lord wants him and uses him best. Of course that means more transition for our Church and for Travis and the staff, but it's a good thing. It's very different when a Pastor leaves under great conditions and with no ill feelings. It's sad for us, but good for him and for his family, so we'll say goodbye in the coming months with mixed emotions, but we know the Lord is sovereign and in control. Nothing surprises Him and we look forward to walking the road he takes us down.

If I've learned anything over the years, I've learned not to regret the hard times. It's in those hard times that I've learned the most about the Lord and that I've grown closer to him. He is so faithful, he promises never to leave us or forsake us, and he is trustworthy. Who knows what lies ahead, but we do know who we'll be following. We follow Him willingly, not because he promises rosy days, but because He is worthy. I can say today, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty!"


Long week...

It's been a long week at the Armstrong house. I've been sick for 8 days now, although I'm finally feeling better, but it's been a bummer of a week. I can't remember the last time I was this sick for this long. I even got pink eye...yuck. I had a bacterial infection that sidelined me for what seemed an eternity, but tonight I can say that I'm finally feeling better.

Travis does not do well when I'm sick...and he readily admits this! He's patient for about a day and then he's ready for me to be well. This time, I think he realized how miserable I was (mainly because I coughed all night, every night) and he extended his mercy for the duration. It's been a joke between us for awhile, but I sincerely hope nothing ever happens that requires him to take care of me! I'll be in for a world of trouble!! Will some of you please step in if that ever happens?? He's got so much darn energy that he can't deal with me when I feel like doing nothing! It's a good thing we have least he can go run with the dog while I lie on the couch...

Speaking of that, it's finally beautiful here! It's been in the 60's every day this week and we are loving it. It's really funny to be a Minnesotan now. I've realized that nobody takes good weather for granted here. As soon as it's above 45 degrees, I swear entire communities are out on walks and runs with their kids and dogs. Suddenly playgrounds are swamped with hundreds of kids and going on a walk means you'll pass at least 50 people doing the same thing! We do love that. It seemed like we didn't go for walks very much, if ever, in Florida or North Carolina. I think it was just so nice all the time that we never thought to. Now, as soon as the sun is out in the morning, the sidewalks and parks are crowded all day long until the sun goes down. Ryley has met so many dogs this week! Some nice and some not so nice...but we are loving Minnesota again, and that's important. We were on the verge of insanity with the last snowfall we had 2 weeks ago, so praise the Lord for sending some sunshine our way to get us through the home stretch!

We had one of our classic "yes, we are in youth ministry" days today...we hosted our second annual Dodgeball Tournament. From 8-5 we were at church with high school and junior high students playing dodgeball! I should clarify that I actually did not play this year, as I have no energy from being sick, but my husband did...and now he's paying for it! 33 seems to have hit him hard this year. He's been hobbling around all night nursing his injuries, because of course he played hard all day, trying to out-play all the 13-18 year olds! But he loved it and he can't wait till next year I'm sure! We ordered the edited version of the movie and watched it while the games were was hilarious! I'm sure the original version was much different, but I loved it! We also went to see Blades of Glory last night and again, we loved it...although we probably shouldn't have either! There is just something about Will Ferrell as a figure skater that makes me laugh hysterically! For the record, there was too much language and too many sexual jokes and innuendos, but we laughed so hard repeatedly...

I'll leave you with a picture of my dodgeball stud!


The Wedding Schedule Has Begun...

So, my sister Stacie is getting married in June, and we are now in the thick of the final 7 weeks! This last weekend, I drove down to Iowa for her shower, with lots of our family friends. We had a great time; she got lots of stuff; and it hit me that she's actually getting married!

I would have loved it even more, had I felt better. I've been battling a nasty virus for the last few days and it has basically wiped me out. I drove down Saturday morning with chills, a fever, and a horrible sore throat, but I couldn't miss it and God gave me just enough strength and energy to get there and back! After that I've basically been in bed for a couple of days trying to recover.

I tried on my bridesmaid's dress, and surprisingly, it fit! I only need a tiny alteration with the length of the spaghetti strap...I got lucky! It's very pretty, I can't wait to see all of us dressed up on that day. Even Trav will be in a tux! He's got double duty that day...he's a groomsman, but he's also doing part of the ceremony. Stace and Jesse asked him to do the vows, so he's looking forward to that. They are coming next weekend in fact, so we can do some intense pre-marital counseling! That should be interesting...I'm sure Stacie is going to love me telling her what to do all weekend!!

I'm posting pictures of my sisters and I, as well as my best friend Amber and I. Amber has been my best friend since birth (literally) and now she's about to give birth to her first! She's looking like a pregnant lady these was fun to see her. I'll post more pictures when my sister Jennie emails them to me...she's the brunette one; Stacie and I are the blondes. In fact, after my appointment yesterday, I'm even more blonde and I sort of look like malibu barbie...I think my stylist got a little carried away with my blonde head may be glowing!

My husband is calling for me, so I have to go...enjoy!

Our Guest Room...

We officially have our guest room we need guests to come stay with us! My parents are coming next week, on my birthday, to christen it. But, we'd love to have lots of you come stay with us anytime...consider this your invitation!

Some pictures...

Here are two pictures of our's so big that it looks empty with our furniture! We need more! That's a nice problem to have. I am planning to paint it later, but this is what it looks like now.


Will spring ever come???

I feel as if I'm living in crazy-land! On Monday, it was almost 50 degrees...On Tuesday, it was 40 degrees...On Wednesday, we woke up to 3 inches of snow and we watched it snow all day...Today, it's sunny, the snow is gone and it's in the 40's again. What is going on??? Will we EVER have spring in Minnesota? I told Travis that I'm one snowstorm away from buying a one-way ticket to Hawaii! Do not let us go all winter next year, without going south for at least a week! I remember now why I moved to Florida in the first place!!

Despite my grumblings about the weather, we have had a great first week in our new home! We literally have said to each other, every night, "I love this condo!" There are so many things that we are thankful's been such a gift from the Lord to live here. We never expected something so nice or so perfect for our needs. Isn't that just like the Lord though? He always blows our expectations out of the water when we trust Him with our needs. That's the It certainly doesn't come easily, but it's worth the struggle.

Travis is gone tonight at an elder's meeting, so Ryley and I are chillin' on the couch. I keep telling myself that I'm going to rest and enjoy our new place, but everynight I find a new project to keep me busy! I have a giant stack of boxes that need to be broken down and some artwork that I'd like to's a wild Thursday night here at the Armstrongs!!

I'm going to post some more pictures of our guest room and our bedroom...and our closet, which I soon as I take them! I gotta go...The Office is about to be on!


Happy Easter !

Easter in the midst of chaos...

Well...we are finally in our new condo, after a week of moving boxes and furniture back and forth...praise the Lord! I was reaching the end of my rope with daily trips back and forth, loading and unloading. It feels really great to be in one place. We made a huge run yesterday with trucks and trailors to get all the furniture in and now I'm working from room to room setting it all up...which of course is due to my type A personality that will not let me rest until it's done! Travis is a good balance for me...he has no problem relaxing in the midst of boxes and messes...

So last night, in a state of total exhaustion, I realized that I forgot my iron at our old townhouse and I hadn't even thought about what we'd be wearing to church! The only bad thing about being on staff is that you lose your ability to slip in and slip out without anyone stopping you. My anonomous days are over!! So, we wore whatever had the least amount of wrinkles...which made us matching again. Much to Travis' delight. However, it was a beautiful Easter day, finally full of sunshine. We had a great service at Grace and then we went out for lunch with my cousins and their kids...and we ate way more than we should have at an amazing brunch! However, in all my moving chaos I somehow forgot to purchase a chocolate bunny, which I look forward to every year, so I'll be off to Target tomorrow to rack up some loot in the Easter clearance aisles! Better late than never!

To top off our day, I was thrilled watching the Master's and seeing an Iowan, Zach Johnson, win! I loved that he beat Tiger and I especially love that he's a Christian and he repeatedly praised Jesus for his victory...and he thanked and complimented his wife...and he's a die-hard Hawkeye fan...could he be any better??? The answer is no! It's good to be an Iowan today...

I'm posting some pictures of our living room, dining room and kitchen. We are loving our new place and I'm working like crazy to get unpacked and make it feel like home. What a fun Easter to remember!!


So far, so good...

It's Thursday today and I'm very ready for my husband to come home! I know he's having a great time, so that's good, but I miss him...and I'm pretty sure Ryley does too. Travis plays more with Ryley, so after a few days with me I really think he must be wondering when the fun is going to resume? He just gets lots of love and back scratching from me!

I realized this morning that I am sore and tired. I've been working and moving stuff everyday this week and so tonight I'm taking a break. I'm indulging in my cult obsession, The Office...which is supersized tonight!! I've been in withdrawl without Dwight and Michael for the last few weeks...nobody call me from 7-7:45pm. Just kidding. It is our favorite show and I'm sure Travis will be calling me for the update!

I'm putting some pictures up of the little guys I nanny for...Ben, Finn, and Barrett. Aren't they sweet? Of course they are so different from Olivia, but lots of fun. They are active with a capitol A! They keep me on my toes and they adore Travis! They ask me everyday if Travis is coming over and they usally don't hide their disappointment when I say he's at work! They are so cute and I love watching them. I still keep in touch with Olivia and I try to stay a part of her life. She is getting so old...she'll be 4 in June! I can't believe that. She's darling...just more beautiful than ever. I'll try to put a recent picture of her up as well. I'm hoping to see her this summer. Enjoy the boys!


Ok...let's try this again...

So, last July I decided that I would join the blogging world, not because I have such wonderful things to say, but because it seems like a great way to update our family and friends on our ever-changing life. However, I failed miserably and only got 2 posts up before I got behind and forgot about it! I've been thinking about it lately and would like to give it a real try this time. Of course, it stresses me out that I'm so far behind and my blog is already inconsistent, but I'm going to try to get over that and lay my perfectionism down!

We are once again in the middle of a major change...we're moving again! This time it's only to a different suburb, but still a lot of work nonetheless! We bought a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom condo that we are very excited about and anxious to get into. We've started moving a few things and we've started re-painting the kitchen...I'm so tired. But, it's going to be great when it's all done!! I'll put pictures up soon.

I'm living with Ryley this week while Trav is skiing in Colorado. He's getting some much needed "guy time" and I'm getting lots of design time. It's always better if I move stuff around and come up with new color schemes when my husband is not around! My indecisiveness drives him crazy!! The blessings and curses of having a design mind...lots of great ideas, but no sleep while I lay(lie??) in bed and imagine new things.

Here are some recent pictures of me and my favorite guys. Ryley loved all the snow we got this winter, including the 20 inches we got about a month ago...he jumped around like a kangaroo in the huge drifts! Of course Travis is a newly crowned 33 year old, as of Monday. I'm sure he'll love me posting that! These pictures are from last Sunday when he preached at our Church...he was one good-looking Pastor! His sermon is still not online yet, but when it is I'll post the link so you can hear it.

We are trying to stay warm this's once again freezing in Minnesota. We even had snow yesterday. Not good. However, the sun was out all day today and somehow that makes me feel better! Here's hoping for a 40 degree day tomorrow!!