The sickie ickies have taken over my body.  Chuck and I went on a 4 day, very loooooooooong and exhausting teen retreat over a week ago, and I haven't been the same since.  The cool news is, I went skiing for the very first time! A few of the girls and I took a lesson together and really had an awesome experience.  For those of you familiar with good 'ol NEPA, we went to Elk Mountain.  Elk is particularly special in my heart because that's where I'd go with family and friends for years, but only during the Fall.  We'd go to a Fall festival there and then ride the ski lift to the top to take in the gorgeous view.  

Since NEPA is where I grew up, it was very weird having my worlds collide.  Especially when we took 4 buses of teens to Clarks Summit to eat dinner.  My parents joined in with us at Taco Bell and it was absolutely surreal.  I told as many teens as I could, "This is my home town!  This is where I grew up!"  Truly crazy.  Loved seeing my parents, loved hanging out with the teens, loved skiing, but hated getting sick.  

Thankfully I have the best husband-nurse on the planet.  Since our February has been super busy, he has more-than-enough hours to stay home with me.  I love it.  (He just came home with an Auntie Anne's for me.)  Even if I'm just watching a Netflix and he's reading, I just like having him there.  Oh, and because I've succumbed to way too much day-time television, I happen to know that both Oprah AND Hugh Laurie have the ickes, too.  

Precious Times

Chuck is the best at making me feel super special on my birthday.  He wraps gifts so beautifully!  Almost makes me not want to open them.  Almost.  This picture was taken the morning of my birthday, right before we left for church.  I loved that he picked out this wrapping paper with the coordinating gift bag.  The pattern was just adorable.  Plus, it matched the coat he got me for Christmas.  =)

Having a birthday on a Sunday is interesting, especially when Sundays are usually pretty busy days for us.  On this day, Chuck made me breakfast and then took me to Starbucks before we went to AM Gap (our teen group).  What could be better than starting the day with a Starbucks Green Tea Soy Latte?!  Later in the morning, as I sat with some girls at a table in our youth room Chuck gave the announcements.  When he was done he asked the teens to guess who the person on the next slide was:

One of the teens yelled out, "Your wife!" and he was correct.  There I was in all my 4-year-old-glory up on the 2 big screens.  I was totally surprised, and really touched.  All I could do was laugh at the little picture and smile til my cheeks hurt.  There is just something about being remembered and acknowledged that gets me deep down in my heart and makes it soar.  I was instructed to stand while 100 and some teens sang to me.  Thankfully I still had my Starbucks cup in hand- a great security blanket.  I truly felt on top of the world.  My husband singled me out in front of all those teens and adults and essentially said, "My wife matters to me."  What a gift.

Once AM Gap ended, my friend Jessi came into the youth room, gave me a huge hug, wished me Happy Birthday and told me she loved me.  I could have cried.  And then she added a sweet card and gift on top of all that.  I am so very blessed.

Later that night Chuck, and our close friends Ben and Jess took me to dinner at Big Bowl.  The very same Big Bowl I had experienced about 6 years ago under not-so-great circumstances.  How sweet to be back there in a whole new context, married to the love of my life, celebrating with wonderful friends. Thank you, Jesus- my sweet Redeemer. 

After dinner, Skpying with my parents while I opened their gifts was on the agenda.  They completely surprised me with these jeans I had been wanting for well over 6 months that were impossible to find anywhere.  My parents are pretty hard core shoppers.  Leave it to them to find the magic jeans.  Whoo hoo!  Later Chuck, Ben, Jess, and I had some cake given to us by Chuck's sister.  There was certainly love coming from all over the place!  I won't mention all the precious moments from the day, or all the people who touched my heart, but know that I am overflowing with thankfulness. 

 Oh, and yes.  Those beautifully wrapped presents contained amazingly sweet gifts.  Another day.  Another post.  =)