<![CDATA[marc & bethany - miles to go]]>Sat, 17 Mar 2018 11:41:27 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Lately]]>Fri, 26 Apr 2013 18:04:41 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/lately2"I may not have gone were I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be."
So I basically haven't even logged into my blog editing site in 6 months. Sorry. I know you all have been waiting with baited breath for my next post (yeah, not really).

I've been very busy with work and then doing school on the side for the last 6 months. My failure to be a blogger coincides pretty well with the start of my enrollment in the BCBA coursework program at Florida Tech. With that and work and trying to form some semblance of a social life, writing / posting has been placed on the back burner.

I know that people don't check this site for updates on our lives anymore and that's OK. When we first moved to San Francisco it was a great way for family and friends to keep up with us. But now the necessary people can get glimpses of our lives through Instagram (@bhthomps) and Facebook. However, another purpose for this site was for my personal documentation of our life together. I actually really like reading through my old posts and remembering where I was in my life when I wrote those words and posted those photos. So that's what I'll do now.

In the last three years we have moved four times. We went from owning a town home to renting three 750 square foot apartments (two in the city and one in Walnut Creek) and just this last week moved into a house with so much space in it we aren't sure what to do with ourselves. Hopefully this move will be the last one for quite a while! Here are some photos of the new place:

I didn't include all of the photos, but this gives a pretty good idea of what the place looks like. It has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Marc and I will each have our own office spaces: he can close his door for important calls or very busy times and I can have my own space to work and do school. We'll also have a guest room / home gym eventually in the other bedroom.

I love the kitchen and hopefully will renew my love for cooking now that I actually enjoy the space I'm cooking in. I also love the backyard more than I thought I would.  It's very private and peaceful.

So other than moving, our lives have been pretty boringly busy for the last few months. We have had our first "child" for almost a year. She's such a great dog and keeps us constantly entertained.
It's been a good last few months. This year has been a tough one for us for a few reasons, but we've both grown a lot too. 

Coming up: vacation in Costa Rica (woot!) and our SIXTH anniversary (what?!?!). My parents are visiting this summer and Marc's in the fall. Marc's youngest brother is getting married and Marc and I both have a sibling graduating from college. Lots happening and I'll *try* to document it on here so I can at least have the record.
<![CDATA[smitten]]>Sat, 28 Jul 2012 15:15:06 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/smittenSo today was the big day: our "gotcha day" for our puppy.

I know probably half of you will roll your eyes, but I have been thinking about this day for over two years and it was very important to me to have this part of my heart back in my life. Having a dog is just one of those things that makes me feel complete in a human sense.

We picked up Mika today from her breeder in Sacramento. Her name is Dani and she is FANTASTIC. There are still some puppies available and you can see them here.

Mika did great on the ride home. She looked around for a little while then climbed onto my chest and feel asleep for most of the ride. I just sat there and stared at her and felt lots of warm fuzzy feelings of happiness.

When she got home she ate, then pranced around exploring her toys and crate and bed, then pooped on the floor, then tornadoed around a little more before she curled up in her bed and fell asleep again.

I love her so much already and I can't stop staring at her. Happy.

So here are the photos I took so far today. Enjoy.
<![CDATA[almost over]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2012 17:44:38 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/almost-overMy little vacation is over in the morning as I'm starting my new job.

I had about a week off and I was able to finish unpacking and organizing our apartment. I spent some time at our pool (how much do I love having a pool/hot tub right outside??), and got back into working out regularly. Yesterday I got my hair cut and highlighted by a professional for the first time in over two years and plan to get a mani/pedi today and do some shopping downtown.

Marc was supposed to have to work all last week, but he ended up having the Fourth through the weekend off. It was great to be able to hang out and do some exploring of our new town. When we transferred our cable to our new apartment, we were gifted with six months of all the movie channels (we've always just gotten basic). We have been on a movie watching spree. I'm about to remove Marc's movie picking rights though as there have been some definite fails.

We also did some shopping for our girl.
During one of his days off, Marc got me a wonderful present: a bookshelf. When we moved to California over two years ago, we donated about half of our (my) books. Of course, this still left us with about eight boxes full of books. But those books have remained in those same boxes the movers packed them in for over two years. If you know me, you know that this has made my life a little incomplete. Marc, knowing that for the foreseeable future that we would live in a small space and not have room to accumulate more books, had me promise that would read electronically. For the most part I kept that promise - I did purchase a few books that couldn't be downloaded on the Kindle or iPad.

I still love to SEE my books. I want to smell them. They are physical representations of great experiences I have had, lessons I have learned, and stories I have lived in.

So I had talked with Marc and asked him for one bookshelf - and that I would re-purge my books and be practical about what I really wanted to keep. And I did it. I purged those eight boxes down to one bookshelf (it IS two deep - shhhhh). I love looking at it when I get into bed at night.
So I'm excited about what the rest of this month has:
-- Starting my new job tomorrow
-- Bringing home our puppy at the end of the month
-- Seeing my brother- and sister-in-law at the end of the month
-- Seeing my friend Ashley again later this week
-- Other plans with friends

I might miss going to the pool every day though. :)
<![CDATA[changing everything at once]]>Wed, 27 Jun 2012 02:58:08 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/changing-everything-at-once So I can write this now that all of the necessary people know: This is my last week at my current job.

The long and short: I wasn’t looking for change but was contacted and offered an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.

I will still be doing the same work I have been: managing ABA programs for children with ASD and supervising interventionists / therapists that work with those children. I’ll still be operating as a bilingual supervisor – so working with a lot of Spanish-speaking families. I’ll still be driving around a lot.

The difference will be the company. I’m leaving Innovative Pathways Inc. and starting a new job with Easter Seals Bay Area. Easter Seals works with children and adults who have all kinds of special needs but recently they have begun to ramp up their Autism Project and I’ll be helping with this expansion.

Leaving a job like mine is very difficult. It’s not like leaving an office job where you see your coworkers and maybe or not you have some closer relationships (shout out to the awesome friendships I gained and still have from my five year office job!). When you are in this field, you develop attachments to children and you become a part of people’s families. I’ve also grown some great working relationships with the instructors I supervise.

I have grown so much during my time at IP. It was my first major hands-on experience with ABA and DTT and the more technical aspects of working with children with special needs, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorders. IP introduced me to working with clients older than age three and taught me how to make materials like PECS and Event Sequencing. I learned to write and implement Behavior Plans for children with all kinds of behaviors from tantrums to aggression. IP gave me my first managerial experience, which in this field is essential to moving upward in your career (you know, if you don’t have it you can’t get it). I learned from some amazing therapists and supervisors that helped grow and stretch me. I improved my fluency in the Spanish language and grew in my technical writing skills.

I am so very thankful for the time I spent at IP. I am also incredibly thankful for and excited about this new opportunity to grow in my skills and be stretched more than before. I love my job and want to keep learning and improving in my ability to help families of children with special needs. I’m so grateful I’ve been allowed to do that for a little longer.

<![CDATA[update on our move]]>Tue, 26 Jun 2012 04:43:00 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/update-on-our-moveSo we moved this weekend.

I am so, incredibly, tired. My body is one big combination of a bruise and a scratch...and I'm not sure where the two meld together.

But it's done.

All we have left to do in our old apartment is some cleaning. And then there's the kamikaze shredder that took a flying leap off our hand cart and crashed to the wood floor in a flurry of confetti. Yeah. It's still there. We just busted out in snorting laughter and left it where it lay.

So we rented a cargo (a.k.a. Child-Abductor) van and made four trips with our stuff from San Francisco to Walnut Creek.
We did everything ourselves except for the mattress and headboard for our bed - these were too big to fit into the van. One of Marc's work friends took a trip to SF to help load up the mattress and headboard into his pickup and brought it to the WC.
All those trips back and forth were actually fun in a weird way because we got to spend time together in the van.

I was amazed at how great of a team Marc and I are. When we were put down to the wire (we thought we'd be moving gradually throughout this week but work projects came up for us both and we HAD to move this weekend). We just set to it and got stuff done.
This is what our place looked like yesterday afternoon from my desk by the window. Today it looks much better. Tonight I cooked dinner for the first time in the new place and now I'm relaxing on the coach while Marc builds shelves in the garage. Yes, we have a garage. It is attached to our apartment and it is so nice to have. One of these days I'll be able to pull my car into it. We are working through the boxes and stuff little by little.

So I'll put up some photos of the apartment from Friday when we did our walk through.
living room from the kitchen
From the other end of the room looking into the kitchen
laundry / mud room
Bedroom & porch (also a pool/hot tub outside)
The photos aren't great, but they'd give those who care an idea of the space. I love the laundry/mud room that leads out to the garage. It closes off so it's nice and quiet when I run the **full sized* washer/dryer.* I forgot what it was like to wash all my towels at once. :)

So there's the update. Once we get things settled in I'll try to post more photos.
<![CDATA[Fifty Shades of Emotional Pornography]]>Thu, 21 Jun 2012 22:51:17 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/fifty-shades-of-emotional-pornography
(Please do not read this if you are easily offended by talking about sex. This is not an explicit post but I want to warn you that I’m not mincing words here.)


So, so much I hear about this Fifty Shades of Grey. I have not read it and don’t plan to. But it does bring up some interesting issues. There are blog posts and news articles that run the gamut from highly in favor to vehemently against this erotic novel series. A post here suggests that people are literally taking matters into their own hands and using this sensational novel to ramp up their love lives.  This blog post brings up other points about why we shouldn’t read these novels in order to protect our marriages. I do not endorse either of these people nor do I appreciate the latter author’s egregious lack of proper punctuation when writing the title of a book. My point is that there is a lot out there about these books.

I do, however, want to throw in my two cents on this topic. You may not agree or support what I will say, but this is my blog and I can write what I want.

I started to think about this issue back when I read Twilight. Along with most people I knew at the time, I got sucked (hehe) into the series. I never saw the films because by that time I was over it, but I did enjoy reading the books at the time. But you see, the thing about me when I read a good book is that I become completely engulfed in the story. As a somewhat quiet and “loner” child, I lived in my imagination and in a lot of ways still do today. Maybe that’s why I’m good at what I do. But reading is and has always been the way I escape from reality. My point is, and I’m going to be totally frank here: I could not get Twilight’s characters and story out of my mind. I dreamt about it even. Then once the series was over, and after some detox time, I recovered and went back to life as normal. This is just one example of the many times I have let this happen to me.

When I had time to step back and consider what didn’t feel right about the whole Twilight experience, I formed my opinions on this issue and I think the same applies to Fifty Shades.

I feel that many women, and I’m sure some men, are unaware of but strongly drawn by the power of emotional pornography. And I believe that addiction to emotional pornography can be just as if not more damaging to a marriage than visual pornography. That’s a strong statement, but hear me out.

The power of emotional porn is so very strong because of its vanilla exterior. It can come in the form of an erotic novel where there is a dominant male and an inexperienced female and the whole beautiful world of sex is opened up to the female because of his guidance. Or, all you holier-than-thou ladies who would NEVER even side eye the cover of Fifty Shades lest it burn your eyes, it can come in the form of a Jane Austen or Karen Kingsbury novel. In the latter books, there are strong men who do good and manly things and when they don’t, they apologize and make up for their actions in beautiful ways. These men work around the home or they fight their lady’s battles or they are strong, godly Christians who lead their families in the way of Christ.

BUT, and here is the catch, these men are not real. They are not our husbands or boyfriends. They are fictional characters.

OK, so many people can read about a fictional character and that’s all it is: entertainment. I don’t read Pride and Prejudice and then pout for hours that my husband isn’t as deliciously aloof as Fitzwilliam Darcy. I didn’t finish The Notebook and then wish Marc owned a private, waterfront home where we could hide for days and listen to waves crashing and not come up for air.

But I have a line, and I know where that is. There is a point when I get so engrossed in a male character in a book (or movie, for that matter) that I find myself wishing my husband was more like this man. It is THE SAME as befriending another fantastic couple in real life and secretly being disappointed I don’t have a man like so-and-so’s husband who does _________ like that. In both situations I am taking my focus off of the man I have vowed my heart and body to and being discontent with who he is. And if you are a Christian and believe God ordains and blesses marriage – basically I’m telling God He didn’t know what He was doing when He gave my husband to me.

Now, don’t confuse this issue with sitting down with your significant other and bringing up something that you need to work on as a couple or something that you see in his life that is sinful or harmful to you, him, or others. That is different. That is how a relationship grows healthily when we graciously encourage our partners to grow and change according to what is best for them and our families.

Also, don’t confuse this with a couple taking real steps to improve their, ahem, love lives. Sex is an extremely important part of marriage and one of the best things God has made for us. There are a lot of mental and physical ways to enhance or increase our mutual pleasure in the bedroom and within the parameters of that couple, in my opinion, they can go for it without judgment from me. I also believe the Bible has a lot to say about that issue and that God is in favor of us enjoying sex. Taking the time and energy to improve and enjoy this beautiful expression of love is worth every second and can only help your relationship.

What I’m saying is that we need to take a step back from wand consider how what we do with our minds affects our relationships and us personally. Are you so into Nicholas Sparks’ novels that you become impatient and critical of your husband? Are you on your third time through Fifty Shades and haven’t even told your partner you’re reading it because you’d be “embarrassed?” Do you look up from People or US Weekly and realize with dismay your husband or boyfriend doesn’t have Ryan Gosling’s abs?

Where does what you read and look at for entertainment lead your affections and emotions? If you can read romance novels and never transfer any of the fantasy over to your relationship, go ahead. If you think Fifty Shades is just a novel with some sexual content and can read it as such, go ahead. If you know your own mind and heart and understand that you can’t even watch a romantic comedy without wistfully longing for a Ryan Reynolds of your own, then STOP it. Protect your heart. Protect your relationships.

I am not telling you not to read Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not going to look down on you if you enjoy Christian romance novels. One problem I have with many of these blog posts is that they tell every one to do what they do because of X amount of reasons and Bible verses they’ve thought about and proof-texted. If you are a Christian, go to the Bible yourself and ask God for guidance about what you should put into your head and what can hurt and help your marriage. Relax your defensive stance (in either direction) and think about what occupies your mind that could potentially hurt you or your husband. Are you not even enjoying sex with your husband because all you can think about is how much you want a baby (or how much he doesn't)? Can you not even have a pleasant date night because you realize your husband doesn’t hold the door for you or your hand when you walk?

Think about what your emotional pornography is. All of us have it somewhere and none of it is healthy or helpful.

<![CDATA[Daddy-o x2]]>Sun, 17 Jun 2012 15:24:06 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/daddy-o-x2We all know that it's Daddy Day today right? I hope so. And what Father's Day would be complete without a blog post about our dads? This is my blog, but it's "marcandbethany.com" so I shall take the liberty of posting about my dad and Marc's dad.
My dad loves my mom. This is one thing I've always admired about him - his obvious, counter-conditional love for my mother. So many people grow up in homes where there is not love between a mother and father, but I was not one of those people. My parents' marriage made me want to be married and stay married for better or for worse.

My dad is hard-working and ambitious. He never settles for mediocre or less than he could achieve. He is competitive (and it annoys him eternally that I have not a competitive bone in my body). But one thing I did get from my dad is my desire to achieve the best I can in my career and personal life and to never decide that I've "arrived" - but at the same time to be content with my circumstances and do my very best within them.
My dad loves beautiful things. He used to take me on his photography outings when I was young and to this day I find so much joy in taking a beautiful photograph and sharing it with others. In the last few years, my dad has gotten into making beautiful things with his hands in his little workshop in the back yard. He has made pieces of furniture, a clock, frames, and much more and has brought joy to others through this hobby.

My dad doesn't apologize for his views about the world. My father can be very adamant and argumentative when he wants to, but he stands by his convictions and is respected for it. Even when we don't agree (and believe me, a good percentage of my life has been spent arguing with my dad about things we don't agree on), I respect that he has strong beliefs and doesn't back down.
My dad has a sense of humor. He likes practical jokes and while he doesn't always appreciate my snarky, sarcastic humor, he does like to laugh. My childhood held a lot of laughter and I have him to thank for much of it.

Marc's dad is never idle. He is always finding something to do to make others around him more comfortable or happy.  He is committed to his family with a passion we admire very much. He always will take the time to talk to or help one of his kids or other family members, and feels the most joy when he is surrounded by his family.

Marc's dad takes care of everyone. He is always the first to volunteer to help others and has a group of neighbors he is always checking in on. While sometimes he may take on more responsibility for others than we think he should, he loves those around him and it is humbling to see the passion with which he serves others.
Marc's dad is easily entertained and impressed. This is not a tongue-in-cheek statement by any means. He is interested in the smallest details and can find something interesting about the most boring person or event. He is not jaded by what he sees in this world and we admire that a lot about him.
Marc's dad is humble. He does not have a lofty opinion of himself and is readily willing to accept when others are right about something or know more about it than he does. He is not afraid to ask for and follow others' advice. While he is strong in his convictions and commitments, he is not afraid to change if he needs to.

Marc's dad loves his wife so much. He is always trying to make her laugh and make her feel special and comfortable. He is such a great example of a father and husband to all of his family.
We both love our dads so much.
It's hard not to be with them on Father's Day so we can celebrate them and all they are to us.
So to our dads: much love and respect from us, your California Kids.
We miss you and love you so very much.
<![CDATA[introducing...]]>Sun, 10 Jun 2012 03:57:37 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/introducingWe have an announcement.

It's very important and exciting.

It will change our lives drastically.

It will bring us much joy.

Introducing: Mika the French Bulldog.
She is two weeks old (photo below is at 2 days). She will be joining our family in 7 weeks.
We've known we were for sure getting a puppy for a few weeks but today we actually went to the breeder and picked out the one we wanted.
I have wanted a French Bulldog for a while. I started researching the breed about a year ago and Marc agreed that when we lived in a place that allowed dogs that we could get one. This is sort of what she will look like full-grown, except obviously different in her coloring.
I am beyond excited. I know it sounds silly to people who don't have dogs, but until we moved to SF, I had never had a period of more than a couple weeks when there was not a dog in my home. Having our first dog, Gryphon, was probably what kept me from going crazy the first three years of marriage when Marc was either traveling or working crazy hours.

So yes. That's our announcement. I know most people don't care, but this is my blog. :)
<![CDATA[how it flies]]>Thu, 07 Jun 2012 22:58:09 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/how-it-flies
Yesterday marked our two year anniversary of living in San Francisco. As always when you mark a milestone in your life - it feels like yesterday and it feels like forever since we first arrived on the West Coast and put down some new roots.
While we miss our families and our friends back in South Carolina (and some that have since moved away from good old Greenville), we have come to think of the Bay Area as home.
We love so many things about California: the beauty; the weather; the access to Redwood forests, ocean, vineyards, and mountains all within minutes to only a few hours away; the vast array of people and cultures you can encounter every minute.
And we do love the food. Sigh. Yes, the food. 
Unfortunately that love is the one that, ahem, *shows* the most.
I think my favorite thing about San Francisco will always, always be how beautiful it is. 
Everywhere I look there is something to see that takes my breath away.
Moving to San Francisco two years ago was the biggest decision 
Marc and I have made as a married couple and I believe it has been the best thing for us.
Moving away from everything familiar and comfortable brought Marc and I closer as a couple and made us individually stronger too. Exploring a whole new area was so fun for us and we continue to discover more things about living in California that we love.
In a couple weeks we will be moving out of San Francisco city and into a suburb - Walnut Creek. 
There are a lot of reasons for moving, but mostly it affirms our love of the Bay Area and our desire to put down deeper roots in the future.
We love San Francisco and will miss certain things about living in the city.
 Fortunately, we will not be far and can come into SF to meet up with friends 
or get some really great food.
However, living outside the city has its own benefits - 
one of which will be making an addition to our little family.
I'm so glad we live here. 
Happy two years, SF. It's been good.
To quote another person who writes songs about how much he loves the Bay Area: 
"This ain't a threat, but I think I'd better warn ya: 
You're gonna fall in love if you come to California."
<![CDATA[lately]]>Sun, 03 Jun 2012 04:27:23 GMThttp://marcandbethany.com/miles-to-go/lately1I know, I know. I haven't really been keeping up with my goal of blogging more. But here's an update on what's been going on with us lately.

There is also some exciting, fun news that I can't quite divulge yet but when I can, I will. :)

So two weeks ago I met up with my lovely friend, Sarah, down in San Diego for a girls' weekend. She recently moved to Vancouver and we'd been talking about doing this since before she left.
We stayed on Coronado Island.
We went to the beach and got very, very, very sunburned. Our poor San Franciscan skin had not had much attention in the last couple years.
We ate very yummy food.
And we rode the ferry over to downtown San Diego and went shopping and ate sushi.
We had such a great time. It was nice to relax, catch up, and enjoy the sun and sand together. I miss her!

Last weekend, Marc and I headed up to Yountville to spend the day OUT of San Francisco. The city gets so crazy on holiday weekends, especially when the weather is nice. It was great to enjoy the warmth of Napa Valley, relax and talk with friends, and eat yummy food.
We also helped our friends out by taking care of Flat Stanley, a laminated paper man owned by their nephew across the country. Flat Stanley is supposed to travel to amazing places and document his travels by photograph. Since we live in the city, we offered to take Stanley and show him the big sights.
This weekend, Marc and I signed up to run a 10k trail run. I have done my share of runs and races in the past, but working out lately has been too low on my priority list.  So basically neither of us has worked out in much too long, much less train for a 6.2m run.
The run started at Crissy Fields near Sports Basement. We ran to the Golden Gate Bridge, down the Lands End trail to Baker Beach, down the beach (thankfully didn't have to climb the sand ladder), then back up and returned to Crissy Fields.
It was very foggy and windy. If not for the fog, it would have been an absolutely breathtaking race course. But regardless, it was fun and we finished.
So that's basically what we've been up to. Otherwise, we've been working, and I've been driving...a lot.