Monday, June 30, 2014

summertime is...

This weekend was everything summertime should be...  
late nights | bare feet | cold beers in koozies  | heart-shaped sunglasses | the smell of coppertone | wide brim hats | toes in the water | floating down the river | letting my hair dry in the sun | windows down | bikinis on |
sweet sweet summertime
 

Friday, June 27, 2014

January 3, 2015

We set the date, we set the date!! Finally! At last!
And it's just a great date if I do say so myself.

January 3, 2015

What a wonderfully perfect start to the New Year.
We'll be New Year newlyweds! 

It was quite the challenge to find a date (see here for proof). It was a big source of stress for T.J. and I, and for our families. Now that we've set the date it's like we've hit a restart button on our engagement. Instead of the anxiousness that I've felt for these first 2 months, we get to just enjoy the remaining 6 months.  

We can finally dive headfirst into the planning fun. 
I can call my mom and chat about welcome bags and hotel blocks. 
T.J. and I can register for towels and cutlery. 
Guest lists are being made, save the dates are being ordered. 
I DIY'ed a cute little something-something to send to the girls I'm asking to be bridesmaids. 

It's all happening!

Planning our most important day is finally feeling like it should have felt from the beginning- butterflies in my stomach, checking off lists, and dreams about flowers, and twinkly lights, and our first dance, and forever after. I'm floating around on air instead of feeling weighed down by the pressure to coordinate people and place and time. 

Nothing can steal my joy!  
We're tying the knot. 
We're getting hitched. 
However you want to say it, we're getting married on January 3rd!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

my visit to the other side of the country - part 2

I was really looking forward to last Saturday out in Washington because there was an Ortho department picnic. This was planned to give the three new guys and gal a chance to meet everyone they'd be working with and vice-versa. We really lucked out that it was taking place the same weekend I was in town otherwise T.J. would have been the only single dude there. It also gave me a chance to meet the other ortho wives and I was excited to learn that they all plan get togethers each month! Yay, built in community!

The picnic was in a neighborhood clubhouse. There were hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, beers on ice, other residents, their families, and little ones running about. I was introduced around and then we broke out the corn hole set that I got T.J. for his graduation- it's already paying off!

It was a beautiful and sunny afternoon that we didn't want to end, so afterwards we hopped in the car and drove up to Point Defiance Park. We'd heard it was a cool spot with a great view but when we arrived we were immediately overwhelmed by the size of it! Aside from the spectacular view of the harbor, there is a zoo, an aquarium, begonia forests, tons of space to bring picnic or throw around a football, a beach, and a marina where you can rent kayaks and boats.

We decided to walk along the water and I was able to snap some great pictures of Mt. Rainier. Truly the best view of this volcano is from base because it's basically unobstructed. But I never had my camera on me when we drove past so I was excited to have a clear sky day to take it in. It is simply breathtaking, a photo doesn't do it justice. I can't believe there is an active volcano right there!
We continued our walk along the water, even spotting a seal swimming alongside, but soon decided we were pretty hungry and since T.J. had been really excited to take me to the commissary that's where we headed next. Our little town doesn't have it's own grocery store, probably because everyone in the area shops at the commissary, so I was eager to see where I'd be doing my shopping. We like to play this game where T.J. tells me what all groceries he's bought at the commissary and I try to guess how much it costs. I always guess wrong so I'm pretty excited to get my own military id and be able to shop there. 

While we were there, we picked up a rotisserie chicken and some vegetables which we sauteed and threw on top of pasta for dinner. We had our second "picnic" that day when we ate our dinner on a box on the floor. I was pretty pleased with our first supper fixed together in our house. 
After dinner we got a call from one of T.J.'s fellow resident's inviting us to meet up with her and her husband for a drink over by their house. Eager for us to have some people out here we didn't hesitate to say yes. We got to sit outside on the patio at Engine House 9 and enjoy the late sunset again with new friends.

We parted ways but not for too long as we decided to meet up again for brunch on Sunday which, thanks to the World Cup and a crowded pub, turned into more of a lunch. Somehow after that, T.J. agreed to go do a little furniture shopping so we headed to my favorite store, Target, to pick up a few things on our very long house list. The number one item was bar stools as we'd already established that we had no place to sit and eat a meal. We also picked up a rake and spent a little time tidying up our yard before attempting to assemble the stools.

After I mis-read the instructions no less than 3 times we finally put together the first stool and then had to take a break. Isn't there some saying about assembling furniture being a good test for your relationship? Well if so, I think we passed with flying colors. And I love our new stools!
We were pretty worn out after that so we walked into town and treated ourselves to some much deserved fro-yo. It was a perfect last full day in the Pacific Northwest. The next morning T.J. had to go in to the hospital bright and early and I got showered and packed up in the meantime. 

All too soon it was time for him to take me back to the airport. I really just did not want to leave one tiny bit. I am so ready to be out there with him. I'm ready to move my life and join it to his. I want to make our house a home. I want him to come home after a day of work and tell me all about it while we eat dinner at our bar with our new stools. I love that now when we talk on the phone and he tells me he's watering the grass I can picture it in my head. I can see him standing in the driveway with the hose. I can see him sitting on the futon with his laptop or fixing himself dinner in the kitchen. And I can so clearly envision myself out there with him and I'm just ready for it to start. My first taste of my new life was just so good. This is going to be so much fun! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

first trip to my future home

I have been getting back into the groove of things and catching up on sleep and work because I was out of the office, out of town and out of the East Coast this past weekend. Yep, that's right, I went to visit T.J. and I finally got to see where we're going to be living for the next few years. I got to see new our house, our new neighborhood, our new home for the very first time! To say I was excited is an understatement. The days before I left dragged but finally I was skipping out of work at noon on Thursday and heading to the airport.

This was the longest flight I've been on in a while, made doubly long by the fact that my anticipation was at the extreme. I had never been to the West Coast before, and even though T.J. does his best to tell me all about it on the phone, I really had no idea what to expect. When we finally started to make our descent I'm sure I was annoying my neighbor in the window seat as I tried to crane my neck for a glimpse of Washington, my future home.
 T.J. and I excitedly embraced in the airport and any worry I had about being too tired due to jetlag went out the window. I seriously felt like I'd landed in a foreign country and needed a passport to be there. Everything was so unseen and new for me. We hopped into T.J.'s car with Washington tags and headed down the road. Our house (love typing that) is about 45 minutes from the airport. Along the way T.J. pointed out sights, much like I imagine one day I'll do for visiting family and friends. 

Soon enough we were driving past the army base which meant we were almost there! We live in a town that is basically an extension of post. We're not technically on base, but T.J.'s commute is 10 minutes door to door and everyone who lives in our town is military or retired military.  I love that it's a safe neighborhood, especially since T.J. will have late hours and overnight shifts at the hospital and I will be home alone a lot.

We finally pulled into the driveway and I could hardly contain myself. After months of stalking the listing pictures online I finally got to see our house in person. I walked in a giddy haze through our basically empty home save for a futon, some weights strategically placed in the center of the floor, T.J.'s dresser, and a bed with no frame. But it is fantastic! I LOVE IT! I can see us living there together and my excitement for this new adventure quadrupled as I explored each room of the house.

Now I promise to post so many more details about the house but... this post is already so long and we are only just in the first hour of my visit. So after the initial tour, I needed to be fed (since it was basically 10pm my time and I'd had neither lunch nor dinner). We drove just a few minutes down the road to the little shopping center and town square. We grabbed some Italian food and I sucked down a few diet cokes so I could stay up a little later. But no such luck... I was basically loopy by the time we got home from all the excitement and weird hours.  It was an early bedtime but I was excited for the next day.

T.J. got up early for work on Friday and subsequently I got up early too. While he was out I took a shower for the first time in the bathroom (can't wait to finally have a bath tub again), fixed myself a little breakfast in the kitchen that I will one day fix all my meals in, and called my parents to fill them in on all the details before T.J. came home to meet me. Once he was home we set out to explore. We headed out our front door and continued down the sidewalk and then out of the neighborhood and into the woods. One of my new favorite things is how many trails there are in our little area, and this particular one we headed down is the prettiest ever!
I immediately understood why they call it the Evergreen State. The tall tall trees, the carpet of ferns and moss, we both kept exclaiming that it felt like we were in Jurassic Park. We walked for about a mile down a trail following the sound of a stream nearby that T.J. kept trying to convince me ended at a beach. But in the dense forest I was having a hard time believing him. Soon the trees started to thin and before us was an old railroad tunnel with bright sun pouring through. And on the other side of the tunnel was indeed a beach.
A beautiful pebbly beach and the Puget Sound splayed out in front of me. We skipped rocks and soaked in the (supposedly rare, but I don't want to believe it) sunshine and took a beat on the old rail road ties.  I also dipped my feet in the cool refreshing water, the further West I've ever been. I can't believe I get to live here!!
We headed back to the house to clean up and and then T.J. took me out to dinner. We dined al fresco by the water and I just can't get enough of the view! I had yummy fish and chips and T.J. had a burger and we enjoyed the sun staying up past 9pm. 
We came home fully worn out from our full day of exploring our corner of the Northwest that it didn't take much to convince T.J. that watching Frozen on the floor was a good idea. And that's where I'm going to end this longest post ever. Guess I'll have to break down my recap more. I promise the next post wont be just about 1 day and it wont be this long, well... at least I promise to try! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

weekend things and anniversaries

I spent the weekend at home with my parents and it was such a relaxing nothing weekend. The kind where we have slow breakfasts and then just lounge around in the sun until the next meal. It was just what we all needed since we are always on the go.

On Saturday we went to the farmer's market, our only real excursion for the weekend, and got tomatoes and pickles and olives and homemade pesto. Later we sat out on the patio to drink rose, listen to some tunes, and eat yummy bruschetta made with our market haul.
Of course we talked about wedding plans and guest lists and my mom and I daydreamed and drooled over Pinterest. I'm starting to feel more calm and like I can see the light at the end of the "we don't have a date" tunnel.

The best part of the weekend is I got to celebrate father's day with my dad. He and I went on a cruise around town with the top down. And we hit 10,000 miles on the car.

Writing my father's day card this year I couldn't help but get a little shaky thinking about how this year he will walk me down the aisle. This year we'll dance at my wedding. I try to picture it in my head. To put myself in that place, at the back of the church, standing with my dad and then walking towards T.J. 

Speaking of weddings... my parents celebrated 30 years of marriage yesterday. That seems to be more and more rare these days and I am so thankful that I have them as a solid example to me. That I've seen them walk through life together as a team, watched how they compromise and communicate and care for one another through all the stuff that life inevitably brings.  
T.J. and I have been together now for one year (as of Saturday actually). And soon we'll have a new anniversary to celebrate. A new date and a commitment to each other that we will cherish and guard and protect from the world. Oh dear, it's so exciting and yet a little scary at the same time. That anxious, butterflies in the stomach, like you're creaking up to the top of a roller coaster, trusting the Lord and your heart, but still knowing that you don't really know anything. That's the good of kind of scary, do you know what I mean?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Something Wonderful

Sunday, along with the other bridesmaids, we hosted a bridal shower for my roommate. It was so fun to see it all come together and to be able to shower our sweet friend in love and prezzies.

I volunteered to design the invite and all the little personal stationary and decorative touches for the shower. I left the cooking to the other girls and went to town with a coral and navy color scheme, with touches of chevron.
Above is the invite we sent out (obviously with the personal information that I've left off here). Along with the colors the theme was carried through with Something Old, Something New and Something Borrowed tables and each table had chevron bunting that coordinated with the invite.

At the "Something Old" table we displayed pictures of Jackie growing up, with her family and fellow bridesmaids. We also set up a little station where guests could write advice or a little note for the bride to be. The top of the note cards said "...to the future Mrs. Her New Name" and  on the chalkboard signage I wrote "Sweetest wishes for the soon to be Mrs." 
At the "Something Borrowed" table we set up a recipe book for guests to add their favorite recipes. (We had sent out  recipe cards with the invitations.) And at the "Something New" table we displayed all her gorgeous gifts under the bunting.
Before we dove into the gifts, we tucked into all the beautiful foods that the other bridesmaids had prepared. Pulled pork, potato salad, homemade bruschetta, guacamole, just to name a few of the yummy dishes we enjoyed.  Pink table cloths, fluffy hydrangeas and mason jars made for pretty tablescapes. 
I hoped that no one was sick of the chevron yet because I couldn't help myself with coordinating water bottle labels. I also made a second chalkboard for the dessert table which I was pretty pleased with. One of the bridesmaids made the most beautiful ombre cake I have ever seen. It was almost too pretty to eat and it went perfectly with all our other decorations! We also had a milkshake bar and ice cream chipwiches. 
It was a lot of work coordinating everything with 7 bridesmaids but I love how it all came together. It was also a great chance to get to meet her childhood friends and more of her family. But the biggest sign of a good shower is that the bride was properly loved and spoiled! So I'd call this a huge success! Only 3 more months until her big day- I can't wait!
**p.s if you're interested in invitations, menu cards, water bottle labels, or other fun supplies for your own parties, check out my design page and we can chat. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

the best year yet

And 26 is off to a great start.
At work on Friday I was overwhelmed by cookies and ice cream cake and balloons from my coworkers.
I got to have dinner with my sweet roommates on Friday night. Chips and salsa, mojitos, girl talk. What more could you ask for on your birthday?
On my actual day I spent the day outside with my aunt, strolling around downtown Frederick and enjoying the beautiful weather. We went out to dinner with her, my uncle and my cousins. I had fried chicken. I love fried chicken. (T.J. teases me about how much I love Popeyes, hah). And then later we roasted marshmallows.
On Sunday I helped host my roommate's bridal shower. Where I couldn't help but daydream about my own shower... and registering.
I'm getting married this year.
To my best friend, the sweetest guy I know.
I get to be his wife.
We get to play house.
In our house. And it's perfect and we get to live there together.
It's going to be so much fun.
I get to move across the country!
I've never been to the West coast, I'm craving a new adventure.

26 holds so many big things, big life things.
And it's going to be my best year yet!

Friday, June 6, 2014

five on friday: birthday wishlist

Tomorrow I turn 26, can you believe it??
So for this week's Five on Friday I decided to link up and share a bit of my birthday list.
one. A confirmed wedding date. Need I say more?  
two. To be able to play this on my new mandolin (almost got it) and to look as cool as Ellie Holcomb while I do it (still working on it).
three. Dinner out with my roommates. We're planning to check this off tonight with a girl's only dinner at Paladar. (I need a mojito... see point number one.)
four. This beautiful mirror to hang above the fireplace in my new house. What's that? I forget to mention that we have a house?  Don't worry. I promise to post all about it next week! 
five. To hunt down these most beautiful and dreamy shoes to wear on my wedding day. (Badgley Mischka, size 6.5, in that soft pink color, out of stock everywhere, darn you Pinterest.*)
*I almost didn't post a link to that mirror I want for the same reason...I would hate for them to all get snatched up before I decide to splurge on it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

over the phone

T.J. is in Tacoma.
And so it begins. His long work days, a three hour time difference, figuring out a good time to talk in the evenings, booking further, longer, flights.

I can do this.
We've been doing this for the past year and we can do it for however longer.
We can plan a wedding and figure out how we're going to get our cars out there, and what kind of couch we want, and how we'll merge our finances, over the phone.

All of it.
All of our relationship spoken, our days shared over the airwaves. Broken up by beautiful long weekends together once or twice a month. Hours and hours of exchanges, over-my-minutes-conversations. I would presume that sometimes we even talk to each other more than two people sitting in the same room.
We are good telephone people, and thank goodness for that.

One day we wont have to be so good at talking on the phone. One day he will already know what I've been up to that day or that week. He will live it beside me, or he will hear about it at our dinner table, or while we go for a walk around the neighborhood, or before we go to bed at night.

My hope is that we always talk as much as we do now. That I still hear about what he ate for lunch that day. That we still share the tiny, insignificant, random, "but I'm still gonna tell you about it because I just don't want to hang up the phone yet" details that make up our days.