Monday, November 30, 2015

thankful for the weekend

Those past four days really felt good. Like really restful and peaceful and just the way I like this time of year to be. T.J was thankfully off for (most of) Thanksgiving (he worked the night before and then until 2pm that day, but whatever) and we hosted dinner for some friends. It ended up being the two of us plus three other guys all flying solo for the holiday. In this community we find ourselves in, nothing looks like my childhood memories, where the traditions were the same, consistently year after year, and it was dependable and comfortable.

Now holidays, especially Thanksgiving when it's harder to get away, are a blended mix of people, residents, spouses, someone always coming and going as they're paged back to the hospital. But no one spends it alone because we're all very aware of the demands of the job and we all just roll with the call schedule.

"So you're husband's working tonight? You can join us. You're on call all weekend so your wife went out of town to visit family? Sneak away for dinner if you get a break and we'll feed you."

We were invited to three different Thanksgiving dinners. It's a very inclusive, we're all in the trenches together kind of attitude, and not just at Thanksgiving. I like it. I wouldn't mind having dinner at someone's home but this year I really wanted our first married Thanksgiving to be in our house, and I wanted an excuse to use some of our new serving pieces. The food, and the friends, and the fellowship was a success,  and while I miss the rest of my family this time of year, I loved spending the holiday with my husband.
Friday was not black Friday for us, not ever, no thank you, amen. Instead I started taking down the Thanksgiving/pumpkin/ fall decor and started getting ready to bring Christmas cheer into our home. Mostly, though, we spent a good chunk of the day bundled up and cuddled up on the couch. I just love the coziness that naturally comes with this time of year.
T.J. had to work Saturday overnight so, while waiting for him to get home Sunday morning, I picked up donuts and sat down for day one of the She Reads Truth Advent devotional. I'm so excited for this book. My mom, sister and I are doing it together and plan to have a little skype date each week to chat about it. And we probably should just always have a little skype date each week anyway. 
I stayed my Christmas pj's all day and I was determined that the tree would go up (if for no other reason than that Hunley had started trying to eat the box it was stored in). We went artificial this year because we have a puppy and I don't hate myself. But I have the best little candle that gives off that fresh cut Christmas tree smell we're missing. I went ahead and assembled the tree so Hunley could start getting used to it. He settled right underneath it for a little snooze, which just so happens to be my favorite place as well.  Of course that peacefulness went right out the window once T.J. got home and we started decorating it. We limited the ornaments to the top half only but the tree skirt is still a little too tempting for the pup. 
Even though I know I'm going to spend a good chunk of this season shouting "no!" at Hunley as he attempts to eat said tree skirt, I still find so much joy basking in the twinkly light with my little family. I am so thankful for this weekend and the perfect start to the most wonderful time of the year.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

love story throwback

When T.J. and I first started this adventure together, I didn't share too much on the blog. He popped up in passing, I would briefly mention a trip to South Carolina, or his face would show up in a picture. But honestly I kept most of the details of our relationship, especially the early days, to myself. It was too important and private and new. But I did try to write it down back then and I saved it as a draft, so I could always remember how that felt, the start of the rest of my life. Because even in the earliest days I knew that's what he was.

Now, in celebration of our almost one year anniversary, I'm going back, back before the wedding, before the engagement, before we were a couple, before I even really knew the man I would marry. And in the drafts where I first wrote about meeting "the boy who would one day become my...??" I'm able to write in the word "husband" and relive it all.

In May of 2013 I booked a flight and headed down to Charleston, South Carolina for a fun weekend with one of my college roommates and dearest friends. We had concert tickets, a tailgate spot at a polo match, plans to visit the Firefly distillery, and a lot of porch sitting, cocktail drinking, and catching up planned. I knew it was going to be simply the funnest getaway.

What I did not know was that I would meet the boy who would one day become my husband.

Our first night out we headed to a bar on King Street called Closed for Business. We knew that some of Aubrey's friends would be hanging out there, and that I would also kind of know one of the guys in that group.

His name was T.J. and he went to the same college as Aubrey and I.  He was friends with a lot of my friends and he was probably someone's date to a sorority function here and there. The very first picture we have together is actually from the last day of classes our senior year. But I had never seriously hung out with him before and hadn't thought about him since the last time I'd seen him at a friend's wedding, almost a year earlier. I wrote about that weekend here and he isn't mentioned although he is in a couple of my pictures.
That's it though. Seeing him again in Charleston was like meeting him for the first time.

I learned that he was in his 3rd year of med school and also in the Army, that he wanted to do orthopedic surgery, and that he has a sister the same age as my sister. And I learned that this boy I had never really paid attention to before (sorry hun) was quite cute.

Why hadn't I noticed before?

We moved on to a different spot and we continued talking as we walked down the cobbled streets and up the stairs to a rooftop bar. He bought me a drink and always found me when I got lost in the crowd. He made me laugh and he was so easy to talk to. It was fun, I was flirty. I flipped my hair and stood on my tippy-toes so he could hear me better over the noise of the crowd and I leaned closer.

But this was my first weekend of feeling really free. I was just there to have fun with my friends, I wanted my summer to look like Taylor Swift's music video for 22

But walking back home later that night, someone made the comment, "he definitely seemed to be interested in you."

Maybe, I thought. And I couldn't help but hope the subject would come up again, so I could do what girls do best and over analyze and over think. Mostly I hoped I would get to see more of him that weekend.

As luck would have it (or as I later learned, as T.J. orchestrated it), we met up with him the next day, and the day after that. And over the weekend I found myself standing next to him a lot, and catching his eye.

On my last day there we all went to a polo match and I spent my last few hours in town sipping on grapefruit cocktails, playing corn hole and stomping divots. He and I took a walk around the field, just the two of us, and I allowed myself to think of just the two of us.
Was I being a silly girl to read into to his attention? Everyone knows T.J. is the nicest guy. Was that all this was? Or did I really hear a bit of hope in his voice when we talked about an upcoming lake trip he was planning? Could I maybe make it down that weekend?

At the end of the day I said my goodbyes and then I held his stare a little longer one last time before I got in the car, and boarded a plane home. And when I eventually landed back in DC and turned on my cellphone, my heart jumped to see a new voice-mail and his name there on the screen.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

picture perfect walk

We finally had a break in the rain yesterday and T.J. had the day off for Veterans Day (of course he still went in to the hospital for a couple hours to do notes and study for a surgery today but it still counts as a day off) so I was determined to go out and take a family photo for our Christmas card.

I grabbed the tri-pod and we headed out on our favorite walk. This beautiful trail near our house, to me, is the epitome of the Pacific Northwest. Dense, mossy, so very green, damp. It winds through the tallest evergreens and as you make your way, you can hear a trickling stream following beside you, the only hint of what awaits you at the end.

Hunley looooovvves this walk. We let him off his leash and he ran up and down the sides of the trail, looking back every so often to make sure we were keeping up with him. He was slightly annoyed (and maybe so was T.J.) that I kept making him stop and pose for the camera.
This one above was almost a winner for the card. It's the most accurate representation of my life right now- a lot of Hunley jumping up on me, a lot of exasperated looks.
Finally, we passed through the abandoned train tunnel, and came out on the other side of the forest at the Sound, beautiful and expansive and grey. Hunley leapt across the rocky beach and ran straight into the chilly water.
Between the wind and a wet dog who would rather be swimming, picture taking did not go as smoothly as I had imagined in my head. We walked further down the beach to try some different angles, I lost my sunglasses, I retraced my steps, I couldn't find them, I was done, T.J. was a good sport, we took one more photo, I found my sunglasses (yay), we headed home. 

Never fear, though, we got what we came for, but I'm not showing you the final photo we chose for the card.  Hunley got some good exercise, and we got to enjoy that crisp fall air and a rare weekday off together. Maybe it wasn't exactly picture perfect, but it was pretty darn close.

Monday, November 9, 2015

snapshots of fall

Fall is fuzzy socks stuffed in rain boots, stomping through puddles and crunching leaves.  There's a lot of wiping off shoes on the front porch mat, and wiping off wet paws with a towel every time we come back inside. Our neighborhood is beautiful, blanketed in red leaves, but I am over the wet paws. I've resigned myself to the fact that my floors will probably not be truly clean again until it dries up some, because even when it's not raining, it's wet. Hunley tracks the outside in and I vacuum it all up (while he hides behind the curtains) and then we start over again the next day.

Fall is gray days that match gray nail polish. There's pot roast for dinner one day and then BBQ ribs for lunch the next day. Cooked low and slow, in keeping with the pace of the season. Warm, comfort food, is followed by lots and lots of college football. T.J. hardly has any weekends off so if he wants to pace anxiously during the Clemson game, and flip back and forth from espn/cbs/abc and repeat, all day long, who am I to say no?

Fall is staying in our sweatpants, only breaking out to see a movie or browse Barnes and Noble for a new book to read. Then its back into sweat pants for a nap on the couch.

The days are getting shorter, but everything seems to slow down. It's a time to rest up before the hectic holiday season arrives. I know soon it will be too cold and our daily walks will be more chore, less cheerful so I'm savoring all the cozy, warm days curled up on the couch with my love (and the pup who occasionally sneaks onto the couch and rests his head so sweetly that I can't kick him off).