Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our First Family Easter

Things have been busy in our household lately!  Connor was with us for his spring break, and then before we knew it Easter rolled around!

With Adam and I having only been married since August, this was only our second Easter together and our first as a family of three.  We spent the weekend down in TN and had a great time celebrating with family.

We went to an Easter Extravaganza on Saturday.  Connor had never had a picture with an Easter Bunny, so we were excited to see one and ask him if he might bring a basket later that night.

We checked out the petting zoo, and he thought it was pretty cool to see all the different animals.

There was an Easter egg hunt where a helicopter dropped all the eggs.  It was pretty crowded, but little man was able to grab a few eggs so he was excited.  We had some popsicles and played some games. And then his day was pretty much made when he met Captain America and told him all about seeing The Winter Soldier over spring break.

On Sunday morning, little man was pretty excited over the goodies in his Easter basket.

We got cleaned up and headed to church at Cross Point.  Adam and I haven't been able to go since before we moved, so it was great to be back at a service there.  Little man asked to come to "big church" with us, and I think he really enjoyed it.

After church, we headed to a family gathering.  My aunt and uncle always hosted the Easter egg hunt at their house back when we were all kids, so it was really fun to take Connor over to carry on the tradition.  They have this nice treehouse that I remember playing on when I was a kid, so it was really neat to get a picture with our family in it!

We also got a good one with my parents and sister, too!

Connor and Whitney are the only kids for now, and they really enjoyed the egg hunt.

Connor was pretty excited to find one of the prize eggs!

After the egg hunt, we realized this was the first time in years that all of the "original" kids were together at Easter - mostly because one of my cousins lived in England for a while.  We decided it was the perfect time to reenact a classic Easter photo.

I think we nailed it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

8 Months as Newlyweds

Adam and I have been married for 8 months today!

When I say that, it doesn't seem like all that long... in other ways, I feel like we've already been together for years.  That's not to say it feels like time is dragging or anything - in fact, I can't believe it's April. (Thank goodness it is because I couldn't handle any more of this winter in Indiana business.)

It's more that it is so obvious that Adam and I are perfect for each other that I feel in some ways he's always been here.

To say we've had an amazing 8 months of married life so far is an understatement.

We started our marriage with an incredible honeymoon in Italy.  We ran Adam's first half marathon together, and I won a truck (allowing us to pay down student loans, wahoo!) We've been to several terrific concerts. We had a ton of fun with Connor this fall, and we celebrated our first Christmas as a family.  We've taken some weekend trips, and we've been back and forth to TN a LOT! We survived cold and snow like we've never seen before.  And we've started enjoying warmer weather and are making plans for the summer.

It's not to say it's all been sunshine and laughter... we're definitely learning so much about life together, each other's personalities, and all that other stuff.  The good news is that most of the fights we have are incredibly stupid, haha. But the adventure so far has been so positive as we get to know each other better.

I don't even know how to put into words what it's like to know deep down that you found your person. That he is mine and I am his.  That I have my best friend.  That we have each other to love and support.

We dream a lot, and it's exciting to know that we get to make all our dream come true together.  We're starting to think about our move back to TN later this year (which can't come soon enough.)  We're talking about when we want to start a family (don't get excited... it's still going to be a while). We making lists of goals for the immediate future and 10 years from now.  Sure, we did a lot of that before getting married... but it's different now.

All that to say... married life is fantastic, and I couldn't be happier.  After years of longing for my person, sometimes I have to pinch myself when I look over at this man and realize that I finally have him!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Last Day in Rome

We were up early to get our ride back to the Naples train station to catch a train back to Rome.  Our only regret from the trip is that we didn't have more time in Positano.  If we knew when we were planning the trip with the travel agency just how much we would enjoy that part, we would have spent our last day there and flown home from Naples instead of Rome.

Nonetheless, we still had an enjoyable last day.  Once we got back into Rome, we took our bags to our hotel and set out to wander around a bit.  Even though we had seen almost everything we wanted to during our first two days, there were still a few things on our list.

First up was to see the Trevi Fountain.  When we first found it, they were cleaning it so it was totally empty.  We wandered around the area for a bit and did some souvenir shopping, and then we headed back over to see it back on.

We truly just wandered around for a while. We went back to the Pantheon since it was closed when we saw it a few nights ago.  This time we were able to go in and see the inside.

After a bit, we were able to return to our hotel and check into our room.  We took a nap and ended up hanging out in the room for a while to relax.  We were honestly just worn out after such an amazing trip, so it was nice to just hang out and not feel like we had anything else we had to fit in and see.

We eventually set out for the evening.  We went over to another part of town to check out a plaza and a street with a lot of shops.  After that, we ended back up by the Trevi Fountain to see it at night.  It was really pretty!  We made our wish and then set out in search of dinner.

Another part of being a bit worn out is that we were feeling indecisive about what to eat.  At the same time, every restaurant is pretty much the same... I think we were tired of italian food, haha.  We finally found a restaurant that looked good and sat down, but after 10 minutes of no one acknowledging us or even bringing water we left.

At this point, I didn't feel like taking any further risks so we went back to the same place we ate a few nights before that had been good.  I am so glad we did!  We had another terrific meal and managed to end the last night of our trip on a high note.

After dinner, we grabbed some gelato one last time and wandered around a little bit more before heading back to our hotel and crashing.

We got up the next morning and discovered it was raining.  We were so lucky that it didn't rain at all on our trip until the day we were leaving.  We had a shuttle to the Rome airport, and now that it was time to go home we were pretty excited about getting on with it.

We had some euros leftover, so we bought a couple of books at the airport to spend them (knowing that it's not worth it to try to get them exchanged back when we got home) and eventually boarded our flight.

The flight back to Atlanta was 8-9 hours.  We napped about 2 hours, but we spent the rest of the time watching movies or reading.  Once in Atlanta, we were pretty excited to eat some American food court type food. We had a quick flight back to Indy and then made our way back to our home.

I snapped one last picture of all of our souvenirs once we got home.  We had bought some of the Venetian Murano glasses, magnets, some pins for Adam's collection, some chocolate, a small bottle of lemoncello, a Harry Potter book in Italian, a mini sculpture of the leaning tower and the Colosseum, a scarf for me and a little jacket for Connor.  We love all of these little reminders of our amazing honeymoon!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Our Honeymoon: Second Day in Positano

We slept in a bit (which was lovely) on our second day in Positano. Part of what we loved about our time in this town was that there wasn't anything else to do other than relax and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

We got ready and then headed out to explore the town a bit.  Even though there were no real sightseeing activities, we wanted to wander in and out of all the little shops.  With the town built into the mountain, we got our exercise climbing up and down all the stairs.

Once we made it to the "center" of town, we checked out a lot of the little shops.  It was definitely an adventure since everything is on the main road, and cars are coming by within inches of where you can walk.

Adam found an awesome linen shirt, and we also picked up our standard magnet souvenir and got a postcard in the mail to Connor. It was neat checking out all the little shops, even if there wasn't anything else we necessarily wanted to buy.

After a bit, we found a little cafe to have some lunch. And dessert, which was of course the best part.

Next, we went down to the beach and looked into renting a boat.  We felt like we had done the whole "lounge on the beach" thing yesterday, and we thought it would be fun to take a boat out for a few hours.  It was hands down one of the best things we did on the entire trip, and this ended up being one of our favorite days of the honeymoon.

We drove up and down the coast for a while.  Adam loved driving us around, and the views were incredible.

We stopped at one point in an area away from everyone else and put down the anchor.  We got out and swam for a while.  The water was SO clear and the perfect temperature.

The time went by way too quickly, but it was definitely an amazing few hours.  We hung out on the beach for a little bit before making our way back up toward our hotel.  We picked up a bottle of wine on the way.  After cleaning up, we sat out on our balcony for the rest of the afternoon and just enjoyed the view and each other's company.

The front of our hotel

After a while, we set out to find dinner.  We wandered down the road and checked out a few different places, and we finally landed at one where we had a great view of both the town and the water.

Our waiter had to keep crossing back and forth over the main road to get to and from the actual restaurant, but this was the norm in Positano.  So many of the restaurants have outdoor seating with great views!

We ended up having a true long, italian dinner, sitting there for quite a while.  It also turned out to be one of the best dinners we had on the whole trip, and before long it was almost dark as we finished our food and wine.

After dinner, we went back down to the cafe we had lunch at so that we could get another cannoli.

We headed back to our hotel and once again relaxed on the balcony to savor our last evening in this coastal town before heading to bed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why I'm Not Disappointed in the How I Met Your Mother Series Finale

*If you haven't watched the HIMYM series finale yet and plan to, then you might not want to read this post. If you don't care to hear the ramblings of my inner mind and personal life, then you might not want to read this post.

I LOVED the way HIMYM ended.  Probably because in real life I married my Ted Mosby and like Aunt Robin, I married a widower. I wasn't in tears during the finale because it was sad; I was in tears because Adam and I have lived some of it. But we'll come back to that...

I have been a loyal viewer the entire 9 years of the show. While I don't think anything will ever replace my love of Friends, it was great to have a sitcom that made me laugh as well as touched my heart in its absence. There was no question I was eager to see how the show would end as well as disappointed I would no longer had new episodes to look forward to.

I've loved the flashbacks, the flash forwards, the crazy stories, the inside jokes... and the relatable stories that left me saying, "hey, that's like my life!"  Some people argue that entertainment is an escape, and if that's you then I say that's ok! For me, that is true some of the time, but the rest of the time I love feeling connected within this human experience and knowing that others have felt the way I've felt at any given time.  I'm convinced this is the reason why music exists in its form.  Why else do we love songs about heartbreak and play them over and over when we also feel heartbroken?

When everyone started posting how much they hated the HIMYM series finale, I knew I better sit down and watch it (because of course it was on the DVR) before someone revealed something.  I watched it early yesterday morning.  Adam even watched with me, and he's never even watched the show.  By the end, I had laughed so hard he was getting tickled at me, and started crying to the extent that by the end he was holding me and telling me he would never let me go.

I get it. You get invested in a show telling a story about the mother, and then you get frustrated that you don't really get to know the mother.  (Though I'd argue that the show was about the story of meeting her and not about her specifically, so the fact that we got to know anything about her all season was a major win in my book.)  And things happen that make you mad. Do I like that Barney and Robin got divorced? Heck, no. Adam and I believe marriage is for life, so when two characters I loved got divorced, yes! I said out loud, "well I don't like that!" (And Adam laughed that I was talking to the tv.)

But it's real life. If everything had just worked out in the end and all the couples lived happily ever after... well, I think that would have contradicted the first however many episodes of the show. Sure, some of the stories along the way were outlandish, but so many of them were things that we can relate to in life... so why should the ending be any different?

And maybe it's because I feel like this show is SO closely paralleled to my life. I can remember sitting alone in my little apartment in Nashville watching the week's episode and thinking how I wanted to find and marry a Ted.  It's interesting, because I knew that Marshall was a great guy, too, but that Ted was the kind of guy I'd eventually settle down with.

And it turned out to be true. There's no way I can really explain it, but as I've watched this last season it occurred to me more and more that Adam is so much like Ted Mosby (right down to being a hopeless romantic)! And as we got glimpses of his marriage with the mother, I realized that our marriage is so much like theirs (right down to get all nerdy and cheesy with one another)!

But it was the finale that really got me.  As I said, I was in tears during the finale because Adam and I have lived pieces of this story.  Sure, the details are different... but at the end of it all, I don't know how many people can relate to losing your spouse, and finding another great love. So maybe that's why I seem the be the only person who didn't hate the episode. (By the way, I classify that as a happy ending. Ted had more than one great love!)

Adam and I met in 2003.  We never really dated, but we know now that we always liked each other. He had a son while he was in college in 2008 who became his first real love.  Then, he fell in love with an amazing girl and married her in 2011.  They got pregnant, they lost the baby (a girl), and then in 2012 he lost her, too. We first reconnected solely as friends, but over time we fell in love.  And we got married in 2013. I became a step-mom.  We have dreams for our future.  And one day we will tell all our children the stories of how Dad met Jessica and about her life, about their baby sister in Heaven, and about how Mom and Dad were friends for 10 years before they fell in love and got married...

Our stories are beautiful and evidence that God has always been weaving our lives in and out of one another's until bringing us together for good.  There's no way to explain what it's like to marry a widower.  There are days when we talk about Jessica a lot, and there are days when we don't but I know she's on his mind.  There are times when I do something like bring home Safe Haven from the Redbox and totally forget how it ends from when I read the book, and we watch it and by the end we're both in tears because we realize what's happening... and I feel terrible that I didn't remember and tell him beforehand and ask if it's ok to watch it. (Yea. That totally happened.)

Is our story exactly the same as this show? Of course not. For starters, I may sort of be Aunt Robin, but I'm not married to my career, divorced or someone who disappears from her friends.  But the similarities are what had me in tears by the end.  Adam even said he thought the episode was really good, and it's pretty much the only one he's ever sat down and watched entirely.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion.  And I get it, really I do... on the surface, I can see why folks are frustrated with this ending.  But I really believe it was perfect.  Life is unpredictable, and it is full of the happy moments and the heartbreaking moments... and I'm so glad to know that there has been something on tv in the midst of all the reality crap that speaks to the human experience and paints a picture of what life is really like, especially as an adult.

I own all the seasons, and season 9 will definitely be on my Amazon wish list.  This show is something I will end up watching over and over, just like I do Friends. I'm so glad that there are writers out there like the ones who wrote these incredible stories over the last 9 years.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Our Honeymoon: First Day in Positano, Italy

After taking a cab to the train station, we were on our way to Naples.  From there, a driver picked us up to take us further south to Positano.  We were incredibly excited about seeing the Amalfi Coast and ending our trip with a few days relaxing at the beach.

On the way, we saw Mt. Vesuvius out the window.  We would have loved to have seen Pompeii if we'd had a few more days to spend in the area, but maybe another time!

We got to our hotel in Positano late enough in the day that our room was ready.  It was SO pretty!!!

We loved that we had a balcony with an amazing view of the ocean!

We changed into our swimsuits and made the walk down the very steep mountainside to the beach. The town is built into the side of the mountain, so you climb up and down stairs to get anywhere. 

We got down to the beach and found where we needed to check in and pay to get some chairs and an umbrella.  I think it was like 7euro per person, and it was totally worth it to have our own little spot.

It was a gorgeous, warm August day.  We lounged in our chairs.  We got in the water and swam and splashed around.  We enjoyed some strawberry daiquiris and some chips as a snack.  I think we hung out down there for several hours before making our way back to our room.

I stopped along the way and snapped a few photos.  The views were just incredible.  We were in awe of how beautiful the area was and that we were there!

We cleaned up and got ready to go out to dinner.  Before heading out, we sat on the balcony for a bit and took what is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip of the two of us.

Our hotel recommended a restaurant to us for dinner that required a shuttle. It picked us up at the hotel, and we made our way up the mountain stopping to pick up some other folks along the way. It ended up being quite an adventure... there is one main road through the town that only goes one way... and it's narrow without any sidewalks, so there was a time or two we'd have to stop to let people cross the road, etc. At another time, we just stopped and the driver got out for a while... it turned out he was watching for the road we needed to turn on to clear as it was a one-lane road.  

We finally made it to the restaurant.  It turned out to be one of those types where it's a flat rate per person, and they bring you all the food in family-style instead of having menu items.  Ultimately, we weren't overly impressed with the food, but the experience was fun.  We also had an amazing view down the mountain to the ocean.  It was already dark so I don't have any good pictures, but the ambiance was amazing and we still had fun.

Once we got back to our hotel by a less eventful shuttle ride back down, we picked up a bottle of wine and a little chocolate pastry thing and settled in on our balcony for the rest of the night.  It was so great to just relax together and enjoy the pleasant evening looking out at the sea.