Getting Settled

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve been living in our new home for almost 3 weeks now…it still doesn’t seem real! Drew and I will catch each other looking gawking  around all the rooms, waiting to be woken up from this dream.  That being said, we are pretty much settled in – no moving boxes still lying around or odds and ends that still need a home.  I think we both wanted to make the house as live-able as possible from the very beginning…plus, it’s not like we had a ton of stuff moving from a one bedroom apartment.  No doubt moving day went as smoothly as it did thanks to help from our amazing group of friends.  From start to finish, it took less than 3 hours to have everything moved from our apartment into the house.  Offer people free beer and pizza and it’s amazing what can be accomplished 😉

living room

We’ve been on several shopping excursions, buying things like rugs, bar stools and (finally!) a KitchenAid…things we just didn’t bother with while we were living in the apartment, either from lack of space or because we knew we wouldn’t be living there forever.  The house is really starting to come along now that we’ve been able to put our own “spin” on it…it was beautiful and move-in ready before, but it’s amazing how a simple area rug and a few decorative touches can really pull a room together.  We’ve had several get-togethers already as well, including hosting house church and a housewarming party.

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The best part of being a homeowner?  Besides having almost 3x the space, it’s like a whole new adventure for us.  There were things that just weren’t possibly (or at least not in a fun way) where we used to live.  Cooking in our new kitchen is an entirely new experience; we’re no longer tripping over each other or running out of room while preparing dinner.  I’ve already put the KitchenAid to work (cookie recipe coming soon!), and I’m loving cooking on a gas stove.  We’ve taken Theo on walks around the neighborhood, met several neighbors, and enjoyed evenings relaxing on the porch.  It definitely probably sounds silly, but I get a real kick out of walking to our very own mailbox.  Forget about the one morning that I set off our security system (at least we now know it works!), and it’s been a very easy transition.

kitchen

My Mom is coming to stay with us this weekend and I can’t wait for her to see the house.  I’ve sent her plenty of pictures, and she probably would say that I talk about it way too much already, but I’m excited for her to see it in person.  Drew’s parents will be visiting a few weeks later, and I know they too can’t wait to check out our new place.  Even though we’re both grown adults, Drew and I definitely value our parents’ opinions and sought advice from all of them throughout the house buying process.  No doubt we wouldn’t be in this life stage without their love and support.

Oh, and Theo seems to be settling in just fine, in case anyone was wondering…

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Home Sweet Home

closing day

If you follow Drew’s or any of my social plug-ins, you’ve probably been bombarded with our “We’re buying a house!” shpeel by now, and this blog post will not be a huge surprise.  However, I think it’s worth mentioning exactly how we came to be homeowners, since we certainly weren’t planning to purchase a home this year.

The first weekend in August, during the drive home after a wedding in Kentucky, Drew showed me a house he’d spotted on Trulia, not thinking much of it.  I guess the fact that I really liked it surprised him, and on a whim we decided to contact the owner to schedule a tour.  The very next weekend, we met the owner and took a tour of the house.  5 minutes in, I knew this was the perfect place for us.  It gave me chills, much reminiscent of the first wedding dress I tried on…which also ended up being the dress I wore on our wedding day.  Coincidence?  I think not.

house

We loved the house but feared things would end there since the owner and his family were itching to sell after already purchasing another home.  Still, we couldn’t forget the house and decided to contact an agent.  After meeting with her, touring several other homes and finding out breaking our apartment lease wouldn’t be the financial catastrophe we were anticipating, we put an offer on the house.  I’ll never forget being in the meat aisle at the grocery store when Drew got the call that the owners had accepted our offer.  Could it really be this easy?  We’d heard horror stories from our friends going through the house buying process and assumed our situation would be similar.  Instead, it was 5 short weeks from the initial viewing to the first night we spent our new house.  I think we both walk through the rooms, in awe and still a bit baffled that this whole thing hasn’t been a dream.

front door

Since we’ve been married, this is without a doubt the biggest life event we’ve experience together.  At times it was exciting, scary, and frustrating, but in the end we know we we meant to have this house.  While the exact reason may still have yet to reveal itself, we feel beyond blessed by our circumstances.  Drew wrote a great post on his own blog about how much we learned from the process that’s definitely worth the read.  I have a feeling the next few months are going to be very exciting for us as we settle in and make this house our home.  So stay tuned!

 

 

Our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary!

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Wow, has it really been 2 years already?  A part of me thinks that it feels more like one year, but considering all the things we’ve done since tying the knot, I guess it really isn’t that surprising.  We’ve been on a bit of a wedding marathon lately, attending the most recent one this past weekend.  It was great to see our friends Matt and Rachel tie the knot since Matt was a groomsman in our wedding and Rachel is his perfect match.  The bonus was being able to stay with Drew’s grandparents, and catch up with some family and college friends.  Drew and I are definitely at that age where all our friends are getting engaged or married.  And now they’re having babies now too!  A couple from our house church, Joey and Anna, welcomed a baby girl Logan last Saturday.

Celebrating at Matt and Rachel's wedding

Celebrating at Matt and Rachel’s wedding

Not wanting to be outdone by our wonderful first year anniversary trip to Chicago, we planned to extend the anniversary celebration a few days.  Tuesday night we went to dinner at The Lawrence, which we hadn’t been to since last December.  It was just as delicious as we remembered–how can one go wrong with chocolate truffle cake?  You know you love someone when you’re willing to share your dessert with someone without constantly wanting to jab their hand out of the way with your fork.  We wrapped up the night on the couch, looking through our wedding photo album and reminiscing.  I hope that’s a tradition we continue every year.

And we ate it all.

And we ate it all.

We continued the celebration last night, attending the Falcons vs. Bengals preseason opener at the Georgia Dome.  I hadn’t seen my Bengals play in quite a few seasons and Drew had never been to an NFL game before, so it was the perfect opportunity.  Drew did a great job picking out seats as we were just a few rows up from the field.  Just as I showed Drew my love by sharing dessert, Drew showed his loyalty by donning my old Bengals jersey.  That, my friends, is true loyalty.  As for converting him from a Packers fan to a Bengals fan, I won’t be holding my breath.

The couple that fends off angry mobs of Falcons fans together, stays together

The couple that fends off angry mobs of Falcons fans together, stays together

To avoid being too mushy, I’ll wrap things up there.  All I can say is that the past 2 years of my life have easily been the greatest.  There’s no one else on this planet better suited for me; I’m not sure if I completely believe in soul mates but I know that Drew is my perfect match.  I can’t imagine going through life with anyone else. So thank you to my husband for being my biggest supporter, encourager, confidante and friend.   Here’s too many, many more years!

 

Ben and Dana Get Married

Congrats Ben and Dana!

Congrats Ben and Dana!

Over the 4th of July holiday, Drew and I headed to our old college stomping grounds in Bowling Green, KY to see our friends Ben and Dana tie the knot.  Drew was a groomsman in the wedding so we headed out of town Wednesday morning, dropping Theo off at Barking Hound Village on the way.  We’d actually be staying with our friends Mike and Donna since we hadn’t seen them in a while and they had a 10-month old son, Tanner, who we couldn’t wait to meet.  Despite the rainy weather, we made great time and arrived in Bowling Green with enough time to kill, stopping at our favorite Mexican place Puerto’s before continuing on to Mike and Donna’s house.  It was so nice to be back in the town that I spent four amazing years of my life in; the last time we’d visit was Homecoming, just a few months after we got married.

The rehearsal dinner was at Mariah’s, one of the must go-to restaurant in Bowling Green.  It’s the same restaurant where our parents met each other for the first time, where I witnessed a surprise engagement of two of my friends, and where my graduation lunch was held.  Before the dinner, Drew and I drove through the main street of campus, noting all the new building and renovations that had been made in the years since we graduated.

We were actually able to see a lot of the pre-wedding photos being taken at a beautiful white house with an ornate backyard that just begged for wedding photography to be taken there.  I have got to commend everyone for making sure that Dana and Ben never saw each other during those hours; it had to be hard to be so close to your soon-to-be spouse and not even try to sneak a peek!  The wedding ceremony was wonderful and Dana of course looked stunning in her dress.  I’m a pretty sentimental person but I usually don’t tear up at weddings; however, as Ben and Dana exchanged their vows, I felt myself tearing up a little.  There’s just something so special about seeing two people whose love you’ve seen grow over the years, commit the rest of their lives to each other.

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Drew and I at the reception.

The reception took place at the Kentucky Museum, which is actually right on WKU’s campus.  Dinner was a build-you-own enchilada bar (best idea ever?!) and there was definitely no shortage of wedding cake.  One of the cakes was peach flavored and actually had peaches in it that had been picked from Jackson’s, an Orchard owned by Ben’s family.  The wedding cake replicated Dana’s wedding dress and was absolutely stunning (and delicious).  Even though it started to rain, we saw the newlyweds off with the glow of dozens of sparklers.  It was 4th of July weekend after all.

In a few weekends, we’ll head back to Kentucky to see the same group of friends, and celebrate the wedding of Matt and Rachel.  It’s exciting seeing the people so involved in our own wedding getting married themselves; I guess we are all really growing up!  To Ben and Dana, I wish you all nothing but the best and a lifetime of true happiness.  You two are such great people individually but even better as a couple.  Enjoy married life!

A Weekend Getaway

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Several months ago, Drew came across an offer that was just too good to refuse.  We’ve used Scoutmob numerous time in the past, saving money on local restaurants and discovering new favorite places that we otherwise wouldn’t have known about.  Drew saw a posting on their website for a discounted weekend at a bed & breakfast in Savannah, which we jumped on it almost instantly.  Sure, we’re going to be doing a lot of traveling this summer for weddings and a weekend visit to my parents’ house in North Carolina, but we didn’t have anything planned for just the two of us.  Since June is shaping up to be one heck of a busy month at work for me, last weekend was the perfect time to pack up the bags, drop of the dog at camp, and make a beeline for the highway.

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It has been a long time since I’ve been to Savannah.  I went with my parents years ago, and though I remember certain things like the amazing pralines from a shop on River Street and the haunted ghost tour in the middle of a thunderstorm, I’d forgotten just how charming the city is.  Even though a tropical storm threatened to dampen our plans–no pun intended–the weather turned out to be sunny the entire trip.  We spent the majority of our days exploring downtown, walking the streets and popping in and out of the shops.

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It was incredibly freeing not having any concrete plans.  After breakfast in the mornings, we’d walk around the streets, meandering about and playing tourists.  We stumbled upon a 10k Saturday morning, followed by a farmers’ market.  We ended up canceling our formal dinner plans at a five-star restaurant Saturday night in favor of a Cajun joint on River Street.  Followed by ice cream of course.  The entire weekend was casual and very low-key.

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The bed & breakfast we stayed at was almost a mile from River Street, so it was very quaint and quiet.  Even though we were out and about so much we didn’t really get to enjoy the room, we took several afternoon naps.  I’d forgotten how nice those are, especially when your feet are tired from walking around all day! The courtyard in the back was beautiful and we ate breakfast on the deck Sunday morning before we left.  The inn had 4 or 5 cats that roamed around, and I tried making friends with one of them but she didn’t seem interested.  I’ll blame the heat.

The weekend was short, but it was very sweet.  It’s nice to get away from the “real world” every so often without having to worry about following a schedule.  Now that we know it’s only a little over a three hour drive, I have a feeling another trip to Savannah is our near future!

We’ve Been Married a Year!

 

Two days ago, Drew and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.  A part of me is still astounded at just how fast our first year of marriage went, while another part of me is equally amazed at just how many amazing experiences and adventures we’ve had in those 12 months! From climbing a mountain, getting our first pet, running two 5K’s, attending three weddings, and taking several trips, we’ve had quite a year.

Monday morning Drew surprised me with one of the most thoughtful gifts he’s ever given me: a canvas photo collage that captures memories of our married life thus far.  It’s a beautiful print and I’m instantly flooded with the good memories associated with all the pictures whenever I pass by it hanging in our hall.  That night, when we both got home from work, I gave Drew his gift: a 10-pack of beers from around the world.  I had planned on giving him a bottle of wine (bonus if I could find the same kind that was served at our wedding) but while out shopping, this immediately caught my eye.  It seemed fun, unique, and right up Drew’s alley.

Drew posing happily with his “Beers of the World” kit.

We’d received several Facebook messages, texts and cards throughout the day from friends and family wishing us well.  We also received a package from Drew’s parents.  Inside were two mugs that looked black and first glance.  April had included a note to say “Fill them with a hot drink and see what happens.” Curious, we poured warm water into one of the mugs and it instantly came to life with a photo collage of our cruise we took last March.  What a fun gift, thank you both very much!

For dinner we headed to Top Flr, a restaurant just a block away from our apartment, where we celebrated Valentine’s Day.  As Mia Francesca was our go-to place for celebrating in Chicago, it looks like Top Flr has become that place in Atlanta.  Dinner was as delicious as we remembered and we talked for long after we’d finished eating.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for their anniversary gift to us which covered the check 🙂  P.S., today is my Dad’s birthday so here is a special shout-out to you, Dad!

 

One anniversary is in the books, with many, many more to come.  I can only imagine what God has in store for us next.  The best part of traveling down the unknown road of life is that I have my best friend holding my hand all the way.

One Year Anniversary Trip to Chicago

It’s hard to believe that almost one year ago, Drew and I were preparing to exchange vows at Lakeside Church.  It seems like just yesterday that I was standing in front of the large church doors, waiting for them to open and walk down the aisle toward my future husband.  Time really does fly!  That being said, we have already done and experienced so much in this first year of marriage, I can only imagine what the coming years will hold.  To celebrate our first year, Drew planned for us a long weekend in Chicago several months back.  It’d been over a year since either one of us had been in the city and it would be the perfect chance—and time of year since it wouldn’t be during the freezing cold winter—to pay a visit.

Our plane landed in the city late Thursday night and after a 30 minute train ride, we arrived at our hotel.  From the outside, it wasn’t much to look at, but our room turned out to be quite nice.  Even better, it put us right in the heart of downtown Chicago, just a 10-minute walk away from Michigan Avenue and The Magnificent Mile.  Too tired to partake in any activities that night, we headed for bed with plans to start the day early Friday morning.  Our first real stop was to Ann Sather, a real institution in Chicago. We’d been together several times before so we knew exactly what to expect: hot, delicious, gooey cinnamon rolls the size of our faces.  With full bellies, we walked hobbled along for the next few hours, visiting Wrigleyville and Drew’s old stomping ground.  We took a few pictures outside his  old apartment; I think he was surprised it hadn’t been deemed unlivable and torn down.

Cinnamon rolls the size of our faces. And yes, we ate every last bite.

We spent the majority of the afternoon window shopping and browsing downtown.  After walking for quite a few hours on our feet, we decided to head back to the hotel for a quick nap before our dinner reservations at Mia Francesca, the Italian restaurant we’d celebrated Valentine’s Day at the two years previous.  Our meal at Mia’s was just as good as we remembered it: Drew had his usual chicken and potatoes dish and I ordered the mussels.  After dinner we headed to a nearby Irish pub for a few after-dinner drinks and to watch the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics.  The bar setting made the experience so much more fun; when it was the United States’ turn to walk the circle, people started cheering and chanting “USA! USA!”  It was such a fun atmosphere to be a part of, and it capped off our first day in Chicago just perfectly.

Saturday morning we had a light breakfast at Starbucks, making sure we had enough room in our bellies for the epic lunch that would ensue later that day: deep dish pizza from Giordano’s.  The next few hours were spent exploring Crate and Barrel, talking about how we would fabulously furnish our house if we had an unlimited budget, and purchasing tickets for a late afternoon architecture boat tour.  We then headed to Giordano’s to put our name in for a table and order our pizza.  I’ve never been to a deep-dish pizza place in Chicago and not seen it packed full with people, so we had a good hour to kill before we were seated and our food arrived.  Thankfully there was a bar to sit and enjoy coverage of the Olympics.  Unfortunately, do to the poor coverage by NBC, we found out via Twitter that our fellow WKU alum, Claire Donahue, advanced to the finals of the women’s 100m butterfly.  Our dismay didn’t last much longer after we had our first few bites of deep dish.  Heaven on a plate platter is the best way to describe it really.  We couldn’t finish a medium pie between the two of us and as sad at it was to forgo our final two pieces, I knew we’d be hurtin’ for certain if we tried to eat them.

We planned our timing quite nicely and enjoyed a drink at the bar next to the tour dock before boarding the boat.  For the next hour we were told all about the history of Chicago’s architecture by an amazing tour guide.  We were able to get a lot of good shot on our cameras and saw buildings from angles we’d never have been able to otherwise.  Definitely one of the highlights of the trip!  That night, since we really couldn’t fathom another meal, we met up with some of Drew’s friends and old co-worker Adam.  We started out at an outdoor festival but the rowdy crowd made that a relatively short venture.  Next we headed to a Thai restaurant for a a few beers, followed by a place called Violet Hour which Drew and I decided is hands-down the best bar we’ve ever been to.  It’s literally a hole in the wall and if you don’t know it’s there, you’d easily miss it.  There’s no sign out front and they don’t do any advertising so their clientele is basically formed from worth of mouth (I guess I’m kind of contradicting that policy by blogging about it, ha).  The drink menu was by far the  most interesting and diverse cocktail list we’d ever come across.  I wish I could have taken a picture of our drinks because they were so artfully crafted but the place was dark, relatively quiet for a bar, and didn’t allow cell phones (another reason we ended up really liking the place).

One of the stunning views from our boat tour.

After sleeping in Sunday morning, we checked out of our hotel and headed out for brunch.  Since our flight wouldn’t leave until that night, we had some time to do some last minute tourism.  We visited the zoo, where we spotted our favorite animals-zebras, lions and monkeys, oh my.  After our visit to the zoo we decided to go ahead and make our way to the airport. It was nice to be able to take our time and enjoy a few drinks and meal before our flight.  With the time change, waiting for our luggage to arrive, and train ride home, we didn’t arrive back at our apartment until just before midnight.  I’m amazed at how much we were able to do in a short amount of time.  It was the perfect weekend getaway, and we had so much fun reliving our previous stays in Chicago.  More importantly, it was great to be able to spend three uninterrupted days together, walking hand in hand through the city.  It really reaffirmed this past year for us, as well as made us even more excited for the trips to come.  We’ve already started daydreaming about where we’ll go for our 5, 10, 15 year anniversaries.  Italy?  London?  Hawaii? The good news is we have many, many years to see it all!