Friendly Competition

Saturday, June 29, 2013
I'm not a bragger, nor do I like to call attention to myself. But I am making an exception today. Because for the first time in all my years I took first place in a game of putt-putt. Finally, I wasn't the close second or bottom of the bucket in 4th. There have even been those times where I have a strong lead and by mid-game my putts are so terrible that I am scrambling to stay away from last place. I get so focused on coming out at the top of the score card that my game suffers, which is the competitor in me coming out.

So on Sunday, relaxed and feeling peaceful, I took on the turf grass with my parents and Pete. This particular game kept me bouncing between first and second (against Pete, might I add) the entire time. Our friendly competition carried out from hole to hole as our scores would tie, rise and, fall. There were  moments of goading as we tried to break the other's concentration or throw game off. But, with a one- point lead at the second to last hole, I knew I had to keep my calm or let Pete out putt me. Calm as a cucumber I lined my ball up, measured my putter next to it and swung. With that hole-in-one on hole 17, I secured my win. And oh did it feel great! After five different games of putt-putt over the course of our relationship, I finally took him down, to his dismay. Happily, the bragging rights are now mine, and I'm basking in them for the time being. I don't know how I pulled it off, but I did. And it was glorious!

Time Doesn't Stand Still

Thursday, June 27, 2013
A whirlwind. That word perfectly describes the summer thus far. With six weekends of back-to-back travel to and from Maryland, a wedding that is quickly approaching, and escaping time, my life has been nothing short of a whirlwind. And thus, blogging has taken a backseat this week due to long days that turn into long nights of wedding preparation. Don't get me wrong, it's fun, but in truth there is stress. Granted this stress will only come around once, I am finding myself overwhelmed by the back and forth collaboration with vendors and the feeling that I can never check any particular task off of my to-do list, because in essence it hasn't been completed. And that's why I'm lucky to have my mom helping me this week with all aspects of the big day, down to little details of the moss that we're using as decoration and the way the bows will look for the church pews. It seems impossible that we've gotten so much done in the past four days, but we've been working our tail ends off and accomplishing more than we imagined.

With that being said, I finally took time to realize exactly how much more time is left until the BIG day. And there isn't much! Today is the last three-digit day on our countdown. Hello sweet 100!! It's nice to see you, yet I'm a little sad to watch you tick down to only two numbers tomorrow. Not because I'm not ready to marry my love, no, in fact because I realize how fast time is flying and that its speed will only increase in the next three months. This season of my life is sweet, and even though I thought it would take forever to get to October, I'm being proven wrong as Father Time only quickens. I'm grateful for my period of engagement, if only for the way it has shaped Pete and I into a couple that is ready to serve out our marriage for the Lord. The last (almost) eight months have been such a blessing in disguise, growing us in our faith and allowing us to form an impenetrable bond. I wouldn't trade it for world. And thus, in a sentimental way, I am going to be sad to see our engagement end. But alas, it will only mean that our journey in marriage has begun. And, oh what a wonderful thing that will be! 

So with more long nights and wedding details to attend to, I will keep in my heart the joy that all this is leading up to. I can't believe how far we've come and I can't wait to see how far we'll go. 

Our engagement day, what sweet memories

A Summer Meal Side Dish

Thursday, June 20, 2013
If you're like me, then you find it difficult to eat hot, heavy meals on hot summer days. You also find it difficult to keep the dinner menu fresh and different. Well this evening is one of those hot summer days and I am all out of unique dishes to come up with. But, I dug around in the fridge, freezer, and pantry and decided that with the ingredients I have a cold pasta salad would be just the trick for an enjoyable meal. Not only is it going to be a cold delight for dinner, but it was so simple to put together!

Easy Peasy Cold Pasta
  • What You'll Need
    • 1 cup whole grain rotini pasta noodles
    • 1 bag steamable broccoli 
    • 1 bag steamable corn
    • 1 package imitation crab meat
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1-2 TBSP lemon juice (or to your liking)
    • Salt to your tasting
  • What You'll Do
    • Cook your pasta noodles, then drain, and let cool.
    • Steam broccoli and corn (separately).
    • Cut up the crab into edible bites.
    • Add the broccoli (just the florets), corn, crab, and pasta.
    • Toss the mayo, lemon juice, and salt in with the pasta and other ingredients.
    • Put in the fridge for at least thirty minutes or longer if you have the time!

Wedding Wednesday: We'll Never Stop Dating

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
When Pete and I got engaged we made a promise to each other that we would never stop dating one another; we would always have date night even throughout marriage. Setting aside a night a week to guarantee time together is essential to keeping the relationship fresh. It gives us the opportunity to put unique date ideas together and catch up during the busyness of life. Dating Pete has been such a privilege, teaching me so many things, changing my perspective at times, bringing me closer to the Lord, and showing me how to love unconditionally. I want to date that man for the rest of my life and always feel the butterflies of excitement when he's around.  I never want to stop learning more about Pete nor ever stop showering him in my love. He has changed my whole world for the better and I can't imagine life without him. So yes, I want to dress up to impress him and put in the extra mile to make him feel as special as he makes me feel. Although, I can do this every day, date night keeps me accountable.

Which brings me to last night. A date can be going out or making your favorite meal at home and staying in. With a recent influx in our love for sushi, Pete and I took on the challenge of making it ourselves. Because it's a dinner that involves some time and special preparation, it was the perfect meal for our date night paired with miso soup, edamame, and HGTV (we're suckers for that show). We had so much fun putting sushi together, I see it becoming a frequent meal around here, and I surely don't mind. Besides, if I get to make sushi with my guy then enjoy our hard work with a picnic in the living room, I'd be content to have it every night.

Baby Love

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
It's impossible not to make silly faces, speak like a toddler, and coo when a baby is in your arms. I know I am guilty of doing exactly these things, but proudly take full ownership of such tendencies. Being a lover of family, I am always so excited upon news of a new addition. And that was just the case when my cousin announced she and her husband were expecting their first child! With a little over a month left until her due date, a baby shower was just the key to gather everyone together and celebrate the sweet little girl that will soon be gracing all of our lives. Emma you are so blessed to have the wonderful Mommy you do and all the family that will be showering you in love. I can't wait to meet you!

The Festival Around Town

Monday, June 17, 2013
Mid June the festival rolls into my hometown. The rides unfold and their brilliant lights illuminate the summer night, the smell of deep-fried food overwhelms the air, and music drifts along. As simple as festivals are, there is something so magical about them. Even at 23 years old, I still get that giddy feeling about the thrills of a fair and the way it can bring a whole town together. My inner child surfaces and reminds me of the simplicity that exists in life and the joy that can be found in the smallest of things. This weekend, the Festival Around Town was in full swing and it's the first time I got to take Pete with me to soak it all in. We dropped in after the sun had gone down and the moon had taken over the night sky. The festival was winding down, and we had shown up just in time to get two of my favorite things. You must remember, this is a once-a-year treat, and it's been three years since I have been in town on the festival weekend to indulge. So not only was this festival special in getting to share a childhood memory with my fiance, but also because I finally got my hands on the homemade lemonade and funnel cakes that only this festival can produce. And just as remembered, the white truck with FUNNEL CAKE plastered to the side was tucked away in front of the community center, on the right, with the same smell wafting from its giant windows. The funnel cake was phenomenal and like always, I had a sugar spike after finishing it off, only to be intensified by the sweet lemonade. Oh, what a wonderful feeling it was! The festival did not disappoint, and we'll be back next year, no question.

Over Some Coffee

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Coffee of any kind is wonderful for a lot of reasons:
  • It smells amazing
  • It's sure to perk you up
  • The taste, well there's nothing like it
And then there's what coffee can facilitate, like long discussions with deep thoughts and even deeper laughter. That's my favorite thing about coffee, because it's not hard to say, "Let's meet up and get coffee." I love having friends that jump at the chance for that steaming, or frozen, delectable beverage with the complimentary good conversation that is sure to happen. Today, that's exactly what I got to spend my time doing. There was morning coffee with my soon-to-be sister-in-law and some of the cutest twins you ever did see. By late morning into the early afternoon I was still sipping my coffee beverage with my amazing gal pal. Then by nightfall, yet another round of coffee was being enjoyed with my family as we ended the birthday festivities for my little (okay she's 22) sister. And all the while, while we were drinking our sweet coffee, life just spilled out. I can't tell you how much I enjoy when that happens; my soul just fills up with happiness and contentment. You see, this is exactly why I love coffee most, for its uncanny ability to bring together and create the most perfect of moments. To my coffee companions, thank you for making today so beautiful!

Light In The Night

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
What's a great way to end a Saturday, you ask? Simple, grab the following: some of your favorite people, a bag of marshmallows, a chocolate bar, a box of graham crackers, a couple Chinese wishing lanterns, some sparklers, a tent, and some firewood. Next put that tent up, build a large fire, roast those s'mores, light some sparklers, and release the lanterns. Do all of the previous and you've got an amazing time on your hands. Really....try it!

Showered With Love

Monday, June 10, 2013
Pete and I are beyond blessed to have the friends and family we do. They're our people and without them our life would be missing so many of the riches they bring to it. This weekend we were showered with their love as they celebrated our upcoming marriage with a bridal shower. Pete's sister was the mastermind behind the special day and with some help from family she put together a co-ed game-day extravaganza, the Astlete (our celebrity name combination) Games! With a division of green team versus red team, game faces were put on and the title of best "astlete" was up for grabs. After hours of tug 'o' war, water ballon toss, the nearly wed game, a watermelon eating competition, water gun fights, and games of the like, my heart was filled with blissful happiness. Our shower was an incredible time spent eating great food, catching up, participating in friendly competition, and laughing until our stomachs hurt. In fact, we had so much fun that Pete and I are tempted to make this an annual event...because why not have an excuse to get together with the people you love and spend all day playing games?!

Thank you Becky and Lauren for such a wonderful bridal shower! 

A Blogger's World

Friday, June 7, 2013
I love blogging for a slew of reasons. Mostly because it gives me a creative outlet to express myself and share with others. But, also because of the unexpected benefit of connecting with readers who have experienced/are experiencing similar happenings and events in their own lives. I relish the comments and thoughts left by my readers and so appreciate their enjoyment of my writing. On occasion, readers turn out to be bloggers themselves, which presents a kind of kinship in this world of bloggers. There's a comfort in having blogging friends who understand exactly what I'm doing and can offer insight into the do's and don'ts of this arena. Recently, I met Aarean, the blogger at Color Issue. By 'met' I mean through cyberspace, but it's meeting all the same. And I'm so glad I've had the pleasure to collaborate with her over the past two weeks. A few Fridays ago, I got to share some colorfully fun choices on her Color List post (found here) and now I'm so excited to share a fantastic project really great for entertaining littles...and to be honest, something I may try out myself. I do love a pop of color in home decor and this would work perfect in the bottom of a glass vase! Take a look at this super colorful idea, Marbleized Rocks, and try it out for yourself! Tell me how it goes and share your designs!

A huge thanks to Aarean for sharing her project!

Goofy, It's Our Middle Name

Thursday, June 6, 2013
If you know Pete you know how goofy he can be, and it ended up rubbing off on me. Put us in front of a camera and you'll typically get a decent picture. But as soon as my love breaks out a comical face, it's all over. The next hundred pictures will be a combination of one person smiling while the other has their tongue out, two completely random facial expressions from both parties involved, or nothing but open mouths as we enjoy deep belly laughs. It's just the way we roll...

And if luck has it, we'll finally get a good one! 

Wedding Wednesday: A Look Back

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
An August 4th end-of-summer picnic at work, that's how it all started. To put the timeline together I need to go back to the beginning of that summer when I first noticed Pete. You see, he and I were working at the same place, but holding different positions, which meant we rarely crossed paths. Occasionally though, while sitting at the front desk, he would walk by and pass me a contagious smile, but I couldn't muster up the courage to introduce myself. Thus, it wasn't until mid-summer on a July day that we officially met. I was in charge of bringing research vehicles to a different parking lot, and having had foot surgery two months earlier and still being in a boot, I found myself in a pickle when the last vehicle to move was a manual. Needing help, I knew exactly where to head to find the garage, where Pete was. He happily took on the job and you could say we were finally acquaintances. A few weeks later we were put together on a project, which entailed spending several hours a day together. Those hours were the highlight of my summer, but cool cat Pete was so difficult to read and I figured our friendship wouldn't continue outside of work. So when summer came to a close, the picnic celebration was bittersweet. After a few hundred trips down the giant water slide, a game of horseshoes, and a conversation perched on coolers with CapriSuns in hand, the day came to a close. Pete, who was heading to his hometown for the two weeks before senior year began, gave me that charming smile of his and a goodbye wave. But before getting in his car, he asked if I had his number to contact him if I needed any help taking down his large water slide construction. Smooth, wasn't he??

And 22 months and a day later, here we are, engaged and set to be married in exactly four months. Who would have guessed I would have ended up with that handsome gentleman that caught my attention and heart over a summer. I was prepared to never see this guy again, but now I'll be seeing him for a lifetime and I couldn't be more ecstatic! A work crush turned into the love of my life and future husband. I've never met someone who gets me like he does, loves me so unconditionally, strives for the best in our relationship, brings out the goofiness in me, and wants to share the most out of life together. To say I'm blessed would be an understatement. That summer most certainly taught me about God's timing and I couldn't be more grateful for it. My Pete, I can't wait to marry you and become your wife :)

May 2012 (left) and May 2013 (right)...Same hat, same braid, same crazy love!

Seasonal Transitioning

Tuesday, June 4, 2013
I love the buds and colors that emerge in Spring. But as the season fades into the next, I can't help but feel a little sad when those pastel blooms slowly turn into green leaves. Even then, I love the fresh look of the landscape and its drastic transformation from a barren brown to a brillant green. The mountains take on new look, like they've taken in a deep breath and their rolling hills are full of life once again. It's remarkable how this transition from winter to spring, spring to summer, and summer to fall comes every year in its own timing. I'm always amazed at the beauty, feeling as though I'm seeing the season in a way I have never before. And I can say the same about this go round. Spring has been a beauty and although I'm sad to see her come to a close, I have open arms to embrace summer with. There's something about the months of June, July, and August that evoke a childlike giddiness in me. There are long nights, excuses to jump in a pool, tan lines, freckled noses & shoulders, juicy fruits (watermelon, cantaloupe, & pineapple), the constant scent of sunscreen floating in the air, get-togethers over a fire pit or on a back deck, open windows, lightning bugs, etc. Truly, I could go on and on about the greatness of the summer months; I have to admit, I have high hopes and expectations for this quickly approaching season. It's the last season of wedding preparation until fall delivers my wedding date and there will be changes & growth in my life and relationships. I am excited to dive into the abyss of summer and surround myself with its delights!