Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honeymoon Horror Story.

So, I have never blogged about our honeymoon.  At that time in my life I wasn't blogging much and a few weeks after the honeymoon we found out we were expecting... so telling our honeymoon stories got lost in the shuffle.  I figure now is as good a time as any to write it all down.  Since it's been 3.5 years, I have already forgotten so many details which is a huge reason why I'd like to get it down before I forget the rest!

As you may or may not know, my husband and I had an amazing honeymoon in Walt Disney World for a week.  It really was incredible.  The food, the people, the weather, the sun, the sky, the rides, the man, the joy of being a newlywed, did I mention the food?, the resort... EVERYTHING.  One of my favorite things about staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge was the fact that we got chauffeured around the entire weekend.  We didn't have to worry about traffic or stopping for gas or parking or anything like that!  I'm sure you wonder where the horror comes in at...

At the time of our honeymoon we lived in Silvis, Illinois and to save some money we flew to Orlando, Florida out of Chicago.  I was excited for this part - road tripping with Tony up to Chicago (which isn't far at all), staying at a nice hotel, waking up to a relaxing breakfast, paying to park at the hotel for a week & taking the hotel shuttle to the airport.  I arranged it all, booked the room, and like I said, I was excited for this extra stop before Disney.  We get there super late that evening to check in and that is when we realized the hotel no longer shuttled to the airport!  After freaking out the man said the hotel would pay for a cab to the airport for us but we would be responsible for the cab back and that we could also park at the hotel for the week.  This was - of course - a setback but since we booked the room through a third-party website there was really nothing else we could do at this point. 

Cue the horror story.

The morning of our flight the cab was RIDICULOUSLY late - I remember waiting in the lobby in front of the doors and waited and waited and waited.  I really thought for sure the cab was never showing up.  Once the cab finally DID get there, the traffic was insane though we were only a few miles from the airport.  It was one of the most stressful mornings I've ever had.  We finally get to the airport and are running through the entire Midway airport and have almost no time before our flight when we get stuck in a never-ending line at the body/bag scanners.  When we get through the line we have minutes to get to our gate which was nowhere close and somehow we get there and they hadn't left yet.  Thank God!  We sat down on the plane and thankfully we were able to laugh about our tumultuous morning and relax for the first time since arriving in Chicago.

my wedding toe nail polish

my engagement ring + wedding band and my wedding nails

Lucky for us, this was the only negative experience of our beautiful, wonderful, magical honeymoon back in May 2011.  I'd love to go back in time and enjoy that week all over again and I DEFINITELY plan to go on a second honeymoon to Walt Disney World with my husband someday!

Next up... getting to Orlando and what we thought of Disney's Magical Express!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Currently x21 {link up}

Linking up with Harvesting Kale for another (few) week(s) of "Currently" prompts.
LAST week it was {appreciating, feeling, looking, regretting, playing}

APPRECIATING:  My new phone.  I know it's really not all that "new" considering I've had it for several weeks now... but it's just so NICE!  The screen is huge and the pictures turn out so crisp and clear... I just love it.  Not to mention it's got celebrity status.  Almost everywhere I go someone says, "Oh my goodness! Is that the 6+?"  Always a fun (and easy) conversation starter.

FEELING:  I've really been feeling good lately.  And I've been wanting to feel even better and maybe try to start jogging again (and put the double jogging stroller to good use) or take the plunge and join the YMCA that is just a few miles away (it's just such a sucky YMCA compared to the location in Moline that I worked at for so long... but hey, better than nothing).  For now though I've been doing a couple yoga poses everyday with Presley (or "noga" as she calls it - her favorite is the flamingo pose they do on Sesame Street) along with a couple sets of squats and fire hydrants.  I am going up to our attic to find my dumbbells one of these days...
Memphis/Midsouth folks:  Where is your favorite place to jog with your kiddos in tow?

This week it's {anticipating, contributing, discussing, listening, deciding}

ANTICIPATING:  Okay guys... less than a month until the first MOCKINGJAY movie hits theaters!  I.AM.SO.EXCITED!  I'm even more excited I get to see it with my sisters AND get together for Slapsgiving!  Not to mention, my BIRTHDAY is in a few weeks!  November is on the horizon and it is by far one of the best months of the year.  Followed up by December which is another amazing month and that will mean February is right around the corner... which is Presley's birthday month!!!!  Such an awesome time of the year.

CONTRIBUTING:  I've been wearing Molly in the Ergo carrier a lot lately and it is SO GREAT to be able to have my hands to do whatever I need to do.  Not to mention, she is so content on my chest and I am so much more comfortable with her there rather than in the stroller/car seat all the time.  This is contributing to my lower back aches at the end of the day (probably because I am also chasing a fun, energetic toddler around as well) but it's also responsible for some extra bonding time with my littlest one... which is 110% worth it.  I frequently carry her around the stores we visit (Kroger & Target, mostly) and the park and most recently the Memphis Zoo for several hours.

And I'm not the only one carrying babies around here...

LISTENING:  To so many great songs on repeat lately.  The kind of music that just speaks to your soul.  Good good stuff.

Alex & Sierra: Little Do You Know
Christina Perri: Human
Christina Perri: The Lonely
Lana Del Ray: Born to Die

Skylar Grey: Love the Way You Lie
Sara Ramirez: The Story
Greg Laswell: Your Ghost
Greg Laswell: Comes & Goes in Waves
Lana Del Rey: Blue Jeans
Andrew Belle: In My Veins
Ellie Goulding: Beating Heart

DECIDING:  Last night we got to go on a date night!  It was nice.  And if I'm being honest, almost a little weird without the kids.  Is there such a thing as it feeling too quiet?  Like I said, though, it was so so so nice.  I wanted Tony to decide where we went... sometimes I get tired of making decisions.  Almost went to Five Guys on a last minute whim but we ended up not doing that.  We went to get sushi + hibachi... and holy cow... it was DELICIOUS.  Our waitress and chef were both great - the chef had me come up to the grill and throw the egg in the air all fancy and it was so much fun!  He said, "C'mon up here! If you break the egg, it won't matter!"  It would've been easy to decline but I'm so glad he insisted because even just something small like that made me feel like a version of my former self... which was a good feeling.  (Which reminded me a lot of an interesting article I just read earlier this week.)  And it was funny because Tony referenced HIMYM when Barney gets up at the hibachi grill and does the same thing but completely kills it!  We went out for a drink afterward and don't you hate it when you order a drink and it tastes awful?  Me too!  I ordered a mojito and it was pretty bad.  But I loved the bar we went to and it felt really awesome sitting outside on the patio relaxing in the beautiful weather.  We walked around Midtown which was nice with a sweet, romantic vibe.  And I am so grateful to have Selena... I never have to worry about our kids well-being and know they're with someone who loves them just as much as mommy and daddy.  Not to mention, extremely lucky to have a partner I love and get to date!

That's what we've been up to.  Been meaning to write several times since the last time but life is just busy and days are both short and long, if that makes sense.  Hope to write more later!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Our Wedding Video!

So, a couple of weeks ago, one of the groomsmen in our wedding asked if I had the video of us dancing into the reception.  After all was said and done, I ended up uploading our wedding video online and watched it for the first time in a long time.  It was such a happy day and I'm so glad I get to relive it over and over. 

Though I have a physical copy of the video, I wanted to put all the links together in my blog in case I wanted to come back and watch them again on here to enjoy all the embarrassing moments (us dancing in, the amount of times I try to clink glasses with people during the toasts only to get left hanging, some of the toasts [HAHA]...) and of course all the best parts (the mass, our first kiss, the rest of the toasts, everything!) and relive the day in general.  Remembering how special the day was makes me want to get married over and over again.

Anyways, so there are the moments if you want to catch any.  After three years of marriage I can say that this one day was just that - one day in our lives.  A great and beautiful day... but just one single day.  I'm thankful for that fun wedding day (and night!) but I am glad to have grown so much since then as a person and in our marriage as it has been tested and will continue to be tested over the many (many!) years we will be married.  I am thankful for all the milestones and special days we have had since our wedding.  And I am thankful to have a partner who is worth all of it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Praise You in the Storm.

Today's point of praise: "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) Day #6

This message - adversity - was well placed in my life again... something  that I am very thankful for today. 

Reading the passage in my devotional solidified my feelings that things happen for a reason - both good and bad things. It's easy to comprehend why great moments take place in our life and to see how we deserve all of our blessings.  Though at times we may feel undeserving of our fortunes, it is usually not a topic we complain about.   It is more difficult, however, to see why the worse moments of our life happen the way they do.  We ask God in those awful moments - why? What did I do to deserve this?  How could you allow this to happen in my life?

Eventually, I just realize there is no way God can interject in our lives to keep bad things from happening to us.  Sometimes He does work in our hearts and the hearts of others in order to keep bad things from happening, but when we stray away from Him, how can He help us then?  And maybe that is why the hurt ends up happening... So that we join Him once again once we hit the bottom. 

"Every misfortune, every failure, every loss may be transformed. God has the power to transform all misfortunes into 'God-sends.'" -Mrs. Charles E.Cowman

I haven't had a relationship with God in a very long time.  I'm not using ANY one or thing as an excuse - but I will explain my thoughts on the topic.  I remember during my pregnancy with Presley in 2011, Tony and I were newlyweds and went to mass together often. (That is, after all, the first place I felt Presley kicking!) I also remember the standing, sitting, kneeling made me feel lightheaded and like I couldn't get a deep breath ever.  So I stopped urging that we go to church.  And then we had Presley and it felt so nice to go to church as a family!  I felt so supported and loved by our church community each time we were there together.  A pinicle of those early months as a new family of three was Presley's beautiful baptism.  After that?  It got difficult to attend regularly.  It was easy to find a routine that left out mass for more downtime as a family, especially when Tony was working so many hours. (This is my current rationalization as well.) In reality?  Mass is one hour a week.  Not only that, but I feel better after being there and I don't remember a time I ever left mass thinking, "man. I really regret spending the last hour here rather than [insert place here]."

Another thing keeping me from church?  Wondering if my social views align with the Catholic Church anymore. And if I find that they don't, where does that leave me?  Am I accepted in the Church anymore?  In which case, we would need to search out new churches and much uncharted territory for me. 

Best way to get started:  head to church. If it doesn't feel right, I think I will figure that out sooner or later.  And then we will cross that bridge as we get to it. 

I promise I am saying all of this to eventually make a point.  As I said yesterday, sometimes bad shit happens. We can't keep it from happening.  Sometimes the life we envision for ourself seems to fall apart.  And that sucks.  But once you can grab ahold and take a step back, the perspective will show you that it has somehow managed to bring something beautiful back into your life.  In my case, it has reignited my desire to strengthen my faith life for myself and to share it with my family.  I'm absolutely not to the point in my life where I can say absolutely, "thank you so much for giving me these things that hurt me so that they can bring me closer to you" ...I'm just not there yet nor am I sure that I will ever be. 

But where I am on my journey?  I can see my God-friends being such amazing influences for me and leading me down paths of healing and redemption.  I can see it was God helping lead me to the right comfort in times of trouble and I can see that it is God lending them the words to guide.  I'm so sad about things that have happened in my life recently that are out of my control, but it helps to stop and praise Him in the storm for the abundance bestowed on me in other areas. I know we all bear hardships and they really do suck the life right out of you.  And I hope that after reading this, you can do the same - think of & call on your blessings - when the bad times come around. 

"Gods faithfulness and grace make the impossible possible." -Shelia Walsh

Monday, October 6, 2014

Praising God for His Peace.

Today's point of praise: "But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall."  (Ephesians 2: 13-14) Day #5

Exactly three years ago today I started a daily devotional titled "100 Days of Praise for Women" and intended on blogging throughout.  Well, unfortunately, I didn't stick with it.  So I'm back to pick up where I left off and the topic at hand couldn't be more perfect to hear at this moment.

It's hard to feel peace in the midst of any chaos - especially when there is chaos inside yourself or in your personal life.  What do I mean by that?  Well, when the people we love hurt us (intentionally or unintentionally) it can be some of the worst pain imaginable.  So much so that you can get so wrapped up in the chaos that it just feels like the world is crashing down on you.  In those times you usually don't stop to seek peace.  Usually when your hurting you do what feels good - venting, lashing out your anger/frustration/hurts, etc.  And I can say I am guilty as charged!

We - ourselves - are not perfect people yet for some odd reason we often expect exactly that of others.  When they fail, we can take that personally, especially if it affects us.  It's hard to step back from a situation in which you feel no peace at all and accept the shortcomings of the people we love for what they are: mistakes, weakness, flaws, etc.  In that situation it can be easy to chastise.  But ultimately, God calls us to forgive and to remember the goodness in each other.  To find peace within ourselves (through Him) and to share it with everyone.

Corrie ten Boom said - "In the center of a hurricane there is absolute quiet and peace.  There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God."

So. Absolutely. True.

Sometimes certain things will fall apart so that different things can fall into place.  It's not apparent why this has to happen this way, it just does.  And I am finding this to be true in my life at the moment.  Usually what falls apart is YOUR plans so that GOD'S plans for your life can come together. 

I'm at a turning point in my life.  I am no longer a child nor do I find any happiness behaving like one or associating myself with those who prove time and time again that immaturity does not go away with age or becoming a parent or settling down and getting married.  I just want more for my life and better for my family and I don't want outside influences to negatively affect my life.

For the type of people who find joy in anyone else's pain - please take this moment to fully remove yourself from my life.  I can promise you whether or not you remove yourself, there isn't a place for someone like you anymore.

It might sound like I am not in a place of peace currently, and you may be right.  But I assure you, I am taking steps to get there for myself, for my marriage, and for my family.  I am not perfect and I know things like resentment and anger will continue in my life but I would much rather like to live in the light than the dark.  I've been putting off making these changes in my life and I just can't do that any longer.  I want to be someone who focuses on the good - who is an encourager rather than a critic.  And I really don't want to fill my team with people who drag me or the people I love most down because it defeats the purpose of having a team.

"Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.  Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart."  Catherine Marshall

So yeah. I'm working on that.