Family

thankful

  
So thankful for this beautiful life and all the people I’m lucky to call family and friends. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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catching up

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So I know you must have missed my posts!

We have a lot to catch up on.  But where to begin?

Michigan peonies

The last time I blogged was before the official start of Summer…. and now it’s August.  Insanity.

I’m not going to give you some lame-o reason why I have been so silent.  Like, “oh I was busy”.  We all are busy.  We all have commitments, families, responsibilities, unexpected life events – and we all have the same hours in the day as Beyonce.   It’s all how you prioritize and manage your time.  And it’s safe to say that I’ve sucked at that lately.  A lot of times I find it extremely hard for me to just write, draw, or do anything random that I enjoy in my free time.  But as with anything you love, you pick back up where you left off.  So here it goes.

June flew by. We made our yearly vacation back up to the Mitten.  We spent a week trekking across the state – hitting Chicago, Detroit and everywhere in between.

Chicago Riverfront

I swear, there is never a dull moment on these Michigan trips.  Every year I bring a book along with me and am lucky to crack it once. Sure, it’s a little ironic because you go on vacation to relax, and we do get some down time, but it’s more like relaxed chaos.  Everyday of our trip seems to get booked up with commitments as we try to cram a year’s worth of hangout time into 1 week.   It always seems to feel hectic when we go home.  You’d think being there for a whole week would be long enough to see everyone we know and love, but it’s amazing how each time I go up there are people we miss.  I guess it’s one of the hard things about having family and friends spread out.  And you know, deciding to live about 1,500 miles away from your hometown.  But really, there’s no other feeling like being back at the place you will always call home….that place that takes you back to your roots.

Pure Michigan - Hidden Lake Gardens

And by the way, I had the best freakin’ time in Detroit.  Being downtown was absolutely phenomenal.  There’s revival in the air and I’m proud to see it coming back.  I just had to shout that out to the world.

Oh and if you find yourself there, do yourself a favor and hit up Detroit Institute of Bagels.  I bought one… and then followed that up with a whole dozen for the road.

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Our summer in Texas has consisted of lots of river tubing and picking back up with what seems like the endless list of renovating and maintaining an old house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love our 1954 ranch and would not trade it for anything.  Okay, mayyyybbbeee an oceanfront home on 30A, but that’s about it.  I can’t wait to share some of the details and some other new things happening around here in some future posts.

It’s good to be back to blogging after my sabbatical.   Hope you are enjoying your summer too!

Texas Sunset

five.

On this day 5 years ago, my life was about to change.  I was excited and hopeful.  Maybe a little stressed because of the rainy windy, 35 degree Michigan morning.  Our pup,  Maci, was about 6 months old, and as I took her out for a walk, my thoughts were a mix of calm and chaotic.  

the dress

the shoes

I had just completed the nearly year long task of the wedding planning rollercoaster.  Self-labeled as “the biggest party of our lives” for nearly 200 guests, I couldn’t believe I was actually going to pull it off, planning it all from 1000 miles away.  More importantly was the realization that today I was giving my life to another person.  For me this has always been a big deal.   I wanted to marry someone I could see myself growing old with.  Someone who you consider a best friend.  And sometimes as girls we get caught up in the planning, but this is one of the most important decisions you can make.  After 6 years of being together, I felt so ready to be his wife.  We felt like we knew it all, but really we were just 25 year old big kids, ready to take on the world together.

So back to that chilly morning-  I was so exhausted running on about 3 hours of sleep.  The bridemaids and I cut watermelon til almost 2 in the morning the night before, but dammit we were going to have those Strawberry Watermelon Mojitos I planned or else this whole event just couldn’t go down.

I didn’t consider myself a Bridezilla, but as an interior designer, I couldn’t have been too far off.  Design is in the details.  I DIY-ed everything.  From the invites to the centerpieces, to the drink picks to the name cards.

coral, tangerine, & champagne wedding details

That morning seemed to fly by.   You feel like a Princess or celebrity.  People running around, catering to your every need.  Something I definitely am not used to.  Hair. Check.  Makeup.  Check.  Get dressed.  Check. Alright now hop in this car and we need to get you to the Church and get you married.

We got there a few minutes late.  But that’s okay because they can’t start without you when you’re the bride, right?  As I was standing in the back of the church, there were people trying to sneak in, thinking they were late, but nope it hadn’t started yet.  It made me laugh but also almost cry seeing friends and family I haven’t seen in years.  It was one of the best feelings knowing everyone was there from near and far just for you.  Really, all I could think was wow I’m about to get married. It all just felt surreal.

me

Walking down that aisle was a moment I will never forget. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t nervous.  I really just couldn’t stop smiling.

It all seemed to go so fast.  The whole world just seem to melt away and it was just us. We said our vows and then POOF we were married!

you may kiss the bride

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And then it’s easy coasting from there.  Because all the things you stressed out about for months during planning just seem to come together.  Finally I could relax, let go, and just have fun!

trolley pic

bridesmaids hidden lake gardens

I may be biased, but it was the best party I’ve ever been to.  We danced all night.  We got to hang out with our friends from all different points in our lives, from Elementary School to new friends we made in Florida.  It was so incredibly weird yet so exciting to have them all under one roof.  Every chance Nate & I got back together to dance or check in with each other, it was like “OMG I’m having so much fun. Isn’t this the best night?! ”

MSU roomies nate & paul the fam dance

Words cannot describe that day really.   It’s more like this overwhelming amount of love you receive from all angles.  I felt so happy.  Like I was in some type of daydream that just happened to be true.

So basically what I’m trying to say, is if I was to do it all over again, I’d do it the same way.

first dance

Nate, you are my heart and soul.  And my (heart-shaped!) rock.  You made me a believer in love at first sight.  You have been there for me when I’ve needed you the most.  And I hope I can find ways to love and thank you for another 50 years.  I love you thiiiiiiiiisss much, Hun.

Love, your Precious.

sunset kiss

(Photo credit: Silver Thumb Photography)

thursday thoughts: the greatest gift you can give

Warning: This isn’t your conventional Thursday Thoughts post from me.  It’s a little personal,  but from the heart.

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I woke up yesterday morning thinking of my Grandma in the last few years of her life.  (A little back story:  I was raised by my Grandparents.  My Grandpa passed away when I was 18, and my Grandma passed away 3 years ago when I was 25.  I miss them dearly, but I’ve taken so many life lessons away from them.  In my memories, they still continue to teach me so much.)  Flashbacks of visiting her in her independent living apartment (or senior dorm as we jokingly called it) ran through my head.  I’d stop over for lunch on my days off, come by every Sunday to take her to church and fill her pill-box up, and other various times out of the week to help with laundry, doctor’s appts, and other household tasks.  As her primary caretaker, it was very hard at times to balance my  life and hers, but I thought of how happy she always was to see me.  Each time I walked through the door, it was like the best day of her life.  Although she never wanted me to leave, she was always so appreciative of the time I did spend with her.

In a blog post on my 28th birthday, I came up with a list of 28 things I had learned in life thus far.   One of the things on that list was “Take your time and give it to others.  It is the best gift you can give”.  Remembering all my Grandma’s joy has just solidified how true that statement is.  Is there a greater gift?  I really don’t think so.  In time, there are memories made, relationships founded, love shared.  I think in the end this is greater than any amount of money or any material possession.

It seems like as life goes on we are always having a time struggle.  When you’re a kid, you have so much time you are bored.  When you’re in school (if you were like me) you procrastinate and you’re up at the last second trying to finish a 5 page paper.  When you hit the real world, there isn’t enough time in the day to do things around the house AND work your 8 hour job.  But then at some point after retirement, I’ve watched some older people feel like they have so much time on their hands alone, they get so lonely.

Ironically now I find myself complaining more and more that I don’t have time to blog, time for myself, volunteering, working out – the list goes on forever.  As we get older, our priorities change.  Truthfully, there aren’t more hours in the day then there were back then.  We gain responsibilities, and sadly the things we should make time for get pushed to the side.  I think we forget that we aren’t promised tomorrow.  So really we should me making the most of today, right?

The little moments I spent with Grandma I can never get back, and I’m so happy and thankful I made the time for her when she was around.  I encourage everyone to give time to someone you love today, or this weekend.  Whether it’s a phone call to friend,  dinner with a family member, volunteering in the community.  I think we should all pay it forward because one day we will be 83 and be hoping someone walks through that door to see us.