for our love and loyalty

I stood in a field on Saturday, in the pouring rain, on a much colder September 2nd than is usual, and it was bliss.

I own an absurd amount of clothing for weather — and if you know me at all, I’m not an outdoorsy type.

But I am the oldest daughter of a Penn State alum, an alum myself, the sister of an alum, the first child of a still married couple who met in State College in the early days of 1973.

I don’t know what life is without Penn State football.

Until about seven years ago, our seats were EFU, row 64, seats 25, 27, 29 and 31.  To be precise, when I was very little, it was just section EF, before they built out the suites and the upper deck of restrooms and concession stands.  As an awkward child I remember the questionable bathrooms at the top of the stadium, rickety and insecure.

I have grown up attending PSU games.  Tom Bill was a quarterback who played for the Pop Warner group (ahem, the Flemington Falcons) my brother and I belonged to in middle school (me, as a gangly adolescent with a triangle hair cut, braces and bright red and white wire-rimmed glasses).  In 1994 we watched the best offense I’ve ever seen on the field at Penn State, led by Kerry Collins and Ki-Jana Carter.  I tell anyone foolish enough to listen about my deep and unwavering love for Kerry Collins, and the magic of Freddie Scott’s one-handed catch against Iowa.  I had student tickets in college for one season — long enough to know that Penn State for students is a completely different event than it had been for me my entire life.  I drove to Florida in a rented van with people I no longer have any contact with to watch the 2006 Orange Bowl go into triple overtime.  During the first game I took my husband to, we sat at night, in freezing and unrelenting rain, completely inappropriately dressed, until the bitter end.  Lou had raised me that way.

Seven years ago my dad decided to make moves.  He started counting his accumulated points with the Nittany Lion Club. He made a deal to buy my uncle’s tickets (so they were in his name).  And when our greatest PSU football tragedy occurred in 2011, we moved our seats down over forty rows and closer to mid-field. Lou Simone was not turning his back on his alma mater.  We did it over a few seasons, because of the rules of ticket ownership, and my dad determinedly made sure there were butts in our seats every game.  He got himself a reserved parking spot (something that came in mighty handily when I could barely walk in 2014).

My husband — not a PSU alum — has been indoctrinated.  My brother moved to Texas, only getting home for one game a season.  But not John and I.  We go as often as we can.  We stand in cold, in rain, in snow, in 30mph winds.

This season began with a rout of Akron, and spending the day with John’s fraternity brothers drinking beer (or wine for me!) as the parking lots emptied.  On Friday, after my brother’s arrival Thursday night, we will all head up again for PSU v. Pitt.  We have made the crazy decision to get the tailgate catered (pulled pork and chicken sides and macaroni and cheese … oh my!).  And no matter what happens, whether it rains, is cold, has gale force winds — we will all wear blue and white.  We will sing the Alma Mater.  I will cry (I always do).  And we will enjoy our 2017 family PSU game.

a few days of magic

We checked the weather pretty consistently leading up to our trip to Iceland.  The forecast was gloomily unwavering ~ 53 degree high with 70% chance of rain every day we were there.  I wasn’t too concerned.  I don’t like hot weather and rain doesn’t especially bother me (it more so bothers my naturally curly hair, but ce la vie when in Iceland, yes?).

So it was a super surprise that our last few days were filled with sunshine.  The golden glow of the sun makes Iceland even more magical than it is in the grayness.

We arrived at six a.m. last Friday morning, and after getting our rental car (a cute little VW Polo with heated seats!) we made our way down route 41 from Keflavik to Reykjavik.  It felt oddly surreal.  To begin, our flight had been somewhat painful ~ neither of us had ever done a transatlantic discount flight, and let me tell you, Wow Airlines is discount. So we were tired.  There had been several delays for various, increasingly absurd reasons, and then no pillows, no water or snacks … and a fellow passenger who insisted on keeping her window open, allowing bright sunlight to stream into the cabin the whole flight.

The thing about Iceland is that it reveals itself slowly.  The mist and Scottish rain were in full force as we searched for our car in the parking lot.  The country felt vast, as though emptiness stretched out in every direction.  When we were finally ensconced in the car and we’d duly read the driving instructions (road signs for four-wheel drive only roads, how to navigate blind corners, flooded roadways, being mindful of the strong wind, etc) we set off, finding out that our GPS didn’t work, and doing it the old-fashioned way (y’know, with road signs and paper maps).  The country-side was fascinating~ volcanic rock covered in vibrant green moss interspersed with clusters of bright purple flowers.  Puffs of sulfuric smoke billowing from the ground ~ a different cloudy white than the mist.

We made it safely to Reykjavik, sprawling along the shores of the ocean.  It didn’t feel like a city, but a country town filled with quaint buildings and shops.  Our apartment was close to a main thoroughfare and after checking in at the office, we headed down for breakfast at a cafe recommended by a friend.  It was surprisingly good ~ avocado on rye toast topped with arugula and bright, sunny side up eggs.  After eating, I felt a little more like a human so we wandered into stores and explored the area, waiting to hear that the apartment was ready for our occupancy.  Reykjavik is amazing ~ clean and filled with well dressed people, flowers blooming in overflowing pots on every lamppost, cobblestone streets, musicians on the corners and street art lining the narrow roadways.  Our first day was filled with tiny discoveries of the country ~ clues as to the Icelandic culture and people.  We did an early dinner at a small restaurant called “Old Iceland” (it was the best meal we had our whole trip, and we had some great meals).  Cured salmon, plump sea scallops, and our first taste of Icelandic Fish Soup.  We ventured up to the church at Reykjavik’s center after dinner.  Following that, I was dead on my feet and looking forward (very much!) to sleep.

On Saturday, we did the Golden Circle.  Iceland has a road that traverses the whole island called the Ring Road, and the Golden Circle is a small piece of that route.  It includes Thingvellir National Park (the rift between tectonic plates), Geyser and Gulfoss. We spent the whole day on the Golden Circle.  Everything was more beautiful than the last thing, and when you finally walk across the windswept moor and see the Gulfoss waterfall at the pinnacle of the trip ~ it takes the breath right out of your lungs.  We walked right up to the side, rain coats zipped up and hoods on.  It felt like true, pure, unadulterated magic.

For John’s birthday on Sunday, we booked time at the Blue Lagoon and the LAVA restaurant there.  We arrived in the mist and rain of the morning ~ by far the coldest and rainiest day we were there.  After navigating the gauntlet of the changing rooms, I met John on the other side, and the lagoon spread out before us, fading into dark cliffs and mist.  We waded in, water warm as a perfect bath, and slowly floated out, stopping to get glasses of champagne at the lagoon bar.  It was amazing, how blue the water was in the dark grayness and rain of the day.  The juxtaposition of the water’s warmth and the rain’s slick coolness remains indescribably perfect.  The water was opaque, so you couldn’t see your hands even an inch beneath the surface, and no matter how much time passed and how many more people arrived and drifted in, it never felt crowded or loud.  It just felt blissfully peaceful.  People covering their faces and arms with silica masks, floating into caves and underneath the man-made waterfall.  We found perches in shallow water and just sat, talked and drank champagne.  The epitome of decadence.  Lunch was yummy, too.  We did fish soup again (it is exquisite) and I had lamb, since Iceland is very proud of its lamb.  It was tender and perfectly seasoned, served with buttery baby potatos and perfectly cooked vegetables.  The restaurant did a special dessert for John’s birthday which was both beautiful and delicious.

We’d left Monday open, because we didn’t want to overbook ourselves (MS has taught us that).  So when we finally pulled ourselves out of bed, we decided to drive south, toward waterfalls and black sand beaches.  On a small quest to see the Iceland we’d come to know from “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”  The Iceland we saw was better.  Full of blinking sunlight and intermittent rain.  Craggy cliffs drifting into the clouds, waterfalls dotting the mountainside.  Volcanic rock softened by moss.  It was the perfect last day, which ended with a walk behind a waterfall and sandwiches from a food truck.  As we wound our way back into Reykjavik at nine p.m. the city had begun its celebration of the big Euro Cup win over England.  Fireworks set off in the midnight sun, car horns intermittently beeping.  The kindest and safest sports celebration I have ever witnessed in my life.

Tuesday morning was full of sunshine, not a cloud in the sky.  The blueness was vibrant.  We made our way back to Keflavik and enjoyed our last fish soup at the airport with Sauvignon Blanc and cured salmon over sliced hard-boiled eggs and arugula.  It was the perfect end to a perfect trip.

Iceland gets into your consciousness, filling it with optimism, with peace and gentleness.  I felt changed as we flew home across Greenland the wide Atlantic Ocean. I hope, as life reverts to the routine, I remember to hold the stillness, and peacefulness of Iceland in my heart and mind always.  And I very much hope that our next visit isn’t too far in the future.

family

Last June, nearly my whole immediate family gathered in Belford Northumberland to remember my Granny, who had left us at the ripe old age of 93 the autumn before.  The American contingent of the family, and my youngest cousin (who had recently relocated to Japan) were unable to be there for her funeral, so we planned something different.

Cancer fucked it up.  Cancer seriously sucks.

So my brother, husband and I went over, and represented our little family.  And in the heady rush of being surrounded by a lot of people who look a lot like us, we all committed to seeing each other more often than every six or seven years.  Trips were planned and itinerary discussed.

But we are of a generation of big words and smaller follow through, so while the dream sounded amazing, it also sounded far away and slightly unlikely.  And then… all of a sudden … it wasn’t.  And on Wednesday night, my youngest cousin (who sometimes feels like what I would guess having a sister feels like) arrived in Philadelphia with her husband all the way from Tokyo.  And Thursday morning dawned and my brother and his French lady-love flew into Baltimore.  And today, as I sit on the local train all the way home to Thorndale, my aunt and cousin arrive from Scotland.  And for a few brief days, we will be a big family, all together, looking shockingly alike, from many different cultures.

I never knew that not all families are like our family.  The amount of emails bouncing from the U.K, Italy, Australia, the U.S. and very occasionally Japan would make your head spin.  But that’s what makes it sort of cool.  No matter how much distance exists, no matter how many wounds have been inflicted (mostly.  some are never forgotten as I am patently aware) ~ we are each other’s family.  And we not only love each other, but we like each other.  No matter how much time lapses between visits, and hairstyles change and people get married and divorced, it feels like no time has passed at all.

I feel overwhelmingly full of love right now.  And so happy to have my brother at home for a little, and my cousins here (for the first time ever!!) and my Mama to be surrounded by two of her sisters (the good ones, wink wink).  I cannot wait to get off the train, and spend days just being part of this big, breathing thing called family.

old and new

Tonight the man and I, along with our trusty sidekick Lucy Lou, are heading over to watch the Ambler Symphony play at Hope Lodge.  We have tried to go every year (it hasn’t always worked out … honeymoon, Mini Cooper purchase, blah blah blah) but we are ‘traditions’ kind of people, and this is a good one.

Sadly, it will also probably be our last Ambler Symphony at Hope Lodge.  It will be a long drive from our new abode on a Wednesday night.  But it’s been fun re-visiting all the things we love to do in this area, and really appreciating them, before moving on to new traditions and routines.

I’m excited to see what our new home and community bring into our lives.  But we have thus far been informed and influenced by our current traditions, and this is one of my favorites.  I dutifully got an abundant charcuterie board from the restaurant, and even though we will be drinking fizzy water this year instead of a beautiful summer wine (I think we took Charles and Charles rose the last time we went and it was lovely!) I know we will have a great time.

This crazy journey of life is –in the words of The Beatles — a long and winding road.  And even though this section is reaching its conclusion, I have loved the steps we’ve walked together in our home, in our little town.  I will always remember this place with so much love and fondness.

contrary

I’ve been in quite the mood today.  So let me get a few things off my chest.

Watching Pittsburgh play last night was agonizing and heartbreakingly frustrating.  I’m sad their playoff run ended so soon — but I couldn’t have watched that team struggle through another game.  It was painful.  I will miss the veterans on defense whom I am assuming will not be re-signed next year (Kiesel, Harrison, Taylor … dare I say Polamalu?)  I will not miss watching the defense struggle when the Steeler’s defense shouldn’t struggle.  Ever.

Next up:  Whenever I begin watching one of “The Hobbit” movies all.I.want.to.watch is “Lord of the Rings.” I’m sure I’ll get over that one day and really crave returning to Bilbo’s adventure with the dwarves.  But right now — I just really need a little Frodo and Sam — with some Strider and Legolas thrown in.  Essentially the entire feeling of “The Fellowship of the Ring”  — none of which “The Hobbit” films have.

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane …. Hopefully it clears up some of my love for the LoTR films.

In early 2002 I’d just returned from studying abroad in Italy.  I’d wanted to stay another semester but circumstances (and finances) prevented it so I found myself back in State College, half-way moved into a room my brother sublet for me in a sorority house (sidenote: I am not, nor have I ever been, in a sorority). My parents had driven the two of us back to school on a cold January afternoon and nearly instantly headed home — for fear of getting stranded by the impending snowstorm.

The snow hit, and I unenthusiastically tried to put my room together.  I was sad, and scared and not at all happy to be back at school.  I felt alone.  Really, fully, in my bones, alone. So — after meeting the girls who would be my housemates for a semester (one of whom is still my great friend, so it all ended up working out!) I decided to go for a walk.  I bundled up (it was cold cold cold) and shuffled around State College (where the sidewalks weren’t all shoveled yet and no one was really out and about). After some walking and far too much introspective thinking, I found myself outside the movie theater and decided to see if anything was playing.  I’d seen Ocean’s 11 that break and had really loved it — I thought watching that again was vastly preferable to returning to my new ‘home.’

Ocean’s 11 had begun half an hour earlier, and wasn’t playing again for quite some time.  In fact, everything in the theatre had start times in over an hour, except The Fellowship of the Ring.   I had absolutely zero desire to see JRR Tolkien’s epic.  As in — none.  I’d read The Hobbit during middle school and enjoyed it.  But I had failed to be even slightly intrigued by the density of The Lord of the Rings.  (That’s the nicest way I can think to describe trying to read Tolkien).

But I also REALLY didn’t want to go back to the sorority house.  So I paid for a ticket, and after taking off several layers of snowy clothing and buying some popcorn and a soda, I settled into the last row of what was perhaps the smallest movie theatre I’d ever been in.  The previews had already begun (I remember thinking forlornly that I’d missed the best part) and I watched and waited for the film to start.

And — not to be overly dramatic — it completely swept me away.  And continues to do so to this day.

That movie, on that day, at that time — something about it was so magical, so transporting — that all the sadness and loneliness of being back at Penn State seemed to melt away into the background.  And strangely — it was also a turning point.  My college experience began to change then — school seemed less dismal, and I made new friends — friends to go drink margaritas with at Mad Mex, friends who came to see me in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, friends who brought me to cross training classes at local gyms  … and so many other things! — sometime I’ll have to revisit the day Minda and I drank White Merlot and watched an entire season of Buffy while the fraternity next door did mud slides on their front lawn.  The next year I became a total theatre school nerd, did lots of shows (both on stage and on crew) and made more friends who are still in my life today.

I know it probably sounds hokey, but there’s a part of me that feels as though that movie saved my life.  Certainly changed my life.  And maybe it did, maybe it didn’t.  But it feels like it did to me.  So a lot of times, when things feel a little overwhelming, all I want is to drift away into Middle Earth and forget my woes.

As I’ve written this, I’ve sort of marveled at how strongly things have marked time in my life.  I can remember so many clear details of opening the door to the movie theater in downtown State College (that no longer exists) and being overwhelmingly disappointed that not a single other movie was available for me to see.  And I also remember walking home in the blustering wind, still halfway in Middle Earth — plotting to buy the books (which I did) and read them from cover to cover (which I did not).  Totally transported to a place of imagination and wonder.   I saw the movie another two times in the theatre, and the subsequent sequels on opening night (Return of the King —midnight showing with my roommate at the time — nearly killed me!  I was so tired by the end and I swear — the sun was coming up when we left the theatre!).

So I stared this post with a completely different intention.  But I enjoyed walking down memory lane.  I am glad of the significance this film has played in my life (just ask the man — we both completely love it).  I’m glad I remembered the story of how I found it.  It’s been  a crazy trip down memory lane.  Insane to think it was 12 years ago.  Time is an amazing thing.

 

OHI moments

So, it’s been a few weeks since I finished my week-long stay at OHI Austin.

And despite my original desire to revert completely back to all my old habits and beliefs — that stuff gets into your head!

Okay, so I wasn’t completely set on forgetting all that I’d learned.  But throughout the week I was there, it was such a roller coaster of emotion and informational input — that by the end my brain was fried and I found deep comfort in the idea that life could and would go on just as I’d been living it before checking in to room 207.

Let’s rewind for a minute.

A few months ago, my boss spent a week at a place called Optimum Health Institute (OHI) in San Diego, California.  He came back refreshed and inspired — albeit with clear opinions about certain aspects of the program — and he felt very strongly that I should look into spending some time there myself.  I googled it.  I was intrigued but in a distant sort of way — oh, it looks good for those who have money to burn, bur for someone like myself, where every penny counts?  More like a faraway dream.

And then circumstances unfolded — the man and I booked a trip to Austin Texas to visit my brother in his newly purchased home in his newly inhabited city — and all of a sudden, I was booked for a week at OHI’s Austin campus.  And before I knew it, Sunday Oct 19th rolled around and it was 4pm, and my husband and brother were waving goodbye, and I was there.  Alone.

OHI was so much more than I anticipated.  Yes, I’d googled it, and yes, I’d skimmed through some menus, and read some bold print — but I didn’t really know what I was getting into.  Over the course of five and half full days, I learned an absurd amount about my digestive system, organs in my body, the nutritional value of food and the power of the mind.  And I made some incredible friends.

The campus was beautiful and the room (where I spent a lot of time … juicing and raw vegan food wears a person out!) was very comfy.  On Sunday night we had a small orientation, but it was an early night, and I (being the anti-social monkey that I can be) retreated to my room and spent a chunk of time in tears, wondering what I’d signed myself up for, before falling into an uneasy sleep.

On Monday morning we were walked through the program.  I recognized in the other first timers some of the same trepidation and unease that I felt within myself.  Do what?  Seriously?  These people have to be out of their minds.  

I had a tough time with some of it — buying into their philosophies, their love of wheatgrass (and its ultra superhuman healing powers …), their thoughts on food, colonics/enemas, etc.  It was so much information, and a total change of thought process — so much new stuff all at once, and so intense.  I went through waves of acceptance and then vehement denial.  I knew that I had someone at the touch of a phone to be support — but sometimes I wasn’t looking for support of the program.  Sometimes I was looking for support of the exact opposite — that living my life, eating decadent restaurant food and drinking sumptuous heady wines was okay.  It wouldn’t kill me.  And after a couple of days at OHI, I was pretty sure that their whole message was that if I followed their plan, and gave up some much of what I loved, I would somehow be healed of my worst MS symptoms.  And I had a problem with that, too.

But here I am, several weeks later, and so much of what I learned is still lingering in the forefront of my mind.  Could I eat terrible food?  Sure.  But unfortunately, now I am armed with so much knowledge, it makes it hard to do that to myself.

Ignorance really is bliss.

I’m not ready to jump on a raw vegan bandwagon — too many things come to mind that I just could.not give up — at least, not all at once, cold turkey.

But I also felt that way two years ago, when my boss’s wife gave me all sorts of guidance about food, and I realized that as healthy as I thought I was being, I really had.no.idea.  And since then, green smoothies and green juice, and eating a vegetable-based diet have become (mostly) our norm.

So despite all my skepticism, here I am, finally buying into the fact that some of that OHI mumbo jumbo was actually excellent information and I should apply it.  Just not all at once.  That’s just — well, insane.

photo friday ~ diner en blanc

We were much less stressed out this year ~ we already had our table, and our chairs.  However, I was hobbling around with my right leg in a walking cast, so we got to our departure spot pretty early.

This year the pop-up picnic doubled in size, and Philadelphia shut down the whole stretch of JFK Blvd between 22nd and 30th Street station.  No water fountain, but still pretty impressive!

We were smarter this year and brought easy, finger food from the restaurant.  Meat, cheese and veggies (we both avoided the bread even though it’s so.utterly.delicious.  Grr, gluten!)

They had a pretty slick Rolls Royce as a big party decoration near the dance floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The moon was out.  Humid though it was, the weather was alright.  It was a good night.  Here’s ’til next year.

dawn

On June 1st, exactly five years after our very first date, John and I said “I do.”  It was a pretty perfect day.  This is one of my favorite shots, taken by my very talented Aunt, of our intimate ceremony.  It also happened to be beautiful.  But the best part was sharing it with my best friend.  And he looked so handsome, too!

Then … time seemed to just zoom on by.  We jetted to Colorado for a relaxing five-day stay at an incredible resort (Kessler Canyon) followed by the Aspen Food & Wine Classic.  And then … well, I broke my foot.

It was a very long last day in Colorado.  And July … it’s felt pretty long, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denver was pretty neat ~ we were only there for a day, but we walked around the LoDo district (despite the heat wave from PA following us to CO and it being in the 90s every day!) and enjoyed dinner at a fantastic restaurant in an area called Larimer Square.  I wish we could recreate the atmosphere of that area in Philly ~ the streets were lined with outdoor dining, beautiful flower arrangements, wrought iron fencing and the entire block was strung with lights.  So gorgeous.  In addition, we have both decided that while our entire honeymoon was a culinary delight, dinner at Tag was our favorite.  Probably because our server was fantastic, the wine was delish and every plate that came out was beautiful and had amazing flavor.  It was a perfect start to the honeymoon.

 

We also had an amazing stay at The Oxford Hotel ~ incredibly beautiful rooms, rugs in the elevator letting you know the day of the week (so charming!) and a complimentary bottle of champagne with chocolate covered pretzels.  So wonderful!

 

 

 

Kessler Canyon was a four plus hour drive from Denver, and as we approached it, I think we were both curious as to what we would encounter when we arrived.  But it was a little piece of heaven tucked in a valley between mountain ranges and the hospitality was overwhelming, as was everything else.  Every morning began with coffee by an outdoor fireplace looking out over the ‘lake’ (John would like to say for the record that it was a pond, not a lake) and each day was full of fun things to do (shooting range, ATV rides up 2000 feet from the valley on switch back curves, hammocks, canoeing, hot tubs … basically whatever took your fancy!).  We met some really great people and had a really relaxing time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took a ton of pictures on the drive from Denver to DeBeque.  Hard to pic a good one.  But the mountains were all stunning! A couple more from Kessler … although these are all from my phone (not the nifty new Nikon 3100 that we bought right before the trip … and still haven’t downloaded!).

The last day of our time at Kessler there ware so few guests, we all got to eat in the kitchen.  So much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last pic was actually the last pic we took at Kessler being goofy on the back porch ~ we did see a bear the first day, though!

Another two hours in the car to Aspen, and thankfully, the temperature dropped significantly (whew!).  We got to our digs in downtown Aspen, and after some confusion about our trade packets for the event, had all our goodies and were set for the fun to begin the next morning.  We took full advantage of the in-ground hot tub right outside our front door, and the gorgeous pool.  I wish I’d taken pictures …. maybe next year!

Since the Food & Wine Classic was ah.may.zing, I’m going to wait until tomorrow and really try to share as much as possible.

Until then … I have avoided this blog since I got home, not because I didn’t have things to share, but because I wasn’t in a very good frame of mind.  I felt as though I’d lost my way here … and I couldn’t find it because I couldn’t (and still can’t) get around very easily.  It has been exhausting and frustrating and a number of other descriptive words.  I am lucky to have a man willing to take care of me on every level ~ and those boundaries have certainly been tested since June 15th (the breaking of the foot day).  It has been easy to get discouraged, easy to feel listless and lost, easy to get mad, feel sad and basically pity myself.  Coming off the difficult and challenging diagnosis of MS this year, breaking my foot just felt like the last nail in the coffin.  Could it get any worse?  I felt as though I’d lost my will to stay positive.

But as I have (valiantly/) tried to remind myself recently … it’s always darkest before the dawn.  And time will keep on ticking, and eventually things will be easier, and I will be capable of doing more.  It’s hard to remember that when your dog is ringing the bell to go outside to potty and you can’t take her … or you want to take a shower but you don’t have the strength to get in and out by yourself … or a cup of coffee would taste wonderful, but you have no way to transport it to an area where you can actually sit down and drink it.  But having these difficulties has also made me more aware of the fact that we all – whether we mean to or not – take so many things for granted.  And while I know a time will come when I too will once again take the ability to sleep on my right side for granted (something I have not been able to do in weeks … ) I know that for a few moments, I will be grateful for the little things that have come back to me.

Until tomorrow.  xo.

 

let’s hear it for the boy

I meant to hop on here yesterday, but here I am, a day late again.

In 30 days the man and I will be saying “I do” and in honor of that, I thought I’d share a few pics.  It’s a really exciting time ~ but also full of so many things ~ I hope that when I look back I remembered to take enough time to savor it.  It’s a huge promise and one I am humbled to make.  My best friend, my sounding board ~ my partner in crime always.
This was in our very first year of dating.

Is he not the cutest thing in the whole world? Unconditional love.

 

 

 

Us at Longwood Gardens to celebrate my 29th birthday.  We love Christmas!

 

 

 

At Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s Fundraiser, “The Great Chef’s Event.”  We were lucky enough to go in 2010 and 2012. We’ll miss it this year because we will be on our Honeymoon!

 The one time the man got me to dress up for Halloween ~ and I actually had a lot of fun!

One of my favorites ~ Dinner En Blanc Philadelphia last year.  I love that we do fun stuff together like this ~ I’m really hoping it happens again, but so far, I haven’t heard anything.  Makes me sad … but glad we did it last year!

 

Our four year anniversary last year.  This year, we’re upping the celebrations.  But boy oh boy do I love Va La Vineyards.

 

This one is an oldy ~ back when my hair was pretty blond!  It’s funny to look at pics and realize that even though you don’t think you’ve changed all that much … you have! I love John’s smile in this picture.  Too bad I look so solemn!

 

 

This is funny ~ our very first Art Museum date.  We talked about going from the very first conversation we ever had.  It took us over four years to get there.  Silly us.

 

 

 

 

One of my all time favorite pictures ~ wearing our football gear, out in Wyoming’s early morning, driving through the parks.  It was such a great trip.

 

John’s funny face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My funny face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He’s the love of my life.  I can’t wait for June 1st.  xoxo