Hitching and Reception…

So, by the way….

 

WE GOT MARRIED!

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Yeah no big deal or anything, just wanted to let y’all know that this Northern Girl is now part of the M.R.S. club, married to her Southern Guy. I blame all the planning and moving for my lack of updates, but really there was very little to update other than some wedding plans here and there. So there’s my excuse/apology for not posting the past three months.

Let me tell you, it was an amazing experience! The whole week was a LOT of work, but the end results were completely worth it. The Southern Guy and I headed back to Oregon where we decided to get married, because that’s where my family is and where I grew up, plus my ward family would have been upset if I had it anywhere else too so there’s that.

Anyway, we each took a half day on that Friday because our flight was at 3 PM and we headed out excited and happy. The previous week we had been moving all my belongings into the Southern Guy’s house and then shoved most of it all into the office so it wouldn’t be obviously messy (it still was). On top of all of this we had a friend staying with the Southern Guy in the extra bedroom until he figured out how he was going to make it home to Utah (that’s a whole ‘nother story). So we had all that to deal with the week before us leaving, and all the wedding prep that we could do on our end, i.e. sending decorations, ordering jambalaya, taking care of the dress and the suit, planning hotel and car rentals, etc. It was a crazy three month experience of planning and all the anticipation building up was ridiculous. My suggestion is to plan your reception close to where you live, or make yourself available if it’s a distance away, otherwise you may lose your sanity.

 

So we left for Oregon…

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  And got stuck in San Francisco….

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And didn’t get to Oregon until Saturday morning….

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With only four hours of sleep….

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And lots to get done, we had a wedding happening in 8 days! Yes, 8 DAYS! Crazy right? That’s 8 days to get the reception site ready, make sure food is taken care of, and any last minute arrangements were fixed. I almost lost it a few times, but with the help of the Southern Guy and my family we made it! I’m still working on catching up on my sleep, and we’ve been married for three weeks now!

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So Saturday we get to my parents house at about 9:00 in the morning, and I have a nail appointment with my sisters that has already been pushed back, at 11:00. Tight scheduling from the beginning. From there on out it just kept going, bam, bam, BAM! We went to the barn every day to clean it out and move things around to make room for people who we were expecting to come to the reception, sometimes not leaving until close to midnight. (On the night before the wedding we were all up till 2 AM and later making last fixes to the lights and flowers in the barn, also praying that the rain would stop for the next day.) My family did so much for the Southern Guy and I, it was crazy! My parents both took off time for that week to help with the barn and be available for other things that needed to get done. My mother bent over backwards to get things done, to make it how I had envisioned it, she is amazing!

Through this whole process the Southern Guy and I talked and came to conclusion that even if everything fell apart and no one showed up (which we knew wasn’t going to be the case, but prepare for the worst and hope for the best!) all that mattered was that we had made it to the temple together and were going to be sealed for all time and eternity. In other words, really the reception didn’t matter, the gifts, the pictures, the dress, all those worldly things didn’t matter. All that mattered was that we were in the temple at the right time, together, to be sealed. Of course we wanted to share our happiness with others and celebrate, but we were both more than ecstatic with being able to be sealed to each other, if that’s all we got to go to Oregon for.

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However, my mother had been hard at work planning and reserving for the big after event of the reception. We had been sharing Pinterest ideas since Christmas and she had a very good idea of what I wanted, and she has an awesome eye for comparable things that were close to matching. She is an amazing woman, she did so much for us and made the reception more than I let myself imagine. You know how you look at pictures from different events or the same event and it looks so magical, the highest standard is then set. You wish you could have your event just like that one, but realistically it was too professional, so the standard is readjusted to a more realistic level. My mother did the impossible and pulled off a Pinterest perfect wedding reception! It was amazing! I can’t wait to get all the pictures back to show them!

I currently don’t have all the wedding pictures from my fabulous photographer, but I should soon, so until then here are just a few pictures from before and during the event… also a few images of the barn that I just love!

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wpid-imag1037.jpg wpid-imag1027.jpg  So for now that’s what I have on the wedding week story, more to come soon! I promise I will be better at getting these posts done in a more timely fashion.

The Most Wonderful Time…

For many, Winter starts close to Thanksgiving. It’s really cold, the sun only comes out for a short while, and the leaves have all dropped from their trees leaving them looking like poor little dead twigs. Snow may or may not fall, but you definitely know that it’s winter. It’s time for hot chocolate, thicker coats with sweaters underneath, and lots more time indoors.

For Louisiana, it’s still spring.

Here the sun is bright and always warm, the temperature may drop and it does feel cold, but if I still wear shorts and flip flops outdoors more often than not, it’s not winter. Sure the calendar may say December, but in my mind and my body, it just isn’t. I’m ok with that now, now that I’m heading home to Oregon to celebrate Christmas with my family, but let me tell you, the Southern Guy got an earful about how the weather wasn’t acting correctly to what I’m familiar with and what everyone was promising me.

Finally after several mornings of my coworkers asking if it was cold enough for me yet, (my continuous reply having been a resounding “No,”)  one of the paralegals said, ” Honey, Welcome to Louisiana.” It was then that I fully understood that I needed to relearn the weather because I am in the South, and we all know that the close you get to the equator the warmer it is for longer. So my mindset is more open about my new home, and my expectations are completely gone, because they were set to my Northern standards which just wont work now that I’m down here.

And then we had a “Sneaux” day (pronounced snow, it’s a Cajun joke…yeah not as funny when you have to explain it…sorry), where the rain would freeze on the outer layer and stay liquid on the inside so when it hits the water refreezes and the ice from the outer shell sticks… It SUCKED!

72865_10201964292683775_578756537_nThankfully I have an awesome boss, who didn’t make us stay at work for very long and it was a good thing too, the city started closing down ALL the bridges in the city. Well our city is split right down the middle by a river….so if you worked on one half of the city, but lived on the other side, you were gonna have a heck of a time getting home. So I tried using this time to run some last minute errands (groceries and such) and found out that people were treating this “sneaux” day (see what I did there?) as if it were a hurricane and stocking up on all and any food! The Southern Guy and I were out of luck, but thankfully I sort of prepared a head and had some food stockpiled for us. Our next problem came when the Southern Guy tried to get home, because his boss wasn’t checking on the conditions or something, all the main bridges were closed, so he had to go WAY out of his way to try to find a bridge that would still be open. Thankfully the boondocks bridge was still open and he was able to get home…

So moral of the story is, Southerners have NO CLUE how to handle cold weather. That day there were over 200 weather related accidents and at least 2 deaths in association with the weather, all because people thought they could drive like normal on the icy roads. 2nd moral is don’t go out when the roads are icy in the South, it’s safer for you inside no matter how well you handle the icy roads.

 

“Ring”ing In the New Year

Alrighty everyone, I’m writing down the story of “THE PROPOSAL”, 1.) because I’m sitting here in the Dallas airport on Christmas Eve waiting for another 45 minutes before they begin to board my flight into Portland(!!!! Almost Home!) and “B” because I know there are those who I wont be able to tell the story to first hand. So here it goes;

The Southern Guy and I have been dating for the past 3 1/2 years, which is a good chunk of time so of course we knew we wanted to get married, and we were planning on it, but it wasn’t official or anything. (It’s not official until he asks, no matter how much you talk and “plan”) The only real things that were holding us back was that we had done a long distance relationship for the past three years and wanted some one on one time where we got to have a “normal” dating experience once I moved closer, and the Southern Guy wanted to graduate from college. So for three years we worked on the things keeping us at a distance, my schooling, saving up so I could move, his religious decisions, and our relationship in general. I finished college, moved back home and continued to save and talk to the Southern Guy about religion. I knew he was curious and willing to learn, my fear was what would happen if he never decided that he felt my faith was true, if that happened could we still be together? The Southern Guy was searching for something that felt like home and after 2 and 1/2 years and many lessons and questions, he made the decision to be baptized! I was so happy and so proud of him for having come to that decision without my pushing or him making it because of me. It was all him.

So I moved down to Louisiana to be closer to him and to try my hand at being an actual adult, and lets just say “real” life is not at all what I expected it to be. Yes it’s hard, but overall the things that you have no clue how to handle are the things that end up defining us, helping us to become the best we can be. I’ve found that when I just go ahead and try to make it work it generally does, unless the Lord has another plan. Things tend to not be as complicated as we make them out to be in our highly intelligent minds. Over-thinking things, I now believe, is the main cause for many missed opportunities. With this lesson I’ve learned in mind, going and just doing has become easier, but I digress.

So after moving down there ( I say there because I am currently not there, I am 30,000 some odd feet in the air trying to keep myself entertained), the Southern Guy and I enjoyed a slightly restricted dating life due to his schooling. He was working on finishing his last semester at the local college earning his bachelor’s degree, a goal that he had been hard at work for the past 4 years. (Yes he was one semester late graduating technically, but he did change majors a year ago so it was expected.) We worked around it and enjoyed just being able to spend time together doing chores, running errands, and sometimes going out when homework and life allowed. In the past 4 or 5 months we have grown even closer than we were before, and of course we talked about what would happen after graduation; aka getting married. The Southern Guy had a goal set that he would only get married after graduating because he wanted to know that the financial struggle of school payments and less time at his actual job wouldn’t affect his future family/wife. That was something that was definitely difficult for me to deal with, because my parents are all about, “If you wait to be ready, you will never be ready,” which is a great point, but I also think that all things in moderation. Even a good thing can kill if done in excessive amounts, eating, drinking, sleeping, anything really.

So we had talked about getting engaged and getting married, but were just kinda sitting on it waiting for a little bit of a more ideal time.

Apparently that time was after church on December 22nd, when the Southern Guy blindfolded me in the car before we left and drove around town. I have to give a little description of the blindfold; it was one that I had with me when I first went to college and I sprayed with my perfume and sent with his first package I ever sent him. At first I knew almost exactly where I was, I just have that great of a sense of direction (just kidding, but I did know where I was), until the Southern Guy took a left hand turn I wasn’t familiar with and threw me off. I didn’t learn until later that he was passing by the house his grandfather lived in until he passed, to gather a little bit of courage and say a quick “Thank You”. We then continued on our trip, me trying to not peek and the Southern Guy egging me on asking if I knew where I was. I was completely turned around when he parked the car and came around to help me out, but then I heard this odd twerping noise, almost like a parrot that has an issue with the song birds outside, it’s a sound they now use in some cross walks to let people know how much time they have based off how fast the twerping goes. I had only ever heard that noise outside of the campus where the Southern Guy attended school, so when he asked again if I had any idea where we were I asked if we weren’t at campus because isn’t that where the noisy crosswalks were. He quickly covered that up with a quick lie that they have those all over town, and because I love and trust him I accepted that statement as fact and was lost again. (True story, he lied to me but it was all in the sake of romance so I forgave him) He then led me around and up some wooden stairs, it was then that I caught on that we were at campus and going to this beautiful old southern oak that they had built a wooden platform surrounding it with benches. It was where we had our first real date. So he blindfolded me with the first thing I had sent him, and proposed in the spot where we had our first date! It was too sweet and thought out. On top of which his best friend and he had set it up that the whole thing had been recorded and taped!! So we now have those memories for forever! I never thought I would cry because it wouldn’t be such a surprise, and it wasn’t so much of a surprise what was happening, but where and how was too perfect. I have a truly wonderful man in my life, and I love him so much!

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Also the ring that he offered me that I now wear is made of parts of his mother’s ring, grandmother’s ring, and step-grandmother’s ring. Keeping it in the family, I was so touched when he told me and started balling all over again. The love I have received from his family is amazing to me, I don’t know how I can ever give back enough to them all, but I continue to try my hardest.

So that is my proposal story, my perfect, wouldn’t have it any other way, beautiful proposal that I accepted. That is how I get to ring in the New Year, with a new ring and a wedding to plan!

Northern Christmas

You never truly realize how much you miss home, your real home with your original family, until you go back for a holiday after being away for months. Even though the South is now my home, where I will live and start the newest part of my life with the Southern Guy, I will always call where my parents live “Home”. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new home down here, but the North will always be where my past is and where my home began. I was very blessed to be able to go back home for Christmas and spend some much needed time with my parents and younger sisters, Boo and Meesh. Meesh brought with her from Utah, her first serious boyfriend, The Asian, which was very interesting because I just got engaged, and she’s now in a pretty steady “serious” relationship (they aren’t planning on getting married any time soon from what I heard), and then my littlest baby sister Boo Boo is almost done with high school. We are all in very different stages of life, and it’s always been that we were close enough in age in general that what we were going through as individuals the others had, had at least an idea of how it felt. So it was very interesting that my sisters and I were so far apart in our different stages of life, I could still relate to both of them, but neither of them could really even imagine how happy, excited, and nervous I was. There was lots of girl time to talk about each of us and they had plenty of questions.

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It’s interesting how as we grow up and move onward with life how our relationships change in drastic ways, but they also in the same since stay the same. My sisters and I are closer than we’ve ever been, but our relationship is built more on respect now and our views of each other have changed to fit more appropriately to our age and stage of life. My little sisters come to me now asking questions and see me now as more of an adult and big sister in the sense that they trust me more and want to spend time together. There’s a friendship there that hasn’t been there since we were little, I take responsibility for being a bully when we were kids, but lets be honest, it takes two to tango.

 

Anyway, Christmas was amazing! It was wonderful to be home and be able to enjoy our time together doing chores and everyone fell back into  place as if two of us were still living there, rather than we had moved out and were living as adults, and one of us was getting ready to  take one of the biggest steps of their lives and get married. That’s what I love about my family, that no matter where I’ve gone or how long I’ve been away, I can always come back and I will always have a place to come home to. I will always have that net there to catch me.

 

My youngest sister, Boo, has had a hard time with her two big sisters leaving to grow up and start their lives as adults. She’s scared to make that jump herself, and for her it’s only a year and a half until she graduates and can start college. She kept asking me to talk to her or just listen to her about why she’s so scared about it all, that she feels like her safety net is becoming unraveled without Meesh and I there, that the net has become less secure and she’s on her own more and more. She’s scared of the unknown of becoming an adult and leaving home, a feeling we’ve all had at one point in our lives, but after we take that leap of faith we realize there’s nothing to be afraid of.

It’s that moment before the jump, the climb up to the point where you jump, all the thinking before hand, where you start getting scared and nervous. You don’t don’t know what is going to happen when you give into the urge to fling yourself from this new height, higher than you’ve ever gone. Will it hurt more when you land? Will others be there with you falling through the air? Will you fall or fly?

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We all have taken these leaps like little birds from the nest, and others have seen us fall and then in the distance start flapping and flying away. It’s that in between where all they knew was that we were falling and then we mysteriously start flying, that makes the experience even more scary because they don’t know how we went from free falling to gracefully flying. We forget that not everyone makes it on the first try, many of us have to get help, be picked up and taken back to the nest to recoup and then try again, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If anything it proves your strength in your determination to persevere. Eventually when the time is right and you are ready, you will take off on your own.

 

That was and is my advice to my little sister, that it’s perfectly normal to be afraid of the next step in life, to be nervous and excited about it all, and don’t worry if she fails the first time, just make sure to pick yourself back up so you can try again. The only true failure is giving up.

 

There were a lot of emotions during this Christmas trip, most happy, few were not, but overall we got to reconnect as a family and all of us were excited to start planning the upcoming wedding between the Southern Guy and I. More on that later…

 

 

P.S. Sorry it’s taken so long to get this post up, wedding planning is really hard long distance and I put blogging off for far too long. So I’m finishing the posts that I started way back when and adding them now.

 

 

 

 

Southern “Fall”

One of the hardest things yet to deal with has been the lack of “normal” weather down here. When you think of fall you think of harvest, sweaters, apple cider, brisk cool mornings, etc. Down here, that’s not the case at all, not at all…

It’s hot, summer hot and it stays hot until it finally breaks down and the weather gives in to winter. Finally now in November the wind is brisk and carries a nip, the rain is frigid, and the air is  just plain cold. It feels great. People keep asking me if it’s cold enough for me, honestly the
answer would have to be, “No.” It’s still too warm, I don’t see my breath when I walk outside, there hasn’t been a frost at all on the ground, but my mind constantly ‘thinks’ it is a normal Northern fall. Who could blame my way of thinking? It’s dark when I wake up and it doesn’t get light until almost after I get to work at 7:50 something in the morning, and then it starts getting dark close to 3:30ish, but it’s still just barely making the cut of being fall. At least in the sense that I know it.

Here it seems that fall is nothing, some people decorate with the oranges, reds, and browns, but mostly its just a passing season. Barely worth the mention since its so short and Christmas is more of a party than fall. Remember it’s all about the party down here, any excuse to have a good time, apple’s becoming ripe is more of a nerd hick celebration than a real party I guess. I don’t know I still get excited about the harvest, guess that’s just me down here.

So with the change of season, I noticed the ever prissy Cleopatra the Cat becoming needy and melancholy, more so than a dignified kitty princess usually allows. So the Southern Guy and I decided to get a pet for the princess, another cat. Yes, Cleo now has her own cat. (Technically we got the cat so Cleo could have a companion, but really, he’s the Southern Guy’s pet.) So whilst enjoying a rather lazy Saturday in September, we decided to go and just ‘look’ to see what was available, I wasn’t completely sold on getting another cat. (I didn’t want to totally spoil Cleo.) After going to two stores that were having their pet adoption day and not really seeing anything that I thought would work or that really tugged at the Southern Guy’s heart strings, we headed on over to our local Petsmart the last store on our list before heading out to meet some friends to go bowling. Upon arriving we saw that they had more kittens than the other stores, which made me happy because I didn’t want to deal with a grown cat with bad habits, and also worked for the Southern Guy because they were cuter than the grown cats, (he’s a sucker for infants of all sorts, true story). After doing the back cuddle test on our top two, we ended up taking home this guy…

Meet Gator!

This is the newest addition to our oddball family, and he is fantastic! Cleo was at first offended that we got a replacement cat (which is what he was in her mind), but once she realized he was her cat, she took to him like a football team to a table of free unlimited french toast. My favorite thing about this cat is probably the comment that was made to us when we were filling out the adoption papers, “He’s a white cat……so he’s gonna need to be strictly an indoor.” Meaning, he gets dirty more easily than a not straight white cat? ooooookkkkkkkkaaaaayyyyyyy……….Hmmmmm. Still a little weirded out by that comment, just the way it was said and how serious she was about his being white was the main factor in him not going outside.

Other than gaining a cat and enduring through the eternal summer that is the South, nothing much has been going on. Just living life, working, and finding projects along the way to fill my time. Being a complete adult is interesting, you have all this freedom and you really don’t know what to do with it. So you fill it with chores, jobs, services, none of which are bad things, but it’s amazing how much we complain about never having enough time, yet we do all we can to fill those few empty spaces we are blessed with. With technology that we all have access to as well, we are constantly reminded of, invited to, and alerted of tasks new and old, we can never get away from our “duties”. It has been quite the experimental process trying to find the “happy medium” between too much work and too much relaxing and being bored. I think I’ve finally found my happy balance, so far it’s been working; making dinner for two, taking care of the cats, cleaning my little apartment, helping maintain the Southern Guy’s house, and doing all my odds and ends of projects.

Southern Lessons

Down in the South there are some big cultural differences that take a little getting used to. For one everyone calls you “Baby” or “Girl” or “Darlin’ “, even if they don’t know you. People in general are so open and kind down here as well, not that there aren’t any kind people up North, or no meanies down here, there are they just aren’t very easy to spot. Also “Stranger Danger” is almost nonexistent, the Southern Guy has had some strange man come up and offer us “cracklin’ ” (which is like bacon or pork rinds, but it causes heart attacks 30 years earlier) and the Southern Guy was like, “Yeah sure. Ooooohhhhh that’s good!” Um Gross.

Over all I love it down here, transitioning hasn’t been hard, it’s just been interesting. Trying to understand what people say is the worst part of my transition thus far, as the Southern Guy’s mom puts it, “Cajun is the laziest form of communication.” She is SO right! I mean listening to how some people down here talk is fascinating, as well as trying to figure out how they are able to talk so fast while still talking so lazy! It isn’t that they drop the “G” off the “ING” words, they do that and SO MUCH MORE! As well as adding the Cajun french or Creole in there, it’s a workout just listening.

Then there’s the food…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh the food! It’s amazing! The gumbo, the beignets, the meats, and just everything is SO GOOD! Two years ago when I was visiting during Mardi Gras I literally gained TEN POUNDS, just from all the amazing food! The people here know what good food is and how to appreciate it, and all they want to do is share it with family, friends, or strangers.

While living on my own (this is the second time I have left home, but the first time I am striking out on my own to be my own), I have come to a realization of things that I have known, but they haven’t really clicked until now. Maybe I’m just slow, but I think that most of us don’t learn (or at least fully understand) many common life lessons until we are on our own and viewing life from a completely different aspect. Not having parents or room mates there to remind and nag about things really allows you to open your heart and mind to things that you had just accepted before hand, because you take the time to think about it for yourself rather than just accepting someone else’s thoughts on it. So here are life lessons figured out while in the South;

Lesson #1:

Live for yourself

When most people graduate from high school they leave on their own adventure, whether it be college, military, or just moving out, you are on your own. Even if you have room mates, more often than not they aren’t family, so don’t let what they have to say or think about things make your decisions for you. One regret I have about college is that I was shy and allowed myself to be a sheep, following my room mates and not going and doing things for myself. I ended up feeling like I had been jipped out of many experiences and resentful about things. Looking back (hind-sight being 20/20), I now blame only myself for not doing and living for me.

I’ve found that by living for myself and not worrying what people think about my actions, I have found peace and happiness. The hardest part about this has been when my family or friends make remarks as to why I do what I do, and at first it offended me, why coukdnt they just be happy for me in my happiness. But then I found that if I answered honestly, from my heart, they would at least respect my choice and let it go for the time. My answer to them, for those of you who were just dying of curiuosity, is, “I do what I’m doing because it makes me happy, because I enjoy doing what I do.”

I know that what I’m doing is righteous and that my decisions are pleasing to my Heavenly Father, and that’s all that matters. As long as I am happy and I am doing what I can to live the gospel standards that I know are true and rely on my Heavenly Father, others will maybe not accept my choices, but they may respect them as long as I respect and stand up for myself.

Which leads into…

Lesson #2:
It’s not always all about you

While living on my own I’ve found that my emotions aren’t always in check, I seem to allow them to run wild and end up feeling hurt with thinking about things logically. (Curse of being a woman) The Southern Guy has been amazing dealing with my uglier side and I am so blessed he’s so patient, but with my family and friends, it was hard to not get offended right off the bat. You’ve left that system and so you

When you leave home, you leave your familiar system. A system of people who keep you in check and remind you, sometimes just by actions, that there are other things going on out there that are more important than what you feel right now. Sometimes you have to push yourself to get up and do things for the benefit of others that you may or may not be reimbursed for, but it is something you have to choose to do and choose to do well.

It is not all about you. There are billions of people on this earth who are all children of a Father in Heaven, just like you. What makes you more important than them? I’m not saying we are not individuals and as such we are not individually important, but rather we need to focus on the importance of those who are more in need. Doing service, no matter how small, always makes your problems less intense and more manageable than we before thought.

Lesson #3 :
Work as if your job is always on the line

Prove your worth. No one cares what you know until they know that you care, and so put all your heart and effort into all that you do. Always be proud of what you put out, all your projects, service, and accomplishments need to show you in them. Be proud of your work and show that pride in the final product, never settle.

Lesson #4:
Be your own best friend (It’s ok to have alone time)

Again it’s not all about you, learn to love yourself and enjoy time by yourself. Have a “Me Date” and treat yourself. Even while dating someone, their life isn’t focused on you, they have their own life and worries and you can’t hold that against them. Plus you never know what life and the Lord has in plan for you, so you need to just focus on you time while you have it and learn to appreciate it.

Lesson #5 :
Life is short, no one knows how long they have been given…

Live life with the thought that you don’t know how much time you’ve been given. Love as though everyone is family, you don’t know who is having a rough time in life, who is down on their luck, or who just needs a friend. Some of my best relationships have been created out of those spur of the moment decisions to ask someone how their day is, or to sit with someone who isn’t exactly top of the crowd. We often pass by some of the best opportunities because the outward package doesn’t look like much. Never ever judge anyone or anything’s cover before at least giving the dust jacket a glance, more often than not you’re going to miss out on something wonderful.

Those are my tidbits for thought, things I’ve found to be really true and very important to living a good wholesome life. Especially when you’re a single adult and you can live for you, your time is your own and you have the ability to accept those opportunities.

Food for thought.

The MOVE!! Part 2…

So Monday morning we woke up super early 5:00 AM and were completely on the road by 5:30, which was a great idea on our part considering all that happened that day. Cleo my wonderful little “munchkin” cat has never been big into traveling for long or short trips, and since this was the longest trip she has ever taken and probably will ever take, she was a complete and utter mess. Trying to be a good pet owner and knowing her reaction to being in her carrier for any period of time, I had gotten her a sedative, which didn’t work at all. Cleo had a freak out session all Monday and she wouldn’t use her litter box which led to a mess that was something that I never thought I would deal with.

Other than that the day was pretty good, we had few mishaps dealing with gas and distances, but overall we had fun on the first day driving to Utah. Upon arriving at our hotel, we put Cleo in the bathroom and let her give us the cold shoulder, we weren’t on talking terms my cat and I. The Southern Guy and I then went to visit with my little sister and my best friend who are roommates, and after not seeing both for a little over a month I was so happy! We had such a great time visiting with them and seeing how much my little sister has grown up, being on her own and making her way in life, it was FANTASTIC! Shanny, my best friend is an amazing person who has brightened my life since I’ve met her and has been there for me in some of the toughest of times, I can’t wait to see them again come Christmas. After spending a few hours with them and some others we just had to head back to the hotel to get some sleep, we were exhausted. Between driving for a straight 14 hours and dealing with Cleo, the stinky one, we needed the rest. Sorry ladies, next time we will party more!

So then Tuesday came along, WAY too early! We woke up, ate breakfast, cleaned Cleo (yes….I bathed a cat in a hotel room sink. I don’t EVER suggest it) then we headed out to continue our trip. Tuesday was SUPER BORING! We were pretty much done with driving, and even though there were amazing sights, and we got to stand in four places at once, we were already making promises to each other that the next time we have a big trip to make it will be by plane. Driving for three and a half days us just too much. Tuesday night we spent our night in Albuquerque New Mexico, don’t visit for a while, they are experiencing some serious construction. As well as serious storms, man can it dump rain in NM, you couldn’t even see the lines on the road because there was SO much rain!

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This is Four Corners National Park. Nothing awesome.

Side note; Four Corners is run by the Navajo people and there really isn’t anything spectacular there. If you’re making a trip just to site see, definitely stop here. Problems with this place is that it is WAY out of the way, there are few really worth it souvenir shops, and to top it off the actual spot that we were standing upon up there is about 1/2 a mile away from where the states technically touch according to Google Earth. Just an FYI for future travelers.

Wednesday we slept in as late as we could, but the Southern Guy and I found out that whilst traveling your sleeping cycles get all kerfunky. We were up by 8 AM (a.k.a. WAY too early) eating breakfast and discussing the weather because the night before had been crazy scary. As we entered into the state of New Mexico we saw two things; a LITERAL SANDSTORM and a GINORMOUS thunder rain storm. The best part about that was that we were heading towards BOTH, there was no way around them, unless we turned around on the two lane highway we were on. So we headed on and entered into a small town called Shiprock, I honestly thought it was Sh**rock, the “P” just didn’t look like a “P” and the way this little town looked you would have thought it was appropriately named. It was like the early 1980’s had hit hard in this town and the 1990’s just passed on by, so it was stuck in the 80’s with all the bad neon that came with that.

While in this tiny town, the thunderstorm hit and it hit hard, I mean it DUMPED rain on us. The roads were flooding so you couldn’t see the paint on the road, and the power was out in half, yes half, the town was out of power. Why only half? I have no clue, but it was kind of funny.

So remember it was dumping rain on us? Yes well as scary as it was for us driving though all of that, imagine how the guy we saw in the back of a pick up truck just sitting there in a hoodie. I have no clue why he wore the hoodie as it didn’t help with the onslaught of rain and wind, but he seemed to be ok. I wish we had a picture of this, because it’s pretty hard to believe, but it is true.

So after discussing this for the better part of breakfast we headed on our way, packing up our belongings and then Cleopatra, who was getting used to this traveling gig, she even slept with me on my bed instead of in the bathroom. We drove out of Albuquerque and headed towards the great state of Texas!

Now Texas is a great state, where everything is bigger, and the people are friendly, but the two biggest things I saw were the big churches pushing their big religion in your face and the big open space of just nothing for hours. Between those two things I don’t think I will ever go back. Texas may have been the worst part of the trip just because it was so empty, boring, and flat. The Southern Guy was driving this whole time, because as I learned, if he wasn’t driving he was too bored. In Texas, he actually got so bored with the driving he allowed me a chance to take the wheel for the first time since Nevada and then took it right back because sitting there just staring at the nothingness was worse than driving through it for him. Even though it was pretty boring, there were some pretty bits.

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Eventually we reached Dallas, where we got to experience even worse construction, one lane busy highway traffic with orange cones everywhere! To find our hotel was crazy difficult and yes, I got us lost, but only for about five minutes, and then we did Denny’s at 11 o’clock, which I don’t suggest. The food which is only good in general is barely O.K. during the later hours.

The next morning was our last on the road, Cleo was completely quiet and docile, the Southern Guy was super antsy, and I was just done with being on the road. I will never, ever, ever make this trip again. I can not tell you how happy I was to see the Louisiana state sign.

Yes, it’s blurry, but I had to put something there. This picture still brings a smile to my face because I feel excited all over again just like that day when we FINALLY came up to the state line of my new home. Yes, I am working on becoming a Southerner, in about 8 months I will finally be considered a resident of Louisiana. Once we reached this sign it was about 4 hours until we were at home, and Cleopatra got to finally really stretch her legs.

That is my story of how I made my transition from the North to the South in less than a week, and man was it a crazy week. Changes happen so fast and no matter how much you prepare there is no way to be 100% ready for the curves life throws you. I have been constantly learning that lesson, and now I sit here with my new kitten, Gator, sleeping on my lap in my sparsely furnished apartment after finishing a week at my fill time office job. Only two months living here and those are just a few of the things that have happened so far. There’s a little preview into my next post, you’re welcome.

The trip story is DONE!

The MOVE! The Beginning…

So in reality I have been down in the South for the past month now, amazing it’s been a month already and in that month a LOT has happened. So let me begin with when the Southern Guy got up there to pick me up.

My last day of work was the 2nd of August, a Friday, the Southern Guy was flying up one way to come drive with me over 34 hours to get to my new home on Saturday, and on Monday at 5:00 in the morning we were leaving once and for all. (Yes that was a little dramatic, once and for all, but you know it is kinda that serious.) So at work I was graciously given a wonderful party to say goodbye and some lovely treats to remember my coworkers by, then I gathered the few personal items that were left at my desk and headed out. It was all very final and serious leaving my work, I actually turned around and did shed a tear or two, there are many things I miss about my old job, but again I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was and how happy I am now down here to begin my life on my own.

On that Saturday, it was my absolute last day to finish packing and clean my little “shed-room” (yes I did live in the shed while living at home), I had very little to pack as a good chunk of personal things like books and memorabilia were going to have to stay, my little Ford Focus could only hold so much, so I tried cleaning as much as I could. Now remember how I said I was living in the shed? Ok, so it literally was  a shed that had been renovated for me to move back into once I decided Idaho was not the place for me, but it was renovated to fit all our family’s food storage, so it was a small space and crowded with shelves, both permanent and temporary, to house the storage. So moving that to clean around it in a day was difficult and still a subject of discussion for my mother and I.

That evening the Southern Guy flew in on time and we got to spend time together after not seeing each other for 7 months! SEVEN MONTHS! Just thinking about it makes me a little teary eyed, seven months of being separated and only being able to talk a little here and there. I am so blessed that I was able to make this move and we don’t have  to worry about that again.

Sunday was another difficult, but happy day. It was hard because going to church, to the Medford First Ward, the ward I had grown up in since I was 11 years old and seeing all the wonderful people I had grown up with, the little children who I had babysat for and their older siblings who I had also watched and played with, the families who had been companions to my family, the adults who had taught me and watched me grown, all of them were my family members. Saying goodbye to that many people who are that close to you is very, very, very difficult. Even with my Southern Guy there by my side, holding my hand, I was a little sullen at church.

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After church we had a sort of get together where some people my mother had invited came over to our house and we had a BBQ, or as much of one as we could have since the smoke was still really bad. It was nice and I loved being able to see so many people and get to say a more personal goodbye. After everyone left, just my family, the Southern Guy, and I were left, things were tense. It was hard for everyone because we all know that traveling between my new home and the North will take either a lot of time or a lot of money, actually it takes both. So we knew that we wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while, like how the Southern Guy and I had to wait at least 6 months to see each other, now my family and I would have to wait. We all had great discussions with each other about plans and travel preparations and that night I said my last goodbyes to my parents and my little sister who is the last one home. Then I went to sleep on the couch knowing it was the last night my childhood home was my actual home.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Last Chapter of the North…

These are my last two weeks in Oregon, my home and my life as I’ve known it for the past ten plus years, and I’m am not gonna lie…I’m freaking out. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to be moving down South to be closer to my “other family”, the Southern Guy and his relatives who have all, but adopted me right out, but being over 3,000 miles away from everything I know and am comfortable with. Things are SO different down there, it’s a whole other world with different ways of saying things, different ways of doing things, etc. It is a scary thing to leave my home that has been provided to me by my loving and gracious parents, to start paying for my own bills and my own belongings, all while not being able to go running back to mommy and daddy for comfort if it all falls down around me in tiny, ity bity bits.

 

But I am excited! I am excited, I am excited, excited, excited, excited! Truly I am, it’s just a matter of allowing my excitement to overcome my fears and worries.

 

Hopefully if I think it, say it, and write it enough times it will finally become the fore front of my thoughts rather than all the what could go wrong, all the “What If”s of life that I have no control over.

I have finally come to the realization that I have become a very type “A” personality, having to have things planned out down to the times and exact places on a specific day. Just ask the Southern Guy who has been so wonderful in putting up with it, to the point of saying it’s a characteristic of mine that he loves, that’s a great boyfriend right there. A guy who takes something that is most likely driving him crazy, yet he smiles and says it’s something to appreciate rather than to dislike. I am the most lucky woman to have him and his blind eye 🙂 !

Since I realized this I have instead of backing off of being so controlling, started to have to plan more things farther out. Things that aren’t in my control at all and so it has been driving me CRAZY! So the Southern Guy took me and talked me down from my cloud of craziness and after much coercing and prodding in the right direction I am back to my “normal” self. I have come back to the idea of being happy with what you have and what you know, being pleased knowing that you have done all you can to be all you are deep down. There are some things that we have to accept as being out of our hands no matter how hard it is to let go and focus on something more important in the “NOW”, if we don’t and we try to force everything that we want to happen, more likely than not it will force it’s way to not happen, then all that planning is down the tubes.

Someone once told me, “Decide who you want to be, before you figure out what you want to be.” Amazing advice that I have forgotten and I let the “WHO” become a wild mess while I tried to figure out what I wanted to be and where that was going to take me in life. The things that are important now are the things that will determine where I end up and what I end up being/doing.

On that note for the next two weeks I will be focusing on the Northern “farm” girl that I am, allowing myself to indulge in my families goats, the amazing bike rides, and my Northern family.

Speaking of which….

BABY GOATS!!!

Our prize milker finally had her babies and all five are now three weeks old! Aren’t they adorable?! I love them all so much, but sadly when I come home to visit next at least three of these precious babies will be gone, sold to breeders, or worse sold as weed eaters. Please if you know anyone who is a breeder or looking to start their own herd, let me know on my Contact Page. We would love to see our little bucks sold as breeders, they are pure bred Nubians with a pedigree on both their dam and sire’s side.

Oh I will miss them and the North in general.

The Big Count Down…

My lil’ sister Meesh has officially GRADUATED! She made it and I am so proud of her, my little sister-turned personal trainer(only sometimes and not since March) was able to push herself and graduate, something that we were a little worried about since she had some serious health issues her sophomore year putting her behind in her education. Since she has graduated and doesn’t have to worry about possibly getting a G.E.D., she is moving out of our parents home (yes before me, but just by about a month) and moving to…..

UTAH!

 

While she is heading off to start her life(aka waiting until she is a citizen of the state so she can get in-state tuition), I will be working and saving for the next month and a half for when I will be moving. Yes, finally MOVING! No more counting down the days until I get to see my Southern Guy, no more Skyping with him or being able to just call him and talk for maybe thirty minutes; from there on our we will be able to see each other on a daily basis if we are able to and choose to.

We will have a normal dating life, instead of this seeing each other once every six to seven months, and I will be able to go back to school, and make my own way in the world! Wow that’s a lot of change, but I know it will all be worth it and then some. The Southern Guy will be graduating here in December of 2013 with his bachelor’s and I will be deciding shortly after that where I want to go to college to finish my BA and what I want to finish it in(Dental Hygiene?). Until then it’s back to working my butt off when I don’t twist my ankle increasing my speed and lowing my times, and just overall creating better lifestyle habits for when I am on my own.

Speaking of times here’s my times from two of my runs this week, just my mile runs:

 

Full Mile Half MileAs you can see, my times are going down, the full mile time on the right corresponds to the half mile time on the right, and you may be a little confused then why my 5:31 has an ending time greater than the run before. There’s a simple answer and it is totally legit (yes LEGIT). The run on the day before (the 12:26 ending minute) I pulled my hamstring and so after stretching after the run and before my run the very next day, I didn’t think it would be a problem and as you can see for the first half mile it wasn’t. During the 2nd half of my mile I had to stop for at least 30-60 seconds to stretch because it started hurting again. Lesson learn, when my body tells me my limits I need to listen instead of pushing through it, most of the time. It’s hard sometimes to listen to the messages your body sends you, especially when your dad is a Marine who reminds you that, “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” an awesome inspiring Marine saying, but also one that needs to be understood in context to the situation. So when my muscles hurt because they are doing more work than they are used to v.s. my muscles pulling and over working, I will remember the difference. Also stretching isn’t something to be taken lightly, DO IT. Stretching really does make a HUGE difference, it starts to warm up your muscles so that they are somewhat prepped for your workout, then really warm them up by doing a 5 minute walk or jog, don’t just jump into your exercise, WARM IT UP! Also before you completely cool down, stretch again! It will make all the difference between being sore and stiff and feeling amazing the next day, it also helps with your mentality towards exercising. You won’t associate constant soreness and pain with doing a good workout, but rather will remember the endorphins release during and after your workout making it a more pleasant memory.

 

So there’s my rant dealing with working out, I know I really should get something more to rant about. Oh and I know I promised some recipes and since my lil’ sisters and I are going to be living so far away and I know how much they love my cooking I will definitely be getting on adding those recipes I promised forever ago and others that my family and I love.

So much is happening, so many changes. This is proof and reason right here why it is so important to keep some sort of a record of the happenings of our lives. I don’t know what all I have forgotten these past two to three weeks, but I know I have forgotten plenty. But for now I think that this was a pretty good summary of the past few weeks and I feel like I’m ready to work on keeping better more accurate record more often.

Just for grins and giggles.