My 2016 Intention

2015 was a big year. Essentially everything about my life changed; I moved cross-country, got married, and started a new job. It was a year full of love and celebration and excitement, but there was also a lot of anxiety, long discussions and difficult choices. It was probably my most beautiful and, simultaneously, my most challenging year to date.

And so, for 2016, I’ve chosen the word settle as my intention.

With all these life changes behind us, it’s time for me and Derek to settle into our new lives. For me to settle into my new job. For Derek to settle into his dissertation work. In the spring, we’ll settle into our own apartment. We’ll settle back into Seattle. And of course, we’ll settle into our marriage.

I’m anticipating a quieter year, a year where our growth will be a little harder to see from the outside. I’m looking forward to a little more consistency and less chaos. I guess this is a sign of growing up—when a year of just living my life as it is sounds great, but that’s where I’m at.

But I know myself, too. I worry that I’ll grow bored of the quiet and start looking for change. I hope I can remember this intention in those moments, and instead appreciate this period of relative peacefulness in my life. I hope for myself to make 2016 a restorative year that sets the stage for whatever might come next. Because sometimes you just need some rest, you know?

To every sweet person who supported me in 2015, thank you. Your love and encouragement means more than you know. Cheers to an amazing 2016!

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Two Sleeps Til Move Day

I wrote this post six months ago, a few nights before I left Boston, and then left it as a draft. I wasn’t ready to announce our move online and I wasn’t ready to share these mushy feelings. But I’m ready now.

I have aspirations of writing about the last ten months of life—because I like having this journal and because I miss writing—but I’m not going to make any promises about when I’ll find the right words. So I leave you with this…

The apartment is nearly empty; I’m sitting on the only piece of furniture we have yet to sell, our couch, and that too will be gone by the end of the night. It’s rainy and grey. I’m alone and the place is quiet, save for the sound of the rain. I find myself caught in some emotional middle ground—desperate to be back home in Seattle but not quite ready to leave Boston behind. I’ve been busy—so so busy—that I thought I might escape these feelings. But they found me (as they always do).

I’ve never experienced a love/hate relationship like the one I have for Boston. Derek and I have grown tired of the cost, the distance from our families and the lack of opportunity; but this is the place where we became a “we”.  We had some truly great experiences, overcame some really tough stuff, met a lot of wonderful people and ultimately decided we were all-in, forever and ever.

I feel like I’m coming home a completely different person. I left Seattle with a lot of things to figure out; I’m coming home as a bride-to-be with a solid start to a marketing career. I changed my diet to reflect my ethics—ethics that I hadn’t defined until after I moved. I learned what it truly means to care for my body and have developed healthier routines accordingly. I know who I am and what I want from life in ways that weren’t previously clear. I didn’t “grow-up” in Boston, but I sure did a lot of growing.

All this to say, I’m going to miss you Boston.

And to my Boston people (you know who you are): You have changed my life in radical, amazing ways and I am so thankful for each of you. Thank you for sharing your city with me. Let’s be friends forever, no matter where we live, mmkay?

Until next time,

A

Oh hi….

Remember when I used to blog? Well, I’m ready to get back into it. I’m gonna start this off with a speedy-quick recap of the last nine months. Sound good?

September and October

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  • Lauren’s beautiful wedding
  • A visit from D’s parents
  • Electric Run 5K
  • Meeting my precious nephew
  • Not pictured: An overnight trip to Salem with my ladies

November and December

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  • A trip to NYC
  • Home for Christmas
  • We’re engaged!
  • SEA-HAWKS (Thanks for the awesome tickets Dad)
  • Not pictured: Thanksgiving, Ugly Sweater 5K

January and February

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  • Ringing in the new year with my favorite people (and celebrating 5 years with D)
  • Seahawks win the Superbowl
  • Aunty Sharon and Uncle B move to Tennessee 😦
  • Surprise engagement party for D and I
  • Not pictured: Tubing with friends

March and April

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  • Work trip to Mexico…not so bad, right?
  • Rebecca visited!
  • Pentatonix
  • New shoes, new habits
  • Not pictured: Easter with Gram and Gramps

I’m a little bummed that I took such a long break from blogging. As you can see, some really amazing things happened since last summer and they definitely deserve more than a bullet point. But at least it’s better than nothing.

May’s shaping up to be a great month. I’ve got a road trip, an epic concert and a visit from my cousin to look forward to over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Doug and Megan Got Married!

Megan was a beautiful bride and Doug was a sweet, teary-eyed groom (turned dancing machine after the ceremony). And they threw the best party! It was so great to celebrate D + M, see all my old friends again, eat vegan wedding cake and dance the night away.

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While the ceremony was only about three minutes long, it was uniquely Doug and Megan. Their good friend Mike D. officiated and they wrote their own vows. Doug got emotional as he read his commitment to Megan, which made me a little weepy too. They said their “I do”s, sealed it with a kiss and walked back down the aisle as a married couple. It was simple and sweet and left plenty of time in the evening for the party everyone was looking forward to.

We took some family photos on the dock before dinner which proved to be a little challenging since no one told the photographers that Doug’s immediate family was 15 people, but we made it work.

And then it was time for dinner. At that point, I was so hungry and so thankful that the meal was entirely vegan. I loaded up my plate (using restraint not to grab the entire bread basket and bring it back to my table). After we ate, Megan’s sister and Doug’s best friend gave toasts. They both did an excellent job–their stories captured the best qualities about Megan and Doug and reminded everyone why they make such a great couple.

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With dinner finished, it was time to get our party on. There was dancing (including some fun window/instructor/copycat dancing), drinking, cake eating, more drinking and more dancing. It was the best time, like grown-up prom where you can drink and only your best friends are invited!

When the DJ shut things down at 11pm, we weren’t ready to end the night so we loaded into a limo, a van cab, and two cars and headed downtown to a dive bar. Since it was Thursday night and the bar wasn’t very busy, we were able to commandeer a separate room just for us. Amongst the talking and shot-taking, Doug taught drinking games at one table, Derek played pool with a poorly dressed British man and Jake threatened to kill anyone who looked at him the wrong way (he was drunk-joking, obviously).

Finally just before 2am, we called it a night. There were 12 of us staying at the hotel upstairs so we made our way, split into our rooms and fell asleep to the promise of brunch in the morning.

Mego’s Bachelorette

Thursday morning I returned home from a month-long trip to the West Coast. Oh man was it a blast. I’ve got a lot to catch up on, so I’m going to break it down into a few posts. The primary purpose of the trip was to see my brother marry his sweetheart–so I’ll start with this first wedding activity: the bachelorette party.

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We may have been a small group, but it was still a really great night. We started at Mego’s apartment with some drinks and primping. Then we headed downtown for dinner, more drinks and dancing. The night started a little late, so our first choice restaurant didn’t work out. Since we were all starving, we went to the next closest place open. I don’t even remember what it was called, but I do remember that the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums band came into the restaurant and played two (or three?) songs. And then a little while later, the restaurant was invaded by clowns. I wish I was kidding.

After scarfing down our food, we started walking towards the dance club that Megan had chosen. Along the way, we saw a bar with a sign for half-price drinks so naturally we had to stop. Since it was two-for-one, we each had two shots and then continued our walk. We got to the dance club two minutes before 11pm–which is when the free cover ended. The woman at the door tried to say that the cover charge began at 10:30pm, but I sweet talked us in for free. 🙂

The club ended up being really small–and mostly full of men who weren’t into dancing–but we still had a good time. We had a champagne toast, did another shot and danced for a little while. When we had all had enough, we headed back to Megan’s favorite neighborhood bar for some karaoke.

At that point, I was exhausted. I wish I could blame it on the time difference, but at that point, I had been on the West Coast for two weeks. The truth is, I’m getting old.

After Megan sang, I convinced the group that walking up the enormous hill to her apartment was a terrible idea so we grabbed a cab to take us home. We got home just as Doug was getting off work, so Megan told him all about our night while the rest of us got ready for bed. The night ended with a 2am showing of Pitch Perfect but, in my usual fashion, I only stayed awake for about 10 minutes.

The next morning, Megan, her sister Tess and I went into Ballard for manis and pedis. The women at the salon were super sweet and it was a really relaxing morning/early afternoon. We finished up our girl-time with some sandwiches and a quick walk through the Farmer’s Market before parting ways. It was the perfect ending to her bachelorette.

Stay tuned, the wedding recap is coming next. 🙂

Home Again

I’m back at work today after a beautiful week in the Pacific Northwest. I was there primarily for Katie’s wedding, but I was able to see D’s parents, spend some time at home with my mom and sisters and squeeze in a visit with Erin in Portland. I missed my dad and Christina–you’re both at the top of my visit-list for next time.

Thanks for sharing the photos Autumn!

It was a really great week–full of sunshine, old friends and family. The only thing I would have changed was the fact that Derek was back in Boston. Next time we’re coming together, vacationing separately is not so fun. Some of my favorite things (mostly in chronological order):

  • Watching Big Brother with Rebecca.
  • A nice meal and excellent conversation at the Nelson house.
  • Doing hair and makeup at the bridal suite before the wedding. I miss having a bunch of girl roomies.
  • Katie looking more beautiful than ever as she walked down the aisle.
  • Dancing the night away with the ladies.
  • Watching The Hunger Games with my mom and sister
  • Hugging and kissing Horton. Until he made my allergies worse–then we stayed away from each other.
  • Helping Jaime pick out her first day of school outfit.
  • Drinks, dinner and catching up with Erin.

Katie, you looked amazing and your wedding was perfect. Thank you for inviting me and congratulations on the start of your happy marriage.

I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend. I’m back to work for 8 days and then I’m having my wisdom teeth removed. I’m kinda scared and kinda excited to spend four days watching tv instead of working. At least that how I hope it plays out…

Until next time,

A

One Year Ago

Finally crossing into Connecticut after 5 days of driving

It’s been a year. Already. I’ve been thinking about how I want to write this post for a while now and I still don’t know how to sum up all the changes I’ve experienced since leaving Seattle. From where I was and how I felt about my life a year ago to where I am right now, I can say that I made the right decision and that I’m happier and healthier. I’m exactly where I should be. But it hasn’t been an easy year—there was plenty of loneliness, self-doubt and tears before I realized that I could be happy here.

I still miss Seattle like crazy. I miss my family and friends, of course, but I’m surprised at how attached I still feel to the city I called home for only 13 months. If I could take Derek, my family, my new friends and my job and move everyone to Seattle, I would do it in a second. It will always feel like home.

But while I’m away, I’m proud that I live on my own and that I’m taking good care of myself. I could never have moved without the support of my family, especially my Aunt and Uncle for letting me live with them while I settled in. But it was never my intention to free-load indefinitely and I’m thankful that I found a job that allows me to support myself in the way I had hoped for.

And speaking of the job, it’s not always easy and sometimes I complain more than I should, but in all honesty, I love it. I love (most of) the work that I get to do. I love that I get to write, that I get to be creative, that I get to learn new things. And I absolutely love the majority of the people I work with. I was so miserable working at the Tux Shop; I am thankful to working at a job that I find interesting and rewarding.

Derek and I are doing better than ever. Obviously, if I had not moved, our relationship would not have been sustainable. His first semester of school (last fall) was really hard on me. I was unemployed, bored and lonesome and he was really busy. And he had opportunities to socialize that I didn’t. We didn’t talk as often as I liked and we both felt like we needed more emotional support than the other could give us. But since I found a job, and consequently friends, and I moved an hour closer to his home in New Hampshire, we’ve found a balance that works well for us.

All this to say, I’m happy I took the risk. The last year was full of change, transition and personal growth but I think the results have been positive—on pretty much every front. I hope the coming year is a little less crazy but I’m certain I’ll be able to handle any curveballs that are thrown my way.

Love and miss you all,

A

A Quarter Century

Disclaimer: This is a crazy long post. But it’s the last one from my trip to Washington. And this time there are corresponding photos thanks to Katie K. Enjoy. Or don’t. I won’t tell you what to do.

I had no expectations for my 25th birthday celebration. In fact, I was so excited about planning my vacation home that I sort of forgot about my birthday. But I have great people in my life, so I should have known that 25 would bring great things.

The timing of my trip dictated that if I wanted to celebrate in Seattle, I’d have to do it Sunday night- the day before my birthday. Doug gave me a little slack about starting the party a day early, but it really worked out well.

Derek and I met Rebecca and Katie K. at Doug and Mego’s. We started with a little pre-funking and then I opened my gifts from Katie. She brought me a delicious carrot cupcake from my favorite Portland bakery and gifted a cookbook that I instantly fell in love with and a wire whisk that goes with an inside joke from grad school.

Then we walked to a sushi restaurant not far from the apartment. It ended up being the perfect dinner spot because even though they only had 2 beers on tap, one of them was Kilt Lifter—my favorite. We ordered way too much food and beer and ate family-style. Derek may have spilled a drink on me, but he’d be embarrassed if I told you, so I won’t.

p.s. That necklace was my present from D. And he picked it out all by himself. Isn't he great?

After the meal, the boys headed straight to the bar while the girls headed straight to gelato. Yum yum yum. When I got to the bar, Mike D. had already arrived and someone had already told the bartender that it was my birthday. So I accepted my free beer and then bear hugged Mike. A few minutes later, Mikey Van Fleet showed up and the crew was complete. Some people played pool, I played shuffleboard and we all played songs on the jukebox (which, for some reason, I kept calling a music maker). There were shots for the July birthdays (Doug, Mike D., Katie and I) and then a bar regular named Heavy insisted on buying me a birthday drink.

Rebecca, Mike D. and Mego had to leave earlier than the rest of us, but I think it was at least midnight when they left. Derek, Katie, Mikey, Doug and I stayed until the bar closed. Derek may have spilled another drink on me. But again, I won’t embarrass him by telling you. On the way home, we accidentally split up. Derek and Mikey walked to Chevron for beer and scratch tickets. Doug, Katie and I walked to QFC for beer, Gatorade and snacks. And then we all met up at the apartment.

My snack. I'm not really sad- that's just a pose for the photo.

The boys stayed up even later drinking and talking outside. Katie and I crashed on the air mattress and didn’t wake up again until Mikey woke us all with a night terror that caused him to scream and kick. And then something funny must have happened because he started laughing in his sleep.

Katie and I had a quick breakfast at a place around the corner before she had to return to Oregon for work. When I got back to the apartment, Derek and Doug were starting to wake up. After watching some youth track races, Derek and I headed to the Ave for a little shopping (where I bought myself my newest favorite skirt), Jimmy John’s and then headed south for my mom’s house.

In Rainier, we hung with the family for a little while before Rebecca, Doug and Megan joined us all for dinner. Apparently my mom had planned a surprise party but I had inadvertently ruined it by inviting everyone over myself. No matter. We ate tasty lasagna and then my mom pulled out the crème brulee I’d requested. It was so good. We ended the evening my watching Jaime’s soccer team kick butt in their last game of the season.

All in all, it was a perfect birthday: easy and full of good food and great friends.

Here’s to hoping that 25 is my best year yet!

Thursday in Seattle

*Disclaimer- I didn’t take any photos the whole time I was in Washington. So to keep things interesting, I borrowed some related photos to add to this post. I hope it works; if you make it to the end of this kinda-long post, you get a prize.

I started my trip home late on Wednesday, leaving Hartford at 6pm and arriving in Seattle around 12:30am. Derek picked me up from the airport and we stayed with Doug and Mego that night. I had slept some on the plane, so I wasn’t completely exhausted. But it was late and Derek and I had plans in the morning, so we all went to bed shortly after I arrived.

Thursday morning I woke up an hour before the alarm was set to go off (apparently my internal clock was still set to East Coast). That gave me plenty of time to shower, get ready and check my usual spots on the internet before waking Derek and leaving for a breakfast date with his mom. Our plan was to meet her in Kirkland at 10:30 but due to some navigational problems, we didn’t all meet up until after 11. The conversation was nice and the food was delicious (note to self: make banana pancakes at home). We were able to chat for about an hour and half before D and I had to leave.

I didn't take this photo but it's from the same cafe. Giant pecan banana pancake goodness.

We drove straight from that filling breakfast to lunch with Dad, Heather and Ryan. Derek was a coward and didn’t even try to eat another meal but I was actually excited about eating at Zoopa again—I hadn’t been since I was a little kid—and I didn’t want to be rude to my dad by asking him to meet for lunch and then not even eat. So, I had a delicious salad and the five of us caught up.

And then it was on to my Aunty Shelley’s house for a visit with Uncle Rick, Phillip, Tiffaney, Hailey and, later, Aunty.

Hailey is so frickin big and smart and gorgeous. I was worried that she wouldn’t feel comfortable around me since I’d only seen her a handful of times, but it didn’t take long before we were playing together. She must have known that I’m a Minnie Mouse fan too. Oh I love her so much and it was nice to see everyone else too, even though my visit was so short.

Finally, we ended the night in Rainier at my mom’s.

I just realized that I saw every immediate family member still in Washington all in one day—that might be a record. I know my mom fed us when we got home but I can’t remember what it was. I know there was wine. I was so good to hug my mom and my little sisters. Even though two of them are taller than me, they will always be little in my mind.

We turned in early that night (it was a busy day and I still wasn’t adjusted to the time difference yet). The next morning I helped Jessie plan her trip to East for college visits, sat outside and chatted with my mom and, eventually, met with Rebecca and Christina for dinner. But I’ll tell you more about that in the next post—this one is already a little long.

Back to Blogging

So… you may have noticed the lack of updates over the last month. The extended absence is part laziness and part lack of inspiration. And I also thought that nobody read what I wrote. But you’ve convinced me. During my trip home several friends and family members pointed out that I haven’t been writing and Doug even told me I was good writer (which is an extra nice compliment coming from a grammar critic and former journalism student). I will try to do better.

I’m back to work today after six days off. My way-too-short Seattle visit was wonderful and full of everything good. I’ll be writing up stories of things I want to remember over the next few days. Expect to see the trip fully documented by the end of the weekend. Thank you to everyone who made time to see me; I miss and love you all so much.

 

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