The Little Things

2013 was the fastest year of my life. To sum it up, it was filled with tons of love, laughter, travel, huge life changes, and absolute fun. In 2013, Robert proposed, my family and I planned a wedding, Robert and I saw 7 friends/family members tie the knot, I held my good friend’s new-born son, Robert and I traveled up and down the east coast (NYC, Florida, Hendo, Atlanta, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head and Charleston), I started a new job, and Robert and I moved to Greenville, S.C.

2013 has been a very “UP” year for us. Although we faced a few road blocks, Robert and I finally ended up in the same city toward the end of the year. FINALLY! No more long distance relationship. No more weekend road trips. No more sitting in traffic on I-85 on Friday afternoons.

We’re finally able to experience some normalcy. We’re finding the fun in discovering roles within our household. We’re loving the fact that we get to physically talk face-to-face about our work days. We went to the gym together tonight, played a new sport (racquetball), and we both left beaming from ear to ear.  We’re re-learning Greenville through fresh eyes (new bars to explore, new churches to test out, new restaurants to try).   We’re decorating our apartment with our own sense of style and color. And mostly, we’re taking pleasure in the little things.

I’m very thankful for everything that 2013 threw my way.

That said, here’s my message to 2014: BRING IT ON. Bring on more love. Bring on our WEDDING. Bring on the morning when my mom, sister and I will get ready together. Bring on the moment when Robert sees me for the first time at the end of the aisle. Bring on the long aisle that my dad will escort me down. Bring on the moment when Robert and I promise ourselves to each other in front of those who love us. Bring on the singing and dancing and laughter that will inevitably ensue during our reception.

Bring on more trips around the world. Bring on more date nights with my (soon-to-be) husband. Bring on more golf days with my family. Bring on more trips to the beach. Bring on more hikes. Bring on more exercise.  Bring on hard work. Bring on celebrations of our families’ and friends’ birthdays, matrimony ceremonies and engagements.

And finally, bring on more little things. 🙂

Painting girl (and boy)

Robert owns and lives in a house in North Carolina. He bought it years ago (before we started dating) and decided to fix-it-up into a cute mountainy home. Once Robert and I started dating, fixing up his house went on the back burner. He was traveling to Atlanta most every weekend and when we weren’t in Atlanta, we were scooting around the southeast together. Since we’ve gotten engaged, Robert has made it a priority to finish the final touches on his abode. I’m all for it. I can’t wait to see the finished product- I know it will be great.

The past two weekends, I’ve traveled up to rainy NC to help Robert paint rooms, closets, doors and trim. I was gung-ho the first weekend. I knocked out a few doors and helped with some trim while Robert painted his bathroom a pretty, light yellow. We were really proud of what we accomplished in a little less than 2 days.

This past weekend, I wasn’t as gung ho. Mid-way through Saturday, as I was painting one of his spare bedroom’s closets, I broke down. I think it was a mix of tiredness, crappy weather and the fact that I was literally standing inside of a closet painting a random shelf that upset me. Robert walked in and asked me to stop painting. We talked for a while and he said, “Not painting for one day isn’t going to make or break this house. Let’s get ready and spend the afternoon together in Asheville. Let’s have fun.” It didn’t take but 3 seconds for me to agree to his proposal. 🙂

We headed into Asheville’s Biltmore Park,  shopped around, grabbed lunch at Hickory Tavern, watched the Kentucky Derby, and drank margaritas (in celebration of Cinco de Mayo) with his sister and brother later that night.

I know that Robert’s house will be finished at some point. He’s dedicated, and he’s a hell of a hard worker.

Happy Maddy

I woke up with a huge smile on my face today. Why? Because I’m completely happy. Plain and simple. I’m excited and over the moon about everything that’s going on in my life right now. A few things I’ve been focused on over the past few weeks:

Family– Over the past month, I’ve seen my family quite a bit. My mom and sister came to Atlanta in late March to wedding dress shop and… dun dun dun… we found the dress! It’s absolutely gorgeous and I love, love, love it.

A couple of weeks ago, my family met up in Charleston for a long weekend of celebrating my Aunt Marg’s 60th birthday, running the Charleston Cooper River Bridge Run, watching Venus and Serena face-off at the Family Circle Cup and shopping on King Street. The laughs, stories and love that we shared made it a perfect weekend.

Last weekend, I went home to Greenville, SC to meet our day-of wedding planner and celebrate Kim’s 50th birthday with a surprise party.  First: the wedding planner. Love her. We met with her at a Starbucks in DT Greenville and chatted about everything wedding-wise for about 2 hours. She gave us opinions on bands, rehearsal dinner spots, caterers and day-of ideas. My mom, sister and I have similar opinions and it was nice to have a third party affirm most of our thoughts.

Later that night, we headed over to Nancy’s house for Kim’s surprise party. My mom and her friends had planned the big she-bang for about 4 months and it paid off. The party, people and personalized pillows were perfect. 🙂  My mom read a beautiful poem honoring Kim and she had the whole party laughing and smiling throughout the entire reading. Robert leaned over to me while my mom was presenting the poem and said, “Now I know where you got your writing skills.”

Work: I’m loving it. I’ve been conducting intern interviews over the past few weeks and explaining what it means to be a Porter  Novelli employee. Throughout each meeting with potential candidates, I’m realizing more and more how much I love PN. This agency compares to none. It truly is awesome. I come into work every day looking forward to working with my team. I’m given the chance to be creative, learn, grow, and have fun in a collaborative environment with positive, smart people. I have a wonderful coach on my team who wants and encourages me to grow. I can’t say enough nice things about this place.  Ok. Enough of drinking the PN Kool-Aid… moving on….

Robert– [Gush warning] In the beginning of my post, I said that I wake up with a smile on my face. A lot of that has to do with the fact that in less than 10 short months, I’m going to marry the most amazing man thatI’ve ever met (besides my dad). And the sparkly diamond on my finger reminds me of that every day.  Even though we’re technically in a long distance relationship still, Robert and I talk about 15 times a day via phone calls, texts and even sometimes emails.  Each conversation and visit makes me fall more in love with him. He is sincerely interested in my day, my feelings, my to-do list, my work stories, my workout progress, my family, and the list goes on and on. And I’m really interested in everything in his life. Robert is a rare gem, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us.  🙂 

All in all, I’m very fortunate and thankful for everything that’s been going in my life. I try not to take things for granted because, as we unfortunately saw earlier this week in Boston, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.   

We’re ENGAGED!!!

On the evening of Friday, February 8, 2013, Robert asked me to marry him and I said YES! There’s absolutely no more eloquent of a way that I can say it. He asked me to spend the rest of his life with him! I still cannot believe it until I look down at this glistening diamond on my left hand. Seriously, when the sun shines on this ring, it looks like it’s on fire. It’s perfect, perfect, perfect. We are over-the-moon ecstatic and I am still floating. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Here’s how it went down:

Robert picked out my ring a while back, but it finally arrived on the Wednesday before he popped the Big Q. Like a gentleman, he wanted to ask my dad to marry me in person, but hadn’t ever saved my dad’s number in his phone. He called Sam (my sister’s boyfriend) three separate times to get my dad’s number.  Because Sam tells my sister everything (like a good boyfriend should :-)), Robert told Sam a liiittle white lie and said he needed my dad’s number because he had someone that needed boxes. (My dad’s in the packaging industry.)

Sam inevitably told Merrick about their conversation, and being the good and investigative sister that Merrick is, she called me on Friday to pass along the information. “Did you know Robert’s trying to give Dad business?” I didn’t. So I called Robert. And then my Dad. And asked them to explain why Robert was trying to send business my dad’s way. I don’t like mixing business with family.  After they both assured me that it was nothing and that it wasn’t a big deal, I let it slip my mind and went about my Friday.

— Insert what really happened- After Sam gave Robert my dad’s phone number, Robert called and asked my dad to meet him for lunch or dinner to chat. They ended up meeting in person on Thursday, had a very nice talk and Robert asked my dad’s permission to marry me. My dad gave Robert permission right then and there. It still makes me emotional thinking about the two men that I love most in my life sitting in a Panera in Spartanburg talking about me while I sat in a cubicle 3 hours away working away and not suspecting a thing. —

— Insert one more thing- Detective Merrick called my dad immediately after finding out that Robert had asked for my dad’s number.  She specifically asked him if Robert had called my dad to ask for my hand in marriage.  My dad lied and said, “No.”  He felt terrible for lying, but in hindsight, I’m thankful that my dad didn’t tell Merr. Our engagement was just as big of a surprise for her as it was for me, and her reaction was amazingly priceless.—

Flash forward to Friday night. I drove to Hendersonville to spend the weekend with Robert. He had the whole weekend planned. He was going to make dinner for me on Friday night, and we were going to visit a local brewery on Saturday afternoon. It seemed perfect to me. Little did I know, Robert had other tricks up his sleeve.

When I arrived at Robert’s house, he was on his deck checking the chicken that he was grilling. He met me at my car as I was grabbing my bags and told me to come inside before I unpacked everything.

Before I go any further, I have to say that Robert is a romantic. As much as he tries to put on a tough guy front, he says and does the nicest things to and for me that make me feel incredibly special. However, he isn’t a cheesy romantic. He doesn’t use corny lines or take me on cliche dates. He’s awesome. That’s exactly why what happened next wasn’t too out of the ordinary.

We headed inside his house where I found beautifully lit candles, the biggest roses that I’d ever seen on his table, and a warm fire illuminating the room.  “Well look at you, Mister Romantic,” I exclaimed. He just smiled and we chatted about our days as if everything was normal.

After about 5 minutes of chatting, Robert said to me, “I have to tell you something- I lied to you.” Immediately, my heart sank and I began to get upset. “About WHAT?” I asked. He said, “I’ve never lied to you before and I will never, ever lie to you again.  I met with your dad the other day. But I have to tell you, we didn’t meet to talk about business. We met so that I could ask him for your hand in marriage.”  We chatted for a minute, he got down on one knee, told me that he loved me and asked me to marry him. 🙂

I immediately called my parents (who obviously already knew) and called my sister. Then I called/texted my VIPs. By the end of the night, we were both exhausted. The rest of the weekend was filled with celebrations with our families, reception site visits in Greenville and supporting messages from our loved ones.

I’m so thankful that our engagement was personal and special. Robert is the most amazing man that I’ve ever met, (besides my dad) and I am very excited that we’ll have the rest of our lives to love, learn and laugh with each other.

More posts on wedding planning to come soon, but this is honestly the first time I’ve had a chance to mark down this monumental event in my life. WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!! And, really, I can’t stop staring at my ring.

In Falls Park in Greenville, SC the day after our engagement!

In Falls Park in Greenville, SC the day after our engagement!