Weeks 25 & 26: Anniversary Trip!

I absolutely love feeling baby girl kick inside of me. The most special thing to me is that these kicks are all mine. I’m the one able to feel her every second of the day. Whether I’m in a meeting or on the elliptical, she’s moving about. It’s special because it’s like a secret code between the two of us. It’s almost as if she knows what I’m thinking because she gives me a special nudge at certain moments when I forget that I’m pregnant. I imagine her saying “Hey! remember me down here!?” 🙂

Robert surprised me with a trip to Asheville for our first wedding anniversary right before my 26th week mark. We had a blast tooling around, going in the shops and enjoying each other. ❤ It was a perfect, short getaway that was far enough away from Greenville to give our minds a rest. There was no worrying about cleaning the house, preparing the baby’s room or worrying about our list of things to do before she gets here. I hit a big milestone on our trip to Asheville… my skinny jeans stopped fitting around my waist. It hit me hard! I made the decision to finally start shopping for maternity clothes that next weekend.

Throwback to our wedding day. <3

Throwback to our wedding day. ❤

Walking around Asheville

Walking around Asheville

25 week Bumpdate

25 week Bumpdate!

Week 26

Week 26 Bumpdate!

 

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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. 🙂

Catching Fireflies.

We celebrated Kristin’s last few weeks as a “single woman” in Savannah in late June. Her MOH and cousin, Shannon, booked a cute condo in downtown Savvy and we walked to The Bohemian for dinner and then Savannah Smiles for a night full of dancing, singing (screaming) and celebrating K Cox. It’s very rare that I hang out with all women (as most of the time, I’m with Robert), but it’s really nice to change it up a bit. We talked and laughed into the early hours of Saturday morning, reminiscing about our times at Clemson, recounting old spring break trips and discussing millions of wedding deets.

Girls at Savannah Smiles for KC's Bach!

Girls at Savannah Smiles for KC’s Bach!

I hopped up early Saturday morning and drove to Robert’s in Hendersonville to get ready for Cheen’s wedding.  Cheen lived three doors down from my family’s house on Bramblewood growing up. When I think of Cheen, I remember sleepovers, lemonade stands, her lab George, sledding down her driveway and visiting her Folly Beach house. She looked gorgeous walking down the aisle and it was fun reconnecting with her during the reception. We had a blast dancing at the reception. It’s pretty fun when you’re whole family is out on the dance floor tearing it up. At the end of the night my mom’s feet hurt her so badly that Robert carried her out of the Poinsett Club like a baby.  I’m pretty sure that when your fiancé carries your mom out of the reception at the end of the party, you can call that night a success. We ended up going out in downtown Greenville, met up with some old friends and even made a new, crazy one.

Family.

Family.

Compilation of the fun at Cheen's wedding

Compilation of the fun at Cheen’s wedding

On Sunday, Robert and I headed back to Hendo for some R&R. I was exhausted after more than 700 miles of driving around the southeast. Late that night, we sat on Robert’s front porch in the pitch black and watched (and caught) the millions of lightening bugs as the swarmed his yard. It was a perfect way to wind down a whirlwind weekend.

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.   

Life lately.

Last weekend, I went home to Greenville to wedding dress shop with my mom and sister. After three stores and about twenty dresses, we sill didn’t find “the dress.” Even though the final dress decision wasn’t made, we had a great time breaking down the dresses and picking out what we liked/disliked about each one. I tried on dresses of every size, shape and material, so now I have a better understanding of what I want The One to look like. The best part about dress shopping was spending the whole day with my mom and sister laughing and chatting and sharing opinions.

The rest of last weekend was filled with listening to bands online, looking at photographers’ websites and vegging out with my family and Robert.

This week, I went to San Francisco for work and fell in love with the city.

I’m currently in Hendersonville helping Robert insert a sump pump into his basement. By help, I mean I’m sitting in the sun, listening to country music, watching my handy man saw and break up concrete, and blogging.

Here are pics detailing my life lately according to my iPhone:

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Planning, planning, planning.

In the past, when I’ve heard girls say “I have SO much to plan for my wedding,” and “I have to go home to do wedding planning,” I’ve rolled my eyes. I would think to myself, “ Is it really THAT complicated?”  It is. And I apologize to every girl that I’ve ever rolled my eyes at now. There are a million little things that need to be decided upon- and I’ve started to realize that over the past month.

Robert and I have now been engaged for a little over 3 weeks. Since then, we’ve booked a reception spot, picked out our bridal party, bought bridesmaids’ dresses and jewelry, decided the main wedding colors, narrowed down photographers and bands, booked a florist and booked a day-of wedding planner. EEKS! Who knew all of that went into a love-filled, wedding weekend?

While we (me and my mom) were a bit overwhelmed in the beginning of planning, I think we’re feeling more comfortable with all of the decisions that need to be made since the wedding and reception venues are booked. Instead of stressing about every little detail, I’m embracing the phone calls, emails, texts and even Pinterest boards that are surrounding my wedding. It’s an amazing feeling to have everyone you love focused on you and your Big Celebration.

Last Monday, I had President’s Day off from work and was heading back to ATL from a long weekend in Myrtle Beach (½ marathon).  Instead of going straight back to the city, I headed home to Greenville to meet with my mom and chat through wedding stuff.  Our day turned from chatting about dates for a wedding shower and flower arrangements to things that are far more important.

My mom and I talk to each other a lot. Like a lot. Like at least once every day and sometimes even more. She’s my best friend and we have a really strong relationship. It seems as though during each life-changing event that I go through, I have a pretty serious heart-to-heart with my mom that differs from our other conversations.  These conversations are in no-way planned, but they somehow naturally occur. It happened before I went to college. It happened before I graduated and moved to Atlanta. It happened before I decided to take a new job. And it happened on President’s Day.

This talk encompassed the future, marriage, friendships, worries, the “gems” in our lives and love. I will never, ever forget it.

Wedding planning so far has been an absolute blast. I’ve laughed at some of the dresses that my sister has picked out for the bridesmaids, I’ve smiled as I’ve chatted with my dad about his excitement for our Big Day, and I’ve even cried because of all of the emotions that I’m feeling all at once about everything at the same time.

This year is going to be a crazy, fun, loving, wedding-filled ride.  Bring.It.On.

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!