Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week Forty-Eight

This week has been the most exciting one since we've gotten married.

We celebrated Christmas, sure, but that wasn't the most exciting thing.

On December 27, 2014 I took a test. In shock and disbelief I watched a plus sign appear. A few hours later I drove to the pharmacy and returned with a different test. This time two lines appeared.

It's true. This is real life. We're having a baby.

After taking my second round of Femara/Letrozole to help me ovulate (because I have PCOS), I did. And not only did I ovulate, but we made a baby. We made a person with our genitals. Ha ha. Neither of us thought that it would happen this soon. We're in shock and amazed and excited and terrified.

We are going to be parents!

Thing to remember from this week: Little Smith is coming in 2015!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Week Forty-Seven

This week I married another couple at a park here in Greenville. It was beautiful. It was the first same-sex wedding that I've officiated. When I saw their smiles that day I just couldn't believe anyone that would oppose them. They had such a loving, happy family. It was great to be a part of their day.

Every time I perform a wedding ceremony I am reminded of the love I have for you. I am so grateful every day to be in love. It's something that many people never experience and others lose too quickly.

Later in the week my site had their holiday party at the Commerce Club. It was quite swanky.

We were supposed to go to your side of the family's Christmas get-together but something treacherous happened instead. An evil stomach virus attacked my system and made me feel awful. You were sweet and brought me Ginger Ale and Powerade. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling 100% on the day of the gathering so we decided not to go. I was looking forward to it so much! I hated missing it. 

We've decided that we're going to try to go to Illinois/Iowa next year to visit my family. I miss them all so much more during the holidays. You still have so many people to meet. I want to go back up there and make new memories with all of them and you.

Thing to remember from this week: nothing feels better than being in love with your spouse.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week Forty-Six

This week was a good one. We took a day trip to Columbia so I could officiate a wedding there. My clients were married in Finlay Park. It was beautiful! Even though it was a business-related trip it felt so wonderful to have a little adventure. It was nice to get out of our apartment and drive for a bit.

 It made me even more excited for our anniversary trip next month. We’re most likely going to Savannah, Georgia. Neither of us have been there and we’ve heard it’s an impressive city. I want to see some gorgeous Victorian houses, eat some awesome food, and visit Tybee Island. It’ll be so lovely to get away for a couple of days and just celebrate our first big milestone in our marriage.

Thing to remember for this week: small trips build excitement. Sometimes it’s good to just get away.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Week Forty-Five

This week it was back to business after our Thanksgiving break. It made me realize how much I want to be my own boss full-time. I get a decent amount of inquiries for my side business (notary public/wedding officiant) but even that isn't something that I want to do 100% full-time. 

When I think about the future and what I want it to look like I see freedom. I want us to be financially stable and free and able to do everything we want to do. I want us to live full lives. I don't want to have to work from 9:00 to 5:00 every day. I want to be able to make my own schedule. I want to write. I want to create things. I want us both to be able to have the careers we want. People make it happen every day. We can do it. It isn't going to happen over night. We are going to have to work hard to make our dreams come true. I plan to attend every conference and workshop I can. I want to actively work on our future and help us build a firm foundation for our family.

We will do great things together, my love. I can feel it.

Thing to remember from this week: Life is worth living so let's live it!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week Fourty-Four

We both had a few much needed days off this week. We had a date night at Copper River Grill. The food was amazing. You have now decided that it’s our new place. I fully agree. We spent some time with friends and also alone together. We needed both.

 We celebrated Thanksgiving--- twice! We first went to Tommy and Kathy’s on Thanksgiving Day to have dinner with our friends. I brought sweet potato casserole which was a huge hit…. because it tasted AMAZING. We then had Thanksgiving with your dad’s side of the family on Sunday. I made green bean casserole which was delicious.

 Let’s just get right to the point: your wife can cook! I feel like it’s a skill that a lot of people are unfortunately lacking. I am still baffled when anyone says that they “don’t know how to cook”. I’m sure my face always says, “Are you serious?!” But I digress.
We had a great time at Jill and Robert’s newly renovated house. I want their kitchen! One of these days my love, we will have a craftsman house!

The holidays especially make me miss my family in Illinois and Iowa. I feel such a need to be close to them and we just aren’t. Sometimes I wish that I would have gotten to stay up there so I could have grown up with everyone. But then I wouldn’t have met you… in fourth grade… and married you fifteen years later. I also wouldn’t have the amazing friends I have and the experiences I’ve had. In the end, I wouldn’t trade one for the other. I just wish that I could’ve gone back more growing up. You mentioned to me that we should try to go there for the holidays next year. I think it’s a great idea. You still have so many people on my Mom and Dad’s sides that you need to meet.

I think it’s also important to know that families aren’t always inherited. Sometimes they’re made. We’ve developed a pretty great family with our friends. Wherever we are and whoever we’re with for the holidays from now on, we know that we’ll be surrounded by love and laughter.

Even if it sounds sappy, I am incredibly thankful for you. I am thankful for you every day. It isn’t always easy. But it is always worth it. I’m thankful that I have someone to share all of the big things and small things and the craziness of everyday with.

Thing to remember from this week: Practice thankfulness every day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week Forty-Three

This week we’ve been married for ten months. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year already! Something exciting happened in South Carolina. They finally passed marriage equality in our state! I’m so happy that all of our LGBT friends can now marry the person they love. I’ve been getting calls about officiating same-sex wedding ceremonies and I’m thrilled to finally be able to offer my services to those couples.

Earlier in the week Jessi and I went to the Power Up event hosted by Greenville Business Magazine. It was great to hear from business leaders in our area. One of them was your cousin! He gave a great speech. I love hearing inspiring stories from business owners in our area.

I’ve been thinking a lot about possible jobs after AmeriCorps. I plan to send my resume to places out of state. I think it’s about time for another adventure. You and I deserve a new adventure. We haven’t lived out of this state together yet. I think we should. I’d love to go to the Portland area or Washington state or Colorado. I want to go somewhere that I really feel I can make an impact and also where I can further my education and earn my master’s degree.

I want to see us in a place where we can really grow.

Things to remember for this week: Marriage equality is here in SC!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Week Forty-Two

Something awesome we did this week was meet with a therapist. This was our first time going to couples therapy and it was amazing. Our therapist is wonderful. Our marriage isn’t in “trouble”. Therapy gets such a bad rap sometimes. People tend to think of it as a last resort and attach negativity to it when it’s just the opposite. I like to think of it as preventative care--- like a check-up.

 It’s good to have someone else there to hold us accountable for our personal and professional goals. I feel like we’ve learned a lot already. It provided some clarity. I think we both left feeling revived. We’ve decided after our initial session that we would like to continue seeing her for therapy.

So many people forget that marriage isn’t a thing. It’s a verb. We have to participate in our marriage daily. We both know that we’ve chosen the best person to spend our lives with. It feels great to be able to be open and vulnerable with one another and to work toward developing an even stronger marriage.

I am so happy that we went and even happier that we are working toward our goals together.

Things to remember for this week: From counseling comes clarity.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week Forty-One

We had a very low-key Halloween at Marielle and Corey’s. It was a lot of fun. Next year though, we’re doing Halloween up right! We have to wear costumes and carve pumpkins! We planned to carve some this year but it just never happened. I will never be too old to dress up and get excited about Halloween.

 I went to the Athena Women’s Leadership Symposium. It was pretty empowering to hear from one of the leaders in our community.

It was Election Day on Tuesday. I went out in a blue dress. I didn’t even realize until later how Democratic I looked… and rightfully so. I passed some classes that I was so behind in I thought I’d fail. I turned in all of my late assignments by the end-of-course deadline. I made an A in one class and a B in the other! That made me feel awesome.
I finished the first round of medication to help with fertility so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully we’ll have a little Smith soon!

Driving down the road the other day it hit me again: we’re married. I’m married to the guy I met in fourth grade. I’m married to the guy that sat in front of me in my ninth grade math class--- the one that wrote a “book” back-and-forth with me about how the teacher’s assistant annoyed us. I’m married to the person I can have great conversations with, laugh the most with, and still makes me weak when we kiss.

I married the best guy for me.

Things to remember for this week: Obstacles can be overcome.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week Forty

This week we’ve both been busy with work. We did get to hang out with friends one night this week and that was nice. It feels good to be able to take a break from all of the stress of work.

I went to the Upstate Fatherhood Coalition’s first job fair. It went pretty well. They told all of the vendors that they were going to have a banquet for us as a thank you. I’m looking forward to that.

I also went to the men’s luncheon at the Sterling Hope Center. It felt great to be able to offer services to some people that can really benefit from it.

You and Corey are both thinking about doing the SCMC program which I am 100% for. I think it would be great for both of you. It’s an excellent program that I help recruit people for for the GRWC so I know all about it. I’ll be doing an “info session” for you and Corey to make sure that it’s something you both really want to do. I think it’d be great for both of our families.

Things to remember: I’m loving the song “Church” by Hozier right now. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wife Thirty-Nine

I seriously love this season. The air is crisp. Layers are in. Holidays are just around the corner. Fall is probably the season that makes me feel the happiest.
We went over to Tommy and Kathy’s for some fall festivities. We dressed up. You braided part of my hair before we went. I am so happy to have photographic evidence of this. We got to hang out with some of our best friends around a fire. We made s’mores… and Kathy couldn’t pronounce it to save her life which was hilarious. We played games and laughed a lot. It’s always nice to get a break from our busy schedules to just get to enjoy life.

I’ve had VITA training this week with AmeriCorps. I am excited to be able to offer free income tax assistance to people. I think that it’s an amazing thing that AmeriCorps members can do and it helps so many. However, I hate numbers so I was thrilled for this section of our training to be over… for now.

Right now I’m watching you make dinner. It’s like I’ve just seen a unicorn. I love it when you cook. It gives me a break, of course, but it’s also just incredibly sweet. Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll have convinced you to cook more often. A girl can dream, can’t she?

On a very random note: sometimes I feel like a creeper because I just watch you from across the room. I just caught you laughing at something funny you thought of in your head. At that exact moment you decided to tell me that you changed the words of the song “Bleeding Love” to “Keep eating. I pull it open (as you opened the sour cream) and I keep eating.” It was so funny.

I always wanted to marry the person that kept me laughing. I definitely followed through with my plan. I love every hilarious moment with you.

Things to remember: The day-to-day moments-- the ones that make you laugh, are some of the best moments. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week Thirty-Eight

We’ve both had another busy work week. Luckily we have some fun things coming up to look forward to. (Pumpkin carving, here we come!)

We’ve been seriously talking about adding to our family. This week I went to the doctor and talked about fertility. You and I both feel that we should be proactive. So, we’re trying. J I was put on a medication to help me ovulate. It could not work or I could be pregnant next month. It’s both exciting and terrifying!

The cats have been acting weird. We think it might be because we switched up their food. (They prefer the “Tender Centers”.) They’ve been sitting in the kitchen at random times. They keep running and jumping (and then sliding) on our shoe rack. Then they lay on it. They have reclaimed it as theirs. When you came home for lunch the other day you found that Alistair had jumped on the counter and gotten into the cabinets. He got his treats out and got into the catnip. He had catnip all over the floor in the kitchen and himself. It’s ridiculous…entertaining, but ridiculous.

Things to remember for this week: Our cats are taking out their frustrations on us and it’s hilarious.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Week Thirty-Seven

This week was packed with events I was helping with through AmeriCorps. Aside from my day-to-day duties, I helped with a job fair, attended meetings, and helped with the Upstate Stand Down for Homeless Veterans. I feel so blessed to be able to serve the community in so many different ways. I also feel exhausted! We’ve both been working and learning a lot. I am excited every day to develop more skills that can help me in the future both professionally and personally.

We found out that our close friends (names cannot yet be shared because they haven't told everyone) are going to have a baby and we’re so happy for them! I can’t wait for us to be an aunt/uncle to their awesome kid. I’m thrilled to be able to share in their joy and look forward to the day that we get to feel what they’re feeling.

For right now, it’s you, me, and the cats. Life is busy but it’s pretty sweet.

Things to remember from this week: Friends’ happiness is our happiness. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week Thirty-Six

This week was a hard but productive one. This week taught us that we want to be with each other now more than ever. This week we have grown.

Also, while talking to you about healthy food you said something hilarious. I was thinking of recipes out and you were eating homemade chicken pot pie when you came across a lima bean? “What the hell is this?” you said jokingly. “It’s a lima bean.” “I know it’s a lima bean but what is it doing in here?” Apparently, you don’t like lima beans. During the course of this conversation I told you that “I need you to make me a list of all the things [food] you hate.” To which you replied, “I hate all beans except baked and green.” This made me laugh so hard. Then you told me that you’ll just have to write it all down. BECAUSE. YOU. HATE. THAT. MANY. VEGETABLES. You hate so many vegetables and other healthy foods that you actually need to write out a list. It’s ridiculous. I was a vegetarian for six months at one point. I obviously love vegetables. I think I’m going to start sneaking them into things without telling you so that you can get the vitamins and stuff you need.

It is finally starting to feel like fall outside and that excites me. I’m looking forward to picking out pumpkins with you and enjoying all the awesome things that this season offers.

Things to remember from this week: Good things take time. Great things happen all at once. Exceptional things take work.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Week Thirty-Five

This week Kiira and I went to Atlanta for the second annual Maiedae Mixer. A minor crisis happened earlier in the week when the dress I ordered for the mixer turned out to be two sizes too big. Luckily I was able to get it altered by a seamstress that performed no less than a miracle. This year’s Maiedae Mixer theme was “You’re Golden”. Everyone wore something that had gold in it. Thanks to an amazing seamstress my shabby black/gold dress was transformed into something that hugged in all the right places. I had a fantastic night and I couldn’t wait to get home and tell you about it.

The next day we went to my Mom and Greg’s wedding. I am so glad that my mother has found someone that makes her so happy. You and I both love Greg. He’s awesome. I’m so happy they’ve got each other. It was so amazing to get to be there when they got married. It may sound corny but every time we go to a wedding to celebrate someone else’s happiness it reminds me of our own. Every day I get to start my day and end my day with you. Whatever happens in between is always made better by those two moments.

Things to remember from this week: Celebrating other people’s happiness is good for our own.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week Thirty-Four

This week has been one of those weeks where we’re getting ready for awesome things to happen. This coming weekend Kiira and I will be heading down to Atlanta for the Maiedae Mixer. Kiira and I have both been getting ready for the golden theme. We’re super excited! My Mom and Greg’s wedding is also this weekend and we’re looking forward to that.

During a random conversation that we had you decided to tell me what you would wish for if a genie gave you three wishes. They are as follows: 1. To never get hit in the balls again  2. To have an unlimited supply of cereal & milk--- specifically Honeycomb 3. You would wish the genie free. I told you that your wishes were ridiculous and that you cannot be trusted with wishes of any kind if given the chance. I laughed so hard I cried during this conversation.

We hung out with a few of my fellow AmeriCorps members which was awesome. It was great to hang out with them since we really only see each other once a month for our leadership development days.

AmeriCorps members all swore-in on September 12th. We watched a live broadcast with President Obama and former President Clinton. I felt incredibly proud to be taking the pledge that day. I’m proud of the work that we do and the people we serve.
I’m so glad that you’re the person that I get to share all of my goals, dreams, and everyday stories with.

Things to remember for this week: You should not be the wisher of wishes for our family.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week Thirty-Three

We’ve been working a lot and watching a lot of things on Netflix lately. This week I’ve learned to be happy just being married to you. We both worked hard and were pretty tired the whole week. We went to bed early just about every night. I’m learning to be thankful for these times too. 

These are the times where there is a lot going on but nothing at all. There isn’t anything “exciting” happening. It’s just everyday life. It’s times like these that I remember why I married you. You’re the person that I want to spend all of my life-changing, amazing, excited moments with and you’re also the person that I want to spend the everyday moments with. 

Sometimes I think that we may actually grow more as a couple during the everyday moments than we do in the ones where an event or something took place. These are the times that we become a better team and develop our own routine for helping each other’s week run smoothly. This is when we have good conversations and laugh about random things. This is when we play with our cats and snuggle on the couch. I am happy with you every day. I love you.

Thing to remember for this week: The everyday moments mean just as much as the “major” ones.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week Thirty-Two

We went to a picnic that my Mom and Greg’s church had. They smoked a whole pig. That was probably 99.9% of the reason that you agreed to go. I asked if you could half a cheek from the pig and you were overjoyed about it. We watched “Hannibal Rising” a few weeks ago and they mentioned something about the cheeks being a delicacy. For that reason you had to try it. You were not impressed.

We also FINALLY got to go bowling which was something that we’ve been meaning to do since we first got together. We both predicted that you’d kick my ass…. and you certainly did. It’s always nice to have a spontaneous date night!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week Thirty-One

We celebrated Tommy’s birthday at his house with game night. We played “Minute to Win It” games. It was SO much fun! The funny thing was that a few weeks before that you and I were talking about how we needed to do a “Minute to Win It” game night. Great minds think alike. We’ve all decided that we have to do game nights like that more often.

 My two weeks of AmeriCorps orientation at the United Way has wrapped up and I’m finishing my first week at my site (Urban League of the Upstate). It feels amazing being back in the nonprofit community. I’ve been doing a lot of networking. There are so many awesome organizations out there that do so many things to help people. There are so many people that aren’t taking advantage of different programs, etc. because they simply don’t know about them. I’m working on educating myself with everything available so that I can educate others.

Things to remember: Knowledge is power!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Week Thirty

I am so thankful to have you as my husband. You support me in everything I do and support me even more by doing things beside me. I signed us up for volunteering events for both Saturday and Sunday (after our five-day work-week). The first thing we did was help with School Tools. We handed out over 3,000 backpacks with supplies for children in need. 

The next day we helped with the take-down of Greenville Literacy Association’s annual book sale. This was the third year that I’ve been a team leader for the event. I’m pretty sure that we set a new record for how quickly we finished. That event is special to me because I interned at Greenville Literacy and first fell in love with the nonprofit field there. 

This year was special because last year’s take-down was the first time that we volunteered together. It was then that I first really saw your work ethic, your giving spirit, and your sweet interactions with strangers. I fell deeper in love with you then. I think I fall more in love with you each time that I get to see you giving back to the community. It is one of the times that I think you are your best self.

Things to remember: "I can assure you, public service is a stimulating, proud and lively enterprise. It is not just a way of life; it is a way to live fully." -Lee H. Hamilton

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Week Twenty-Nine

We got to hang out with Kiira and Jason earlier this week. It was great being around other newlyweds. You could feel the love in the room. We had fondue night! The cheese fondue was out of this world. The chocolate fondue was good, too. Fruit dipped in chocolate is still good for you because it’s fruit…. right? Right! That’s how Kiira and I looked at it anyway. Fondue night will hopefully become a tradition. It’s so awesome having them in our lives.

I started serving with AmeriCorps on Monday! A few of us were originally going to start the Saturday before to help with a community event but it was canceled (rain :/). Orientation has been great so far. I keep finding out about more and more things that just make it all even more worth it. One of those things is that some colleges will actually match the education award that we get after our year of service. Two colleges that I’ve wanted to go to for years are on that list! After I wrap up my bachelor’s I just may take advantage of the match program at one of these schools for my master’s.

This year with AmeriCorps will probably challenge me and help me grow so much personally and professionally. I’m so glad to finally be on this journey.

Things to remember: I am an AmeriCorps member and I will get things done. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Week Twenty-Eight

You started training with the head of maintenance this week at work. You seem a lot happier to be learning new things. You’re hoping that this will become permanent and you can keep doing more than just your groundskeeping duties.

I signed the agreement papers for AmeriCorps! Orientation starts Monday. A few of us will be starting the Saturday before. We’ll be helping out for a couple of hours at a community “family fun day” event. I’m so ready to start this new experience.

Lucius has decided that he should wake us up EVERY morning around an hour before our alarm clock goes off. It was cute at first but now there is at least one pillow thrown each morning.

Things to remember: Lucius is apparently trying to prepare us for future parenthood.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Week Twenty-Seven

We had a busy week this week! We went to Kiira and Jason’s wedding. It was great celebrating with them. We met some pretty awesome people during the reception, too.

We celebrated your birthday by going to lunch at O’Charley’s. Then the next day we went out to Tommy and Kathy’s for an all-day paintball game to celebrate your birthday with friends. Kathy, Tommy, Jonathan, Karin, Marielle, Anson, Garrett and the kids were all there. Kathy, Marielle, and I stayed inside while all of you guys & Karin played paintball. The girls and I laughed a lot and had a blast.

We also got to hang out with Marielle and Corey one day this week. It was a rare thing that we have vowed to do more often.

It’s great to be surrounded by people that we love, that love us, and make us laugh. I’ve always known the importance of having friends but I definitely think that what we need in our friends changes over the years. It’s great to have the supportive, fun-loving friends we have right now. They really contribute greatly to our lives.

Things to remember from this week: Friends are the family you choose… and they are awesome.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Friday, July 25, 2014

Conversations with my Husband

While driving down the road:

Me: *turns radio to a station* Oh, it’s that song you like! It’s by Phillip Phillips. His parents must have hated him. (talking about his name)

Matt: (nothing for a minute) Oh, is this Mumford and Sons?

Me: No. I literally just had a whole conversation with you about this. I just told you it was Phillip Phillips. And then I said his parents must’ve hated him because they named him Phillip Phillips.

Matt: He’s not from Mumford & Sons?

Me: (laughing) Nooooo! He’s Phillip Phillips!

Matt: I thought he was one of the ‘sons’ or something.

Me: (dying of laughter) Nooooooo, he is not one of the sons!

Matt & Me: (So much laughter!)

The end.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week Twenty-Six

We went camping together for the first time. It “monsooned” while we were there so we had to come back a day early. It was just so nice to get away from technology- even if it was only for a day. We went with Kayla, Chris, and the kids. It was fun--- even with the rain. Next time I think you and I should find a place to camp by ourselves. Hopefully next time I’ll get to actually canoe!

Yesterday we celebrated being married for six months. We went to the Dave Matthews Band concert in Charlotte. It was AMAZING. He opened with “Satellite” and then immediately played “Ants” afterward. It was our first time seeing DMB in concert and the first concert we’ve gone to together. It was also our first mini-road trip. It was so much fun. Going to that concert just felt like being surrounded by a bunch of hippie-looking family. Everyone was dancing and high-fiving each other. I couldn’t stop smiling while we were there because there was just such a happy feeling in the air. We will definitely be going to see future shows.

You finally started school this week! We also bought a new car. That relieved so much stress!

Didn’t I just write last week that good things were in the works?!

Things to remember from this week: the rainbow that appeared at the Dave Matthews Band concert and the feel-good feeling of actually getting to go on these adventures together.