Saturday, December 29, 2012

Words & Photos_2012

How quickly 2012 becomes the past. This was a huge year packed with surprises and marriage, a new life and new everythings. It's crazy to think there are so many moments; millions and millions of moments in this past year that I have already forgotten. Perhaps a blessing and a curse. I am beyond beyond blessed... I do not live as I should--grateful, humble, compassionate. There is much refining needed here. But in the spirit of reflection, here are a few illuminating and just plain fun moments of the past 365 days.


Robbe and I were married on June 2, 2012. It was a perfectly beautiful day and surprisingly I remember so many details and emotions that make me feel so close to that day, still. We've been married now for over six months. I knew marriage was hard going into it. I had been told that so many times and knew it was a mountainous adjustment, especially as a thirty-something couple who had lived independent lives for so long. However, it wasn't living together or sharing things or making joint stylistic decisions that has been difficult for me. It's marriage's inescapable nature; there is nowhere to hide in your darkest moments, there is only constant vulnerability and illumination. Robbe has learned, as well as myself, that I have no middle ground. I am either sweet and silly or your worst nightmare. I go from zero to 60 in a flash over the most insignificant things. I remember an old roommate described marriage to me as "a constant mirror held up to your face". She is exactly right. It's a constant battle, mostly with myself, and I lose 99% of the time. Don't get me wrong, marriage is a million wonderful things. It's forgiving and heartwarming and sacrificial and sweet; it's hilarious and silly and one of the safest feelings in the world. But it's also incredibly challenging. For me, it's unnecessarily challenging as the simple choice to react in a loving way to my husband is easily overpowered by my selfishness. This needs to change. This has to change. And I suppose that is what marriage is; a constant refining; a daily mirror that exposes every hidden flaw yet despite all of these things, you are still deeply loved. 

I wonder what we'll remember most about our lives... our work? Our close friends and family? We spend more time at work than almost anything else, but in the end, will it be memorable? I celebrated my five-year anniversary working at my current job in April. I still wonder exactly how I got here and the meaning of it all. Robbe, by the amazing grace of God, got a new job as a technical writer in November (thanks to a close friend). It's something that happened so unusually fast; it's like we blinked and our lives changed. I am so grateful for God's provision. Again, beyond blessed and undeserving.

Life Cycle

One of the best feelings in the world is knowing your friends have found someone they genuinely love and who makes them happy. In September, my best friend Ashleigh got married to a bilingual, extroverted, 6-foot something teddy bear whose laugh would jolt you out of the deepest sleep. In November, my best friend Mandy got engaged--a miracle within itself--and I've never seen someone so notoriously noncommittal be so sure of something in my entire life--especially in the midst of criticism. I love the stories God has woven for all of us and the husbands he has led us to from the beginning. I am so thankful that he allowed us all to experience this incredible life change so close together in time. 

Here and There
  • Friday Night Lights series finale (February)
  • Financial Peace University (January - May)
  • NYC (March)
  • Robbe's surprise 30th birthday party (April)
  • My friend Laura's boy Joel was born! (April)
  • Parents' 30th anniversary (August)
  • Luke & Jess married! Most fun after-party ever! (SC) (September)
  • Caliann & Brendan married! (PA) (September)
  • Ashleigh & Meeker married! (MD) (September)
  • The Orioles in playoffs (October)
  • Bengies drive-in triple feature (October)
InstaYear in Review

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Photos_November Beginnings

We celebrated Diana's little one on-the-way last weekend. Leave it to Mandy to sum up the sweet occasion by whispering to me:

"This is my worst nightmare. You get fat and then you get clothes for someone else."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Words_Freedom, Forgiveness

Thank you to our kitchen clock for being 20 minutes fast or we would have never made it to church on time today. Thank you Jesus for a beautiful September walk, pumpkin spice creamer to my coffee, and new friends and neighbors. Thank you Epic Church for being exactly what I need to feel, hear, be. Thank you for reminding me to be quiet, to listen, and most importantly, that I am free. I am forgiven. We hold ourselves captive in our own prisons when the door to freedom is unlocked the entire time. We just have to make the decision to walk through it. Thank you to my husband who keeps me accountable to my actions and loves me in my darkest moments.

I am forgiven.

I am free.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


A morning hello
To my lifetime beside me
Inhaling the September air that rounds each corner 
Coating my senses
Uprooting decades past
Against the backdrop of trees in unison
Bending to a commanding wind
That with one touch
Silently speaks
Resurrects and pioneers
Comforts and weakens
Forgives and strikes
Everything behind me 
And the landscape beyond

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Words_"This is a Stick Up!"

Last week I asked Robbe if he was going to ask me on a date on Saturday. This ultra-romantic gesture on my behalf was so overwhelming to him that we both ended up blacking out on the spot from sheer endorphin overload. I took this as a sign that my efforts in romance could be dulled down a bit and that I don't always have to "Go big or go home" every time I try to plan me and Robbe time. Lesson learned. So, Saturday, we decided to try a local's favorite: Annabel Lee's Tavern (yes, Edgar Allen Poe, yes). We sat at the bar, cheersed our beers, and shamelessly filled our bellies with delicious baked brie, tuna, chicken salad, blue cheese cole slaw and greasy duck fat fries. I think I heard my wedding dress weeping from 25 miles away. Or maybe that was me.

Anyway, the meal was delicious; we gave it a very firm wink and a smile and yes, we look forward to returning, especially for future happy hours and anytime we feel a good "caw-caw"  or "nevermore" in our bones. 

We started to walk home. It had started to rain. As we came down the street just one block over from our house, we spotted one of our friends about 30 yards away, running in and out of her house to her car. 
"Hey, I think that's Sarah," Robbe said. 
"Oh, let's go say hi!" I said. "You know what would be funny is if we pretend like we're holding her up." I smashed my hands together in a gun formation and paused to try a few "Stick 'em up!" scenarios. 
We walked up to the house. A guy was standing at the open trunk of her car, rearranging boxes. The door to the house was open and Sarah was leaning over a set of boxes with her back to us. Robbe leapt up the stairs into the house and yelled, "Hey!" I, of course, got into position with my "gun" pointed directly at her and a huge smile on my face. I waited for her to acknowledge us before I took my "Stick 'em up!" cue. As she turned around to look at us, I simultaneously surveyed the house and realized for that very split second that nothing looked familiar to me from the last time I was there. 
"What?! What?! What's going on?! Oh shit, what?!" The girl yelled as she made eye contact with both of us.
"Ssssstick---" I trailed and lowered my "gun."
"Oh my gosh," Robbe put his hand up. "I'm sorry."
It wasn't Sarah. Obviously. It was a brown-haired girl, yes, like Sarah's, but was not Sarah; nor was this her house. 
"I'm so sorry," Robbe said. "We thought you were someone else. We saw you from far away and you looked just like our friend and, ok, sorry." He backed out of the house with me already out the door. I added: "Her house is the next block down." Like that made the situation any better.
The guy who was at the car hadn't moved an inch. He just looked at us nonplussed as we started down the block and said, "It happens all the time." 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Words_Spring Fever

Yo, yo... yayayay yo. I like to greet my parents this way sometimes. Nine times out of ten it always results in a disgruntled reaction from them and I have no idea why. Is it because I do it at three in the morning? Who knows. Also, I'm 30. So, a few things have happened since I last posted, which was soooo one month ago ("cool" joke = 1). I've moved out of my house of four years. What I'll miss the most is, well, absolutely nothing judging from the last few months. Because when you find out one of your roommates is a flesh-eating robot, the only thing you can do is get the H out of there and move in with your parents. Yes, you know it's bad when moving back in with your parents at 30 is the sensible option. But seriously. The truth is, I have moved in with my parents: Lt. Dan and Jessica Rabbit. On my first day here, I got a migraine. Then I accidentally broke one of my mom's highly cherished mementos (which I fixed successfully...I think). I've also made it a habit to stumble through the door at 4 a.m. (7:30 p.m.) three sheets to the wind (parched for a glass of seltzer water), feel my way to my room and then completely pass out on my bed (peel back the covers and spoon with Carebear). This is temporary, mind you. And thank goodness because I don't know if I can handle wild night after wild night (fact: I went to bed before my parents last night).

What's Robbe doing you ask? Well, he's bacheloring it up at our new residence, that's what he's doing. Yours truly will be officially girling the place up come June 2 when we will be for better or for worse, wrapped tightly up like a Mexican burrito for the rest of our lives. "Why don't you just live together? That's a little old-fashioned, isn't it?" First of all, your face is old-fashioned. Second of all, here's my knowledge drop. One of my best friends put it perfectly recently when we were discussing failed relationships and her new outlook on life as we know it. "I'm just doing it God's way you know? I've tried it the other way and it sucks." It's as simple as that, folks. I'm not going to pretend I know what's better for me or for us; I'm leaving it up to the one who is, oh, just a wee bit wiser and a wee bit greater than little ol' me. (Does God have an Irish accent? I hope so.) Plus, I think Jessica Rabbit and Lt. Dan like having me around...when I'm not breaking their precious keepsakes (I swear it was an accident).

Sunday, March 11, 2012


If my blog were a baby, it would be sitting in the most offensive diaper, probably have unidentifiable crust growing on its face, and somehow be smart enough to be giving me the middle finger. Sorry, blog. It's not you; it's me. I'm the negligent parent. I'm the one who needs the spanking.

You can blame the neglect on planning wedding 2012, searching for a new place to live, finding a new place to live, breaking the news to my parents (and myself) that I'd be needing to move in with them, shuffling Robbe's and my things over to our new place, working late, trying desperately to multitask, making decorations, applying for a new passport, planning a rehearsal dinner that seems almost as big as our wedding, preparing to talk to people who we weren't able to invite to the wedding (eek), going through premarital counseling, attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, learning to honor my parents, building an overdue relationship with my mom, managing waves of stress and trying not to take it out on Robbe, witnessing my dearest friends give so much of their time and love for me, cherishing my remaining single friends, anticipating the wonderful journey that is Robbe, seeing friendships blossom and others shift out of focus, giving up control, getting real, wondering what I really want to do in life, understanding my intense need for Jesus in every aspect of my life, and trying to take in every moment both crucial and insignificant leading up to June 2...

Like today. I went over to Robbe's house to start packing up his room. His best friend/man Andy and his wife were unexpectedly at the house and brought mimosas to celebrate our move.

Or my dad, who, after my nieces and nephews witnessed a science experiment, excitedly and authoritatively ordered them to: "Go home, get on the computer, and find a science." He meant to say "project" afterwards but didn't. Memory jar. 

Or reading the most beautifully written, bittersweet, heart and soul of a goodbye from Robbe to the people who love him, met him, knew him as the bassist from Farewell Flight, who supported him and took care of him, who fed him and encouraged him, who loved him in ways I will never know; these are the people whom he loved and still does dearly and will truly never forget. I couldn't be more proud or feel more honored to have someone like him supporting me and loving me for the rest of my life. He will always be so much more.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Received this sweet bridal shower invitation in the mail today and thought "suckerrrrr!!!!" after reading it. But seriously, I'm honored to be surrounded and supported by such a sweet group of older ladies (aka Mom's friends) who will probably end up praying over me thus making all my shower pictures a complete disaster because I'll be weeping the entire time which will result in a thorough mess of smeared makeup and someone will tell me "Oh, it doesn't look bad!"* when in reality I'll be so unrecognizable that people arriving late will introduce themselves to me and ask me: "So, how do you know Kimi? Are you her biological brother?"
On the bright side, I'm thankful that this invitation didn't have "zilla" at the end and wasn't written in the present tense, although I still have four months to go before I'm officially in the clear of assuming that title. 
Did someone say four months? I think a bottle of wine is calling my name. And what's really weird is that it's referring to me as "mommy."

*Whoever you are, you are dead to me

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Words_And I'm Back!

Thank goodness for new days, people.

Since my last post, I've willingly launched myself from the stressful marriage fiasco train and decided that all my rants and raves are something you might equate to #engagedpeopleproblems. It all really does sound absurd--like a rich person complaining about not having anything smaller than one hundred dollar bills in his wallet (I'm pretty sure that's a Jack Handey quote)--except I'm complaining about how stressed I am about purchasing probably the most beautiful dress I'll ever wear in my life or what kind of amazing dessert we'll have the luxury of sharing with our closest friends and family. Tough life. Honestly, I have more than enough to plan a wedding, I have incredible support in every since of the word, and I just needed to take a deep breath and remove mi cabeza from mi culo (look it up). (And God actually helped me do that last thing.) That's all. And yes--cue cheesy music--what matters in all of this is the person I'm marrying (what's his name again?) and the amazing people I get to share it with (seriously, nothing less than amazing, don't disappoint me). So for now, I'm holding onto my normal stick and doing things that I know best like:

  • plucking out strand gray hairs from my scalp
  • squeezing my belly fat
  • having conversations with inanimate objects
  • tweeting about having conversations with inanimate objects
Obviously, I'm poised and ready for marriage.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Words_Ack! Why I Suck at Being a Bride

Last night I had my first wedding dream. Except that it wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare. My reception was in my high school's cafeteria; every table full with hundreds of people. It was completely quiet and I was in a panic, realizing Robbe and I had forgotten to put the music list together. I quickly hooked up his iPod and put it on "shuffle" and delegated the rest of its fate to a bridesmaid. During the reception, I was still assembling ideas and decorations for our photo booth background and laying out the logistics of how I was going to get it done in my head. I remember telling myself that it was going to be OK. Even in my dreams I'm stupid.

Obviously, this illusion is a painful revelation of my current mental state. I'm in a bit of a panic planning one of the biggest moments that will happen in my life. I keep waiting for the moment when I'm supposed to feel what I think all brides are supposed to feel... that euphoric seamless happiness that makes wedding planning so wonderful and easy. However, I've come to the very sobering reality that I actually suck at all of this. I suck at being euphoric and happy. I suck at decision-making and figuring out the logistics of one day. I suck at being thankful for the monetary resources I have; instead I cringe at the unreal amount of money that is being spent on a five-hour day. I suck at delegating and compromise. I suck at simply enjoying even the simplest things. Everything is a weight. The things that are supposed to be fun aren't fun because it requires me to make an absolute decision that can't be solved by just looking at a magazine. For me, it's a creative process that can't be forced and I've never had to make so many huge detailed decisions that inevitably intertwine with each other all at once. I hate that I'm so overly thoughtful about it yet how can I not be?

I burn with jealousy at fellow brides who, when asked how wedding planning is going, they emanate this ethereal drunken glow and cheerfully reflect on how wonderful the process is going. Their impassioned excitement is like a thousand knives piercing my face which is in an unfortunate frozen squint of a fake smile, wishing with all my heart that I could "put them in a headlock with my eyes" (credit: Mandy). Why is it effortless for some people and for others it's more of a burden? Am I not cut out for planning something of my own on such a large scale? Am I a controlling ungrateful bridezilla? Should the solution be that I just be drunk from here on out? I feel like I'm missing everything wonderful about planning a wedding. Or is everything wonderful really a hoax? Am I just being a realist? 

I know this wedding isn't about the theme or the food or the favors or the dresses; I know it's about me and Robbe and the life we're going to share together for the rest of our lives. I hate that I get caught up in the stress of it all but it seems unavoidable. I wish I could enjoy this time instead of responding with "This is so dumb" whenever I finalize another wedding decision. Even as I'm writing this, I'm rolling my eyes at how sad and ridiculous this post is; it's an entire page devoted to me whining about an amazing day devoted to me and my future husband. Someone please put me in a headlock, STAT. Until then, my mind will be set on this...

Thursday, January 5, 2012