Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nature's finest

 Captain Sam driving the boat

 The water and lots of bugs! 

 Home sweet tent!

My first camping experience and it was 95 degrees outside at a park without running water in the bathrooms....I was not impressed to say the least. However, I like to say I give everything a fair shot once before deciding if I will try it again, and camping in the heat is not a fair shot. So, I will give it another go when temperatures drop below 65 degrees in the Fall :)

We received many camping items for wedding gifts and decided to spend Memorial Day weekend on the Ohio River at Forked Run Metro Park with Sam's dad, grandma, brother, and brother's girlfriend. Sam and I had spent the previous week scouring the Forked Run website for the perfect campsite to reserve for 3 tents and we found it! However, our first indication of how the weekend was going to unfold came when we arrived at the park to find someone else had stolen our site! Yes, they STOLE our campsite. When we checked in upon arriving, the park ranger said they put our little reserved tag on the post of campsite 118 for us, so we drove on into the park and found our site. But, already set up were several tents, clothes lines, camping chairs, and other camping equipment. The people stole our reserved tag off the post and pretended they had reserved it. We told the park ranger and she said they would make the people move, but we didn't want to anger them and have them come back for revenge on us during the night....did I mention the campers had a black skull and crossbones flag on their tent that said "Death Camp. Take No Prisoners"and they wore black leather with chains?? Yea....we decided the leave them alone. So, we found another site and it was fine, but the whole experience put a slight crimp in my impression of camping.

After setting up our tents, we all went to the river and spent a great afternoon on Sam's dad's large boat. It was great for relaxing and cruising along the river. We jumped off the front and swam to cool off. I never thought I would actually swim in the Ohio River (it's not exactly known for it's cleanliness and the fact that catfish the size of cars live on the bottom doesn't make it that enticing either) but with no shade or air conditioning in 95 degree heat, swimming was the only thing that kept me cool.

We boated all afternoon and into the evening, so it was dark when we got back to the campsite. Poor planning on our part because we had to finish setting up tents in the dark and attempt to fix hotdogs on our camping grill with only flashlights. Unfortunately, it was too hot to sit around the campfire and enjoy the best part of camping, so everyone pretty much turned in for the night. Sleeping in a tent outside is...different. Every shadow on the tent creeped me out and with the heat it was impossible to get comfortable. Around 5am it cooled off enough to sleep but then the sun came up and night was over! So, not much sleeping. We fixed pancakes on the grill and left for home around 9am.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Introducing Mr. and Mrs.!!!!

It's Monday morning and I'm sitting next to my HUSBAND on the airplane! Yes, I am officially married and our wedding was beautiful. It's so weird to look over at Sam's hand and see a ring on it. He rarely wears jewelry, and even then it's only a watch, so to see a ring on his finger brings back the butterflies that I had on our first date 2 years ago. Wow.

So, the wedding festivities began on Wednesday May 2nd with the arrival of Ericka from Guatemala. It was a fun day viewing the United States through her eyes, having never been out of Guatemala. She's lived 36 years in a third world country having never walked on carpet, relaxed in a bathtub, and slept in a bed larger than twin size. She was in complete disbelief at our dishwasher, which might possibly be the funniest memory of her trip. She began washing her dishes in the kitchen sink when I looked over  and said she didn't need to do that because we could just put them in the dishwasher. I then proceeded to open the dishwasher, load it, and close it, never stopping to look at her facial expression. Her jaw had dropped and she said, "A machine that washes plates? Really? I knew there was a machine that washed clothing, but this one washes plates?" And she proceeded to stand and stare at the closed door while the lights flashed and the dishwasher started up. Another little Ericka story - we went to Meijer to develop some pictures and again, mom and I walk right into the store but Ericka stops to stare at the automatic opening doors. She had only seen ones that slid open and never ones that opened in/out. She also couldn't believe there were plants and items for sale sitting outside the store. In Guatemala they would be stolen. She was very impressed by American people that we could leave something outside (or put letters in mailboxes for that matter) and they wouldn't be stolen. So, needless to say, it has been wonderful and entertaining having Ericka with us for the wedding.

Mother Maria from Guatemala arrived on Thursday and it was a delight to have her back again to our house. She made herself at home in our "monastery" in the basement and loved the new queen size bed in her room. Friday was the day of our rehearsal and also the day for our ladies lunch at Brookside. My aunt Denise planned such a beautiful luncheon just for the girls in my family to relax and enjoy each others company before the wedding. Then came the rehearsal at 4pm, where I proceeded to bawl my eyes out walking the aisle, standing on the alter, and soaking in every minute of what the next day would hold. Sam's mom and dad planned the rehearsal dinner at Polaris Grill, where we had our choice of 4 delicious dishes - steak, seafood linguine, chicken, or porkchops. However, I never got to eat anything. So, we had just finished our salad course, Sam and I handed out gifts, and then came the brutal thunderstorm that - wait for it - knocked out the power in the restaurant!!! No joke!! Everything was out and there was no way to cook the food. They even had to put a couple candles in the bathroom because it was pitch black in there. I couldn't believe it was happening. After waiting 2 hours or so, most our family and friends had decided to leave, so it was down to just 15 people or so, mainly Sam's family members who were staying at the hotel next door, but the lights came on and the remaining people re-ordered their meals. I was so nervous at that point that I didn't feel like eating, so I didn't order anything, but Sam was able to eat at 9:30pm finally. What an adventure!

Saturday was the big day!! I got my hair done with Kacy and Jess in the morning and arrived at St. Paul around 9:45am to begin getting dressed. My bridesmaids were so great helping me, and my mom and Cara looked beautiful. I can't wait to get our professional pictures back to relive every moment. The flowers looked great even after ordering them on such short notice. Kroger was suppose to do my flowers but the florist backed out a week before the wedding. We scrambled to find someone else and actually, Ole Barn Flowers did a superb job - I can't imagine Kroger could have done better. God is good! I carried white and green hydrangeas with white lilies and some green ivy. The bridesmaids had blue and purple hydrangeas. Stunning against their grey dresses. I wasn't nervous at all until the 5 minutes before the ceremony began when I was waiting alone in the vestibule to meet my dad before going down the aisle. It was a beautiful ceremony and everything went off without a hitch. I couldn't stop beaming as the tears streamed down my face approaching Sam at the end of the aisle. He was so handsome and I couldn't believe I was the lucky girl who gets to spend the rest of my life with him. Following the hour mass, we partied at Medallion Golf Club! The bridal party was able to take golf carts out on the course for pictures - that was fun! The meal was chicken breast with basil cream sauce, sirloin steak with a mushroom wine sauce, green beans, and garlic mashed potatoes. We also had salad and rolls and the vegetarian entree was a fried polenta cake with grilled vegetables on top. It also looked delicious. Megan's dad was so kind to make our wedding cake as a gift to us. Everyone raved over it! It was 3 layers with white, pleated icing and sugar crystals, with blue hydrangea flowers in between the cake layers and a flower on top. Gorgeous! The bottom layer was orange cake with raspberry filling, the middle was apricot pudding cake with vanilla bavarian filling, and the top was cinnamon cake with apple filling. He really outdid himself!

Words can't do justice to how I felt on our wedding day. I dreamed of it for so long and then spent months stressing and planning it, but everything went very smoothly and it was all I could have asked for. Big is God for bringing Sam and I together in DC and then blessing us with our new life together in Ohio. And now we are husband and wife headed to California for our honeymoon.