They Say You Were Something In Those Formative Years

I know I posted a few pictures from the wedding in my last Wedding Wednesday post, but I’m going to have to backtrack for at least a little while.  Since I didn’t finish my “getting everything ready for the wedding” posts, I’m going to try to get through those before I fully delve into the recaps.

I discussed our decision to order and send out Save the Dates in this post: Memory Tells Me That These Times Are Worth Working For.  As I said in that post, we opted to go with something cute and fun.

When we were selecting our invitations, though, we didn’t want to be cutesy or playful.

I read in numerous places online that your wedding invitations should ideally reflect the type of atmosphere and level of formality you want for your wedding.  While we weren’t going all out for a black tie affair (which would probably have cost us at least another $15,000-$20,000 with all of the “extras” required), we definitely wanted a more formal wedding.

Apparently it’s a huge faux pas to print something like “black tie optional,” “semi-formal dress,” etc. on an invitation.  (Who knew?  I didn’t before I got sucked into the crazy world of wedding planning.)  I think that’s why your invitations are supposed to just sort of “show” what you want.

As I mentioned in the post about the Save the Dates, I had a really positive experience with Minted (  Unfortunately, when Eric and I were trying to find invitations, we just couldn’t find exactly what we wanted.

I started doing some research, and found that Wedding Paper Divas ( also seemed to have a lot of good reviews.  They also run specials pretty regularly, so that was definitely a plus.  (Hey, we like to save money!)

One of those specials included the ability to order up to 8 free proofs.  Eric and I decided to take advantage of this … After all, seeing something online and seeing it in person are two very different things!

Although all of the invitations were nice, we immediately decided that we should narrow it down to our top 3 favorites and choose from those.

Our top 3 (we surprisingly both chose the same 3 favorites!):

Romantic Regency


Rustic Garden


Tree Tale


We both almost immediately decided that the Tree Tale invitations were the right ones.  They fit perfectly with our “enchanted forest” theme (a theme that wasn’t overpowering in the decor, but was noticeable in some of the details), looked formal enough without appearing pretentious, and were just nice overall.

In the beginning, we said we weren’t going to spend tons of money on invitations.  After seeing these, though, we decided to just go for it.  They weren’t the most expensive invitations out there, but they definitely weren’t cheap.

Here’s what we got:

  • Tree Tale invitations with rounded edges (extra charge)
  • Tree Tale RSVP cards with rounded edges (extra charge)
  • Tree Tale insert cards for directions/accommodations information
  • Outer envelopes with our return address stamped on the back (extra charge)
  • RSVP envelopes with our return address stamped on them (extra charge)
  • Extra outer envelopes (extra charge)

When adding together all of the above, along with a few rolls of ribbon from Michael’s (I’ll show you how I incorporated that momentarily), the invitations cost approximately $420.  As I said, it was a little more than we initially wanted to spend, but we were so happy with the results (and the many compliments we received on the invitations!) that we decided it was money well spent.

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I blacked out some of my personal information, but you can at least see how it came together.  I tried to keep it simple yet classy.  Personal photo.

Although I spent an entire evening putting together invitations and tying ribbons (not to mention the multiple evenings I spent handwriting all of the recipient’s names and addresses on the envelopes!), it was what I would call a “labor of love.”

The one tip I would really like to share with anyone reading this is to number your RSVP cards.  It might sound crazy, but there are an alarming number of people who do not realize they need to write their names (or any other identifying information, for that matter) on an RSVP card.  Sorry, but telling us 2 of 2 will attend and both guests would like the braised pork isn’t helpful if we don’t know which 2 guests you are!

I wrote a tiny number on the back of each RSVP card in the right corner.  In order to make sure I didn’t forget which number was assigned to which guest, I added that number next to each guest/couple/family name on our guest list.

Here’s an example (using fake names, of course):

I’m writing out an invitation to Mr. Chuck Bass and Ms. Blair Waldorf (yeah, I’m totally using Gossip Girl characters … What of it?).  My guest list would read as follows:

11.) Mr. Chuck Bass and Ms. Blair Waldorf

455 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10022

The back of the RSVP card would then have a tiny “11” written in the right corner.

If Chuck and Blair didn’t follow the rules of etiquette (though they totally would because they’re Chuck and Blair), and sent back an RSVP card with no names, I’d simply scroll through my guest list until I found the corresponding number.

(I realize I probably didn’t have to explain it in so much detail, but whatever.  At least there will be no confusion!)

Another word of advice: Sending out RSVPs with a “kindly respond by” date doesn’t mean everyone will respond by that date.  Additionally, add postage to all of your RSVP envelopes!  Will everyone send one back?  Well … No.  But people are more likely to respond if they don’t have to dig for (or pay for!) a stamp, and it’s just a nice gesture.


The Sky Ablaze With Cannon Fire, We All Raise Our Voices To The Air

For our first full weekend together as a married couple, Eric and I decided to make a huge breakfast/brunch.  I’ll share one of the recipes with you now, but you’ll have to wait until next week to get the second.

I debated which recipe to share first, but I think I’m going to wait to share my favorite next week.  Don’t get me wrong, the recipe I’m sharing today is delicious (and easy!) … But I was beyond excited that the other recipe turned out so well.  I was so excited that I did one of the most annoying things you can do on Facebook … Posted a picture of it.  (In my defense, I don’t post every meal I eat.  I also don’t post random, not so extraordinary foods.  I mean, really … No one cares about your plain scrambled eggs and wheat toast!)


This is from the night before, right before I tossed it in the fridge to sit overnight.  I decided to bake it in a disposable pan since this was a “trial run” and I wanted everything to be made exactly the same way.  I planned to recreate this dish for a work potluck if it turned out well (and it obviously did, since I’m sharing the recipe on my blog).  I’m actually baking my second casserole as I type this!  Personal photo.

Southwestern Egg and Potato Casserole

Recipe taken from Taste of Home (

Adapted very slightly by me!

Ingredient List:

  • 7 large eggs
  • 1 package Ore-Ida frozen Potatoes O’Brien with peppers and onions
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salsa (optional, for serving)


1.) Mix frozen potatoes with peppers and onions with the diced green chilies in a large mixing bowl.

2.) In a second large bowl, whisk together eggs, evaporated milk, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.  When fully mixed, add in approximately half of both the Colby Jack and sharp cheddar cheeses, stirring to blend well.

3.) In a lightly greased 9×13 inch pan, pour about half of the potato and chili mixture on the bottom.  Add the egg, milk, spice, and cheese mixture.

4.) Stir in the remaining potato and chili mixture, and mix well in the pan to ensure all components are evenly distributed.

5.) Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top of the casserole, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

6.) Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.

7.) Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

8.) Enjoy!  I tried some with and without a side of red salsa (I used my favorite, Herdez Casera Medium), and it was delicious both ways.


This was the finished product.  Delicious and simple!  Personal photo.

With You On My Mind, And My Heart Held In Your Hands

While I won’t specifically be writing about the music selected for the wedding reception in my Music Monday posts (I’ll save that stuff for my Wedding Wednesday posts), this week’s Music Monday is somewhat inspired by the choices we made.

This week I’ll be sharing some of my favorite dancing music with you.  


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Some of the choices will be obvious based on previous posts and what you probably know about me (even if you don’t know me in real life), while others may be very surprising since  I’m throwing in some of my favorite guilty pleasures.  Basically, if a song makes me want to get up and dance around like a maniac (or have a “dance party” in my car!), it belongs here.  I might forget a few, but this still gives you a pretty good idea of what I’d want to hear at a fun party.  (Just a warning, you’ll probably see a fair amount of these pop up again when I list out our wedding reception requests.)

35.) Creator – Santigold

34.) Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Wanz)

33.) I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys

32.) Shut Up and Let Me Go – The Ting Tings

31.) Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz

30.) L.O.V.E. – Ashlee Simpson

29.) In Da Club – 50 Cent

28.) The Heinrich Maneuver – Interpol

27.) Glass Danse – The Faint

26.) Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

25.) Thirst – City and Colour

24.) Fitzpleasure – alt-J

23.) Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine

22.) Inertiatic ESP – The Mars Volta

21.) Time to Pretend – MGMT

20.) I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys

19.) Supermassive Black Hole – Muse

18.) Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

17.) Daylight – Matt and Kim

16.) The Hand that Feeds – Nine Inch Nails

15.) Tarantula – Smashing Pumpkins

14.) Fine + 2 PTS – Minus the Bear

13.) Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand

12.) Pot Kettle Black – Tilly and the Wall

11.) You are a Tourist – Death Cab for Cutie

10.) Youth Without Youth – Metric

9.) TiK ToK – Ke$ha

8.) Portions for Foxes – Rilo Kiley

7.) Control – Alexisonfire

6.) Take a Walk – Passion Pit

5.) Ready to Start – Arcade Fire

4.) Hallways – Islands

3.) R U Mine? – Arctic Monkeys

2.) Your Retro Career Melted – The Faint

1.) Electric Feel – MGMT

 What songs put you in the mood to dance/party?

A Burst Of Black, A Breath Of Smoke … I Disappear, I Lost Control …

Eric and I have been talking about cars quite a bit lately (mostly because he wants to get a new one in the next year or two), so this week’s list will feature some of the cars I personally drool over.

I love my car.  I really do.  In fact, I’ll even share a couple of pictures of it from the day I bought it a little over a year and a half ago:


This is obviously the back of the car.  I immediately loved the blue shimmery color!  Personal photo.


And this is obviously the interior.  It’s not quite this clean right now, but you get the idea.  The wood trim was one of my favorite things about it.  Personal photo.

Even though I love my car, I definitely look at other cars now and then.  I’m not planning to buy anything else (at least not for myself) for a while, but I definitely have my “dream” cars and will toss those out as suggestions while Eric is looking.  (Hey, even if it’s not my car, I’ll at least get to drive it around now and then if he buys it!)  Not all of them are “fancy” (though several are) … Basically, if I love the way it looks and could picture myself driving it, it made it onto the list.

This week’s list: My Top 7 Dream Cars

7.) Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring


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I love it in the above color (Meteor Grey Mica).  This is one of the cars that falls into the “not fancy” category, but every time I see one on the road, my eye is immediately drawn to it.  The body is very sleek and stylish, and it’s small enough that I think I could actually maneuver it (unlike the CX-9, which seems considerably larger).  When I am finally ready to look for another vehicle, I’d probably test drive one of these.  Eric is usually the one with the AWD vehicle (we like having one of those for the winters here and one that’s better on gas for road trips), but I might be convinced to change that if this felt like the right vehicle for me.


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6.) Hyundai Tucson Limited


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I prefer this in Shadow Grey, but I couldn’t find any good pictures online of the car in this color.  This is obviously also not a “fancy” car, but it’s one I very seriously considered when I was looking into purchasing a vehicle almost 2 years ago.  (The Volvo was a last minute decision, but I’m glad I went with it!)  Still … I love the Tucson.  It also has a sleek and stylish look and seems to have enough room without being overwhelmingly large.  The great thing about Hyundai is the 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty and the fact that you can get every option available on a car for much less than you’d pay for many other brands.  I actually owned a Hyundai Tiburon for almost 11 years (it was my first and only car before the Volvo), so I can say with confidence that they make great cars that last.  


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5.) Lexus GS 450h


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Now we’re venturing into the “I-probably-will-never-own-one-of-these” category.  This car is insanely expensive (at least in my opinion) with a starting price of $59,600.  I just don’t think I could ever justify spending $60,000+ on a car (even if it is pretty and awesome) … And, quite frankly, I couldn’t afford to do so right now even if I wanted to.  The car itself is lovely, though, especially in the Meteor Blue Mica color.  The interior is also pretty awesome, as the GS 450h boasts an “exclusive matte bamboo trim.”  I love wood trim in cars (as you may be able to tell from the pictures of my own car), so I think this looks amazing.  It also has a ton of really awesome features that make me wish I could manage to part with that much cash.  But for now, I’ll just have to admire from afar.


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4.) Nissan Juke SL


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I’ll backtrack for just a moment into the realm of “not fancy.”  I think people either love or hate the Juke, but I personally think this car is really funky and unique (and gorgeous in the Gun Metallic color!) … Something I’d very much like to drive.  This was another car I very seriously considered when I first started shopping around a couple of years ago.  My main issue with the Juke was that the backseat seemed a little cramped.  When I was searching for a new car, I wanted something with quite a bit of space in the back for a baby/carseat.  (We don’t have kids yet, but this is something Eric and I have been seriously discussing for a while.  I didn’t want to have to trade in my vehicle after just a few years because there wasn’t enough room.)  Otherwise, though, I think the Juke seems like an awesome car … Maybe one day I can get one!


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3.) Volvo S60 T6 R-Design, AWD Platinum Package


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Volvos are, to me, in a mid-range category.  They’re not super fancy and unattainable, but they can also be pricy (this model, with all the options I love, is close to $50,000).  The great thing about Volvos, though, is that you can get a used one (as I did) in great condition with fairly low mileage for a reasonable price.  So although I may not be able to buy one of these bad boys brand new, I could eventually wind up with one a few years down the line.  (And Volvos age well, so it’s not a huge deal to buy one that’s a few years old as long as the previous owner actually took care of it.)  I love this car in Electric Silver Metallic, and would certainly put it at the top of my list when I start car shopping again in a few years.


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2.) Audi TT Roadster Convertible


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This car was my childhood dream car.  (Well, okay, maybe not childhood … But my dream car from my high school and college years.)  It’s completely impractical (especially when you live in the Midwest where winters can be pretty harsh!), but it always seemed like such a fun little car to zip around in.  If I could somehow get one of these without paying a fortune for it (yeah right!), I’d do it in a heartbeat.  I mean, as long as I had something else that was more reliable and useful year round, why not?  I actually really like the Glacier White Metallic with Black roof combo on this car … So if anyone reading this wants to buy one for me, you know what I like!  (Just kidding … Though, let’s be real, I wouldn’t turn it down!)


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1.) Infiniti QX70


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I have been in love with Infiniti crossovers for years now.  Eric used to have an Infiniti sedan, and I loved that as well … But not as much as a crossover.  I’ve actually been trying to convince him that we should get one of these (though obviously I will be stealing this to drive as much as possible!). I don’t know what it is about these cars, but owning one would make me ridiculously happy and excited.  The exterior is interesting: sleek and sophisticated (especially in Liquid Platinum!) but also a little unique and funky.  The interior is lovely and spacious without being overwhelmingly large.  If we ever end up with one of these, you can bet you’ll be seeing some pictures on this blog!  (You can also bet I’ll be driving it around town at least 90% of the time.)


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There are a lot of other cars I love that didn’t make the list.  Perhaps there will be a “part two” in the future.  If anyone reading this owns any of these, please feel free to comment regarding what you like (and dislike) about the vehicle.  I always like to hear personal experiences!

Alone You Can’t Make Amends

Truth?  With the craziness of wedding planning, I really didn’t have much time to read during 2013.  (Or, if I actually had time, I couldn’t concentrate or stay awake long enough to read more than a few pages.)  

That being said, I’m still sharing reviews from books I read back in 2012.  I’m only admitting this with the hope that I can somehow shame myself into reading more next year (and perhaps finally complete the 50 book challenge!).

I know I mentioned before that I read several Kurt Vonnegut books last year, but I’ve only reviewed a couple of them so far on this blog.  This week I’ll be reviewing another.


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Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

250 pages

The back of this book really didn’t tell me much about it.  It simply reads:

At 2:27 p.m. on February 13th of the year 2001, the Universe suffered a crisis in self-confidence.  Should it go on expanding indefinitely?  What was the point?

Reading this, I imagined Timequake might be a bit more science-fictionesque than some of his other work.  I was really surprised as I started reading, then, to discover that this was a semi-autobiography.  I say semi because he mixes in a fictional story with his real life and real opinions.  Not only that, but he writes the real stuff in such a whimsical way that it’s often difficult to distinguish how much is fact and how much is fiction.

I have sort of a love-hate relationship with biographies, autobiographies, journals, memoirs, etc.  Part of me loves having the opportunity to see into the life of someone I admire and/or think is interesting.  Another part of me just doesn’t like the fact that it’s sometimes difficult to determine whether or not things have been dramatized to make the person’s life seem more interesting.  I mean, if I’m going to read non-fiction, I want it to actually be non-fiction.  I’ve definitely read and enjoyed several biographies, autobiographies, journals, and memoirs over the years … These just aren’t necessarily my top choices when selecting a book to read.

That being said, I actually enjoyed Timequake quite a bit.  It was funny and weird and, despite my earlier comment regarding dramatization, I liked the fact that Vonnegut decided to mix fact and fiction.  It was a very different approach to an autobiography (though, honestly, I don’t think it was initially intended to be one … In fact, in the prologue he mentions that this was the second version of Timequake, saying the first “wasn’t even fit for shark chum”).

It’s difficult to really discuss the plot of this book because, well, there wasn’t much of one.  Basically, as the back of the book said, the Universe suffered a crisis in self-confidence.  Instead of continuing to expand, it shrunk a bit … In doing so, everyone and everything was sent back 10 years.  The catch?  There is no free will.  Those 10 years will be played out just as they were … Nothing can be changed, no one can be saved, etc.  Everyone is simply on autopilot.  This is obviously Vonnegut poking fun at the way we all live our lives much of the time.  It’s actually pretty depressing when you think about it that way.

Although it didn’t have much of a true plot, Timequake kept me interested due to the anecdotes and humor Vonnegut peppered throughout the book.  The only real issue I had with the book was that it was very choppy.  It was kind of interesting, as it was almost as though I had stumbled upon his personal journals filled with his random thoughts and opinions … It was just a little hard to follow.  I think if I hadn’t pushed through and kept reading large chunks of the book at a time, I would’ve gotten frustrated with it.

It’s difficult to say whether or not I would recommend this book.  I think it would depend on the person.  If the person was a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, I would definitely recommend Timequake.  Otherwise, I think it would depend on the person’s personal taste … If they were looking for something funny and quirky or perhaps something that would give them a little more insight into the life of an author, this would certainly fit the bill.  If, however, they were looking for a true autobiography or a true novel, this wouldn’t be the book for them.

I also don’t know if I would reread Timequake … I kind of think it wouldn’t have the same effect the second time around.  I’m glad I read it, but I can’t imagine that I’ll have a strong desire to read it again in the future.

Timequake gets THREE STARS from me.

Can We Calculate How To Be At Peace Inside?

This week’s Friday Lounge post is dedicated to one of my favorite blogs/websites, Cake Wrecks.

If you’ve never heard of Cake Wrecks, do yourself a huge favor and visit right now.  (And no, I wasn’t paid to write this.  That would be awesome, but I just genuinely enjoy this website.)

Cake Wrecks is all about showcasing the ultimate fails when it comes to cakes.  I can spend hours on this blog, and will actually start laughing out loud (or, more accurately, laughing like a fucking maniac) while I’m reading it.

There are the simple mistakes (hey, anyone could do this … Right?):


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The pathetic attempts at creativity:


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The completely inappropriate (it’s hard to tell if it’s intentional or not in some cases, though I think this one had to be … Unless the bakery just decided to add a random “don’t” in there):


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The “oh-my-God-I’m-so-glad-this-didn’t-happen-on-my-wedding-day” cakes:


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This could also fall under the above category, though it’s almost worse.  This is a perfect example of hoping for one thing and getting something very very different.

What they asked for (pretty, right?):


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What they got (this made me laugh like a lunatic!):


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Then there are the hideously ugly (and oftentimes disgusting):


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And the really disgusting (not to mention disturbing … This seriously makes me want to vomit everywhere):


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They aren’t all this bad, though.  Cake Wrecks also features some really beautiful, amazing cakes now and then.  You know, to restore our faith that not all bakeries will fuck your shit up.


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Sweet Smell Of Sunshine … I Remember Sometimes

I’ll admit it … I really just want to write a bunch of stuff about the wedding right now.  It’s fresh in my mind, and a lot of our friends and family are still talking about the stuff they really liked.

But don’t worry, I’ll share other things as well.  After all, this is a random personal blog, not a wedding blog.

So today I’ll be continuing with the 30 day blogging challenge.  The topic today kind of goes along with wedding stuff since it’s about “the person you like,” so I can at least get a little (or maybe a lot?) mushy.  Unfortunately, I feel like this topic is very similar to others I have written about in the past … So I’ll be changing it up a bit.  The original topic was “the person you like and why you like them.”  I’ve changed it to:

This week’s topic: One Good Memory From Each Year Eric And I Have Been Together

2007: Our first road trip together.  We drove to Philadelphia in November and stayed in a really cool bed and breakfast (the rooms were more like little apartments, so no awkward sharing with other guests!).

2008: The first time we said “I love you.”  This happened on December 22 (yes, I remember the exact date!).  We’d already been together for a little over a year and a half, so I was starting to feel a little anxious about it … But it was worth the wait.

2009: I moved to Omaha in September so we could finally live in the same city.  This was a decision I struggled with for quite a while because I never thought I’d be the type of girl to move for a guy.  I have never once regretted coming here … It was definitely the right thing for our relationship (and I’ve made a lot of really amazing friends since the move).

2010: Going to Montreal in December.  The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the Alexisonfire concert, but we had a blast exploring the city.  It was cold and snowy, so we also spent a lot of time in our hotel room … It was so nice and relaxing!

2011: Moving in together in March.  This was obviously a huge step in our relationship, and we actually had a lot of fun apartment hunting together.

2012: Getting engaged on November 13.  It was amazing to realize that the person I loved so much loved me just as deeply and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

2013: Getting married on November 9.  (I think this one was pretty obvious.)  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs with wedding planning, couples coaching, and the other random stuff life threw at us … But there’s no doubt in my mind that we emerged a stronger, happier couple.

I kept the descriptions brief, but it was nice thinking back to each of these moments.  We’ve had many other great times together, but these stuck out in my mind as being especially important.

Hopefully in 6.5 more years I’ll have even more wonderful things to write about!