Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'm getting married in the morning!

Ding dong the bells are gonna chime!

Only one more sleep until I become Mrs. Blake. I am so happy!!

Enjoy some photos from our wedding prep and celebrations of the last few days!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wherever you will go

If you ask Blake his favorite movie, he might pause briefly, but he'll probably say Red Dawn, in all its 80s glory. I still haven't seen it, but I agreed months ago that I would happily see the remake with him. After a few reschedulings due to finals, we finally went last weekend.

We also had a Groupon for two drinks, two sandwiches, and two gelatos at a place in Clarendon (in Arlington), which is about 15 minutes from us and sounded like a great way to prepay for an inexpensive date. There's a movie theater in that neighborhood, so we made an evening of it.

Well, we probably won't go back to this café. The gelato was tasty, but our drink options were coffee, bottled Coke beverages, or juice. Nothing worth getting excited about, though Blake liked that his apple juice came from concentrates from almost ten countries. I was hoping for at least an Italian soda option.

The sandwiches. There were maybe ten options. Not terrible. We asked for his recommendation.

"Uhh, I don't know."

We ordered a club sandwich and something called The Virginian (no tomato).

"What kind of bread?"

"What do you recommend for our sandwich choices?"

"I don't know. I might try the croissant for the club, but I have weird taste."

"That's what I was thinking," I said.

"Then you're taste is like mine. I'm sorry. What bread for you?" he asked Blake.

"What are my options?"

"These," gesturing towards three nondescript bread baskets.

"Um, ok. White then."

And then, even though we were the only people in the shop and we ordered cold sandwiches, it took at least ten minutes for us to get them. That's more than fine for a sit-down restaurant where they have to cook something and serve other people, but that wasn't the case for plain ol' sammiches.

We were underwhelmed, but the sandwiches were fine. After the gelato, we strolled to the theater. When I'd purchased tickets earlier in the day, I'd picked some assigned seats, which we both were a little surprised about. In the building, we were a little disappointed that a theater in such a nice neighborhood was so dirty and rundown.

But then we got to our auditorium.

And found recliners.

Yes please.

The movie was entertaining, our armrests at perfect handholding distance and width, and the company the best I could ever ask for.

It was a fun and wonderful date. And in less than a week, I get to be this man's wife!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I want you to want me

In conclusion to this month's list of reasons I love my future husband, I love Blake because I choose to. No one is forcing me, least of all Blake. I'm certainly not settling just because I'm inching closer to 30 and this might be my last chance.

I met Blake and knew very quickly he was someone worth pursuing and so I chose to take advantage of that. Once I realized he was someone worth keeping, I chose to act on that as well

Every day I choose to love Blake. He is amazing and handsome and wonderful and if I actively choose to love him and be the kind of partner he deserves, I have a chance of getting to have him for a very long time.

Love is a noun. And a verb. Love is a feeling. And an action.

Love is a choice. And I choose Blake!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Because you loved me

Having been single for the vast majority of my twenties and dealing with years of vagueness and uncertainty from the guys I would like or go out with, I made it clear that one of my top requirements of the man that I would marry would be someone who would never make me doubt his feelings for me.

Blake is such a man. I love Blake because Blake loves me.

From the very beginning, I knew I liked him and he made it quite obvious he liked me too. I also hated the "will he call?/it's been two days what if he doesn't like me as much as I thought" stages, even when they do turn into something more, and we totally skipped that part.

Blake was the first of us to say "I love you." He continues to both show and tell me everyday, multiple times a day, his unwavering love and commitment to our relationship.

He is amazing. I've never once doubted how he feels about me. I truly feel this is an answer to prayer. I feel so loved and special and cared for, all the time. I only hope I'm returning that favor!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spend a little time with me

Blake really enjoys spending time with me. Fortunately, I really enjoy spending time with him! Of course, we prefer quality time over quantity, but we will take both. It's this quantity of time that leads us to studying together or having him accompany me to campus in the evening. Or, as in the case of last Friday, willingly spending the entire day in a shirt and tie (he's definitely a jeans and tshirt guy) because I had to spend the afternoon in the Performing Arts Reading Room at the Library of Congress (darn) and we didn't have time to change after the temple. I rewarded him with pizza at We, The Pizza.

We just really enjoy being around each other as much as we can. Even in the sizable new apartment I live in and we'll share soon, with lots of space to spread out in, we're mostly found sitting right next to each other on the couch. And that works for us right now.

He's my best friend, adventure partner, and soon to be husband. And I enjoy getting every minute with him I can!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I am so smart, S-M-R-T

I love how smart and intelligent Blake is. It's certainly evident in how well he does when we watch Jeopardy or how frequently he wins at Words With Friends. But it's also clear based on the quality of so many of our conversations and intelligent conversations we're able to have about so many things. He's much more informed about certain things (politics, current events, some history) than I am and I learn something new from him almost everyday. He's very patient when there's something I don't understand (mostly politics) and he's great at explaining things. He made some really good notes when I had him proofread a paper the other day.

He's also doing really well in law school. We don't really know his grades to back that up, but he usually understands the material and recalls it easily. I'm very proud of him!

I'm so glad to be with someone so knowledgeable about so much!

Here's his first day of law school photo. So handsome!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Think of me, think of me fondly

Blake is incredibly thoughtful. Just this evening, he made a grocery store run for chicken soup and Gatorade for me and my illness. In the shopping bag upon his return, I discovered Parmesan cheese, because he remembered that I wanted it on my Caesar salad which we ate last night and will have again soon. We weren't even planning that for dinner tonight under the circumstances, but he remembered it anyway. He also brought me blue Gatorade, because as much as I like purple, I've been drinking a lot of grape Kool-aid and he knew I would appreciate variety. He's totally right.

Blake is so aware and considerate and wonderful. Getting through this illness and life in general is much nicer when he's around.

And he's really cute when he wants my attention.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I've got all my sisters with me!

Blake loves his family. This bodes well for our family! He talks with his parents and siblings frequently and always speaks highly of them. He clearly wants them to be happy and always hopes they're doing well. One of his sisters had surgery this week, and he's been doing a good job of keeping in touch with her since we can't be there in person. He's very considerate of their feelings.

When his sister Holly came to visit us in July, he made sure she had a good time and planned a really great trip for her. Today, she was in the orchestra of Mannheim Steamroller on an NBC figure skating special and was excited whenever we spotted her. Blake was so proud of her. "That's my sister!"

He's likewise getting to know and care about my family as well, which means a lot to me.

Family relationships are important to Blake and I look forward to the bonds he forms with any family members who join us in the future!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Are we human or are we dancer?

Having grown up in a home where my dad was totally willing to talk about whatever physical issues I might be plagued with and a brother who was totally unwilling, I've never entirely been sure how to address these things with the male population.

However, Blake has been totally awesome about this. I can let him know what's going on and how I'm feeling, whether it's a female specific issue or something all humans experience from time to time, like the barking cough I've had for two days now. He makes it clear that he wants me to feel good and happy and will do whatever I need him to do to help me feel that way. Tonight, it was buying cough syrup on our way home from our date. Other nights, it's rubbing my feet or warming up my seed corn heating bag. Sometimes, I get to return the favor when he's not feeling 100%.

As he puts it, we're both humans. And humans get sick or hurt or tired or have various bodily systems rebel against them once in awhile.

Being sick while single sucked. A lot. I'd call my mom and whine to her sometimes, but there was relatively little she could do. So glad that when I'm not feeling well from now on, I'll have someone there to stroke my head and say "Poor little bunny."

We couldn't hold hands one day, probably homework, and discovered this is what we were doing instead

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rock Your Body

As discussed before, I recommitted myself to fitness last year and have been enjoying the rewards. This year, I did the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder, which Blake totally supported (it had sold out before we even met) and was one of the hardest and most physically rewarding things I've ever done. My ankles may not be in shape to do one ever again, but I've done it. And that's awesome.

One thing I love about Blake is that he is equally interested in fitness and being healthy. Admittedly, with everything going on these last few months, our ability to work out as hard and as frequently as we might like has eluded us. I still at least do yoga or go on a walk everyday, but I do miss the frequency of a really great weights or cardio session.

Luckily, Blake and I, purposefully, have found an apartment complex with a free fitness center and have formulated a plan l. Once we live together and are saving all this travel time, we're going to work out everyday. Together.

Right now, we've given up soda for the remainder of our engagement and work out together on Saturdays. We enjoy Yoda or monkey squats, in which we use each other on piggyback for weighted squats. It's actually really fun and a great bonding time to work on improving our strength and fitness together!

This photo is from our hike to Battlecreek Falls when we were home introducing each other to our families.

Friday, November 23, 2012

And then you put your arms around me

Blake is a really good hugger. Today, I am thankful for such a reliable source of high quality hugging. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Do vector calculus just for fun

Blake is a geek. Which is perfect, because I am too. As we know, he almost immediately made reference to being a Browncoat in our beginning email exchanges. This won him major geek points with me and we quote Firefly frequently.

He and his siblings used to play Star Trek in their unfinished basement.

He LOVES puns and other bad jokes.

We have a zombie apocalypse plan.

He enjoys geeky video games, like flight simulators. He's currently resting his head in my lap while playing Angry Birds Star Wars. We're actually registered for the entire Angry Birds bathroom line, because we have a guest bathroom and why not?

We discussed Battlestar Galactica on our first date.

We'll be seeing the remake of Red Dawn this weekend. Why? The original is his favorite movie.

He wears geeky tshirts.

He's really getting into Doctor Who with me.

He builds his own desktop computers.

He's willing to cosplay at festivals or cons if I want to. Didn't have time to cosplay for RennFest this year, but there's always next year!

I needed someone who would match my level of geekiness and I've found him!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

When we're helping we're happy

Blake is very service-minded and, consequently, takes very good care of me. Yesterday, our schedules didn't allow us to go to my campus together, but when I got home, he had made two mugs of fresh hot chocolate waiting for us to share.

This morning, he helped me unstick my sock drawer, then we tag teamed on making breakfast and packed each other's lunches.

Tonight, he spent several minutes on the phone with customer service and took point with setting up our tv and internet services that finally arrived, even though he really could have used the extra study time. And after all that was done, he still rubbed my shoulders for me because I had a really not great day at my substitute assignment.

And that's just in the last 2 days!

Blake does most of our driving (unless we're going into the district). He often sees things around the apartment that need doing and does them. He frequently asks me if there is anything he can do for me and he's always willing to do anything I ask spontaneously.

I'm so blessed to have someone so thoughtful!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee

As much as Blake and I like adventure, I also love that I've found someone I can be comfortable just hanging around at home with. We're both introverts who need some quiet time to recharge and we've found that we can recharge together quite nicely. We have a similar balance of adventure and quiet home time and I really appreciate that about him.

A lot of our home time lately involves homework or wedding planning or setting up the new apartment, but we also enjoy reading together (I've been reading him The Graveyard Book) or catching up on each other's favorite tv shows. His favorite is The West Wing and mine is Doctor Who. It's nice to snuggle on the couch and introduce each other to these things. I can't believe I've never taken the time to watch The West Wing before. It's so good!

We also enjoy board/table games, cooking together, or just talking. I've really enjoyed getting used to having him around all the time! I look forward to many more quiet evenings and crazy adventures with this man.

Monday, November 19, 2012

We're goin' to the chapel, and we're gonna get married

I love Blake because he is taking me to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity.

I once wrote the following:

We believe that when married by the proper Priesthood authority in the proper place (the temple), a husband and wife and all children born to them can be together forever in this life and in the eternities to come as long as they are worthy. This ordinance is called a sealing. In some countries, this counts as a legal ceremony, though in others the couple is wed civilly before their sealing. A sealing can also performed after an already married couple joins the church or when an adopted child joins the family.

Blake and I are both worthy and have kept ourselves worthy to attend the temple together and be sealed together forever. A temple marriage is the only kind of marriage I have ever wanted and I am so blessed to have found the person who wants the same thing.

For other things I have written or linked to about the temple and eternal families, please see these blog posts from 2009, 2010, and 2011.

In exactly this amount of time:

We will be going here:

And I can't wait!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My great adventure has begun!

I consider myself a fairly adventurous person. As time, opportunity, and finances permit, I love trying new things - foods, music, travel, and whatever else strikes my fancy! There's a vast and interesting world out there and I want to learn as much about it as I can! In past years, I usually wasn't afraid to do these things all by myself either.

Another reason I am so in love with Blake is that he is likewise adventurous! I spent the better part of the last 30 minutes trying to find our one discussion during our first week of chatting on Facebook where we talked about traveling and adventuring. We clarified that it was Thursday he asked me out and that I was the first one to send a message (an apology for being distracted during our initial two meetings).

I also found not one, but several instances in that first week wherein we discussed traveling and places we have visited that we loved and places we want to visit and things we want to try and basically rediscovered something that I already we knew - we share a passion for life and adventure and learning and exploring! 

And now we get to do these things together! In fact, we already have and do. We LOVE road trips together and have taken several day trips to things like a Civil War reenactment, a pirate festival, the beach, Tucson (from when we were at his parents' in Mesa), Renaissance Festival, Six Flags, Gettysburg (though it was on the way home from our ward retreat), and lots of adventures closer to home since DC is full of awesome stuff. 

In fact, if he weren't around, I would have missed the Pirate Festival completely, because the friends who had invited me (before they knew about Blake, but he was welcome) ended up not going after all, and I wouldn't have done that alone. Even if I wasn't afraid to adventure on my own before, I didn't always take advantage of opportunities to do so.

We like trying new restaurants or recipes or book stores or, as in my single days, whatever strikes our fancy! One day, we were grocery shopping and he saw bottled Malta Goya and decided to buy one, just because he's been curious about it. Back at my place, we each took a sip and decided that was enough. The point was that we tried it and learned something in the process.

I'm excited about all the things we'll do together from here on out!

Blake drives to the Pirate Festival

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I want some hot stuff baby this evenin'

Today's reason I love Blake? He's just so darn handsome! And sometimes he has a really nice beard!

Friday, November 16, 2012

That's the nicest thing that anyone's ever done for me!

Blake is very complimentary of me. He frequently tells me how beautiful I am and how lucky he is. I often catch him just looking at me with a pleasant look on his face. It doesn't matter if I'm in pajamas or dressed up nicely, he often lets me know he likes the way I look.

And while that's important and I'm certainly grateful, he also makes sure I know he's not just lucky because of how I look. He appreciates all of me.

We are the most polite Words With Friends competitors ever. We always congratulate the winner in the chat feature of the rematch and note really good moves. This extends to in person games too, including Jeopardy. (I really hope our newest cable package arrives tomorrow and works, unlike our first attempt. I miss recording and watching Jeopardy.) Our "What is..." are frequently punctuated by the other saying "Good job, babe!"

He always compliments my cooking. We're open and usually in agreement about how a particular dish could be improved, but he really enjoys everything I make. If he licks the plate, I really know I've done a good job.

It's easy to want to serve and love a person who is so appreciative and complimentary. Thanks, handsome!

This is his "Cheese, Grommit!" face, from a photo he sent me over text, probably being excited about me or us in some way.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Put your head on my shoulder

When we're sitting next to each other, Blake and I are the exact same height. All my height is in my super long torso, which means I have some rather short legs. Blake is around 6 feet tall and I'm 5'5". So, yeah, my legs are short.

What's good about this? It means when Blake and I hug, I can put my head right on his shoulder. He's also the perfect height for kissing.

I like this quite a bit.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Love, Me

In my last apartment, my bed was on risers on top of two cinderblocks stood end to end on one side and my dresser on other, in a makeshift loft bed situation. When you have a teeny tiny space, you have to think vertically for storage. This gave me tons of storage space under my bed, my dresser didn't take up any extra floor space, and I got used to my ceiling being an arm's length away from my face.

It also became a convenient place to for Blake to leave notes for me, since I couldn't see over the bed until I climbed into it. One night, I must have stepped out of the room before walking him to his car, because when I got back from saying goodnight, there was a cute little drawing on a yellow 3x5 card next to the pillow.

I found similar notes on other occasions.

Sometimes, the notes found their way into my backpack or on my mirror.

Of course, I started to return the favor. If you were in our ward this last Sunday and paid attention to Blake turning the pages of his notepad to the one with his talk, you would have seen a large "I (heart) U!" on the top page that I left him a few weeks ago. I totally noticed it and I wasn't even looking for it, so I wonder if anyone else saw it. I also like stuffing notes in his law books and wherever else I think to drop them.

Now that we're settling into the new place, I look forward to finding new places to hide love notes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Have you ever had to finally decide?

Blake and I are planning our wedding together. I'm not one of those girls who has had everything planned except the groom since she was five and we feel strongly about making this OUR wedding and OUR day.

So, it is fortunate that, yes, we like a lot of the same things, but also that we make decisions in a similar manner.

Tonight, we discussed photographers and food for our wedding. At one point, I said something about the photographer and, with the next step in mind that I wanted to take to figure out to make a final decision, disappeared to grab a pair of socks. When I returned, Blake said exactly the same thing I had been thinking to say on my return.

Our logic works together and we arrive at similar decisions about lots of things. We can generally understand each other's points and work together for a compatible solution to our question.

We've had really big things to discuss in our relatively short time together thus far, and because we make decisions so similarly, we've largely been able to do so without much stress and in a timeframe we're both happy with.

I suppose that's not so much something I love about Blake, but something I love about us as a couple.

Specifically regarding Blake, it means I know I can come to him with a decision we need to make and I can trust him to be consistent in how we arrive at that decision. Together. It also means that I can trust him to make decisions without me, because he considers me and my perspective.

It won't always be this easy. But I'm grateful for establishing good communication habits and foundations now!

The picture is from the day we picked up the keys to our first place! Deciding on an apartment together was a relatively pain-free experience because of how well we can work together!

Monday, November 12, 2012

I'll go where you want me to go

Shortly after our engagement was announced, I was released from all of my church responsibilities. I'm sure this mini-break will end once we start attending our new family ward(congregation), but it's nice for now. I'm helping where I can, like playing the piano in one of the meetings today or warming some food for our ward Thanksgiving dinner this Sunday.

Blake, on the other hand, has not been released. He is on the temple committee, which isn't very time consuming thankfully, and he's very much magnifying his responsibility. Today, he spoke in church (we accept assignments to speak every so often instead of the same preacher every week) for the second time since we've been together. I, on the other hand, haven't spoken since, I don't know, maybe 2006? Definitely in Utah. He'd be willing to fulfill his assignment to work in the stake family history library next month, if it weren't the day before we fly home to get married.

In our life, home, and relationship, he is every bit the worthy Priesthood holder he should be. He dedicated our home today, we pray together, and we study our scriptures together. He stays faithful to the covenants he's made with Heavenly Father and helps me do the same. I can trust that he'll teach our children to be similar in nature.

I'm grateful for a wonderful example of faith in our relationship. Having similar values gives us a very solid foundation for our marriage!

This photo is from his mission and his companion is someone I went to high school with! Small world!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Wind Beneath My Wings

Good heavens that title is cheesy, but it's 11:54 PM and I'm stuck otherwise. Moving on!

Blake is incredibly supportive of me. He was willing to start a relationship with me, despite my impending layoff. He saw me through my unemployment, encouraged my applications and interviews, and counseled with me as we decided together on the right moves. He patiently entertained himself with a book in the evenings when I had to study this summer.

And he drove 7 hours in unmoving traffic to watch me finish my Tough Mudder. He even hugged and kissed me despite all the mud all over me.

As I mentioned earlier, I know I'd be able to get through whatever on my own, but he really brings out and supports the best in me. I'm not just getting through this semester or layoff, I'm excelling and he has a LOT to do with that.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nobody said it was easy

The week I met Blake, he had just received word of his acceptance to law school, in conjunction with a Masters in Public Policy. In fact, because he received his acceptance to American University and felt right about attending for an MPP even before the law school acceptance and BEFORE his home state of Arizona offered him a similar spot, he knew he was sticking around in DC long enough to want to start something up with someone when the chance came. And so, with both of us in school and only me working part-time, we're living the starving student lifestyle neither of us expected to still be in at this point.

It's not going to be easy. As I'm wrapping up my program of study, he's just getting started. We'll turn 31 the year he graduates. But you know what? It's okay. We feel this is our path and we'll support each other through it!

I love Blake because he works really hard. He is an incredibly diligent student and has yet to take an unprepared day that professes allow students to take a few times a semester. He's on top of his studying, even if he has to stay up late or study on the metro. I'm pretty adept at this school thing by now, but his diligence is still an example to me.

Yes, on some Friday nights, it means we have to hang out in our laundry room in the basement while he studies and I finish my X book. Tomorrow, we will both probably study most of the afternoon.

But we're still together and we're preparing for our family's future success, an attitude we share.

And that is worth it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Who will buy my sweet red roses?

I love Blake because these were on my nightstand when I got home today. I've moved into the apartment we'll share and today was the first time he's arrived home first. He certainly made the most of it! It's only the third time he's purchased flowers for me, which makes it even more special. I like the surprise. In fact, I didn't even notice these the first time I walked into the bedroom today. The first time I got flowers was the last week of my old job, and they were delivered. First time anyone has ever sent me flowers.

He is so sweet to me and I am so grateful!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh

I know I've already talked about how Blake and I share compatible silliness, but his sense of humor and comedic timing is just so good it's getting a second post.

Late this afternoon, we were driving home from a thrift store where we picked up our first piece of mutually agreed upon furniture - a dining room hutch. (All the rest of our furniture was mine originally.) It's structurally sound, but could use some cleaning and paint job. So we were talking about where in our space we could paint it, and I was pointing out that we could just put down some drop cloths and paint it inside.

Me: People paint inside all time; how else would walls get painted?

Blake: Elves.

Me: Ooh. That reminds me! Emmaleigh said

Blake: Wait. Emily [my sister] said that elves paint walls? I don't know what they're teaching her in her art classes at BYU-I [she's an art education major], but that's not factual. Elves don't paint walls. (pause) They paint cars. (pause) I mean, it makes sense, the car factories are all in Michigan, where it's cold and an easy commute from the North Pole.

Me: I love you.

And then I bargained that I would blog this for today's post if he would heat up some leftovers. As I sat down, I reminded him the ladle was in the dishwasher.

Blake: Ladle, ladle, ladle, I made it out of clay, and when it's dry and ready, with a ladle I will . . . serve.

Every day he makes laugh. Every day.

And the hutch! Before!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Get yourself an egg and beat it!

The first meal I ever made for Blake was his favorite food - manicotti. I had made it once before, but didn't know where my recipe had run off to, so I researched, found a new one and made a dish he ultimately loved.

But that's not why I love Blake. It's easy to love someone who willingly eats his favorite foods. I love Blake because he'll eat anything I make him. While he's made meals a few times, I'm generally the chef around here and he's my assistant. I readily admitted to him that I can't make clam chowder to save my life. It eludes me and was probably the most accidentally disgusting thing I've made yet.

And still? He promised that if I ever try it again (and I probably will, I lurve a good clam chowder), he'll eat it. Tonight? He looked at bit skeptically at the dinner in a pumpkin I had made (because I finally have a real oven again! Holla!), but a few minutes later went back to seconds. An hour later, he spontaneously told me how much he liked it.

I love to cook, but I especially love to cook for someone who loves to eat what I cook. It's even better when I make the food itself show how much I love him.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's tricky to rock a rhyme

One sweet thing Blake does to show his love for me is occasionally writing me poems. I've never had anyone write me poetry before! They're short and sweet and always brighten my day. I'm grateful for the the screen capture feature of my phone that allows me to save each one.

Monday, November 5, 2012

I could make it on my own, let me know that I don't have to

I have lived out on my own, for good, now since 2005. For more than 3.5 years, I have lived completely on my own - no roommates by choice. I've gotten used to managing my own house and chores. I'm not perfect and my house was far from impeccable, but I did pretty well for myself.

Blake has jumped right in and started sharing my burdens and I his. I refused to let him help me clean before I had him over for the first time, but since then he has helped with cleaning and cooking and anything I need or want. We started grocery shopping together ages ago, and if I cook, he cleans.

I love Blake because he really helps me and we get to work together, especially now as we assemble our new home and life. With everything we have going on, neither one of us feels unevenly burdened.

I could continue to make it alone, but I'm so glad I don't have to anymore!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Someone to fall back on

My darling Blake is very protective. Not in a "You can't do anything without me and you must never talk to strangers and you must stay behind me whilst I perform this football block as we pass this group of strangers" kind of way.

By the way, ask us to tell the story of the guy who DOES run football blocks for his girlfriend as they pass random strangers. It's much better in person.

Blake is protective in that he wants me to be safe and happy and feeling well. He helped me realize the new noise I had been hearing in the middle of the night was cars driving over a steel plate recently installed in the street by our apartment, which I'd conjured all sorts of scary reasons for and sleeping in a huge new apartment by myself right now has been easier ever since. He asks, with genuine concern, if I'm doing okay if I look stressed or tired. We check in with each other when one of us drives home at night, to let the other know we're safe. He also likes to come to campus with me in the evenings to study while I attend class, not just because he likes the extra time with me, but because he doesn't love the idea of me walking the 1.5 miles between our friend's house where I park and campus proper in the dark alone. Of course I can handle it and have for several months before we met, but it's nice to have him there just in case.

One thing you may notice as we walk together is that I am almost always on his left. The first time I ever held hands with someone, when I was 13 as he escorted me to my parents' car after a school dance, he told me that in the time of knights, a lady would always be on a gentleman's left so that he could use his right hand to draw his sword if necessary.

Turns out, that's pretty much what Blake does. His first career choice post-college was to attend the police academy. While he ultimately decided that was not his ultimate career path, it was ingrained in him to never carry anything in his gun hand as it would take longer to drop whatever was there in order to defend himself than if there was nothing in that hand in the first place. He doesn't even conceal carry, but just in case he needs to defend us physically, his right hand is almost always at the ready.

Now that I'm aware of that, I try to help. So if we're walking, and I say "switch?" and we walk around each other until I'm on his left, that's why. I think it's good to help him maintain the habit and it may one day be a good thing.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

We'll take the world together, we'll take 'em by the hand

First, the news. In an effort to maintain at least some income, but focus mostly on finishing my degree and our new life together, I'm working as a substitute teacher and as a babysitter for my graduate advisor and her husband. It's not what I want to do forever, but it will do for now!

Also, I'm getting married NEXT MONTH! It's next month already! Yay!!!

And now for another thing I love about Blake. He loves to hold hands and is otherwise not shy about showing affection, even in public.

As you know, we held hands on our very first date. The next day at church, we held hands too, even though its very popular for people to date in our church in circle and not make any show of it. We were happy and didn't care who knew it. And we still hold hands as frequently as we can.

I love how our hands fit together and I love how his hand feels in mind. I never want to let it go.

We also draw on each other sometimes. As two graduate students, we often have writing instruments in our hands and we're silly, so temporary tattoos and love notes it is!

Friday, November 2, 2012

I love you, I do

The most wonderful time of year is upon us! NaBloPoMo! 30 posts in 30 days! But Amanda, you ask, you didn't finish last year when you just had grad school and work and now you have new work, school, AND a wedding to plan! What makes you think you'll manage this year?

Different motivation, my friends.

This year, I'm going to tell you 30 reasons why I love my fiancé. He has no idea I'm planning to do this, until now. I beg your indulgence on the schmoopiness of it all, but hopefully you'll get to know him better, especially those of you who love far away.

So, the first reason (that I'll share, these will be in no particular order) I love Blake?

We have compatible silliness. For example, I own this panda hat, for kicks and giggles, and he wore it and posed all cute for me in it.

We make similarly bad jokes and feigned outrage. And he makes me laugh harder and more often than anyone I've ever known. I really can just be myself around him and he around me, and it's wonderful.

I'm so incredibly blessed and grateful that he has come into my life and I'm excited share with you some of the many reasons why!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oh, I ask for no more than two shoes on the floor next to mine (Love Story Part 3)

Courtship and Engagement

We knew very quickly we wanted to see where this was going. Within the next week, we were calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend and soon we were seeing each other everyday. We’ve actually lost track of when the last day we haven’t seen each other was.

That’s a benefit of both people being 28 and doing their own thing already.  We knew what we wanted, what we were looking for, and we enjoyed each other’s company. So we didn’t see a reason not to keep doing things that we liked with the person we suddenly found ourselves liking to be around.

And those things have been great fun! Mini-road trips! Pirate festivals! Civil War reenactments! Game nights! Indoor camping! (I still have the stars hanging from my ceiling.)

Note: The camping was not overnight!  (Mom, I know you’re reading this.)

Soon, we were doing all our normal errands and things together too. We work out together. Grocery shop (I cook, he cleans). Watching Jeopardy. Maybe that makes us sound old, but we enjoy it. And I usually win.


In July, Blake’s sister, Holly came to visit and stayed with me. Later that month, we headed home to Utah and Arizona together to get to know each other’s families and it was really just the perfect trip.

The 4th of July was a really good holiday, and Amanda was great about letting Holly stay with her.  On the 3rd the three of us hung out together until Amanda had to leave for class.  Holly and I were staying in DC, so we walked her to the metro.  Once Amanda was out of earshot, the first thing Holly said to me was, “that girl is so in love with you.”  I knew that if I had Holly on my side then the rest of the family was a lock, and with Holly enthusiastically saying how much she liked her, I was feeling good about things.  The trip home confirmed it.  Amanda’s pretty awesome, and the family loved her.

Once we knew our families approved, since my family loved Blake as much as I did and because he asked Dad and Dad said yes, we had a decision to make.

On September 5th, a Wednesday, Blake asked me to come with him to school so I could I help him get a reader card for the Library of Congress in the afternoon. My suspicions were raised, as Blake is quite a capable young man, but I’ll never turn down a trip to the LOC, my favorite building in the DC metro area.

Of course I could have gotten the card myself.  But I figured she wouldn’t say no and that at this point any unexpected trip to cool places would be seen with suspicion, so I came up with the excuse that I would want to study there some night when she was in class for the sheer novelty of saying that I studied there during law school.  By the way, I’m TOTALLY doing that anyway, because seriously...duh.

After class (I studied in the law library) and lunch, we got the reader card in the Madison building and headed over to the Jefferson building, the gorgeous, touristy one.. After looking around for a few minutes, we looked over the main reading room and then came out onto a landing over the a balcony overlooking the Great Hall. He hugged me, told me how much I meant to him, then pulled out the panda shaped ring box I'd authorized my sister to give him and asked "Will you marry me?"

"Yes! Yes I will!"

Then there was more hugging and kissing before he put the ring he'd picked out on my finger. 

It's perfect. He's perfect. And we're so excited!

My second choice was going to be either down by the Potomac or on Signer’s Island.  But, the LoC seemed like the obvious choice, with the added benefit of there being a much reduced chance of accidently kneeling in duck poop, so I went with it.  I didn’t think about it at the time, but in hindsight, I’m glad I picked a place with good air  conditioning.  I was a bit nervous. . .

The big day is December 18th! We can’t wait!

Here’s how you can tell I like her: I’m happy to go to Utah in winter.  That’s love.

Yes it is. I love you, Blake.

:D  I love you too!

Part 1 Part 2