A Wedding 2,438 Days in the Making:

That’s right, I did the math.

To tell you our wedding day was perfect, would be a lie.

A 4.5 month engagement does not a perfect wedding day make.

I thought, well I have it easy, because there’s Pinterest nowadays! We’ll just throw some of my pins together!

It’s easy to plan a Pinterest wedding because to “pin” something is much easier than to “do” something, or to “pay” for something.

I had it all figured out on my virtual wedding pinboard:

Bunches of lights.

Mason jars for everyone and their dog.

As much rustic barn wood as we could find, used in every possible rustic barn wood necessary situation.

Then reality hit:

“What is a circuit breaker and why does it not appreciate all the lights I want to plug in?”

“Mason jars cost HOW MUCH!?”

“You’d think there would be more barn wood available to us city folk.”

Ok, those were weird and somewhat fictional examples for how my vision of a perfect Pinterest wedding blew up in my face sometime immediately after getting engaged.

I had to majorly tone down my idea of a “perfect” wedding.

I started hitting up estate sales every week to gather random items that I thought I could use in the wedding–I must say I am very proud of some of the things I was able to find! Beautiful old books, vintage cameras, and elaborate glass bottles.

Other things, I bought with the intention of using, but never did.

I now have more doilies than you can shake a stick at.

Somewhere during the 135 days between getting engaged and getting married, I realized that it doesn’t really matter.

Yes, I’d like things to look nice, and yes I’d like people to “ooh” and “ahh” at all the hard work we put into it.

But in the end, all that really mattered is that we were going to be married.

We were finally going to start our lives together.

So whether or not we knocked our guests’ socks off with hundreds of dollars worth of burlap and chalkboard paint didn’t measure up to the fact that, when it’s all said and done, you’re left standing next to the one person who’s only request was that you spend the rest of your lives together.

And that’s a good thing.

So,

while the day didn’t exactly go off with out a hitch–

–there was an emergency bow cutting off situation since the bows on my shoes looked like huge bunny ears like you see on slippers.

(Lesson learned ladies: try your shoes on with your dress more than a few hours before the wedding)

But we were wed!

And the reception was gorgeous!

But, you know what?

I didn’t even notice the centerpieces.

I did however notice, and will never forget, the look in my husband’s eyes as he said

“I will Love you and honor you, all the days of my life.”

That part was actually pretty perfect.

Here are some of my favorite images from the day, all courtesy of my amazingly talented photographer/all around cool gal, Karen Obrist.

Check more of her work out here!


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Here’s to the start of a new adventure.

xoxo,

Monica

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Dusting off the blog:

Soooooooo,

…time passes really quickly when you’re planning a wedding, get married, and then go to Hawaii for nearly a month!

It’s been 4 whole months since my last post! I can’t believe that–almost half a year!

That was definitely not intentional. Mostly, it was STRESS of wedding planning, and then travel + editing client photos.

So, obviously a lot has been going on–the biggest of which was that I got MARRIED!

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Photo credit: Karen Obrist Photography

Words can’t describe how it feels to FINALLY be married to the man of my dreams!

I really meant to blog the whole excitement and prep for the wedding, i.e. showers, bachelorette party, etc…buuuuut that didn’t happen.

So here is a quick overview of everything that went down before I walked down the aisle:

Bridal Showers

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Stock The Bar Party

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Bachelorette Party!

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Bachelor Party

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Rehearsal Dinner

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The “Honeymoon”

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So there you have it — the whole shebang.

Minus the wedding, of course, but that’s another blog for another day.

I am now in my last few weeks of nannying for my beautiful girls and I’m trying to soak in as much of their sweetness as I can.

The last 4 years of my life has been spent watching them take their first steps and speak their first words, having dance parties with them in the kitchen, and  pushing them on the swing. It’s difficult for me to imagine a life where I wake up in my bed and hear silence, rather than the sound of their little feet running around in circles upstairs.

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On the other hand, the last 7 years of my life have been spent away from the man that I Love more than anyone in the entire world. Since the very beginning we’ve been away from each other, always ending each phone conversation with “I miss you.” Twice, we were separated by oceans through military deployments–forcing me to spend my days, and especially my nights, with an inconsolable ache in my heart. A feeling of being incomplete until I was in his arms again.

Homecoming

[circa 2009]

Despite the tears running down my face, I know it’s time.

It’s time for us.

Time for us to have dance parties in the kitchen. Time for us to snuggle up on the couch and watch movies. Time for us to wake up every morning and not only hear each other’s voices, but actually getting to see each other as well.

I know it will be different, and it will be difficult, to say goodbye.

But, little by little, I will learn to let go.

I will watch the girls grow up, from far away.

And I will  keep them in my heart,

as I grow up too.

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Photo credit: Karen Obrist Photography

xoxo,

Monica

Virginia is for Lovers

“Tourists don’t know

where they’ve been…

Travelers don’t know

where they’re going.”

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I like to try and live my life as a traveler.

Most of the time, I don’t really have a choice.

At best, I have very loose scheduling skills.

My road trip to Richmond, Virginia was no different.

I had a starting point and a destination, but the middle was up to wherever the road took me.

In 2 days, I drove through Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia.

It is a beautiful country.

It was a beautiful ride.

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The world’s largest catsup bottle–everything I’d dreamed it would be.

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I had to stop in Indiana for a photograph the beautiful, starry sky.IMG_5148 copy

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I stopped for a cheeseburger at this tiny diner in Frankfort, KY.

They presented it to me saying, “And for the photographer, the most boring order we’ve ever received.”IMG_5190copy IMG_5168 copy IMG_5170copy IMG_5173copy IMG_5180copy IMG_5182copy IMG_5185 copy IMG_5189copy IMG_5204copy

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I fell in love with West Virginia and it’s countless old iron bridges.IMG_5212copy IMG_5214copy IMG_5219copy IMG_5221copy

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These are my great self-timer photos by the awesome river front properties.
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I made a last minute decision to take the highway for part of the trip to see more sights. I came across the most amazing waterfalls, old buildings, and gorgeous river views. Also, I inadvertently ended up on top of a mountain, which FYI, was not something that shows up on google maps.

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A couple HDR photos of the New River Gorge Bridge.

It is so big that it made a 40 minute trip around the gorge become a 60 second trip across the gorge.HDRBridge

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Micah in beautiful Richmond, Virginia. We were able to explore after our retreat got finished on Sunday.IMG_5347copy

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Looking towards Benedictine Prepatory school where we had our retreat–we were right in the beautiful museum district!IMG_5314copy IMG_5322copy IMG_5324copy IMG_5328copy

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The reason this post has taken me so long to put up is because I had no idea how to explain it.

The things I saw and the experience that I had were too big for words.

To say it was beautiful would be the best that I could do–and that really isn’t doing anything justice.

I’d like to thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes for a safe drive and an inspirational Engaged Encounter weekend.

Micah and I had an enlightening experience as we prepared for our life as a married couple.

I couldn’t have dreamed of a better outcome.

xoxo,

Monica

Save. The. Date.

Drumroll, please…..

The official day of our wedding will be:

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(Invitation to follow for invited guests)

Yes, it is a VERY short engagement.

One of the many pitfalls of a military engagement is that you have no idea when you’ll be able to come home to get married, or if, hey, you’ll be deployed next year at this time.

We figured Micah would be about 95% sure he could be home over 4th of July weekend to get married, and those were our best odds–so we went with it!

The downside to such a quick engagement is that we are quite limited in locations and vendors, but we are making it work and are happy with how things are turning out so far!

So excited to share our special day with our loved ones!

xoxo,

Monica

PS–A VERY special thanks to my friend Hannah at HowTall Designs for putting together this Save the Date. She and my friend Kaylie, with Mellema Photography & Design, have both kindly accepted my request to be my official “Wedding Graphic Designers”. They are amazingly talented–check them out!

Another shout out to my sister, Emily, who took this photo and many others last summer, as I yelled directions at her from a distance. Thank you.

Psssst!

….The girls have something to tell you!

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Yes, it’s true. After dating for 6.25 years, Micah has finally popped the question!

I am still very shocked by the everything–we have been together so long that it’s strange to think that now our relationship status has now been upgraded to fiancé .

People always ask why we’ve taken so long to get married – why would we wait 6 years to do something that most people do after a year or so together?

We don’t exactly have a real answer to that question, except that when we first started dating we were so young–19 years old and barely out of high school. Looking back on it all makes me realize that we’ve grown up together. We started as kids, and grew into the people we are today.

To be honest, I’m very thankful that we waited as long as we did. Maybe our story isn’t as romantic or as exciting the movies where people fall in love and get married right away…but it’s real. It’s a story of young love that has gone through it all: Good times and bad. Smiles and tears. Anger and Laughter. It has survived even separated by vast oceans and foreign lands. It has fought through times that even we didn’t think it would make it through. It has weathered the storm of Life, and has blossomed into a strong and committed relationship. It has foundation. And if no one wants to make a movie about that, well then, they’re missing out.

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The Engagement:

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The story is simple.

He flew home without me knowing, and proposed on my parent’s doorstep at sunset.

It was perfect.

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We are so very excited and thankful for all the well wishes and support!

xoxo,

Monica

Give thanks!

Thanksgiving break is upon us!

I have been all kinds of stressed out these past few weeks, for various reasons:

1) 3 huge group projects, several tests, and scattered amounts of papers all due at the same time.

2) I have LOTS of photo editing to finish up so people can get their Christmas cards ordered.

3) Micah has been at a training course so I couldn’t talk to him for 3 weeks, which definitely isn’t the longest we’ve gone not being able to talk to each other, but it’s still a long freakin’ time to not talk to someone.

4) I spent 10 days of my life caring for the girls, by myself, while their parents went on a vacation–I have learned SO MUCH from those 10 days, including a whole new meaning of the word TIRED. Luckily, the girls are the most adorable on the planet, which helps in times of complete physical, mental, and emotional breakdown. Ruthie and Vivian’s hugs were what kept me going, in addition to Francie’s contagiously enormous smiles. I had some help along the way–shout out to those who were there for me, you all know who you are! And mad props to moms who do it alone every day.

To counteract my negative tone I’ve set, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving–here are some GOOD things that happened to me this week:

1) I finally got to talk to Micah again on Friday! He told me I’m certifiably insane for all the voicemails I left him while he was away…if you refer back to my list above and then think about all of that happening while adding in copious amounts of sleep deprivation, a certain amount of “cabin fever” since I had to stay home every night, and just being a girl in general…well you can imagine the broad emotional spectrum that he was lucky enough to listen to for “45 straight minutes”. Think of all the crazy that you can pack into that amount of time. Luckily we’ve been dating for 6 years so he’s technically not allowed to use the excuse that he didn’t know.

2) I had a dental appointment–my first in TWO years. I was absolutely sure that I had a cavity because I saw some dark spots in the grooves of one of my molars–that was the reason I scheduled the appointment in the first place, which took CRAZY amounts of courage to even pick up the phone and call. You see, for some reason, over the past two years I have somehow grown to have an absolutely crippling fear of the dentist. Not that I ever really enjoyed going before, but for some reason, something happened to me to make me into one of those crazy phobia people you see on the Maury show who run away screaming because they’re afraid of a bowl of cotton balls (I also don’t like cotton balls, but that’s another story for another day) After seeing the dark spots and going through all the stages of grief, you know, denial, anger, bargaining, etc…I sat in my bed thinking about what to do and how I could get out of going to the dentist. I googled a lot of stuff. But eventually, I realized that I was just going to have to do it because it was only going to get worse if I left it. I thought so long about what was going to happen when I got my cavity filled that I literally started crying in my room by myself. It was definitely one of my low points. BUT to my complete and absolute delight I was told that I DO NOT have a cavity! Apparently those “professionals” at the orthodontist got cement on my tooth and didn’t clean it off  TEN years ago. Just goes to show you that that orthodontia stuff is some serious shit. In other news, I’m pretty sure my dental hygienist also thinks I’m crazy. That’s what happens when you start your appointment with a tearful speech about how you know they’re probably a really great person, but I’ll probably never like them. And somehow involve a story about your former poodle’s dental problems.

3) I won $425 dollars at the casino off of just $20. That kind of luck never usually happens to me so I was pretty pumped about it. I even tithed it the next day at church. For some reason it felt a little bit like tipping the dealer. Go figure.

4) I found an almost full bottle of peach vodka under my bed while I was looking for some file folders. I immediately thought, “Hey! Peach vodka! Think of all the fruity drinks I can make!” Then I thought, “…does this make me an alcoholic for finding bottles of alcohol under my bed?” and then I realized NO it does not, because it was still full. If I was finding empty bottles of alcohol under my bed it would be a different story. So, that’s a good thing.

5) I had a lovely sister’s night with Micah’s sisters. It’s always fun to have dinner with them and use ungodly amounts of coupons to order excessive amounts of appetizers, alcohol, and desserts so that we can get our money’s worth of the coupon. We may be cheap, but we’re ALWAYS classy.

An older photo, but you get the idea.

6) I ordered Micah’s ticket to come home for Christmas! Woo woo!

Anyways, I just thought I’d make a quick post because I am avoiding doing what I am supposed to be doing, which is study Finance. I’m meeting a tutor tomorrow because my mind doesn’t “process” numbers very well. It dates all the way back to 3rd grade when we started doing long division. Up until then, I was a Math genius. Let’s just say people knew me…for being smart. I could add and subtract like a BOSS. Multiplication and simple division were CAKE. But then along came long division, and my world came crashing down around me. I have a very specific memory of being handed a worksheet and sitting at my desk staring at it, thinking “F this shit, man. I just want to take pictures!”….it probably wasn’t exactly like that, but pretty close because I had just gotten a brand new purple Canon film camera for Christmas and was preeeeetty pumped about it. Fast forward to today, I’m still having the same problems.

C’est la vie.

Oh, and for those who visit the blog for the pictures, here are some from the past few months…most from my phone and a few with my nice cam. Enjoy! And have a lovely and blessed Thanksgiving!

Meet Me in Charlotte

I realize I haven’t posted on here in awhile, and the reason is:

STRESS!

School, Photography, Nannying, ohhhhh my!

So it was nice to be able to take an unexpected trip to North Carolina this weekend to see Mister Micah!

It had been exactly 67 days since we last saw each other, which is definitely NOT the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other, but it was the longest in quite awhile.

I flew on stand-by, and was planning on going from Chicago to Raleigh, but had to change destinations when that flight got overbooked. So I asked him to meet me in Charlotte, and he did. After 67 days apart, and 10 hours wandering the Chicago airport, we were finally together again : )

We drove down to Myrtle Beach and spent the weekend laying on the beach, walking the boardwalk, riding the ferris wheel, and finding new restaurants.

It was an absolutely perfect early birthday present! I am truly blessed to be Loved by him.

xoxo,

Monica

A New Chapter

(I promise this will be my only whiney post about this:P)

Micah has left for the military again, and I am on my own…again.

Such as it has been for 4 years of our nearly 6 year relationship.

It’s different now that I know what it’s like to have him around and be able to call and talk to him whenever I want, go to lunch, see movies…you know, normal stuff that normal couples get to do.

I should have known not to let myself get too used to seeing him. Which I guess isn’t necessarily the problem. The problem is just that it will never be easy to say goodbye, no matter how many times we have to do it.

So, I focus on the good things. We had SUCH an awesome summer together. I want to put up lots of pictures, but I am drowning in editing photos for my biz, so that will have to wait, along with lots of other things.

There’s no real reason for this post except that I miss doing this, I’ve been so busy that I feel guilty taking time for myself to do this kind of thing. It’s nice to have something like this to distract myself from the hectic schedule of class, homework,  photo shoots, editing, nannying, and the general ache in my heart I carry around now.

I guess I just wanted to put that out there…and ask that whoever reads this and is lucky enough to have the one they love most in this world by their side every day to be thankful! Go give them a hug right now and tell them how much you love them and appreciate them and couldn’t imagine your life without them! I am so thankful to have Micah in my life and only be separated from him physically. Someday we’ll be together every day like a normal couple again.

Someday.

xoxo,

Monica