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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anniversary Week: The Wedding

Quickly after getting home from our Christmas trip, I began planning a September 1st wedding. It was a little stressful at times because most of this planning had to take place during my first busy season in public accounting. Jesse was great and let me do my thing, he didn’t have very many opinions.

Also in January, Jesse and I found a church that we both loved and started attending weekly. This is really when we began our journey together in Christ. To this day, we still attend the same church and our faith has grown so much over the last four and half years since we first stepped foot in the church.

Wedding planning actually went fairly smoothly for me. I never felt stressed out or overwhelmed. It was a really exciting time and I was so fortunate to share the planning with my mom. We had a great time choosing colors, dresses, favors, invitations, flowers, food, cake, etc.

The time passed quickly before us and soon it was September 1st, one of the very best days of my entire life (hopefully Jesse feels the same!!).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Anniversary Week: The Engagement

Jesse and I moved in together at the beginning of December 2006. Things were going smoothly and our future seemed bright. We had our tickets bought to go to Minnesota and spend Christmas with his family. Little did I know that Jesse had picked out an engagement ring near his hometown, when he was there for a few days for his great-grandmother’s funeral in October.

I thought the big question was coming, I just didn’t know when, and I especially didn’t know that a ring was already picked out. We celebrated Christmas with his family and had a wonderful time. I kept waiting for Jesse to ask me to go on some romantic, private walk… but it never happened.

On December 28th, his whole extended family came over to his parent’s house to celebrate Christmas. They were doing a gift exchange (whatever you call the type where you draw numbers and steal gifts). I had drawn a middle number, but lucky Jesse had drawn the last number, which meant that he could either open the last gift, or steal anyone else’s gift. I had opened a gun cleaning kit. Yippee! (Insert sarcasm) It was just about Jesse’s turn to finalize the game and I was whispering to him that he should steal so and so’s gift that I wanted and then trade later. I even remember being slightly irritated that he wasn’t agreeing with my plan, he stole the gun cleaning kit from me. That left me with the last gift on the table.

I got up and walked to the center of the room to pick up the last gift, turned back around to get back to my seat with unopened gift. When I turned around, I found Jesse on his knee holding the ring. I was absolutely shocked. I don’t even remember him asking the question, but I remember just being speechless because I was so surprised. Of course I said yes J It was such a special day and I am so happy to of been able to have his entire family (great grandma, grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins!) there to celebrate with us. But, I must say, I would never in a million years of guessed that he would’ve done it in front of so many people!

It was such a happy day. I knew that I loved Jesse and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Yet, I smile now about how young we were and how little we knew about how the Lord would change our hearts and show us a love for Him and for each other that we would never have imagined.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Anniversary Week: The Deployment

After Jesse and I got back from Minnesota, I started my career at a local public accounting firm. Jesse and I settled into normal dating life. Most of our evenings involved each other, watching movies, having dinner, going to movies, or hitting up the piano bar right across the street from my new place. But unfortunately, that “normal” life didn’t last long. Jesse was scheduled to deploy at the beginning of July for four months.

Jesse’s parents wanting him to come out to Minnesota again over the 4th of July weekend, so they could see their son one more time before his first deployment. He said he wasn’t coming without me. So, we both made our way back to Minnesota for a long weekend. When we returned on the night of the 5th, I was hit with unexpected news. One of my friends from college had drowned in a lake the night before. I was devastated. Jesse was amazing and just held me through my tears, but had to leave the very next morning. It was an emotional time for me.

Jesse and I talked on the phone as often as we could while he was gone. Soon after he left, he mailed me a ring that was engraved in Hebrew writing that says, “My beloved is mine and I am His”. I wore it during the whole deployment and still where it anytime Jesse is away from me. Our conversations got more serious and we began to talk about the future. It was different than any other relationship I had ever been in. It just felt right. I was dating a man, not a college kid. Jesse was not afraid of the future or to tell me he loved me. It was a more mature love than I had experienced in the past.
The first couple of months seemed pretty effortless, but for the last month or so it became increasingly harder for me. I had only been with Jesse for a little over two months when he left, at that point he had been away for longer than we had been together. Jesse’s great grandmother passed away a few days before he was scheduled to come home. He was able to leave early to return home for his grandmother’s funeral. And a few days later, he was back to Washington.

It was great for the first few days, but then things got to feeling not so right. Jesse was home a few days before the rest of his squadron. I noticed that he kind of had an attitude, hung around my place and created messes. It just didn’t feel right. We got into a couple arguments and decided to take a break. In the couple of days we were apart, I went on a date with a guy from work and he had a post deployment briefing with the rest of his squadron. I think we both came to some realizations. For me, I realized that I had found the real deal in Jesse. Jesse realized that there are some common things that happen in relationships right after a deployment. What our arguments had stemmed around where the most common ones for military members coming home after being away for months. Before the week was up, we had sat down, talked, and resolved the issues at hand. Everything was back to normal by the beginning of November. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anniversary Week: Dating

The night after we met, Jesse asked me out on our first date. We were going to meet at the movie theater. I drove up, went by the front of the theater before parking, and noticed a very attractive man standing in front who looked to be waiting for someone. (Remember when I told you that the night before, him and his friend were being funny and were dressed like nerdy old men??) I think I said aloud, "No way." So I parked and called his cell phone to let him know that I had just gotten there and to see if he was there already, too. Sure enough, he said he was standing right out front. It was him! I'm telling you, he was completely unrecognizable from the night before. I thought I had kissed a geek the night before, I was wrong. :)

The date went really well and then the next day he left to go to Spain for a week long mission. He called me a few times during that week to chat. By the time he got back... I had somehow gotten pink eye... in both eyes! The night he got back, I told him that he couldn't come over because I was highly contagious AND I looked like something out of a horror film. He still insisted and didn't seem the slightest bit worried about getting pink eye. I knew this guy was in it for the right reasons and could be a keeper.

Over the next week, we saw each other almost every day. I was in my last couple weeks of college and pulling all nighters studying... and making out with this cute new guy in my life. ;) Jesse had leave for the last half of May to go home to Minnesota. Before he left, I also had tickets to join him for the last week of May to Minnesota to meet his family. During the week he was gone, I managed to graduate college, finish up my internship, and get moved into a new place. Life was about to dramatically change for me. And, you got it right, within 4 weeks of meeting Jesse, I was half way across the country meeting his family!

We had a great time in Minnesota. He picked me up in Minneapolis and surprised me with a day filled with the Mall of America, a Twins vs. Mariners game, and a stay at the downtown Hilton. The rest of the week we spent the days with his family and the nights hanging out with his friends. It was so much fun.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Anniversary Week: How We Met

Jesse and my fourth anniversary is a week from today, September 1st. So, I decided to "borrow" the idea to do use this week to post our love story! Carla did this a couple weeks ago and I loved getting to know about her and her husband's story!

So let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! When I met Jesse I was in my last semester of college at Pacific Lutheran University (Go Lutes!). I had an accounting internship at Labor Ready's headquarters in Tacoma in their tax department. At Labor Ready, I had met, Stacy, a woman with two kids, whose husband was in the Air Force and was currently deployed. She was graduating college that week and had invited me over to drink some wine with her to celebrate.

Fast forward to that Saturday, April 29th, 2006. I got to Stacy's house and it had turned out to be a get together/BBQ. She had even invited two of her husbands friends over and was playing matchmaker with me and them. Turns out it was Jesse and his best friend, Jamie. I wasn't looking to meet anyone. So, I kind of stayed clear from both of them for the first couple hours. I clung to Stacy and even her kids, anything to keep from being awkwardly "set-up" with these two guys that were dressed for their own personal theme night: 40 year old guys. Complete with sweater vests and visors.

Well, the night got later and the makings for cherry bombs were brought out. (This was my very favorite drink during college: a shot of cherry vodka dropped in a glass of red bull). Being the crazy young kid I was, I had a few cherry bombs and didn't stay such a wall flower for long. We played some poker and hung out for awhile. I immediately found myself drawn to Jesse. He was laid back, kind, and easy to talk to. He managed to make me feel like I was the only person in the room that night without seeming to be trying to hard. Like he was just genuinely interested in getting to know me.

Even later in the night, we found ourselves alone in the living room talking on the couch. He leaned over and kissed me. And that is when he had me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sometimes You Just Gotta Cry

I cried for the first five minutes of my drive home after work today, and I have to say, I feel better. Why did I cry?

Well, it doesn't help that I was just plain tired. But, Jesse is coming home at some point in the next week or so. What?! Why would I cry over that?! Of course I am thrilled by that! But... there is a date and a time for his arrival planned, so of course, I'm thinking about what it will be like when he comes home, what should we do, how amazing it will be.

And then the wave of emotion hits me. It makes me so homesick for having my husband back. For the last couple of months, I didn't allow myself to think about what it's like to have a complete family at home. I haven't allowed myself to miss having someone to come home to at the end of a rough day. You just put one foot in front of the other and go through the motions of living life with what is in front of you. But now I am remembering what having my other half in my daily life is like. To have someone someone to hug you when you walk through the door at night, someone to wake up to on a lazy weekend morning, to share the joys of parenthood with when Hunter does something funny or new, or snuggle up to while dozing off to sleep. It seems almost unbearable to make it another week.

So after staying nearly tear free for the last four months, I just needed a good cry a week before my husband comes home because it just feels like a week too far away.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nail Polish 1, Doyle House 0

Where do I even begin? I'll get straight to the point, Hunter got into a bottle of my bright pink nail polish. It was sitting on my nightstand and I was folding clothes at the foot of the bed. Somehow, Hunter managed to get the bottle open and poor the whole thing onto himself and the carpet.

I heard him say "uh oh", so I turned around to find a little boy covered in nail polish and a few lovely splatters all over the carpet as well. I exclaimed, "Hunter!" he looked at me with the saddest eyes and quietly said "Hunter naughty". My heart broke. "Sawwy mommy". Broke again.

I got him scooped up and carried him into to the bathtub. I decided to have him in the bath while I took paper towels soaked in nail polish remover to scrub it off of him, that way I was able to rinse the remover off immediately with water. I was worried it would be too harsh on his skin.

Well, I got it off his body after about 10 minutes of scrubbing. Unfortunately, after an hour of scrubbing the carpet, no such luck. :( Oh well, that's life, right?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's another Thursday morning, the last day of my work week, and a great day for me to reflect on the things in my life that I am grateful for.

1. My parents. They take such great care of Hunter while I am at work and this summer, my mom has been making dinner for us during the week as well. It's been such a blessing especially while Jesse is deployed. Plus, she has been making healthy food, which may have contributed to me dropping... THREE pounds in the last week.

2. Jesse will be home in less than 3 weeks!!

3. Jesse and I finally being on the same page and being confident in what we will pursue for our future.

4. Jesse got picked to go to New Zealand/Antarctica for the ICE Mission for the 3rd year in a row! He'll be down there for a month... and it's looking very likely that Hunter and I will go join him for two weeks of it! Love adventures!!!

5. My internal alarm clock. My phone is my only "alarm clock", but for some reason the alarm clock is just not working this week and I haven't had time to take my phone in. I've woken up by 5:30AM every day this week on my own and made it to work on time! Amazing how our bodies work! :)

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Turkey: Part 4 and Final!

So, sorry to break it, but the first three parts of the Turkey posts showed all the excitement. The rest of the time Jesse and I just relaxed and enjoyed each other. We went to the pool, saw a couple of movies, sat at Starbuck's and sipped on iced caramel macchiatos. It was perfect... until the final two days, when we got sick. Those two days involved about 40 hours of laying in bed or running to the bathroom. It was pretty bad. Oh yeah... and two weeks later, Jesse is all better and I am not. Boo!!

And that is all that I've got about Turkey!!! :) Now to your regularly programed blogging.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Turkey: Part 3

I can't quite remember the order of the rest of the trip, but I'll just go with it. Jesse and I spent an evening in downtown Adana. We were going to just catch a cab to get off base and then take the bus... but in true Turkish cab fashion, we were convinced to use his services for the rest of the evening. It actually worked out great because he stayed with us all day and took us to some great places.

First stop, dinner on the lake, at a place that served kebab's by the METER! We never actually ordered food, the cab driver just talked to the waiter, and pretty soon we were being brought out SOOOO much food!

They started out by bringing some delicious bread with hummus, cucumber yogurt sauce stuff, salsa, a couple of salads that had cucumber and tomatoes in them, roasted red peppers, and spicy pickles.

Then came out the giant kebab! It had pita bread on the bottom, topped with a spicy meat strip, and then that was topped by grilled chicken wings, grilled veggies, and some more meat strips. It was sooo good.

And then there was dessert! There was lots of fruit, including: watermelon, cherries, honeydew, nectarines, grapes and plums. And there were also two sweet desserts, one was like a flan and the other was a delicious caramel, honey, shredded wheat type concoction.

Once we left there, the driver took us to a mall on the other side of Adana. He walked around with us and was so patient! He explained things and talked to sales people for us. We didn't end up buying much, just kind of wanted to experience a mall in Turkey. :)

On the way back, the driver insisted that he took us to the Adana Mosque. It's one of the largest mosques in the world, and it was absolutely beautiful.

We were content with just seeing it from the outside, but the cab driver really wanted to show us the inside. I was given a scarf and a long skirt to throw on before entering the building. Super attractive! ;)

We weren't able to take pictures inside because it was Ramadan and there was a "speaker" inside leading prayer. But, the inside was unbelievable, probably one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever been in.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Turkey: Part 2

So, after spending a relaxing day on base on Sunday, we decided to take a guided group trip on Monday. Jesse worked in the morning, as I leisurely slept in until eleven! We had some lunch and then met up with the group for our little adventure.

First stop: The town of Tarsus, which is home to beautiful waterfalls, St. Paul's church, the Apostle Paul's birthplace, and Cleopatra's Gate.

The waterfalls were really pretty. It's a local hangout for swimming, cliff jumping, and picnics. Jesse made friends with some of the local guys and just had to get in on the action.

Then we headed over the St. Paul's church. This church was first constructed around 1100 AD as a tribute to the Apostle Paul.

The next stop was the birth place of Apostle Paul. It absolutely blew me away that I was standing in a place that is referenced in the bible! The stone well is the original well that was used by Paul's family.

Cleopatra's Gate was our next stop. This is the arch that Cleopatra and Mark Antony were reunited under. Leave it to Jesse to find it a great location for some handstands, very typical.

That was the conclusion of our tour of Tarsus, so we headed south to the Mediterranean sea! We got a great view of Kizkalesi Castle, or often referred to as The Castle on the Sea, while we did some exploring of Korykos Castle. Korykos Castle sits right on the coast and overlooks the Castle on the Sea. We spent quite a bit of time walking, hiking, and climbing all over the Korykos Castle. It was absolutely stunning.

We left the castle ridiculously sweaty because it was sooooo hot that day. We headed out to a restaurant that sat right on the sea. It was amazing. We were able to jump right into the water from our table between courses at dinner. It was surreal to be swimming in such a beautiful place!

After dinner, we made a quick visit to some ancient Roman ruins.

And we just might of ended our day at the hookah bar right outside of base. ;)

Talk about a full day!!! More to come.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Turkey: Part 1

So, I am finally getting around to getting back to the blogging world. Let me just start by saying that I had an amazing time in Turkey. It was wonderful to have a week of alone time with Jesse after being away from him for over three months! My time there was a perfect blend of activities, relaxation, sunshine and food. Can't beat that, right?!

I finally got to Adana, Turkey two Saturday's ago. Jesse was waiting for me at the Adana airport. I loved feeling his arms around me, it had just been way to long! And very typically, Jesse tried to get overly affectionate at the airport, while I bashfully tried to keep him under control! (It's a PDA thing for me, I don't mind hugs and a quick kiss, but come on... no tongue ;), right?!?!) Save it for the hotel! Haha. Sorry, Jesse, just telling the whole story. ;P Love you!

We took the taxi back to the "alley" which is the shopping/restaurant area right off the air base. Jesse took me to the a restaurant to show me some local cuisine. Jesse had the Chicken Tava and I ordered the Adana Kebab. It was delicious!

The service at restaurants is unlike anywhere I have ever been to, they are so attentive! They knew Jesse from him going to lunch there a few times over the last months and treated him like he was an old friend who had been coming there for years and years. It was great.

Then he headed over to a "disco club" where a bunch of the people from Jesse's squadron were celebrating something or other. Once we were headed back, I asked Jesse if there was a hookah place nearby. Smoking a hookah is something from a lifetime ago for me. I'm sure the people who have only known me for the last few years are thinking, really?! Stephanie likes to smoke the hookah?! Well, actually, I do very much enjoy a hookah, once every few years. It brings back fond and foolish memories from college.

So here ya have it...

Stephanie being the craziest she has been in the last year. Such a rebel ;)

It was getting late, so we enjoyed a long walk back to the Jesse's room. It was nice to walk with Jesse in the dark and just be able to talk and enjoy each other's company.

The next day, we slept in until about noon... another thing I NEVER do! And it was ah-mazing!! We walked to the BX so I could get a swimsuit, because at that point I still was without my luggage, and I was really needing some pool time. And let me tell you, after this horrible summer in Seattle, the 95 degree heat, while laying next to a fabulous pool was glorious!!

Later in the evening, we went to the bowling alley and played two games and ate some yummy burgers.

It was a low key day for us, but it was just what we needed... :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

So Hard to Leave

Jesse had to go into work this morning for a bit, so I thought I would do a little blogging this morning. :)

First of all, I am not going to lie, it was pretty hard to leave Hunter. I know that he's having so much fun with his grandpa and grandma, but it still doesn't make me feel like I'm not missing out on being with him. I had a terrible time holding myself together when saying goodbye to him at the airport.

Here are some pictures from right before we left for the airport.

This is the first time I have ever been away from Hunter for more than one night. But, I truly think saying goodbye has been the hardest part so far. It has been so nice to spend alone time with Jesse after being away from him for over three months.

The trip out here was pretty long. The flight from Seattle to Chicago was delayed an hour, which meant my two hour layover in Chicago turned into a one hour layover. It was a mad rush to go through the internantional terminal security and get boarded for the long flight from Chicago to Istanbul. The flight was pretty uneventful, I mostly just fell in and out of sleep the majority of the flight.

I got into Istanbul and had about two hours before my flight to Adana. I got in the HUGE line to go through passport control, finally it was my turn, and found out I had to get a visa. Don't ask me why, I still have no clue why I had to get into another line to pay 20 dollars for a visa, I didn't ask questions. Then made it back through security just in time to make a mad dash to the domestic terminal to catch my flight. Thank goodness it was a quick 90 minute flight, I was pretty tired of flying by that point.

I got to Adana and waited for my luggage... but it never came. It got left in Chicago. Boo! (I finally got it this morning!) And that's when I left the baggage claim to find my handsome hubby waiting for me! :) It was so nice to be in his arms again.

More to come....

Jesse is active duty Air Force and is originally from southern Minnesota. He has also managed to become a follower of just about every hobby known to man (which drives his wife crazy!).

Henry was born on July 4, 2007. His hobbies include playing with his squeaker toys, barking a little girls, dock jumping, going to the dog park, and being spoiled rotten by his grandparents.

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