Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Little R&R!

This has been a pretty stressful week so I am so excited about this weekend. Between blood tests, x-rays and doctor visits I am completely exhausted. Everything is fine with me but I am still looking for answers that I haven't gotten yet. I will update you guys on everything going on sometime soon but right now I am too tired to get into it all.

Instead I want to focus on a very positive thing! I am spending this weekend in Asheville, North Carolina!
Image from here.

We are leaving tomorrow morning bright and early and driving to Asheville. Along the way we will take the Blue Ridge Parkway so we can get some hiking in and take a ton of pictures. We are staying at the Grove Park Inn which I have heard lots of good things about!

Image from here.

On Saturday we are taking a test drive in a BMW for three hours (this came with our hotel room) and we will have picnic up in the mountains. That night we are going on a ghost tour of the city! Sunday will be devoted to the Biltmore Estate. When we started planning our trip, I didn't think we would go to Biltmore because I thought it was just a big house. After talking to a few people that have been there, we decided to go.

Image from here.

JJ and I haven't been on a normal vacation since our honeymoon so we are both extremely excited about this trip. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Photo Contest

My local botanical gardens put on a photography contest which I eagerly signed up for. I am really trying to further my skills and knowledge in photography and I knew the contest would push me to get more practice. To enter the contest, the pictures had to be taken at the gardens from September 1 to October 18. You had to put the pictures on a CD as well as print out copies.

I have been pretty busy lately so I only went to the gardens twice to take pictures. The first time I went I only got one picture that I was really happy with. So last weekend I went back and took a bunch more and had quite a few that I was extremely happy with.

Here are the ones I like but that didn't make the cut to be entered into the contest.

I decided to enter my three favorites and here are the ones I chose. (To see all of these in a bigger size, see my Flickr page.)

On Sunday night, the day before the pictures were due, I spent some time editing and getting the pictures on a CD. It was about 6:30 that night when I realized I still needed to print my pictures out. After a very brief moment of panic (OK, maybe it was more like 15 minutes of freaking out) I decided to have them printed at a local drugstore. I uploaded my pictures to their website and got an email that they were ready for pick up at about 7:15. When I got back home, I glanced at the pictures, wrote my name on the back and put them in a folder to turn in the next day.

When I got to work the next morning I decided to look at my pictures again. Pretty quickly I noticed that something looked a little off. They seemed darker than I remember them being. I pulled up the images on my computer screen and held the printed pictures up to the screen to compare. I was completely shocked at the difference in pictures. They were a LOT darker.

I was extremely disappointed and even considered not entering the contest anymore. Even though I was thrilled with the images on the computer, I was not very proud of the printed ones. I would normally order the pictures from Winkflash or MPix but since I had procrastinated until the night before, I thought the drugstore would be fine. I learned my lesson!

The pictures had to be turned in by 5:00 pm that night and I arrived at the gardens right after work at 4:45. The gate to the entrance was already half way closed so I drove through the exit to get in. After all that trouble there was no way I would miss the deadline now! I ran into the gift shop to turn my pictures in to the women at the desk. I told her I still needed to pay the entry fee and she informed me that I did not pay her but instead, I needed to put the money in the folder with my pictures.

I hesitated for a moment because I knew I didn't have any cash but then I remembered I could just write a check. I don't write checks very often so I forget that I even have a checkbook. I dug through my purse for a few minutes before I remembered that JJ had used it and put it back on the kitchen table. I was supposed to put it in my purse but forgot. I felt my face get red as I realized I didn't have a way to pay.

I told the woman at the desk that I didn't have a way to pay so I had missed the deadline. As I turned to leave she told me that I could just bring a check back up later. I told her that I could do that and started to make a note on my folder that I would be back with a check. She then suggested that I could just write my credit card number down on my entry form and I could pay that way. Without even thinking about it, I wrote my card number down and handed her the form.

It wasn't until I got back to the car that I realized how stupid I had been. How did it not occur to me that it wasn't the brightest idea to leave my credit card information in the hands of someone I didn't know? When I told JJ he was concerned but told me we could just carefully watch our credit card charges to make sure we don't have any unknown charges being made.

So to summarize, I procrastinated until the night before the deadline and had to print my pictures out from a unreliable company. I barely made the deadline with my pictures and actually had to break driving laws to make it on time . I didn't have any cash or checks on hand so I left my credit card information with a stranger. I am hopeful that my brain will start working soon so the rest of this week will go a little smoother!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Amazing Year

One year ago today, I walked down the aisle and married the man of my dreams. During the months leading up to the wedding I had many doubts. I didn't know if I had chosen the right venue for the reception. I didn't know if my nerves would take over and ruin my wedding day. I was worried about how we were going to stick to our budget. One doubt I never had was whether I was marrying the right person. So many people say getting cold feet is normal; that deciding to be with one person for the rest of your life is scary. I never experienced that. I knew I was making the right choice.

I went back and forth on whether we should stick to tradition and sleep in different houses the night before and not see each other until the walk down the aisle. Only weeks before the wedding did I decide that didn't matter to me. I needed to see my future husband when I woke up that morning. I wanted to see him before the walk down the aisle. He is my rock and I knew that being with him would always make everything OK.

The moment I first saw him in his tux I almost passed out. I could not believe how I got so lucky. When I was younger I would constantly daydream about my future husband and what he would be like. I had many different versions of this perfect man. There was the country boy who lived on a farm. There was the business man who worked hard to advance in his field. There was the intelligent man who could spend hours having discussions and debates with me. Somehow, I ended up with the man that embodies every single one of these dream guys. He is that country guy that grew up in Oklahoma and I get to see that side of him whenever we visit his family. He is the business guy that gets up early every morning to spend a hard day at work and he is the smartest person I know.
Since we started dating almost three years ago, we have been through quite a lot. Our parents live far from us and that is difficult. We have been through a few deaths in the family. I have struggled with health issues on and off for almost two years. We have had our ups and downs. We have had fights over things that should never been fought over, but through it all neither of us ever stopped caring. We never stopped trying.

Baby, I hope you know how much you mean to me. I know I can be a pain in the butt at times but you are so patient with me. You have done things so selfless and giving that it completely blows my mind. Whenever I have a problem I can't solve on my own, I know you are the one person that can always help me. You make me want to improve who I am as a person and you balance me out perfectly. You are kind, intelligent, happy and witty. You can always make me laugh even when you aren't trying. I still have to catch my breath at times when I look at you.

This has been a wonderful first year of marriage and I can't wait for many, many more. Happy anniversary babe! I love you more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone.