(passing through o'hare airport)

Thank you so much for the supportive comments about our move! In the past few weeks, we grossly underestimated the stress of being unemployed newlyweds, with nothing but a Plan B...and a possible move to Kuwait looming, but not solid until a few days ago.

In that time, neither of us were sleeping well...maybe five hours a night. Gabe was stressed because he felt like a bad provider (he isn't), and I was stressed because I felt a bit helpless. And there were a fair amount of silly little squabbles. Initiated by yours truly, of course, because I'm the fighter in our relationship...and also the one with a self-ascribed B- in hypothetical marriage class(Wink.) But now that we have job orders, we're much better.

We decided to get out of town and celebrate the new job. So, last night we hopped a midnight plane to Boston...it feels great to travel together again. Also, we finally slept like babies. Hours and hours of sleep in a cozy hotel bed. Today we're headed for a lazy morning in bed, a little sightseeing and finally a Red Sox game at Fenway.

Any must-sees while we're in Boston? We're here through Friday. Let me know! :)


our move: i need some strong coffee.

I didn't mean to leave you with a cliff hanger about our move! Cross my heart. I just usually aim to keep my posts on point or heaven knows I'll traipse through seventeen stories without trying.

(I do that in real life.)

Once it became clear that this move was happening, I needed a day to deal, too. It all came crashing down in my head...I realized I am going to have to deal with  boxes of emotions. Boxes of saying goodbye to family + friends. Parting with all my pretty things. Returning keys to an apartment that's been the background to a pretty amazing 12 months. And then the box that will be the hardest: hugging my family, leaving my hometown of 25 years and getting on a 17 hour flight to a hot, dusty foreign country.

So for today, I'm simply speaking in statements...and dealing with emotions later. Mostly because any extended typing or talking about the subject is just going to result in tears. And it's Friday morning. Who really needs that?

So here it is: we are moving to Kuwait.

Also, our Kuwaiti apartment has salmon and taupe checkerboard floors.

Pass the coffee. And I won't tell anyone if you add some strong stuff. ;)


if this blog were a baby...

...it would be headed for preschool. Or pre-K.

Or wherever you send little beings when they turn four. I'm not a mom...I don't know these things.

Sticktoitiveness is not my forte.  I've never even kept a plant alive for four days. So, each year that passes and I'm still writing in this space, I'm a bit impressed with myself. Gabe always says he's glad I've written all this down, so someday our kids can read it. I'm not sure what he's thinking, because I don't ever want my children to have access to this much dirt. Maybe when they're twenty. And on that topic, when I have children and they actually make it to preschool, I'll kick back and think, "Whoa. I did it. I kept little people alive for four years."

I can't even fathom that type of pride.

But now, I'm just pleased that I've documented most everything, big and little, in this space for four years and going: heading back to college, dropping some serious weight, getting dumped three times in three months (that's gotta be a record), applying for my first passport + meeting my husband, getting engaged in Paris, our surprise NYE wedding. An unexpected trip to Kuwait.

...and the adventure that's coming up next. That's right. We've got a job. We've got a date. We've got to move. Faaaar away. That's another day, another post.

For today, pull up a slab of virtual cake and let's party!

Happy fourth birthday, little blog. And thanks a ton for following along + reading, friends. It means so much. :)


going a bit organic, going crazy.

I'm not a health food junkie. At all. Infact, I'm certain I set the record at my local grocery for most Single Most Cake Slices Purchased and Eaten Alone. Also, I know how to show a box of Cheez-Its a good time.

Although I've got some meat on my bones--I blame the single cake slices--I'm pretty aware of the caloric contents in most of what I eat. I'm not perfect, but I try to skip "fast food",  keep junk out of the house and rarely eat meat. Since Kindergarten I've been mostly veggie...the thought of meat just never sat right with me. My parents thought it was a phase, even through all the clean-your-plate stare downs over Hamburger Helper.

I'm nothing if not stubborn as heck. ;)

All this led me to believe that I'm doing "alright" nutritionally. Not perfect, but not half bad for a girl who fell into the "obese" BMI category just a few years ago. Thinking knowledge of calories + fat + protein content was enough...it was a great idea to cling to. I liked being blissfully unaware--I didn't want to know where my food came from, nor grasp the ethical gameplay that happens behind the scene.

But last night, Gabe and I stayed up late watching Food Inc...and I cannot unsee that. I'm irritated that it affected me, mostly because it means I have to change something deeply ingrained in me, and something I really love: food and the way I eat.

Do you have any advice or resources on how to go a bit organic, without going overboard? I feel like people often go organic-extreme, and that's cool. It's just never going to be my reality.

How do you incorporate cleaner, safer food without busting the bank?


one, two, three...things about we.

(above my stove...a little salt and pepper collection)

Yesterday, Gabe and I set off on a grocery shopping voyage and bumped into a family friend I hadn't seen in at least a decade. Of course I was unshowered, no make up and wearing yoga pants. She was kind enough to tell me I looked great...(I love a good white lie!)...I smiled self consciously, and introduced her to my husband. 

Being from a smaller town and small social circle, she had heard about how we met, our travel-crazy relationship and long-distance first months of marriage. How adventurous and amazing!, she said. I laughed...telling her that this was of our real adventure: our first married week that wasn't our honeymoon or in a foreign country. A week of living-in-the-same-space, dishes-to-wash, groceries-to-buy, the-whole-nine-yards kind of week.

We're learning a lot, I said, laughing some more. And we are. Here's the top three things I learned in Real Life Marriage Week 1:

One: Two people in a twin bed do not a comfortable night make. My life has been lived in small, vintage apartments, and so I've held on to my tiny twin bed to save space...I've slept alone in a twin for as long as I can remember. Upgrading to a larger bed just seemed like poor space planning! That lasted about three nights once Gabe got here.

After we both woke up with awful back pain and in need of a nap by 2pm, we realized twin-bed-sharing was a terrible idea. Enter my twin-size air mattress...also too small for two people. So, we've been rocking what we call the "Ricky and Lucy": married couple, separate beds. Tres romantique, I know. ;)

Two: My husband is a much better person than me. He just is. Truly, I wish that was the honeymoon phase talking...I wish I could secretly think, "I'm just being nice. I'm actually the better person." But I can't. Example? Last night while I was feeling sick, he walked away from the show he was watching to scrub the tub and draw a hot bath for me. I probably wouldn't do that...ever. For anyone. Oh, and also: he took the air mattress. Better Person Award. It's plain ol' fact.

Three: There's a bit of control freak in me. Adapting from living on my own to being a team, to duel-ownership is sort of strange. And it usually flares up over the silliest things: I spazzed a bit when Gabe put a five pound bag of baby carrots in the cart.

"Five POUNDS? Did we get a bunny no one told me about? That's, like, four dollars of unneeded carrots!"

Who cares that much about excess carrots? Apparently, me. Because we're on what has been "my turf" for years, it's a little tricky to flip that switch and automatically think of this as "our" space now. But the good thing is, I usually catch myself thinking those "me" thoughts, realize it doesn't matter anymore and toss it out. The carrot incident was one of the few that have slipped through...

In short...if Real Life Marriage Week 1 was a class, Gabe would be getting an A, and I'd probably score a B- with a "shows potential, but needs improvement" notation in the margin. ;)



Gabe and I are entirely terrible at staying in one place. I always thought this was due to our situation: he works overseas, and during his three weeks of leave we travel to see family and friends.

But, no. It appears we simply lack the ability to be in one place for more than one week without feeding off each other's intense wanderlust. We spent last week drooling over the Jetsetter app, and yelling things like, "Oh my lord, babe. BALI. Look at this...Bali."

And yesterday we showed our true travel-addict colors. Suddenly we remembered our travel rewards--we might be able to go somewhere without spending much. We sat at the computer, pooling together every last airline mile or redeemable hotel point within our grasp. It totaled up to two round-trip flights anywhere in the US and free lodging. Brand loyalty pays off, I guess!

We chose Boston. Gabe lived there for a bit, and we met in Boston quickly the day before we flew to Ireland...Gabe was a true gentleman who didn't want me to fly internationally by myself. But, we are both charmed by the city...and have been hoping to get back. Yesterday brought some promising news on the job front (every. finger. crossed.), so we're holding off booking until later in the week.

But I'm pulling out my suitcase and planning my outfits. Too bad my fave clothing shops don't offer redeemable loyalty points. Cause I'd love a new outfit...for freesies. ;)

If you could go anywhere right now, and your flight + lodging was free, where would you go?


table for two.

(breakfast on my porch)

When I was a little girl, I just thought being a "grown up" meant you had a lot of money to spend, a husband to change lightbulbs + carry heavy things and no one told you when to go to bed.

Two of those things are true.

But it also means making decisions about the future and sticking your plan, even when it gets tough. For us, our dream has been to live abroad before starting a family. The path to that destination was paved with spending the first three months of our marriage apart--Gabe worked a limited-term job in Kuwait, and searched for another job abroad where I could join him.

I'd be lying to you if I said that was easy. It wasn't. Even for long-distance pros like us, being freshly married and apart was an entirely different ballgame. But, we clung onto this silly little hope that sacrificing for a few months would pay off in a dream-come-true. As the weeks ticked by, we realized how few jobs were available abroad due to funding cuts in Gabe's field. He was in the final phases of a hiring process for a new job, when all new hiring for the company was frozen. We kept hoping some miracle would come through in the final days, but it didn't.

So, Plan B has gone into effect: Dip into our savings account to pay the mortgage + my final month's rent in Wisconsin. Gabe would come home and continue searching for a job, I'll pack up my things. We'll be ready to jet the second he gets a job offer to....anywhere that pays the mortgage.

I suppose that's mostly why I've been silent for the past week. Because life is changing, and it's not following my meticulously thought-out Plan A. It's unpredictable, scary and all those things you never really realized came with adulthood. Like I've said before, we choose our life path...and deal with the circumstances of those choices. You don't get to play the victim. You just don't. When I feel negatively about our circumstances, I keep my mouth shut. Like I did for the past week.

But, yesterday my husband came home to me in Wisconsin. It wasn't in Plan A, but after months apart, I cannot express the joy I felt the second I saw him at the airport. No matter what happens...we have each other. It's a tough lesson to learn, but these unplanned, uncertain days have taught me this: if you have someone to love, someone to make lemon cake for, to share your tiny twin-size bed in your teeny-tiny apartment...

...you have it all.


bye-bye travels, hello home.

Here's the little face I've been hanging with for the past week...absolutely adorable even when he's just eating crackers and entertaining my camera lens. So, I was a little bummed to say bye-bye, pack my bags and head for the airport yesterday.

You know you're in for an interesting trip when the check-in agent asks, "So, how badly do you need to get home today?" It proceeded to get more interesting when he told me that they couldn't check my bag to my final destination due to a "glitch in the system", and that they'd oversold the flight, making me #3 on standby. He  then sent me on a wild goose chase between gates to reroute my baggage and attempt to get a seat.

Now, I'm a friendly gal. I'd also consider myself a fairly advanced traveler who doesn't get upset over delays or long security lines. But, it all came to a head after an hour of being told "no" and finding myself bumped further down the standby list....and I started crying to Ladonna at Gate B15.

Somehow that worked. Because within minutes my baggage was miraculously plucked out of the loading truck on the runway, a tag was handwritten to send it to my hometown. And then in another minute, a ticket was in my hand and Ladonna told me to run my little rear to Gate B5 because there were five minutes left to board.

All that to say....while I miss that little face, I am happy, happy to be home.

Oh, and when it doubt: be kind but forceful, and cry to a gate agent. ;)


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