Thursday, 29 May 2014

One Month From Today

*Posted one day late - oops!*

Precisely one month from today, I will watch my love of over 5 years walk down the aisle towards me, most likely crying slightly already (if all our readings/songs/speeches so far are anything to go by).
One month from today, I will fail at not ugly-crying when I see how beautiful she is.

One month from today, our lovely makeup artist will earn her keep, unless they invent extreme cry-proof makeup between now and then.

In a month from now, we will see so many of our loved friends and family, and be overwhelmed and happy and grateful that they all made it to see us cry at each other in front of my Dad officiant and a beautiful tree.

One month from now, we WILL eat the dinner we've chosen. It's said that the happy couple never have time for dinner, but we plan to buck this trend and eat all of everyone's mac n cheese and mash, at least.

Yum, mac n cheese.

And geez I can't wait to see our cake! One. month.

A month from today, I will make a point of sitting back to watch the action - we only get to do this once, and I want to take in as many memories as possible of this day we've planned for 1.5 years (or more, if we're honest).

And we will be just so in awe of our vendors and the people we are lucky enough to have helping make this dream a reality.

In a month, I will struggle SO MUCH not taking photos of everything. It's in my nature, my memory-obsessed nature, to photograph everyone and everything, always. But we have gorgeous photographers, and a videographer for that - Laura, you do not need to have it all on your phone, on your camera, on Sarah's phone, and your own personal video camera. Calm it and enjoy the day.

In one day less than a month, I will likely not heed that warning, and charge my various devises, JUST IN CASE.

One month from now, I will somehow find myself dancing to Cotton Eye Joe, which Sarah has demanded, though I swore at my last high school dance that NEVER AGAIN, because that's love, right?

And I'll secretly enjoy it.

One month. We will laugh and dance and sing and rap (maybe) and cry together, and not stop smiling the entire day because this is what we've wanted pretty much since we starting going out, and its finally here!!!

In one month and one day, I'll officially wake up with a wife. Not just any wife, the BEST wife I could have ever hoped for. One that I can go on for pages singing the praises of, but I'll save that for the wedding speech another blog post.

And in a month, we will be married. 100%, non of this half-married business. We will be Mrs. + Mrs. Smith - let the years of hotel and airline staff thinking we're using aliases begin!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sarah + Laura Wedding 2014: 4 Weeks, 5 Weeks

Omg omg omg. It's only 4 weeks until we go! And 5 weeks until we marry!

On Monday we went to get our teeth whitened - went to the So Me Health and Wellness Clinic in Clapham Junction, and got a whitening treatment that is more natural, doesn't have any bleach in it. We had our mouth propped open, some gel on our teeth, and a light laser on it for 15 minutes - this was done 3 times. It was the most relaxing experience for L, who has had years of orthodontic work thanks to a large overbite and an American upbringing, and a quite painful one for S, who hasn't had much dentistry done past check ups and teeth cleanings, and generally has a much lower pain threshold (and is much louder about it! ;D)

Why did Blogger widen our faces? Anyway, you get the idea - teeth!
We are definitely pleased with the results - while we haven't achieved that 'American white' smile that comes with bleach whitenings (which we didn't want!) our smiles look more photo-ready. We definitely recommend the clinic in Clapham Junction - if you want to do it, contact us and we can get you a discount!

But the hard part, the really hard part, came next - no coffee, tea, red wine, or Coke - for 48 hours. Thankfully we don't really drink any of the first things, but 2 days without DC??? Good thing they told us this after the treatment as I'm not sure we would have gone through with it had we known! The next day, we started an epic search for something light coloured that has caffeine in it. No such luck. Laura bought fizzy flavoured waters to try to trick her body into thinking its getting DC, but it did not work. Tuesday night had Laura sitting in her dark bedroom fighting a migraine! Anyway, Wednesday at 20:30, the nightmare is over, and we can go back to our previous ways. Especially with this pre-wedding diet business, we have no business giving up our precious addiction.

Is there a DC Anonymous? Not that we want to quit, just wondering. 

Wedding glam prep really started last week, when Laura started going tanning a few times per week. Yes, we know tanning beds aren't good for you and all that, but as it's only for a month (2 weeks for quick-tanning S) and we need to have a base colour before our British-haven't-seen-the-sun-properly-and-consistently-in-like-nine-months skin hits the Vegas heat. We will fry. And have strap marks for our wedding. Sorry guys that just can't happen.

Laura sunbathed before Prom in high school for a few months, and honestly she loves it - it feels luxurious, and it's nice to have a little sun every other day among the grey and often rainy British weather. She'd never do it without a big event like the wedding, mostly because of finances, but its a nice treat.

This last weekend we had two of our best girls up for a sunny pre-America prep trip - us, Lisa and Alison all sunbathed (in the actual sun!), and went shopping for some Vegas outfits. This meant strapless for Sarah and I, again due to the strap marks situation. You can tell we are seriously concerned haha!

We've put out schedules on the admin side, written lists of things to pack/buy/food we need for the weekend/things we need to do/ etc etc. 

Our RSVPs were due Friday, and going through them made us even more excited about the big day. Obviously as always there are people we'd love to be there who won't be able to make it, but we were surprised, and humbled, by how many amazing people are coming - from near and far, close to us in our pasts and now - it's just amazing and will be so great to spend time with everyone. Now - the seating plan!

It's all coming together and we are so excited!!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Ramblings Of A Bride-To-Be

Do you ever have that feeling that there just aren't enough hours in the day, days in the week or weeks in a month? I mean, it is just me, did I miss March and April and some how land up in mid-May? Is everyone this busy?

Sitting here at lunch, a lunch break I am enforcing myself to have so I can start work afresh in a bit, I just wrote my to-do lists - a work one, a personal one, a wedding one and a things not to forget one. How is it that I now need 4 to-do lists to manage my one life?

I know that commuting 2 hours both ways to work limits the 'free time' Laura and I get to enjoy but in all honesty that time is well used - I don't remember the last journey where we didn't plan, agree or organise at least one thing! For anyone who has read this blog over the past few months you will know that L is an efficient, effective planner so there is no way we aren't going to get things sorted and organised!

Lets hope :)

This post is almost written to distract my brain, it's therapy so I can say to someone, anyone, everyone that I survived having 4 to-do lists! I mean once we have the wedding that will be 1 to-do list done, and three is far more manageable right?!

My face doing our seating plan
We have a wedding post coming up so I won't cover whats in that, but it's all exciting, it's coming together - I can't quite believe it's 1 month and 6 days away! And only one month till we leave - or 20 working days!!!!

Then there's the personal stuff - simple things like remembering to moisturize, plan in exercise - I am walking the 1.5 miles from the station while L tans or getting off at the closer stop so we can get home earlier and go for a jog/stroll. But then there's appointments - L already has hers planned but I'll be going looking like I've spent 3 weeks in a jungle if I'm not careful!

It's amazing how much you really have to plan things through when time is tight - we have worked out anything less than 6 hours sleep doesn't work - then we deal with half asleep driving, falling asleep at the desk by 3 - but we can't seem to be able to eat dinner, get petrol, exercise, both have showers and get to bed in time in one evening - we have to schedule. Seeing friends becomes a logistical plan.....if we meet X here at 6.30pm we can get back to the car by 9pm then home by 10.30pm leaving time for one of us to have a shower - you get the idea!

It means right now we are living for the weekends, just to have time to stop and reevaluate and enjoy being together. We know it'll all be worth it but it has been so great having this blog space to record our experiences - jointly, separately, the good, the bad and the plain crazy! I mean remember when we got legally married?! That was almost 2 months ago - WHAAAAAAATTTTTT!!!!!!

And I can't forget the job to-do list, ever growing, ever changing - this job has been more than I ever expected! In previous jobs I thought I was busy but here as well as still learning I am attending events and doing all kinds of things I knew I could do just never had the chance! I have my 6 month probation review on the 16th June and I am really hoping I can become an official Unicorn Trainer at that point!

My favourite Unicorn things so far!

Finally, the things not to forget - this is the hardest of all lists, part of it is on my phone, in notebooks, on paper in my bag - literally anywhere I could find somewhere to write when the thought hit me. I have never had the greatest of memories - those puzzles on Survivor, you know where you have to memorise things - would screw me. I can remember random facts, interesting stories - a colleague is a bee keeper and I have now shared my bee knowledge with more than a few people - I digress! Ah you see a perfect example -if I don't write it down when I think about it, it goes! So the things not to forget - this includes saying thank you to people - for helping, for cards, for thoughtful messages, for gifts, for being there for us but it also covers things liked getting insurance, paying car tax etc.

So there you have it - the chaotic ramblings of a bride-to-be with 5 weeks to go. Hopefully in a year I'll look back at this post and smile at how busy I was while I relax in our house, with our puppy and a very happy wife!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

I Woke Up Like This - A Huge Step Forward For Idaho

Honestly, I couldn't believe my Instagram feed this morning. Scrolling through as I was waking up, I came across the news I hadn't dared let myself even hope for:

That's right, good old Idaho - I've always been proud of my beautiful home state, but at the same time completely mortified at how backwards the state is in some things - we are 50th in education funding (that's last.), have very right wing, anti-gay people in power, and nothing I've ever heard in the news here about Idaho has been good (think snake infested houses, neo-nazis.... the only good thing was when we were in the papers for our legal marriage in the UK, and it mentioned I was from Idaho!)

Of course, Governor 'Butch' Otter (the most ironically named governor I've come across due to his feelings on butch lezzies) is doing his best to fight the news and return Idaho to the dark ages (2006, when it was put into the constitution that marriage is between a man and woman). But you know, even if he succeeds this time, Idaho has made this step, and it will happen again.

Whether same-sex marriage is legal in Idaho for our wedding in 6 weeks time (I never thought I'd write that sentence!!!) or not, I will be a little more proud to be an Idahoan because of today.

I've got everything crossed for my little home state - because if this sticks we will have everything anyone could ever want - mountains, Whole Foods, copious amounts of potatoes, and the gays.

I'll keep everyone posted!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

How Do You Know?

How do you know you are in love?

This is a very good question and one we have been asked numerous times. It's hard to describe, because in my experience it was so unexpected. In fact, when I met L I was very much of the opinion that love wasn't for me. I had seen friends consumed by love, changed by love and obsessed by love and I didn't want that to be me.

I think part of falling in love comes from that cliché of loving yourself. From my experience it wasn't until I was a fully functioning human being in my own world, loving my own life that it even happened. When I had sought love previously it had always been to fill a hole or keep me entertained when others were busy falling in love. It inevitably meant the people I ended up dating weren't going to meet my expectations. They had no clue they were filling a void and I didn't have the confidence to say 'this is what I want from our relationship'. Mind you as I dated guys who knows whether that would have made a difference anyway :)

I feel like it was the same for L. Even though there is a 5 year age gap, I wasn't meeting an unsure, naive, student. I met Laura as a fully functioning, albeit living in a cupboard, adult. She was confident, demanding, self assured and opinionated. All things I admired then and love now.

In fact, I think it was the way we were, the life experiences we had gone through that meant we worked when we met. Had I not found the confidence to leave my home town and live in London I would never have walked into the job I met Laura in. Had I not had the ridiculous idea to wear an incredibly hot dress to that interview I wouldn't even have gotten that job, but I was assured that I had the skills if not the experience and I have no doubt the dress sealed the deal - but I digress.

If travel hadn't been something I loved and if I hadn't visited some 12 countries by the time we'd met how would I  have kept up with the triple passport-ed girl that was always talking about her love of Australia, her German travels for the world cup or tour of Europe with her school choir?!

I knew I loved L the moment I realised just how awesome she was. At first I didn't know it would be this kind of love, I just knew I wanted to know more. I remember the hours and hours we spent talking about nothing, everything, anything. Our similar experiences gave us a starting point and our differences made it interesting.

In just over 5 years together, L has taught me, shown me and opened my eyes to things I never knew about! Burgers bigger than my head for one :) She has given me experiences it would have taken me a life time to get to on my own, but ultimately our relationship has made us both grow.

So here's the ways I knew I was in love:

  • I was more interested in what she had to say than anyone else (including myself)
  • No matter how much I found out I wanted to know more
  • No matter how much time we had together it was never enough
  • I volunteer-ly tided up / put away / cleared up without compliant
  • Sleeping next to her was the best thing in the world (previously the noises, scratchy hair etc would mean I hated anyone else in my bed)
  • I would watch her across room willing her to glance the way to show she knew I existed

The moment I realised love was not actually sacrificing or changing myself to 'fit in' was amazing. I was no longer filling a hole I was trying to find ways to be better but not because L wanted me to but because I wanted to be better for us - does that make sense?

 And so to quote a tweet I put up the other day, I've found out that love is 'not about the number of days or months or years we've been together, it's about how much we love each other every day'. I can still list off, on demand, the reasons I love L and the best thing is that list keeps growing. Getting married is just our next adventure and I couldn't have picked a better person to go on it with.

I love that girl more than I ever thought possible and I know it because the life I led up until I met her meant I was ready to love her without fear or need or to fill a gap. I met her when I was ready and I am so glad I waited! In my case the best thing really did come from my waiting!

Less than 50 days to the wedding!!!!!!!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Tug of War

One thing I've learned about relationships since Sarah and I got together over five years ago now (!!) is that they are a tug of war, essentially. There is (almost) always a giver and a taker, and this dynamic shifts based on need. Often one of us becomes the giver willingly, but occasionally they are forced to give even if they don't want to, because they love the other person so much.

When we first started dating, I was very much the taker. I was 20, independent, in London completely on my own, and was a serial first dater (hey, free meals! Being poor ain't pretty...), so I took what I could get from people, and if they wanted too much back (my time, attention, trust...) I'd drop them. Reminder, I was only young, I'm not a horrible person haha :) Quite honestly, it was only Sarah's determination to give and not be dropped, her somehow seeing that I was worth the drama, the tumultuous relationship, the weekly panics of me being unsure if I could get my white wedding and suburban house dream with a woman, that is the reason we are making those dreams come true today. Because she gave, and gave.

But when we moved to Australia, the dynamic changed. As we took this large step together and I became able to trust that S too was committed to us, I calmed down, grew up, and realised what a wonderful woman I had. I quickly became a giver because Sarah needed to take, as it was her first time away from home, she was homesick, struggling with when to tell her family about us, and then struggling with her parents' reaction after she did come out. I gave more in that period than I ever had in any relationship previously, and happily - because I loved and trusted her, and wanted only the very best for my girl.

Alas, when we returned from Australia the seesaw shifted again. I found myself struggling to get a job after my extended time off - three months without a permanent job had me shaken, and with Sarah getting the first job she interviewed for (which has been awesome, every time she's ever job hunted this has happened!), my confidence was shot, and my desire to work and be a functioning member of society was at an all time low. What would I have done without Sarah's giving nature then? If I was on my own, I probably would have gone home, to Idaho, permanently. But with Sarah carrying me I finally got a full time job, and we were back to normal again.

Since then, it's been much more even - the taker and giver changes on a daily, or weekly basis, and I think that's attributed to our unfaltering faith in the other - Sarah knows I will do anything to support or defend her, and am always here for a cuddle (as she's not much of a 'talk it out' er), and I know Sarah will make me talk about things, or I won't be able to get over them, and she'll do pretty much anything to not let things/people hurt me.

We still have our falters, always to do with the outside world of course, but the swings - the tug of war - is so much less dramatic and life consuming on both of our parts, now that we are committed to each other. It's very much us against the world if need be - I know no matter what goes wrong, with friends, jobs, family, or anything else - I will always have my wife (in 7 weeks!), and she will always have me. And that's a pretty amazing thing.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Get Off The Internet!

Social Media! This post may be ironic in some ways, written in a form of Social Media, publicised via Social Media and using video as Social Media to make the point and yet here it is.

Since starting this blog we have long debated the power of Social Media - it's positives and negatives. The positives being that it has given us access to a big wide world, it has connected us to people we would never have known and provided insight and information that we would have never come across otherwise. In some ways it filters down the vast amount of information that is available and lets us access it in a way that makes us laugh, think or feel like others understand the world the way we do.

The negatives include the fact that it is so easy to believe that it's real life. It's tempting to shut out whats going on outside of the internet world, and to instead put too much stock in the relationships you make online, and forget that those bonds aren't always real. In the real world things are much less centred around you - in work, in social groups, in family!

However, if you don't put in the effort in real life, you will not have any new experiences to talk about in your virtual one!

We have to get up, go to work, sleep and repeat. There are days when the traffic is bad and we only have time to eat and shower, there are days when work is awful and working out who to pay back first becomes a nightmare, but the blog isn't the place for sharing that. We don't want to remember that stuff. The stories we tell are the highlight reel, of really good (and occasionally the really bad) things in our lives.

So this video came up at just the right time, it acts as a reminder that life really is what you make it when you go out and live it. It isn't about how many views or FB friends or followers or likes we have. We record and share our thoughts, pictures and posts for those who are interested not intentionally to create an all-good highlight reel. The moment that happens we will stop- or hopefully someone will point it out :)

For those of us joining our journey, who have sent well wishes or commented about how we give them hope, we really are grateful. It's important for us, and for everyone, to remember that it's the good and the bad that make up a life, without the bad the good wouldn't seem as good - so make sure and embrace all opportunities - Social Media should be a place to record those memories!

Anyways rant over enjoy the video: