Monday, December 26, 2011

the day after christmas....

It's so hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone! We spend so much time preparing--sometimes for months even--and then it seems like it's over in a blink. 
I was anticipating Christmas this year, but not as I have for past years. This was the first Christmas ever that I've not had lots of family around. While Keith has spent at least six Christmases away from home, I haven't, so I think it was easier for him. 
He did so much to make it happy for me, though, from hanging strands (and strands...and strands...) of Christmas lights, to bearing my constant Christmas music, to sitting through several Christmas movies, when I'm sure he would have rather watched a History Channel special.
He even put off playing his new Christmas ukulele to clean the house (Spot-less!) for our dinner guests.
(He's a great santa, too. I saw a watch I really wanted MONTHS  ago, and he actually wrote down the style number somewhere so he could get it for me!)

So even though we didn't get to have a big family Christmas, we made the best of it! Most people say, 'but you're in HAWAII, what could be sad about that?' Well, trust me, nothing beats being around the ones you love, especially at the holidays.
This was our first 'official' Christmas as a married couple, since last year he was in Afghanistan at Christmas time. He's asked me several times in the past few weeks if I just wanted to fly home for Christmas. (I confess, I did spend a few days dragging my feet in homesickness, and I'm sure he was sick of my random emotions....) 
But I told him no way! He's my family now, along with our two little fur balls, and there's no one else I'd rather be with.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

wherever life takes us.

8 months ago, I got a call from Keith from Afghanistan. I was in the shower, but of course, my phone was right within arm's reach. (If your spouse has ever been deployed, you can relate.) He was calling to tell me some exciting news.... we were moving!
He was given two choices: 
Pearl Harbor, where he would most likely not deploy for a long period of time, or Europe, where he most likely would. Easiest decision ever! I told him to call back right away.... We were moving to Hawaii!!
I was SO EXCITED by tried not to get my hopes too high yet until I actually saw some orders.
He came home a few months later, we got our orders, and then busy-ness set in! First we had leave, and a wonderful road trip to North Carolina. Then we had our wedding, and those of you who've planned a wedding, you know how much it consumes your life! 
Then, we had a ton of logistical move details to take care of, from driving our car to Dallas to setting up our flights to getting eons and eons of doggie import paperwork done. 
All our bags are literally packed. Most are already on their way to the island.

In two days, we'll be there too! I cannot believe how fast 8 months has flown...
Not until this last month have I realized how much I'll truly miss this place. At least 23 years of my life have been spent here! It's my first big move, and as much as I am thrilled to be able to live in a place I've always wanted to visit, I'm sad at the same time. It's bittersweet to think that I may never be a resident of Colorado again...
Not to mention all my wonderful friends, and of course, my whole family who I'll miss so dearly.
Thank God for technology! Just last night, I called my mom on Skype from the car just to show her that she can 'see' me wherever I am if she wants to!

She got me the sweetest present that I'll cherish forever:

The little caption card that came with it says: 'Apart or together, always close to me.' 
How true that is. We're only a phone call, a video conference, or even a plane flight away from all of our loved ones. 

I'm excited for this new adventure in life with my husband! As much as we drive each other crazy some days (More so lately, since we're living out of suitcases!) he is, literally, my future, and I'd follow him anywhere.

The Pope 'Ohana'

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Life is fragile.

This weekend, Keith and I drove our car to Dallas to be shipped over to Hawaii. It was a quick trip--we were there and back in less than 48 hours. Just enough time to catch up with a friend and have an amazing Texas steak! It was nice to be back in Texas, if even for a small hubby had never been, and even though he hates big cities, I think he enjoyed seeing the sights. 
On our way home, we stopped in Amarillo at a famous steak restaurant for dinner. It was fun & an experience all it's own! 'The Big Texan' definitely served us up some of the biggest & most delicious steaks we've ever had!

The rest of our trip home was definitely an interesting one. We got pulled over for going 72 in a 70...(yes, that's two over the speed limit...I chalk that one up to boredom...) Then we got, really, really, backroads, mud on the tires, wrong turn lost (that one I DEFINITELY chalk up to Keith being the driver...) And had a random motorcycle driver flag us on the highway & try to get us to pull over. Very odd indeed. 

We pulled into the Springs finally at about 2:30 a.m., so tired & ready to be home. What I saw next is something that will be forever engrained in my mind, and that I'll always wish I could erase. There was an array of emergency vehicles on the opposite side of the interstate, and we figured there was an accident. Naturally, you look when you know there's been an accident. This was one of those times where I wished I'd stared straight ahead--the two cars had hit each other directly head on, and there was barely anything left of either one. It was literally like something you see in movies--Just a giant hunk of metal, and the only way you could tell they had been cars was from the back ends. There were sheets covering where the windows would have been, but even without those, I knew that there was not much left of the people inside. 
Maybe it's because I was so tired, perhaps it was because I've never been close to something so tragic, but I immediately started crying, almost like a reflex. I couldn't stop it. I think Keith was surprised at my reaction, but he's seen a lot more horror in his life than I have. He tried to calm me down & explain to me that stuff like that just happens, & there's nothing you can do.
All night all I could think of was those people. Did they have time to think? Did they feel anything? Who were they, what type of families did they have, where were they headed? Did they have any idea their lives would end in a split second that night? My heart is still sad at the thought that someone's mother had to wake up to news like that.
I know it seems maybe naive that I would think so much about people that I probably never knew... People die everyday, every second even in terrible accidents. But it's just different, it hits you differently when you have to see it. 
I've been super duper stressed lately about different things--school, our big move, logistics, etc. Stressed to the point where I've developed a horrible canker sore in my mouth. 
My husband really put it in perspective for me when we finally fell into bed at 4 a.m. 
Is it worth it? Is the stress worth it when you know that life is truly but a vapor?
How right he is. It's not worth it at all. Why not enjoy the time we have & treasure the people we love, because life truly is fragile. Everybody can break so easy & I don't want to take any single second for granted. 
It could be gone in just a whisper....

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

from a full heart...

I've been planning our wedding for a year and a half, and this past week, I got to see my visions, dreams, hopes, & wishes come to fruition. It was ten times better than I ever could have hoped--truly a perfect night, and very truly my dream come true.
Not only was Friday the happiest day, but it was also the most fun night I think I've ever had! From the moment I started the planning process, I'd told myself that I wasn't going to stress--your wedding is supposed to be a happy night, and I see so many brides worry about the smallest things! By not allowing myself to get wrapped up in what could go wrong, I was able to take in every wonderful second of my breathtaking night. 

Britt, Brooke, Mal & Jen stayed with me for the week, and that ended up being the best idea! We got to make flower bouquets & boutonnieres, do hair & makeup together, go for mani/pedis, and even had an impromptu 1 am dance party the night before the wedding!

I wish this could be every night...doing crafts around the table with those dear to me!
mally wally woo getting her wonderful zebra-striped nails....this girl makes my heart so happy.

brooke's face here is priceless.

The day of the rehearsal we finally got both families together and starting piecing together the ceremony.  It was very exciting since it was my first real glimpse of what our big day would look like!
 I totally lucked out when it comes to in-laws...these two are truly one of a kind, & make me feel so loved.

Friday morning we slept in and took our time getting ready...That's my kind of morning! We got to the venue about 2 hours early for pics. Then, about 30 minutes beforehand, my dear friend Elizabeth arrived with one of my flower girls and the adorable outfits we made for both the girls to wear. 

 This little munchkin makes my heart smile so big. & I'm going to miss her somethin fierce....

I miss this one somethin fierce, too...

The ONLY thing that really went 'wrong' that day was that it poured down rain an hour before the ceremony. At first I was upset because it was raining on my wedding day, and could potentially ruin my plans to have the entire reception outdoors. Shortly before guests started arriving, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and I snapped what is one of my favorite pictures of the week....

I know, you're thinking it's just a picture of some people that you can't even see! But to me, I looked out and saw the staff of Briarhurst, along with my dear friends and family, drying off the ceremony chairs and putting up last minute decorations that would have been ruined by the rain. This was my dream, and these people were out there making it happen. Of course, I couldn't be out there because I was dressed and the groom couldn't see me!

Shorty after this, the music began, and everyone started to take their places. I was trying so hard to peek at every single second from my 'hiding' spot. I wanted to see every part of the ceremony! 

Then, it was my big came so much faster than I anticipated. I remember standing by the DJ table, crying as one of our favorite songs played & our bridal party walked up the aisle. He looked at me and told me to take my time, and let him know when I was ready. I thought to myself, I've been ready for this moment for longer than you can imagine.

The very first time I heard Pachelbel's Canon in D, I must have been 15 or 16, and I knew that I would one day walk down the aisle with it playing. As the song started that night, & I turned the corner and got the first glimpse of my groom, I knew that all of this had been worth every second of the wait. I don't think there was a dry eye there, including my own.

The original plan was to have our dinner outdoors, but we had to make a last minute change to inside because of the rain. At first I was disappointed, but it turned out being so perfect!! During the toasts, all of our wedding guests crowded into one room with their champagne glasses, and I remember looking around thinking it was just like one big family together in our living room. That filled my heart to the brim. 
And then...the dancing! Boy, did we bust some moves that night! I personally don't think I sat down once from the first song to the last. I loved every second! The whole family was out there, INCLUDING Keith Sr....Yes siree, we have him on video bustin out some moves during Copperhead Road! As my mom put it, the Popes really know how to break it down!

The only sad part about this week was that it had to come to an end. Little Ms. Sunny called me Saturday morning to say goodbye. Since the other girls were taking her & Jen to the airport, I wouldn't get one last hug. :( We shed some tears together, and now get to look forward to the next time we get to see each other...probably in Hawaii!!
mallory sunny left us a lovely note on the bathroom mirror, & I just can't bring myself to wash it off yet...

Saturday & Sunday, we got in some good quality time with the family, sightseeing, eating chili at the cabin, and opening our wedding gifts. The time seemed too short, as it always does, but I'm grateful for every second!

My heart is full of love, gratefulness, & very fond memories. I'm thankful to every single person who shared our special day--it just would not have been the same without you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the wind in my hair...

Since Keith got his bike, we (and by 'we' I mean 'he') have been looking for fun things to do that involve motorcycle riding. when we saw a poster for the veteran's rally/motorcycle ride, he was to-the-moon excited. i was too. truth be told, i love riding on the back of the bike & breathing that fresh mountain air. there's just something about it that makes you forget all your worries...

 suited up and ready for our ride!

it was SO HOT that day...and naturally I forgot sunscreen!

Clear blue skies & mountains in the background. the perfect day for a ride :) 

The huuge flag made my day. :) I'm a sucker for patriotism.

What a wonderful, quaint little mountain town. Sometimes the simple things are the best...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

motorcycle rides & sunny evenings

this evening keith decided to go on a motorcycle ride. i didn't go because
a. it's still too hot out!
b. i wanted to get some things done around the house.

but what did i end up doing instead? I started a blog! I've wanted to for so long anyway.
we're moving so very far away, which is exciting and sad at the same time...
exciting because. i mean. it's an ISLAND in the middle of the pacific! how fun is that?!
but sad to be leaving everyone we love so far, far away.

so this will (hopefully) be a good way to help keep up with all the many things that will be happening here very verrry soon!