happy birthday

to the kindest of men, the tenderest of husbands, and the most fun friend! Your joy and zest for life inspire me and keep me going, your searching for Jesus compels me to do the same, your honesty challenges me, and your leadership pulls me up to new heights in life. I love you with all my heart and am committed to you for the rest of our lives, Babes. I'm yours... shoulder to shoulder facing Him, back to back fighting our adversaries, and face to face loving each other. You're awesome!


celebratory day

We had such a fabulous day celebrating our anniversary! Well, it wasn't one whole day, but rather two half days... so I figure they make one whole day added together.

On Tuesday we both had off at noon (yay!) so we packed a snackie lunch and headed out. Our first stop was Marshall's to get Rob some new sunglasses, since he left his at home and it was a super-bright sunny day. They were in the process of biting the dust anyway, so we figured now was as good a time as any to get new. Besides, any excuse to shop is valid in my book! We managed to find not one but two really great pair; one sporty New Balance ones, and one hip pair of gold aviators by Marc Jacobs. Sadly, I have no pictures of them. Yet. :)

We then took our hungry selves to White Bear Lake, a big, beautiful, lake (no, really?) to eat our lunch, consisting of hummus, various veggies, pistachios, goat cheese, three varieties of cracker-type things, chocolate-covered pretzels, Jelly Bellys, and Woodchuck cider... yum!

Since there was pretty much no one but us there, and the sun had a lazy-ing effect on us, we stayed about two and a half hours just talking, making up stories, snoozing, and just enjoying each others' company. It's hard to get bored of each other. Really.
At around 3 o'clock we decided to pick up and move on to our next destination: Aamodt's Apple Orchard just outside of Stillwater. Upon our arrival (which was not easy, lemme tell ya... the road construction was a mess!) we were delighted to see that Aamodt's shared property with Saint Croix Vineyards, a small Minnesota winery. We wandered about in the orchard, picking apples and stealing a kiss or two under the shady trees for about an hour. It was load of good ol' country fun. Or at least it was what I imagine country fun to be like... I'm good for about an hour of it.

Here's the orchard:

I wanted to eeeeeaaaat them!

Ohmigosh! Sour!

Oh, you're taking a picture??

We'll take a whole bagful!

I think they're going to make great pie-making apples. Small, crisp, and tart. Once we had filled our bag, we went back through the orchard's store which was a great big huge old restored barn. They had all manner of apple-y things for sale; from pies and cider to jam and popcorn... and of course caramel-covered apples. We managed to restrain ourselves and walked out with only a small apple crisp and a package of apple bratwursts. Oh, and our small bag of hand-picked apples.

Leaving our apple treasures in the car, we decided to pay a visit to the winery next door.
Sadly, I only have a picture of the outside; we were too busy to take any pictures inside, plus the lighting was dim and dusty. The two of us were the only ones in the whole place, so we got the undivided attention of the girl in charge. She told us all about the history of the winery (it a U of M endeavor) and how they make the different kinds of wine... with special French oak to make the barrels, blah blah blah. We tasted a tiny sip of about about 6 different types, (with dark chocolate in between!) and settled on a *very small*, very expensive bottle of raspberry dessert wine. The thought of pouring it over cheesecake sealed the deal for us. :)

We went home and had a cozy evening in. We had planned to watch our wedding video, but we... didn't exactly get to it. It was late, y'know. :)

Then, to round out our celebration, on Saturday I had planned a surprise for Rob; I got tickets to a string quartet concert in downtown St. Paul. So after a day of studying and relaxing by Snail Lake (we're luuu-vin' hanging by lakes these days!), we got all dressed up and went out to dinner, then to hear the Enso string quartet. It was lovely. I felt so very cultured. I almost fell asleep. hahaha. Evidently this particular quartet is quite famous (popular?) amongst the circles that know about string quartets, which are mainly Ivy league musicians and such. At any rate, they were very good, quite young, and wore deliciously coordinating outfits. We enjoyed ourselves and decided to take advantage of other opportunities to go to sophisticated concerts in the future. By the way, St. Paul is a very charming town; I much prefer it to Minneapolis... I think because it's older and feels more artsy. Before the concert, we wandered around the Seventh Street Mall (outdoors, with twinkly lights, cutsy shops, and street musicians) and the old Ham Building (no meat involved) which has gorgeous marble floors and beautiful dark woodwork. I felt like Anne in Anne of Green Gables when she goes to visit Diana's aunt and lives the city life for a day or two.

The only picture I have of the whole evening is one of the quartet, stealthily taken by Rob with his iPhone. Unfortunately that means we have none of our dashing outfits, which is a shame 'cause I had on a new black dress that I felt rather elegant in. Ah well, another time!
In all, I can't believe that I've been living in Minnesota (a state I forgot existed before I moved here) with this crazy, handsome, fun, God-centered man! It's been an adventure and I'm looking forward to what's next. We're happy... so happy.

(yes, we did indeed wear our "Bride" and "Groom" t-shirts from our wedding rehearsal. Why not, right?)


two whole years with you, Babe

It seems like no time at all and forever, all at once! It's been a never-ending journey of knowing and growing... and I've never been so deeply happy. No one knows me and still loves me like you do, Babes. Thank you for loving me, no matter what. Here's to living our life to the fullest... and trying to beat my grandparents' family record of 62 years! I'm more than up for another 60 with you, Rob Hulson!

(for more pictures... visit our other site)


this day... two years ago

September 15.

That date bring all sorts of happy memories flooding my mind. Two years ago, it was the day before my wedding day. It was a day full of preparations, last-minute arrangements, and just a little stress. It was a whirlwind of activity... and anticipation. Lots of heart-stopping, tummy-tickling, happy-sighing anticipation. I'll never forget how I felt that day, knowing that there were only a few hours left between my life as it had always been, and how it was going to be from then on. The next day, my wedding day- September 16, was the second-most pivotal moment of my life, second only to the day my eyes were opened to see the Lord as beautiful. But September 15 was full of *promise*... and the anticipation of the sweet fulfillment of the promise long hoped for.
I remember only a few actual details, like how windy it was and how I prayed for beautiful weather for the next day (it was gorgeous), I remember having a very special time of worship/singing at the piano in my parents house with Rob, my sister, and my friend and bridesmaid, April Talley Williamson. I remember flitting about at the church, overseeing the last-minute decorating and flower arranging. I remember Rob still writing and recording the wedding music (!) haha, that's where the "little bit of stress" came in.
I remember being not much good or help at the church, so I decided to go home and finish up some last-minute cards to family and get some rest (ha). I dropped off Jenni Carroll, the wife of Jon Carroll, one of Rob's groomsmen at her hotel on my way home and we both chatted and laughed about how silly it was to be driving all that way together on THIS day, hardly even knowing each other. Good times. Late that night, I sat up and talked to my mom (on the floor in the hallway outside her room, of all places!) about how excited we both were... we both cried and laughed until it was way too late. Daaaang, I love and miss that lady!
Earlier, I remember hugging so many of my good friends and wishing that we had time to all sit and talk for hours.
I remember dressing for the rehearsal dinner very calmly and taking a bunch of casual pictures with my brothers and parents. I treasure those shots, that was actually the last time we were all together since then!

The rehearsal dinner was beautiful... in a golfcourse clubhouse, overlooking the course with the mountains in the background, it couldn't have been better. I only vaguely remember the actual dinner, one of the things that stands out in my mind is the sweet poem that my good friend Elizabeth wrote for me and read during dinner. I remember not wanting my makeup to run, then not caring.
The rehearsal itself is a complete blur, the only thing I remember clearly is the "oh my gosh" feeling of walking down the aisle with my Dad in the first practice run-through. It all seemed so REAL all of a sudden! There I was, with all my special friends (all together in *my* town!) and my whole family, about to make the most important step in my adult life... with the most amazing man I'd ever met, who was so much like the most amazing of fathers.
Okay, I also remember goofing off with Rob and having a blast with my dearest girlfriends. (Apparently I'm fun to pick up? And apparently I get along well with blonde girls. Maybe takes a special brunette to be my friend... or something?)

After the rehearsal, Rob and I drove back together, and stopped at "our spot" (actually a parking spot in front of a dumpster by a Starbucks, haha) and exchanged our wedding gifts to each other. I gave him a snazzy watch that I put a lot of thought into, and a few other little gifts. I was pleased with my selection... until I opened his gift to me. He had made a hard-bound book full of pictures from the two years we had been together, prefaced by a heartfelt note on the front page. How did I manage to get such a sweet, thoughtful, and creative guy??!
As soon as I opened it, the tears started flowing freely for the first time that day. The thought of that he was going to be MINE, and I was going to be HIS, fully and finally, the very next day was overwhelming. Since January in 2005, when he first told me that he was interested in me, Rob has been the tangible expression of God's grace to me. He has loved me unconditionally, he has listened to and forgiven my deepest sins, and he has led me to pursue a deeper and more "alive" relationship with his treasure, our Lord. Not to mention, he fills my days with happiness and never passes up a chance to make me laugh, usually at him! I honestly can't imagine my life without him; he was made for me, and I for him. We complete each other in ways I didn't even know I needed a completer! Every day I marvel at God's goodness in giving me Rob... and I only ask for more.

We took a few "last engaged kiss" pictures right before he dropped me off at my parents' house for the very last time that night.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn't change anything! Like Derek Webb sings, "I Wanna Marry You All Over Again", Baby!

I wanna marry you all over again
I wanna meet you and I wanna be friends
I wanna chase you all the way to Tennessee
I’ll meet your parents at the airport bar
I’ll take you out in my rental car
I wanna court you on the record label’s dime

come on baby let’s go back to the start
take it back sugar then gimme your heart
don’t you know baby I would do it all over again

I wanna buy you an old upright
I wanna accidentally stay all night
I wanna read the Bible and I wanna make out
I wanna marry you all over again
I wanna fall in love and say we’re just friends
I wanna race you all the way to Kansas City

come on baby let’s go back to the start
take it back sugar then gimme your heart
don’t you know baby I would do it all over again

I wanna give you a diamond ring
and then we’ll run into my ex-girlfriend
oh, I wanna sing songs while the sun’s going down

come on baby let’s go back to the start
take it back sugar then gimme your heart
don’t you know baby I would do it all over again