The story of how we (almost) got engaged

The song “Time and Confusion” by Anberlin came on my music yesterday morning. That is “our song”, it’s not slow or sappy. It’s a punk rock song, but it’s ours. We played it at our wedding, it’s the ringtone on my phone for DJ. We discovered the song soon into our relationship and quickly made it ours.

Like we said, about two weeks after we met, we decided we were going to get married. But DJ still made me  wait a year and a half until he officially proposed. We started dating in September of 2005. Over the summer break of 2006, he was in New Jersey, I was in Maryland, and we were only seeing each other about every three weeks. One night on the phone, when I was having a particularly rough time with the distance, he let slip that his mom had given him a family ring to use as an engagement ring. For the next nine months, I was constantly expecting it. A word to the wise – don’t expect it. It makes all the times it didn’t happen disappointing. Like the time we went to see Anberlin in concert.

I was convinced that DJ was going to propose during this concert. In my mind, he had some how contacted the band and formed this elaborate plan to surprise me with an engagement. He was going to “go to the bathroom” the song before our song in the band’s set, then come out on stage, propose, and the band would follow up with our song. Wrong. And the fact that I still remember all of the pseudo-details of his non-existent plan seven years later should demonstrate the emotional scarring that came from this concert.

Well, he never went to the bathroom and our song came and went with no ring. The hour and a half drive to my parent’s house after the concert was weird. I was disappointed and, frankly, a little lot annoyed with him for blowing this perfect proposal opportunity. But I couldn’t say that, because who calls out their boyfriend for not proposing when you think they should? Don’t worry though, after he did actually propose, I gave him grief for passing up this perfect opportunity.

DJ’s note:  Hi.  DJ here.  I feel the need to interrupt this blog post to note a couple of things.  1.  The thought did occur to me to do it at the concert.  2.  I had not asked her dad’s permission yet.  This is something I would do the very next day.  That is all.  She may continue now.

He didn’t make me wait too much longer. This concert was in February, we got engaged over spring break the next month. That’s another story for another time, but this story makes me laugh and I love giving DJ grief about it.


What our days and weeks are like

With this blog, I’m hoping to give you a more dynamic look at our lives than we can provide in a letter. I hope we’ve done a pretty good job of showing you the kinds of things we like to do, but here’s a general overview of what our days are like and what our weeks usually look like:

We wake up around 6. We eat breakfast and usually watch SportsCenter or read the news. We get ready and are out the door around 7:20. I work until 4:30, DJ usually until around 5. We share the dinner making responsibilities. DJ likes to say that if we want to eat well, I cook, but if we want to eat, he cooks. I think he’s selling himself short. When we first got married, Hamburger Helper was about the limit of his culinary skills. In the past six years though, he’s become a pretty good cook and there are some meals of his that I can’t get enough of (chicken burritos, fried chicken cutlet, and he makes the best scrambled eggs). We do different things in the evenings. We usually have something going on at least one night a week, so the nights we are free, we usually relax with a tv show or movie. We’re not night owls and are usually in bed by 10.

For the next few months, Mondays will be softball, Tuesdays will be kickball. I’m a member of a professional organization related to my job that meets once a month on Wednesdays. Mixed in there will be after work activities with our co-workers. On Saturday mornings, we go to the Farmer’s Market. We don’t necessarily buy much, but it’s become one of our rituals that we love to do now.

In between, we are always looking for new things to explore.  We love to discover new places both in and out of the city.  We know that our lives will be flipped upside down when we become parents, but it’s a change we’re looking forward to. We’re so excited about being able to share some of our favorite rituals with our kids though.

The first gorgeous weekend

This weekend was forecasted to be the first gorgeous one of the year and it didn’t disappoint. We spent all weekend outside.

Saturday, I had a media pass to shoot a college lacrosse game. I love most sports, but lacrosse is a challenge for me. I feel like I just have an idea what’s going on before the ball is back down the field. Oh well, we had a good time anyway.

Saturday night, we had a perfect mini-date night. We went to get dessert (banana pudding and key lime pie – yum!), then went to the end of the Squirrels game to catch the fireworks.

Yesterday started off with the boring – laundromat for me to wash our comforter, grocery store for DJ. We went to the batting cages to warm up for our first softball game tonight. DJ had to show off and go in the 70mph baseball cage.

DJ shows off his skills in 70mph.

DJ shows off his skills in 70mph.

I'll stick to slow pitch, please.

I’ll stick to slow pitch, please.

Our shoulders sufficiently sore, we took the dogs for a walk at the river, then relaxed in our yard the rest of the evening. Our yard is nice all year round. It’s large, lots of room to run and play and it’ll be great for hide and seek and fun adventures. But there are about two weeks every year that I can’t get enough of how beautiful our yard is. I just want to be outside, all the time.

My favorite part of our yard.

My favorite part of our yard.

This week should be normal – softball tonight, an annual training session at CHSVA tomorrow night (a requirement to keep our home study active), then the Easter Parade on Sunday.

Hope you’re having a good week and enjoying the weather.

P.S. – I finally got a good picture of Holly yesterday.

Holly, Hollis, Hollindra, Holly Jolly Christmas - whatever we call her, she's our sweet Holly girl.

Holly, Hollis, Hollindra, Holly Jolly Christmas – whatever we call her, she’s our sweet Holly girl.

National Siblings Day

I have recently been told that it is National Siblings Day.  I didn’t know it existed until today, but I’m all for it.  I have been so lucky to have such an awesome big brother, Brad.  Even after all these years, I still like him (it was touch and go on that one around the age of 6).  Julie and I definitely want our child to be able to share in this same kind of relationship that I’ve been able to have for all of my 27 years.

Brad with me on my wedding day

Brad with me on my wedding day

Open Adoption?

Adoption will always be in our child’s story. There won’t be any surprises when they turn 18. Adoption (among many, many other things) is going make them special. We want to be able to have an open dialog with our child regarding their adoption and we want you to be a part of that. We don’t have a clear definition of what that looks like. We are hoping to take that lead from you. But we want you to be a part of our (yours and ours) child’s life. Be that through visits, pictures, emails, or whatever, we want you there. However much, or little, you’re comfortable with. We know that you will always love this child and we want him or her to know that always.

As you know, I’m a photographer and there will never be a lack of pictures of our kids. Memories, history, and personal stories are the reason I got into photography. Even though you won’t be there every day, we want you to always feel like you know your child, what is happening with him or her, and we want to to be able to see them grow. Pictures will always be coming your way.

If you choose us, you would be giving us the opportunity to be parents. To be a part of a wonderful child’s, your child’s, life and story. What this means to us in indescribable. You will be a part of our family. We want you to feel comfortable with us and with the situation every step of the way.

We really want to meet you, to sit down and talk with you, and talk more about what role you want. Above all, we want you to feel comfortable and at peace with whatever you decide for your child.  We understand that our relationship will be dynamic. We are open to as much, or as little, contact as you would like. And if it changes in the future, we’ll be here. But know that no matter what you decide, you will always be a part of our child’s life.


What we’ve been up to

We’ve been slow in updating lately because we’ve had so much going on (but all good stuff).

  • I started a new job two months ago.  I was given notice in December that my lab would be closing in February. Three weeks later, I was offered a position in a molecular diagnostics lab. I was able to finish at my old  job, take two weeks off (hello, Phoenix!), and start my new job fresh.  I really like my new job. The work is fascinating and challenging. My new position is a step up from where I was before and it’s a great place to work. I have so many educational and career advancement opportunities that I didn’t have at my old job.
  • We ran the Monument Ave 10kRace season has begun! We both ran the Monument Ave 10k. The weather was rainy, but it didn’t stop either of us from setting personal records for the race. DJ was in the top 100 of his age group in fact! I took 11 minutes off my time from last year (and couldn’t walk by the end of the race, but I’m getting over that). We’re both registered for at least three more races this year, culminating in my first half-marathon in November. I signed up for it on a whim 4 months ago, so it will be interesting to see how that goes.
At the starting line for the 10k

At the starting line for the 10k

  • DJ’s getting into crunch time with his dissertation.  Six years of hard work is coming down to the next two months. He’s been working so hard and is going to kick ass with his dissertation. Then on July 1, he’ll start his new job in Richmond! We went to Phoenix was for a job interview for DJ. Luckily though, he got a job right where he is now. We are so thankful that we don’t have to move as we love Richmond.
  • Spring is finally here! For us, that means being outside. Our first softball game of the season was supposed to be last night (it only rains on Mondays 😦 ) and kickball will be starting again in a few weeks. We’ve been taking advantage of every nice day with walking the dogs at Belle Isle, Maymont, or one of the other great parks around us. It’s so nice to be outside again and to be seeing people outside again.
  • My parents were here last weekend. My parents visited last weekend to drop their dog, Sadie, off for us to dog sit while they go to Haiti. My dad organized a mission trip through their church for the group to work at an orphanage this week. I’m so happy that they’re there. It’s such a great opportunity for them and I’m glad they’ve taken it.
My dad working at their orphanage in Haiti - I think they're hooked!

My dad working at their orphanage in Haiti today.

So that’s what we’ve been up to the last few weeks. Hope you’re enjoying the spring weather!