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Happy Birthday to the Scottish! I win cause I did an awesome job. And you win cause this isn’t a wedding post.

5 Mar

The Scottish turned 28 yesterday which means he’s as old and as awesome as I am. 🙂 I have to flat-out brag that I gave him the best birthday ever complete with surprises all day long!! One month ago I bought a LivingSocial deal for one night at a hotel literally two blocks from where we live in the city. I also arranged for a couple’s massage, and made him his favorite cake, Tres Leches. Yum. I gave him a card, gummy bears, and there was champagne and chocolates waiting for us when we arrived in our room. Plus, the room had a steam shower (more on that to come).

(For those of you who don’t know me very well, I am the worst liar in the entire world. I will confess to anything rather than lie. It’s kind of a problem.)

Flashback to yesterday, where we had plans to Skype with Scottish Mum and Dad in Scotland right before we were going to leave to check-in and the Scottish was enjoying his lazy morning, getting ready, very…very… slowly… This made it hard to pack items like toothbrushes and toothpaste. I ended up packing a bit too early (shocking I know) and had to put back his toothbrush. A few minutes later he’s finishing getting ready and comes out of the bedroom and says, “Where’s my toothpaste?” I just start shaking my head and laughing. My first thought is how the heck do I explain that? What other explanation is there?!?! So I say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I threw it out, I was in a cleaning frenzy and I threw it out.” The Scottish asks the obvious question of, “Why, why did you throw out a new carton of toothpaste?” At this point I’m blushing and giggling and unable to look him in the eyes. He smiles and says he doesn’t believe me. HA. So then I say, “I lost it. I can’t explain but I just lost it.” I lost toothpaste?!?! Lucky for me the Scottish lets things go and we move on. I still burst out laughing every few minutes at my sheer stupidity and sneak back to the bedroom when I can to finish packing. Eventually he works out why his toothpaste went missing, but because it was a work night his mind didn’t immediately go to HOTEL OVER-NIGHT. Thank goodness!

I’ve packed all of our stuff in my new Victoria’s Secret tote bag that is the most neon bright pink I’ve ever seen. It’s so freakin’ bright I’m almost too embarrassed to carry it! I ask the Scottish if he would be OK carrying this if I couldn’t for some reason, and he shakes his head no, saying he’d really rather not. Then I get to secretly laugh again knowing that on the way home tomorrow, I’m heading straight to work and he’ll have to carry it back to the house to grab the car. We arrive at the hotel and explore, it’s very nice and very relaxing, what with a CD of dolphin and ocean sounds, and the noticeable lack of a TV. There is even a communal kitchen to store my awesome cake.

I can tell the Scottish is slightly disappointed that we aren’t there for massages and that makes it super fun to surprise him two hours later with them. The other big surprise came when I told him he’d be buying his own birthday dinner since I’d maxed out my budget on said massages and hotel room. Man, I’m special.

Finally, I have to tell you all that a steam shower is not quite as relaxing as they lead you to believe! I could only handle putting the steam on for 10 seconds before I couldn’t breath or see or stand. It’s like being assaulted with campfire smoke (minus the smokey smell), and it makes you so hot you wanna die. Good to know for next time, but overall, my impromptu, birthday stay-cation with the Scottish turned out to be one lovely day.

Quote: “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

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I can’t believe it!

2 Mar

The most amazing thing happened! Last night, the Scottish and I were invited to an engagement dinner hosted by some of our good friends. The food was amazing and the night was great but that’s not the story. I was attempting to show some of the girls my “proposal reenactment” video that has the Scottish and I standing happily in front of the big window and my mother asking us to put on the ring and commenting on how she was glad she didn’t mess up this time. Then I pressed play on what I thought was just a video of the view out the window and it turned out to be MY ACTUAL PROPOSAL. SHUT UP. NO WAY. The moment, as brief as it was, HAS BEEN RECORDED. I have that memory forever and I love how happy and surprised I look in it. I love the randomness of it and the fact that my mom can’t hold the camera straight because she’s so happy too. The Scottish is so quiet that you can’t hear his words, but I remember exactly what he said and I’m just so pumped that I found it! I feel like it’s magic and the video appeared out of nowhere. I think I will post the video on the blog at some point, but not… quite… yet.

Sooooo I made my wedding collage. For those of you who are like, “what the hell is a wedding collage?” It’s the hodge podge plastering of all your favorite ideas, magazine clippings, and colors on (in my case) a canvas square frame. I like mine but it’s definitely not as beautiful or as lovely as the collage in my head. And that’s OK, because these are just ideas. They are thoughts and concepts and a way to easily explain my vision to vendors, friends, and family. (More information to come on my wedding inspirations in later posts.) What do you think of my collage? Have any other brides made one for their wedding? Did yours turn out the way you wanted it to?

Last but not least, I received a gift in the mail from my family in North Dakota and I’m so in love with it! These girly bridal accessories were literally made for ME. I plan to be proudly toting this bag around for the next decade year! Remember, this is about enjoying every single minute!

Thank you for reading this Friday night post.

Quote: “Getting married is the boldest and most idealistic thing that most of us will ever do.” Maggie Gallagher

This is the story of how I thought I might get engaged this weekend and then it really happened.

22 Feb

If this is your first time reading my blog and you don’t know how crazy I am, or if you just want a refresher, click HERE to read all about my desire to get hitched. And now for the story…

The Scottish was very VERY aware of the fact that I wanted to have my family nearby after the proposal. If you’ll remember back to Christmas and the drama of how he “missed” the perfect opportunity, it would make sense that he would seize this past weekend when my Mother and Father were visiting us here in Chicago. I know it sounds sort of weird, why wouldn’t I want to be alone with The Scottish at such a special time? Well, why do I blog about my inner-most thoughts? Why do I like to be in front of people? Why do I share private details of my life with complete strangers? All of these are great questions. The answer is, I love people, and my good news is your good news and vice-versa. I wanted to be able to hug my mom afterwards and luckily I got to do just that!

So all day on Saturday after picking up my parents from Midway Airport, I was going back and forth wondering if this would be the day. It ended up being the day we stood in line for over three hours to see the top of Willis Tower and to walk out over the famous “ledge;” compared to when my sister and SBF (sister’s boyfriend) were here and it took us 15 minutes, it felt like quite the wait! I heard later that the Scottish said to my Dad, “I’d like to marry your daughter,” while we were at the top overlooking the city. My Dad, true to form answered with a fist pump in the air to show his excitement. Later that night, he passed the good news on to my Mom and her next step was to quiz my Scottish to make sure he was marrying me because he wanted to and not because I was forcing him into it like some wedding-Nazi. He confirmed what I already knew and told her this was something he really wanted to do (he bought the ring while I was in NYC a few weeks ago visiting friends). Awww! Then they thought up the terrible brilliant plan of my Dad pretending he wanted to see the top of Trump Tower the next day after church since we hadn’t made plans for the afternoon yet.

So on our way to church the very next morning my Dad suggests this idea (while I’m thinking to myself this is what the Scottish really wants to do) and my Mom agrees to it, solidifying my suspicions. I mean, my Dad NEVER gets to make decisions, and there is no way my mom was going to let him decide our next step, especially after we’d already been to the top of the Willis Tower the day before. This is when I started to get nervous. And not only that, but my mother decides that morning to “practice” with the video camera, another tell-tale sign of what’s to come… and she asks me what I’m going to do that day. I thought briefly about being a smart-ass and saying, “I’m going to get engaged today,” but then decided against that because it wouldn’t have been fair to my wonderful and nervous Scottish.

That afternoon, my Dad and the Scottish go back to the apartment to find that *Gasp* the Trump Tower bar or whatever is closed due to it being off-season. He then finds that most of his ideal spots are closed for that same reason and starts to panick. Eventually, they tell my mom that they will meet us at the John Hanock Building at 3 PM. Of course, it makes no sense for us to wait in more lines to go back to the top of yet another tall building to see yet another view UNLESS it is so the Scottish can propose.

Meanwhile, I’m shopping with my Mother and having to use the bathroom every 30 minutes to umm you know, poop, because I’m soooo nervous. Finally, we meet up with them and take the elevator to the Signature Lounge, essentially the Wine and Cocktail bar, of the John Hanock. We find a table and order drinks. I hold his hand under the table and squeeze it multiple times to let him know I love him. I later hear that the Scottish gives my mom a look of “I can’t do this in front of so many people!!!” She blatantly discreetly takes my camera from me and then heads over to the window to check out the view. I debate going to the bathroom or not before deciding to follow her to the window.

And then…. The Scottish comes up behind me, puts his hand on the small of my back and at that moment I entered what I like to call, the haze, the cloud, the shock… and I have yet to come out of it. He tells me he loves me and that he wants to continue loving me for the rest of his life. He gets down on one knee, opens the ring box, and says, “Will you marry me?”

Then I say weird things like, “Ohmigosh, I can’t believe it, and thank you!” All before saying “YES YES.” We hug and kiss, my Mom starts to get teary-eyed, and we take more pictures. My parents are literally beaming, the Scottish is shaking, and I’m dumb-founded by the fact that I’m not crying. I’m just floating in happiness but I’m not crying the tears of joy I had anticipated.

Then we check the camera only to find my Mom completely missed the entire thing and has literally two seconds of my boobs on video so we make a sort of reenactment right there by the windows and even though it’s not the real thing I’m excited to have that memory on film.

The Scottish explained that had all these words in his head but they went out the door as soon as he opened his mouth to talk. My Dad said that people all over the bar were watching us and while I was slightly disappointed in the lack of clapping, it was unreal to be proposed to in such a public way.

Afterwards we began the phone calls and stared at the stunning beauty of my ring. The picture I posted does it no justice, I am just as bad as my Mother at using a camera so I plan to get professional engagement shots done and at that point there will be some good pictures of my beautiful princess cut diamond in all it’s sparkly glory.

I know that my friends were worried I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t the grand gesture that I had built up in my head, but my engagement story is perfect, even in its non-perfection. My fiance did a FANTASTIC job and just because I knew it was coming does not make it any less special. Life works out the way it’s supposed to and I wasn’t meant to get engaged at the top of Trump Tower. The John Hanock, on the other hand, is the place he took me for dinner the first time we celebrated my birthday together. It’s place I go with my nanny kids all the time, and the Signature Lounge is one of my favorite spots in the whole city to take out-of-town guests. And now, when I take someone up to the 96th floor, I can walk over to the window that I got engaged in front of and relive the moment all over again.

I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels to be engaged. The Scottish and I are more in love than ever and we are both so excited to begin this journey together. I feel at ease and at peace. I am enamored by my ring (and hoping that all the scary nightmares I was having will stop now that I have it). Both of our families are overjoyed and supportive; we couldn’t ask for more. In the one day of planning and talking about a season and a city location my Mom has been absolutely amazing. I know she is going to be the biggest help ever.

I will keep you all posted on when reality sinks in and it hits me that my dream is coming true. And now I just want time to slow down, I want everything to go slowly, and I want to enjoy every second. This was the story of my engagement, thanks for reading.

Quote: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Dr. Seuss

note: Currently in the market for good wedding blog recommendations, specifically ones that deal with marrying someone who is NOT a US citizen, weddings set in Minnesota, and Scottish wedding traditions. I have not started looking yet, but would love to hear about your favorite wedding blogs!

All you need is Love (and possibly a sense of humor too)

12 Feb

Isn’t life just insanely busy right now? I feel like that’s the vibe on the street and among my friends and family. People are enjoying this mild winter we’ve been having and it feels like there is just so much to do as spring gets closer and closer. I’m excited! I love being busy, but I’m working on taking the time to relax and enjoy life when I find those rare moments of stillness in my schedule. I’m going to talk about LOVE now, for two reasons, 1) I had an AMAZING experience at my church’s Beatles Eucharist Sunday service and I’m feeling inspired, and 2) That dreaded Hallmark holiday is upon us, Valentine’s Day!!

Honestly, I don’t think there is anything better than love. And I’m not just talking about love between you and your partner, but also family love, the love you have for your children, your friends, your pets, your neighbor, your country, the poor, the rich, and of course your love-hate-love for Kim Kardashian. If I may be so bold, I would say that LOVE is my motto for life. I don’t always live this way but it is my goal. A few things such as my short temper, my OCD tendencies, my inability to handle change, and my need for control are all hindrances to this end but alas, I do the best I can.

I’m sort of addicted to LOVE. I constantly ask the Scottish how much he loves me or what his favorite part about me is, why, you ask? Because I’m a needy freak. My little Becca has told me before that she doesn’t love me anymore because I’ve made her angry for some reason, and she knows I’m sensitive to hearing that. Kids are wicked smart, they are. And way back when, while growing up in Minnesota, my mom was pondering the idea of fostering a child at our house and I selfishly responded with something about how will she love all of us enough and that I don’t want to share my mom anymore than I already have to. Maybe I have some weird thing about being the oldest child and feeling abandoned as the second and third kids came along. Maybe I just crave being the center of attention? And maybe I’m just a huge romantic who loves to be adored. This is getting out of hand…

OK, back to my life motto of LOVE. While I probably spend too much energy attempting to receive love, I also try to share love as much as possible. To me, being a loving person is easy. I like to give hugs. I thoroughly enjoy hearing people’s stories, and when someone talks to me I always strive to be non-judgmental and understanding. I love to cry and will cry because of you, for you, or with you. (To me, tears are not a sign of weakness, but simply a human reaction to both good and bad things.) I laugh… a lot. I think laughing is so close to loving because it means you are happy and feeling joyful. And joy = love. Spending time with people is loving them, attending their shows, going to their parties, dancing at their birthdays, eating meals with them, and everything else in between shows them you care. I really enjoy meeting new people too, which I know for most, can be a big fear. But I just love the idea of new possibilities and potential. It’s endings that frighten me. And being a good friend is a way to love someone. I joke about being self-centered quite a lot, but I do put other people first quite often.

Last year, I made the mistake of telling the Scottish I had no real need to celebrate this dumb holiday coming up, but then was shocked and appalled when he got me nothing! I guess I was a bit unclear… off the record, I actually LOVE receiving chocolates, romantic cards, flowers, balloons, jewelry, and other gifts on Valentine’s Day, but let the record show that I think it’s a stupid waste of money.

Doesn’t this make everything clear now? My obsession with weddings is not just about a white dress and a fabulous party, it’s about the celebration of two people and their love for each other. It’s the stunning performative quality of a wedding that is so beautiful. I hope the traditional wedding ceremony lives on forever! And my love of LOVE is directly related to romantic comedies too, even the most contrived love story is still fun to watch.

Go tell someone you love them. Someone you haven’t said it to in a while. And go listen to the Beatles.

With LOVE,
Stephanie

Quote: “Love is the only gold.” Lord Tennyson

“We talk about your heart, bout your brains, and your smarts, and your medical charts, and when you start”

25 Jan

My favorite relationship of all is probably the one I have with myself. Probably. I love spending time with myself but I do find it to be frustrating at times. My brain is powerful and I’ve yet to find the off switch so it can be very exhausting to be me. I’m crazy, loud, unashamed, and intense. But overall I have to say I am a big fan of myself. Plus, I’m attractive. One of my favorite stories about my nanny kid Derek takes place while I was driving them home from school one day last year. I must have told Derek he was going to have to do something that he didn’t want to do because he playfully said that he did NOT have to listen to me because I wasn’t his mom or his dad. And I said something to the effect of, “Oh yes you do, I’m in charge right now.” To which Derek replied, “Well, but you are kind of pretty.” I have no clue how that made sense in his mind, but I’ll take it. And now it’s time to take stock of this pretty girl’s life. It’s time for an update to access how things are going. I normally do this in my head when I’m stressed out and trying to count my blessings, but in this case, it works as a blog post too.

House(s)– Apt: Feels like home after months of moving in items slowly, so much so that I have now reached the point of having to pack a bag to go BACK to my condo. It’s clean, the laundry is done, there’s food in the fridge, but I still feel like there’s a million things left to get done.
Condo: Feels empty but clean. I go back once or twice a week to check the mail, fetch things I need, or to relax and watch cable. Looking forward to the day when it will be an income property.

Job– Really good right now. I love my new schedule of working 4 ten-hour days. My mid-week day off allows me time to make appointments, clean the house, blog, work-out, and so much more. It leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to be a good nanny. Relationship with boss and kids are good, everyone’s doing well.

Boyfriend– Awwww, I love seeing him all the time. Just being in his presence calms me. We may fight (I know you’ve all read the last blog) sometimes, but I’m disgustingly happy with my Scottish.

Family– I.have.the.best.family.in.the.whole.world. I don’t even know how I got so lucky. Immediate and extended, it’s all goooooood. I have no reason to complain…ever. It’s good to remind myself of this.

Friends– I have a lot of friends. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m spread very thin, but in the end, I just try to give as much as I can in that moment. I have an awesome best friend who I rarely see in MN, she knows the most about me of anyone, but I miss all the fun we used to have when we lived closer. I have a wonderful friend who’s planning a wedding and I’m very excited and focused on my Maid of Honor responsibilities right now. I can’t wait to celebrate her big day! I have two really lovely and special friends in New York that I can’t wait to go visit and submerge myself into their lives once again even if for a short time. I have my Sister Wives who are my local girls that make city living so amazing and fun. I don’t know where I’d be without them. And then I have artistic friends, childhood friends, old and new friends, each a unique relationship and each a blessing.

Car– HAHAHAHAHAHA. It’s an old Hyundai Elantra from 2004. I call her my silver baby, and I’m gonna drive her as long as I can. She has seen me through college and has been witness to many of my Chicago driving mistakes, but I wouldn’t want anything flashy. She’s perfect just the way she is, and she’s paid off.

Money– Oops, should have saved the laughter for this one!! 🙂 Money is and will be a struggle for a while, but I’d spend my last dime on someone who I care about, and one day I hope to not have to worry about it as much as I do now.

Blog– Going well for the most part. Some weeks are better than others, and I’m very excited to see how it grows.

Acting– Auditioning and that’s all I can do.

Weight Watchers– Lost 6 pounds in total so far. It’s one of the toughest things I’ve done in my life and also pretty easy at the same time if that makes any sense. It’s well worth the slimming rewards but I’ll never give up my love of food. I rewarded myself with a candy bar last week and to quote Rapunzel in the movie, Tangled, “BEST DAY EVER!”

God– How could I forget this one until last? Maybe that says a lot about where my head has been… My mom would say your favorite relationship should be the one you have with God.

Quote: Do you know the Toby Keith song called, “I Wanna Talk About Me?” Sometimes I picture the Scottish singing this to me even though he doesn’t like country music and he would never sing this song. It’s just the words that crack me up.

“I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, What I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you you you you, usually, but occasionally
I wanna talk about meeeeeee”

Great Men-Spectations

22 Jan

The Scottish and I had a fight this morning. It was a normal fight. I feel this way, he feels that way, we both end up feeling hurt. But in the end, we always make it through. In my opinion, during a real fight (as opposed to a silly or kinda fight) there are two big moments. The first moment is one of disbelief. How can the person I love more than anyone in the world make me feel so terrible? How can they not understand how I feel? How can they think I meant to hurt them that way? It’s that moment of confusion and disbelief that causes the anguish and stress. We want our other half to understand us completely all the time, we want them to anticipate our every need, and we want them to never disappoint us. But no one can be perfect 100 percent of the time and mistakes happen. The real relationship test is how you deal with them.

I don’t deal well. I enjoy playing the “victim”, I like drama, and it’s imperative that I get my way… along the time. You might be judging me right now but the truth of the matter is we all have our issues and I’m just embarrassingly honest about mine. The Scottish has his hang-ups too, but I don’t need to get into those, after all, this isn’t his blog. But needless to say, we were very upset with each other this morning and I felt that moment of disbelief in a strong way. He just didn’t get it.

But he does get it. He knows me really well at this point and after a taking a moment to calm down and step back from the situation, we had the moment of clarity. You know that point in a fight where you see through your angry haze and you remember how great they are and how wrong you were or how much it doesn’t matter what happened in the first place. You can feel the clarity in their embrace and you can see the calmness in their eyes. It’s the downhill slope of the fight that brings you back to earth and back to reality.

And then the strangest thing happens, you both go back to normal life. To me, that is the funniest thing about long-term committed loving relationships, life goes in spite of the fight and the things you had to do that day still need to happen, so you just jump back in.

The Scottish is by far my favorite person to fight with too. Is that weird? He always looks so adorable when he’s annoyed with me that it makes me want to giggle, but men don’t really like being giggled at when they’re “in serious mode.” So I don’t. I keep my thoughts of how cute he looks to myself and keep communicating my ass off, until that moment of clarity comes and the fight dissolves.

I know every couple is different, some people disagree less often than others, and some people set up HIGH expectations that can cause the occasional disgruntled discussion. I don’t mind the fights, really I don’t. Fighting means we are communicating, it means we working on our balance and we are changing for the better. I look forward to many more fights with my amazing boyfriend.

Quote: “People seem to fight about things very unsuitable for fighting. They make a frightful noise in support of very quiet things. They knock each other about in the name of very fragile things.” G.K. Chesterton

I wrote a poem for You

18 Jan

Hi. This post is kind of unique in that it is a poem. It’s actually the first poem I’ve written in about five years (unless you count passionate break-up journal entries, which I do not), but lately I’ve felt inspired to get back into it. When I was younger, during middle and high school, I discovered I had a gift for writing poetry. I would just start with an idea or a topic and let the words flow out of me in whatever way they came. I do revise my poems, but for the most part they just naturally come into being. I would say that poetry is a very intimate art form and always makes me feel vulnerable, which is probably why I’m drawn to it. True to my blog, this poem is about relationships, or rather, my relationship. I hope you like it. Read with care.

If I had a button

If I had a rewind button, I’d seldom push it.

I’d want to go back to hear your laugh

To see the way you looked at me

But I’d be too afraid of getting stuck.

I get lost in myself frequently.

But I can always find you.

You are my gift and I know it is not by luck that I found you.

If only you were more perfect.

But then what would we fight about?

If only I wasn’t so difficult.

Life would be boring.

If I had a fast-forward button I think I’d want to push it

But I know you wouldn’t let me.

You’d say the journey has already started

And I’d say that it only gets harder.

And you’d say that it only gets better.

And I’d agree.

You picked me

I knew this from the start.

You loved me the most.

I might trip but there is always more love to find.

If you go to the stars I will never be the same.

If all the world went blue, I would find the purple

And I would take you with me.

If I had a present-time button I would push it. I would hold your hand.

I would watch the sun come up and I would close my eyes to feel the wind.

I would not let go.

Quote: “A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” W.H. Auden

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