Friday, July 22, 2011

Take Me Home Tonight!

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

Maybe it’s because it’s Friday afternoon and this little princess has nothing to do. Or maybe it’s because I heard this song on the way home:

(I may or may not have been singing at the top of my lungs during the chorus.)

This song takes me back to circa 2005: A place called “Timothy’s Bar and Grill” on the University of Dayton’s campus. Katie may have had sunglass on … at night. Mechley may have had a Wall in her hand and talking even louder than she normally is. And Melz may have been doing the “smell the pit” dance.

Our five year college reunion was this June, and it’s crazy how things have changed. Now, one of those ladies has a baby, the other a bun in an oven, all but one are married and the last is taking her walk down the aisle in less than a year!

I had the best times in college, and reminiscing makes me sad, as we are all spread out. Seriously, for four years I think I spend EVERYDAY with Melz, Mecs, Katie, Olce, Leber, Nate and Jeff. And I owe every memory to them (and a few of my wonderful sorority sistas).

I miss you guys!

So take a trip down memory lane with me:

p.s. this little trip is looks like the mechley show!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The One with the Birthday and the Interview ...

It’s been a big weekend, and an even bigger yesterday!

My wonderful hubbie came in on Thursday night … or was it Friday morning? His flight was delayed, so after a long day of class and clinic (luckily, I was in the herb room, so I was relaxing most of the day) I picked up the birthday boy around midnight.

My husband is a wonderful and generous man. He is always super supportive of any “project” or goal I undertake, and he always makes sure I never go without. He’s amazing and I can’t believe how blessed I am to have him in my life. So, of course, I had to plan big weekend for his 35th birthday.

Isn't he handsome?

We had planned to go to the Jason Aldean concert in West Palm Beach on Saturday night (which is about an hour or so from were we live). During the day on Saturday, I had to go to an acupuncture insurance seminar, but I had planned on leaving early, calling Mark on my way to tell him to pack his bags, and surprise him with a night at the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach (What better place to fall asleep on your first night as a 35 year old?).

What I didn’t plan for was calling Mark after my class on Friday and having him tell me he’d been on the couch all day because he felt sick.

It got worse from there.

I did leave the seminar early, but I planned on taking Mark to the urgent care.

When I got home and Mark rallied a bit, so I told him the plans (hotel was still a surprise). We had an hour to kill, so I told him to rest while I got something to eat. We had to leave around 2:30p. At 2:25p Mark was sleeping.

He ended up rallying again, we loaded the car, dropped the dogs at the dog hotel and checked in (What better place to be sick on your 35th Birthday?!). We celebrated his birthday, with amazing Mischa’s Cupcakes, some prezies and room service.

They gave us an ocean-view :)


35 does not equal not blowing out candles!

My parents gave him a singing card

Opening the gift from the pups

Which was this, framed:

Oh yeah and this came:

Amazing! This is why I LOVE the Ritz!

Did I mention it was REAL whip cream?!

I don’t know if he didn’t want to disappoint me, or he’s just really that much of a trooper, but we made it to the concert. Jason Aldean was amazing, and we had really good seats. And the people were awesome! All trashy, country folk: big trucks, short shorts and really drunk.

Yeah, we were that close!

Oh, and it was hot as a donkey’s ball sack … welcome to summer in the swampland. We made it back to the hotel by 11:30p, asked the Ritz to hose us down at the door as we smelled like stale sweat, beer and redneck (okay, so we just showered) and jumped in the big fluffy head.

In the morning we had breakie, then jumped in our car and picked up the dogs. (I waived the usual mandatory exit-bath since the pups only stayed on night … bad idea. The car smelled like a kennel and we had to bathe them when we got home).

Fast forward to Monday night: Our green card interview was on Tuesday morning. I was up until 12:30a printing emails, photos, bills and phone records. I organized everything into 24 sections, which ended up filling up one 5 inch binder and one 3 inch binder. Not to mention the three photo albums and my wedding planner binder.

Everything, pre-bound

Tuesday morning we woke up early to gather last minute papers. I was on time (surprise!) and we arrived an hour before our interview.

Did I mention five minutes before we checked in Mark realized he didn't have on his wedding band? (… He actually lost it, as we have yet to find it.)

Luckily it didn’t matter. We passed! We were very blessed with a beautiful and young immigration agent (who had a fabulous weave! I wanted to ask who did it, but I was pretty sure that would be inappropriate.) She was interested in how we met (eHarmony) and our travels together (Mark’s marathon motorcycle ride to meet me, my trek to Bermuda, our Bahamian hell aka my seasickness).

Oh, an major props to our fabulous wedding photographer, Neysa Ruhl. Our agent loved our engagement and wedding photos! If you are in the Cincinnati area, and are getting married Neysa is a joy to work with, super talented and worth it!

While she barely looked at all my hardwork, our lawyer informed us that we had to continue keeping phone records, bills, communication, etc. as this green card is conditional for the next two years (yikes!). Then we have to file again for a permanent card.

Thank you for everyone’s support through this process! It helped ease our minds knowing we had people rallying for us and knowing there are others out there that have gone through the same thing (sometime we feel very alone down here). Thank You Thank You Thank You!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our life on display

I spent this past weekend gathering and printing emails, bills, FB photos and any other type of correspondence Mark and I have had in the last three and a half years.

About two weeks ago we received our date for our Green Card interview (yeah!). So we met with our immigration lawyer yesterday to go through all the documents and some of the questions we could be asked. Luckily she said that she is very doubtful our relationship would be questioned (DUH!), but unfortunately, I still have A TON of work to do.

Everything so far. ... do they make 10 in three-rign binders?

While getting photos and making albums were fun, she suggested printing out phone bills AND some documentation proving that those phone numbers are ours, ALL our joint checking statements (I printed every third, including the first and most recent), our every Florida Power and Light bills since we moved to Miami (Jan. 2010) just to name a few of the items.

Also, while I had printed out the emails that Mark and I sent to each other (those I still had, as I am a clean Inbox freak), I left out the emails that were about wedding vendors or non-lovey things. But she suggested I print those. That is hundreds of pages!!!!

There are a few other items to get in order as well as organizing everything so the immigration officers can quickly find things. I was exhausted going home after the two-hour meeting.

And while I like to think we have a lot of things in order, you never know the personality of your immigration officer, and what if they don’t think we have enough, or if my answers are too short or Mark’s are too long. While it’s easy to say, “We’ll be fine,” this is the rest of our lives, and we'd both like to spend it together.

And it’s terrible to think that since we haven’t made a major purchase together could possibly put us a risk. We could be screwed for being good financial stewards. (Seriously, our lawyer wanted us to buy a car! My car is only six years old and PAID IN FULL!!!! Are we suppose to go into debt to prove our love?!)

Luckily Mark comes home in a few days and we get to celebrate his 35th birthday!

It will be nice to have a relaxing weekend together before our interview next week. We’ll have to get a few people to take our photo as well, since we have NO PHOTOS of us together since after the holidays (Seriously, it's him and the dogs or me and the dogs … sad.)

Anyway, if you are reading this, and you pray, please add us to your list as we are praying that the process goes smooth and that our immigration agent connects with us as we answer questions honestly and to the best of our knowledge ... and that Mark gets the lucky card before October! :P

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Indian Lake, Ohio

I don't have too much to say. I've been up since 4am, leaving this morning from my wonderful trip at Indian Lake, Ohio.

We started the weekend celebrating my Dad's 60th birthday ... his gift: Skydiving! Him, two of my brothers and a friend decided to leave their life up to a flimsy piece of cloth. I stayed down below.
My dad and E

My brother Brett, his friend Alex and their skydiving-guide Trev

There was a really cool, chill vibe at the skydiving center that almost made me want to try it ... almost. ...

We then made it up to my family's lake house. I hadn't been back in two years! This place is super special to me. I believe the second time Mark came to visit (the first was our first meeting), I brought him here. He had to understand what this place meant to me. We even made our wedding photog trek up here for an hour-worth of engagement fodies.

Neysa Ruhl Photography (she's the best!)

We use to spend almost every weekend during the summer at the lake, and when we were really young, my mom would take us there for two weeks at a time. It's just so relaxing. It was great to be back. Here's a weekend in photos:

Our "backyard"


View from our deck

Covered bridge built sometime in the late-1800s


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Everyone Loves a Good Martini

Be warn: This post may contain cheesy and sentimental rambling, but it’s on my mind.

Yesterday, I took the pup-pups to their doggie hotel, as I was leaving early this morning to go to Ohio for the holiday weekend. When I got back to the apartment last night, I spent the rest of the evening wandering between packing and cleaning. With Mark gone, and now the pups gone too, I was super depressed.

I finally told myself to pull it together as it was 9 p.m. and I still hadn’t packed (I HATE IT!). It was then I realized how I probably wouldn’t be in Miami if it wasn’t for Martini (Disclaimer: Morgan is just as important to me, but Martini and I have been through a lot in the last four years, so he will be the focus. But Morgan the Clown has a very special and very large piece of my heart).


When I got Martini, I was in a not-so-good place in my life. I was extremely depressed: I hated my job and felt like I was going nowhere. I had been so driven in college, but a year out and I was not only lost, I lost ambition. Somehow the little guy brought me out of it. Even though I never thought of myself as a “dog mom,” he gave me some purpose to each day. And slowly purpose in other areas of my life came.

Puppy Martini

If it wasn’t for Martini, I wouldn’t have joined eHarmony and I wouldn’t have met Mark. One night, as I was talking to myself Martini, he jumped off the couch and went to his bed.

Martini and Me

Was I that boring? It was never my goal to met someone, let alone fall in love with someone when I joined eHarmony. I had just finished a bartending job, and was SO OVER meeting guys that way. Most of my friends were dating guys who moved to Cincinnati from elsewhere, so they didn’t have many friends to set me up with. And I hadn’t joined a church yet. Online dating site were become somewhat commonplace, so I decided to see what it was all about.

Anyway, so Martini convinced me I need to at least try to put myself out there. He also made me braver. My phobia of living alone and sleeping in a apartment/house/etc. alone slowly dissipated. Even though he was only about 8 lbs. (now, 13 lbs. … oops!), it just felt better having him by my side. I also knew that no matter how sucky my day was I got to open the door and see is silly-big-eared-face looking up at me. The peace he brought me earned him the nickname,“Buddha.”

Halloween-Martini, wearing a costume banana on his head

He’s very unassuming and low-maintaince. He wants to be next to you, but isn’t bothersome. He’s usually skid-ish (due to the home he was rescued from), but is a good judge of character in people. I will never forget, after an early morning of volunteer work, Mark was taking a nap as I showered. I came into my room to find Mark asleep and Martini had snuck on the bed and was curled up against him. Mark had Martini’s approval.

Packing Martini

The move to Miami would have been nearly impossible had Martini not been there. Mark left a few days after we moved in. He actually left the morning I started school. I got lost after dropping him off at the airport and never made it to class. A sobbing tearful car ride, I made it home. I think I cried almost everyday for two weeks. I missed home, I missed my friends, I missed my parents, I missed Mark, I missed my church, I missed Kroger’s salad bar … you name it, I missed it!

Morgan and Martini love

While Martini doesn’t do too well with crying girls, he would at least sit next to me on the couch. And having him with me brought some routine to my life in disarray. Once again he was my Buddha (and sometimes my clown; he would occasionally get stuck in the clothes bins kept under the bed. I would come home, call him and have to track down the jingle the tags on his collar made).


Again, he also made me braver. He LOVES running around, preferably in a yard. And even though he is little, high-rise apartment life did not agree with him. I had to brave Miami traffic and the fact I could get lost (something I hate) to find dog parks and beaches for Tini to let-loose.

As hard as it’s been moving down here, I would not be here this long if it wasn’t for Martini.

Maybe it’s the three-hour layover, maybe it’s the fact I’m on the verge of “Crazy Dog Lady,” but I believe he is a gift from God. He’s loved me when I didn’t love myself, I’ve relied on him for strengthen when I thought I was weak, and he’s been my “counselor” when I was losing my sanity. That’s a lot to ask from a little dog, and he’s fulfilled those “responsibilities” with ease … which is why I call him Buddha.

"the Buddha"