Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving... Y'all

Yes, thats right, I said "y'all." I have to say it a number of times before they consider me to be a resident of this state. And, Texas, my friends, is where we celebrated our teeny, tiny, Thanksgiving.

Due to the fact that the interviewing/accepting the job/moving process fell in September and October, Aaron and I were too preoccupied to have the forethought of "Maybe we should look into tickets for Thanksgiving". As we finally wrapped our heads around reality, tickets were so expensive that I thought I saw a clause that said "Must throw in arm and leg, perhaps first born child, in order to get on this over priced flight." No matter how many times I clicked, refreshed, and rechecked, the prices never went down. Dang.
(Mr. N wearing his Pilgrim hat with a turkey gobbler on the bottom)

I moped around last week bummed at the prospect that this was the very first year we weren't going to be with family, and it wasn't even by choice. We tossed around ideas of where to go. Finally Aaron said, "Why don't we just do dinner ourselves." I initially cringed at the thought of hours of preparation for two and a half people. However, the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. "We can do anything we want, eat anything we want, and eat whenever we want, plus I can stay in my jammies. Win, win, and win again."  By Monday, as I was buying groceries, I was stoked out of my mind.

In the morning while the turkey cooked, we went for a drive, played with Grace and made a Turkey Craft.
 Despite accidentally turning the oven off, and having the Turkey take twice as long to cook (once we realized our mistake), things came together.

 We sat down at the table, complete with plastic "Spring Creek BBQ" cups, and got to feasting
As we cleaned up, we jammed out to Christmas tunes, Skyped with our families, got Grace in her Christmas jammies, and settled in to watch Christmas Vacation.

It was an absolutely incredible, teeny tiny Thanksgiving. We missed being with our families, but celebrating as our own little family, starting our own traditions was incredible and something I'll never forget. So for this Thanksgiving I'm grateful that airlines have really expensive flights,  because sometimes the things you think you don't want, are the things that you enjoy the most. Cliche? You bet. True? Very.

Now where are the festive colored m&m's?  I'm ready to celebrate Christmas.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rock It Out

While Aaron was in Cleveland he went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and bought Gracie a t-shirt. We made sure to Rock it out.
 Gene Simmons, eat your heart out!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Story of Us: Part 3

When he called me I was caught off guard, but kept a brave face as I answered the phone. He said that he just finished class and was going to grab something to eat. He wanted to talk to me and wondered if I wouldn't mind going with him. I said sure. I didn't know what he wanted but I knew what I wanted. I wanted to prove to him that he meant nothing to me.

Before he came to pick me up my roommate said "You know he's probably going to ask you to get back together with him." I was fired up when I responded, "Well, I'm definitely going to say no." I meant it. I wanted the satisfaction of rejecting him like he rejected me.

He came to my door, we left, he ate dinner (I wasn't hungry). The small talk and awkward conversations were extremely underwhelming. There were no pleas of yearning and wanting me back. But, I knew he wanted something. We made the drive back to my apartment and the minute that he put the car in park he started talking.

"I want to ask you out for Saturday night."
I said "I don't think so."
"What will it take for you to say yes?"
"Nothing. You don't understand how bad you hurt me, how much I cried, how you sat there expressionless telling me in the middle of something wonderful that you wanted it to end. You left other people to pick up the pieces while you distanced yourself only to appear randomly and mess with my emotions. I can't do it again."

The conversation was long, really really long. I stood my ground but in the middle of my stoic rejection I started to see that he was still in love with me. He told me how he dated other girls over the summer and as hard as he tried, nothing ever worked out. He said he thought about me when he was on other dates. He thought "This would be more fun if Kara was here." He thought about how easy things were between us. He told me in August at his friends wedding he realized that he wanted me back. He told his friend and admitted to him that he didn't think he could because he hurt me pretty bad. There was no way I would take him back. In September (the beginning of the school year) he tried. He came to clean the air and feel things out. When I stonewalled him he decided not to ask. He wrote me the text "It was great seeing you today." and later that evening when I asked "What? Do you want to get back together or something?" he scoffed and said No, even though he really did want to get back together. This dinner out was his third try.

I had to give it to him, he was persistent. But I wasn't completely sold. The talking went on and on. My hard protective shell was starting to break. It started to feel like we were back in the groove of how things used to be. I loved him, like crazy, but I didn't want to walk out on that limb again and have it break, again. It was too hard to pick up the pieces. But, with his persistence I saw that he was stepping out on a limb for me. Every fiber of my being wanted him back in my life, but I was scared, I figured I would give him this one chance. I agreed to his initial offer.

Our date was a double date with some of Aaron's friend from the U. I sat on my hands almost the entire night for fear that I would try to hold his. I was still trying to protect myself. Aaron was different than he was the first time we dated. The New Missionary-ness had worn off and he was more similar to the Aaron I remembered from high school. He was flirting on a level I had never seen before. Finding ways to touch my elbow or my knee here and there. He made up for the awkwardness I was giving off in my desperate attempt to protect myself from falling for him again.

But the feelings were all too familiar, all too comfortable. My will was breaking down. By the time we settled in to watch the movie (Newsies to be exact, booyah), my defenses were completely gone. His arm rested comfortably on the armrest between our seats. I slowly and cautiously moved my hand over until I felt his fingers wrap around mine. We were back. Back to where we were five months ago. After his friends left we talked and we kissed. The kisses weren't second long pecks anymore and I remember thinking, "I like the way he kisses."
The following days were filled with conversations of "How do I know you won't break up with me?" and "If we're getting back together then where is this headed." At the time we decided not to put a label on it, but by the end of the week we started using phrases like "generally speaking." "If we got married, generally speaking, then..." It only took two weeks for us to decide that we were definitely going to get married. We kept it to ourselves for a little bit and then decided to tell our parents and a few close friends. The responses were mixed, some congratulations and some "are you kidding me?!" I was still 19 and Aaron was 21. We had (at that time) only dated a combination of five weeks. Although on paper the whole situation seemed to be a big red flag, we knew it was definitely the right thing for us.
Over Thanksgiving break Aaron flew out so we could talk things through with my parents. He was so nervous on the flight that he threw up all over the airplane bathroom.
After that, things got a little tough. In my ever growing need to please people I tried desperately to make everyone happy about the situation and get everyone on board. Some people only saw Aaron as the man that broke my heart and walked away, they didn't see him as the piece that put my heart back together. And people only saw me as a little girl incapable of making such a big decision. I knew there was nothing that would make me back down from my decision, but I cried a lot and I stressed out a lot. The stress started to get to me and make me physically ill.

I started to get a really bad sore throat and as the days progressed, it flared out of control. It got to the point where I would rather drool out of my mouth than swallow because it felt like I was swallowing broken glass. I went to class on December 8th, 2005 in an attempt to push through. By the end of the class I was in excruciating pain. I cried all the way to the Health Center. The doctor looked in my throat and said "Hmm, I've never seen this before." I said "What do you mean?" he said "You have canker sores all over your tonsils." Stress can do crazy things apparently. He gave me some pain medication and a throat mixture to swish around and he sent me home.

Aaron and I were supposed to go see a play in Salt Lake with some friends. I told him I couldn't go, but I didn't completely want to cancel our plans. He said that he would invite them to his house to watch a movie and that he would pick me up at 7:00pm. The last thing he said was really odd, "Be sure to look nice."

I took my pain medication and crashed for the rest of the day. I woke up at 6:00pm and showered. I called for my roommates to help me because I was too weak to finish getting ready. I love those girls. They swept in, did my hair, polished me off, and I was ready to go before I knew it. 7:00pm came and went. Aaron was never late. Ever. It must be a fluke. 7:05pm, 7:10pm, something must be wrong.

At 7:15pm my roommate walked in with a rose and a card that had a #1 on it. My brother was waiting outside to drive me to my destination.
The clue on that card led me to the movie theater where we watched The Ring with my family on our first date. Erika handed me another rose and another card.
It took me to Taco Bell, where we went to eat after the movie. Ryan gave me a rose and another card.
Which took me to the Cannon Center, where we first saw each other after Aaron's mission. Carter gave me another card.
Which led me to my sister's old house, where we broke up. Chelsea and Leandra gave me another card.
I went to the Provo Temple, which (even though it would be the D.C. temple) is where we would get married. Bridger handed me the final card.
Which led me to this set up. Roses, candles, and my ring sitting patiently in its box. I started semi-hyperventalating when I saw it. I couldn't see Aaron so I went looking for him. He walked in wearing a suit and tie, got down on one knee and I started to cry. He said some beautiful things and then asked "Kara, will you marry me." I of course, said yes.
He grabbed my right hand and went to put the ring on my finger. He stopped and looked up "You're already wearing a ring." To which I responded, "You have the wrong hand." He then proceeded to place the ring on my left hand. Everything about that night was perfect. He remembered every special location in our story (in chronological order, by the way) that led us to that point, at each place he had people that I loved dearly. But in the end it was just me and him standing there ready to begin a story of just us together forever. No sore throat or amount of stress could stop me on a night like that.Five months after our engagement, a little over four years after that fateful day at the Oakton Stake dance, I married that boy who helped write our story. I'm grateful for every moment that led us to that day, every butterfly, every conversation, every tear, every fight, and even every canker sore because it led me to know that Aaron was everything I ever wanted and he was worth fighting for. Sometimes, it really did feel like a fight. But, we're together forever, walking hand in hand through life and writing, yet, another story.
And that, my friends, is The Story of Us.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Story of Us: Part 2

He met me at the Cannon Center, the only place he knew at Helaman Halls. He was standing there in his black track suit, the kind that swish-swished when you walked. I remember thinking "He looks different." He had only been off of his mission for 3 weeks when we saw each other. His personality showed it the most. But he was still Aaron, and talking to him was still easy. I met his brother Joe and we watched Napoleon Dynamite. After the movie we talked until curfew, then he drove me back to the dorms. We talked in his car, talked as we went for a walk around the dorms, and ultimately decided to go to Denny's because it was too cold to keep talking outside. There was no hand holding, no exchanges of affection, but it was definitely the start of something. He needed a school ID and didn't know where to get one on campus and he asked if I could help him the next day.

From that day on we spent pretty much every waking moment together. On the third day we were talking at his house. I don't remember the conversation but it led to Aaron mentioning something about me being beautiful and him leaning in and kissing me. It was the shortest kiss I've ever experienced. As soon as his lips touched mine he jumped up and started semi-freaking out. I was really confused when he told me "This is crazy, you're the first girl I've kissed since before my mission."

I was falling hard for him. Real hard.

I knew within the week that I could marry this guy. I even mentioned to my mom that she might have a daughter get married at 19. To which the response was a thud on the other end due to her fainting (not really, but close enough).

On Easter weekend we took this picture together. The only picture I still have of us then.
He sent it to his parents in an email (they were still living in Hong Kong). His parents were super nice but warned Aaron that he shouldn't marry the first girl he dated after his mission.

A week later we went to a small reunion of some of Aaron's old mission companions. He spent the evening introducing me as his girlfriend. I was on cloud nine.

On the way home I was giddy and casually posed the question "What are we going to do over the summer? I'm going to miss you so much." I was going back to Virginia until the fall and Aaron was staying in Utah to go to school. He was quiet for a moment and he was completely emotionless when he responded "I think we should break up." That cloud I was flying on got pulled out from underneath me and I fell flat on my face. I was shocked.

I frantically spit out responses like "You don't even want to stay together but casually date other people?!" and "are you kidding me?!" His expression never changed and neither did his response. I was furious. The same night he officially introduced me as his girlfriend was the night he broke up with me. There was more yelling and I'm pretty sure I threw a highlighter at his car.

He dropped me off at my sister's house (where my car was). I walked in the front door and burst into tears. My sister came running to me, she hugged me, and cried with me. Oh, how I love my sister. She was amazing. I spent the next couple of nights at her house, and for the following weeks I played the Backstreet Boys song "Incomplete" over and over and over again. I felt like I was in a movie. The days flew by and blurred together, it was hard to sleep at night, etc. etc. I was dramatic to say the least.

I pulled it together and had fun at the end of the semester. I went home and spent a lot of time with my family, worked, but didn't date.
Aaron contacted me via email to see how I was doing. To not seem to eager, I waited two days to respond. He responded to my email 3 weeks later. I thought, screw him. (I found out later that the 3 week wait was intentional because I waited, the stinker)

I went back to school and started my sophomore year. New year, new apartment, a few new roommates. This was going to be my year.
I saw Aaron on campus and my stomach flooded with butterflies. I stalkerishly watched him from behind my newspaper filled with both love and hate.

A few days after that, he called and wanted to come and talk to me. I said okay.

He came by and apologized for how the break-up went. He told me what he had been up to. I was still mad and still in love with him. I gave him the cold shoulder and stonewalled him. It was awkward, there was a lot of tension.

He left and later in the evening sent me a text saying "It was so nice to see you today." I wrote back asking what he meant by that, he said nothing. He called me while I was at a friends house. A similar conversation took place but I asked him "What? do you want to get back together or something?" and he scoffed and said no.

Being the emotionally stable person that I was, I burst into tears. I didn't want anyone to see me crying so I hid in the pantry. My friends brother opened the door to get something to eat. I tried to play it off and be funny so while wiping my tears away I was like "Would you like some pop tarts? Or some sun chips?" It was awkward.

My friend later snuck me out the back of the house and I went home and nursed my emotional wounds.

A month later at my friend's wedding there was talk about who was going to get married next. I laughed and said that I wasn't going to get married until I was 25 and it definitely wasn't going to be to that tool, Aaron.

On October 20th, 2005, seven days later, Aaron called, again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Story of Us

Aaron has been in Cleveland for the past week to train with his new company. It's quite remarkable how much I miss Aaron when he leaves. I always knew he was a fabulous guy, but the minute he leaves town I start yearning and pining like I've never yearned and pined before. I love that boy.

When you combine the increased amount of time to blog and the fact that I miss Aaron like the dickens, you get the story of us.

It's a long one (but for reals), so I'm going to break it down into segments.

Aaron was 18 and I was 15. Aaron and his buddies decided, as they usually did, to crash the Oakton Stake dance, despite being from the neighboring Centreville stake. Aaron noticed me at the dance. I don't remember seeing him there but did find out from my friend Nicole that he had seen me and thought I was cute. Nicole mentioned to me that he had asked for my number and she had given it to him. The next night he called. I remember being so nervous that this guy got my number and wanted to talk to me, but I ended up being surprised at how easy the conversation was.
As much as I'd like to say that the stars aligned and we knew we were destined, that didn't actually happen. I was only 15 so dating was off the table, and I was kind of "with" someone at the time. An I-like-you-you-like-me-so-we're-together-but-not-dating kind of thing.

The first time I met Aaron in person a group went to his house to watch a movie. At some point in the evening we all ended up doing the thriller dance in his laundry room with a strobe light. I knew we were going to be great friends.

We talked a lot on the phone. Talked about who we liked, who he was dating, what we wanted to do with our lives. He played games with my family, dropped off snickers bars in my mailbox, and let Nicole and I kidnap him.

In the back of my mind I knew I liked him, but I accepted the fact that nothing could really come of it. Aaron got accepted to the University of Utah for a summer semester that started in May. He was graduating early and moving a month before my 16th birthday.

My Not-So-Much boyfriend called me one day when he caught wind that I was spending a lot of time with Aaron. Conversations of "Do you like him?" and reassurances of "No, we're just friends" played out. In the middle of that phone call Aaron surprised me with a visit. He was coming to say goodbye before he moved. I told him it wasn't a good time, and he should come back later. He drove 25 minutes to surprise me, and I blew him off. Needless to say, he did not come back. He moved to Utah days later. A month or two after that his parents moved to Hong Kong. I can honestly say that I never thought I'd see him again.

The next fall my boyfriend and I broke up. I, apparently, was devastated. All I wanted to do was be with my siblings who were all in Utah. Off I flew to the beehive state.
Aaron called me and asked if we could go out while I was in Provo. I said sure. I was really excited that he was going to pick me up in his camaro. When he showed up he had this tiny blue Chevy Cavalier, I was bummed.
For our first date we watched The Ring with all of my siblings, so romantic. We split off from them ot get something to eat. I wasn't hungry and assured Aaron that I truly did not care where we went to eat. We went to Taco Bell. At the end of the night when I started getting out of the car Aaron says to me "Hey Kara, can I kiss you on the cheek so that when you're famous I can say that I kissed you?" I leaned in, he kissed my cheek and that was that.

He left a few months later to go on his mission to Taiwan.
Aaron wrote me a letter while he was in the MTC, but I don't think I ever wrote him back. My freshmen year of college, my roommate Jillian and I went through this phase of writing to missionaries and day-dreaming about how we were going to marry them. She and I always had crazy ideas
One of the missionaries I reconnected with was Aaron. I mean, who wouldn't want to reconnect with this guy.
I wrote him two letters at the very tail end of his mission, one of which, according to Aaron, was very forward.

Aaron's Dad transferred him to BYU while he was on his mission. When he got to Utah he got my information off of BYU's stalker-net and called me. I was so excited to see him. I blew off ward prayer to catch up with him and watch a movie.

He picked me up at the Cannon center. He was wearing a black track suit and I remember thinking "He looks nothing like he did in high school."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Do you Do?

What do you do when your best friend is a squirrel named Mr. Nutter?

You play
You go for walks
You lounge
You snuggle
But ultimately, you love on him because you just don't know how long he is going to stay in town.
Sometimes squirrels make the best friends

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Sisterly Visit

My gorgeous sister Stacey came in town this weekend. It was awesome.
Although, she was mostly here to be with her fiance, I'll take whatever I can get.
Hey Grace, who's number 1?
We did our best to stick to activities that were very "Texas". So we definitely made some time to head over to Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World. Yes, there was a Christmas Merry-Go-Round there.
I'm pretty sure there came a point in time during my sister's visit where Grace started preferring her to me.
We made some stops to eat TexMex and BBQ, but most of our Texas filled weekend was spent chatting, laughing, and reminiscing.

I'm already counting down the days until her next visit.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome to Texas Mr. N

I had grand plans of stealing Mr. Nutter from the comfort of my parents' front porch. Something involving a sting operation and a ski mask, you know, the usual. I was going to have my sister carry out the mission. I was surprised, however, when Mr. N had his own plans of traveling here to surprise me. Either way, I'm glad he is back in my possession. I had a cowboy hat waiting patiently for him. He looks pretty good, no?
Proof that he is, in fact, in the lone star state.
Grace was thrilled with his arrival. She is in love with this little squirrel. She says "Hi" to him every morning
And showering him with kisses is a must
I think that Mr. N should take a break from his travels and settle in for the winter
What do you think?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cabin Fever

Since Monday night Grace and I have been battling "The Sick."
I found it easy to stay inside nursing sore throats, runny noses, and fevers while there were thunderstorms raging outside.
But now I'm starting to itch for life outside of the apartment. Feel the sun on my skin, and fresh air in my lungs.
However, with every cough and sneeze I'm realizing that staying indoors is probably best. Which isn't too bad considering Grace and I know how to have a good time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mr. Nutter's Halloween Surprise

My mom wrote: "Guess who came trick or treating at our house?"

That's right ladies and gents, Mr. N is back in Virginia. Perhaps the leaves in Utah weren't vibrant enough for him. Thank goodness he packed his own costume for Halloween.
Matt snuck Mr. Nutter back into the Old Dominion state and placed him back on the front porch. It took days for my Mom to realize that he was back. But she said that it was a wonderful reunion and Mr. N is finally home. Only time will tell how long he'll actually be there.

Apparently Mr. Nutter got his mitts on the computer at my parents house because he now has his own facebook page? Check it out.