New York State of Mind

The rest of the story in a somewhat Wordless Wednesday (anyone remember the last time I did one of those? Me neither).

Because I missed it last time, here is the most awesome picture of the large pizza the fiance (!!!) and I finished off at Grimaldi’s.

pizza

Delicious.

And now? Our engagement weekend in pictures.

Stadium 13!

Stadium 13!

They never would have kept this up at Busch Stadium with that kind of rain.

They never would have kept this up at Busch Stadium with that kind of rain.

Brunch in the West Village!

Saturday brunch in the West Village!

highline

Highline in Chelsea.

fave

Cupcakes at Billy's!

Cupcakes at Billy’s!

Central Park, and obligatory stop by Strawberry Fields.

Central Park, and obligatory stop by Strawberry Fields.

Quidditch!

Quidditch!

Matilda on Broadway

Matilda on Broadway

Times Square

Times Square

Rockefeller Plaza

Rockefeller Plaza

South Tower Memorial Pool

South Tower Memorial Pool

And then possibly the best part. When we got home, he took me to the place where we had our first date, Ted Drewes. Waiting for us were friends and family ready to celebrate our brand new engagement.

This part was supposed to be a surprise as well, but my sister Melissa kind of spilled the beans before I was even off the plane. Granted, this is a good thing as if it had been a surprise, I would have burst into tears when I got there, and no one would have gotten a word out of me for an hour.

Emotion + exhaustion + excitement + THAT surprise = Ann’s meltdown.

We’re going to ignore that there were moments of meltdown, like when our friends from Springfield (3 hours away) walked up. Like hugging my best friend and nearly asking her to be my maid of honor right then and there (I did wait to ask….for a day). Like showing the video clip of the actual proposal to my mom and future mother in law.

Yeah. Tears.

Ted Drewes! Where we had our first date.

Ted Drewes! Where we had our first date.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

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Hey Baby, I Think I Wanna Marry You

So this happened.

IMG_0084The story!

Friday morning, I was woken up at 450am (ick). I was really confused because Adam was waking me up, and I was kind of worried that I was sleeping through my alarm. Then I noticed that it was the four o’clock hour, not the five o’clock, and I was confused. Adam goes, “How much do you trust me?” which is not something to say to a not-quite-awake person. I, in my ever so eloquent state, mumbled, “Um, a lot?” So he told me to put my glasses on and handed me two half sheets of paper.

It took me a second to realize that it was a boarding pass. Then I registered that it said LaGuardia. Then I registered that my name was on it. AND THEN I registered that the date was for that day.

And then I flipped a little bit.

I asked about whether I needed to call into work. He told me it was taken care of. I reminded him of plans I’d had with April and Ali for the weekend. He told me they were fake plans, and that it was taken care of. He told me that I had one hour to pack and get ready (he did apologize profusely for me having to pack, but he wasn’t sure what I’d want, etc).

So I packed. Kind of. It took me a bit to figure out what I needed to take since all he would tell me is that I needed walking shoes, comfortable stuff for walking, and then something a little fancier for Saturday night. Do you know how difficult it is to pack multiple options into a tiny carry-on bag? Difficult. Mostly because of the shoes.

Anyway, as we drove off to the airport he played two songs for me. Sinatra’s New York and Jay-Z/Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind. I started teasing him about missing opportunities. Where was “Uptown Girl”? Where was “New York State of Mind”? Heh. As we were driving, I googled which baseball team was home because I know him, and obviously we were going to a game since I’d never been to either stadium.

After getting through security, he told me he had a surprise for me and handed me a little bag, out of which I pulled a fancy new camera. He said, “We are NOT taking just cell phone pictures while we’re in New York.” And then he handed me an envelope containing tickets to both a Yankees game (see?) and Matilda on Broadway.

People keep asking me if I had any idea this would be coming, but because he pulled out the tickets immediately, I really didn’t. I figured it was just a fun surprise since I’m trying to get to all the stadiums and have always wanted to go to NYC.

When we got there, we took our bags to the hotel and headed off to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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He said he wanted to take me to a pizza place that came very highly recommended. As we were walking across the bridge, he was telling me how there were a ton of locks locked on the bridge, as people would write/engrave names/dates/etc on them and then leave them on the bridge. I thought this idea was awesome and was really bummed I didn’t know since I had an unused lock at home.
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Here’s where I have to interject that in hind sight, I was incredibly blind to just about everything once I figured out we were going to NYC, but during everything, I was just happy to be there.

We ate at this place called Grimaldi’s (omg, YUM), and after we finished off a large pizza (yep) we took a walk down to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. We were just kind of walking along, and I sat down to just look at Manhattan, as I was still marveling that I was there in the first place.

I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, and figuring he was getting up so we could keep walking I started to grab my stuff, but then froze as he was on one knee in front of me. My jaw just dropped as he slid the ring on my finger and asked me to marry him. I don’t even think I fully was able to choke out “of course I will” before I was crying and kissing him all at once. He told me later that he had been looking for a somewhat secluded area so it could be a private thing between the two of us, and for NYC he did ok. There were, though, six people who were walking behind us who started clapping and cheering for us, which I was surprisingly ok with.

We started walking back to the bridge to cross back over into Manhattan, and we hadn’t gotten more than 20 feet when he told me there was just one more thing and handed me a hunk of tissue paper, which contained the lock in the very first picture of this post. And then I cried again.

Shortly after, we stopped so I could call my family, and then we took a deep breath, knowing our phones were about to die, and put the picture on facebook and twitter.

And then our phones exploded.

We talked to his mom for a little bit as we walked back to the bridge, and then shoved the phones into bags and pockets to give us time to find a place to put the lock.

As we walked by one place, we realized that there weren’t too many locks and that we’d be able to get ours on pretty easily. It took us just a moment, but THEN we realized that the light post we were standing next to looked directly down at the bench where he proposed. So there we left it.

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And there we will go back to find it over the years. I will never see the Brooklyn Bridge, whether in pictures or TV/movies or in person without feeling very fluttery in my stomach, remembering the absolute apex of happiness in my life so far.

I Belong with You, You Belong with Me, My Sweetheart

You all know that I am by no means a fan of Valentine’s Day. Not the hooplah, not the expectations, not the hurt feelings, not much of anything. Since I have been with GCB I have had a few people ask me if I was going to change my mind. No. No I’m not. He’s working tonight, and I’ll either be lifting or working through season eight of House.

That said, about a week ago Josey posted a wonderful list about her husband and the ten reasons that he’s the one for her.

I loved every single bit of it.

You see, I have been saying for the last 10 months that every single day GCB says or does something or I experience something that makes me fall even more in love with him. Every single day, without fail.

So today, in a rather abrupt departure from the type of post I would normally put up about this holiday (or the lack of post because really, it’s just another day for us), you get my list about GCB.

10. Because he makes me laugh. Our senses of humor are incredibly similar, and that fact keeps us laughing together every single day. It can be the mostly-asleep snickers that happen when he says something silly as he’s crawling into bed with me after an evening shift, or the silly jokes he makes about Frosted Flakes and dead toenails (just go with it), or even just the way he tells a story. The man’s funny.

9. Because he makes me feel like the most beautiful person in the world. He isn’t stingy with his compliments, and the way his eyes follow me, even if I’m just in a sweatshirt and jeans, makes me strut. He tells me every day that I’m beautiful. Lately I haven’t been feeling like my normal, confident self, which is entirely due to me not working out in four solid weeks, but throughout that time I’ve never had a single doubt that he is entirely attracted to me.

8. Because he is excited to experience new things with me. Training for and running Tough Mudder will be the first time he comes into my running world as more than just a spectator. I don’t play hockey, but he can certainly run. I love that he is not only willing, but entirely eager to get to share this part of my life with me rather than just watching as I disappear into the distance.

7. Because of the way he kisses me. There are the deep, meaningful, passionate kisses that leave me absolutely weak in the knees. Or the soft ones on my temple or top of my head as we’re curled up together. Or the ones when he gets home where he seems to be working on kissing every spot on my face he can get to. The best ones, though, are the ones from when we are reunited, no matter how long we’ve been apart. They are the ones that are so powerful, so staggeringly good at conveying one simple fact. That he missed me.

6. Because of the way he loves his family. I love spending time with him and his family because it is so obvious that he cares so very much for all of them. Family is hugely important to me, and I am so glad to be with someone for whom that feeling is the same. Not to mention seeing him play with his nieces me melts me into an absolute puddle of goo from my ovaries all the way out to my fingertips.

5. Because he is as big of a nerd as I am. Perhaps his nerdiness is in different areas, but we both definitely have a geeky side. I love that I could bring home a Ravenclaw pin for him as a souvenir from Harry Potter World that was meant for the Quidditch bag he had previously bought for himself. I love that he just gets it.

4. Because he is easy to talk to. I can talk to him about ANYTHING. I haven’t ever once felt embarrassed or self-conscious about anything I thought or felt, nor have I ever felt judged for holding a firm opinion. Even if we’re talking about nothing, he’s a fun conversationalist.

3. Because he is my biggest fan. Through Ragnar, through three half marathons and a full that I didn’t train for, he was there, encouraging me on and cheering for me and building me up when I felt low. He’s always so proud of me for the things I accomplish, and he doesn’t shy away from telling me.

2. Because he accepts every single facet of me. My quirks, my oddities, my opinions, everything about me, to him, is perfect. I have never and will never have to worry about being asked (or coerced) into changing one iota of myself. He loves me for me.

1. Because being with him has made me really and truly believe in the heart-stopping, breathtaking type of love that for the longest time I didn’t think really existed. I am far less cynical because of him. As recently as a year ago, I was the type who would scoff at the people who said, “I just knew,” because duh, you can’t “just know.” And then the universe laughed. I have known since our first date that I wanted to BE with him. I have known since very shortly into our relationship that I had fallen and would continue to fall hopelessly, unequivocally, end-over-teakettle in love with him. I have known for a LONG time now that I will marry this man. This love is powerful and real, and it has CHANGED me.

us

He is my person. He is who I want to share every high and every low with. His are the arms I run to in celebration and for comfort. He has the dimple I hope to one day have passed along to my children. He is who I want to wake up to every single day and whose arms I want wrapped around me every night.

He is the extra shot of espresso in the latte I call life.

He makes me better, he makes me want to BE better.

He is without the slightest hint of a doubt my best friend and the love of my life.

I am so, so happy he’s mine.

Nobody’s Perfect, but You’re Perfect for Me

The other day I was lying in bed with GCB, and out of the blue he said to me, “How come you don’t blog anymore? You used to write about how awesome I was all the time!”

So this is for him.

Reasons my boyfriend is awesome.

1. He’s such a jock. The past few weeks his summer hockey league has been in the playoffs. Last week his game was at 10pm, and he was SO amped after the game (they won) that he couldn’t get to sleep until after 2am. He left yesterday for a vacation while his team was playing for the championship last night which made him nearly delay his flight out so he could play. I totally understand the competitive spirit he has, that desire to actually be out there and play, and I think it’s awesome. It means that he gets me when I’m irritated with my own performance in a race or with a run in general. It means that he’s willing to come out with me and be active (see: Tap’n’Run). It means that he encourages me when I’m struggling to find the motivation to get my ass out the door.

2. He’s also a monstrous nerd. Let’s be honest. I’m a super-nerd. I wear my nerd flag as a cape, rather than choosing to fly it sporadically. I recognize this. He is just as nerdy. This is all made evident by all sorts of things. References to Harry Potter in every day conversation, his level of excitement over a Lego Batman Playstation game, and the fact that his trip to Orlando was specifically in order to attend Star Wars Celebration VI. Apparently I am lucky that he still loves me even with the “large number of passable Slave Leia’s in metal bikinis.” According to Ali and Alison, his jock-dom does not cancel out just how nerdy this makes him, but it makes me feel like my jock-nerd-hybrid lifestyle is comparatively complemented. I like that.

3. He’s family oriented. His sister had a baby girl a couple weeks ago (another A. Marie in the world!!), and we were lucky enough to be able to go over to their house, cook them dinner, and just hang out with their family. He was entirely excited at this prospect. I absolutely melted watching him hold that tiny newborn, and the absolutely love-struck look he gave me as his niece grabbed ahold of his shirt dissolved me into goo. Not only is he willing to do anything for his family, but he’s been such a big hit with mine. My three year old cousin just absolutely adores him, and even asked to snuggle with GCB instead of my aunt when he was ready to take a nap. He sat down and talked with my grandfather for nearly an hour. He made sure to get out of work so he could see my mom while she was in town. And to top it all off, when I tossed out the idea of having two of my cousins come up to the city and play with us all day, he was all about it, suggesting different things that we could do with them. I get to take him out to Arizona in two months to meet even more of my extended family, and I could not be more excited about it.

4. The fact that he brought me a banana and nutella calzone the other day. It was so good I nearly passed out from deliciousness.

5. He and I see eye to eye on both politics and religion. I know that there are plenty of people who are able to overcome opinion differences in these two areas, but the fact that I don’t have to worry about it is entirely awesome.

6. He entertains me. The other day we were trying to figure out what to do for dinner. I suggested that we attempt to recreate a dish from Cheese-ology using just our imaginations. He didn’t hesitate to say yes, and then played me in a best-two-out-of-three game of rock/paper/scissors to figure out which dish to choose to duplicate.

7. He just is. He makes me feel desired and beautiful and smart and funny all at once. He’s hilarious and keeps me laughing on a regular basis. He’s an unwavering support system. He just FITS.

I love you, baby. Come home to me safely.

It’s a Beautiful Day

Some days serve as reminders. Some days all it takes is a conversation or a picture or a song to remind you just how lucky you really are.

Today was that day.

Scratch that. I’ve been reminded of this daily for a while now. There’s just something about today though that’s making it that much more evident.

I’m struggling to come up with adequate words right now other than “I am one lucky, lucky lady.”

I have a family who has banded together more in these last few weeks than I ever knew was possible. There have been phone calls and texts and emails and visits and hugs and reminders of the unwavering support system that is in place for if any one of us falls. I am so grateful for them. Today my uncle finalizes his adoption of his wife’s children. HIS children. It’s been a long time coming, and I could not be more thrilled for their whole family. They live in Arizona, which is where I’m headed in October, and I CANNOT wait to see him, his family, and the rest of my aunts/uncles/cousins who live out there.

I have a job, an apartment, a car, and independence. I’m healthy and have the ability to workout and train for races for the lone fact that I like it. Though I’m incredibly sore today, it’s a great feeling to have been sweating for a reason OTHER than just walking out my front door.

My friends are THE best friends in the entire world.

First names start with A. Middle names are Marie. We could start a club.

They are there for me no matter what I need. They are who I want to spend time with. They are family. It took a while for my core group of friends to be built in St Louis, but now that it has been? I can’t imagine it being any other way. I am beyond fortunate to know such an incredible group of people.


And to top it all off, I have the love of my life to go home to every day. Some nights it’s my home, some nights it’s his home, and next spring it will be OUR home. Today I had a couple conversations that reinforced just how incredibly fortunate I am to be with someone who is as kind and thoughtful and generous as he is. He shows me he loves me as often as he tells me. He makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world. I honestly can’t imagine life without him. I am SO LUCKY to have him.


Nauseating sap aside, I’m so glad for days like this that I can look back on when a day isn’t so great.


It’s like I said earlier:

 

Love Hurts

So. Yesterday was quite cryptic, huh? I truly am sorry about that, but honestly, there’s some stuff I can’t, or more appropriately won’t, put on here. In the past I know I’ve written things about my family, but at a certain point that stops. These people are THE most important people in my whole life, and we’ve run into a situation where we have to band together and protect one another, support one another, love one another more than we’ve ever had to in the past. This is a really fucking difficult, dark time for us. I keep bursting into random tears, though today’s much better than yesterday. I know that doesn’t explain a lot, well, it doesn’t explain anything, but just know I’m grateful for the good juju being sent our way. Truly.

That said, and maybe it’s because of this situation, but some of the good things in life are seeming that much better. I just spent a week in Portland with my dad and his side of the family, and it was SO GOOD to see all of them. I hadn’t been out there since October of 2008, so there was a lot to catch up on. I have one cousin who looks just like me, so much so that it’s like looking into a mirror into the past. It’s weird. She acts like I did at that age too. Not to mention the time I was able to spend with my stepsisters, brother in law, dad, step-mom, niece, and nephew. The niece and nephew are getting SO BIG, and seriously I think I melted every single time my niece would call me “Aunt Ann.” This is, of course, not to be confused with “Auntie Anne’s Pretzels.” Just no.

I was talking to my grandmother on Sunday (at church even, and I didn’t even burst into flames). We were discussing children, marriages, etc, and she lamented that she’d wished she had done it right the FIRST time. The man she’s married to, my grandfather, is actually my step-grandfather, and her third husband. I suggested that I wouldn’t be here then, which brought out her response of knowing that her children were supposed to be her’s, and she’d have had them regardless. I reminded her that I was supposed to be my mom’s. I was also supposed to be my dad’s. They’re not together, and haven’t been since I was fourteen, but I have no doubt that my mom was supposed to be with step-Mark. My grandfather is MY grandfather, as my biological grandfather died when I was 3, and I don’t remember him. I am where I’m supposed to be. I have MY family, as I was meant to have.

I guess I say all that because family has been on my mind a lot, obviously. Family on the other side of the country, family here, people who have married in, people I intend to make my family, people who are as close as family regardless of legal or blood ties. My mom’s best friend is family. My closest friends are my family. And these people are so important to me.

This sounds all rambly. That’s how it feels in my brain. I love this family of mine. Painfully so, at times. Sometimes they do things I disagree with, and sometimes they make me so mad all I can do is scream or cry or spend hours upon hours staring out the window and yelling horrible things at them in my head. Yet there’s always love. It’s conflicting, and right now, it hurts.

I don’t even know what to say past that.

When I Wake Up Tomorrow Will You Still Be Here?

Before you start asking questions, everything is better than fine with GCB. Trust me.

That said, I am coming up on a time in my relationship that is figuring very prominently in my brain.
Three months.
In many regards three months is a relatively inconsequential time frame. One quarter of the year. One season, if traditional seasonal explanations are to be believed. It passes so quickly that at times it’s hard to believe that twelve weeks of a year have just melted away.
Three months is how long I have dated nearly any guy over the course of the last near-decade. Three months is how long it took for them to go, “Um, yeah….nevermind. See ya.” That’s quite the confidence killer, by the way.
Make no mistake about it. My relationship is not ending. Conversations I have had with GCB indicate we’ve got quite a long relationship ahead of us, and I couldn’t be happier about that. Seriously. I think some of my friends are getting weary of hearing me reference that.
It’s not that I am worried, just….cognizant of the time frame.
That must seem absolutely crazy.
Past history makes me aware of this, for lack of a better word, milestone. However, the feelings I have for GCB are palpable. Sometimes my breath is taken away by certain reminders of just how much I love him, and those feelings become stronger every single day.
So why is this weighing on me? I think it in part has to do with a conversation he and I had a while back, wherein he was detailing some things about his job that I know had an outward effect on me. My exterior showed just a slight glimpse of the turmoil inside as I processed tried to process everything I was hearing. However, there was one thing that I knew, KNEW in those moments that kind of terrifies me.
I will not be ok if he does not come home to me.
Perhaps that’s part of why this three month thing is there. Three months has been this glass ceiling, if you will, a time frame I’ve been incapable of surpassing in close to a third of my life. I have no doubt, however, that this time there won’t be resistance. Hell, I’m not even worried about getting past three years. I know he will choose to come home to me.
I know it’s odd to even think about, but I still just want to get past that mark and carry on.