Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Day Before Thanksgiving.

A year ago today, the day before Thanksgiving, I was sitting at work staring at the clock. I was a nervous wreck, but also tremendously excited. I only had a few more hours to go, and still couldn't believe that it was really happening.  I was leaving after work to go to the airport.. and he'd be there waiting for me.  I'm smiling so much right now thinking about that day.  I went home so that Dawn (and her daughter Mackenzie) could ride with me because she was nervous about me going alone. ;o) To be honest, I'm pretty glad she was there! Not because I was afraid. My heart had been invested for weeks already.  Maybe it was just helpful to feel like someone else was there to be sure this was real.

I met this guy online. I know, I know. I can already see your eyes widening and your mouth dropping open. It wasn't like "that." No dating site, no singles hook-up page.  Just some friendly online video gaming. :) For several months, I had been getting to know lots of friends that way.  People all over the East Coast, Canada, a few scattered out west. There was a group of us that hung out on the game and played around for months.  And then there was this guy.  He's younger than me, but my interest was piqued immediately. He's pretty interesting. We'd chat about the game, he helped me along (I'm still not very good at it! haha), we talked for hours about a million different things. Travel, our family, things we love (yay for crunchy peanut butter!), things we don't love, people in our lives, our past, God, work, etc. Anything you can imagine!  I found myself thinking about him.. a lot. I was frustrated by this in some ways because 1) he lived so far away, 2) he was younger than me by several years, and 3) he's "online." And that's weird, right? But, I'm weird.

Then, as our friendship grew, the texting began. And then a few weeks later, the phone calls. Those were the kind of phone calls that kept me up the entire night. Many nights like that. I didn't think I was going to make it some days. :o) Funny what you can put your body through when it comes to stuff like this, huh? But he was always there. Pursuing me, getting to know me, talking about life with me - and even when serious things happened, like the death of my grandfather and some serious health issues with his own grandmother a couple of days later, he was there. My heart was opening more and more. We talked a lot about God, a lot about each other.. and then we talked about how we really felt. I was I felt like it had been so long since I had been so seriously involved with someone, but I couldn't shake this. And I really didn't want to.

So, the confessions came, and the emotions flooded.. and I knew I was in this for the long haul. And so was he. :o) So, I shared with a few more close friends about what was going on. What the heck was I supposed to do next? How could I.. you know.. like.. love someone in another state? He and I began to discuss what it would be like for us to meet. I remember one time telling him that "in a year or so, I'm going on a cruise with my family. Maybe I could swing by Louisiana." Hahah... Oh man. And do you know what he said? He said he'd wait that long if that's what I needed. (Though I don't think that would have really been the best thing for us, of course. :o)) And then, as Thanksgiving approached, we were talking about family traditions and what our families were doing... My family celebrates a few weeks early because of my parents' work schedule, and his family all had plans out of town/state. So... maybe. Could we? SHOULD we?

Again, I asked my friends. What do I say?! Should I let him visit? What if he doesn't like me anymore? What if we don't get along in person? What if we DO get along in person?! Everyone's answers were the same. These women, all independently of one another, told me the same exact thing. "You can't continue on having your heart love and care for someone you aren't even willing to meet, Nicole. You're being silly. Say yes."
So.. I said yes. We Skyped and I told him yes. He was going to visit for Thanksgiving.

I drove around the corner at Terminal 2 at RDU airport and I saw him, off in the distance. He was on the phone talking to me, looking for my car, and I just stopped talking and looked at him as I drove closer. My heart was pounding, and Dawn just looked at me and smiled. I stopped the car, and we both smiled at each other. I got out while he was shoving his luggage in the back seat with my other passengers. And then he ran around the back of my car to meet me half way, and his arms went around me and he hugged me so tightly.
I still love his hugs.

It was weird for all of about 5 minutes in the car, but as quickly as it started, it was over, and it was like the most normal thing for him to be sitting next to me. The next few days felt like a whirlwind. We talked for hours, I showed him (too many) things and places in Raleigh that I loved, we made food together, we watched movies, we laughed (a lot), and we soaked up every free waking moment that we could.  I was definitely in this for the long haul. :o) My heart already had been for a while... I just had to let real life catch up. On Sunday, that weekend, we went to see Dawn's son, Trevor, get baptized at their church. Afterward, at a family lunch at a restaurant, Mackenzie looked up at Damion as we were paying for our food and said, "Oh, are you guys like "together" now?" Everyone kind of giggled and smirked and he told her we were. I already knew that, but it was still sweet. And a little embarrassing since the whole group was standing there. :o)

The last year has definitely not been a breeze, in regards to "long distance dating."  We spend as much time as we can talking, Skyping, etc. And we do visits as much as we can. A lot has happened, and we've learned so much. But every day, he makes me happy.  I love his wit, his attentiveness, his desire to know the deep and difficult things about God, his maturity in handling my emotions. I love his laugh when something really tickles him. I love how he cared for me and my family through a weird and trying summer. I love his family and how much they love each other and stick by one another when life isn't always easy. I love that I still get a giddy feeling in my stomach when he's calling, or when I see a text pop up on my phone from him. I love his stories and how smart he is. I like learning what it's like to put someone else before myself. (I don't always like that - it's a hard, life-long lesson, I hear. But I enjoy that I'm getting to learn it with him.)

I'm so happy he's in my life, and I can't wait to see what the next year holds!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Nieces

For the past few years, especially since my parents have been on the road working (they're long distance team truck drivers together), our family has tried to get together in September for both of my nieces birthdays. Natalie, who turned 9 this year, has a birthday on the 9th, and Reagan, who's 6 now, has a birthday today, the 25th. Last year, we all went to Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC. That was pretty fun!

This year, my mom decided to make it more of a "Girls Only" fun day.

On Saturday morning, the day started with my mom, my two nieces and me heading out to go to Toys R Us. Natalie told my mom, "One time, my dad went to that store, and I had to wait out in the car! I've always wanted to go inside!" Haha... so, of course, Grandma complied.  I don't really remember ever getting to go there as a child either. It's probably for the best! There's a LOT of cool stuff in there!

My sister and sister-in-law both had other things they had to attend to for the morning, so it was just the four of us. I was able to stick around for most of this leg of the race. I had to go back to the truck to wait while they finished picking out a little gift for Grandma to buy.  Unfortunately, I still have trouble staying on my feet for more than 20-30 minutes at a time, especially if I'm walking around. (I haven't posted about this just yet, but to brief those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, I fell in May and broke my leg.. a lot of times. ;) I had surgery to begin the repair process including adding a plate and seven screws to my bones. But, more on this later.)
I did get to look at a few fun things with the girls and snap a picture of Reagan being inducted into the Birthday Club at the store.

After this, we met up with one of my mom's sisters, Lora, and my cousin Roslyn. I was so excited they joined up with us! I don't get to see them very much. We six grabbed a quick lunch and moved on from there to meet up with my sister and sister-in-law at Bliss Spa/Nail Salon there in Hickory. While my sister got started with her nails, the rest of us started with pedicures. We had that place taken over in no time! :) (From farrrr in the back of the photo, to the front, it's Natalie, Reagan, Karen (sister-in-law), Aunt Lora, Roslyn.  Then me, then my mom on my other other side.) I wanted to try the pedicure thing. I am -not- a foot person. I don't enjoy feet. Not your feet, not my feet. No feet. *Unless you're under the age of three or so. haha* But, I do enjoy the AFTER-pedicure feet and toes. I'm also a creature of habit when it comes to polish colors, and thanks to Birchbox samples, I've been able to try some different things. I'm going on vacation next week, so I wanted something fun for my feet this time... and fun I chose! I've always loved those funky polish names. :)
"Yodel Me On My Cell" by OPI

We got pedicures, manicures, and even got treated to eyebrow waxes (do guys really know what it's like for us sometimes? ha) all courtesy of my sweet mama! We talked, laughed, and just spent a few hours chatting and sharing our 'finished products.' Here are the little girls' nails.

After this, as the evening was beginning, the original plans of going to play putt-putt and have dinner all as a family (meeting up with the guys at this point - and can I just go ahead and say how fun it is that one of those guys in the group is all for me, finally! ;)) seemed a little daunting, so we nixed the idea of putt-putt and went back to my parents' house to discuss dinner options. We decided on a little Japanese place really close to their house, so off we went again. It was fun to still hang out together and the kids, of course, continued to provide lots of entertainment. My nephew is 2 and a half now, and I promise, he gets funnier and funnier every time I see him! All three of the kids love to play games on my iPhone (thankfully, Damion has one too, so he can share that burden of little hands grabbing for them!).  Here's Reece letting me know (by his expression and his statement on the matter!) that he doesn't want to be in any more pictures. That's just too bad, sweet boy. :)  We headed back to my parents' after dinner again while they took the girls to pick out a cake at the store. It was really yummy!  I loved being with my family all weekend! I hope I'll always get to see them for their birthdays.

(and have I mentioned how happy I am that this guy got to be there this year, too?) I'm a happy girl...

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I Gave It A Try

Very often, I end up with lots of beauty samples. I'm not talking about the incredible monthly Birchbox that I subscribe to (use that link to sign up through my referral!). I mean, I get random samples. Sometimes, from Sephora orders, sometimes in the mail, sometimes because I pick them up at random. Usually, they get tossed into a drawer in my bathroom cabinet, or I'll end up trying something once and forgetting about it (like perfume, for example!). Not today!

I'm planning a fun day for the girls in my small group where we're going to get together and just hang out and talk.. have lunch, drink coffee, and play around with some of my make up, nail polishes, etc. I don't know if anyone has disastrous experiences with "the smokey eye" like I do, but I thought it would be fun if we played around together! That's in a couple of weeks.

In gathering up things to prepare for our "girlie day of fun," I found a sample of Urban Decay's Naked Skin foundation and wanted to go ahead and try it for myself.

The first fun thing is that the sample came with four different shades. Don't worry, I didn't try them all. ;) What I was able to do, however, was use the card they provided to match my skin tone. You hold the card against your jawline (it's clear except for the foundation shade examples), and the foundation that's best for you is the one that "disappears" against the natural tone of your skin. Simple enough! And it worked perfectly! I got matched up quickly with their 2.0 formula and peeled back the sample. It's enough for two days, so I'll be finishing it up tomorrow.. because it was great!

It was definitely much lighter than the foundation I've been using (which I have loved, too), and I feel like it's stayed on throughout my whole day into this evening just fine! That's a big plus for me because I hate feeling like I've gotten all 'done up' for the day, only to discover at 5 when I leave work and get in my car, it looks like I just woke up again.

I was so impressed right away with the smooth consistency and feel of the initial application of the foundation, that I went to look on Sephora's website and compare the price with the foundation I've been using. They're the same price for the same amount of ounces! Yippee! I'll definitely be buying this one instead!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Gasp! She blogged!

The pages are pretty dusty on all my blogs. Yes, all of them - as in, there are multiples. :)
The last two years weren't journaled for the e-world to see. Photos weren't posted. Exciting news wasn't shared. It doesn't mean fun and exciting things didn't happen for me! It honestly just means that I was lazy about posting anything. Will anyone even read THIS one? We shall see.

Don't be nervous. I won't bombard you with a super long post about all the days of my life from the last two years. There have been a multitude of adventures, joys, travels, lessons, laughs and tears. I'm thankful for all of them. I'm thankful today for where I am, and even though there are always lists being made of how I can do things differently/better/more creatively, I'm thankful.

Perhaps short posts to catch you up would be a nice place to start. I'm itching to write these days. So what does a girl do? Start over? Test the waters?

Have you ever abandoned a blog and been unsure of how it would treat you when you returned?
That's where I am today... Readers, are you here? :)