Friday, January 29, 2010

A 'Little' Rewind....

I've been talking about starting a blog as long as I've been married but I kept telling Todd I wasn't going to exert as much time and patients it would take for me to make a blog with the ancient, snail-speed computer I have! However, I don't think I'll be getting the Mac I want so desperately anytime soon and since I'm jobless I figured I have all the time in the world to virtually scrapbook my life!! If you're strained for time, I suggest you come back when you've got nothing to do because I assure you this first post of our past 8 months together is not going to be a short recollection.

Well it started May 23, 2009, and with the eyes of 200 of our closest family and friends we vowed to love and cherish through thick and thin till death do us part, as we became Mr. & Mrs. Michael Todd Gillean. And through our journey over the past 8 months we have definitely loved and cherished, laughed and cried, stuck-it-out and ran, through the good and not so tremendous times.

As if the wedding day wasn't filled with enough joy and special moments Todd and I got to leave town for a week of relaxation as we cruised to the Carribean celebrating our honeymoon. We were definitely in our true honeymoon phase - just the two of us, hand in hand, nothing to worry about except when and what we were going to eat next. Our first stop was in Key West where my brother and his girlfriend Alex and her family were there celebrating Alex's 21st Birthday! We met up and spent the day sightseeing, eating lunch at a fabulous restaurant on the water, and of course making a stop at Fat Tuesday's for Alex's monumental 21st beverage! 

 I've just come to realize I deleted the pictures I took on our honeymoon off my camera before I downloaded them to my computer. I'm a freak when it comes to taking pictures and capturing the moment of every event in life (as my friends and family can attest), so I am sickened to realize what I have done. So the rest of the recap from the honeymoon will have to be pictureless.... Sorry I know you're all very saddened by this! So anyways, our next stop was Cozumel, Mexico where Todd and I enjoyed a relaxing day on a private beach soaking up the sun and the beautiful, crystal-clear water! We or I should say 'I' decided it was a good idea to go parasailing... Not such a good idea Lauren! After being harnessed in - me in the front and Todd behind me - the captain of the boat lifted us up in the air and away we went. Yes we kept going higher and higher, and the next thing I know I'm getting completely sick to my stomach. I tell this story because for the first time as husband and wife I was looking for my husband to comfort and reassure me that everything was going to be fine. Well, unfortunately my husband failed miserably with this task because he told me "I'm not going to lie, this is pretty high and if we fall from this high up we're definitely not going to make it!" THANKS HONEY! Finally we got down and promised each other that the next time one of us was getting the urge to step out with something that had to do with heights, we would pass!! We spent the rest of the day lying on the beach eating mexican food (our favorite), drinking margaritas (another favorite), and getting our tan on!

Our last stop was Belize and what an extraordinary place! For anyone who hasn't been the water and reefs in Belize are extraordinary! After getting off the ship we had some time to kill so we grabbed a bit to eat at a shack on the water. We had just ate breakfast before we got off the ship so by no means were we even close to being hungry but for some reason our motto for our honeymoon was 'Let's see who can eat the most!' After eating some nachos and drinking some locally brewed Belize beer we met our tour group and loaded our catamaran for a day at sea! We took our catamaran to the barrier reef and snorkeled, which was fabulous while it lasted. Since I was a baby I've been plagued with chronic ear infections, multiple sets of tubes in my ears, and a surgery to patch the hole in my eardrum. So needless to say anything that deals with my head having to be under water for any amount of time isn't always so pleasant. However, I did take a couple swirls around the reef, saw some cute fish, ran into a school of slimy jellyfish and decided it was time for me to make my way back to the boat! Baby Love (which you'll soon realize 'Todd' has many names... Baby Love, Babe, Sweet Cheeks, Baby Boy, and the list continues) continued snorkeling for the remainder of the time, until he was summoned to get back on the boat! After snorkeling we went to a private island, where I enjoyed the beach and beautiful water, and Toddy boy enjoyed trying his best at beating the other snorkelers in a very intense beach volleyball game! Long story short, Todd and I loved the time we got to spend together on our honeymoon and more than anything we'll remember how we ate for a family of 7 for an entire week!

I can remember the feeling of anxiousness to get off the ship and just be home! We were both so excited about starting our life together; we kept saying we don't ever have to leave each other! We get to spend the night with each other every night!!! Little did we know we would reach a time where we wished we could spend the night apart! We were renting a house off Roberts Road and I just couldn't wait to get home and set up all our stuff and start playing house. We were totally surprised when we walked in to our house and realized our parents had cleaned, moved, and set up all our furniture in our house. HOW LOVING!

The next couple months were great - having family over for dinner, cooking for my husband, making his lunches with cute little notes, and just getting to know each other on a completely different level. Other than the everyday things that brought us so much joy, we were about to receive something that grew to mean more to both of us then we could have ever imagined!

July 4th weekend we made a trip over to Madison, FL for Todd's family reunion. Well Todd's sister and her husband (Julie and Brian) had just had a litter of Blue Heeler puppies and as adamant as I was that we were not ready for a dog, as soon as I laid eyes on her I knew I couldn't live without her. Most people ask how in the world did you come up with her name. Well, when I was doing wedding addresses my aunt lived on Don Quixote rd, after trying relentlessly to figure out how you said that my mom clued me in! I said that would be such a cute dog name, little did I know in a short time I would actually have a dog! She has brought so many happy times and laughter to me and Todd's life. I keep telling him maybe we're just not meant to have kids and we should just be 'dog people'. But there is no way he is going for that one! My mom says if we treat our kids like we treat Quixote they'll be super spoiled. This should be a no brainer! Thanks to our dear friend Kelli, Quixote loves to give kisses and Todd and I except them graciously!  Since I have no kids (yet) I'm sure there will be more post that pertain to our precious angel we cherish so much!

Pretty much an angel from Heaven!

In August, Todd's sister Julie gave birth to her second beautiful boy Braxton!  It was such a blessing to be part of something so special and Todd and I cherish being Aunt's and Uncles to all of our precious nieces and nephews.

In August, I also quit my job at St. Johns Golf & CC which had become my home away from home over the past 5 years. It was bittersweet. However, it was time to focus on finding a 'Big Girl' job. And I did just that. I accepted a job offer with Florida's First Coast of Golf the company I had interned with my last semester of college. Everything was going great. Todd and I were getting our ducks in a row and making leaps toward buying some land and building our first home! Little did I know that the big guy upstairs had different plans in mind. On our way to what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend in Madison with the family, Todd dropped the bomb that was about to change everything I've EVER known!

"I've been transferred back to Tallahassee" is all Todd said.... I didn't believe him at first but after a couple minutes of anger induced questions I realized he wasn't kidding around. And that was the beginning of a week long sobbing fest. I cried and cried and thought I truly was not going to make it out of what seemed like a severe depression. I couldn't even get past the fact that I had to pick up and move, say goodbye to the last 22 years of my life, quit my job that I just got, and do it all in TWO WEEKS. Yeah, we had two weeks to find a place to live and move all our stuff. I think I went 4 days without even looking at Todd. There was no talking. NOTHING. I was so hurt and upset. Once I realized there was nothing I could do and that we truly were moving, we started talking realistically about what we were going to do. We figured it all out and looking back we had so much to be thankful for. Imagine if the house we had placed an offer on had been accepted. We would have been stuck trying to sell a house in a market that was unsellable!

It was very hard breaking the news to my parents and after all the tears were cried they reassured me everything was going to be OK. Now it was time to live up to the vows I had taken only a few months prior and support and love my husband unconditionally. And that's what I did. We moved on and moved out!

We've been living our lives in Madison, FL in our little quant house behind Julie and Brian's. Only God would have ever known that this time that we have spent here would have been what our relationship needed! Todd and I have been so happy with each other lately and I think it has everything to do with the fact that we have brought God back as our focal point and made him our number one again. I know personally this experience is teaching me valuable life lessons. Todd and I are learning to be patient. We can't have everything that we want at this very instant. Which Todd and I were very accustomed to having. If we wanted things growing up our parents got them for us! So now we have all these possessions (new house, vacations, new cars, nice clothes, ..... and the list continues) that we can't wait to have but are learning it's ok to not receieve instantly. In God's time we will receive what he sees fit. And we are now at the point that we are longing to see what God has in store for us, because we know it's going to be something great, even if it takes years to obtain.

In October we had a lot on our plate. First off we made a trip to the mountains in North Carolina to visit with Todd's grandparents. We had such a great time and our little baby girl loved it there! We went to the Biltmore House, it was amazing! We toured the winery, had an amazing lunch, and learned how to churn butter. We had a great time visiting and we are looking forward to our trip up next fall.

Then we had Dad's Birthday celebration!

Next we went to our good friends wedding in St. Simmons Island. Brent and Leslie are such great friends and such awesome people. We were so thankful to be part of their special day and we are looking forward to a trip to Atlanta to visit with The Robinson's and their soon-to-be new addition - Addison!

If this wasn't enough excitement for one month, I went with one of my friends Kelli to watch her husband play football for Wake Forest. The trip to Winston Salem was a blast I always have a good time up there and it is truly such a beautiful campus and school. Jeff finished school in December and finished his tenor with the Deacons, but hopefully it won't be the end to #64 and hopefully we'll be watching him on Sundays!

December seemed to fly by just like October. We had something to do every weekend and constantly being on the go makes for a head spinning affect. The first weekend in December we celebrated my beautiful niece Mackenzie's Birthday! Then came mom's birthday. :) The weekend before Christmas we went on a Bachelorette Cruise for my friend Kelli. We cruised to the Bahamas on a Royal Carribean ship and the weekend was nothing short of extraordinary! Filled with many memories!

Our First Christmas 2009
Our Christmas this year was filled with new traditions, goodbye's to a loved one, and spending quality time celebrating Jesus' Birthday with our lovely family. The week of Christmas, Todd's grandmother had a stroke and was fighting to survive. Grandma Wilford ended up passing away after Christmas, but we spent an entire week with all of Todd's 16 Aunt and Uncles. It was truly a blessed time!

 We started a new Christmas Eve sibling poem tradition and it was hilarious. We all drew names out of a hat prior to Christmas, we each got one siblings name and were to write a poem either about the person or about the gift. It got pretty comical! We spent Christmas Eve at my mom's, then woke up and had Christmas lunch at my Dad's. We finished the day at Todd's mom's house eating again with his WHOLE family! It wasn't what we had planned for Christmas, but it was such a special time.

Quixote in her first Christmas sweater!

Family Christmas Portrait 2009

Our New Year started off with a bang! Our sweet little Quixote thought it was a smart idea to chew the barber carpet at my mom's house. Not such a good idea little missy! But it's a good thing MiMi loves her granddog. Yes we refer to my mom by her grandma name when it comes to our dog. What can I say?! January 2nd we threw Kelli & Jeffrey a couple's shower at my mom's house. I was so excited to finally set-up and have the shower!  I spent months planning, collecting, and preparing a special evening for the two soon-to-be Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Griffin! Here are a couple pictures:

For those of you who stuck it out and read this entire post. Thanks! On the bright side I promise I will probably never have this much to share in any other post. And this was the abbreviated version! It's hard to catch everyone up on 8 busy months. Todd and I are excited to blog our journey through life! And we hope you continue to read and enjoy our journey along with us.