The last 24 hours have been full of my favorite things…
1. Burritos. Ben and I had delicious-ness for lunch from our favorite taco joint.
2. Foodie Penpals-I sent my package to Marcia in Florida… Anxiously awaiting the arrival of mine!
3. Farmer Ben in Chef Pants.
4. My siblings.
6. A good run.
7. Summer nights (and bon-fires).
8. Go-go Juice and being on time to work.
8. Sunny days.
10. Writing this blog.
Hope your days have been as blessed as mine. Have a great day!
Warning! This post is going to get a little sappy. And maybe a little obnoxious.
See, I was going to explain why I am having such a good day today…but then I realized that a big part of it was Farmer Ben. There were a few other things (like winning a call-in radio prize!) but the big parts of it are the manfriend. So, be warned.
Reasons Why Farmer Ben Rocks:
- He makes me breakfast. If you’re new here, you probably haven’t figured out that I am absolutely terrible about getting up in the morning. Because of this, some breakfasts leave something to be desired. Yesterday, I had dry cereal and coffee. This morning, FB got up before me and made homemade hash (steak, potato and onion) topped with a fried egg. This is one of my absolute favorite meals in the world. I know, it’s nothing fancy, but it was delicious and he made it. Just because.
- He takes care of things. I received a text this morning saying that my car (Zeke) had had an oil change, new wipers and a full tank of gas. No big deal. He also picks up after me, helps me find my keys and calls my phone when I’ve lost it and drives me to work.
- He remembers things I don’t. Important things, like socks, my rings, sneakers and pens. And when I forgot them, he drops them off to me. No questions asked.
- He let’s me take ridiculous pictures and post them on this blog I write. He also deals with me constantly photographing our dinner,even when he’s starving and just laughs at me.
- He runs with me. And (mostly) enjoys it. This means so much to me.
- He pushes me. To be a better person, to grow in my faith, to run faster, to put my clothes away and to chase my dreams.
- He compliments me. Every day. Just because.
- He’s hilarious. Farmer Ben is ridiculous. And he makes me laugh. Loudly and obnoxiously.
- He holds my hand. Even if we are just driving in the car or standing in line at the farmers’ market, Ben will reach for my hand or put his arm around me… just to remind me that he’s there. And he’s with me. I love this.
- He’s nice to look at. True story.
I was feeling pretty blessed today. God’s given me a pretty amazing hubby.
Thank you, Farmer Ben. I am so blessed to have you as my hubs.
When I last left you, I had just experienced the first openly awkward encounter with one of the family members.
It was in the previously mentioned sea of bubbles that I was blindsided. I was expecting things to be (the closest to) normal with this person…but I was wrong. And it didn’t get better…we had another, and equally awkward, run-in at the reception.
At first I was a little miffed about the weirdness, but after some thought, I realized that it had to be equally as uncomfortable for this group to see me as it was for me to see them… I mean, I was supposed to be a part of the family and then I just… wasn’t…and even worse, I went off and married someone else! So… yeah, it was a weird situation.
Ben and I quickly moved on to a different part of the group and--after a flub-up on a relative’s name and a sideways glance after telling her that Ben was my husband– had a really nice chat with other people I knew. It was while standing in this group that I almost had a heart attack (numero uno).
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar face walking toward us.
“No. No. No. There is NO WAY that he’d come over here. NO WAY! Just… NO,” I thought.
But, he kept coming. Closer and closer. Everything slowed down to the point that I was a living instant replay….
“Nooo-oooo-oooo Waaa-aaaaay,” I screamed inwardly!
And then, standing right in front of me was the ex.
If the ground could have opened up and swallowed me whole, I wouldn’t have minded. As it was, I am pretty sure that my face changed three different colors and my legs almost gave out.
This had to be a joke, or a mirage? Something.
And yet, there he was. Still standing there.
It was the first time that we had seen each other since the day I left Virginia, just over two years ago. Except, this time, I was looking at a stranger.
“Hi! How’s it going?!” He asked, as if we were best friends.
After a pause to collect my thoughts and concentrate on my face not turning purple, I replied, “I’m doing very well, how are you?”
Now, I said in my previous post that I was more worried about seeing the family of the ex than the ex, himself. As I mentioned, we aren’t on bad terms but we also are not friends. We just… aren’t on any terms.
Needless to say, I hadn’t planned on him coming up and acting buddy-buddy. I figured he would do what any reasonable adult would do; ignore my existence unless we ran into each other getting a drink and then politely nod, exchange the obligatory, “nice to see you,” then go back to ignoring me. That’s what a normal person would do. And as much as I hate to admit it, it’s what I had planned on doing.
I should have remembered that nothing I ever plan on actually happens… usually the exact opposite happens.
Instead of moving away from the group I was with, the ex continued to stand there and pry conversation out of me as I skillfully hid the fact that I was having a minor stroke.
I can’t imagine what was going through Ben’s head as he watched his wife, face changing colors, sweating and legs shaking, and her ex-fiance, standing there with a manic smile and equally red face, trying to make small talk. That Farmer Ben is a keeper. If he was nervous, he didn’t show it.
I eventually re-introduced the ex to Ben, proving that I am, in fact, the universal queen of all awkward situations on the planet. Let’s just say, it could have been a lot less weird, but I took care of it.
About 15 seconds after this awful re-introduction I saw another familiar face striding toward me.
“JAY!” I screamed as I practically jumped into his arms. I had never been happier to see my old roommate than I was at that exact second.
After a few more painful minutes, Ben and I headed back toward my car and started driving toward the reception site.
We decided that we both needed a beer.
I had been told by the ex that the reception site-the eagle’s club- had a giant eagle statue in front of it. I realized this was true after I sped past it. Of course I had someone following me, so I was pretty embarrassed when I had to slam on my brakes and pull into the next driveway to turn around. Oops. My bad.
Jay and his girlfriend, Ben and myself and another couple found a table in the middle of the reception hall. This seemed to be the safest place…at least that is what I had planned on, anyway.
We sat and chatted for a few minutes and watched as the rest of the wedding crowd trickled into the room.
The family and wedding party started to find their way into the building.
My heart sank as I watched something happen and knew there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Cue slow motion.
“Nooooo…No….Nooooo… No-ooooo Waaa-aaaay,” my inner warped voice screamed.
It was happening again. As I watched in horror, the ex and his date entered, he made eye contact, glanced hurriedly around the room (or in my mind, slowly around the room) and then made a beeline for a table. But not just any table. The exact table that Ben and I were sitting at.
The two sat down and everyone else at the table collectively stopped talking, exchanged looks of horror and then stared down at their laps. No one knew what to do.
I am pretty sure my face went from its normal pinkish-pale to bright red to paper white and my stomach went from its usual place, down to my butt, up to my throat and back. Twice.
Ben, noting my face color, asked “Are you okay?”
I heard the ex mutter to Jay, “I figured I would dispel some of the awkward-ness now. You know?”
I almost jumped on the table and yelled “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! How is this NOT AWKWARD?!” But I remembered that it wasn’t my day and that I was in a crowded room, so I didn’t. Instead I sat there, exchanged a dumbfounded look with a friend of mine and then got up to get a beer.
After that, the night was pretty calm. There were a few more awkward interactions and I somehow ended up having a really nice conversation with the ex’s date (she was a pretty cool lady, props! ). Go figure.
Ben and I enjoyed a few dances together and Jay, our friend Danielle, and I reminisced about our time in DC.
Everyone at the table enjoyed people watching and the awe that comes with being in such a rural town. I really loved seeing Laura and Ted enjoy their first few hours of wedded bliss. So much happiness.
As much as I hate to say it, I give the ex props for being the bigger adult in this situation… not saying that I would have been rude to him, but I probably would have handled the situation a little differently if the roles were reversed.
In short, I got through the night. Ben got through the night. We did it together. I couldn’t have asked for a better date…or a better husband for that matter.
Upon leaving, I sighed with relief. I knew that I had survived the collision of my past and present. I smiled to myself as I realized once again that I am truly blessed. Every ridiculous crazy things has happened for a reason, even if I have no idea what it is at the time.
We got in the car and drove back toward my sister’s house. The night was over. And I was leaving with my person. Thank God.
A Note from Noelle: I’ve actually had this post written for a couple of weeks now but I’ve been stewing as to whether or not I should post it… In the spirit of being overly honest, here you are!
A few weekends ago my past and present collided. Literally.
As I drove down and across New York State , my hands shook, my hair stood on end and I was sweating. A lot. It was hot, cold and everything in between. I think I put on and took off my hoodie about 37 times during the five-hour trip.
The only thing that kept me driving down the highway at slightly over the speed limit was Ben, offering an affectionate squeeze of my hand or an encouraging smile every few exits.
When we got off highway and made the turn toward my sister’s house, I knew there was no turning back… unless I suddenly came down with a nasty stomach bug… or my car broke down… or something, anything else.
As I tried on the first of the two dresses I brought, Ben smiled at me and my sister told me to wear it. I was fretting about wearing the right thing and not being too dressed up or down. My stomach was doing backflips and I was wondering if it would be too late to quietly back out.
Ben and I had a quick lunch together, consisting of a giant burger and french fries, then we rushed back to my sister’s house to get ready. Time was passing too quickly and before I knew it, I was hurrying Ben out the door and into the car.
I turned back on to the highway and headed west. As I drove, I wondered what I was thinking when I had RSVP’d yes.
It was a trip I’ve made several times but this time it was different. I was with my husband, who’d never traveled this road before and had no idea what to expect.
I was going to place I hadn’t expected to return to, and especially not under these circumstances. I was seeing people I’d never thought I’d see again… at least not on purpose.
We were quite literally traveling straight into my past life. The town where I grew up, with people I used to know, in a time where I didn’t even know who Ben was. As we got off the exit, we passed familiar fields and houses. I had forgotten how long it took to get into town and as we drove, Ben was surprised at how rural it was. The landscape had a few changes, but for the most part, all was the same.
We drove slowly down the street to the address mentioned on the invitation. Of course, I drove by it the first time. As we circled the block, we took in the sights of a small town that hadn’t changed in years.
I parked the car and realized that my hands were shaking, and I am pretty sure my legs were, too. As I opened the door, I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing that I needed to jump off.
Again I wondered, “is it too late to just get back in the car and drive away?”
I looked over at Ben, who simply took my hand, and smiled as we walked toward the church. I’m still amazed about how cool and collected he was compared to me… if the roles were reversed, I wouldn’t have been able to speak, let alone keep encouraging him.
We climbed up the steps and hung a right into the sanctuary. My plan had been to sneak into the back of the church unnoticed, but I had forgotten where we were. Needless to say, it was a small enough church that no one walked in undetected. As I chose a pew in the back, I looked up and saw my ex’s father standing in front of me. Along with an uncle, aunt and some cousins.
At this point, my legs were shaking so badly that I am not quite sure how I made it down the row and returned their “hello’s,” but somehow I did and I introduced them to Ben. My husband. I felt like my stomach was going to leap out of my throat and my hands continued to shake as we finally sat down.
Another Aunt sat down behind us and, realizing it was me, continued to make small talk for the next few minutes. I was cursing my need to arrive at big social events early.
Luckily, another familiar face sat down behind us and I was able to switch conversations. An uncle smiled at me from across the room and mouthed a “nice to see you.”
Perhaps I should explain myself, before you think I’ve completely lost my mind.
My ex’s sister and I are still close. She even attended our wedding. And to be perfectly frank, I was fine with seeing the ex. We aren’t on “good” terms per say but we aren’t on bad terms either…we just…aren’t on any sort of terms. So I knew that we wouldn’t be having any in-depth conversations. I doubted that we would even speak.
I was, however, absolutely positively terrified of seeing the family.
I was not in a good place three years ago when we broke up. I was extremely scared and insecure. Completely uncomfortable in my own skin. I haven’t seen the family since the day the ex and I parted ways and I was unsure what to expect this time. Especially because I would be bringing a date (my husband-who isn’t their son/nephew/cousin) with me.
I’m a very different person than I was back then and my life has changed in so many ways, it’s difficult for me to connect to my old self and seeing this family was going to force me to do so.
They are wonderful people, but I am sure they thought it was a little odd that I was going to the wedding. Most people would have just sent a nice gift. If they did think it was odd, they didn’t let on. All of them were wonderful, and-with the exception of a few sideways glances-everyone exchanged pleasantries and small talk.
I have to admit, I definitely made this a bigger deal than it actually was, but when you go from having people very much a part of your life to… not a part of your life, what can you expect? I had no idea. Neither did Ben.
The ceremony was short and sweet and I have never seen Laura look more beautiful than she did in those moments.
After the ceremony ended, the crowd made their way outside to enclose the bride and groom in a sea of bubbles.
It was in this mass exit that I had the first-and most unexpected-awkward exchange of the evening. I’m going to chalk it up to having too much going on and not being sure how to react in the bubbles, the people and the activity. There was one more sideways glance, but again, it was done with grace and barely detected.
And now…for a short break. Click here for Part Two.
Last week was rough. There’s really no other way to describe it.
Without getting into too much detail, I had way too many things going on…and I missed an important appointment because I didn’t double-check my dates (BUT, I was able to reschedule!).
Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who helps me out in any way he can. Last week it was doing laundry, getting up with me at 5:30 in the morning and driving 40 minutes–each way– to pick someone up before I went to work, making breakfast and lunch, and listening to me have a mini-meltdown midweek. No big deal.
Somehow, we made it through the week and Saturday morning, we were out of bed bright and early to drive down to the social event I’ve been mentioning for the last month or so.
This weekend, Ben and I attended a wedding. The wedding of my friend Laura… or my ex would-have-been-sister-in-law. She’s a pretty amazing lady and we are still close. Driving down Saturday morning my feelings were swinging between “This is going to be totally fine. It’s not a big deal.” and “What the heck was I thinking?! I am so nervous that I am going to drive off the road!”
The reality of the event was somewhere in between. I’ll share more in my next post…but for now, I need to share some positivity!
So, here is a short list of things that made my weekend (and life in general) pretty amazing:
1. My hubs. This man makes my life a lot more interesting. Each and every day. Not to mention, he’s pretty handsome.
2. Wearing a dress that I haven’t worn in a long time and finding out that it still looks pretty good. It’s an awesome feeling, and nice to know that hard work does pay off.
3. Local Produce. I love going to farm stands, co-ops and farmers’ markets and knowing that I am supporting my local economy… not to mention, it just tastes better. This weekend, my sister, Ben and I visited Turks, a small farm and flower market in Horseheads, NY.
5. Fresh Ingredients. Simple Food. Delicious-ness. Here are some shots of our Sunday lunch. Thrown together in about thirty minutes after a quick trip to Turks and Wegmans for supplies.
6. Potato Salad. Especially when it’s not drenched in Mayo…Recipe for this particular salad is coming soon!
7. Late summer nights. Particularly when paired with a glass of wine in hand, hummus at my fingertips and ridiculous conversation. Bonus points for a bonfire.
What are some things that make you ridiculously happy?
As I said, stay tuned. More to come!
Last night was my final night at my part-time job. I’ll be starting my normal summer gig next week. In all honesty, it was bittersweet. I am looking forward to having some time off (only working 40 hours) before I begin another crazy-but familiar-schedule…and I am glad for a change of scenery…but I’ll miss the people and I feel bad for leaving them.
It’s funny how we can be so conflicted about changes in our lives, whether they be big or small: “It’s great except for this part…” or “I want this to happen but not if that goes along with it…” or even, “I need to do such-and-such a thing, but I can’t because of X, Y and Z.”
We put these conditions on our happiness when we should just …be happy, roll with the punches and embrace the adventures that come our way. Yes, it can be scary, but it’s living! God did not intend for us to be stuck in the same place, doing the same thing and being afraid and unhappy. He wants us to live, to love and to grow… while having some fun.
If you fall flat on your face, it’s to prove that you can pick yourself up, you can bounce back and do better, still.
As I’ve gotten older, I admit, I’m a bit more cautious and I have my moments of doubt. But I still embrace change. The last three years have brought a multitude of changes-both good and bad-and I’m in a place I never imagined. But I’ve never been happier. And I’ve never felt more open to possibilities.
I was cleaning out my inbox yesterday and stumbled across messages I’d written from 2007. It’s crazy to see written proof of how different I am, to see how my state of mind and my priorities are so different… and yet, I’m still me. I can still see that 19-year-old girl…
And here I am in 2012, itching for something new, wanting something different and looking forward.
Time for a change….
I remember my first date. It was the summer of 2001…I was 13, super awkward and had told the older boy I was hanging out with that I was 16. No big deal. His name was Matt and I had met him ice skating with my friend Fauna (Side note: I miss those days!) back in January. I had been stalking him at the rink and via AIM and we had even instant messaged each other a few times (Holy cow, this makes me feel so old!)! I found him so dreamy…
Anyway, it was now August and we had decided to “hang out” in real life! We went to a block party in the town where he lived. Again, I was super nervous and worried that he wouldn’t like me-or worse! That he would discover my real age… We ended up going and walking along the river, where he gave me my first kiss. I could have fainted. It was magical…until he tried to put his hand up my shirt. Because I was still an awkward 13-year-old pretending to be a cool 16-year-old, I just brushed his hand away…In later years, I would have slapped him. Boys, take note, don’t get grabby on the first date! Not classy!
Sadly, things with Matt didn’t last (we remained AIM buddies)… A few months later I met Marc, who would become my mostly on-again boyfriend for the next 7 1/2 years. Our first date was in December of that same year. It was still awkward but had a better first kiss… After all, I was 14 and had so much more experience (I was a bit delusional as a teen).
Looking back, I realize that I was NOT ready to date. But no one could have told me this at the time.
First dates-and first kisses- in my later (and off-again) years were a bit better, but there was always that awkwardness…and more fighting off unwanted advances. I was not impressed and I was not that kind of girl. I’m sure everyone has similar stories…
Fast Forward to January 2010. I was living in Arlington, VA as a totally together single gal but was talking to a guy from home. Ben and I had known each other for a long time through mutual friends but it wasn’t until now that we were really getting to know each other. We had been talking daily for about a month, but hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving. I happened to be going home for a few days to visit my mom and he asked me for a date. A date? Here I was again, so nervous I could puke!
This date was different from the get-go. First off, I got ready at Vanessa’s house and he came to pick me up. I was expecting to just run out when he got there, but he actually came into the house, and opened every door for me. Not that I’m complaining, but this was something new. We went to the local pub for drinks. After sitting down in a quiet booth, we just sort of stared at each other. I was clutching my glass so hard I thought it would break…I couldn’t find a topic of conversation to stick with. We bounced back and forth from the weather, life in DC, the drive up, traffic, our friends and then just… unsure silence.
“Oh no,” I thought, “this is NOT going well…what should I do?!”
So I did what any normal girl would do…I started to tell embarrassing childhood stories. Ben, by nature is a pretty quiet guy. This made me more nervous, causing me to tell more embarrassing stories. Most of these stories involved vomit, more specifically, me throwing up at inopportune times; projectile vomit down a long table full of my fellow classmates in the library during a story time, puking while sitting in a circle during show and tell, driving down the road in the family (two door) Ford Festiva and being trapped in the back, singing in church on Easter Sunday, singing in church on Christmas Eve, during a presentation…
Yup, I went through my entire childhood collection of barf stories…I couldn’t help myself. When I find myself in an uncomfortable situation, I let out all of my verbal vomit. I just keep talking until I talk myself into a comfortable subject…on this night, that subject was barf. So romantic. But overall we had a great time and a lot of laughs.
I was feeling pretty tired (running on about 3 hours of sleep), so we decided to go to his house and watch a movie that we had been talking about. I made it through the first half hour and started falling asleep. Ben, being Ben, let me sleep.
At about 3:30 am I decided that it was time to go..unfortunately I didn’t have my car. Taking it in stride, Ben bundled up and went out in the bitter January night to drive me back to Vanessa’s. He then got out of his car and walked me to the door. Again, this was new.
The door. It was absolutely freezing outside, but it didn’t distract me from how nervous I felt. We stood there, kicking at the snow and glancing around nervously. Finally we locked eyes and just looked at each other for a moment.
Then he smiled at me and said, “Goodnight, Noelle.” And walked away.
I stood there for a moment, completely dumbfounded. This had not happened before and I wasn’t sure what to think.
I hurried into Vanessa’s house, trying to be quiet as it was past 4 am. This was pointless as Vanessa and Tina were both still awake. We finally got to bed about an hour later.
I woke up at about 8:30 that morning, a message from Ben waiting for me. It said, “would it be selfish of me to ask to see you again?” He came over that morning before he headed to work. We saw each other that night-I guess you could call it a second date…and when he finally kissed me, it was perfect.
I remember driving home with a big smile on my face, thinking how crazy this was. But it was crazy enough that it just may work.
I am hoping that everyone’s week is going well… it’s been kind of rough for me. This weekend, I literally shopped til I dropped, almost fainting in TJ Maxx-and to think, I didn’t even get up early for Black Friday deals-I was more embarrassed than anything else… Then I spent all of Saturday cleaning and organizing our little home…only to find a leak in our ceiling.
The work week has been a long one and I am starting to think that Wednesday will get the best of me. At the moment I am trying not to drool/lisp, as I just left the dentist and I am having a heck of a hair day…but I refuse to let the little stuff get the best of me.
I realize that I am extremely blessed. This weekend, I am looking forward to a long overdue family visit-my aunt is coming up from Georgia and she is finally meeting Ben!-and decorating for Christmas. I am also lucky to have my wonderful hubs.
Now, I really hate it when people get excessively cutesy and gushy about their significant others. I find it irritating… nauseating, you get the idea.. That being said, I do it. A lot. So be warned, I am about to tell a story that may cause you to throw up in your mouth…just a little.
Ben is pretty fantastic. I don’t think anyone has ever made me laugh as hard as he does on an almost daily basis. But he’s also serious when necessary and takes extra care to let me know that he supports me in…whatever. He can drive me crazy, but for the most part he is a great husband and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, thank God.
Last Sunday we were getting ready for church, and per usual I had a horrible time getting out of bed. As a result, I was running late…which caused me to be extremely grumpy. I was in the shower and, as usual, had to fight with the faucet for a comfortable temperature, perpetuating the cycle of grumpiness. Ben was brushing his teeth and shaving, and then he slipped out to finish getting ready.
As I was drying off, wondering how late we would be, I happened to look up and saw something that drove the grumpy completely out of me. There, on the bathroom mirror, written in the fog and steam was a note. It was so simple, but it was perfect. All it said was “I love you, Noelle.”
Needless to say, it brought an immediate smile to my face. I know, it’s corny. In my 24 years, I have never had someone write me a message on the bathroom mirror, especially not something as poetic as this. Granted, within an hour after writing this mini-love note, Ben was laughing hysterically at me for tripping over something, but it’s the thought that counts. Those four words brightened my day and have kept me going through the week.
Close friends lost their grandmother last night and they are hurting. Not that it makes it any easier, but she lived a long life and I know that she was so loved by her family. I want to use this post as a reminder to tell your family, you friends and your person that you love them. Even if it’s just saying it while sitting on the couch, an afternoon text message, a simple note or corny message on the bathroom mirror. Just tell them, “I love you!”
You never know how much it will brighten their day, or make them smile while struggling with a frustrating day at work…or life in general.