Sunday, July 31, 2011

anniversary getaway

We have loved having Richard's Suzanne in town visiting this weekend, but since they are taking in Harry Potter today (which I had little interest in seeing), I had a few minutes to write about Richard and I's fabulous weekend away last weekend. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary on the Chesapeake Bay, both in Cambridge, MD and St. Michael's, MD. We've both had a stressful month at work, so it was great to get away from it all and spend some quality time with each other.

Our trip started with chocolate crossants- my favorite from breakfast every morning on our honeymoon. Richard picked them up, and we loved indulging on our drive.

We went over the Bay Bridge for the first time, which is HUGE. Much bigger than the Charleston bridge, and a little frightening for this girl who doesn't love heights.

Bay Bridge

As we got closer to the our destination, we saw a sign of manna from Heaven....a Sonic!

We don't have any Sonic's in the DC metro area, so we were thrilled to pick up a diet cherry coke for me and a sundae for Richard. It's the little things. Richard said our excitement over a fast food restaurant surely made us rednecks, but we both thoroughly enjoyed our unexpected treats!

Richard found a B and B for us in Cambridge, MD, and it was lovely. The Innkeeper was a former foreign service member, and he and his wife had interesting stories about their time in Latin America. There were speedboat races going on in Cambridge while we were there, which were interesting to watch.

Cambridge House Bed and Breakfast

The "Garden Room"

boats right down the street from the Cambridge House

On Saturday afternoon, we explored Cambridge and the Hyatt Chesapeake resort a few miles from us. We loved the Cambridge House, but the Hyatt would be another fun destination in the future with friends. It's right on the water and has lots of fun amenities.

one of our many self-portraits

cute fountain at the Hyatt- there are crabs everywhere!

Before dinner, we had fancy appetizers and champagne in our room. The innkeeper couldn't locate champagne flutes, so we improvised with margarita glasses.

We had reservations to for dinner at the Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, but before dinner, we got to see dear friends from Columbia, Beth and Mary Hall Montgomery! I met Beth through tennis several years ago, as she was an original member of our Racquettes team. She ended up marrying one of Richard's good friends, Michael Montgomery, who she met when I brought him onto our mixed doubles team. We love Beth and Michael, and Beth happened to be visiting her grandmother, who lives just a few miles from St. Michael's. We got to set-up a visit thanks to Beth's sister Kathryn, who realized we were in the are through Facebook. So fun!

Mary Hall, Beth, me and Richard

After visiting with Beth and her sweet family, we headed over to the Inn at Perry Cabin. The wedding reception in the movie Wedding Crashers was filmed there, and it is absolutely gorgeous. We'd love to go back and stay there too!
Inn at Perry Cabin

this one's a little dark, but the setting was incredible

crab cakes, duck fat fries and rockfish for dinner- delicious!

We had breakfast at the Cambridge House the next morning and went back to St. Michael's for some sight-seeing and shopping.

our anniversary day! breakfast reminded me of breakfast with my bridesmaids at the Inn on Main on my wedding day

our new friend Max, a souvenir from Cuba for the Innkeeper and converted Communist dog

our porch at the Cambridge House

you can see the water in the background

Maritime Museum in St. Michael's- it was HOT!

We sadly said goodbye to the Chesapeake Bay after lunch at the Crab Claw and were excited to get home and try our wedding cake. It tasted like one might expect a year-old wedding cake to taste, but it was so much fun to cut it and re-live our wedding day by watching a DVD of the ceremony. It was a perfect weekend, and a perfect way to celebrate an incredible first year of mariage together.

wedding cake, champagne and presents- cake was still beautiful!

love this man- Happy Anniversary!

Friday, July 22, 2011

if i could write a letter to me...

Tomorrow we will reach the one-year anniversary of our wedding rehearsal evening- the night before our wedding, and the point where I finally felt like everything I'd planned and coordinated over the last 8 months was beginning to come together and could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

I loved walking into the church that Friday night and seeing all of our friends and family and hearing the musicians practicing their gorgeous arrangements. I loved watching the vision of the placement of our beautiful, expansive wedding party take place. I loved playing with my darling flower girls and ring bearer. And I loved reuniting with so many of my favorite people at the rehearsal dinner, dancing to Uncle Ted and his bluegrass band, hearing all the lovely toasts, and seeing the slideshow that consumed so much of my brothers' time (you can re-visit our rehearsal dinner details here).

Having almost arrived to the one-year anniversary of that evening, there are so many things I would tell my almost-married self for reference throughout the year.

  • change your plans and see Richard before the wedding- more time at the reception is worth bucking tradition! And you'll get to speak to more of your guests and not feel so rushed.
  • take back some merlot and buy more prosecco- bubbles are best!
  • have someone designated to take everything from Piedmont Club and the Inn on Main- or you'll still be missing your wedding shoes a still later!
  • soak up every.single.minute of your time in Anguilla- and embrace new friends! They'll just enhance your experience.
  • as hard as it is, don't worry about not working right away. God has got it all under control, and His plan is so much better than yours. There will be plenty of time to work soon enough!
  • don't bother with paying for a Maryland car inspection- you can stay a SC resident since Richard is in the military. And take advantage of shopping at the commissary- it's so much cheaper.
  • be patient with your husband. He is learning and adjusting, just like you, and he is trying his best. Walk away from heated situations and don't try to fix everything with conversation immediately.
  • you will miss SC more than you ever thought- don't be afraid to go home early and often to get your fill. Go visit new babies and your brothers, attend weddings, and love on your family. You won't always have the time to do so.
  • everything in your house will break this year. Everything. But dealing with it is an adventure that will only strengthen your marriage (or just drive you both nuts).
  • modesty will fly out the window, which makes for some really funny moments.
  • take absolute advantage of Richard not being on call or working weekends. it will all end way too soon, and it is hard to share him with the hospital.
  • there's a stand-alone Dairy Queen less than 5 miles from your house, and the closest Chick-Fil-A is in the Montgomery County Mall. Sadly there's no Sonic in a 50 mile radius, and there will be many days when you will crave a diet cherry coke!
  • some of your best nights with Richard will consist of cooking at home and watching a movie on the couch together- and don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen...he's just glad to not be home eating cereal!
  • don't take yourselves too seriously and have fun! Love living with your best friend and love the laughter and sheer joy your new life brings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

take me out to the ball game

Last Thursday, I had the privilege of going to the Nats stadium with some of the best colleagues a girl could ask for to cheer on my boss and the other House Republicans against the Dems in the 50th annual Congressional Baseball game. The Republicans unfortunately got beat pretty bad (8-2 was the final score- see the full recap here), but any night you can eat Ben's Chili Bowl is a good night. Especially sitting in a ball park with gorgeous weather! It was a welcome distraction from all the debt limit discussion, and I look forward to making this an annual tradition.

Richard was a good sport to come out post-call

Speaker Boehner giving the Rs a pep talk- he's in the middle of the huddle

announcing the line-up

delicious dinner

the boss in action- each Member could choose the jersey of a hometown team to wear, and Richard was excited he chose Wofford!

And I was excited to see Rep. Jeff Duncan in the Clemson jersey!

the husband showing his support

love these office-mates! Anna, Mary Anna, me, Robert and Christopher

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

and after 47 days...

We finally have central air conditioning back in our house! Hallelujah! I forgot what a blessing it is to sit in a cool house and not worry about trying to perfectly position a mobile AC unit in the correct path of air flow. So, so thankful to not be hot at home anymore!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fourth of July and our return to reality

July so far has been a whirlwind of work, work and more work, with a little bit of play when we can take a break. Richard has spent more hours at the hospital in the last week than he did at NIH in the last month, and Congress is back in full force after the 4th of July break with no recess in sight until August.

Despite working hard, we've been cooking more at home and enjoying some delicious summer produce. Last weekend we had a fabulous tomato pie and fresh corn on the cob. Yum!

Richard thankfully had the entire 4th of July off, so we celebrated with friends by the pool and another delicious dinner. Our friend Anthony is a Texas native and smoked an incredible beef brisket. Anthony and Ryan are surgery residents with Richard, and I've loved getting to know their wives Alex and Jill (well soon-to-be in Alex's case!).

Anthony and Alex, Jill and Ryan, and Richard and me

Richard has been on call today, but as much as I miss him, I had a great time dancing the morning away in Body Jam, then spending way too much of the day at the outlets in Leesburg, Virginia. I only came away with a very inexpensive top from J Crew, but it was fun to look! There's a Chick-Fil-A on the way out to Leesburg, and I ate lunch there then picked up dinner for Richard on the way home. We had a fancy call room dinner of Five Guys last week, and today, he ate his Chick-Fil-A in the lobby of the INNOVA Heart Center.

After he finished, as he was walking me back towards the exit, he had to stop in and tell a sweet grandmother's family, all gathered in a waiting room, that she wasn't doing too well. While he spoke to them, it was clear, even from a distance, that he was emotionally affected by the toil this lady's illness was taking on her family. She had taked an unexpected turn for the worse, and just as I got home, Richard was part of the team going back to the OR to try and save her life. I am so proud of him for the work he does, but also for the amount of heart he puts into caring for others- that makes him being away so much a little more bearable.

another white coat pic- Chick-Fil-A break

Happy Birthday, Will!

My sweet brother Will turned 24 this past Thursday, which makes this big sister feel ancient! Will is the middle child in our family, and he is a classic middle child- easy going, a natural mediator, sensitive and a friend to everyone. He made the only acceptable college decision and went to Clemson. He now lives in Hoboken, NJ and works for L'Oreal as a packaging engineer on their luxury haircare lines- pureology, matrix biolage, etc- and he's sweet to send his mama and sister all kinds of fun makeup! Before Will moved to NJ, between graduation and finding his job, he lived in Spartanburg and ran COUNTLESS wedding errands before Richard and I's big day. Any brother that's willing to go to Stafford's multiple times to pick up and return china is a good brother indeed. I don't know that we would have gotten everything dome without him!

I am SO proud of both of my baby brothers and miss seeing them on a regular basis. We are so close, and I wouldn't trade them for all the sisters in the world. There are still Friday nights where I feel out of place to cheering Will or Jeff on a Dorman football or basketball game.

So happy (late) birthday, brother bear! I'm coming to see you soon!

family portrait with Will as a baby, pre-Jeff (probably for the church directory), 1987

love, love these boys!

Will and Richard in NYC, late December 2010