five years later

Once again, I flew off the radar! No, it hasn't been quite five years since I blogged last, but having a baby in February + several very demanding (incredible!) full-scale planning events have put this on the backburner. We all need grace, and this is certainly one of those areas I need it in! (Priorities > blogging)

But five years! Five years ago, I was getting my nails painted and dashing off to pick up last-minute wedding props and showing up late to my own rehearsal and panickedly calling my wedding venue owner because Drew left his late mother's diamond engagement ring on a table before another big event that was happening after we rehearsed. Tomorrow will be our fifth wedding anniversary (and no, I sadly haven't picked out a wooden gift for Drew... we definitely fail on the whole gift-giving thing at this time of year). 

Five years have seen us survive the CPA exam, two pregnancies and subsequent chunky babies, buy a house, start a business, get a couple of unfortunate diagnoses, drink a lot of wine, and eat a lot of Mexican food. We've been out of the country twice, to Charleston countless times, moved twice, and celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving at the beach a LOT.

We gained and lost 60-something pounds between the two of us over five years. We stopped eating bread for the most part and discovered a legitimately good $5 sparkling wine (Trader Joe's Secco -- you're welcome.). We've painted walls and a deck, assembled a lot of furniture (and an insanely complicated play kitchen), hung and rewired a chandelier, planted and killed a ton of basil, and swept a lot of floors.

We bought two new cars, sold the damn Jeep, adopted a second cat, and talked endlessly about our imaginary poodle Lulu (who will one day be my diabetic alert dog). We've laughed, cried, dreamed, prayed, fought, and spent way too much money on a couch our cat destroyed in about a week. We made it through yoga teacher training, a four-month stint working in Knoxville, high-risk pregnancies, an ant infestation, and nearly getting scammed by some dude in Africa pretending to rent us a house in Franklin.

We've been to funerals and weddings, held friends' babies at hospitals, thrown showers, and shared a lot of dinners with friends. Drew met his best friend who happens to be marrying my college roommate / friend from and for forever, who we happened to name our second baby after. I met my estranged grandmother, and my daughters met all three of their living great-grandmothers. I birthed a baby the same exact day as my best friend (both girls).

We've learned countless lessons over the course of five years:  to not make assumptions in business, to turn on water and electricity and gas when you move into a new house, that a relaxing vacation usually means we're coming back to something challenging, to make friends with neighbors, to always have a spare key, that investing in the kingdom of God always has great ROI, to fail to plan is to plan to fail, how much our parents actually love us, to forge our own paths, that we're awfully resilient, the value in persistence and loyalty, and that baby mole our cat chased into our kitchen is actually a shrew. We've made a lot of guacamole (AKA avocado + garlic + pink sea salt), a lot of french press coffee, and finally bought a crockpot. 

We've become totally different people than we were five years ago (particularly when I was handed a brand new brain in 2015 upon Lilly's arrival into the world), but I like us so much more now. We are abundantly wealthy, with medical insurance and running water and HVAC and working cars and shelter and clothes and groceries, more than we could ever want or need and family nearby. 

We have been blessed beyond measure these last five years. I can't imagine what could top this in 5 more, but I'm willing to stick around and see what happens, to say the least.

Happy anniversary, Drew!

anniversary time:: another list of do-over's!

Every year as I approach my husband's and my wedding anniversary, we get a little older and wiser and look back with retrospect at how we did our wedding, and what we might do differently had we gotten married later. Of course, I would've killed Drew had he not proposed until we'd been dating 8 or 9 years, but this is hypothetical anyways. And also I totally understand that this is coming from a place of having had our wedding exactly as it was (so maybe if we HAD eloped and only had 20 guests, I'd be sitting here writing about the huge Southern wedding we wished we could've had... the grass is always greener on the other side).

{See what we would've done differently one year out here!}

Without further ado, here are the things I think four years out, we might have done differently:

Pay more attention in writing invitations. Include everyone's names on envelopes. Cut down the guest list but communicate clearly to avoid hurt feelings later on.

Smaller bridal party and guest list, probably. As you get older you pare down those you're closest to!

Keep up with thank you notes!!! Better system for tracking, follow up where needed. (I'm still getting flack about screwing these up. Brides, take heed and get organized in this arena!)

Try the pistachio cake!!! Juanita doesn't make it anymore. :(

Pay for a bigger cake.

Opt for a smaller bachelorette party group, and go on a little weekend excursion to a beach city away (like NOLA or Charleston or Savannah).

Hot glue the cake topper to its base, since Ken kept falling off. 

More classic bridesmaid shoes and accessories. I wanted to go whimsical and I did, but I now look back and think what?? Some pretty pink teardrop earrings would've gone with my emerald ones and looked lovely. And an almond-toed leather shoe in a similar hue would have looked a little more timeless than the rounded suede pink pumps I had them wear. But it was just the style then!

Wear Clean Feel bug spray (non-greasy! unscented! my favorite!) to avoid those millions of mosquito bites.

Start the wedding a hour earlier, add on extra hour of dancing. Attend cocktails and serve a simple dinner. I did love our cake and coffee reception but we were starving and I'm sure guests were too!

Not feel bad asserting boundaries and cutting off people who chatted us up too long.

Maybe nix the ice cream bar, since it melted anyways in the 95-degree heat!

Ante up the cash to provide ample champagne for guests. We didn't need to serve a full bar (that's not really our style), but we needed way more champ than we had.

Provide hair stylist for bridesmaids. We did fine without it, but it would've been nice to pamper everyone.

More classic song selections. I've mentioned this before, but I was really trying to be clever with Pour Some Sugar On Me for our cake cutting...

Walk slower down the aisle. I dragged my dad at lightspeed... 

Cut my dad's jacket stays.

Not set an alarm the morning after the wedding. We had all day to sleep in and catch up on rest, but instead we woke up too early and were bored out of our minds all day.

Put more thought into the letters we wrote one another.

Store a nice bottle of champ that ages well in our wine box. 

Opt for a looser style updo and darker lips. Maybe do a lighter nail color. 

Thank my vendor team in my speech.

Do different favors and nicer escort cards and table numbers.

Finalize seating chart the week of/before the wedding and tell people no when they tried to RSVP late.

Pare down our photo list so the things that were most important got captured. Like the punch bowl.

Label items better, have fewer knickknacks for planner to keep up with.

Opt for nicer champagne. Get a bottle of Veuve for me & Drew.

Maybe buy the more expensive wedding dress. I still think about it.

Put more thought into comprising our ceremony script. Change the verses to more meaningful ones.

Dance with my dad to the song he actually requested.

Do a post-wedding brunch to see everyone before they departed.

Cut our honeymoon down to 6 days, 5 nights in Riviera Maya, and not go to Cozumel afterwards.

In all honesty, if we redid our wedding older and wiser, we'd probably elope to some destination beach, only invite absolute closest friends and family, and spoil the heck out of them. We were so concerned with trying to include everyone that we didn't even get to see 1/3 of the guests that came. We didn't have any semblance of an unlimited budget so this would've allowed us to "do right" for a few guests rather than scrape by for everyone (and still piss people off because that's inevitable). We could've sent announcements after the fact so no one felt pressured to give us a gift but could still be in the loop. That would've saved the headache of keeping up with so many table assignments / thank you cards / last-minute RSVPs / getting to talk to everyone. We probably would've been a little sad to not include everyone but I think it would've been worth it. Ah well!!!

Photo credits: Kelsey & Jon Bufkin and Kristine Neeley.

happy anniversary!!!

To the man who surpasses my dreams, whom I adore so so very much, happy second anniversary! The past two years have flown by. I can only begin to imagine what adventures lie before us in year three... here's to many more happy years of hosting parties, snuggling cats, being on the beach or near a body of water as much as humanly possible, cooking and eating insanely delicious Mexican food, being on each other's team all the time, taking too many vacations, and enjoying all the little things just as much as the big. You're my favorite and my only and I couldn't do life without you.

mr and mrs andrew.jpg

Love you,

Mrs. Andrew Dellinger

standing still

Why is it that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not do anything?

I think I must have an addiction to adrenaline or something. I definitely am a bit on the thrill-seeking side (while still playing it reasonably safe -- I hate to swing too high on the playground, for example). I always like to be thinking ahead of the game. What can I do next? What is my next big "thing"? What should I be focusing on, working towards? They say if you don't know what you're working towards you won't go anywhere. Or worse - you'll go somewhere you don't want to end up.

Somehow, though, God's message to me -- subtly and not-so-subtly -- has been to stand still for a hot second. To not be worrying about the next big styled shoot. To not be worrying about 2015. To not be planning our future family or our future house or our future move.

It's hard for a planner to stop planning.

I love to jump from one big thing to the next. START A BUSINESS! BECOME A YOGA TEACHER! GET AN OFFICE! PLAN A TON OF WEDDINGS! MOVE TO A NEW CITY! (I still want that one...)

But perhaps that isn't God's plan for me right this second. Right this minute. Right this week, this day. This Tuesday morning. Maybe He does want me to move along the same timeline I want to impose upon my own life... but maybe He doesn't.

We talk in yoga about how attachment breeds suffering. Attach yourself to an expectation and you can be pretty sure there's a good likelihood that you'll be disappointed by the reality in comparison with said expectation. Part of the problem with my so-very-forward-focused-thinking is that I get very attached to my expectation of how everything will turn out. My timeline. My method for getting there. Add that mentality to a marriage of TWO, not ONE, people, and you get a very selfish and unhealthily-attached attitude where everyone suffers. It's a lot like how impatient I was with getting engaged and married. I wanted Drew to propose to me August 21st, 2011. I came up with a whole list of reasons in my head why that date was the perfect date, how he should pop the question, and how we should plan the wedding henceforth. When he didn't propose August 21st, I got disappointed. And then every day following that, I pretty much convinced myself that THAT was the day it should happen. I essentially planned a million ways for Drew to propose to me rather than just letting him do it himself, which was ultimately what I REALLY wanted. It caused a lot of strife that whole season because I would fight and resist his plans, since I had this stupid idea that mine were better. Then when he finally proposed (on November 10th) I was unbelievably shocked and happy and couldn't have asked for anything better. Silly me.

History repeats itself in big and small ways. Now, as you get older and more experienced, you (I) should LEARN from your (my) shortcomings rather than suffer in the same way time and time again. Hold on loosely to things of this world. Find the right balance between surrender and effort. Let go of things that do not serve us in this exact moment we are living in. All we have is what is right in front of us.

So I shall be still for this season. Patiently (key word!) waiting for God's next nudge in the right direction, His right direction. Patiently trusting in His timing, that He will not steer me the wrong way or allow me to "miss out" on His plans for me.

In the meantime? I'll be planning something special for our anniversary which is coming up in less than two weeks:) I foresee scrumptious cake and a viewing of our wedding film in our immediate future...

one of our engagement photos by the fab  Brett Price

one of our engagement photos by the fab Brett Price

[PS: I sent my rings off to be rhodium-dipped in time for our 2-year anni mark and my ring finger feels absolutely naked and insecure now. I'm happy that I have a significant tan line on my ring finger, at least. I wanted one of those so badly before we got engaged. I'd wear fake wedding bands to the beach to pretend, so that I could have something semi-permanent on that finger. It never really worked since the bands weren't very big and I didn't wear them every day of my life like I have with my legitimate wedding rings. Sometimes you just can't beat the real thing. Maybe all the times. :) ]