Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another wedding update

Days into engagement: 213

Days until wedding: 76

Since my last update, we've accomplished the following:
  • sent in the florist contract and paid our deposit
  • scheduled our engagement photo session -- September 29!
  • bought a dress for my bachelorette party
  • worked with a local calligrapher to design monograms for our wedding suite and decide how our envelopes will be addressed
  • finalized the design and wording of our invitations, insert cards, RSVP cards, and thank you notes -- They're BEAUTIFUL! I can't wait for our guests to receive them in the mail :)
  • planned the rehearsal dinner menu and schedule
  • had our wedding announcement run in the September issue of Inside Columbia
  • started receiving wedding shower gifts
  • shopped for and bought our wedding bands!
  • ordered and received my "Mrs. Randolph" hanger :)
  • decided on decor for our ceremony
  • bought my under-the-dress essentials and my wedding shoes
  • finalized tux decisions for Tom, the groomsmen, and our dads
  • bought earrings for the bridesmaids
  • received a tentative wedding day schedule from our photographer
  • threw around a million different ideas for our wedding day -- a private dance, rituals and readings for our ceremony, photo ideas, etc.
According to my planning checklist on TheKnot.com, I have 100 more things to accomplish before Tom and I say "I do." There's still so much left to do, but I'm so excited. I can't wait to marry my best friend :)

    Wednesday, August 14, 2013

    Wedding update

    Days into engagement: 181

    Days until the wedding: 108

    Since I last posted, we've accomplished the following:
    • finalized our cocktail hour and reception menus
    • picked up my wedding dress, veil, and an accessory (!!!!)
    • met with a florist and chose (potential) flowers for all aspects of our wedding
    • tasted and decided on a cake (still have to choose how it will look, though)
    • booked a DJ for our ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception
    • BOOKED A PHOTOGRAPHER!!!!!
    • planned my bridal shower (well, my MOH did this :))
    • decided how our reception tables will look (how our napkins will be folded, what our table numbers will look like, etc.)
    • worked out various details with our venue (where place cards/a gift table/the guest book will go, how the room will be set up, etc.)
    • decided on our wedding favors
    • met with a local calligrapher to talk about options for making our invitation envelopes pretty
    • picked the date of Fiance's bachelor party
    • submitted a wedding announcement to a local publication
    • changed our wedding colors (surprise!)
    • booked a rehearsal dinner site (Fiance's parents took care of this)
    • reserved space at our venue for our wedding rehearsal
    • decided we're going to do a first look
    • sent in the contract and deposit for our officiant
    Almost all of the big things for our wedding are done! Basically, all that's left to figure out are the little details that I choose to care about. It's been stressful trying to get everything done, but luckily I have an amazing support system of family, bridesmaids, and friends to help me out. And I couldn't do anything without Fiance. His forehead kisses, reassurance that I can't mess anything up, and his hand on my back guiding me through everything are the perfect reminders of why all of this is so worth it.

    In other news, I miss writing. I'm looking forward to having more time to devote to this beloved blog of mine in the near(ish) future.

    Wednesday, June 26, 2013

    Wedding update: What we've accomplished so far

    Days into engagement: 132

    Things we've accomplished:
    • picked a wedding date
    • selected a venue for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception (Doing everything in one place makes planning much easier.)
    • nailed down a caterer (Killed this second bird with the same stone by having the reception at a hotel.)
    • tried on, purchased, and ordered my dress (It was the third one I tried on, I totally had the moment, and I LOVE it!)
    • took unofficial engagement photos (I love having talented friends.)
    • ordered, reordered, and sent out save the dates
    • registered for gifts at a few stores
    • chose the bridesmaids' dresses (It was the third style my lovely bridesmaid, Lindsay, tried on!)
    • booked a block of rooms for out of towners (Again, that hotel thing can't be beat.)
    • finalized where we'll stay the night before and the night of the wedding
    • created our wedding website
    • handed off my bridal shower and bachelorette party lists to my wonderful MOH
    • contacted about a million photographers (Choosing one will be the next step.)
    • was notified by my MOH that the dates of my shower and bachelorette party have been set
    • scheduled our tasting
    According to my wedding planning checklist on the The Knot, only 142 things -- and 157 days -- to go! I'm excited, stressed, happy, nervous (and maybe slightly crazy) all at once.

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    We have a date and a place!

    It's official! After touring 12 (yes, twelve) potential wedding venues in Columbia, Jefferson City, and St. Louis, surviving a tornado, and having my parents come to town and revisit our favorites with us, we have chosen where and when we'll be tying the knot.

    Drum roll, please...

    We're getting married on November 30, 2013 in a beautiful hotel in St. Louis!!!

    And that 3 on the end of 2013 is no typo. Our wedding is just under 6 months from now! Although some people look at me like I'm crazy and ask me why I'd inflict this stress upon myself when I tell them our wedding date, I'm not worried. Like, not at all. Six months is plenty of time to plan our wedding, especially considering that by nailing down our date and venue, we know where and when our wedding ceremony and reception will be, where our out-of-town guests will stay, who will cater our food, who will make our cake, who our wedding coordinator will be, and probably a few other things that I'm forgetting at the moment. So, no, I'm not worried, and yes, I couldn't be more excited that Tom and I know the date we'll be celebrating our anniversary every year in the future :)

    What's next? Well, a lot of things. We've already asked our bridal party to stand by our sides. We've already met with one store about tux rentals, and we have an appointment at another store tomorrow evening to compare. My mom is flying up in two weeks to go dress shopping with me (sooo excited and a little bit nervous, too). We'll be placing the order for our save the dates this evening (using these photos taken by my talented friend and coworker Danielle Rodabaugh). We've registered for gifts. Our website is close to being finished. We're working with another talented friend on our wedding stationary design. Tom's parents are getting started on the rehearsal dinner. I'm busy researching florists, photographers, and DJs in the St. Louis area (SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!...for anything really...hair and make up, transportation services, you name it). Of course, there are a million little details to handle, but things are really starting to come together, and we really couldn't be happier!

    I can't wait to marry Tom, and I'm so happy I don't have to wait long. November will be here before we know it!

    A here's a horrible-quality-but-we're-so-happy-we-set-a-date picture.

    Monday, April 29, 2013

    More venue tours

    We've made a little progress since I last posted about planning our wedding; we've decided to tie the knot in St. Louis! Why? Because we'll have lots more options than we will in Columbia, and it'll be easier for everyone coming in from out of town to celebrate with us.

    Last Wednesday, April 24, Tom and I spent the day in St. Louis checking out four wedding venues: Moulin, Third Degree Glass Factory, Lumen, and the St. Louis Airport Marriott. Our feelings about them spanned the spectrum; we loved one, liked one, didn't like one, and felt indifferent about one.

    Touring venues has started to make this all feel real. In fact, I had an emotional moment after touring the venue we loved and realizing that we might be able to get married this fall rather than next spring (like we wanted all along). I actually got teary-eyed just thinking about how everything could fall into place! People say you cry when you find THE dress, but what about THE venue/date? We haven't booked anything yet, but maybe it's a sign...

    We have a few more tours lined up in St. Louis over the next few weeks. Then, my dad and stepmom will fly in from Dallas for Memorial Day weekend to help us choose the location and sign the paperwork. In less than one month, we'll know when and where we're getting married!

    In the meantime, we've been trying to narrow down our guest list, and I've been picturing some of the fun details of our wedding, such as what our decor will look like and what the bridesmaids will wear. I can't wait to get to the fun details of our big day :)

    Stay tuned!

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    The first steps of planning our wedding

    We've already been engaged for a month and a half! I can't believe it. And, no, I haven't stopped staring at my finger or getting giddy when I catch a glimpse of my ring at a particularly sparkly angle. And the word "fiance" still sounds weird rolling off my tongue :)

    Instead of taking the advice of my friends, I jumped into planning mode about 2 days after Tom popped the big question. For us, the first thing we needed to figure out was where the heck we're going to tie the knot! With my immediate family in Texas and Tom's immediate family in St. Louis, we had a few decisions to make. Additionally, we needed to take into account all of our friends and family who will be traveling for our big day. We figured out that we'll (hopefully) be welcoming wedding guests from New York, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, California, Texas, and maybe a few other places. Although we weighed all of our options -- including traveling somewhere fabulous for a destination wedding -- we decided to get married right here in good 'ol Columbia, MO. Why? Because this is where we met, fell in love, and now call home...and it's a fairly central location for everyone!

    At this point, we've checked out four venues here in town (well, one's in Jefferson City about 30 minutes away): La Maison, Museao, Columbia Country Club, and Stephens College's Kimball Ballroom. Without naming names, we liked three (each had its own respective list of pros and cons) and hated one (the space isn't right for our wedding, but the service was AWFUL). Throughout the touring process, we've been gathering ideas about what we like and what we don't like, but it's safe to say that we haven't found our wedding location yet. Still, we're early in the process, and I'm doing research every night to find new places to visit. I also think we're realizing that there's a good chance we're not going to find the place here in Columbia. And that's okay. I've started researching ceremony and reception venues in St. Louis just in case.

    Once we find a few venues we love, my dad will fly up and help us sign all of the paperwork, and we'll be able to nail down our wedding date! At this point, we're hoping for April 2014 :)

    Even though we don't have a date or venue yet, we did meet with a photographer here in town. Her photos are beautiful, and we love the packages she offers, so we hope she'll still be available once we book our venue. To better our chances, I'm not giving out her name quite yet. If we get married here in Columbia or in St. Louis, stay tuned!

    Other than checking out venues and meeting with the photographer, we've been busy putting together our guest list and figuring out what's important to us to include in our wedding day. We're currently having a little trouble finding a suitable wedding officiant, but we're working on it. I've also been spending a lot of time building up my wedding Pinterest boards, which I think has both helped and hurt. Yes, I'm getting a good idea of how I want our wedding to look, but I'm afraid I'm getting my hopes up for things that just aren't time and cost efficient and, ultimately, won't end up being a part of our big day.

    For that reason and a few others, I'm currently pretty stressed out about the whole planning process. So, last night I decided to take a step back and take a few weeks off from planning. I'm going to read this book, which was given to me by a friend, and do what I should have done a month and a half ago: spend a little time enjoying my fiance and basking in the fact that he wants me to be his wife!

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    23

    To be honest, I wasn't excited about turning 23. I can't exactly put my finger on why, but it's probably something to do with the fact that 23 is almost 25 and so on and so forth...

    Regardless, I was excited to celebrate my birthday with friends, and that's exactly what I did!

    My birthday was on Sunday, March 10, but I knew it would be easier to celebrate on Saturday night. On Friday night, Tom and I went to dinner at a new sushi place with some new friends of ours. Good conversation, yummy sushi, and strong cocktails was a great way to kick off my birthday weekend!

    On Saturday morning, I woke up early to go to Pure Barre, and then Tom and I went to check out our first potential wedding venue! More on that later :)

    That afternoon, my friend Lindsay arrived from St. Louis. We hadn't seen each other since December, and I'm so happy she made the trip to celebrate my birthday! We spent a little while hanging out before it was time to get ready for dinner.

    Since I'm a little overwhelmed with the thought of planning a wedding, I didn't want to go crazy planning my birthday party. Instead, I wanted a relaxed, leisurely evening with friends, so that's what we did! Tom, Lindsay, and I headed downtown to Broadway Brewery where we met up with Monica (Tom's cousin that I absolutely love) and our friends Harrison, Alex, Emily, Cameron, Jill, and Dillon. There was an hour-long wait for dinner, so we all walked over to Top Ten Wines for a glass of wine while we waited.

    Dinner was delicious, and the whole evening was so fun! Emily and I are birthday twins, so it was awesome to be able to celebrate together. I'm so lucky to have such great friends who all enjoy each other's company :)
    After dinner, Lindsay, Monica, Tom, and I all went back to our apartment and hung out and played with Jibboom. It was pretty late by the time Monica left, so we called it a night soon after.

    Tom had originally planned to take me to brunch on Sunday (my actual birthday) morning, but we both woke up completely exhausted. I'm sure the weather -- it was dreary and poured all day -- didn't help, so we decided to pass on brunch and sleep in. It was PERFECT! It seems like there's always something going on on weekends, and I can't remember the last time I got to truly sleep in. My birthday was already off to a good start :)

    Since Lindsay was in town, I thought it would be fun to have her try a Pure Barre class. We went to an early afternoon class and then went to a local Mexican restaurant for a late lunch and birthday margarita. We probably undid everything we accomplished during Pure Barre, but it was my birthday. I'm allowed to indulge a little ;)
    After lunch, Lindsay left to go back to St. Louis, and Tom and I spent the afternoon just hanging out. It was still raining, so it was nice to lay low for the day. Around 8 pm, Tom and I headed downtown to get ice cream. We went to Sparky's, which is known for its unusual flavors. I got green tea and cream soda, which were both delicious!
    On Monday morning, my awesome coworkers brought in an adorable flower arrangement for my birthday! Since they know I'm trying to be gluten free (more on that later, as well), they thought the flowers would be a good alternative to cupcakes :)
    All in all, I had a great birthday!!! 23 might not be so bad after all :)

    Just for fun, let's revisit my 23 before 23 list. Over the past year, I managed to accomplish the following things:
    22 was a big year for me -- Tom and I moved in together, we got adopted Jibboom, and we got engaged!!! Pretty good for one year!

    I don't think I'm going to make a 24 before 24 list. Why? Because I want to focus on being the best version of myself, and I'm so happy with my life right now. I have the best fiance, family, friends, and dog I could ever imagine. I like my job. I'm taking care of myself. I'm happy :)

    Here's to 23 being the best year yet!

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    February 14, 2013

    I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's Day! Mine was certainly happy. Why? Because Boyfriend PROPOSED!!! That's right, Boyfriend will now lovingly be referred to as Fiance :)

    First, a little back story: Our first date was on Valentine's Day way back in 2009. Yes, that means we were dating before we went on our first date, but it worked for us. This date consisted of us walking to the restaurant Flat Branch in downtown Columbia since we lived on campus and neither of us had a car. Even though we had been seeing each other for about two weeks, I remember how nervous I was while we walked and during dinner. And I remember being so touched that Tom brought me flowers :) After dinner that night, we joined some friends to go bowling. All in all, it was a pretty great first date.
    Our first date - 2/14/2009
    Now, on to the proposal story: Since we've been dating, we've always viewed Valentine's Day as the anniversary of our first date rather than a holiday in and of itself. That being said, because our dating anniversary is just two weeks before Valentine's Day, we've never made a big deal about this holiday devoted to red, pink, and chocolate. Still, since this year was our first Valentine's Day/anniversary of our first date living together, we decided to celebrate a little more than usual.

    Tom came up with the idea to recreate our first date. This time, however, we drove instead of walked and skipped the bowling. The evening began with me coming home to a sweet card and a single long-stem rose. (I made Tom a special Valentine's Day breakfast that morning, so he wasn't expecting anything that night.) We got ready and then headed to Flat Branch for dinner. Because they don't take reservations, we waited about 35 minutes to be seated.

    During dinner, I noticed that Tom seemed a little antsy, but he quickly brushed it off. We had fun talking and enjoying the delicious food, and we even sat at the same table we sat at on our first date four years ago :)

    After dinner, Tom suggested we walk around Mizzou's campus. I was a little surprised since Tom usually hates walking around "aimlessly" (and it was pretty cold outside), but I happily obliged. I mean, what girl wouldn't want to take a romantic stroll around a beautiful college campus on Valentine's Day?

    As we walked, Tom asked me to recap my favorite things that have happened during our time together. We talked about all of our firsts during our first year, becoming long distance our second year, all of our visits during our third year, and moving in together and getting Jibboom during our fourth year. It was so fun to take a look back at our relationship and realize just how much we've experienced together. It really has been a wild ride over the past four years, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world :)

    As we talked, we made our way to the quad and over to the Engineering seal. Mizzou tradition states that anyone who walks on the seal will fall in love with and marry an engineer. During college, I made a point to jump on it whenever I walked by because Tom belonged to the College of Engineering. The seal was just a logical part of our walk through our old stomping grounds. Of course, I made it a point to step on the seal when we got there.

    Tom kissed me and was quiet for what seemed like a long time. Finally, asked me what my favorite thing about our fifth year was. I told him that not much had happened since we just celebrated our anniversary a few weeks ago. He then said "Well, I think we should get married this year," and before I knew it, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him!

    I'm pretty sure I was speechless for a long time, but I eventually burst into tears and nodded yes! I was completely stunned! There were other sweet words from Tom about how much he loves me and how he wants us to keep going forever, but I was just so happy and shocked that we were engaged! Honestly, the whole moment is a little bit of a blur, but it was absolutely perfect.

    As we stood there hugging and kissing (and me crying and admiring my GORGEOUS engagement ring), I noticed flashes going off. Tom hired a secret photographer to document our proposal! He seriously thought of everything and could not have done any better. I'm so happy to have photos of this huge moment in our lives, and -- most importantly -- I'm so happy and excited to be marrying my best friend and the love of my life!!!

    After the photographers left and I collected myself and we talked for a few minutes (aka just kept saying over and over how happy we were), we both called our parents to tell them the good news. I also called my brother and my best friend Whitney who was in on Tom's plan. Everyone was so excited and happy for us :)

    We decided to walk over to Top Ten Wines for a celebratory glass of champagne. While we were there, Tom told me all about planning the proposal and getting my ring. Can you believe that he bought the diamond TWO YEARS ago? He's had the finished ring since July and has been hiding it in our apartment waiting to pop the big question. And -- get this -- he asked my dad's permission back in May before I moved to Missouri! He's just amazing. I felt like I was on a cloud the entire time. And I still do. The proposal, the ring, and --most importantly -- the man are all perfect. I really am the luckiest girl in the world. AND WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!
    Yummy Valentine's breakfast I made for Tom
    My sweet card and rose :)
    Waiting at the restaurant. Still boyfriend and girlfriend here :)
    We couldn't be happier :)

    All proposal photos taken by Creative Photo.

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    Brain dump

    Jibboom graduated from intermediate training class on Tuesday! All of us worked really hard over the past six weeks. He's just a little too smart for his own good. Stinker. We celebrated with a puppy cone from Andy's. See the cuteness here :)
    Boyfriend and I celebrated four wonderful years together on January 30. We treated ourselves to a relaxing couple's massage the weekend before, Boyfriend came home with flowers the night of, and we rounded out the celebration with a delicious dinner at The Wine Cellar and Bistro (seriously, I can't recommend it enough!) last Friday night. A week-long celebration was perfect for that weird point between "I can't believe it's already been four years" and "I can't believe it's only been four years" :)
    Gotta love selfies, right?
    I decided to stop protesting and join Boyfriend on his quest to cut out carbs. So far, so good (well, except for that one day...and I paid for it the day after by feeling awful with a capital A). We're both trying to limit our daily intake of carbs to 100g or less. Eventually, I'll probably decrease that number, but it's definitely a good starting point. Honestly, it hasn't been that difficult, although I do tend to max out my carb count by around noon each day. Oh well, I guess it's better to eat the "bad" stuff in the morning and make healthier choices as the day progresses as opposed to eating the "bad" stuff all day long.

    I got my first-ever gel manicure recently, and I'm officially a convert! It's been almost two weeks since I got it, and there's not a chip in sight. Clearly I was missing out big time. I'm currently sporting OPI's Bogota Blackberry.
    I treated myself to a little retail therapy last weekend and scored deal after deal at Old Navy. We're talking $6 sweaters and dresses. BOOM.

    I finally saw Les Miserables, and as much as I wanted to be wowed, I wasn't. Maybe I built it up too much beforehand, but I thought it was good -- not great. Mostly, I just felt nostalgic for my junior year of high school when I was in my school's production of it (one of my favorite high school memories by far). Anne Hathaway's performance was fantastic, and Hugh Jackman was good, but -- in my opinion -- Russell Crowe was a poor choice for Javert. His singing doesn't hold a candle to the other actors'. Still, I'm glad I saw it. It's been on my to-do list for a while, and now I'm that much more prepared for the upcoming Academy Awards. I just need to see Lincoln (well, and Amour, Life of Pi, and Beasts of the Southern Wild (?)). Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and Silver Linings Playbook were all fantastic.

    Speaking of fantastic: Destiny's Child at the Beyonce Bowl. My inner 14 year old died. It was AWESOME. Beyonce really killed it. I liked most of the commercials (see them all here), and Boyfriend and I made it through the entire game -- blackout included -- so that's something.

    Boyfriend and I have officially started apartment hunting for when our lease is up in July. So that's fun. Not.

    I'm 13 classes through my Pure Barre studio's 20 classes in 30 days challenge. Those dang pushups get easier every day, and I feel stronger and more motivated after each class (a sticker chart helps with that, FYI). Attending class at 5:30 am isn't getting easier, but the lifting, toning, and burning is worth it. Here's to looking hot and being healthy!

    Speaking of looking hot and being healthy, I've decided to add some cardio to my workout routine. On days that I don't do Pure Barre (usually Mondays and Fridays), I'll be on the elliptical in the gym at my apartment complex. This past Thursday was my first night, and I was pleasantly surprised. I've never had great stamina, but I was able to really push myself and ended up doing a little more than 4.5 miles. I'm pretty proud, and I'm 100% certain I have Pure Barre to thank for my endurance boost :)

    I've had the pleasure of attending a few celebrations recently. A beautiful bridal shower at Les Bourgeois, a dear friend's birthday at our favorite sushi place, a quick dinner with friends as they passed through town, and my work's team building activity at The Canvas on Broadway (and the following happy hour at Shiloh) -- all a blast. Here's my painting. Try not to judge me too hard.
    Boyfriend and I are the Central Missouri Humane Society's volunteers of the month :) On a sad note, there was recently a crisis at the shelter, and nearly everything had to be thrown out. Dogs and cats need a LOT of stuff. If you want to help restock the shelter, learn more here.

    And now, back to the Grammy's. Mumford and Son's just took the stage :)

    Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    Four

    Four years ago today, Boyfriend held my hand for the first time at a cute little corner cafe.

    And he hasn't stopped holding it since :)


    Happy anniversary, Tom. I'm so lucky you're mine.

    (Photo by Danielle Rodabaugh)

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    That one frat party freshman year...

    Four years ago, after a few weeks of innocent flirting, Boyfriend and I had our first kiss...

    ...at an end-of-winter-break graffiti party in AEPi's basement.

    We've pretty much been inseparable ever since :)
    1/23/2009
    1/23/2009

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    2013 is for opening up.

    Call it the promise of a new year, the need for a place to get my thoughts and feelings out, or the urge to be as transparent as possible in this space I've created for myself, but I'm coming clean about a recent development in my life. I have Hashimoto's disease.

    According to the Mayo Clinic, "Hashimoto's disease is a disorder that affects your thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck, below your Adam's apple. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body's activities. In Hashimoto's disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. The resulting inflammation often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United State."

    Basically, Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disorder, which means that my body is attacking my thyroid. Over time, my thyroid (which controls a large portion of the body's systems, functions, and hormones) will become weaker and eventually "die," putting me into a permanent state of hypothyroidism.

    Honestly, I think I'm still processing all of this -- trying to understand what's happening inside my body and how it makes me feel. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that I'm not truly a healthy 22-year-old, even though I feel like I am most of the time. Mostly, I'm scared. Scared my current symptoms won't subside, scared about how I'm at risk for developing other autoimmune health problems because my immune system is already compromised, scared that I'm unknowingly doing something that's making me worse (or unknowingly not doing something that could make me better). And I'm scared about what the future holds. I want to be healthy and live a full, happy life.

    The good news is that I can. Based on the reading I've done, it seems like I'm one of the lucky ones who caught it early and sought early treatment. So yes, I feel tired and cold a lot of the time. My hair is falling out, my face is broken out like I'm a gawky 15-year-old, and my joints ache like I'm 60. I occasionally have mood swings and am constantly on the lookout for other symptoms (which can take it's toll and make me feel like a Debbie Downer 24/7). But, I'm okay. Luckily, I'm not special in all of this. Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism are very common conditions. In fact, my mom has both (genetics for the win). These symptoms are all normal, and I'm on medication to treat them and control my hypothyroidism. So, I'm okay.

    Just FYI, this isn't a call for sympathy. It's just an "it is what it is" kind of thing. This is a new challenge that I'm facing, but I'm doing everything necessary to make sure I stay healthy. No sob stories here :)

    Sure, all of this is scary, and a little bit unfortunate, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger (poor word choice?), and I've already learned a lot about myself through all of this.

    Of course, there's a back story to this, including a few weeks of hyperthyroid craziness, a trip to the ER, frustrating doctor appointments, a new doctor, lots of blood work, etc., etc. I might write about all of that one day, or I might not. I haven't decided yet. But I have decided that this "disease" (still don't like the sound of that) won't be a major topic of discussion here on this little bloggy of mine. Why? Because although it's a big development (life changing?), it doesn't define me, and -- to be honest -- not much has changed except that I now have more frequent doctor appointments and take a pill every day. I don't feel great all the time, but I've felt this way for a little while now. In fact, I feel like myself, and I'm happy, which is more than I could say a few months ago when I was going through the period of hyperthyroidism. Now, I know why I feel the way I do, and that in and of itself is a good thing.

    So for now, I'm trying to take better care of myself, and these efforts will continue, well, forever. I work out 5 times per week, I try to eat healthy, and I do my best to listen to my body. If I need to take a nap, I do. I pay attention to my symptoms and candidly tell my doctors what's going on. And I don't take no for an answer. From my research, I've learned that one of the biggest complaints among thyroid patients is that doctors don't listen to them or undertreat them. I'm the biggest advocate for my own health, and I'm sticking to my guns.

    So really, maybe this year will be less about opening up and more about learning, experimenting, treating, accepting, and healing. So, 2013 and every year after, bring it on. I have too much big wonderful life to live to let something like this get me down.

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    Oh What Fun!

    This year, Boyfriend and I had the pleasure of attending three holiday parties!

    The first party, on December 7, was for my sorority's alumnae chapter. The evening started with drinks and appetizers at the president's home. We all went to 44 Stone for dinner, and then a few of us ventured to the Magic Tree for a few festive photos. It was such an enjoyable evening, and I had a blast getting to catch up with my sisters!
    Photo by Heather Benson
    Photo courtesy of Heather Benson
    On December 15, we went to Boyfriend's company holiday party at the Boone County Fairgrounds. Now, I must preface this by saying that Boyfriend works at one of the most rapid-growing companies in the country and one of the largest companies in Columbia, so with approximately 1,800 people in attendance, the only place this party could be held was the fairgrounds. Needless to say, it was HUGE and way over the top. What am I talking about? Open bar, countless food stations (we're talking foods from all types of cuisines, hot cocoa, egg nog, candy bar, make-your-own s'mores, snack food, etc.), a hot dog stand, a Pepe's food truck, performances by the Mizzou Golden Girls and the 82nd Airborne Division, lots of prizes (including a loaded 2013 BMW and an all-expenses paid trip to Europe), an ice skating rink in the middle of the room, horse-drawn carriage rides, photos booths, and lots more. It was by far the most elaborate party I've ever been to, and you better believe we'll be attending the party every year we're able to.
    On December 28, my company had our Christmas party. Based on what I'd heard from my coworkers about past parties, I knew Boyfriend and I were in for a good time, and the evening did not disappoint. The night started at my office with drinks, appetizers, and a white elephant gift exchange. Boyfriend and I ended up getting a bottle of Rumpleminze and these hilarious foot massager/washer slipper things. My coworker and I had a blast setting up a photo booth and getting props for pre-dinner photos, and everyone had fun taking goofy pictures.
    The ridiculously cheesy photo booth
    Dinner was served family style at Sycamore, which is one of the nicest restaurants in Columbia. Believe me, the food was delicious, and the wine was flowing. After dinner, we stopped in at On the Rocks to check the score of the Mizzou basketball game, and then we headed next door to Piano Bar to enjoy bottle service in the VIP section all night. My boss went all out for our Christmas party, and Boyfriend and I had a blast partying with my coworkers. We hit some big milestones at work this year, and this party was the perfect way to celebrate :)

    I'm still waiting on some pictures from one of my coworkers, but these are the few I managed to take throughout the evening.
    Boyfriend enjoying the cheesy photo booth props and free drinks at my office
    It was snowing when we left at the end of the night!

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