Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year, New Changes

2014 has been amazing. Incredible. Once-in-a-lifetime.

We pronounced it 'Our year' in January, to remind us that it was time to focus on US and put us first in this very exciting time in our lives. And we did that - we have made so many memories together, through two weddings, exploring our new home city, time with loved ones, and endless commutes. We have indulged, and spent energy just being happy, and being us - our relationship is better because of it, and we are individually happier.

So now it's time to look ahead.

In the six months since our wedding, we've spent too much time in the car, on the train, stressing about being late in our 4-5 hours per day journeys to and from work. We've had little time for cooking, date nights, blogging, thinking - anything, really (thank goodness Sarah's mum let us revert to teenager-dom while we were staying with her and cooked, cleaned and helped us keep everything straight!). It seems we have replaced all the activities we used to enjoy with two - cuddling and junk food.

And we love it. But having no energy for anything else has meant we feel like we aren't our best - we have put on the post-wedding-fifteen (is that a thing?), our under-eye circles are dark as night, we feel sluggish and stressed. I think we've aged five years in the last year of commuting - and we want to get it all back.

So 2015 is going to be the year of our health.

Mental health. Emotional health. Physical health.

Laura has put in her notice at her job in London. She LOVES Threshold, which is really the whole reason we did this commuting business for so long, but with the new puppy coming and the plan to move up to Birmingham permanently (coupled with the realisation that taking the train daily from there would end up costing £1000 per month on travel!!! (!!!)), we knew it wasn't feasible to continue.

This is a HUGE change in our lives - as of the end of January, we are finally getting to live in the city we love so much! As she works out her notice she will be looking for a new role in Brum, and we are looking forward to not getting up at 5:30am every morning. To getting home in time for Laura to make a healthy, delicious dinner. To after supper walks with our little Bee. To gaining back interests, hobbies, everything we didn't have time for when getting home at 8:00pm each evening.

The job change will allow us to take time, and have energy, to be US again. This means time together that isn't trying to keep Sarah awake on a drive, which will improve our emotional health. A work/life balance which will improve our mental health.

And finally, the time for cooking and exercise, which will improve our physical health. Motivated by Julia who got Laura into it and has seen success for a full year, Laura is picking keto up again in January. Sarah will be cutting down and eating healthier. The new puppy will make us get outside anyway, but on top of that we plan on finding activities that will be FUN for us and get our blood pumping. We hear there's a recreational softball league in Birmingham...

2014 would be a tough year to beat, but with 2015 being our first as a family of three and with all these positive changes, we bet it'll be pretty great.

What are your plans for next year?

Monday, 29 December 2014

A Dream Come True

I had a dream - that dream was to have a puppy. I've wanted this since I was four years of age. I know this because my Mum recounts stories of how by the time I got to school I had invented imaginary dogs. I wanted a dog so bad that I spent my childhood latching on to anyone with a dog. I walked dogs for friends, I loved any extended family dog as if it was my dog staying at someone else's house - I just really wanted a dog.

As my Mum was a child-minder I was never going to be allowed a dog. I had a rabbit, Bonny, who thankfully thought he was a dog and was happy to play fetch with me but he was never the dog I wanted.

It has been said many times, not least in this blog, that I can be a bit of a 'dream killer'. While Laura dreams big, has high expectations and generally a way of making the craziest plans happen exactly as she wants them to, I like to call myself a realist. I like to think of all possible outcomes and err on the side of caution. I don't like to disappoint and I don't like to be disappointed so I protect myself by being cautious.

While I apply this theory to almost all of my life there is one thing I have always been unequivocally excited about. You guessed it - a dog!

I didn't have expectations around breed or size, I just wanted floppy ears - see our last post for how we decided on that!

But having met Bisbee when she was just 3 weeks old, I was in love. I was smitten, obsessed, over-excited, you name it - this was one dog I was dreaming big about and the cautious me was no-where to be seen. This level of excitement over-spilled into tears, waking up too excited knowing her arrival was weeks, then days away. Shopping trips specially for her, I think we shopped more for her than for our wedding holiday. We weren't excessive but with almost all puppy stuff being sooooooo cute we definitely bought more than we needed.

On the day, the roller coaster of emotions was massive. We were not unaware of the responsibility that we were taking on or the change it would bring to our life but we were unprepared for the amount of love we already had for this bundle we had only spent 2 hours with and who had no idea who we were.

I'm pretty sure when we stopped for a McDonald's breakfast on the way there and ended up sat opposite each other crying, the staff were probably like WTF crazy ladies. We pulled ourselves together though and made the last bit of our drive in a fairly sane state.

As we approached the house, hearts beating, hands clasped tight we knew we were making the right decision. The moment the door opened we were greeted by a wagging tail and plenty of licks. She was ready and we wanted to be the best puppy mummies she could ask for.

It's been a week since we picked up our bundle of joy and I can fully admit it has been harder work than I first thought. Thinking back I don't ever remember looking after a puppy, just a well trained older dog, and it has given me a huge appreciation for all other puppy owners. I have never given anything as much attention, I've never jumped up so often or talked about pee and poo, I have never spent two entire days thinking of one thing and one thing only and yet I am still so unequivocally excited to have my own dog.

We will track our progress in the blog so we can look back on how far we have come, but so far so good. It wouldn't be anywhere near as fun or rewarding or in fact possible without my team-mate, partner and all round wonderful wife. I think it is fair to say having both of us doing this makes it a little easier. This way at least it's not just the puppy getting food and sleep.

As I write this I am about to start work, Laura is in bed and after a morning feed and clear out this is what I have for company:

Life is pretty perfect right now!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Becoming A Family Of Three!

Have we mentioned our big news yet? As you know, 2014 has been an amazing year for us and it's difficult to look ahead to a fairly quiet 2015 focused on paying our families back for their contributions to our wedding and house and establishing ourselves in Birmingham full time. That is, it WAS difficult until we finally got around to making one of my life long dreams a reality........

So on Saturday we are picking up our PUPPY, a little girl named Bisbee. Our fur baby will be just under 10 weeks old and we cannot wait to bring her home. As it's all we can think about, talk about and look at we thought we would pull together this post of the journey so far.

We first met Bisbee back in October after seeing an ad on Pets4Homes. The sable offspring of a cockapoo and poodle, we fell in love at first sight.

Those ears!!

We knew we wanted a cockapoo based on feedback we had from friends, the results of this test:
....and a decision to comprise. I wanted a dog with floppy ears and Laura wanted a larger dog. We both wanted it to be smart and friendly and need a moderate amount of exercise. We also knew it would have to be happy on its on as well as in social situations.

Initially we wanted to look into adopting a dog from a pound / rescue home but both of us agreed that for our first dog it would be best to get one we knew the background of - including the opportunity to meet the parents and the rest of the litter. As I have never had a dog I wanted to see the temperament of the parents and the puppy nature around other dogs, and after Laura's Thailand dog bite in 2012 she is nervous around them, so we thought that knowing it from very young would reform her bond with them and her trust in dogs.

The cockapoo puppy met every need. On top of that her hypoallergenic coat makes her great to be around kids with allergies and her inquisitive nature means she should be happy to be looked after by different people if work demands mean neither of us will be at home occasionally.

This little lady is about to be engulfed in love and her arrival at home couldn't be better timed. The pile of presents for her under our tree and my parents' tree is bigger than everyone else's and I know that her cuteness is going to have everyone ready to cater to every whimper.

That said, Laura and I have been watching puppy training videos non-stop, we have our rules written out and we are ready to face the cutest puppy we've ever met without being pushovers. We just hope she's ready for us!

I can't quite believe we are on the 2 day to go countdown - these have been 9 very long weeks and I have had at least 2 melt downs worrying that I will make a terrible puppy-mum! What if I'm too strict, or not strict enough, what if she gets lonely or sick or lost - it's like waiting to have a child. The preparation - booking puppy school, finding a vet, getting insurance, the right toys and the right lead and the right car seat - there is so much to think about!

We know she is feisty, not afraid to stand up for herself and into everything - L is already one set of laces down from our last visit! Our Christmas decorations may not stand a chance. We have no doubt this puppy will bring more chaos and craziness to our life than ever before and we say bring it on! No doubt a hug with this cutie will have her forgiven in seconds!

Our last pics from the breeder - she didn't want to come in as the garden was too much fun!

And so if you follow us on Instragram or Facebook this is your 2 day warning - the puppy photos are coming! We hope you like them as much as us :)
We can't wait!

Monday, 1 December 2014

28th June 2014 - Our Wedding Photos - Bridal Portraits

Bam - post made it on Monday!

Had an amazing weekend with thanksgiving, showing Birmingham to a friend, putting up our Christmas decs, and lots of winter snuggling, but we will tell you about that in another post.

For now, photos! We love our Bridal portraits - we will treasure them always!

Two brides, hangin' in a field.

The mountains are where we call home

Runaway brides!

Run back brides!

We are so in love with these - they are so natural and you can see the beauty of our wedding spot so clearly - I mean, MOUNTAINS!! We struggle to pick our favs. Which do you like best?

If you haven't yet seen the others, click here to see our previous wedding photo posts!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!

We wanted to take a moment to wish all our Thanksgiving-celebrating readers the most magical of holidays. We hope wherever you are and whoever you are celebrating with, you make lots of wonderful memories.

We are extra thankful this year - thankful that we've been able to legally, and non-legally, marry each other and spend the rest of our lives together.

We are thankful that we live in a country where we are accepted for who we are, and don't need to jump through legal hoops if one of us gets sick, or if we decide to expand our family.

We are thankful for our loving friends and family who have gotten us (maybe even carried us) through one of the best (though decidedly most hectic) years of our lives.

And for their health, though a lot of our loved ones have had recent scares, or surgeries, or hospital stays - *touch wood* everyone has come through just fine.

We are thankful for social media, keeping us in contact with those we love who are far away, and for making Laura's home of the USA feel a little less far away.

We are thankful for Bisbee - we don't even have her yet and she is a dream come true, and completes our little family.

Now go eat lots and lots, and let us know what you are thankful for below!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

28th June 2014 - Our Wedding Photos - The Ceremony ♥

Geez, life sometimes gets in the way of publishing a good blog post. And because we are going through all our photos for these, individually choosing which ones to put up, we aren't able to rush these! 

Today we have for you one of our very favourite sections - the ceremony.

This is where we got really nervous. We were right on time, but waiting in the house for everyone to be seated and for the music to start... definitely the most nerve-wracking part of the day!
Our ushers, Laura's brother Jason and our friend Dave - both as dapper as Usher himself!
And then the music started ('I'm Yours' by Jason Mraz, in case you're wondering)...
Laura's Nan doing a great job as our Flower Nan!

Laura's Mum was walked down the aisle by her brother, Jason.
 Followed by our Bridesmaids

Alison: A recent export from Boise to London, Ali has become a very important part of our lives. Having grown up with Laura their friendship spans some 13 years and we can't wait to continue to add to that total!

Fiona: Otherwise known as Sarah's little sister! Fi has been with us since the start of our journey, supporting, organising and celebrating with us along the way. Always one to get the party started, the wedding was no exception.

Julia: This artistic gem was the genius behind our invites, menus, order of service, globes - in fact, you name it, Julia probably had something to do with it! She's known Laura since she was 11 or so, and has always been there for her - that includes on every trip that Sarah's made to Idaho!

Kate: Our honorary sister, Kate has known Laura since she was born - her Dad and L's Dad are bffs. But the three of us really became close when we moved to Australia for a year - and we love that we are taking our parents' friendship on another generation!
What's that change in music mean? Oh, here come the Brides! (to 'I Choose You' by Sara Bareilles)
Laura first, with her Dad, then Sarah with her Mum. Laura wanted to go first so she would get to watch her beautiful bride come up the aisle - best feeling ever, and that's when the nerves went away!

We LOVE this photo of our ceremony so much!

Laura's Dad was our officiant - and we wrote our ceremony (as well as our vows). This meant so much to us - Laura's Dad has been so supportive and loving to both of us, and as a bonus he is a pro at public speaking, so took it all in stride. The ceremony was really personal too.

Just looking at these gives us chills!

Laura's brother did our first reading, a beautiful poem and a nod to Sarah's Scottish heritage and mother. He did so well and we are so proud of him!

Then one of Sarah's oldest friends, Lisa, did our second reading - it meant so much to us that she did it, and it was lovely!

Yeah, we did our vows on the ipad haha - we were THOSE people

This moment was 'I promise to always observe your number one rule - a meal isn't a meal without a potato'

Sarah was adorably too eager to marry Laura - she said 'I do' before it was asked for!

And with Laura's Dad pronouncing us Wife and Wife, we were MARRIED!!!



If I was a flower growing wild and free, all I'd want is you to be my sweet honey bee 

It's one of the most truly amazing and unique feelings to have so many of the people you love in the same place. All these faces, and the people they are there representing, mean so much to us and we are very lucky to have them in our lives!

And just like that, we were officially Mrs. and Mrs. Smith. 

This really was the best day. Ahh just amazing.

If you haven't yet seen the others, click here to see our previous wedding photo posts!

So we aren't going to overpromise this time, as we have a Thanksgiving dinner to make and a friend here from Germany, so we will be putting up our Bridal portraits on Monday, 1st December. Festive treat!!

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