Happy Friday!

Friday. Friday. Friday. I will say it again, “Friday!” I am so happy for today.

This week, I have had such a great time! I’m loving my new job as a waitress. I love my time at home, taking care of the animals and household chores. I’m truly blessed to be where I am at! Here are my top 3 favorite things about this week:

1. Mark and I went to my parents’ house for lunch on Sunday. It was so nice to catch up with my parents and share a meal in their kitchen again. They provided a feast for us; my mom prepared several veggies and bread, and my dad grilled steaks. We even had apple pie and salted caramel ice cream for dessert. Yum! I’m so grateful for their hospitality.

2. I had my first full morning of volunteering at a local women’s shelter. I must admit, I was bored at first, but then the office gave me more things to do. I’m glad I can serve at a nearby non-profit organization, whether bored or busy. Honestly, I would like to find a career in the non-profit world someday, and I feel content to be a volunteer for now.

3. Mark and I have had some amazing mornings this week! I used to feel like our mornings were dependent on my ability to make a good breakfast and good coffee… But I’ve realized we can enjoy ourselves whether I mess up the coffee (hello, French Press) or feed us toast. We have more time to connect early in the morning, and we plan out our days and lives in the wee morning hours. I’m thankful for a husband who wakes up early with me and starts my day off right!

So, what about you? How’s your week been? Are you ready for the weekend?

Love,

Alyssa

6 Things to put on your Wedding Registry

Hello, Friends!

As soon as I got married, all of my engaged friends kept asking about my wedding registry. “What are you glad you put on your registry?” “What do you wish you put on your registry?” “Did people buy the most expensive things on your registry?”

So, today I want to answer their questions by taking a look at 5 6 Things to put on your Wedding Registry. Please note, these opinions are completely my own, and it’s okay if you disagree or think I’m crazy!

1. A Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

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I always loved using my mother’s Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for cookies, cakes and other goodies as I was growing up. It was as much a part of our kitchen as the table and sink! Kitchen Aids can make so many recipes easier, like making whipped cream for instance. I just love the way this handy tool can handle just about anything, and I loved picking out the color with Mark!

2. Fun Table Settings

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Mark and I put Fiestaware on our registry, and we had a great time picking out the colors! Now, we are cheered by the brightness they bring to the kitchen, and we love mixing colors at each meal! I’m not saying everyone should choose Fiestaware, but it’s important to remember that the table settings one picks will be used daily, so why not make them fun?!

3. The Griddler

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Aw yeah! The Griddler is a crazy appliance that gets so much use in our house! We use it for paninis for a quick dinner with soup. We use it to grill chicken because it’s convenient in our apartment setting. It can make pancakes, bacon, burgers, and more! We love our Griddler, and even though it’s not a must, it’s definitely a fun object to have!

4. A Nice Knife Set

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Mark had strong opinions about what kind of knives he wanted to put on our registry… So, I let him take the lead on this one! I’m so glad I let him pick out these knives because they’re so sharp and work wonderfully every time in the kitchen! I find myself reaching for one, two or three of these guys every single day, so I believe a nice knife set is something one should not glance over when it comes to registry time!

5. A Spaghetti Scoop

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So, a spaghetti scoop may sound like an odd suggestion, but trust me, this pick comes from my experience. The first meal I made at home for Mark was spaghetti because I figured we needed something quick and easy while we were still moving into our apartment. Although making spaghetti  itself isn’t hard, scooping up the spaghetti was quite difficult because we didn’t have a scoop! We also may have ran to the store for a colander because we needed to strain the spaghetti as well. At least we now have a silly memory of our first meal in the new place!

So, I’d recommend to you as I did my friends to not worry about price points. Our knife set and Kitchen Aid mixer weren’t cheap, but folks gathered around and purchased them on our behalf. Moreover, they loved helping out us newlyweds!

Also, I’d like to share how I felt receiving all these gifts from cheerful hearts. I was reminded of the passage of scripture in Acts 2, which states the believers “had everything in common” (verse 44). I truly felt like I was back there with the first Christians because my family was pitching in and sharing what they had, big or small, with Mark and me. It was such a blessing to experience that love and kindness, and I’m grateful for all their support!

I hope my little list has helped you in some way, and I would love to hear suggestions for items to add or personal experiences with registries. I’m grateful for your readership, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Peace and Love,

Alyssa

P.S. I almost forgot! There’s one more thing I would recommend to put on a wedding registry…

6. A sturdy pots and pans set

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Mark recommended we add a high-quality pots and pans set to our registry… and I’m delighted with what we got! Honestly, I wasn’t sure we’d end up with the set we chose because it was quite pricey, but Mark’s relatives pitched in and bought us the set. These days, we use our pots and pans everyday, and it’s to nice to have a set that heats up quickly, has good non-stick and is easy to clean (dishwasher safe!). I don’t know where we’d be without our pots and pans!

Our Engagement Story

Good evening, and Happy Friday!

I’ve been thinking for a while about writing about Mark and I’s wedding, and I decided the place to start would be our engagement story. I’d love to share our love journey with you, and I hope you enjoy the silliness and fun with us!

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On December 15, 2013, Mark invited me on a date to celebrate our first anniversary as a couple. Normally, Mark lets me know what we’re doing and where we’re going on our date nights, but this night was different. I literally had no idea what was in store!

At about four o’clock in the afternoon, we went downtown Fredericksburg for some chill time before dinner. We chatted about our future home together, our future pets and simply enjoyed each other’s company.

We left Old Town in time to make our dinner reservations. Please note, I hadn’t a clue where we were eating other than it had to be some place nice since we were both in our Sunday Best. Granted, we had to make a Sheetz stop on the way to dinner… I was told by a close companion that Sheetz would have been an awesome proposal spot. I’d agree, but mine was better! After Sheetz, Mark’s phone went off. The alarm said, “Dinner at Kobe”, and yeah, I read it because he was driving! The secret was out, but it didn’t spoil my enthusiasm! I love Japanese food!

We ate a nice meal at Kobe; I had the vegetarian option and he had surf and turf! Go figure. During dinner, Mark was obviously thinking about something else… Meanwhile, my mind was going crazy! Was this man of mine going to propose on our anniversary?! As another clue, Mark told me I’d have to close my eyes on the way to our next location. Ah! the suspense!

After dinner, I was a bowl full of nerves. Since Kobe is across from a Walmart, I asked if I could make a pit stop there. Mark obliged. Thus, I meandered through Walmart dressed like a million bucks! (Wait, am I exaggerating now? Oops.) Back from Walmart, Mark drove for a while before asking me to close my eyes…

My eyes were closed for what seemed like an eternity. I listened to Mark wail along to B.o.B. radio. At first, I tried to keep track of our path. Eventually, I lost all orientation because Mark made tons of sharp turns (clearly, the desired effect). For the record, it felt like he was doing doughnuts… So nervewracking!

At long last, Mark parked the car and exited. He grabbed something from the back seat, and then came around to my side of the vehicle. As a gentleman, he opened my door and let me out. My eyes were still glued shut. He placed a heavy box into my arms and then asked me to open my eyes.

The box I was holding was a shoebox. Mark was directly in front of me, down on one knee (Aww). Mark instructed me to open the box, so I did. I noticed a variety of items with a Taco Bell Border Sauce packet on top. Mark asked me to read the Taco Bell packet, so I did. It stated, “Will you marry me?” Quickly, I looked down at Mark and noticed that he was carrying a box too! He had a small ring box in his right hand. After a moment’s delay, I said with certainty, “Yes Mark, I will marry you.”

Mark swiftly put the ring on my left hand (before I could change my mind). The ring is a gorgeous marquis diamond solitaire with a yellow gold band. Classic and elegant!

After a moment, Mark asked if I recognized where we were at. Honestly, I hadn’t thought a bit about where on earth we were. In effect, Mark turned me around, and violá! We were in Chipotle’s parking lot. Chipotle, you say? Yeah, Chipotle. A year before, we went to the same Chipotle for our first date; henceforth, our new life as an engaged couple began the same place as our time as a dating couple. I greatly appreciated the touch. I mean seriously, who else gets both Taco Bell and Chipotle in their proposal story?

So, that’s it. After an evening of craziness and excitement, Mark and I were officially engaged.

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My Favorite Animals

Mark and I both love love love animals, and we kinda have a lot of them for newlyweds. We have Mickey Mouse the cat, Maddux the dog, Donatello the turtle and Fanta the turtle. They all give us so much love in return, and we’re so blessed to have them! 

photo (2)Meet Mickey Mouse (Mickey for short). He’s a ten-year-old cat I received at age seven when his previous owners had to let him go. He loves stealing cereal, meowing during the night, and cuddling anytime. He’s adjusting well to his new home; in fact, you’d think he owns the place!

photo (4)Say hello to Maddux the pup! He’s a one-year-old terrier mix. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mark and I adopted Maddux from a shelter back in May. Since then, Maddux has enjoyed going to work with Mark at the vineyard, snuggling with anyone he sees, and going on long walks.

photo (1)Here’s Mr. Donatello, but I like to call him, “Big Man”. Donatello has been with Mark for a number of years, but he’s new to me. I just love having chats with him because he’s so curious! He loves to chomp small fish and sunbathe.

photoLast but not least, meet wee Fanta. Fanta also lived with Mark for a while, but we became quick friends while Mark and I were dating. You see, Fanta gets super excited whenever he sees someone come near! Mark says he gets excited because he thinks the person will feed him, but I like to think he’s just happy to see me! Love me some Fanta!

So, there you have it. You’ve met our little family. Do you have pets? Care to share about them? Thanks.

Peace,

Alyssa

3 Things I’ve learned from marriage so far

Good morning!

I’m writing today about things I’ve learned from marriage so far. I’ve only been married a short time (7 weeks), but honestly, I could go on and on about the lessons I’ve learned. I’m picking three to share with you which I wish I would have known before I got married.

1. Changing names takes a long time. Be patient with the process. I guess I never really considered how long the name changing process would take. I read instructions online and figured it’d be pretty simple. Change name on Social Security card, get new I.D., and change name on “everything else”. Well, turns out it takes a long time to do those things! Honestly, I’ve gotten my Social Security card which took about 4 weeks once we got back from our honeymoon… And I’m going to apply for my new Driver’s License today. Yep, I’m only on step 2! I’ve already prayed for patience with this process multiple times because I just love my new name so much & I want it to be official! Anyway, now you know. Did anyone else feel like me? Are you going through the process, too, or will be soon?

2. There’s no such thing as a “perfect wife”, so give yourself some grace! If you’re like me, you grew up seeing some picture-perfect families on television (through sitcoms, commercials, movies, etc.). I let those images sink into my subconscious and give me unrealistic expectations for myself when it comes to my homemaking pursuits. For example, the third meal I made for Mark as his wife was homemade macaroni and cheese. I’d made homemade mac so many times that of course, I didn’t use a recipe! Well, unfortunately, I got carried away with twos and doubled the milk in my cheese sauce. You see, I usually use 2tbs. butter, 2tbs. flour, 2c. of cheddar cheese and 1c. of milk, but alas! I used two cups of milk! I had macaroni soup in lieu of creamy mac and cheese! I was so embarrassed as I plated Mark’s dinner, but he gave me so much grace as he ate it anyway. He even commented on how good it tasted! On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy my dinner because I was not living up to the expectation (perfection) I set for my cooking. Let me tell you, I had several other mishaps before I realized, I’m not perfect and I need to allow myself grace to be human, to make mistakes. Has anyone else made silly mistakes like mine? How did you deal with them?

3. Be flexible with your plans. Mark and I made a lot of plans for our married lives. One such plan was to make a budget together and stick to it, so once we found the time, we sat down & made a comprehensive monthly budget. After we made said budget, we went to Walmart and bought some things we needed for our apartment. Then, we immediately realized we hadn’t budgeted for our trip! Of course, we brushed it off, but within a few weeks, we realized we were having trouble keeping track of and spending within our budget. At first, this realization was frustrating! We thought, “if we can only stick to this budget, then we’ll be set!”; however, after much discussion, we realized the budget we made just wasn’t suited to our needs. We made a new budget with more freedom for ourselves, and so far it’s going good! All it took was some flexibility with our original plans. It’s good to realize we’re new at this whole marriage thing, and we’ve got plenty of time (our whole lives) to figure out how to make things work for us.

For those of your who are married, what did you learn in the beginning of your marriage journey? What have you learned since? Even if you aren’t married, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my list. Thanks!

Love,

Alyssa

An Intro to My Husband…

Today is my husband, Mark’s, birthday eve. He turns 23 tomorrow. As I write, I can’t help but reflect on the day before I turned 23 years old. That day, I went on a first date with a funny, charming gentleman, and it changed my life. That’s right, I went on my last first date. God wrote an amazing love story in my twenty-third year of life, starting with a budding relationship and ending with a marriage proposal the day before I turned 24. As Mark turns 23, I pray God writes a truly amazing story in his twenty-third year as well. I pray God blesses Mark with peace, love and joy. I pray God stays close to Mark and reveals His true nature. I pray Mark learns new things, makes new memories and has lots of fun in the coming year!

So, here’s a bit more about my husband:

1. He’s the most genuine, caring guy I know. He helps people without any expectation of something in return. For example, he helped a brother from church recently who was struggling with growing grapes.

2. He’s a very hard worker, and he does a lot for our family. You could even say he puts his blood, sweat and tears into his labors because yesterday, he cut his finger wide open whilst removing grapes from the vine (he works in a winery, and by the way, there weren’t any tears as the expression suggests, just blood). He’s working a lot now that it’s harvest, and I’m so proud of all he does at the winery!

3. He makes awesome decisions (he married me after all lol). Honestly, Mark’s much more spontaneous than me, and his decisions can reflect that about him. He makes me happy with all the surprises his has in store for our daily lives, and I love his upbeat attitude! For example, he downloaded the Yelp app on our honeymoon and picked a breakfast place for us to try. It had the best lavender french toast in the world (check out Over Easy if you’re ever in Asheville, NC. You won’t regret it).

Anyway, these three things are just a small glimpse into the wonderful human being who is my hubs. You’ll learn more about Mark as my blog and our lives go on… Here’s to Mark and his birthday!