he asked…

On August 19th, during a beautiful hazy sunset on the beach, my best friend got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes. Yes.

Right now, everything still seems so surreal, but in the most magnificent kind of way. I feel so blessed and so thrilled to know that I will be able to spend the rest of my life side-by-side with the man who has come to mean so much to me. God truly has been so gracious to us and we are overwhelmingly thankful for His goodness.

Thanks to everyone who has sent us congratulations so far and I assure you all that there will be a story and more details shared soon. May God bless and keep you all!

a road trip (of the epic variety)

July 2014 will always be remembered as the month of The Road Trip. Not just any road trip, but the month-long, cross-country road trip that consisted of seven people trekking across the entire United States and back home again in a mini van.

Over the course of 7,200 miles, we survived countless hours of watching corn fly past our windows, getting stuck in an Arkansas gas station, New Mexico lightning storms, Nashville traffic, and hotel laundry rooms and had the most amazing adventure in the midst of it while we visited family and friends in Maryland, caught fireflies in the Midwest, toured Philadelphia, explored Memphis, and experienced Colonial Williamsburg.

Ice cream was an almost-daily occurrence along with Starbucks coffee, audiobooks, the No Complaining Game, and reading my way through The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

Everyplace-That’s-Not-California is all so green. Gosh.

And then there was Philadelphia. I’ve wanted to visit Philadelphia for years and it was amazing (even in the sticky heat of East Coast summer.)

We toured Independence Hall and peeked through a window to catch a glimpse of the Liberty Bell (because we didn’t want to wait in line) and then ate ginormous Philly Cheesesteaks which basically rocked my world and made me really, really glad we don’t have an excuse to eat them at home.

My too-many-greats-to-count-grandfather was Richard Henry Lee. You know. The one who originally made the motion calling for independence from Britain. Anyway, because of that, seeing where the delegates from Virginia sat was majorly fascinating and kinda like a revolutionary moment in my life.

Yes, Cora really did fall asleep in Independence Hall. She’ll be hearing about that for just about forever.

Lo and behold. If you ever find yourself hungry in Philadelphia, Sonny’s is the place to go.

After Pennsylvania, we had friends and family in Maryland to welcome us with open arms. I had spent the first week of July with some wonderfully dear friends in Maryland and it was a joy to be able to see them again so soon and finally have both of our families meet face-to-face.

Just look at those cheeks. Happiness.

Thankfully, everyone got along brilliantly. All eighteen of us.

…and then was our grandparents’ house on Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore.

We had five gloriously beautiful days crabbing, fishing, swimming, kayaking, playing games, learning banjo, and just enjoying the time with family.

Connor and I would spend each morning sitting out on the dock with our Bibles and it was pretty much the most perfect way to start the day. Ever.

Crabs. Oh, so many crabs…

Our entire time on the shore was the epitome of everything good about summer. Nana and Poppop Sam were such gracious hosts and they made sure that every moment was special and that we all had an enormously enjoyable time.

Leaving the shore began our driving days once again. We stopped whenever we found something interesting and the Nauticus and Navy Museum in Norfolk, Virginia was one-such-thing.

…and then Colonial Williamsburg happened.

We’ve been wanting to go to Colonial Williamsburg as a family for as long as I can remember. Visiting historical places is one of our favorite things to do (as evident by the fact we visited Valley Forge and the battlefield of Shiloh, too, on our trip) and getting to finally make this visit was phenomenal and the two days we spent there were bliss. Well, they were close to blissful. They would have been more-so had it not been sticky and raining for most of the time we were there.

They’re just the cutest. And my dad is now sporting a snazzy new beard. Who would have known?

We at a lot of ice cream over the course of that month. So much ice cream.

Tennessee was unique. We got stuck in traffic in Nashville on a Saturday night while a crazy photographer was attempting to take pictures of a wedding party running across a busy intersection and we were looking for a hotel and were ravenously hungry, but Connor and I got to explore a used music store and that made up for every other inconvenience before.

Mom’s birthday was spent exploring Memphis. Just getting to walk through a city I’ve never been to before is one of my all-time favorite ways to spend a day and this was no different.

The Oklahoma City Memorial. Wow. So beautifully and tastefully and powerfully done.

Two walls facing each other; one 9:01 and the other 9:03. Leaving us standing at 9:02, the fateful moment.

We found a Whole Foods after and suddenly, Oklahoma tasted just like home.

Past bright yellow fields of flowers and into the desert and then the terrain began to look familiar as the greenery vanished into the color of dust.

The kids turned into explorers and scientists at Meteor Crater in Arizona on the day that marked the end of our grand adventure.

So many memories and stories that I will remember and hold onto for my entire life and hundreds of photos that far exceed the amount that I could post. From Valley Forge to Meteor Crater to Colonial Williamsburg to Shiloh, we saw so much on our journey to Maryland and back again. After being away from home for thirty-two days, however, it was absolutely amazing to be back in California again and to return to what I have come to know as “normal” life. The time spent together was all so precious and I am so thankful that we had the opportunity take this trip together, as a family, and were able to enjoy all of those amazing experiences and new adventures … together.

“Little by little, one travels far.”
-J.R.R. Tolkien