emojis are my love language

as a person whose love language might be emoji, I think you can really tell a lot about a person by looking at their emoji history.

here’s mine:

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I might be a little overdramatic. see that one in the second row with the exasperated face? that’s actually the one I use for “MY LIFE IS ENDING.” it’s the way I feel when something happens and I go “is this real life or what’s the deal???” and that happens a lot. because I’m not just a little overdramatic, I am overdramatic to the absolute EXTREME. ask my loving fiance. or maybe don’t.

I am really emotional. (so emotional that I cried when I found out the Wild’s coach had been fired.) look at the wide range of emojis! most of mine are actually the little faces that attempt to demonstrate feelings. you’ve got your teenager (the “my life is ending” one), the tears of joy “so funny I’m crying” one, the hearts out my eyes which is basically the classic “perfect” emoji. pretty generic rosy cheek, the line face one which in my opinion is a great alternative if the eye roll is inappropriate, a wink, a sad face, a sleepy face, one of those cheesy grin faces and, most importantly, the wink blow hearts face.

BASICALLY IT’S JUST A LOT OF EMOTIONS AND I FEEL THEM ALL THE TIME.

this probably won’t surprise anyone, seeing that I am only funny about 6% of the time, and that huge percentage is also spent spitting obscure sarcasm, but I have the humor of a 2nd grader. see the dancing girl? I send that one to Ben’s friend Anderson randomly because I think it’s hilar. the little yellow chick is what I use as a DuHawk (Loras’ mascot), so you know Ben is thrilled. the money with the wings is what I use any time I’m discussing wedding plans.

I love things. I love all the things. I love to love all the things. whether it’s a hearts out my eyes love, a hearts out my mouth love, or just straight up floating hearts (you have to use multiple ones of the floating hearts to REALLY get your point across), I just love to love things. and I love hearts. and emojis. so I love to demonstrate my love for loving all the things with emojis with hearts. if only they made a glitter emoji… and if only I could have followed that statement with a hearts out my eyes emoji.

does anyone else have names for their emojis? mine have very scientific names, like “hearts out my eyes,” “sassy smirk face,” “eye roll eye roll eye roll,” and “tears of joy so funny I’m crying.”

no one else thinks about emojis like this?

onward and upward.

Valentine’s Day, while silly and trivial to some, will always be one of my fave days. an entire day for love…what’s not to love? we have big plans of getting a heart-shaped pizza from P.Murph’s, eating ice cream, and watching the Walking Dead. if we aren’t the most romantic people you’ve ever met…then I probably have an emoji for you and it might be the middle finger one. wink smiley.

happy Valentine’s Day!!! heart eye emojis galore.

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you’ve given me these loving wings 

happy birthday to Ben!

Ben is the best for a lot of reasons, and not just because he slays spiders and takes out the trash. he is, unmistakably, the truest version of himself on almost any given day. and that is something I will always appreciate. three years ago when Ben and I went on our first date, my life changed forever. there is a different sense of adventure and purpose that fills his soul, and simply because of how he moves through life it makes me a better person.

the first year I knew him we both fumbled through our relationship, much like I seem to fumble through any sort of activity we participate in together. read: cross country skiing/our first bike ride in Dubuque/the one time I tried to make homemade tomato soup and the blender exploded. if it wasn’t for his encouragement and easy-going love, I probably would have tossed in the towel a long time ago.

what a typical day looks like when Ben feigns appropriate concern over all my many concerns…

me: did you lock the door? what if someone breaks in while we are sleeping? what if they hide in the shower? but seriously, what if they are in the shower? is this headache a tumor? should you eat that?

Ben (voice of reason): blank stare.

every day is an adventure with him.

there is something so unique and special about unshakable bonds forged together in adventure. when Ben proposed I knew that the rest of our life together would be an ongoing adventure, weaving us together water-tight. that is not to say our love exists solely in adventure. sometimes it’s easy to overlook the love that grows during the rest, recovery, and reflection after grandeur events.

but the easy Sunday mornings we spend sipping coffee, talking about whatever comes to mind, while taking turns to pick a new record to spin, are some of the calmest and loveliest moments of my life. they take me back to the beginning months of dating when we would sit in Ben’s St. Cloud apartment with the windows open, listening to the rain patter against the sidewalk right outside, speculating what life was all about.

and if I had to answer that question today, what life is all about? I’d say it’s about continuously fumbling through all of life’s adventures, no matter how mundane, with the person you can’t live without.

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three words

this morning I dropped Ben off so he could embark on a training trip to Florida with his team. while saying goodbye for extended periods of time is never easy, having to say goodbye the day after Christmas felt especially difficult.

I know he’s only gone for a week, and I know we are spending the rest of our lives together, but even that doesn’t feel like enough time with him.

since Ben is on a bus for 22 hours, he has a lot of time to do things he normally doesn’t do, like go through old emails. this afternoon he forwarded me a piece of writing I had written in the only creative writing class I took in college.

creative writing is not something that interests me and I remember how out of my element I felt in the class, especially because we shared so much of our writing out loud with the class to receive feedback. there was one day in particular where our assignment was to write a “word painting” about a significant emotional experience. it was the easiest writing assignment for me in the class, but it made me realize  how much I struggle with saying how I feel out loud. writing about my feelings has always been easier for me. it’s why I place importance on giving birthday cards. it’s why I can’t bring myself to delete text messages with Ben, and why I took a screenshot of the first message he ever sent me months ago because it now takes 45+ minutes to scroll through our messages to get back to the beginning…image

when Ben dropped me off after our first date, we sat in his car talking before I went upstairs. I remember not saying a lot, we were both just smiling at each other. I wasn’t going to make the first move, but I watched Ben smile shyly and bite his lip as I opened the car door to exit. previous to these text messages, Ben and I had only exchanged Facebook messages. we didn’t even have each other’s phone numbers until he was on his way to pick me up and needed directions. it is so crazy, beautiful, and wonderful how life works out.

I had actually forgotten about this piece until today when Ben reminded me it exists. I wrote it over a year ago, and it has been even longer since Ben and I first exchanged “I love yous,” but I remember this night, and how I was feeling, perfectly. the table we sat at while we drank wine and listened to music at the Veranda. stumbling into Ben’s apartment and finding the living room floor because the room was spinning. I remember feeling just as nervous as I was the night we went on our first date. I don’t think the Monarch butterflies will ever disappear, and I okay with that.

The three words you patiently wait to express at just the right moment in every relationship carry more meaning than all of the bottles of wine, the late night conversations, and movie dates.

It had been weighing on my mind.

It was one year after our very first date, a date that was filled with awkward, yet comfortable, silences. It had been a year full of discovering, navigating, and trying to understand what we were doing.

But, in that moment, I knew.

We were laying on the living room floor, buzzed from a bottle of shiraz, and even though we could have talked about anything, there were only three words I wanted to say.

I knew I had to say something, so I sat up straighter and pulled at my hair, uttering the very cliche line of, “So, I have to tell you something…”

His posture adjusted accordingly and his always-inquisitive eyes curiously looked up at me.

Everything about this night was so different than any time before. I had not minded the snow flakes that had fallen on us, or the bitterness of the air. The time seemed to pass both quickly and slowly, with the alluring promise of not having to set an alarm for the next morning.

I knew.

I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but it felt like there were not enough words in the universe to convey exactly how I was feeling.

The neighbors footsteps above us seemed absurdly loud, and the ticking of the clock seemed to mimic how fast my heart was beating. I silently wondered how the rest of the world could keep spinning when I had something so important and monumental to say.

And just like all the best moments, it was fleeting.
And I do not think there will ever be enough words.

There are still awkward, yet comfortable, silences.
There are still bottles of wine, late night conversations, and movie dates.

But now there is this presence of so much more. There are so many avenues to still discover, navigate, and try to understand.

Our stories will continue to cross like lovers’ legs in the night.

I look forward to every bottle of wine, every late night conversation, and every movie date I will share with this guy for the rest of my life, but more importantly, I can’t wait to be this guy’s wife.

my moment with a dress

I have expectations for our wedding.

I keep telling people we’re going to accidentally have a bohemian-inspired wedding, because all I envision are tons of flowers and flowy material floating on a breezy, not too warm, but not too chilly September day.

let’s be real, there’s no “accident” to my vision, and my expectations are high. but, at the end of the day, all that matters is that Ben and I will be exactly where we’re supposed to be—together. forever.

last (black) Friday, I went to a small bridal boutique in my hometown. I’m not even sure I can call it a boutique? it is a store in a strip mall. anyway, it is where my sister found her dress and my mom was insistent we go try on during their sale.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but (again) I had certain expectations of how I would look at our wedding, and how could a store in my hometown possibly meet those expectations?

when I walked into the boutique, a lady that had helped my sister find her dress approached us. she led us into the room where they keep their gowns and explained how their Black Friday sale worked. my eyes immediately darted around the racks of dresses trying to find one that would make me feel better about shopping in a strip mall for my wedding dress.

the lady (I never even got her name) asked me what I thought I wanted, so I told her I loved lace and tulle. I wanted to have straps and I wanted it to be appropriate for our setting in the northern WI outdoors. she showed me some ideas, but left us to pull gowns out that I wanted to try on. what I realized almost immediately is that it is so hard for people not to project their own ideas onto what you want.

I kept an open mind and, with the help of some of my maids and mom, I pulled probably a dozen dresses to take back to try on. this is where it really became real.

sliding into that first dress was so exciting. I kept telling the lady that was helping me change how weird it felt. and when I looked back at pictures of me in the first couple of dresses, weird is written all over my face. it didn’t help that the first dress I put on was in some color called “rum.” the first dress was one that I had pulled. it was made out of chiffon and had the flow I thought I wanted. it was a beautiful dress, but I knew immediately it wasn’t for me.

I experienced the same sentiments for the next couple of dresses, but while I was changing into the third dress, I (unbeknownst to myself) pointed to “my” dress and told the lady I was most excited to try that one on.

it was while I was putting the fourth dress on that I had my moment. after I stepped into the gown I couldn’t take my eyes off of the mirror in front of me. I started to imagine the look on Ben’s face as I walked down the aisle to him. I cried. the lady (again, still don’t know her name), asked if I wanted to cry with her in the dressing room, or if I wanted to go cry out there with everyone else. I walked out and watched everyone turn around and smile. it’s like we all just knew.

it’s better than anything I ever imagined for myself. Ben is going to be speechless, mostly because it’s completely different than how he sees me all the time. not, like, bedhead hair with morning breath level different, but stunningly lovely, instead of practical and cute. for once in my life (and that’s probably enough), I’m going to look graceful and delicate and pretty, like an ethereal woodland goddess floating in to marry my one true love.

I’d say that, so far, everything has exceeded my expectations for the wedding. only 284 more days to go!

 

making plans to change the world, while the world is changing us

when I was in high school, this girl I knew told me I was going to be a really good mother some day. I think she was saying it because I am naturally a worrier and do-gooder, but I have also been reading “mom blogs” for several years, so yes, I will be a really good mother some day. this has stuck with me over the years because I cannot wait to have children (not just because I want to name them, but that’s a fun perk) and I know when it happens, I’ll be completely unprepared like everyone else, but I am just going to hope that my maternal instincts kick in like they did for Mindy Lahiri on The Mindy Project. I figure if I’m going to be a mess, I might as well be a hot mess.

I also know Ben is going to be a really good father some day, for very different reasons. he’ll balance out my neurotic self, like telling me no when I try to microchip our children so we always know their whereabouts.

our 11-year-old basset, Lucy, had surgery and a few teeth removed last week, so we have waited on her hand and foot, which is honestly no different from a typical day with Lu, but now we have to lift her on to every piece of furniture, administer medications 3x a day, and walk her outside so she her cone doesn’t get stuck on a branch and poke her eyeball out.

so, for the past week, Ben and I have both gotten a glimpse of how we will be as parents, and I think it is safe to assume we are probably already a little annoyed and terrified about what our future children will be put through.

for example: Ben is very aggressive around Lucy in her vulnerable state. he moves very quickly and pets her like she does not have an incision on her tummy. I remind him to be gentle around her, to which he replies that him and Lucy have a very loving relationship. well, Ben, love isn’t supposed to hurt! just jokes. he would never hurt her.

likewise, has not been impressed by my “helicopter” parenting and has told me many times that I will not be this way with our children. so what if I think Lucy deserves her own heater blanket and think her bed should be moved from room to room in the house, depending on where we are? so what if I want to wrap a bandanna around her neck to make the cone more comfortable?

checks and balances, people.

all jokes aside, there is always something to be grateful for year-round, but Thanksgiving is really one of my favorite holidays because it presents the perfect opportunity to let us feel life to its beautiful core. it is hard to avoid the news and all the negativity that is in the world. and it can be completely debilitating. sometimes it is so scary for me to think about bringing babies into the world (someday), but I have to keep believing that the heart of life is good (thanks, John Mayer).

my book club read We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride this month and it was phenomenal. I read it in one day and finished it after Ben had fallen asleep beside me. I was silently sobbing because I didn’t want to wake him up, but it moved me more than anything I have read in years. it is so easy to think that the good vibes we put into the universe don’t matter, but they absolutely do. everyone is always going through something, and smiling at a stranger in Target could turn someone’s day around. our tiny acts of caring can lead to something grandeur, and maybe we’ll never witness the buildup or reap the benefits of all of our good intentions, but someone, somewhere, will.

despite all the crazy in the world, there is always so much to be thankful for. a healthy puppy. a calm, loving fiancé. two wonderful families we always look forward to spending time with. friends that are willing to hear about both the good and bad days. jobs that allow us to live comfortably. heater blankets. wine. making pancakes and listening to records on slow Sunday mornings.

“It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed.”
Laura McBride, We Are Called to Rise

xo

on being engaged to Ben Gill

we have been engaged for over two months and here is how life has changed (read: stayed the same for Ben).

Ben still claims to get zero room in bed and no covers, so last night I made a conscious effort to make sure he had adequate room to sleep and enough covers to keep him from shivering. to repay me, he “accidentally” smacked me in the face while attempting to slide his arm under my pillow. minutes later, he had an “itch” on his face and the same arm attempted to put me in a choke-hold why he scratched the itch. so, sleeping is still blissful! 

now I get to save Ben’s name in my phone as “Feyonce” with a bunch of heart-eyed emojis. 

I’m more responsible with what I do while wearing my engagement ring (which is all the time) because I do not want to scratch it, make it dirty, ruin it, or lose it. no more dishes or cleaning toilets for me! just jokes. I never realized how careless I was with my hands before I wore an engagement ring. the first full day I had my ring, I scraped the bottom of it along the wall while I was reaching for a box of cereal. I don’t know how it happened, and you can barely see the scratch, but I know it is there. and this is why we can’t have nice things. 

when we first got engaged, I told Ben if we picked a date and a venue that we could wait a while before making more decisions. joke’s on him and my type-A personality. I almost can’t handle not making decisions anymore, so it’s time to get down to business!
 
we have a date. we have a venue. we almost have a menu. we took (adorable) engagement pictures. I can say they are adorable because I have seen them now, but if you had asked me before our photographer sent the prints, I would have told you that Ben and I are the most incompatible picture takers that have ever ended up together. if you think I’m being dramatic, I’m not. it was almost as if Ben and I were back on our first date and he was uncomfortable by the amount of eye contact I was making and I couldn’t stop nervously laughing. we are so fun.
 
now, we just need to solidify a DJ, apparel (nbd), flowers, music, decorations, and bathroom options for our outdoor ceremony and reception. and probably a thousand other things that I’m forgetting. sometimes I suggest to Ben that we should try to do some wedding planning this weekend and he’ll say, “like what?” then I respond that I don’t really know. and that usually ends the convo.
 
I have started writing my vows, but let’s be honest, I had started writing those before Ben proposed. I’m impatient that way. I haven’t been able to read through what I’ve written so far without sobbing…every. time., so there’s something to look forward to at the wedding!
 
after the first couple months of celebrations and excitement, I will speak for both of us and say we are still so excited to be on this journey together. except for maybe Ben, who tried to break up with me the other night after I told him our future children had to wear both Packers and Vikings apparel. he told me that would be like letting our children wear both Wild and Blackhawks apparel, so I conceded. still, I’m a bit concerned that was a deal-breaker at this point in our relationship…

 
sometimes I almost can’t sit still thinking about how excited I am for our future together, but then Ben brings me back to the present by reminding me every day that this is water and that enjoying the process is just as important as the wedding we are planning.

is it too much to say #blessed? because that’s how I feel.