Friday, December 31, 2010

2010, A Year to Remember

There are many words that come to mind when reflecting on the past year: stressful, life-changing, uplifting. Reflecting back on moments that made up this year, some bring a tear to my eye and some bring a smile to lips. 

Here are some of the highlights:

The celebration of my grandfather's life in his passing.
The "a-ha" moment when realizing you want to spend the rest of your life with someone.
The torture of purchasing an engagement ring and keeping it a secret.
The big proposal and the accompanying story that will be told over and over and over again (but never gets old).
A new addition to the family in Miss Aubrey.
First professional political win (many years in the making).
The miracle of modern medicine and the speedy recovery of my mother after open heart surgery.
Spending Christmas with someone you love.
Ringing in the New Year with truly good friends.

As 2010 draws to a close the excitement in me builds about the year to come. 2011 is going to be a year packed with new beginnings and life milestones. Now to just solidify my resolutions....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Isn't She Lovely...Isn't She Wonderful

Pardon the interuption from wedding talk, but wanted to share what Martha and I were up to this past weekend. We traveled up to Decatur to meet, for the first time, the beautiful and the oh so darling Aubrey. She is my brother's daughter and boy can you tell it (poor girl).

I know everyone loves my blog posts, but who doesn't love pictures of babies?? Especially one as cute as this! So here are some pictures to enjoy I'll be back after Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Musical Wedding?

I have a confession. I am indeed a Gleek. I know that flack will be had from friends and family over this, but I do not care. Something about that show, as trashy as it can be at times, has me riveted.

Maybe it is the fact that life as a musical has always captured my imagination. How cool would life be if at any moment you and/or those around you broke out into a song to express the mood of any situation? What if at Usher's suggestion your High School Prom broke out into a choreographed dance

Or if you could express the way you felt about your best friend in a sentimental ballad.

A few weeks ago an episode featured a Very Gleek Wedding. The procession that began the wedding got Martha's excitement up and my imagination working. If you missed it, take a look. (WARNING the song is really catchy and will be stuck in your head for days!)

Now that I have alarmed all of those involved in the wedding, fear not, there is another version that doesn't include singing.

In all seriousness though, this is only a fantasy. 1. I am WAY too traditional for such a thing. 2. These ideas seem great in the abstract, but that amount of planning, practice and courage it would take to put this together is way too much for me. However, the reception might be another story....

My Terrible Blogging Habit

Yes my friends, I have failed. I  have not kept this blog as up to date as I had wished. But with the encouragement of my wonderful fiancĂ©e, I am back on the wagon. With a little more time on my hands and a few more ideas in my head I am getting back to this.

Your thoughts, concerns and encouragements are always welcomed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


After many nights stewing over what was to come, Martha’s birthday weekend had finally arrived. Friday morning we got up early and hit the road for Chicago. Martha hadn’t a clue that we would return to St. Louis starting a new chapter in our life together.

We were cruising through the corn fields of Illinois and rocking out to some of our favorite songs when I heard a terrible and all too familiar noise. We had blown a tire.

SIDENOTE: Almost every flat tire I have ever experienced in my life has been while Martha is in the car. It must be some sort of hex she has on her.

We rumbled to the side of the road and I got out doing my manly duties and tackle this flat tire. Nothing was going to ruin this weekend, especially not a flat tire. So with a doughnut attached and a shredded tire in the trunk, we continued on.

As we neared Chicago a wave of grogginess washed over me. Changing a tire can be stressful and take a lot out of a guy, but there was no way I labored that much over a tire. Then it hit me, Martha, always looking out for me, purchased antihistamine medicine for me to take. Martha and her family are big fans of animals. So much so that Martha has 3 and her Grandmother... I don't know how many. Nick, not so much a big fan of animals. Mainly because when spending an extended period of time with them, especially cats, I want nothing more than to dig my eyes out with a spoon. When we stopped for the last potty break, Martha handed me two pills and said "take these." Those two pill were from the box with the warning: "may cause drowsiness." I was able to tough it out though and made it to Martha's grandparents house without a further incident.

Once we arrived, I quickly searched for an excuse to take a nap. Luckily, someone needed to join Martha's 2 year-old niece for nap time. A few hours later, and probably a lot of loud snoring, I was back to my normal self.

Martha's grandparents live in a private community alongside Lake Michigan just inside Indiana. This affords visitors the luxury of enjoying Lake Michigan on a private beach. After a grueling winter, spring and early summer of campaign work, I was ready to enjoy. What made it even more fun was playing with a 2 year-old with an endless amount of energy.

While at the beach, Martha's sister Sarah took it upon herself to let me know she thought it was time that Martha and I take our relationship to the next level and I that I really should seriously consider asking her to marry me. This has been a mantra that Sarah has been on for a while, so this came as no surprise. My normal response was something along the lines of “we are just seeing where things go.” Wanting not to give away the surprise, my response this time was no different. I even threw in something about “keeping my options open” just for good measure and to throw her off any scent she may or may not have picked up on.

After time at the lake and a tasty dinner, the family gathered for a "friendly" game of Boggle. No one warned me though that Grandpa has a plethora of words he pulls out for these occasions. Some of them I had never heard, nor do I think Merriam-Webster even knew existed. No sweat though, I adapted to the shifting rules of play and was able to hold my own. When I say I was able to hold my own, I mean that I was able to do better than Martha or Sarah, and that is all that really matters.

The night was going great. Spending time with Martha's family was enjoyable and getting to relax was great knowing the next day would change my life forever. That was until Martha's grandmother ended a phone conversation and announced to that she had something important to share with us. Just that evening, Martha's cousin was at a concert in Indianapolis and was asking his significant other to marry him. While the entire family erupted in jubilation, a lump crept into my throat and a pit built in my stomach. To make matters worse, Sarah looks at Martha and says, "Martha, wouldn't it be so neat to share an engagement weekend with Carl and Paula?" Martha's response not only made the lump in my throat grow bigger, but made me question my plans.

"No way," she says, "That’s a terrible idea, who wants to share an engagement weekend."

How a cold sweat did not wash over me or my face turn the color of a fire engine is beyond me. Worse yet, thoughts of whether or not to continue with my plans ran through my mind. The calm, cool, collected persona flew out the window.

That night while tossing and turning on the couch a nasty thunderstorm churned outside. Many scenarios went through my head. After wrestling with the decision for a good part of the night, I decided that this was the time. Tomorrow, I would ask Martha to marry me.

In the morning we gathered our things and headed into Chicago for the game. We were able to get out of the house at a reasonable time and it looked like we might be early to the game! (When you are dealing with Leader girls, this is a HUGE accomplishment!) However, success was short lived. We had no idea that the movie Transformers 3 was being filmed throughout the city. This meant rolling street closures, including the one outside of our hotel and every street that the GPS told us to turn onto. We finally got to a spot where Martha and Sarah could get out and hoof it a block to the hotel. After circling a few random blocks, the streets opened up just as Martha finished checking in.

I expected to park the car in a nearby lot or garage, take our bags to the room and be off to Wrigley Field. Martha had other ideas. We found the parking garage for the hotel, 4 blocks away. At this point, we were just barely going to make it to the game on time. Tense moments followed as Martha and I had a short back and forth about leaving our bags in the car. She had no idea what was sitting in my suitcase. I did, and did not want it sitting in a parking garage in downtown Chicago. The other option of walking through Wrigley Field with a diamond in my pocket didn't seem to be a smart one either. Against my better judgment, the ring sat in my suitcase in the trunk of the car. Many prayers were said in hopes of it still being there upon our return.

We descended into the bowels of Chicago and waited for a train to arrive. Just as things settled and Sarah asked to see the tickets, the tickets!!!! While wrestling with the previous situation, I had completely forgotten to grab the tickets out of my bag! Somehow, some way this fat boy was able to run back to the parking garage, grab the tickets from my bag, check on the ring (just to be safe) and run back to the subway just in time to board a car with Martha and Sarah. We were on our way to Wrigley Field.

As a Cardinals fan, I have always had an utter distain for Wrigley Field. It represents many things Cardinals fans despise, mainly losing. Nothing good ever happens there, just ask a Cubs fan. However, as we walked through the gate and into the stands an excitement grew inside of me. Much history has taken place on this field. Not much winning, especially championships, but legends of the game played on this field. When they say there is not a bad seat in the house, they mean it. Our seats, though they were in the upper deck, were great! The game though, not so much. For the first time that Martha and I had gone to a Cubs-Cards game together, my Birds lost. I sucked up the loss and laughed at Martha singing "Go, Cubs Go" (video of this is available but has been barred from ever gracing the internet). It was her birthday though, so she could have this one.

After the game we walked Sarah to the train station for her trip back to Martha's grandparents'. Martha and I meandered through Grant Park and by “The Bean.” Against my better judgment, we took one of the infamous pictures of us staring into the reflective surface of this blob of art. Sweaty and gross from the day’s travels, a shower was a necessary commodity. Also needed were a few moments to gather myself before the night's events.

Our dinner was FABULOUS. A few weeks prior we made sure to select a restaurant and make reservations. Doing so made the experience what it was. We walked right into the Weber's Grill Restaurant, passed the line of folks waiting to have a seat and were taken right to our table. It might have been that we were incredibly hungry, but the food was top notch. They even took care of bringing out birthday cake and a candle for Martha! We talked and ate and enjoyed just having some time to ourselves. As we paid the check and got up to leave, my nerves began to set in. After making a quick stop in the restroom, mainly to make sure the ring was still secure in my pocket, we were on our way.

Before unfolding the evenings happenings to you, let me fill you in on this fact. I was never a boy scout, but I’m ALWAYS prepared. There is always a plan, a backup plan and a backup - backup plan. This night was no different. However, my thoroughness would be tested in a big way.

As we walked a short way to Navy Pier where we were to enjoy fireworks the clouds began to gather. As we approached the Pier, we saw a sign that made my heart sink: "FIREWORKS CANCELLED." Well, there goes that. The picturesque moment of me down on one knee... tears in her eyes as fireworks danced in the sky overhead just disappeared. Martha, having no idea what had just happened, was disappointed but still wanted to walk around the Pier to take in the sights.

Alright, I told myself, onto the backup plan. Research told me that Navy Pier had photo booth's in which you could take instant photos. However, in our walking around Navy Pier not a one could we find. After walking through the entire place we finally found an employee to ask where to find the elusive booths. We were pointed to a side hallway where we would find a photo booth. After walking around in the summer heat, perspiration became reality. (A big guy, walking around Chicago in the dead of summer, yeah I was a little sweaty.)

Let me take a moment to say that I would like to find the person who decided to take the photo booth to a whole new level by putting a display on the outside of the booth showing what is going on inside the booth. Then I would like to punch him square in the face.

As we approached the booth, inside was a very nice couple getting their picture taken. On the outside an obnoxious family stood giggling at them. Figuring that after the couple got done this family would get theirs and then they would be on their way was dead wrong. They were just there to enjoy the free show. Whipping from my brow the torrent of perspiration, and praying that the family outside would walk away, I collected myself and we entered the booth. The family did not leave. The curtain to the photo booth had been left open as not to suffocate us inside what felt like a sauna. However, a little boy poked his head in and instructed me that it was supposed to be closed and took it upon himself to do so. At that moment realization that this wonderful idea of having photo documentation of Martha's face the moment I asked her to marry me was, just like the fireworks, not going to happen... Backup plan shot.

Not a big deal, onto the back-up back-up plan. After Navy Pier we were set to head to the Hancock Building. On one of the upper floors of this building there is a bar where you can grab a drink and enjoy the view of the city. In my mind we would be having a celebratory drink up there after success at Navy Pier. Worst case scenario, we would end up there and I would ask her with an amazing view of the city she loves in the background. We walked what seemed like a marathon to get to the Hancock Building from the Pier. We walked inside the lobby and were greeted by a large line that snaked through the lobby. No sweat, we figured these folks were all in line to get to the observatory deck. But again, I was wrong. The line was to get up to the bar. In fact, it was a three hour wait just to get onto the elevator. At this point, it was 10:00 pm. Martha, not knowing the significance of why we needed to get up to that bar, was fine with not having a drink tonight. She kept reassuring me, "we'll be back up here again. We can try this the next time we are up here."

I am not one that MUST have a drink when situations are out of my control, but given the fact that my back-up back-up plan just fell though, this situation warranted a drink. The closest bar we could find was the Hard Rock. We scurried inside as rain began to sprinkle out of the sky. Great, not only has everything failed, but now it is raining. What to do now to salvage this night and make it the special evening it was intended to be? Martha was tiring and my time to make this a memorable engagement story was running out. As we sat and got a drink, a site that was initially on my list of places to see/pop the question came to mind. It had been thrown out because the other plans seemed to much more interesting and special. As the bottom of my whiskey glass came into view (on the rocks of course) I pulled out my iPhone to see how far away we were from Buckingham Fountain. We were several blocks away; it was 10:30 and the park where Buckingham Fountain is located closes at 11:00 pm. This was my last chance. Looking at Martha with the best puppy dog eyes one could could muster I told her I REALLY wanted to go and see it TONIGHT. She looked at me quizzically as I encouraged her to finished her drink. Yes the one she had just received. After quickly paying the bill we rushed out the door into a taxi.

Martha was a trooper. She had no idea why we were rushing to see a fountain that had stood in Chicago for 83 years and why we had to see it tonight. As we directed the cabbie where we wanted to go, and quickly, he looks at me and says, "Do you have an address?"

What do you mean do I have an address? You are a cabbie in Chicago and you do not know how to get to Buckingham Fountain? A place, I am sure, that thousands of tourists ask a cabbie to get them to every day. Luckily I splurged for an iPhone and was quickly able to locate the cross streets where Buckingham Fountain is located. As the cab pulled up to the stop light in front of the fountain I threw him some cash and pulled Martha towards it. We had made it in time! People were stilled gathered, music was playing in the background and the fountain was all lit up and the water was flowing! I scoped the area for the perfect spot. There were some boring benches, some flower beds, and then while I am searching Martha pulls out the camera to snap a picture. As she pushes the button to capture the fountain in all its beauty, everything goes dark. The music stops and water shuts off. At that moment this grown man could have cried like a baby.

Noticing my disappointment that again things were not going as planned, Martha puts her arms around me to console me. Again, she says, "We'll be back another time." But we wouldn't. We would never be back at this moment, with a ring in my pocket and a frog in my throat, wanting the perfect moment to ask her to marry me. Then as she put her arms around me to give me her usual "It will all be ok" hug... it hit me. Another 2x4 upside the head.

During Martha and I's roller coaster of a relationship, things had never been “perfect.” Only once did we live in the same town. Many times we didn’t have a clue what it was we really wanted in each other. But what I realized was the entire reason why I was asking her to marry me. “Perfect” moments were not needed for things to be perfect. As long as I had her, it was already perfect. While sharing with her my realization, I took a knee and pulled from my pocket the box I had kept checking all night to make sure it was still there. As I presented the perfect ring to the perfect girl, I'm pretty sure we both began to cry. A very pathetic look must have surfaced on my face because Martha realized she had not given me an answer. She held my face in her hands and said, "of course I will marry you."

Passersby congratulated us and some even told us it "was the most romantic thing they had ever seen." To this day I cannot tell you what those people looked like or who they might have been. The only thing I could focus on was the smile that was plastered on her face. The entire night came together in that moment and it was indeed perfect. It was not as it was planned, but it was exactly what I hoped for. She said yes, and that was all that mattered.

And that my friends, is the story of how the perfect plan fell apart and lead to the perfect moment.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Ring

It is the hardest substance known to man. and was formed over 3.3 billion years ago below the earth's surface. It weighs less the 1% of one ounce. You can find it in oval, marquis, emerald, pear, princess and round...and it is one of the most difficult things to pick out for a woman.

A big red X had been put next to one of the biggest decisions in life, I was going to ask Martha to marry me. The rest, as they say, would be easy as pie... That was until finding myself in the middle of a jewelry store in search of THE ring. As bright florescent lights beamed down upon me and endless rows of glass counters surrounded me, an overwhelmed feeling began to creep up inside of me. If that was not enough, the obnoxious amount of lose diamonds and ring settings sent my head spinning. I just walked into a situation I was not fully prepared for.

One might have said that the proper research had been done. The three 3 C's, (cut, clarity and color) had been studied. A budget had been set. Even the fees associated with mounting and insurance had been considered. What had not been prepared for was the endless combination of settings and diamonds.From cathedral to halo and paved to solitaire, so many choices were to be had. What should have been known was that when it came to a decision about something for a woman, it was going to be complicated.

One part of the process that was most difficult was picking out a style. You can look online at endless websites that let you create a ring, but it never compares to the real thing. For that, you have to actually go into a store and look at it first hand.

My first experience with a jewelry store, which shall remain nameless, was not the most reassuring. Not only where they over the top pushy, but they wanted my autobiography right there in the store in order to even get to look at any rings. Not only that, but when one associate got a sniff that no ring was to be purchased that day, the big dogs were called in and the heat was turned on. Luckily, I stuck to my guns, but my mind was made up only minutes after sitting in that store. No ring would be purchased here, ever.

One of the best things that I did was go to the Shane Company for my second stop. It too had the same overwhelming atmosphere of endless cases and bright shiny rings, but they also had very nice staff that genuinely seemed interested in helping me find what I wanted and not just sell me a product.

During my first stop there, an associate named Emily was very helpful through the entire process. After making it very clear that the goal of my visit was just to look, Emily made it clear that she did not work on commission and was just there to be as helpful as she could be. She was great. Not once was she pushy and she never showed me anything that was not in my budget. She even went as far as to help me calculate the taxes that would be paid in order to stay within my desired budget. In comparing the size and quality of the ring from "the shop that shall not be named" and the Shane Company, it was clear that it was a better bang for the buck. After an experience like that, there was no need to shop anywhere else.

I left the store that day with options, but not the perfect ring in mind. The biggest hurtle was picking out a style for Martha. The last piece of jewelry I purchased for her was a blue sapphire ring for Christmas some six or seven years ago. She is not the type of person who wears a lot of jewelry, so not much was there from which to draw inspiration. To further complicate matters, I didn't know her ring size! After many dubious attempts to lure her into telling me, it was realized that Martha didn't really know either. In the end, it took me stealing Martha's everyday ring one day while she was in the shower and finding out what finger of mine it would fit on. That ring barely slid to the knuckle of my pinkey finger. Luckily, that was enough to obtain a ring size by comparison at the jewelry store.

After many restless nights droaning over the decision my mind was finally made up. In the end, when I stopped and really thought about what sort of ring would suite Martha it was really pretty easy. What all of us know about Martha is that she is not a complicated girl. From the many settings of rings, one kept standing out. One ring that, in a way, reflects some of the great things about Martha. It is simple and its traditional. Its elegant but not over the top. Because of its simplicity and grace, its best features are extenuated. Because of all of these things, it is amazingly beautiful.

Soon after, I made my way back into the store, found Emily and paid for the perfect ring. At that moment,  something my mother told me years ago came back to me.

"Nicholas my dear," she said, "girls are expensive."

But to be honest, she's worth every penny!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Pickle

What is a guy to do after a two-by-four moment? At the time, it was not the perfect scenario to be engaged. Martha and I were technically dating but we only saw each other on weekends in St. Louis or Columbia. Our families knew we were "friends," if not "good friends," but would they be expecting an engagement? She was looking at some job prospects but there were not any big leads yet in St. Louis. The thought of continuing a long distance relationship was scary enough, but the thought of a long distance engagement was down right frightening. I found myself in a pickle. My mind was made up with what I wanted to do, or so I thought, but I didn't yet see on how it was all supposed to work.

While trying to figure out how it would all come together, I needed to talk with a friend about what was going through my mind. He had already taken the plunge himself and maybe he would have some words of wisdom for me.  Over dinner we walked through Martha and I's long and complicated history, my thought process on why she was the one and why now was the time. He told me he saw no flaws in anything I said but cautioned,

"Once you push that boulder over the hill... you will not be able to get it to stop. Be sure that if and when you are ready, you are really ready."

What he said did not give me pause at the moment, but once digested, it did resonate. Was I really ready? Was this about emotions or was this really the next step in my life? After a brief moment of reassessment, another part of that dinner conversation came to mind. He shared with me his engagement story, details about the wedding day and the joys of married life. While it might have given me pause, it presented an ultimatum. If an engagement was really the next step, if this was the course my life should be taking, my sign would come. There was no need to worry about a long distance engagement. If this was supposed to happen, the pieces would fall into place.

What came as a surprise was how quickly the pieces fell into place. Just a few weeks later Martha was offered a job with the Parkway School District in St. Louis. She would be moving in June and would be in St. Louis full time by the end of July. My sign had just been delivered. My mind was made up. I would be asking this girl to marry me and soon. The only things left to figure out were the minor details of a small piece of shiny metal with a sparkly rock on top and the most romantic proposal ever. Piece of cake... or so I thought.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Two-By-Four Moment

I have heard, on more than one occasion, that who you marry is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. It will be who you make every major decision with for the rest of your life. You will mix your gene pool with theirs; or in some cases hope to dilute one pool or another. They will forever be as much a part of you as you are a part of them. At the least, you have to look at them everyday for a very, very long time. With all that pressure, the decision to get married was not one I was even considering at the beginning of this year.

For many years, family and friends closest to Martha and I went out of their way to reiterate over and over the fact that it was only a matter of time before we would take the plunge. They had pointed this fact out to us again and again. Through times when we weren't speaking to each other, in times when we were "just friends" and most recently when we were whatever it was that we didn't want to call ourselves. However, for me it was not that clear.

Let me back this up a few years to give you some of the history. Almost ten years ago I faintly remember a shy, freckled faced 16 year old red headed girl attending church youth functions in Illinois. Through our interactions at different events we became pretty good friends, but friends is all we ever really were. A few years after meeting Martha I was dating her best friend in High School and even attended Martha's sister's wedding as her best friend's date. We were always good friends, but it wasn't until college that we both flirted with the idea of dating. Looking back, those times in college when we were dating were some of the most enjoyable parts of my college experience. But as I am a glutton for punishment and I thought there were greener pastures to be found; I broke up with Martha after a year and a half of dating. During the time after, I experienced a lot of ups and downs with bad relationships, college ending, struggling with finding a job and starting a new career. But amazingly Martha was there for me through all of it. Offering me a closet of a bedroom when I had no where to go and no money to pay rent. Helping me take care of a burned hand from a unfortunate fireworks accident. Even helping me navigate a relationship I should have never been in and trying her darndest to befriend the girl.

You would think that after all we have been through, I would have jumped at the idea of marrying her. But as I mentioned in my first post, sometimes it takes a two-by-four moment for me to fully wake up to the idea. Many experiences in my life, personal and professional, paved the way for me begin to accept the idea that I was ready to begin the next chapter in my life and to begin it with her. But it was one in particular that smacked me over the head: the passing of my grandfather.

My grandfather died on February 18 of this year. It was while sitting with my grandmother in the hospital ICU and listening to her tell stories about meeting my grandfather after high school, writing back and forth during his deployment during the Korean War, getting married, buying their house, raising a family and ultimately watching her squeeze his hand as his slipped from this earth that I realized there is much more to life that I wanted to experience. My grandfather died surrounded by the people he loved and holding the hand of the woman he loved for more than fifty years. In his death, my grandfather turned the page to the next chapter of my life and for that I will be forever grateful to him.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


"Why am I doing this?" is a question I asked myself today when this idea popped in my head and then subsequently committed to my fiance that we would each do blogs about the experiences leading up to and including our wedding. I came up with a few reasons to justify to myself why I would do this.

1.) There are countless blogs out there that show the "frilly" side of an engagement and wedding, including my fiance's. I want to give the perspective of the other side of what I believe is a story not often told, the story of the Groom.
2.) I/we have gotten countless questions in the last two weeks (wow it has only been two weeks) about our experiences being engaged. This blog provides a vehicle for me/we to keep family and friends up to date about our experiences.
3.) This will be an exercise in keeping my sanity. If I have a place to release the thoughts, worries, concerns and humor about this experience I might just make it out sane. 

Now, what you need to know about me in order for this blog to make a bit of sense to you.

I'm not your typical Groom. 

Right after I got engaged I was told that "my part" was done and now all I had to do was show up for the wedding.. While I did spend months agonizing over the purchase of an engagement ring (I'll save that story for another post), meticulously planning plan A,B,C & D (all of which failed. See Martha's post about our engagement and then choreographing the release of the good news to family, friends and colleagues, I do not believe "my part" is done.

One of the reasons that I had such a terrible time picking out a ring is that it was a complete surprise to Martha. Not a word was mentioned to friends or family, as to keep them surprised and most importantly, not able to ruin the special moment I wanted to take place. She and I talk about everything, including major life decisions. This helps give another perspective, reassure your decisions and most importantly gives me the option to blame her for not stopping me from making a bad decision. This wedding will be OUR wedding. As painful as it will be, I plan on being by her side through every step of the process from bridal shows, to seating charts to the overwhelmed tears. I plan to enjoy every moment of this journey and take in every everything I can.

Sometimes I need a two-by-four to smack me upside the head to realize the obvious.

This again will for sure be a later post, but know that for years Martha has been one of the shinning parts of my life. I may have tried to block out that light at times or pretend it wasn't there, but that is where the two-by-four came in. Almost always, my heart/gut tells me what I should be doing. It usually takes my brain a little while to get invited to the "good idea" party.

I have a bizarre sense of humor.

Be prepared for thoughts and insight that at times might be shocking. However, I will not welcome you completely to my inner psyche. This, of course, is totally for your protection.

Well, I hope you enjoy. I look forward to your questions, feedback and sharing this exciting life journey with Martha and myself.