Monday, May 28, 2007

three and a half days...

that's all we have left of the school year with kids. granted, there'll be three more days of meetings the next week, but still... it's getting close.

justin and i celebrated our month-iversary on monday of last week. it's hard to believe it's already been a month, and we're also nearing our next milestone--the house closing--in just a little under two weeks. i've already started packing boxes, but it's awesome to know that this is the last time i'll be packing things up in several years--YEARS! as a girl that's moved atleast once a year for the past six years, this is a huge sigh of relief.

our weekends have been crowded lately, so it will be nice to be a little settled in a while. we're busting out of the apartment, between justin's stuff and wedding presents, so it's actually been good to be out of the place during the day. maggie's wedding in winston-salem was fabulous, a classic southern affair in black and white, complete with horse and carriage, champagne toasts and huge oak trees. the next weekend was a weekend of showers, with linda's bridal shower brunch on saturday and katie's baby shower on sunday. and this past weekend, for the holidays, we headed to fayetteville to redo my room at home so it is now gender neutral, clean, and can accommodate justin and me quite comfortably. we were also able to squeeze in a trip to the beach yesterday for justin's sister's birthday. though it was crowded in the parking lot, fighting the traffic was well worth it once we got on the sand and in the water. a beautiful day for beaching and cooking out.

and today--well, justin had to work, so i'm catching up on cleaning, errands and packing. quite productive and preparing for our last week of classes. summer's almost here...

later, y'all.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

the honeymoon

if you need to get caught up, read the previous post. then start here :)

so with a 8 am flight, we needed to be at the airport around 6:30. we caught the shuttle from the hotel and made it through check-in and security without any trouble. during the flight, we got to see charleston, sc, and kennedy space center from the air. we landed shortly after ten, and not knowing when the next meal might be, ate a quick lunch at the airport. as we went towards baggage claim, i heard my name being paged and headed over the baggage counter as quickly as possible.

on our flight, we had a passenger in a motorized wheelchair that was stowed under the plane with the luggage. this was a fairly small plane, though, and the weight distribution was thrown off so a few suitcases had to be left behind to follow on another flight. they assured us that it was luggage that had been checked plane-side. however, as i made my way to the baggage counter, it became obvious that that wasn't the case. we were reassured that my suitcase was coming on a flight from atlanta and would definitely be here in time to get on the boat (to lessen the suspense--it did).

so then it was over the ship on the bus and through the long process of checking in. we were actually in our room by about one o'clock, so we ate lunch and explored the ship, had our muster station drill, and came back to find that yes, my suitcase made it. we got cleaned up and had our first dinner on the ship, watching the sunset off the stern of boat afterwards.

our two days at sea were a lot of sleeping in late and having breakfast in bed, lounging around on the sun deck (well sun-screened, of course), exploring the ship, taking in movies on the big LCD movie screen, watching shows in the theater, and enjoying huge five course meals. though we enjoyed our time on the ship, it certainly was exciting to wake up wednesday morning to bright sun of st. maarten/martin.

we boarded our bus outside of the ship to take us on our tour of the island. we stopped first at a souvenir marketplace called the village plantation, where we were offered rum punch and the chance to buy various trinkets. the rum punch became a theme at all of these places--more likely for you to buy things, i suppose. next stop was the flea market in the french capital, marigot. this was my favorite stop, simply for the photo opportunities and the wonderful crafts that were being sold. we picked up a small watercolor painting there, as well as a quick snack to tide us over until lunch. i loved the colors, the sounds, the smells, the whole environment of the flea market. we took our still-warm sandwiches back to the bus and headed on to the beach.

the boo boo jam beach (yes, actual name) was located on part of orient beach, the widely popular "nude" beach on the island. though our touristy beach section was pretty much free from nudity (thank goodness) we did see some as we strayed away to more public sections of the beach. the water was gorgeous, though, clear and amazing blue all the way out to the horizon. we slathered on sunscreen, drank lots of water, and swam to keep cool in the almost noon-day sun. alas, this where i got my sunburn for the week, but it was a great beach experience otherwise.

we headed back to the ship to shower and eat lunch before we ventured off once more, just long enough to explore the shops around the port and get a drink at one of the bars nearby. as we watched catamarans come in and all the passengers walk back and forth from the dock, we talked with the locals working there and took it all in. such an interesting island--a mix of french culture, dutch heritage and the tropical lifestyle.

st. thomas was our next stop, and the morning presented itself rainy and windy. i had invested in a floppy straw hat after my day in the sun before, but that proved not to be a problem on thursday morning. we ran through the pouring rain from the ship to our open-air safari vans. thankfully, the rain let up in time for the tour to start, and it was overcast but comfortable for the rest of the morning. we visited mountain top, where we sampled their world famous banana daquiris, drove around to various vistas off of the moutain roads, made another stop at st. peter's great house where, yet again, rum punch was available, and then headed to downtown charlotte amalie where they were celebrating "carnivale"--their own version of mardi gras. the streets were crowded with locals in very skimpy carnivale costumes, roads were closed, traffic was crazy and as we were let off at one of the major intersections, that's about the time that the bottom let out and it began to pour again. we took a wrong turn, ended up in the not-so-good neighborhood, and had to walk back to the shopping area in the rain.

this was the point at which i had my mini-melt down. i don't like being lost in a place i don't know surrounded by lots of locals in the pouring down rain. it's slightly stressful and not that much fun.

justin saved the day by getting us back to our starting point and taking us far enough in the downtown area to catch a cab going to the other end of the town. we finally got to our destination, paradise point, and rode tiny trams up to the top of the mountain where we were greeted with shops, a wonderful restaurant and, eventually...sunshine. after some food and an amazing concoction called the bushwhacker, the sun came out and we were able to enjoy our view of st. thomas and charlotte amalie before heading back to the ship.

our day at sea was a busy one, with a tour of the galley and cooking show in the morning, ice carving demonstration in the afternoon, and a big event for me--the "on deck for the cure" 3k walk for the susan g. komen foundation. this was the first week the ship had held the walk, but they're trying to raise $1m for breast cancer research along with other ships in the industry. though it was warm, it was definitely worth it and i had a great time (and have a cool hat to remember it). we got ready for our last formal night and then had a full evening of dinner, comedy, hypnosis, champagne waterfall and "london pub night" which kept us out until 1 am.

we did have to get up the next morning for princess cay, the cruise ship's private island in the bahamas where we were able to snorkel, swim, eat (of course), and relax along the sandy beaches as we watched people fall off the banana boat rides. seriously, they had a ton of watersport activities with sailing, paddleboats and those big bike contraptions to keep everyone entertained. after a few hours on shore, it was time to take the tender back in and prepare for our last night on the ship.

along with a wonderful dinner, our last night was spent staking out spots to watch our favorite entertainer, bert. i first heard bert the second night of the cruise as we walked past crooner's bar along the atrium. he was leading all of the audience in his own rendition of "sweet caroline," and i told justin, we should come back and see him tomorrow night. well, we did and we were both hooked. he's a combination of jim carrey and victor borga at the piano, with an awesome repetoire of broadway, oldies, rock and roll and his own material. he coins phrases, encourages audience "participitation," and actually makes you sing parts over again if he doesn't feel you did it up to snuff. we ended up standing outside of crooner's several nights singing along with bert, and made it to his full show in one of the lounges as well. i can't really explain why he was so addicting, so you can look him up on youtube or check out his website, he actually has fans that book their cruises based on which ship he's on at the time.

other interesting notes about the ship:
justin ate a ton of food. those of you who know justin know that he is not a big eater. but man, there must have been something in the water cause the boy ate all the time. didn't gain a pound, but atleast he tried :)

only one towel animal, but he was cute.

best coffee i've ever had from a non-coffeehouse place. i had coffee all the time just because it was so consistently good.

i remembered to tip people. made me feel very grown-up :)

and finally--if you have the pleasure of going on a cruise, eat dessert. every night. trust me.

disembarkation was uneventful, and we had way too much time to kill at the airport before our flight. the transition from cruise food to airport food is a difficult one. and now we're back and in to the end of school routine, waiting patiently for our house to be ready so we can sign the papers and move on in. we had the joy of watching maggie and baxter get married last weekend in winston salem, and this weekend i'm helping celebrating linda and brandon's upcoming nuptials and the arrival of baby girl mcanally with katie and nathan with a couple of showers. life is good for everyone right about now...

check out flickr for pictures and anything else i might've missed. videos are posted on justin's website, the link is to the right.

that's all for now. later, y'all...

"mrs. thorn, please call 210, mrs. thorn, call 210"

so i'm still getting used to hearing that over the intercom at school. almost a week back now, and i'm never quite sure what i'll be called, or what to call myself as when i'm introduced. guys never have to worry about this, but i must admit--i love it.

it's my first post back, and i imagine this will come in a couple of drafts. there's so much to share since i last wrote, and it's hard to put it all down into words, but i'll try.

we're married, we're living in my tiny one bedroom place for the next month, and we haven't even touched the majority of our presents. it's nice to be home, and it's wonderful to be back in the real world as a married couple. yet it's so hard to believe that just two weeks ago, i was heading to fayetteville to get ready for the bridesmaids luncheon and all of the last minute details before the rehearsal. it feels like ages ago--and yesterday--all at the same time.

so i'll do what i can to touch on the past two weeks. i might even add some pictures, though if you want a full run-down photograph-wise, you need to go to my flickr site. there are quite a few. just click on the "wedding weekend and honeymoon" set and put it on slideshow.

friday, april 20th--we start off by running a few errands and heading down to the kyle house for decorating, and the church to figure out where people will sit, where the wedding party will change, etc. i manage to meet linda downtown and she goes with us to pick up my bridal pictures before we all head to my bridesmaids luncheon at john and mary's house. it was a beautiful afternoon--kinda chilly, but we were able to eat outside, have our "charm pull" for the cake (i got the castle meaning "happily ever after" while grandma got the engagement ring--ha!) and spend time with all of the wonderful women in my life. afterwards, the girls and i went back to my mom's house and painted our nails before we all left to get ready for the rehearsal.

the rehearsal was at 6, and we all began gathering at the church to do a run-through. it was amazing to see all of our family there together. with the distance and family situations, it's rare that you see them all in one room at one time. but tonight, almost everyone was here and it went so smoothly. we practiced the ceremony once, gave the guys a lesson in ushering, and before we knew it, it was time to eat again!

the haymont grill and steakhouse holds many childhood memories for me--i remember going there as a kid after church for lunch and getting spaghetti, or the hamburger steak. it was the best option for us when we started looking at banquet rooms, and they accomodated us so well. i went around to all of the tables, playing hostess, and enjoyed visiting with all of our family that had come in town. we had toasts, including a touching one from scott, a funny one from linda, a suprisingly calm one from justin and as for me...well, i told myself i wouldn't get choked up, but it didn't happen. we had the best time, though, and afterwards, the bridal party headed back to the hotel where most were staying and had a quick drink before bed. though i had been afraid of not sleeping, by midnight, i was exhuasted and immediately fell asleep.

we started off the morning with a quick visit to great harvest for some scones, hot coffee and well-wishes from the bread heads there. with time to kill, we headed back over to the kyle house to help with decorating with grandma and all her friends. then it was off to lily's for the third and final styling of my hair. sprayed in place, we went back home where i did my make-up, figured out what was going with us to the church, and picked up lunch from subway decked out with my veil (that got a few looks). quick lunch in the fellowship hall, fun times getting dressed, and the photographers appeared. i was handed my flowers and waited patiently to see my groom. though he had seen me in my veil earlier, this would be the first time he saw the gown and jewelry and i was so excited to see him in his tux.

he walked in to our quiet little space tucked back behind the sanctuary, and we had our moment just to look at one another and take in everything. we hugged and shared a sweet kiss as the photographer snapped away. i got teary and was quite happy to have had my waterproof mascara. after a little bit of dabbing and a couple more pictures, we went out to join the rest of our group for the formals.

suprisingly, a half hour passed by and we were done. justin and i got whisked away as guests started arriving, and we did a few pictures in the back, as well as some fun shots with the bridesmaids. there's a lot of time to kill that half hour before the ceremony. i do remember waiting outside as my bridesmaids went down the aisle, hiding behind the door until they called me into the narthex. everyone said i booked it down the aisle, not that i was really paying attention to my speed, and suddenly, there we all were.

i don't remember specifics about the ceremony except that my feet were starting to hurt being in heels and standing on a slope up front. i shifted my weight back and forth the whole time. justin's hands were sweaty, and he had a little bit of trouble putting my ring on. we tried to speak clearly. according to everyone, we did and it was great cause sometimes you can't even hear the vows.

we kissed, turned around and smiled, and i kept justin from going down the wrong aisle. then we were whisked away again until the majority of the guests left and we could come back in to recreate a few key moments for the photographer. we piled into justin's car, drove the three blocks to the reception, and came in a very crowded house with a lovely tent out back. i found my beaded white flip flops as soon as possible. if there's one piece of advice i'll give any bride, have a back up pair of shoes. you'll be grateful. trust me.

we ate, we did the whole champagne thing, we got frosting on each other's noses, i threw a small bouquet, justin threw my garter, and we faked our exit with lots and lots of bubbles. in between all that, i saw tons of people and said "thank you" a million times and posed for pictures and caught up with old friends. it was so awesome--everyone was so happy, and it was like everyone that i loved and cared about the most was there to see me and my wonderful husband. it was the biggest and best party i could have ever been a part of.

i could've stayed there forever...
but we had a 8 am flight in the morning and reservations in raleigh. so it was into our "just married" life is good shirt, back to pick up my big 'ol suitcase, and off to prepare for our tropical vacation.