Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quick Update:

So, I did not fall off the face of the earth! 

Yay!!!

I honestly can't say that I have been busy, necessarily. 

But pre-occupied, maybe? 

We have some exciting news to share......




So as Bradley tells me all the time...I have technically been busy.
Growing a baby takes a lot of work!

But we are SO, SO, SO thankful and so very excited!!! 
We are 16 weeks along, today!

Unfortunately, I have been blessed with 24/7, never-ending morning sickness. Which is why nothing has been happening here. Or anywhere for that matter!
Poor Bradley has done virtually EVERYTHING for weeks and weeks. He seriously is the best!

Close up screens (my phone, iPad, computer, etc.) make me feel motion sick, so that's another reason I have not been posting anything.
Plus the fact, again, I'm not doing anything, cooking anything....psh, I'm barely even eating anything!

But I hope you will bare with me!
I've been told that I should feel better soon, so please send lots of prayers that happens any day now!!

I will hopefully at least be posting pregnancy updates, as I can, and hopefully more things in the future!

Here's a brief summary for you!


14 Weeks

(Please excuse the hair, the mess in the room, etc. It's my life right now)

-Not sure if it's actually a little bump, or my imagination, but we're just going with it right now!
I'm still wearing all my regular clothes, and they fit pretty well. Skirts and things are not tight, but the bands touching my stomach drive crazy. 
-I've been so sick, that I've not had too many cravings yet. And the cravings I do have, and what sounds good, are so weird and random, so I hope you don't get sick just reading this!
They also don't necessarily last all week. It might be great on Tuesday, but I can't look at it on Wednesday.
This week, what sounded good was:
Puff'n popcorn
Peppermint tea
Butter toast
Garlic toast
Plain toast
Basically, any bread! I just needed BREAD!
However, it could not be in a sandwich form. Oh no. Nothing all squished together like that. Yuck. Must be separate.
Except for a Cheeseburger! Thank you, Ruby Tuesdays, for having gluten-free buns!!!
Also, randomly had baked beans one day that had to have been sent straight from heaven. So good.
That week I also had the best taco in my life.
(how is it, that a taco can taste fabulous, but I MUST eat my BLT sandwich un-assembled?)
I can handle some fruit, occasionally. 
Vegetables and meat are my worst enemy.
I feel thirsty all the time, but water and most fluids, for that matter, don't sit very well, if I drink more than an ounce or so at a time.


15 Weeks
Annnnnd the bump looks even smaller this week!
It does shrink sometimes, though. It's bigger and smaller throughout the day.
Plus, it depends on what I ate, and whether it stayed down or not.

According to my doctor, this week, we finally made it to the second trimester 
(that varies between 12 and 16 weeks, depending on who you ask). 
Morning sickness should subside now, and I will feel halfway back to normal.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Nothing is happening.


-Always, always tired. And this has also been since the very beginning. I honestly lay around most of the time, because I'm too nauseous to do anything else, and I'm just so tired. I will fall asleep during the day, at least one time. Then there is the after dinner/pre-bedtime nap. Then I go to bed. How crazy!

-Cravings this week were about the same as last week:
-I was promised Tacos after church on Sunday, so I WAS going to church, no matter what.
- No sandwiches, but any other form of bread was perfect! 
Until Wednesday. Haven't been able to eat but a slice or two since then.
-Blueberry Muffins....they sounded and smelled better than they tasted.
-More Puff'n Corn, please! (I used to hate this stuff)
-I could totally go for a brownie
-And some caffeine free Coke (I don't even like Coke)
-DO NOT even talk about a salad. Gross.
-OR meat. It has to be hidden in something for me to eat it.
-And lets just avoid peanut butter at all costs 
(this breaks my poor little heart. PB and I were very best of friends. 
"I'll be back, PB!! Don't you worry!")
-And the sweetest man on earth made me Chicken Noodle Soup one day! Pure bliss! That tasted fabulous!

So, as you can see, I'm leading a completely lazy, and relatively unhealthy life at the moment.
The craving for meat and vegetables, and the shunning of carbs and sugar, can come any day now!!
But so far, technically I'm doing fine, and the baby is doing great!






Saturday, April 1, 2017

Our Engagement Pictures!!!

We were so blessed to have a friend of mine as the photographer for our wedding, PLUS as a huge bonus, engagement pictures as well!! 

It was miracle that it worked out! Bradley and his family were in Maryland visiting for a week. And Bethany just so happened to be up from South Carolina as well, visiting her family in Pennsylvania that very same week! It couldn't have worked out better! 

It was the very beginning of May, so the weather was very touch and go...cool and rainy. We managed to get a slight break on the day we had planned for pictures, and it was perfect! It was cool, but not too cold, it wasn't raining and things were relatively dry, but it wasn't too bright either! 
We're so thankful for Bethany helping us, and taking time out of her vacation to do that for us!

So here they are! I hope you enjoy them!!! 

























































...............



P.S.
And anyone in the Charleston, SC area in need of a good photographer, check out Bethany's Website HERE!!!



Sunday, March 26, 2017

And then we decided on Forever!

Hey everyone!! Here is the last of mine and Bradley's story!! Well, dating story anyways! 
I love every detail about our story...the significant, the seemingly less significant...but this part might be my absolute favorite!!

If you missed my other posts,
you can check out how we met HERE,
how we started talking HERE,
and pretty much the rest of our dating relationship HERE!

 And now, on to our engagement!

So, my family was in Virginia on vacation at this time. 
We all arrived at various times throughout the day on Friday.
Mom, Dad and I got up and left early Saturday morning, March 26th, for South Carolina, one year ago today!
We arrived at Bradley's house around noon. I knew that his sister was making this soup sometime that day, but I didn't really know anything else about the whole weekend. Like I said before, Bradley usually took care of that, and he didn't really tell me anything this time, and I didn't ask! 

So we were just sitting around talking and visiting. Looking back now, there are two things that in hindsight, should have told me something! One, mom had randomly asked me what I was going to wear that weekend, several times. And she never does that! Two, I realize now that Bradley was very, unusually quiet. But at the time I didn't notice at all. I was just thrilled to be there with him, and that was all that mattered!

After a while of all of us just sitting around taking, I noticed that he was suddenly really anxious or something, and was wondering why his sister and her family weren't up there yet! I thought it was kind of odd, because I didn't think we were operating on any kind of time-table, so who cares if they weren't there yet! They'll get there when they get there! But whatever! I didn't really think about it too much! Again....story of my life! I was totally oblivious!

So, a little while later, every one was there, and they were getting some of the food ready, and chatting, and things like that. Bradley and I were talking, and I wasn't paying a huge amount of attention to everyone else. During this time, he randomly says that he thought right now would be a good time to talk about the wedding date that we had previously discussed.
Again, I was like, well this is odd! I mean, right now? Some of these people just barely got in the door! I don't think I had even said hello to everyone! And he was like "yeah, I think we should." He seemed so serious about it, so I was just like okay, whatever! At that point, I realized that we were standing with our backs to everyone, and they were all suddenly sitting down and not talking at all! I had no clue what was going on, but I felt like possibly we were just about to make way too big of a deal about this date thing, and I was feeling awkward standing there. I knew he was going to do all the talking anyways (because that's the agreement we have...he's the spokesperson for our club), so I said that I was going to sit down while he did that.


He was like "oh. Ummm, okay," but then asked me to turn my chair a certain way. I never said anything, but in my mind, I was thinking "no problem, except that's sort of away from everyone, but whatever"!
Then he said it AGAIN! I was like, are you kidding me? Now I literally have my back to his sister, who was sitting beside me! I was just like "oh my word! He has lost his mind"!!


All of that ran through my head in a split second. At almost the exact same time, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him start to pull something out of his pocket! Before I knew it, he was already down on one knee! It just totally took my breath away, and I had no clue what to do! I was so happy, but I was shaking like crazy! My brain couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry or what!
Remarkably, I had enough presence of mind to say YES, so that was good, at least, right?!


It wasn't like it shocked me that he did it. I mean, we had been making wedding plans for like 2 months at that point, so I knew it was coming. I just had NO CLUE when! And I'm very much a live-in-the-moment type of person, so I honestly had never really thought about when/where he would do it!


Anyways, it was fabulous, though! I'm very much a home-body, so the fact that he just did it at his house, it was low-key, our families were there, (I had just gotten my nails done, lol!), the ring was gorgeous...everything was perfect!!







The Flowers he got me for that day as well!


Shane and Rina gave us the sweetest engagement present!




Easter Sunday together!

And that's that! From there, we went on to set a date, and plan a wedding!!

So the moral of the story? God is always in control!
And His way is by far, the best way!
And you just never know how He's going to work things out!
Since 2015, "Never say never" became my motto!!!


I hope you enjoyed our story! 
Next up? I'll be sharing our engagement pictures with you! 




Thursday, March 23, 2017

Younique Party Going On!

Image result for younique makeup symbol


Hey Everyone! 

My sister is hosting a Younique online makeup party right now. If any one is interested in placing an order, please help her out by clicking this link HERE. Select "Shop from this party now" and browse all of their amazing makeup, skin care, tools, and even tanning lotions! You purchase right from there, so no need to wait for someone to order it for you...you can order whenever you like! 
The party will end on March 30th, so hurry over!!! 

If anyone has any questions about products or how you can host a party, I would be happy to help in any way I can! Please email me at: karissajoy3@gmail.com



Monday, March 20, 2017

Cottage Cheese Jello Salad

Happy first day of Spring, everyone!!

We are a house divided when it comes to Spring (actually most seasons, to be honest) - I hate it, Bradley loves it.

That's why we're not gonna talk about it being the first day of Spring today...we're gonna talk about the things we do agree on...FOOD!!!!

Now,I know cottage cheese is also one of those touchy subjects...either people love it, or hate it, and I think there is quite a bit more haters than lovers!!!!

My dad has always loved it, and whereas it's not like my absolute favorite food on earth, I do like it.
However, after I met Bradley, I learned that people who like it, eat it differently.

All my life, it was a sweet side dish. My grandma had a bowl of cottage cheese at the majority of her Sunday dinners, and we either topped it with some strawberry jelly, or sprinkled some white sugar over it. Either way, I loved it! Later on, a friend at our church made this salad, and my dad and I fell in love with it!

All of Bradley's life, it was more of a condiment....for savory dishes only. Beside a pork chop or some chicken, on top of a salad, etc. Is that a southern thing? I had never heard of it before.

I try so hard to think "savory" when I think about cottage cheese now, but I just can't! 
I was SO close to trying it on a salad one day, but I just couldn't not bring myself to do it! It's like putting ketchup on ice cream! That's just not how it works in mind!!!

Thankfully, Bradley doesn't mind too much, and we have easily compromised here...I eat mine with sugar or jelly, and he eats his with whatever he wants! And it totally works!

AND, as a bonus, he ended up loving this salad as much as I do, so there is no compromising needed when it comes to this dish!
Although he thinks it would be best served on a cake (what?!?!?), we both agree that cottage cheese is perfect here!!!

...

This salad is perfect anytime of day, anytime of year!
It's super simple to whip together, and it makes a lot, which is great!

Creamy, slightly sweet, and the perfect side dish!
I hope you try it out!!!






24 oz. container Cottage Cheese

16 oz. container Whipped Topping
2 boxes of jello, any flavor 
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, do not drain



In a large bowl, mix together cottage cheese, jello and fruit. 

Fold in whipped topping, and gently mix until well combined.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Enjoy!!!!



Note:
-This can easily be made the day before you want it.
-Change this recipe up to suit your tastes! You can't taste the flavor of the jello, so decided which one you want by what color you want your salad to be! 
-We personally like using crushed pineapple, but a can of pineapple chunks works just as well!
-You could replace the pineapple with fruit cocktail, if you wanted!


Friday, March 17, 2017

"Love is just a word, until someone comes along and gives it meaning"


Okay, so here is the rest of the story from the time Bradley and I started talking, up until we got engaged.

To check out my post on how we met, click HERE.
To find out how we actually started talking, click HERE.

Now on to the story!

So, from March 10th on, we emailed back and forth at least once a day.
It was such an amazing time, just getting to know one another, on a less intimidating level.
Yes, we talked about serious things all the time. 
But there was no pressure to move faster than either of us felt ready.
Very few people in my life even knew I was talking to him, because I didn't want a lot of outside "voices" and "opinions" flooding my ears and mind. People mean very well, but this was such a new experience for me, and I was SO scared and SO excited, I just needed to be able to focus. I know that doesn't work for everyone, but that's just what I needed.

In June, Bradley ventured out and asked if he could call me. 
On the phone! 
Yikes!
He knew I was not a phone person, so that's why he didn't ask sooner, even though he was dying to!
This was one of many times, 
where I knew God was in control,
because I was actually pretty 
excited about talking to him!!
I'm serious, people, you could ask anyone in my family....there are only a few things in the world I hate more than talking on the phone! 
This was HUGE for me!
So on June 6th, I got my first phone call! 📱
And I received a phone call pretty much every, single day after that
(I can count on one hand, the number of days we didn't talk! And all those were usually my fault!)!!
At that time, it was just another wonderful level of getting to know each other, and definitely drawing our hearts closer together.

After people started find out that we were talking, lots of them asked throughout the entire time "are y'all serious?" "do you think he's the one?"
and all kinds of things like that. Honestly, I didn't know. I knew that on any given day during that time, I was doing what God wanted me to do for that day. I knew that it could be different the next day, so I didn't want to borrow from the future by thinking and dreaming.

I wasn't sure what God's ultimate plan was, and I didn't want to get in the way.
People say that long-distance relationships are hard, and they DEFINITELY are!! 
I would be the first to raise my hand about that!! 
But really, with God all things are possible, and I cannot even put into words all of the amazing, miraculous, wonderful things that God did in and through this relationship for me! For instance (although this is pretty minor and my mother may or may not readily admit to this), I feel fairly positive that she was very worried about my communication skills. She really had good reason, because honestly, I didn't have good communication skills....AT.ALL.
E-mailing and talking on the phone to Bradley seriously helped me!
I'm no where near where I should probably be, 
but I am SO much better than I was!
And this, again, was all of God!

I feel like because we had to communicate very clearly early on, that was a huge blessing for both of us, that we didn't even really understand at the beginning, but it's something we are SO thankful for now. When I say we talked about everything, I seriously mean that you probably wouldn't even want to imagine all the things we talked about! 
From super serious, to positively stupid, we probably covered it! And when that is coming through an e-mail, you have to really think hard about how to say pretty much everything, so that it is interpreted in the right manner. And you also have to be vulnerable enough and have enough courage and character to say "hey, I'm not sure I understood what you were saying here. Can you explain?". 
Talking on the phone was no different, although maybe a tad easier when you can hear the other persons tone of voice. But either way, communicating was huge for us, and we did a LOT of it! 
And we still do!

Anyway, for all of June and most of July, we e-mailed and talked on the phone every, single day!
It was awesome!!

In mid-July, he decided to really venture out and asked to come for a visit.
I was scared to death, and elated all at the same time! It was crazy!
I wanted him to come, but at the same time, I kept thinking "great, now he's gonna realize what I'm actually like, and he's going to hate it." But if he didn't like me for who I am, then that would be a problem! I wasn't going to change, just to make him happy, and end up giving him a false impression of who I really was. But what if he didn't like who I was?!!

During that summer, I was very much into running as much as I could. I just loved it, and it helped me relax and  de-stress.
I ran 3 miles, every day, the entire week leading up to his visit!
We had a lot going on that weekend: Kaleb's graduation party on Saturday, a family reunion on Sunday with lots of family coming in for that, and Katrina and I were leaving for Church Camp that Monday. So it was a whirlwind weekend, but turned out great!
He got to meet a lot of my extended family. I felt like I got to actually meet him for the first time, since I was oblivious to the entire world around me in January! 
Plus, his mom, one of his sisters, and his niece and nephew were with him, so it was nice meeting all of them as well!
They arrived on Thursday evening, and he came over to our house for just a few minutes, really. It was late, but neither of us wanted to wait until Friday!
We went on our first date Friday afternoon, which was quite an amazing feeling!
The whole weekend was just an amazing time, and so good for both of us!
I was still greatly proceeding with caution, at that point, but was catching myself feeling so comfortable around him.
From day one, he has always been so attentive and caring. And he always made sure that I was okay with every new step we took, and everything we did. He didn't want to put me in a situation that I felt awkward in.

They had to leave Sunday morning after church, and I had to hurry to our family reunion that afternoon and then head to camp the next day. I had no Internet or phone service from that Monday afternoon, until Friday afternoon, so that was a pretty long week for us!
Bradley says that Sunday afternoon, he realized that he was feeling more than "good"!
He says that's when he went from "liking" me to loving me. He didn't tell me that until much later on, but I just thought that was very sweet!


He tends to move faster on these things than I do! I remember thinking that I really did like him, and I had a great time. And I knew that I was doing what God wanted me to do that day. I didn't know what He had for me the next day or next week. And in the back of my mind, I was living in fear that it was all going to end one day.
Being forced not to talk or text or anything for about a week following our first visit together, was one of the best things for me. I needed to know for sure if I was just doing it because it was fun, and he was nice. Or because I had deeper feelings as well.
By the end of that week, I was SO ready to hear his voice again!!!😍

By now, it was August. We still talked and talked, every day! Which means our hearts grew closer and closer every day! And that's what I had prayed...if this was God's will, then I prayed that He would draw our hearts together like only He can. I knew my emotions and feelings were all over the place, and completely unreliable, but thankfully the Lord does not operate on feelings and emotions!

I had peace about it all, but I was struggling with myself over it, at the same time. 
Bradley is SO good at expressing how he feels. And I'm not. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to communicate to him how I felt, in a way that he would understand. Therefore, he would probably think I don't even care! But I did! I just didn't know how to say that! He could say lots of nice, sweet things that made me blush like no red beet you have ever seen! But I sometimes tend to think on the negative side of things, and I do live in fear about some things, so I was afraid he was just saying that to make me feel good, and to flatter me, whether he meant it or not.
So again, bringing up the fact that we talk about everything, we literally had that conversation one night! And you can say that this is dumb, I don't care, but it was important to us!
I still remember the way he said everything! In a very calm, matter-of-fact, yet sweetest way EVER, he basically told me exactly how he felt about us!
And that he loved me!
(That was September 2nd, in case anyone wanted to know)

(pardon me, I'm gonna have to take a break here, and let my keyboard dry out...I don't know what's going on, but it's filling up with water!😭😉)

Anyway, Bradley came up for another visit over Labor Day weekend.
I was still nervous, but nothing like the first time
(I think I only ran once or twice that week, so that should tell you something!)!!
Again, it was great! We didn't have really anything going on that weekend, so our families spent a lot of time together, and it was just awesome!

With work and life, we didn't get to see each other again until the end of November.
That was hard. It was 81 days between those two visits,
and I was still working through, and processing a lot of things.
During this time, though, I began to realized that I was falling in love with this man.
It didn't happen in a day for me, or in a week. It was softly over the course of months, until I finally admitted to myself that, yes, this is happening, Karissa, and it's good!
We became quite thankful for FaceTime during this time as well, and talked that way a few times.

Thanksgiving weekend finally came!! We went down to visit dad's family that weekend, which is only about an hour and a half from Bradley and his family. So we spent every single day together from Thursday evening, until Sunday evening! He was able to meet more of my family, I was able to meet his other sister and her husband, plus his grandparents.
It was a wonderful time, that naturally didn't last long enough!





But thankfully, we didn't have to wait that long, because he flew up here less than two weeks later, and we celebrated Christmas together! I'm sure you've guessed by now, but yes, it was fabulous!!
We had a great time, and moved up to another level of communication! After that visit, phones were old-school and FaceTime was the new way to go!! Every, single day!!
 



With very short notice, he was able to get off work again, was here for several days during the week of New Year's.
That used to be by far my least favorite holiday ever, normally, but that year was pretty amazing!!


   At that point, it was looking like the end of February would be our next time to be together.
So while he started the process of getting time off work, making all the plans and all that, I was quietly making my own plans! Kaleb went with me, and together we drove down to South Carolina one weekend in January. His family new I was coming, but he had no clue!! We were able to make it just in time, and I randomly walked into his work! It was great!! I'll never be able to pull it off again, because it was SO hard to keep that secret, but it was totally worth it!!




Around this time, we started talking more seriously about some serious things.
Life.
Houses.
Jobs.
Weddings.
Things like that.
Now, I am NOT a dreamer. Growing up, I never let myself day-dream and conjure up expectations about life, really! Relationships, marriage, weddings...anything like that, I just didn't think about it. And therefore NEVER talked about it!
But when Bradley slowly started talking about things like that, I oddly found myself very much okay with that. Which had never happened to me before in my life! Seriously, even me and my sisters never sat around talking about anything like that! That's just not how we are!!
So again, this might sound dumb, but that was just another way of God showing me that He was in control of this!
Bradley is very much into details. I could care less. I get lost in the details, so I generally stay with the basic facts, and that's it. 
Which has turned out to be AMAZING, I must say!! 
I always said that I didn't want to have this set-in-stone list or expectation of things I had "always dreamed of" because what if the guy I was marrying cared about all that kind of thing?
Turns out, I was right!!
So we talked about things. Some things in general...some things in detail!

He came back up again the weekend of my birthday in February.
We celebrated our first Valentine's Day together!
Are you ready for this?
It was.........Awesome!!!!!!




After that, Bradley and his family booked their week of vacation up here for the end of April/beginning of May. Which was GREAT, except that was 2 months away at that point!
My family's vacation, however, was the end of March, and since I already had those days off work, I thought it would be very frugal of me to use some of them for a trip down there! And plus, from our condo in Virginia, it was like a whole 2 hours closer to him, anyways! Of God, people, I'm telling ya'!!!😉
He did not want me to drive all that way a lone, and mom and dad weren't thrilled about that either, so they ended up taking that weekend out of their vacation time, and going down with me! I felt bad that they were doing that, but I guess not too bad, because it's not like I cancelled the trip out of guilt or anything!
It was Easter weekend, and I so excited to spend it with Bradley!!

Now, Bradley is pretty much the planner and detail-organizer of our small gang of two, and he didn't really tell me much about that weekend. I mean, he would say things about the weekend, and even some details, but not like we were going to do this, and go there, or anything like that. Which was totally fine with me, because neither of us felt the need to be constantly going somewhere, or doing something. 
However, earlier in March we had discussed a very possible wedding date. We decided that we would wait and tell our families when we were altogether over Easter weekend. 
That may seem insignificant, but it will make more sense later on!

So, that's our dating story!
Not out of Hallmark, but it's my favorite, anyways!!!

I hope you enjoyed it!
Please join me back here on March 26th for our engagement story!