Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Month of July - June 30th through July 8th

**This turned out to be longer than expected.  Sorry for the novel!**

I would like to include the month of July in this blog and because it was so jam packed with awesomeness, I am going to break it down into multiple posts.  I am actually going to start with June 30th, because that is the day I got to pick up Ben!!  Which seemed to be the longest. day. ever.  I made the smart decision to plan a few appointments throughout the day to keep myself preoccupied; Grover had a vet appointment and I had a hair appointment.  The hair appointment was a great way to try and relax - my stomach was in knots because I was crazy excited and good nervous to see Ben.  We hadn't seen each other in 3D for almost 6 months, so after my usual trim I had my stellar hair chick, Shannon, curl my hair so I could be perty for my love.  Per usual, I conversed with Shannon about the happenings of my life and the fact that Ben was going to be back in the States within hours.  I think she was nearly as excited as I was.  Anyone who would walk by she would tell, "Guess what?!  Her fiance is coming back into the States who she hasn't seen in almost six months! *pause* AND they are getting married on July 14th!! *pause* AND they are moving to Dubai at the beginning of August!"  It was entertaining to see others react to her excitement and somehow that helped to calm me.  It's like she took some of my stress upon herself.  Or maybe it was the awesome scalp massage you get with every shampooing? 

After the hair appointment, I hit up Starbucks for a grande soy iced caramel macchiato and three petite vanilla bean scones for a pick me up.  It seemed as if there were a million hours between me and the airport, but the time finally did come.  Luckily it was a nice night out since I had the glorious Geo to drive to Cedar Rapids.  The Geo has only one kind of air conditioning - 4x65.  I waited at the airport, reading a book and people watching, until I saw Ben's head bobbing among the handful of other people arriving at the same time.  I can't even describe my happiness at that time - I was completely overwhelmed with joy.  My eyes were set on him, we both had huge smiles and we finally got a real life hug after so long without!!  Best. Hug. Ever.  We collected his bags and headed to Iowa City where we had planned to spend the night and next day to ourselves so Ben could have some down time.  Or so he thought...

During the day we had of just us (July 1st, 2012), we put together our wedding programs and favors (tees) which was no small task.  We had planned a date night that evening to keep Ben up and moving so he could work through jet lag.  We got ready for our date which was to include eating at Saloon and checking out the Jazz Fest happening in downtown Iowa City.  Before we were going to leave, Ben seemed kind of off, so I asked if I was trying to get him to do more than he was ready for.  If so, we could cancel the date night out and stay in and watch a movie and I could cook.  He insisted he was fine, and we went out.  We grabbed a table at Saloon where we both had the fish tacos (AMAZING--they put green tomatoes in them and that really makes the difference.), Ben had a margarita and I had a white wine sangria.  Ben wasn't exactly talkative at supper, but I figured it was because he was tired.  I later found out his quietness was due to nervousness.

After supper, we walked towards the Pentacrest to find a place to sit on the lawn and watch the remainder of the Jazz Fest.  We walked past the main stage and I asked Ben where he wanted to sit.  We were almost to the end of the block so I asked if he was wanting to sit all the way out here for privacy or if he wanted to sit where we could see the stage/band.  He suggested we turn around and see what we can find closer to the stage.  When we reached the center of the Pentacrest, straight down from the Old Capital, he thought it would be a good idea to take a picture.  I naturally agreed & we scouted out this nice older woman to take our picture.  Since Ben has a schnazy camera, he took a second to explain how to use it.  We positioned ourselves and she snapped a picture.  At that time, Ben turned to me and I didn't understand what he was doing - we were wasting this woman's time.  So, of course I asked, "What are you doing?!", in a hushed, urgent tone.  He then dropped to one knee and said, "Lyndsey, you are my best friend.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me?" He was nervous and shakey, I was trying not to cry, and of course I said YES!  We received applause and congratulations from those around us.  We even had a guy come up and thank Ben.  The guy said something along the lines of it was great to witness something like that and thank you.  It was nice.  Unfortunately, camera lady took zero pictures.  She didn't let the camera click, so we don't have actual documentation of the proposal.  My bff Elyssa was sitting close by, though, and she snapped a reenactment photo:

Reenactment of proposal!

She also snapped a picture for us to send around to family and close friends saying "WE'RE ENGAGED!":


After the proposal, we watched the remainder of the jazz fest and decided to go for a celebratory drink before heading home for the night.  We ended up at Share where we both had a martini - Ben a lemon drop and me an apple martini.  They were nice enough to give us one martini free for our very recent engagement and the waiter commented, "You both are just glowing.  Now I know what that looks like.  I hope I have that someday."

The next day (July 2nd, 2012), Ben went to Cedar Rapids to spend time with our friend Marcus and I went to my friend Marissa's for lunch and practice makeup for the wedding.  Marissa and I enjoyed delicious sandwiches and playing dress up, as well as playing with her sweet daughter, Bluma.

Miss Bluma & me!

Ben mowed the lawn at Marcus', ran errands and enjoyed each other's company.  Later that night, we had a get together at Marcus' for our group of friends to get together and see Ben and celebrate.  We had jungle juice (which I will not be drinking for a long, long, LONG time), played bags and had a delicious supper.  We sat outside at the patio table and enjoyed drinks and each other's company.

At cookout with friends.

On July 3rd, we headed back to Fort Madison to spend time with our family.  We stayed at Ben's parents each night and had some delicious meals, great conversation and an all around good time.  Somehow we remained insanely busy during the rest of the week getting stuff together for the wedding and meeting up with people we hadn't seen in a while.  On the 4th of July, we enjoyed a steak supper and caught the fireworks in Ft. Madison.  They were really good, but there seemed to be  a lot of people not out.  I remember it being more crowded at the fireworks in the past. 

On the 5th, Ben and Andy went golfing and I grabbed lunch with my niece, Kennedy and ran errands in Burlington (which included an iced coffee from Java Shack!).  For supper that night, Glenda made Caribbean-style chicken salad from a recipe I had and it was absolutely delicious.

At The Ivy
The 6th is my Mom's birthday, so after her morning hair appointment Ben, Glenda and I met her at The Ivy for lunch and dessert.  The Ivy is one of Mom's favorites and we don't get to go there too often, so it was a double treat.  After The Ivy, we went back to Ben's parents and napped/watched TV until it was time to get ready for our engagement pictures at 4.  We met Devan at The Ivy, where Sue made us fresh coffee for our photos.  We took pictures in the Ivy, around downtown Ft. Madison, and went out to Ben's parent's land.  Devan did an AMAZING job and we are thrilled with how everything turned out!!

At The Ivy

At The Ivy

At Ben's parent's land

At Ben's parent's land
At Ben's parent's land

At Ben's parent's land

At Ben's parent's land
"Best Couple That Never Happened"award from high school.  Voted by our peers.

The 7th we returned to Iowa City to do laundry and repack to head to Minnesota the next day.  We had Chinese with my roommate, Elyssa, and watched a movie.  The next day (July 8th) We headed off to Minneapolis, MN to stay with Ben's sister Jamie, her husband Keith and their two girls, Kara and Nina.  Andy, Ben's brother, was gracious enough to let us use La Fonda (Andy's car/Ben's former car) for the drive to MN, do all the wedding junk and to use through the end of our mini-honeymoon.  The car was much appreciated since the previously mentioned Geo is not exactly the most reliable car.  And the no air conditioning sucks.  We made it to MN safely and Ben was able to meet Nina for the first time.  Kara was shy towards both of us at first, but warmed up by the next day.  The night we arrived, Keith made Pad Thai that was to die for.  WAY better than any restaurant you could go to.  We both devoured a large helping and ended the night watching The League and enjoying conversation.