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As I mentioned before, for the past month or so my life has been non-stop.

I haven’t had a TON of down time, I couldn’t remember the last time I had actually slept in (other than when I was sick on my birthday), and I couldn’t remember the last time Rob and I spent an ENTIRE day just being with each other. Life seems to always get in the way of that.

With a 3 day weekend in sight we needed to remedy that. We had no plans, no obligations, and no tests to study for (yahoo!)

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Entire day dates with this man, make me absolutely excited!

Saturday morning, we woke up not-so-bright and early and headed off for a day in the sun in Key Largo.

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My absolute favorite

We arrived at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, FL after not too long of a drive. One (maybe the only) good thing about Rob living so far south in Miami is it makes the Florida Keys not too far away for a day trip. Due to the traffic and amount of boats that were headed down south for the same fun-filled weekend we were after the drive was a little bit longer than necessary.

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But we arrived, set our chairs down in the sand, pulled out our books, and settled in for a beautiful day!

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Rob snorkeled and I read. . .

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Rob slept and I read. . .

And we both did a little exploring around the park.

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I know I look naked, but I swear I’m not!

It was the most relaxed I have felt in quite some time. It was wonderful. I could have stayed there for forever. But 7 hours was enough…

We stayed until the late afternoon, drove back home, and went out to a lovely dinner.

We tried to end the day by doing what we do best and going to see The Great Gatsby, with all that reading I had finished the book while laying on the beach. But due to it selling out, we waited until Sunday instead.

The rest of the weekend was just as relaxing. Filled with movies, naps, time spent with friends, The Miami Heat winning, and pool parties! Who could ask for anything more?

It was the perfect weekend. I spent 3 days with my favorite person without a care in the world. We caught up on life and dreamed of our not too far away happily ever after.

It made me quite antsy for our honeymoon in Belize in a little over a month – Yay!

Thank God for 3 day weekends and for summer looming just around the corner. . .

A couple of weeks ago being a bride became real.

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My sister, Jeanna, threw me the greatest bridal shower a girl could ask for. It was beautiful, fun, personal, and delicious! She held it at my parents church, the church that I grew up in, and invited all of the women that have shared a part of my life with me. It was perfect.

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Up until my bridal shower day, the idea of me being a bride and getting married was just a fun thought. I have been planning my wedding and doing bride related tasks for months. But when I showed up to that shower and had people showering ME with love and gifts is when it really hit. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it was all done for me.

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I have been to countless bridal showers and played numerous bridal shower games.                                            But when it was for me, it  felt completely real and finally sunk in.

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I loved getting to share and celebrate my wedding and marriage with the women that I love.

I loved the delicious finger foods that my sister hand-picked recipes for and had various people make.

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I loved the old time-y, classy decorations she picked out that made it personal and beautiful.

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I loved the games that were personalized for Rob and I and that made the day completely special. My favorite being a “How well do you know the bride and groom?” game where the guests answered questions all about me, or us. Then to reveal the answers, Jeanna had recorded video of Rob answering the same questions about me and then about him. She put it together on a DVD and it was a complete surprise to me. I loved it! It was so special and heartfelt, I will treasure it for years. We did a pretty great job on the game to boot! 8 years of dating will help you get to know someone, I suppose.

:)

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I loved the details and the secret note she sent out to all of the guests requesting that they bring their favorite movie to help jump-start our movie collection. This was one thing that was especially personal due to Rob and I both sharing a love for movies! (Rob opened all of these since he couldn’t be there at the shower, I am sure it was his favorite thing that we received)

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I loved every gift that we received. Most being from our registry and some being personalized and made from the guests. I loved opening each one of them and feeling the love from the women surrounding me.

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I even received my Kitchen Aid mixer! A dream kitchen item of mine for years. I am pretty sure I screamed when I opened it from my Mother & and Nana-in-law :)

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I loved my shower, have I mentioned that yet?

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I loved getting to see my college roommate Suzy, who drove 2 hours just to be there for me. I loved catching up with her, spending time with her, and watching her show her Rob & Julia knowledge off.

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We all laughed, we all shared memories, we talked of the future, and spoke of the wedding details throughout the entire party.

It was completely perfect.

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Thank you, Jeanna, for the most perfect bridal shower I could dream of. You don’t know how much you mean to me and how special you made my day. I love you so much, little sis!

35 days to go!

May I please press the pause button?

I honestly and truly can say “where has this month gone?!” As always time keeps keepin’ on and I am doing my best to keep up with it, with no luck it seems. My mind can’t wrap around the fact that June starts on Saturday.

It’s been a busy month for me starting with my birthday, moving on to Rob’s birthday, my bridal shower, an amazing Memorial Day weekend, and trying to wrap up the school year. I seem to be on the go 24/7 doing this and that, going here and there, which only makes the time go faster.

My favorite time spent weekly have been my Tuesday nights. 

I have this beautiful and wonderful friend, Allyce. She and I met our sophomore year of college when we both joined a small group through the college ministry at FGCU.

 

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My other dear friend Corinth (in the middle) was our small group leader. It was the start of having fun at college for me. Joining this small group was the best thing that I did. It turned my entire college experience around. Corinth and Allyce became great friends of mine and our relationship’s have lasted to today.

Allyce is a die-hard miami-an through and through. She moved back over to the East coast after college while I stayed in Fort Myers for a few years after. When I moved back this year and Rob moved down to Miami, we were so excited to be close to each other again. Although, it did take us a few good months before we found time to hang out again.

 

 

Allyce and Me!

 

Since April she has invited me into her home with loving arms each Tuesday night to have a “girls night” dinner with her and her girlfriends.

 

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We all gather at her bungalow every Tuesday night for a home cooked healthy meal made by one of us. It’s a great time with delicious food, amazing company,  a ton of laughs, and lots of wine. These girls have already become good friends of mine in the few short times we have been together. They are hilarious, loving, fun, and Godly women that I can’t get enough of. A dream come true for me.

Rob was invited to join me a couple of weeks ago when we decided on having a co-ed Tuesday night dinner. I had been talking about him since the beginning and they were all dying to meet him. He joined in as one of the bunch and everyone loved him, as usual.

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Every week I look forward to my Tuesday nights. It truly is the highlight of my week. It causes a major lack of sleep due to the amount that we can all talk and have a good time late into the night, but it’s completely worth it. We eat good food, talk about life, and get to know each other more and more. What girl wouldn’t want that?

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Moving back to the East coast wasn’t an easy transition for me. It’s been great to have Rob around all of the time and seeing my family each day, but it was completely different then living on my own. I didn’t have another outlet or regular friends I would talk to as I did in Ft. Myers. But God knew exactly what I needed. He knows my heart and what I was longing for and presented that right in my lap.

I am beyond grateful for the love these woman have poured into my life these past couple of months. Tuesday nights are a haven for me that I have desperately been needing. A community of friends who truly love and care for you as if you have known them for forever. Where else does that come from but from Him?

 

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I know I say this a lot here, but I am richly blessed. My life has been overflowing lately. God is presenting himself in ways that I haven’t recognized or haven’t presented themselves before. I am amazed at the wonders he does and how much loves us.

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Life is good my friends, life is great. I have great friends, great family, an amazing fiance, a fun job, and new friends for life.

Tuesday nights will never be the same. . .

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Before I sign out I would like to give a big  HAPPY, HAPPY birthday to my dear friend Corinth.                   How blessed I am to know you and to share life with you.

36 days and counting. . .

Rob and my birthdays are only 11 days apart.

We usually celebrate our days individually each getting a cake, giving presents (let me just tell you he gives the BEST presents) and going out to dinner to celebrate.

Last year we had a lovely date over and enjoyed our present exchange as we do every year.

This year, however, we decided to change it up a bit.

Instead of exchanging gifts we decided to spend a weekend at Disney!

You all know how much I love Disney.

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How can anyone not, really?

Rob is also a lover of the Disney magic, thank God, and has been wanting a visit to the magical land for a while now.

Rob and I went to Disney together, a bazillion years ago, during his first year of undergrad at UCF.

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How little are we?

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His sister and brother-in-law were on vacation and asked us to join them for the day.

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It was a fun-filled day!

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We both had been itching to get back and thought it was about time that we had gotten around to going.  In February while I was buying my ticket to go to the parks for our girls day, I decided to buy the 3 day park pass instead so that I could use the remaining two days soaking in the Disney magic with my man. We “gave” each other Disney for our birthdays!

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Day 1 of Disney included leisurely strolling through Epcot. We took our time going through the countries, riding on Soarin’ (the best!) and Rob dragging me on Mission Space.

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As you can see, Rob decided we needed to do the “Orange Ride” which was described as “More Intense”.

I have never heard good things about Mission Space.

Because of that, I have never ever ever wanted to try it. However, Rob is game for anything and when we walked up he said “Ah..Orange it is!”. The worker giving out the color cards told me it really was not bad at all and I would be just fine. Well, he lied!

The entire way in line I was getting more and more anxious. As I was standing outside of the capsule watching the information video of what to do the woman repeated maybe a dozen times that “People who dislike closed dark spaces, are prone to claustrophobia, do not like spinning, get motion sickness etc. should not ride this ride” Oh I fit all of the above. I was completely freaking out and Rob was laughing and feeling incredibly guilty apologizing over and over.

But I rode it. I almost cried, I screamed my head off.  and I wanted to vomit by the time we landed on the moon.

But, I survived.

We both felt quite queasy for the next hour or so afterwards and I can honestly say that I will never EVER go on that thing again. Great review, eh?

The rest of the day was more enjoyable than that. . . it could only really go up from there, really.

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We visited Mexico first starting our country tour off right. . .

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Then on to Norway.

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Next stop was China!

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And yes, we made sure to see the amazing acrobatic skills of the Chinese. I swear they were just as good as Cirque du Soleil

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Germany was the next stop, and many was it a good one!

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We relaxed in Italy. . .

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P.S. Disney’s Garden Festival is very cool to see!

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We couldn’t complete the circle without a stop at The American Adventure in good ol’ USA!

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Japan we got to see some pretty cool women drumming. . .

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I couldn’t tell you where this was taken. . . but we were there, no doubt!

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. . . We ate delicious dessert in France but I failed in the photo department on that one.

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And we took in the sights of the garden characters all throughout the park.

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Rafiki and Simba rounded out day 1 of our Disney adventure. It was a fun day at Epcot!

On day 2, the friends that we were staying with decided to join us at The Magic Kingdom for another day of Disney fun and magic!

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We hit up the new Fantasy Land first as it was extremely popular and busy when I was there in February. Luckily for us it wasn’t as busy as it was then so we were able to ride the new Little Mermaid ride without much of a wait.

The ride is super cool putting you “Under the Sea” and hearing Scuttle talk while looking at all of Ariel’s treasures. Once again, Disney nailed the movie experience down to a T.

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I didn’t realize until riding that ride how much of the soundtrack I actually knew. We went through the ocean story book and I sang my heart to  each  song that came on. I totally impressed Rob with my singing and dancing ;)

Next, we stopped by Gaston’s Tavern for some delicioso LeFou’s Brew.

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And once again, everyone LOVED it!

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And the rest of the day was filled with rides, rides, and more rides. I really failed on the photo department while at Magic Kingdom. We really enjoyed ourselves, hitting up all of our favorite things and utilizing the beauty that are FastPasses. We had a blast together enjoying the day and the Disney experience.

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All in all, Disney made for a fantastic way to celebrate our birthdays together.

 I really did miss the anticipation and opening of a present from Rob. It is my favorite part of any birthday or gift-giving holiday. But spending time together was so much fun. Getting away from the hussle and bussle of our busy stress-filled lives and enjoying time together, I loved every minute of it.

Only 58 days till we are hitched!

It all started 25 years ago. . .

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25 Years?!

Where has that time gone?

I am old.

I remember thinking when I was a teenager how OLD being 25 was!

And now here I am. . .

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. . . Yesterday, I turned 25 years old.

While it was not the greatest of birthdays. It sure made it in the books for being memorable.

You see, I have been sick since Saturday.

And each day since, I have felt my immune system slowly deteriorate little by little.

But I couldn’t take off work.

No, I had to go to work on Monday for my observation and then again on Tuesday due to it being field trip day.

Woo-hoo field trip day to the children’s art museum and I felt like my head was going to burst open at any second due to the pressure building up. And my sinuses were only keeping rhythm with the massive headache I had pounding throughout the day.

Needless to say I collapsed when I got home that afternoon. I didn’t move for the rest of the day, while Dr. Rob took care of me ordering  pizza for dinner and bringing home a special surprise of S’mores Ben & Jerry’s to kick off my birthday celebration.

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He knows my favorite! 

I knew I had to take the next day off or I would never get better.

I laid in bed the majority of my birthday sleeping off and on and coughing every moment that I was awake.

But my man took care of me and made me feel oh-so-special!

He sang me “Happy Birthday” at midnight.

He made me breakfast the next morning.

When he came home from class, he walked in singing  “Happy Birthday” while candles burned in the mini cupcakes that he had bought to share.

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He showered me with attention and love, assuring me that even though I was “old” he still loved me and always loved “older women” ha-ha.

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He asked if I was up for a birthday dinner. But assured me that it was perfectly alright if I wasn’t and he would cook me dinner at home.

But I had enough of being lazy. So I did my best to make myself presentable with bags under my eyes and we headed out for a “surprise” dinner.

Oh how I love surprises!

I think he has finally caught on to my love for surprises. Although, he has always claimed he is bad at them.

He started first with a surprise bowling birthday party for my 20th birthday. How can that be bad!?

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This surprise was just as great. We drove to Coral Gables – Miami, across town. We talked and I felt like death. My head was pounding, my sinuses were aching, my stomach was not feeling settled and he asked repeatedly if I wanted to go back home. But we forged ahead. We passed a restaurant that my friend had told me about and when I said

Look! That was the restaurant I told you about a couple of weeks ago

He responded with “That’s where I am taking you!”

. . . and all of a sudden all of my aches and pains went away and I leapt out of the car (At a stop light mind you) to put our name in.

I received a fellow May 1st birthday hug from the woman who was in line ahead of me putting her name in at the restaurant and I was seated within minutes. As I waited for my handsome fiance to join me from parking the car my excitement of being there only grew and my appreciation and love for him intensified.

He came in and we enjoyed the most wonderful birthday dinner that I have ever had.

Swine.

Swine

You should try it.

I HIGHLY recommend it!

You will not be disappointed.

We enjoyed every minute of the experience, every bite of food that we put into our mouths.

With every bite we exclaimed “How in the world is this so good?!

What is this stuff?!

If you like southern comfort food. You will LOVE Swine

Just to give you an inkling at the type of food they have that we immensely enjoyed. . .

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Burnt-Ends medallions with fried cheesy grits cooked in barbecue sauce

as well as

Chicken&Waffles

“Chicken & Waffles” which in their terms consists of pork bacon  (or pure fat – yum!) coated and cooked like fried chicken along with cheesy  waffle triangles, drizzled with honey hot sauce and maple syrup. Alongside spiced watermelon chunks drizzled with honey hot sauce. (licking my lips)

We also enjoyed some amazing mac & cheese on the side.

Want to go now? Mmmhmmm

He made it special. No doubt about that.

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We went back home after dinner with full tummies and happy hearts. I thanked him up and down for a wonderful day.

When we arrived home, Rob’s roommates wanted to hear all about dinner, than asked about our dessert decisions. When we replied we hadn’t had any they exclaimed

Good! Because we bought you cake!”

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My heart almost burst!

I felt so loved!

We finished my birthday off sharing that amazing ice cream cake and a movie to which I fell asleep to and received resounding “Happy Birthday’s!” after I woke up.

It was a great birthday. In which I felt like crap. But the man of my dreams was by my side and made it a day that I felt completely loved and special. He is quite amazing!

I woke up to two friends singing “Happy Birthday” on my answering machine, received NUMEROUS phone calls and birthday texts from my family and friends, a special birthday song from Rob’s Nana, and most of Rob’s immediate family calling me all together to sing “Happy Birthday” to end out the day.

And today, as I came home from work my family had decorated the living room  with a Happy Birthday banner, balloons and another ice cream cake to end out the day.

It was a great birthday. I am so blessed. I feel truly loved.

Thank God for all of the adventures and blessings that he has showered on me in these 25 years.

My 25th year is going to be my best yet, I can feel it.

I cannot wait to see what is in store for my next 25.

Halfway to 50!

I bet you are completely shocked.

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No surprise here, really I know.

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A couple of weeks ago I headed down to Miami bright and early with an (almost) all new gang to participate in another color run!

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It was the most nonchalant run I have ever been to. It felt thrown together and un-organized but we didn’t care. We still had a blast!

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The crew this time included:

One my great friends – Corinth, my sister – Jeanna, her very best friend – Lauren, and my cousin – Tara.

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It’s amazing how much fun a can be, no matter who you are with.

We arrived completely white and made sure to color it up before the race started. As well as continue to throw color on people throughout the race that looked too white. They thanked us, we know it.

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Nobody was in the mood to “run” so we run/walked instead. Taking it completely easy, laughing it up, and acting completely silly through the color stations. I am pretty sure we had the best time out of anyone there.

Color Run Fun = Check!

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Love these women. I am pretty sure you can’t NOT have fun when you are throwing things at each other.

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The best part of the day was when we walked into a restaurant nowhere near the race for lunch. Man did we get the stink eye from EVERYONE. It was quite comical to hear the comments from people around us.

“You ladies feeling alright today?”

“So what exactly happened to you?”

We enjoyed ourselves. That is what matters. I can’t get enough of being with friends, having a great time, and laughing constantly. What better way to start a weekend?

I’ll be back soon with another race post. You won’t have to wait too long, don’t worry!

Alright, so it’s been a month, Crazy!

I wrote a whole post while I was on my way home from Colorado in March and when I went to post it after I landed, it was gone. After that leisurely sit down time I haven’t had a moment to update this thing and recap the rest of my trip to Colorado.

Let’s see if I remember how it went. . .

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After a very snowy and overcast first day, we woke to Sunday being bright, blue, and beautiful!

It was, however, still FREEZING!

We drove about 2 1/2 hours north to Estes Park, Colorado to spend a couple of days getting wedding details into place and finally checking out my venues in real life.

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I was a little obsessed with acting like a complete tourist and taking pictures at every turn on the drive up. Every corner showed a new breathtaking sight that I had to capture. But let me tell you, the pictures do not do it justice. The snow-capped mountains and quaint little towns were simply, beautiful.

When we arrived I was able to go to the steakhouse where we will be having our reception and get a taste testing of the menu we chose.

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It was adorable. Just as the pictures online showed and I fell in love with it all over again. The wedding coordinator couldn’t believe I chose it from pictures online and hadn’t ever seen it in person before when booking it as our reception site. Well when you are however many states away, you do what you can and trust that God will pull it all into place.

Driving through Estes Park, every view takes your breath away. It is a small quaint town in a valley of the Rocky Mountains. Where ever you look you see mountains and tell everyone to look at the view. We would all  stop a couple of times a day to have everyone see what we were seeing in that moment. It never got old.

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We ate in the down town area getting recommendations from the locals for the best pizza in town. It was even colder up in Estes so we ran to and from our car and restaurant to stay warm.

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Carla’s sister, Beth and Niece, Kelly traveled with us for a mini stay away from home.

The next morning we ventured out in search of the lodges we are staying at this summer, a bakery, and a florist. We had a very successful, and fun, day!

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This is Shadow, the cat that lives in the lobby of the lodge we will be staying at. She is a sweetheart and let me you she lives up to her name.

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We even saw real live Elk! We were pretty excited about it.

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The Stanley Hotel, where The Shining was filmed. You can go take ghost tours there, haha.

We stayed in Estes for two nights. Soaking in the town and taking it easy. We booked my florist, bakery, and got to see all of the places that had only been real to me by the internet before then. It was pretty funny to be driving through the town and seeing the names of the bazillion places I had come across online. It was all real! And it was more amazing than I could have imagined.

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We headed back south after a couple of days. Kelly and Carla dropped me off at the airport on their way back down to Colorado Springs and I enjoyed the rest of my busy spring break at home.

I am so thankful to Carla for taking me out there. For making it all real to me and helping me to feel more comfortable about planning it all from a distance. It makes me so much more excited for my wedding day to be here. As of today, we only have 70 days to go!

Whew is time flying!

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