Monday, September 29, 2014

525,600 minutes (of marriage)

(A couple of weeks late...)

One year. We have been married an entire year. What a year it has been! Since I haven't been doing a lot of blogging, here are some highlights from our first year (mostly in order):
  • Our honeymoon in Aruba.  Nine days of wonderful.



  • A new job for Ahmed (an answer to prayer). 
  • A Great Gatsby Halloween party with friends.
  • Many weekends and holidays spent with wonderful family and friends.




  • Our first New Year's Eve as husband and wife was spent at home, with both of us recovering from the stomach flu.  Maybe not a highlight, but definitely memorable :)
  • A weekend in Sioux Falls in January with my family to celebrate my Mom's 50th birthday. We went bowling and to an indoor trampoline park.
  • A warm weather get-away to Florida in March. A much needed break from an especially harsh winter.

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  • A spontaneous trip to Minneapolis to see Twenty One Pilots in concert in the middle of the week in April. We had never heard of them, but it turned out to be a great concert.
  • A weekend in June with Ahmed's family that included a trip to the Omaha Zoo.

  • A weekend June in Rochester that included a visit from my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and  niece. My brother and I went skydiving for Autism awareness.



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  • We scored tickets to the free MLB All-Star concert featuring Imagine Dragons in July.  It was a really fun show followed by an impressive fireworks display.

  • A weekend get-away in July at the most adorable Bed and Breakfast in Duluth, along with some exploring of the North Shore.
  • A long weekend in August at a cabin in Yankton, SD with my family. We had a few relaxing days on the beach. (And I took ZERO pictures, oops!)
  • Our annual weekend o' fun in Yankton, SD in August with some of my friends from high school.
  • Kayaking down the Zumbro River on Labor Day.


  • MANY lovely dinners and brunches with just the two of us (both at home and out and about).
  • To wrap up our first year together, we made a celebratory epic trip to NYC where we saw Wicked, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (which included Seth Rogan, James Franco jumping topless out of a cake, James Spader, and freaking Stevie Wonder- AMAZING!), Central Park, Top of the Rock, Empire State Building Observation Deck, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Central Perk 20th anniversary Friends pop-up, and anything we could fit in between. (More pictures coming soon, I’m still working on them.)  

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Wow, we made a lot of really great memories in our first year! We are so fortunate. We of course have our ups and downs like anyone else, but I love being married and having Ahmed by my side every day. I can't wait to spend many more years with my amazing husband. He is supportive, patient, affectionate, loving, thoughtful, helpful, and of course he's still a big dork :). 

I love you, Ahmed! 

**Update: several hours after I posted this, I realized I forgot one!  So I added our weekend in Duluth to the list.  So many great things!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Just a few thoughts

As I lay my head down after a long day, I feel restless. My mind feels like a web browser with no less than 50 tabs open, and I can't really focus on any one thing I'm thinking about. These thoughts are making me feel anxious, so I can't sleep. I start to feel even more anxious because I can't sleep, and I need to fall asleep right now or I'm going to be tired tomorrow. Which will make tomorrow seem even longer than today, and I'll feel even more anxious. It's a vicious cycle.

So I pray and tell myself that worrying is worthless.  I have no reason to be anxious, because I serve a God who is bigger than all of my problems. He loves me and cares about my trivial difficulties, and He's got this.

This scenario has been playing out pretty much every day lately, and giving everything to God is easier said than done.  "God doesn't give you more than you can handle."  I've heard it many times, and I've told it to other people, but I have decided that I don't think it's really true. God regularly gives me way more than I can handle. The problem is that I keep trying to handle it. I think the truth is that God never gives me more than He can help me through. I just need to continually work on giving up control to Him.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why I care about autism awareness

According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism.  If you don't know somebody with autism, you probably know someone affected by autism.

In high school, I spent my summers babysitting for my cousin's family.  One of their three children was diagnosed with autism. In college, I spent a summer doing respite care for a little girl with autism.  These experiences led me to my first post college job, where I spent two years as a behavioral therapist at the Rochester Center for Autism.  After I left RCA, I spent a year as a nanny for a family with two teenagers with autism and even lived with them for a summer.  Every child with autism that I have worked with has had a positive impact on my life. They have all taught me so much.  

These children and their families are the reason why I am so passionate autism awareness.  I want to give back. As I stated in my last post, on June 22, my brother and I are participating in a skydiving event to benefit  RT Autism Awareness Foundation. The purpose of this fundraiser is to continue to raise awareness.  I am so excited to be a part of it, but I still need to raise another $220, and I only have a week left! Please consider donating to this great cause. Every little bit helps. If you already donated, thank you so much for supporting the RTAAF!  All proceeds go directly to them and are tax deductible. 

You can easily donate online. 

My link:

My brother Adam's link:

I believe RTAAF has done (and continues to do) a lot of really great things for the community of Rochester.  They want everyone to be aware of how autism has an impact on more than just individuals with a diagnosis.  Autism has a huge impact on families as well. They frequently host events that promote awareness and education. For exmaple, the RTAAF just recently they took part in hosting Dr. Temple Grandin for a free presentation through Rochester Community Ed.  They also do a lot of things to directly support families affected by autism, through things like Proejct Lifesaver. For more info on the RTAAF, check out their website

Monday, June 2, 2014

I need YOUR help! (Oh look, I still have a blog!)

I haven't exactly forgotten about this blog, it has just been neglected while I have been busy being  a newlywed, surviving an awful winter, and staying busy with work, family, and friends.  I would love to get back to blogging regularly, but for now this will be quick.  

On June 22nd, I am going skydiving for autism awareness. Specifically, this is a fundraiser for the RT Autism Awareness Foundation, which is a local nonprofit organization founded here in Rochester to promote autism awareness and support local families affected by autism. I need to raise a total of $350, and I have $300 to go with less than two weeks to raise it.  Asking for money is annoying, but this is something I'm really passionate about, and every little bit helps.  

If you feel inclined to donate, here's the link:  

Thanks for your consideration!

*My brother, Adam, is participating in this event as well.  He needs to raise money too. Here's his link:

Friday, September 27, 2013

The best day of my life

I had the joy of marrying my best friend on September 13, 2013. There were many times when it seemed that day would never come, but it was worth the wait. That day turned out to be the most beautiful wedding day I could ever have imagined!  I loved everything about it: marrying the most wonderful husband while being surrounded by the most amazing friends and family, the most BEAUTIFUL weather for an outdoor ceremony (sunny, 75, slightest breeze), my dress…I loved it all!  I am still trying to wrap my head around all of the wonderful memories that I gained in one day.

The week before the wedding was a little busy, but I still had a lot of fun spending time with my family.  On Tuesday before the wedding, all the girls from my family went for manicures and pedicures.  It was so much fun!  Even my niece Emma came along and got her toes painted :)

Can you tell who all of these hands belong to? :)

On Wednesday, my cousin and aunt came from Oklahoma to join in the fun.  They were also wonderful help as we set up the event center on Thursday.


After setting up, we had the rehearsal followed by dinner Thursday night. 

The flower girls were instant friends at the rehearsal :)

The day I had been waiting so long for was finally here!  Friday morning started off with hair appointments for myself and the girls in my wedding party at Fine Design, complete with mimosas and Casey’s Bakery for breakfast (my special request: almond patties:).  Big thanks to Kari & Marla- they did such a great job!


After we were all looking extra beautiful, it was go time!  We headed to Orange City, and not long after I had to get in my dress so I was ready for first look pictures with Ahmed.


Obviously, this day wouldn’t have happened without the groom :).  Thanks to my aunt Gina for capturing some pictures of him (as well as the pictures of me getting ready)!

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I went out to the puddle jumper trail to take some pictures first, and then Ahmed came and we saw each other for the first time on our wedding day.

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Our friend Mandi did the most wonderful job capturing some candid pictures!! :)

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Our first look session was followed by some wedding party fun in downtown Orange City!

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After wedding party and family pictures, and a little break, it was time for the real deal.  :)

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We did it! I seriously can’t get over how wonderful everything was.  After our beautiful ceremony, we had some delicious food and fun entertainment at the reception, and then it was time to dance!!


Saying thank you to everyone who helped out with our wedding day doesn’t begin to cover my gratitude.  We had so much support and love from so many family and friends. It was ALL appreciated! Thank you to everyone who shared are big day with us- whether in person or in spirit!

I have a LOT more pictures and will be sure to post more on Facebook soon :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Carry on, summer

My blog has continued to be neglected...with good reason! Between wedding planning and summer activities I have been pretty busy.  Hopefully after the wedding, things will slow down and I can get caught up on documenting my summer. (I haven't even gone through my pictures from our Fourth of July vacation!)

Quick recap of summer highlights:  

I had a solid chunk of time off at the beginning of July.  Perk of being nanny: when they go on vacation so do I :)  Since Ahmed was finished up at IBM, we spent Fourth of July weekend at a cabin in Yankton, SD with my family, followed by a week at my parents' house which included THREE wedding showers, and a quick weekend trip to Kansas City to see family. Busy busy!

The first weekend in August, we attended my cousins' beautiful wedding in Sioux Falls, which was the last wedding Ahmed and I will attend before our own.

Last weekend, my sister and sister-in-law came up to Rochester so we could celebrate at my bachelorette party with some friends.  It was so much fun!

Tomorrow, we are heading to Yankton, SD with some of my high school friends for our Weekend o' fun tradition.  Next weekend I need to move out of my apartment, and then there will be less than two weeks before our wedding.  Hopefully I'll be able to breathe around September 14 ;)

I have done a few photography sessions over the summer, which has ended up being a lot to take on with wedding planning and a full time job, but I really enjoy it :)  Ahmed has stayed busy with job searching and his web design/marketing business.

Hopefully I can eventually get to editing all of the pictures from summer. For now, enjoy the new header :)  The picture is courtesy of Rachel Ebel Photography. Feel free to check out more of our awesome engagement pictures on her Facebook page.  I am so excited to have her shooting our wedding, which is in 22 days!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer activities, wedding planning, and job searching

How is tomorrow July 1st already?  This happens every year, but every time it still seems like a surprise.  Summer is my favorite time of year, so it usually makes me a little sad that it slips by so quickly, but this year I'm a little excited.  Every day that passes is one day closer to our wedding, and I can't wait!

Yesterday, we attended our first wedding of the summer.  It was a beautiful wedding and a fun day spent with great friends- congrats to Mandy & Kyle!  Last summer at this time we were at our FIFTH wedding of the season (with several more to go).  It was an honor to celebrate with so many of our friends and family, but this year it's a little relief that don't have so many.  

Last summer was full of uncertainty with not knowing where I was going to live or work after August.  This summer, unfortunately, is a very similar situation.  Ahmed was on the receiving end of a resource action at IBM (fancy way of telling him he was being laid off), and is now in full gear with his job search.  This is not what we had in mind in the months before our wedding, but we are trusting that God has a plan, and have hope that there is a great opportunity somewhere out there for Ahmed.  I am so proud of Ahmed and his positive attitude in such a tough situation. He is pretty amazing :). Since "out there" could be just about anywhere, we have to wait to look for a place to live for after we get married until we know where we will be.  Turns out I'm not done working on patience. :)

Since we haven't spent all of our weekends out of town or at weddings, we have enjoyed some time hiking, biking, grilling, sitting around a fire, bowling, watching movies, cooking new food, and folding wedding invitations (I'm pretty sure folding invitations was Ahmed's favorite activity.  He was so excited, he folded about five of them ;). 

We are very much looking forward to some vacation time with my family over the Fourth this coming week!  Bring on the rest of summer!

Enjoying some ice cream from Flapdoodles, sitting in the same spot where Ahmed proposed :)