"Eventually all the pieces fall into place....
until then, laugh at the confusion,
live for the moment, and know that everything
happens for a reason"

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Spring Break in Montana

Y'all, I love my parents...probably more now than I did when I was younger. They're so awesome and fun and when we all get together it's always full of laughs. That's why Paul and I have been excitedly anticipating their trip to come see us on my mom's spring break. They were here for 5 full days and we made the most of it!

My mom wanted to treat Paul and I  to a mini vacation too, so she booked an awesome trip to Seeley Lake, MT for a day full of snowmobiling and a couple nights stay in this really cool lodge. Seeley Lake is only a couple hours from here and is definitely worth the drive. We spent 2 nights in the historical lodge, built 1929, and ate dinner both nights in the fancy restaurant downstairs. The views were spectacular, the lodge was cozy and deer were literally right outside our windows.

On Saturday, we spent the day on snowmobiles exploring the mountains and tree-lined trails. The weather was beautiful and it even snowed those big, fluffy flakes that makes everything gorgeous. The men were our drivers with mom and I just along for the ride!

Before we left on Sunday, we walked down to the stables and fed the horses apples. This big guy was the friendliest of them all!

We spent Monday and Tuesday exploring Helena and I showed them around town. We went to the Catholic Cathedral, the capitol building, the historical museum, and some other places around town. I think everyone was exhausted by the time the trip was done. We went nonstop the entire time! 

This was my parents first time to see Montana and I think it was a success. We got to see lots of wildlife, including elk, whitetail, mule deer, antelope and a bald eagle. The weather was nice and it was really good to see my parents. I hated to see them go but we're already thinking of things to do when they come back next time! 

Love and Happiness,

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Am Exhausted

We've been busy, busy!

Paul and I have been on the go nearly every weekend since we've been here. Whether it's day trips around the area, Saturdays full of skiing, Sunday afternoons sledding or weekend trips for Valentine's Day and our anniversary...we haven't sat still long. And I've loved it. During the week, when Paul if off making us money, I take care of the cooking and the cleaning and laundry and shopping or any other errand that needs to be done. It may not sound like a lot, but it keeps me pretty busy while still allowing me to recuperate for our next fun-filled weekend.

The past couple of weeks have been especially busy with our anniversary trip one weekend and then my parents coming to visit the next. The first part of this week was filled with unpacking, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, Clorox-ing and Febreze-ing. After picking up my parents at the airport late on Thursday night, we started their 5 day visit in Montana! We were busy, busy, busy the whole time. We were able to fit a lot into the trip and we had a great time but let me tell you...hosting can be tiring! After dropping them off at the airport at 6 this morning, all I wanted to do was come home and relax on the couch. And that's what I've done so far...I'll get to that laundry later. :)

I'll write a post soon about my parent's trip our here to visit. It's way too much to write about today...my tired mind couldn't quite do that post justice. Here's to a much needed lazy day at the house full of tv catch up and left over turtle cheesecake!

Love and Happiness,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10 Things I Love About Montana

So far, Montana has treated us really well. People are very nice and in a lot of ways, life here isn't much different. Sure, there are things I don't like about Montana (you can read my list HERE), but for so many reasons...I love it here. What do I love, exactly? Let me tell you.

  1. Snow. One of the reasons we wanted to move out here was to have snowy winters, and that's what we got. Snow makes me happy. It makes me smile and feel like a kid again when we get out and play in it. Snow makes the town beautiful. It transforms boring streets and leafless trees into a winter wonderland. It's so beautiful and I love being where the snow is.
  2. Skiing. With snow, comes snow sports and we've really fallen in love with skiing. It's the perfect combination of exhilarating fun and peaceful relaxation. When you're wanting something challenging you take the harder slopes, and feel accomplished when you make it down something new. But when you're gliding along an easy slope between an alley of snow covered evergreens and white mountain peaks in every direction...I can't help but feel relaxed and blessed to live in such a beautiful place. 
  3. Mountains. The mountains here are spectacular. Helena has some big ones but if you drive a little ways away, they are enormous. Covered in snow and towering over towns, these mountains can quickly make you feel small. Everywhere you go, it looks like a postcard. Everything is so picturesque and takes my breath away. How lucky are we to live somewhere that I want to have my camera with me at all times, even on a quick trip the store. 
  4. Wildlife. Everywhere you look, there is some type of animal. We think it's really cool to look into a field and see hundreds of elk, or mule deer or whitetails. Or maybe you'll see a herd of pronghorn antelope lying next to the interstate. Paul is impressed with the amount of water foul he's seen in ponds, in the air or in fields. I can see him silently planning his first Montana duck hunting trip in his head. The bighorn sheep are fun to see, and I'm hoping to see more moose. Fishing is suppose to be amazing here, and we can't wait to get our licenses so we can give it a try. We're kind of outdoorsy, so this environment suits us well.
  5. Cowboys. It's not uncommon to see real cowboys around here. I don't mean boot wearing city folk who own one horse. I mean boots, hat, belt buckle and chaps wearing good ol' boys who literally herd their cows down the highway on a cattle drive. Farming and ranching is the way of life for many around here. They talk the talk and walk the walk. Rodeos are a big deal and the local high school even has a rodeo team. We can't wait to go to one this summer! It's definitely a difference in culture but it's really neat to see a completely different way of life. 
  6. Humidity. Or maybe I should say lack of humidity. Montana's humidity on average is 20% less than Alabama's or Tennessee's. This means that the cold here doesn't feel as cold and the hot here won't feel as hot. We're really looking forward to the summer when, hopefully, we don't start sweating the minute we step outside. And, it's been nice this winter because sometimes, single digit weather doesn't even need a coat. 
  7. No sales tax. That's right. None at all. I've never lived somewhere without sales tax so this was a little hard to get use to, but I'm not complaining. I'm still in the habit of rounding a $90 bill up to $100 which then makes me super happy when I only have to pay $90. Or, let's say something is a dollar...which it's really not back home...and all you have to do is hand over the single bill. No change! I love it. Now, we do have state income tax so I'm sure we're not actually saving any money but it still feels nice. Date nights are little cheaper, grocery bills are a little cheaper and if we ever buy a new car...it will be a lot cheaper! That 10% really adds up!
  8. Speed limits. The speed limits are a little bit higher here, which hopefully means our chance of getting speeding tickets decreases. The interstate is 75 mph and the highways are 70 mph. The roads have been kind of icy so we rarely go that fast, but once summer gets here we'll be able to make good time on our way around the state. It feels a little strange to be going 70 on a 2 lane highway and not be breaking any rules but I suppose we'll get use to it. I've always been a little heavy on the gas pedal, so maybe this will save me a ticket.
  9. No cops. Speaking of getting tickets, I'm not sure who would give us one since there are barely any cops here. We've literally only seen about 4 our entire time here, and they aren't even parked trying to give tickets. Just driving around. I'm not sure if they're just very lax or lazy but I appreciate that they aren't always on the hunt. One time, Paul ran a stop sign on accident with a cop sitting at the intersection! What's the chances, right? We nearly pulled over voluntarily, preparing ourselves for the blue lights but nope. He just kept driving. I'll take it. I like it even. 
  10. Laid back lifestyles. People here are very chill. Jeans are a wardrobe staple and are acceptable at even the nicest restaurants. When we visited churches, I was the only woman not wearing jeans to the services and Paul was the only one in khakis. I haven't seen a woman in a dress but one time and it was a shocker. I'm assuming the cold weather has something to do with this, so I'm looking forward to seeing if these women switch it up come summer. Even their demeanor is different. You can tell that they don't live life by their watch or a busy calendar. They take things as they come, with a grain of salt and not a worry in the world. Taking advantage the outdoors, spending time with family and enjoying life is top priority. To me, they have the right idea. 
We really like a lot of things about Montana. It's beautiful and has tons of things for us to explore and discover. It's different though, and we sometimes miss some things about the south. The southern accents, the sweet tea and the Tennessee River. I guess no matter where you are and how much you love it, you'll always hold a special place in your heart for the place you called home for so long. 

Love and Happiness,

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two Years Later: Dreams Coming True

Two years ago, I married the man of my dreams. Afterwards, we went on the most amazing honeymoon that I could ever ask for. It was a perfect way to start our lives together as man and wife. Most people seem to enjoy the tropical honeymoon and I get it. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and romantic sunsets. But that wasn't for us. Our albino white skin would have fried in the sun, jellyfish tend to be attracted to my legs and the heat would have made my already red cheeks a disaster for good pictures. No, the beach isn't our thing.

When we arrived to Montana for our honeymoon, we fell in love. The mountains, the snow and our slope side cabin with spectacular views from the hot tub were amazing. It was like a dream. From that moment on, we started talking about "moving west". Moonlight Basin Resort in Big Sky Montana captured our interest and sparked a dream for the both of us. "One day..." we said, "we'll come back."

I never would have believed that in just two years, Paul and I would be spending our anniversary in a slope side cabin with spectacular views from the hot tub at Moonlight Basin again. The same mountains, the same slopes, the same dream come true. Once again, it was perfect. Except this time, there was no plane to catch or saying goodbye to the mountains at the end of our trip. A three hour drive was all it took to land us in our honeymoon paradise again.

There's nothing more romantic to us than the snowy mountains, a steamy hot tub with a cup of hot chocolate or snuggling by a crackling fire. Our two year anniversary trip was amazing. It's also amazing to think how far we've come in just two years and to realize that a dream for us has truly come true.

Love and Happiness,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Things I've Learned In Our 2nd Year Of Marriage

Last year, I wrote an entry about what I learned about Paul in our first year of marriage. You can read it HERE if you'd like. I thought it'd be fun to write another because even though I feel that I know Paul really well... there is always something new to learn.

So, here is what I've discovered in our second year of marriage:
  • He is a daredevil, regardless of environment, which now includes the ski slopes.
  • He can't stay still when we're having a fight in bed, especially his feet. They're always moving or bouncing under the sheets.
  • He likes Starburst jellybeans.
  • He can be impulsive, in a good way, and always keeps me on my toes. 
  • He's a wonderful, Godly man who isn't afraid to study and reach out to others when it's not easy or convenient. 
  • He likes Funyuns.
  • He's too tall for the window seat on a plane and hits his head on the overhead bins often.
  • He doesn't like getting back massages.
  • He's incredibly kind and will go way out of his way to help others (which I knew, but this year he really was especially kind)
  • He is sometimes horrible with directions.
  • He rarely gets angry about anything, even things he should.
  • He likes those gummy peach rings from the gas station (and now, so do I.)
Who knows what I'll learn this year? As long as it's not some deep, dark secret like having a second family with a wife and kids somewhere... I think we'll be okay. Even though it's little things that I learned this year, I love getting to know Paul more and more each and everyday we spend together. 

He's like a good book that I keep reading over and over, loving it more each time, and finding new details that I missed the time before. He's my classic romance novel that I just can't put down. 

Love and Happiness,

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Celebrating a Long Life

Earlier this week, Paul and I made an unexpected trip back to the south.

After a long life, Paul's 100 year old great-grandfather passed away. We got the news on Sunday morning and we caught a last minute flight to Memphis on Sunday afternoon.

Paul's love for his grandparents is so evident. When we got news that Pop wasn't doing well, there was no doubt in either of our minds that when the time came, we wanted to be there. When Paul and I first started dating, his family in west Tennessee made me feel welcome. Since their family is so big, it was a little overwhelming at first. I don't have a large family, so when I started to meet what felt like hundreds of "Coulstons" and "Tapps", I didn't know if I'd fit in. But in no time, I started to feel like family.

Paul is so blessed with such wonderful grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins over in west Tennessee and it meant a lot to him to be there with them as they laid Pop to rest. It meant a lot to me, too. Not everyone gets so lucky to have a family that they're close to and it's even less common to have a family that loves and accepts their wife into the family, too. And that's what that group in west Tennessee has done for me. Accepted me. Welcomed me. Loved me.

And when those hundreds of Coulstons and Tapps made their way to the visitation, funeral and then Paul's grandparent's house for a meal, you really couldn't help but smile and know how loved Pop was and how special his life will always be to everyone in those families.

Love and Happiness,