"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"

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bethany, Would You Accept This Rose: My Bachelor Experience

Okay, I have a confession to make.

I watch The Bachelor. And I'll probably watch The Bachelorette, too. Please don't judge me. It's like a guilty pleasure. I was particularly into this last season with Sean because of the cool places he went. Ever since the first episode, they previewed them going to some snowy, mountain locations that looked beautiful. And when I found out that they went to Whitefish, MT my mind was blown! It's gorgeous there, and only 4 hours away!

So, when we went to Whitefish for my birthday there was a few stops we had to make. Mostly, I wanted to go by The Lodge at Whitefish Lake, where they all stayed while in town. You know, just to say that I'd been there, seen that. Once we arrived to our lodge, the Grouse Mountain Lodge, we hopped on the internet to look up the restaurant that they ate at on the the show. A local article explained that the group dates eating/drinking took place at Casey's and that the rose ceremony took place at the GROUSE MOUNTAIN LODGE!! Shut up. After quickly looking up some youtube videos of the rose ceremony, we headed down to the lodge's lobby to see the exact location! Sure enough, in the lodge's restaurant was the same fireplace! So cool. I was pretty excited. I had no idea that we'd be staying at the same place the rose ceremony took place.

One evening we also went down to The Lodge at Whitefish Lake and also went to Casey's to check it out. It's pretty much like I was on The Bachelor, with the love of my life...except he's all mine and there aren't 20 other women waiting to kiss him after I do. It's really the best of both worlds. If only Paul has brought a single red rose...it would have felt like the real thing. :)

Love and Happiness,

Turning 23 In Whitefish

When Paul asked me to start thinking about what I wanted to do for my birthday, I wasn't sure. Sure, I love my birthday and I love to go all out to celebrate with Paul. But, I also know that it's not fair, financially, to ask Paul to spend too much money on me. I'm not even working, so I decided to give him the okay to do something small, in town, with low costs. And I was being honest when I said that that would be perfectly fine with me. But Paul had other plans and started planning a weekend trip to somewhere. He hadn't decided where when he came to me to help him decide. I started getting online to find a place, on the cheap, for us to stay for a weekend. And thankfully, Groupon was running a special on a place in Whitefish!! I was so excited because I have been wanting to go to Whitefish since we moved here. And you can't beat a 3 night stay, in a very nice lodge, for $100. All of a sudden, a weekend trip was completely feasible!

After some stressful drama at the bakery when they hadn't made the cake we ordered...we hit the road for Whitefish. Unfortunately, it rained the whole trip. On the drive up, every day we were there, and on the way home. Still, through all the clouds and rain, Whitefish and Kalispell are beautiful places to turn 23.

We got to town just in time for supper. Most tourists are probably interested in eating bison burgers and elk steaks but when we saw a southern bbq joint, we knew exactly where we were eating. Pulled pork, smoked chicken, southern potato salad, homemade mac and cheese and baked beans. They even served sweet tea! Every bite was wonderful. It was getting dark, and not to mention raining, so we drove around downtown and headed back to our room for the night.

Friday, we spent the day exploring downtown Kalispell, walking into historical shops, driving to nearby Flathead Lake, eating a picnic lunch by the water, buying Coldstone icecream and touring a model home (just in case we decide to move there)! We ate supper in a dive bar with the reputation of the best burgers in town and even saw a little bit of "home" on the wall.

On Saturday, after sleeping in, we spent the morning walking around downtown Whitefish. We had another picnic lunch on Whitefish Lake and then headed up to the ski resort for some winter's end fun. See, it was the last ski weekend at most resorts around here and they do this thing called a "pond skim". Basically, they make a pool on the slope side, fill it with water and people try to ski/snowboard across the water to the other side. It's a requirement to wear a costume and overall, it's a hilarious event to watch. Some people make it across with ease, but most crash and sink into the cold water. It was so much fun to watch and be a part of. By the end of the competition, it had come a blizzard and we left. This is the first time I've seen snow on my birthday!

Since it was my actual birthday night, Paul let me decide where to eat supper. We ended up going back to the same bbq joint for another amazing meal. It was such a gift to find a little taste of home here in Montana on my birthday, sweet tea and all. We ate cake and spent time cuddling in bed while the rain came down. It was a perfect birthday.

I love my birthday. And I love Paul for always making each birthday we spend together better and better.

Love and Happiness,

Reflections of A 23 Year Old

It's official, and I suppose it has been for nearly a month now, but I'm 23. 


I think that's the best word to describe how I feel about it or even how the last year played out. It's just weird. In my mind, turning 23 meant that you were really an adult. Theoretically, by the time you turn 23 you've finished your undergrad, gotten a degree, gotten a job and have started your adult life. Sweet! I did all that before I turned 22. What an adult I was on my last birthday. 

And now, here I am turning 23, at a completely different place in my life than I was a year ago. I'm suppose to be older, wiser and more successful. Instead, I've regressed. Sure, I may be one year older but I'm definitely not any more successful. Last year, I had a job. This year? Not even close. Last year, I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life. This year? I have no idea. Last year, I made logical decisions. This year? I'm flying by the seat of my pants. What's happened to me? 

Last year, I was an adult. This year? I'm a lost 23 year old, with no directional compass other than my happiness. And that's the perk so far. Maybe I am wiser. Maybe I've figured out that all the things that I thought would make me happy: a job, paychecks, having it all figured out, knowing my next step before I took it, being predictable, not taking risks...didn't make me happy. They didn't make me happy! So, I quit. I quit it all. 

And all of a sudden, when I stopped chasing happiness, it found me. 

I'm really torn within myself. Am I allowed to be happy with my life, with my situation, with my story when it doesn't fit into the guidelines I created for myself years and years ago? Can someone who obviously has taken two steps forward and ten steps back be content with not being where they were?  Because I am. 

I'm strangely happy. I'm strangely content. I'm strangely at peace with not being who I thought I had to be. 

Love and Happiness,

An April Recap Since I Was Too Lazy To Write Any...

I can't believe it's been a whole month since I last posted anything! I'd say that it was because I've been too busy, had too many things going on or something important like that...but it just wouldn't be true. Life here has been pretty calm, pretty relaxing and pretty uneventful. And I'm pretty sure that's a blessing in itself. So today, since I have nothing else to do...I'm going to catch up on the month of April and all the fun we had in it!

April, of course, was my birthday month and we took an awesome trip to Whitefish to celebrate. That trip get's a post of it's own so keep an eye out.

The week after we got back from celebrating my birth, Paul had to go on an overnight work trip to Great Falls to do some bridge inspections with some other co-workers. Luckily, I got to go with and stay in the hotel for two nights and explore Great Falls while he was working. Since Helena doesn't have a mall, I spent an afternoon roaming stores, trying on clothes and buying a few new things for myself. And the best part was getting to spend time with Paul and eating Sonic. If you haven't figured it out by now, I really miss having Sonic less than a mile from my house.

Anyways, when we got back to town, we went to the circus. Random, I know, but I've always wanted to go. When I saw that a circus was coming to town, you'd think that I was 5 years old again. It was even on my bucket list of things to do...and now it's been done! It was awesome. There were tigers and elephants and little performing dogs. There were tightrope walkers, fire juggles and acrobats. And, of course, there were clowns. I don't like clowns. I think they're creepy. I just wanted you to know.

And just the other night we went to a local roller derby match. Paul and I got into roller derby way back when we went to Auburn. We loved it. It's the perfect combination of intensity, strategy and girl-on-girl brutality. Those girls are not afraid to take a hit...or give one for that matter. It's fun. You should go.

Well, that's a quick recap of April for Paul and I. Nothing special, really. Once skiing stopped, our weeks have been a little less exciting but we're having fun regardless.

Love and Happiness,

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Duck Hunter's Paradise

If any of you know Paul, you know that he really loves duck hunting. Wherever we go, he's always looking into fields or ponds for ducks or geese or any waterfowl really. I've come to terms with the fact that no matter what we're doing or what we're talking about...a random sighting of ducks on land or in air takes immediate priority. And like a good wife, I've even been caught scouting ducks for him whenever he's driving. That's right, brownie points for me.

Anyways, we'd heard and read that Montana is conveniently located along a snowbird migratory route between Canada and wherever they go in the winter. (Mexico, maybe? I'm not really sure.) And sure enough, the hoards birds showed up this week. So, Paul took off work early on Friday and we drove up towards Great Falls, MT for the bird watching event of a lifetime.

See, I'm not that into birds in general so I wasn't sure what to expect. I figured it'd be pretty cool but I was really excited to see it with Paul. If he thinks a pond with 50 ducks is impressive, I knew his mind was about to be blown. And that's exactly what happened.

When we arrived to Freezeout Lake, a management area with several levees creating multiple small lakes, we were greeted what looked like snowy banks. Turns out, it was the thousands of snow geese and hundred of swans swimming together by the shores. On occasion, several hundred would fly up in a group creating a white cloud and then would land in another area of the lake. It was amazing to see.

But it wasn't over. When supper time came, nearly all the ducks, snow geese, Canadians and swans left the lakes for the barley fields to eat. We followed in our car to a nearby field where we saw them landing. We parked close to the edge of the field and watched the thousands of snow geese land to eat. And when a large group would get up to leave, you could feel the wind they created with their wings on your face. Seriously, we probably saw 25-30,000 snow geese. I feel weird even typing that number, because I'm sure it sounds improbable. But, if you were there...you'd believe me. I promise.

We literally spent the whole afternoon watching these animals. Thanks to my mom and dad, we now own a pair binoculars which came in handy when watching the birds from a long distance. Paul enjoyed picking out the green heads, the widgeons, the pintails, the shovelers, the goldeneyes, the teals and whatever other types of duck there were. I love watching the swans. It was kind of one of those once in a lifetime moments...until next year when we can go again. They migrate through this lake every year and creates quite the crowd. I tried to get some pictures, but they really don't do it justice.

Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon, enjoying nature and making your husband happier than ever. At one point he said, "Man, I can't believe I don't have my duck call". I can already see him making plans for next duck season!

Love and Happiness,