Monday, May 28, 2012

mama confessions: another day in the life

Sometimes Hubby will joke around with me and ask, 
"What do you do all day?"  
{at least I think he is joking}

Well, babe, this one's for you...

6am - Mama up.  First and foremost, coffee must be made.  I blog and check FB and email, plan my day in my trusty planner, or sometimes scrap all that and head to an early class at the gym.
7am - Baby up.  Change diaper, hang out with Dada, walk the dog and have some outside time.

7:30am - Bottle. 

8:00am - Breakfast for mama and baby!  We eat together most always.  We eat the same things, for convenience sake.  Fruit, toast, yogurt, hot cereal are typical.  

  Then I clean up the kitchen while he bangs around on the kitchen floor with whatever crap I hand him.  Kid-friendly crap, of course.

8:30am - Cleaning time...meaning I quickly do that day's "special cleaning task" {ie bathrooms or mirrors/windows or vacuuming, or whatever it is} while baby hangs out with me playing with toys or being entertained by me.  Multi-tasking - this is a skill that mamas quickly master.
Also, patience -- because everything takes ten times longer to accomplish.
I do as much as I can in these 15-20 minutes.
I'm glad I have a fairly small home to clean.

8:45am - Playtime in nursery.  Now is when we wind down for the first nap.  We have a lot of fun.   I find I really love to play around with him - particularly physical, rough-and-tumble play.
Which works well as a 'boy mama.' 
9:00am - Nap #1 - which lasts anywhere from 1 - 2 hours.  While he sleeps I use the time to do all the dishes, start the laundry if necessary, and wipe down the kitchen.  Then, if I still have time,  I can blog, exercise, or work on projects I'm doing around the house.
10:30 - Baby wakes up.  After a diaper change and some play time we haul out the jogging stroller and do a 3 mile run together.   Or we'll go to the gym and he'll play in the playroom and I'll do yoga or spinning or strength-training for an hour.  Then we do our cool down, meaning baby plays with toys in the room with me while I quickly shower and get dressed.

11:30 - Bottle.

12:00 - Lunch for Mama and Baby!   We'll have anything from whole wheat bread and avocado to a chicken and cheese quesadilla to mac n cheese.  I always include a fruit/veggie, bread, and dairy item.  Sometimes meat.  Yes, he eats whatever I prepare.  If he won't eat any, then he just doesn't eat.   No, I don't buy all organic.  Yes, I will sometimes give him a bit of cookie.  Not trying to win any "mama of the year" awards, clearly.
That being said, mealtime is really fun!
It also helps that I eat with him so that I don't get really hungry when he is napping and eat a whole bag of Oreos.  Seriously helps portion control!  
12:30 - Playtime!  Usually in nursery.  It's a fun room to hang out in, and most of his toys are there.  I don't keep toys in every room...less for me to pick up.
And this kid will make a serious mess.
This is what happens when we hang out in the office.
Every time.

1:00pm - Nap #2.  This nap is becoming shorter so I am thinking he is going to end up as a morning napper.  Anyway, during this hour or so I will sometimes relax, read a book, or occasionally nap.  Sometimes I'll blog.  Maybe fold laundry.  

2:30pm - 5:30pm - Baby is up and after a diaper change and some play time we gear up for any planned outings. Short shopping trips, play dates, or gardening are usual romps.  Sometimes we won't go anywhere, but if we went to the gym in the morning that day we will do our 3 mile run during this time.  Also, this is when I finish all the laundry if it was a laundry day.  We'll both have a snack around 3pm.

5:30 - Bottle.

6:00pm - Dinner for Baby!  This meal I don't eat with him, although I may snag a few bites while I feed him.  He doesn't really mind, as he feeds plenty of bites to the dog.
6:30pm - Bath, book, play, songs, prayers...

7:00pm - Bedtime for Baby!  

The rest Hubby should know...
I make us an "adult" meal while drinking a glass of wine and checking my favorite internet haunts.

Dinner is not always "fancy," although I like trying new recipes and making it interesting.  
The night I wrote this, however,  I grilled hot dogs...
and yes, still drank wine.
I ooze classiness sometimes.
wow -- isn't that backsplash coming right along??? still not done.

Then Hubby and I will watch a show on DVR, eat dinner, and head to bed.
Of course...this is all subject to change on the weekends.  But I keep my weekdays pretty routine.
Control-freak, much? 

So that is a typical day.

I know every stay-at-home mama does things differently.
 There are on-the-go, schedule-free mamas -- the by-the-schedule, routine-lovin' mamas like me --- and everything in between.
I think the important thing is to do what works for you 
and your babies! 

Also, please don't get the impression that my SAHM life runs smoothly every day, or that my little Cormac is a "perfect baby."  I myself tend to tune out when parents try to present their kiddos as "perfect."  No such thing...also, annoying.

On occasion he refuses to: eat, sleep, look me in the eye,
or let go of a fist-full of my hair. He has major meltdowns...

There are some days I just pray that Hubby comes home early so I can crawl into bed {with a glass of wine, of course} and hide.

And that's okay.


Friday, May 25, 2012

my life: the proposal

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

He was like a breath of fresh air.  Everything about him: the way he was dressed, his hair, his mannerisms.  It was like I was meeting him for the first time -- like we were on a first date.
during our sushi date...uh, clearly still feelings there!

It was my first time eating sushi -- he ordered rolls and pieces that were gentle on 'beginners,' and then showed me how to eat it properly.  I loved everything about it, even his wine choice - it all tasted sweet on my lips.

I got the feeling he had grown up from the boy I had fallen in love with.  Now he was a man, living on his own, with career aspirations and even more confidence than he had before.

During our conversation I began to wonder why I had been wasting my time dating guys that I had known in my heart weren't compatible with me.   Why had I settled with less than I knew I deserved?   Paul was interesting, intelligent, fun, ambitious, polite...the type of man I should have been looking for.   And now here he was, right in front of me, smiling warmly and making me feel something I hadn't felt in forever:  hope. Hope that there would actually be a sweet ending to my love story...not just a bunch of crazy, albeit interesting, beginnings.

Towards the end of our long and enlightening reunion lunch, and I enthusiastically suggested I fly to Tennessee to visit him for a weekend.  He, to my surprise, did not exactly jump at the idea.  He said maybe.  He'd call me.  We'd talk about it.  It was kind of like he didn't really want me to.  

Wow.  I was disappointed, but hid my feelings and agreed to talk more about it later.  I didn't really get it, as he said he didn't have any serious girlfriend there.

Turns out he was guarding his heart.  Who could blame him?   I felt like I had trampled his heart about a million times over the past few years.

I eventually did end up visiting him in Jackson, TN  -- St. Patrick's Day weekend.   We tried to keep it casual at first, but very quickly it was clear we were both wanting to try things again.  Er, actually I made it pretty clear by making the first move.  

We had such a great weekend. In Jackson we had a blast hanging out at his apartment, touring where he worked, even attending church together.  Then we drove to Memphis, ate at a Brazilian steakhouse, danced on Beale Street, and decided, after much discussion, to get back together.  To try a long-distance relationship while I was finishing college.   We both were financially able to make it work.  Whether or not we would emotionally be able to handle it was another story.  We knew it would be tough, but we felt so strongly about each other that it would be crazy not to at least try.

And so began our long distance romance - me still in Minnesota, with less than a year of college left, and him in Tennessee.  
Paul's apartment in Jackson -- I promise we're not naked.
derby eve - louisville 

after brunch with his family - louisville

central park, nyc

out in st. paul
kentucky derby - the infield
We managed to survive the trials and tribulations of a long-distance relationship for the next four months.  Each time we saw each other was a whirlwind of fun and excitement.  I guess this was okay, considering the first time we dated we spent nearly every second together, living in our tiny apartment, experiencing all the mundanities of normal life.

We travelled to see each other, talked on the phone a lot, emailed, he made a couple completely surprise visits...which were amazing. There was our typical bickering, and a few major fights.  I'll never claim we've ever been that couple who never quarreled -- we did on a regular basis.  In general, though, it was going very well.  We were definitely hopeful for a future together, someday.

In late June of 2005 we took a trip to Cincinnati.  I'd never been, and he wanted to show me around this city where his career was going to take him soon.  He would be done with the position in Tennessee within the next six months and would be moving to Cincy.

I really liked the city from the start.  Not in the same way that I loved the Twin Cities...but I can say that I immediately felt comfortable and "at home" in the much smaller city of Cincinnati.  Kind of strange, as I'd been to many large cities and never gotten such a distinct "liveable" feeling.  Again, this was God at work in my head and heart.

Paul excitedly showed me everything he could that he thought I might like.  We went to the nearby amusement park, drove around trendy neighborhoods, stayed in a hotel downtown and explored the area thoroughly...I had no idea he had very specific reasons for wanting me to like Cincinnati. 
fountain square
the 'purple people bridge'
view of mount adams
where paul would eventually work 
On Saturday night of our Cincinnati trip, he told me to get dressed up.  This wasn't really surprising, as I dressed up a lot and always had a dress packed just in case.  He knew I loved 'getting fancy' every once in a while.

So I donned a short black dress with pale pink piping, and he, of course, coordinated with me in a pink dress shirt and black pants.  (Yes, we are nerdy like that.)

We went to a popular dining and drinking area called Mount Adams - I made fun of it because it is more like a big hill, unlike any mountain I had ever climbed, but it was very quaint and sort of I was enamored by his choice.

He led me to a tiny seafood place called Mount Adams Fish House. We had drinks and a wooden slab full of decadent sushi pieces.

I was having a grand time, as always, with the man that I loved...and didn't feel dorky eating sushi in front of.  Even though I might have looked dorky.
During dinner, I couldn't help notice an unusual amount of nervous energy in my date.  Paul seemed to be really energized - much more than usual.  As we conversated he could not keep a huge grin off his face.  I didn't think much of it, except that it was kind of odd.

Then he suggested we take a walk.  Again, didn't think much of it.  Paul is a romantic guy who frequently surprised me.  A walk was not uncommon, except that it was pitch black out and he didn't really seem to know where we were walking to.  Several times he led us down a street and then decided it was not the right way to go.  Finally, he led me to a staircase.  A steep staircase covered by a thick arbor of tree branches.  I couldn't see the bottom.  To be honest, it looked scary.

I refused to go down it - visions of attackers in the shadows with knives dancing in my head.

He was not expecting my reaction, and tried for several minutes to coerce me down the steps.

No success - I wouldn't budge.  I'm not easily coerced into anything.  Plus, I didn't feel like dying.

So he aquiesced to my stubbornness and abandoned the staircase to find another way down to wherever it was he was trying to take us.  He still wouldn't specify.

Finally, we reached our destination.  A park bench situated on the side of the cliff, and the end of a tiny dead-end street.  It gave us a panoramic view of the lights of Cincinnati:
sorry - cheap camera and only photo I have!
It really was a fantastic view of the city and I took that to be the reason he had gone through all that trouble to get me there.  I was completely oblivious to any other intentions.  Completely.

Since I had my camera with, I suggested we take some nerdy, romantic self-pics while we sat there.  He , of course, humored me and we snagged a few lovey-dovey shots:
he hates this photo...I love it
Then his mood turned serious.  Even though I couldn't see his face, I could tell he wanted to tell me something important.  Still, I was completely oblivious.

He started out saying he had "not been honest" with me about something.

Not a good start.  My heart quickened and stomach tightened.  I thought he was going to tell me he had cheated on me or something equally heartbreaking.   I held my tongue and listened as he explained.

"I told you I went to a movie with a friend the other night, but I didn't go see a movie..."

"Okaaaaaaay..." I had no idea where this was going.

Then he went into a long explanation of what he had really been doing but, to be honest, I cannot remember anything he said because all of a sudden he was down on one knee, on the side of the "mountain", in the black of night, pulling something out of his pocket and asking,
"Will you marry me?"  
I was in complete and utter shock.  This was the moment every woman imagines her entire life, and all of a sudden it was happening.  Here I was, twenty four, being asked by the love of my life to marry him.  It should have been an easy answer.
However, my heart was in my throat, and all I could honestly think was, "I'm not ready for this yet!!!"  I wasn't done with school yet, we still lived in different states, it had been forever since we'd had a "normal" dating relationship...was I even ready for the huge commitment of marriage?  Was he? 
At the same time, I couldn't imagine saying no.  I knew in my heart he was the only man I could ever marry.  He truly was who I wanted to spend my life with.  Have babies with.  He was now asking me to do just that.   It was the perfect night, the perfect proposal, the perfect guy...How could I possibly say 'no?'

So I swallowed my doubts, and, I'll admit it, panic, and exclaimed, "Yes!" and we tearfully kissed and embraced, and the diamond ring I still hadn't even seen was placed on my finger on that dark hillside.

Then, of course, we snapped a few "newly engaged" photos:

this princess cut was exactly what I imagined on my finger - simple and classic
We then proceeded to do the things that newly engaged couples do: tell our families and friends and start planning the wedding.

None of it felt real to me.  At 24 I had no idea what kind of wedding I wanted.  While I had always daydreamed about being proposed to, I was not the girl who had been planning her wedding since she was four.   I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of making decisions about such a huge event.

Plus, we still both lived in different states!  My whole life was in Minnesota.  I still had to finish college.We tossed around the idea of a destination wedding, but that didn't really seem right either.  My mom and sister took me dress shopping, and even though many of the gowns looked gorgeous, I was strangely detached and uninterested.  Not a good sign when shopping for the most important dress of your life.

I did not feel ready for any of it.  I felt overwhelmed.  I felt suffocated.  I felt out-of-control of my own life.  I did not want to plan a wedding yet.  I was mentally incapable of dealing with all of the changes being thrust upon me.

I loved Paul with all my heart, but...

I freaked out.

A month later, while we were on a camping trip with my family in northern Minnesota, sitting in a canoe in the twilight, loons crying in the distance...

I gave the ring back.

Tearful, scared, but resolute.  The hardest thing I've ever done.

The engagement was over...but were we over?

Next up...
College Part 3: Graduation 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

first birthday invitations: sneak peak

So I pretty much chose the theme for Cormac's 1st birthday party when he was still in the womb.  Then I hinted at it in this post.  I've been dreaming and planning it longer than a mother honestly should.   Mostly because I function best when I have a lot of things on my plate.  Or I'm crazy.

Here are the invitations in the works...

Yes, folks, we are having a 'mustache bash.'

I know the little man/mustache theme is super trendy right now, but I think it is absolutely adorable and really fits with the "tie onesies" our little guy has been donning throughout the year.   Also, I like it because it can be fun for adults as well...maybe a little more-so than Elmo?  We don't have a ton of friends that have kids here, so I thought about this when choosing the theme as well.   This might make me sound like a bad mama, but...pretty sure these 1st birthday parties are more for the parents benefit anyways.  Um, why don't we just call it a  "We-Survived-the-First-Year-of-Parenting" party?  I jest.  Actually, no, not really. 

Anyway, the invitations were inspired by ones like these, found on Etsy:


Clearly the ones I am making are considerably less fancy...but I know nothing about graphic design, and am on a budget.  Plus, I just get a huge kick out of making them myself.  :D

I still haven't finalized the design, and hope to add a couple elements, but...once they are actually sent out I will give you a full view of the invitations and envelopes.

I have had a lot of fun planning all the details, and am looking forward to celebrating the day with those here in Kentucky that love our sweet baby Cormac.  God knows I probably won't have much time or energy to plan 1st birthdays when we have another baby...or two.  

As for my family in Minnesota...we'll be having a mini-party at the farm in about a month!   

More on all things {first birthday} soon!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ten months!

Ten months...really? 
Where does the time go?
I wrote a {day in the life} post  forever ago.  Or at least it seems like forever.  It was when Baby Cormac was only six weeks old.  You can read it {here.}  When I look back at that time I realize how things have changed.  As brave of a face as I put on, at that point I was:
Those first eight weeks of motherhood were a bear.  Labor was almost easier than the "new mama" adjustment/survival period.  

Each month since then has gotten easier -- and more fun!  
Watching this little baby grow from a quiet, completely dependent little poop machine into an  
an interactive, high-energy, intense and actually fun 
little boy --
has been awesome.

Our days have have also changed, morphing from being completely different and unexpected every day, to a routine that makes me and baby a lot happier.

Ten month updates:
Still 20 pounds.
Has four teeth.
Sleeps 12 hours every night, without a peep.
Took three steps completely on his own this week...but none since.
Sooooo close to walking, though!
Says "mama" and "dada" but we're not sure 
who he's really addressing.

*  *  *  *  *  * 

Only two months until his first birthday party -- ah!
I just finished designing the invitations...
can't wait to share!

Friday, May 18, 2012

my life: College Part 2

Currently doing a auto-bio series, hoping to reflect, learn, and grow...and for you to get to know this blogger better!  To catch up read:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Paul and I broke up just after New Year's of 2002.

Before you shed a tear over the sadness of our parting - remember, we were only twenty.   And, only a few months later, we saw each other again.  He invited me on a spring break trip to Cancun with him...and I accepted.  Weird?  Maybe for other exes...not for us.
spring break - cancun - 2002
We had an amazing time together -- as we always did.  (Oh, and a few fights.  Also typical for us.) Snorkeling, climbing Mayan ruins, jumping into hidden pools...and just hanging out at our all-inclusive resort.   So many memories...

...but no, we did not get back together.  He claims we did; however, at the end of the trip, we had to part ways.  The physical distance could not be trumped by the emotional closeness, even after an amazing trip to Mexico together.

Back in the "real world" I threw myself into work and got promoted again at the shoe store - this time to a lower-level management position.  I was a key-holder who could open and close the store -- but still an hourly employee.  I was ecstatic to have more responsibilities, be making more money, and still be working at the Mall of America. I won't lie: I loved every little thing about working at that mall.  Particularly the shopping part.

Summer of 2002 loomed ahead and I needed, again, to find a place to live.  A close girlfriend of mine and I decided to rent a two bedroom apartment together in St. Paul.  I found the place and we signed the lease.

This was a classic case of don't become roommates with your close friends.

I worked a lot.  Barely went out.  Liked things tidy and organized.  Still hadn't tried weed or any other drugs.  Hardly drank.

She, on the other hand, had become my exact opposite.  Her room looked like a hurricane blew through, she was constantly going out or bringing people I didn't know into our apartment until the wee hours of the morning.  Also, she drank a lot.  In fact, when we went out for my 21st birthday that July, it was me who held her hair back as she vomited violently all over our apartment.

one of my little kitchens
To be fair, only days before we moved in together she suffered a tragic loss.  This definitely could have accounted for her erratic behavior, but I was ill-equipped to deal with the severity of what she was going through.  Citing irreconcilable differences, we broke our lease early and went our separate ways.  Permanently.

It was that horrific experience that made me decide to live alone.  Get my own apartment, which I could now easily afford.  I loved the neighborhood that we had been living in, so I found a little studio just a couple streets down.  One block up from the Mississippi River, a path along which I ran every day.  (Yes, running still a major part of my life.)
So what if my bed and couch were in the same room, along with my tiny kitchette area?  It was mine, all mine for around 525 a month.  It had hardwood floors, high ceilings, arched doorways, and a clawfoot tub.  Everything I could have asked for.
pottery barn couch - my first major furniture purchase!

Being a complete introvert and control freak, living alone was a Godsend.  I was free to be as anti-social as I wanted.  

I loved living in the big city and exploring on my own.  I went to all the museums and galleries, ran around all the big lakes and parks, and shopped in all the trendy, boutique shopping areas.  I had no qualms spending time by myself.

I did have some friends I liked to hang out with, but I didn't go out that much.  In fact, I probably "went out" only twice a month.
That being said, when I did go out, I went all out.  After I turned 21 I became a little more willing to drink.   As is typical for many college students -- a lot most of my social experiences involved alcohol.  I went out to clubs with friends and danced until they closed the place down.  I went to house parties and drank cheap beer and played ridiculous drinking games.  I went to neighborhood bars and played pool.  I went on crazy, impromptu weekend trips and just got plain crazy.

So many fun memories from this time!
bachelorette party fun!
sheer silliness at billy's on grand - a favorite spot
spring break - boston
fun times in florida!
creed concert with my sister and her montana friends
sippin' a corona - out in minneapolis
enjoying some vino with my sister at a wedding - I look drunker than I was!
 trouble - ha!
I had a lot of fun.  I am glad I had a lot of fun.  I do not regret this time in my life at all.

Meanwhile, future Hubby was living it up and having a lot of fun as well.  He came back to Minnesota that summer to do another couple months of his internship.  He was living with a couple guys only a few miles away from me.  Strangely, we only saw each other twice that summer.  Once was a night I was in a fight with my roommate and called him up.  I really wanted to see him.  To be honest, I had probably been drinking.  He was on a date at the time.  He simply told his date: "I need to go now" and left immediately.  I should have known right then we were meant to be together: what other guy would do that?

We also went on a weekend trip to a country music festival in Wisconsin.  It was awesome and, as always, we had a great time together.  The chemistry was there, the conversation was easy, and everything felt right.
WE-Fest - 2002
Nothing came of it, though.  We hung out, and then went our separate ways again.  Again, I wasn't ready to get back together.  He probably wasn't either.

*  *  *  *  *

In August Paul, again, headed back to Kentucky, and I enrolled as a full time student at a university in St. Paul.  I chose it because it catered to students working full-time jobs.   All my classes were night classes that met one night a week.  It fit my lifestyle perfectly, and was reasonably priced.

at a coffee shop - enjoying some brit lit
I finally declared my major - English literature.  It felt completely right.  I loved all of my classes.  I was done with all my general education courses so now everything was literature and writing...oh and a few psychology and art history classes thrown in.

I loved my professors and actually developed solid relationships with several of them.  I felt like they "got" me, and I was kindred spirits with them.   I gave 110% in my classes and easily got A's, with only an occasional B.  I got some weird high from doing well in college...something I never felt in high school.

I got promoted again at the shoe store -- this time to assistant manager.  Finally I was salaried!

I bought a car.  I got an even bigger, more lovely, more old, apartment.  
I dated, too.  I was a serial dater.  While both of my older siblings married their high school sweethearts, I was the polar opposite.  I wasn't into serious relationships at all.  I dated mostly out of boredom.
Don't get me wrong -- I dated some really great guys.  There was the model. The divorcee.  The pot-head guitar player.  The gym trainer.  The co-worker.  The Parrothead.  The bartender.  The law student.  The med student.  The 'eyebrow' guy.

Oh, the stories I could tell you about my dating experiences.  Some are hilarious, others are just plain ridiculous.   I definitely figured out what I did and did not want in a future partner.  Mostly what I did not want.  
I never got serious.  I didn't date anyone more than a few months...and that was only one guy.  Only one boyfriend was brought home to meet my family.  And it was always pretty easy to end things -- either I ended it, or I unconsciously became someone they wanted to end it with.  I can be rather disagreeable if I want to be.
A couple of these guys were serious about me, though.  Several times I was told I was "the one."  I was dubious each time I heard this.  Yeah right, I would think, and would try to convince them as nicely as possible that I was definitely not "the one."  Mostly because I knew that they were not "the one."  I always had some excuse.  The simple fact was, the most important thing was missing:  love. 

I never came close to feeling the way I had felt about Paul.

During this time Paul and I emailed and spoke on the phone sporadically.  He even visited once, the weekend of my 22nd birthday, and made the entire weekend so special for me.
my apartment - opening gifts from paul on my 22nd birthday
at the end of our weekend together
But each time we spoke or saw each other, even though the same feelings of love would come back, I knew it was not the right time for us.

In May of 2004 he graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in finance, got a job with a large company, and was offered a position in Tennessee, which he took.

It appeared we were done for good.

*  *  *  *  *
In January of 2005 I had only one year of college left.   I was fairly successful at a job I really enjoyed.  I lived in a city I loved.  I had a decent social life - a few good friends and always was dating someone.  Everything seemed to be going fine...but...

I started to feel restless.  A bit empty.  My depression worsened as I started to wonder where my path was going to lead.  More empty relationships with guys I had nothing in common with?  More silly, drunken nights where my guardian angels had to work overtime just to protect me from myself?   And believe me, they did.  Many, many times.  I am one lucky lady to have a God so forgiving, so protective, and that loves me so unconditionally.  He never let me fall too far.
It was then that God showed me the direction he wanted me to go.
That January I received an email from Paul.  Very casual.  He was in Minnesota for the weekend, visiting a friend.  Would I like to meet for lunch?  At this point we hadn't seen each other in at least six months, and hadn't spoken at all recently.   I truly felt that all my feelings for him were gone.  It seemed like he also had moved on.  For all I knew he was visiting a girl he really liked, or had a girlfriend in Tennessee.

Getting together for lunch seemed harmless.  

We decided to meet at a little sushi place in the Mall of America.  His friend dropped him off -- extremely late.  I was seriously getting annoyed and was about to leave.

Then I saw him walking toward me...

*  *  *  *  *

 Next up: The Proposal

Sorry - the post was getting way too long!  :) :)