Well, friends. I just tried looking back through my coffee date posts to see the last time I sat down to fully update you on the day-to-day happenings of my non-blog, personal life. While I shared wedding planning updates all throughout my engagement and a few sporadic, bite-sized updates since the wedding, it’s been way too long since I’ve sat down to process life with you. Ok wow. How on earth did that happen?!
If you’re new to my Coffee Date series, welcome! The idea behind this started years ago, when I realized I was craving a way to share more “real-life” with you than the posed and filtered fashion-related posts you’ll normally find around here. So join me as I share what always manages to be an extra wordy update on life these past few months.
We’ve got a wedding. A move. A new puppy. So much to cover. You know the drill. Grab a cup of coffee, and let’s catch up!
I recently took to Instagram Stories to ask what topics y’all would like to hear about as of late! As always, y’all came through with so many good suggestions. To organize it all, I’ve decided to unpack life as of late in a few different categories, and then include specific questions y’all sent in for each!
Let’s start with the most highly-requested topic, shall we?!
a new marriage
It feels like I blinked, and all of a sudden Andrew and I had hit the 6-months of marriage mark! On June 1, 2019, Andrew and I married in our hometown of Dallas, took off for a week-long honeymoon, then made the move to Gainesville all in the span of a few weeks. Whew. What a ride!
There is no “perfect” relationship out there, and ours is certainly no exception, but at the risk of sounding gushy, it has been about 1000X more wonderful than I had even anticipated. Let’s jump into a few specific questions y’all sent in!
How is marriage going?
I think every marriage is so, so different (just think about how different we all are as individuals, let alone as pairs!), and every season in marriage is different, but right now? We are in such a happy/crazy season and are loving every minute!
Here’s how I’d describe marriage right now: every night truly feels like a Friday night. Before we married/moved in together, I would look forward to seeing him on the weekend all week. Now, it’s just about the most fun thing in the world that he comes home every evening, we get to cook and eat dinner together (his work schedule permitting), catch up on our day, watch an episode of TV, only to wake up and do it all over again! I look forward to him coming home all day. It’s truly the best.
What is it like living with a boy for the first time?
Oh my gosh… so. many. thoughts. In a nutshell, it’s been the most hilarious, eye-opening and fun thing ever. First, can we talk about how gross boys are? (You know I love you, Andrew!) I never had brothers so I just don’t think I realized this. Getting used to things like, oh I don’t know, potty humor, has been a refining experience for me, to say the least. Ha! :)
It’s also so fun being married to the ultimate handyman. I swear… he can figure anything out. From dishwasher woes to hanging lights on our porch, there’s no project he shys away from.
On a more serious note, I have loved the different perspective Andrew brings to our home. Learning his routines and habits and integrating them with mine could have been the source of a lot of conflict, but we’ve had so much fun learning to balance out and appreciate each other’s preferences. For example, he has taught me to actually follow and understand football – something I never knew how to do beforehand. Now, one of my favorite traditions is Saturday mornings spent eating waffles and watching College Gameday together, something you couldn’t have forced me to do before we got married!
But my favorite thing about living with a boy is figuring it out together as husband and wife, knowing the other isn’t going anywhere. It’s such a freeing and fun thing to learn how to live and build a life with someone you know you’ll be with forever!
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned since being married?
Ooph, this is such a hard question! I could answer it a million different ways, but I think the biggest thing I’ve learned since being married is how important the choice of who you marry is.
Each marriage is different, and I believe that choice, as silly as it may sound, truly dictates how “easy” or “hard” marriage will be. I remember a high school friend telling me her grandmother’s biggest advice is that you genuinely like the person you’re marrying, plain and simple, apart from all the “in-love” feelings. That you truly like who they are as a person, to the core.
The issues and/or challenges you face as a couple when you date don’t magically disappear and remedy themselves the second you get married, and it’s your decision whether or not those challenges are ones you’re willing to sign up for for the rest of your life. You get to decide (for the most part, obviously there are exceptions) what you’re walking into.
And that’s why I am so adamant about not compromising. If I could go back and tell my younger self anything, it would be that. Don’t try to wish or hope anyone into the person you want them to be. Wait for the person who already is. And guess what… even then, neither of you will be perfect. You will both make mistakes. You will both disappoint the other and let one another down. But doing all that with a person you are 100% on the same page with to begin with makes all the difference.
Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for his timing and plan in bringing Andrew and I together. I get chills thinking about how vastly different life would be if I hadn’t waited for him. I was told this as a young girl, and I understand it in a new light now: who you marry is the most important of your entire life. I am so, so, so thankful Andrew chose me!!!
What’s been the biggest change since getting married from dating and engagement?
100% living together! We also waited for marriage to be intimate, so that’s obviously been a huge and fun change in our relationship, too!
Has your relationship changed since being married?
This is such a good question… yes and no.
Yes, in the sense that I didn’t really understand how much my love would grow for Andrew once we got married. (Cheesy, but true.) It’s a deeper love now than it ever was while we were dating, and the Lord has continued to grow it daily. Moving to a brand new city has really forced us to lean on one another before anyone else, and I think that has grown and strengthened our relationship in a big way.
I think our relationship has also changed since being married in that we have grown a lot in our respect for and grace for each other surrounding our jobs. Seeing Andrew juggle residency firsthand while also being a loving, supportive and amazing husband to me has really opened my eyes to his character, drive, and resilience. I think now that we live together, Andrew has also seen firsthand the ins-and-outs of my job. The way he has supported me, encouraged me and invested in this endeavor has been incredibly life-giving and bonding!
I would say our relationship hasn’t changed since being married in the sense that our dynamic/personalities/etc are still the same! I think I had always had this subconscious feeling that once you get married, things all of the sudden get super serious, adultish and not fun. (I don’t know where I got that, because my parents are one of the cutest/funniest couples out there.) But that couldn’t be further from the truth! To be honest, I still feel the same way I did when we first started dating. Except now we’re roommates. With a puppy. And it’s the best thing ever.
What is a funny/interesting thing you’ve learned about Andrew since being married?
I think it’s important for everyone to know that ANDREW RE-WEARS HIS SOCKS AFTER ONE USE AND FEELS VERY JUSTIFIED AND INCREDIBLY SHAMELESS IN DOING SO. IT IS NOT RIGHT. WE ARE WORKING THROUGH IT.
But you know… forgiveness/grace/sanctification and all that.
How did you and Andrew address your values, ie not living together before marriage, etc, when dating. I feel like early is good, but too early is awkward?
I totally agree, early is good! I think it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re on the same page with the important things (values, expectations, etc) as early as possible. In my opinion, the guy you are dating should make you aware of where he stands/what his intentions are early on! If you can’t tell from his actions, words, and friends alone, it’s worth bringing up the conversation, in my opinion.
To be quite honest, Andrew and I never really had a big discussion on values. We were lucky in that we had many mutual friends who could vouch for the other’s character. It wasn’t long into getting to know him that I knew we were really well-aligned on the things important to us. As far as living together before marriage, it never even came up. We both, as individuals, had decided to wait on that for marriage, so we never even talked about it! Which brings me to the next question:
Did you and Andrew live together before getting married? Would you recommend it?
Nope, we waited to move in together until we got married. And I know it’s not necessarily the popular thing to do, but I would recommend it to anyone! It has been so much fun being new roommates as newlyweds. It’s also been so much fun figuring out how to be roommates knowing that neither of us is going anywhere. I’ve heard a lot of the “make sure you can stand living together before getting married” reasoning, but in my experience, there’s so much freedom and fun in figuring it out together when the commitment is 100% there.
This is in no way intended to “judge” anyone’s decision (y’all know that is not my thing at all!) but I thought I’d share our experience and how wonderful it’s been for us!
How are you and Andrew navigating residency life? Can you talk about balancing marriage with Andrew’s residency?
I knew going into our marriage that residency was going to be really, really hard. Luckily, I’ve had wonderful people in my life who have walked this road (like my angel of a mother-in-law) and who have shared the honest truth about this season, along with lots of encouragement, with both Andrew and me.
In a nutshell, I think Andrew and I are navigating residency life well. That is probably 100% due to Andrew’s resilience and positivity throughout it all. He does such an amazing job of being present when we are together, and of not letting the stress of his job cloud over our time together. I’m also thankful that he wants to talk about it/walk through it with me. In that way, I feel like we’re in it together instead of him being off doing his thing with me not really sure what’s going on. He’s truly my hero… I don’t know how he does it.
That being said, there are a lot of things about residency life that have been, as expected, challenging. Some rotations are harder than others, but his call schedule as a whole (the nights and/or weekends he works a full day and then can get called into the hospital for emergencies all night) isn’t super fun. The weekends he is on call, especially, can get really lonely.
Another challenge has been traveling for my job. I used to love it, and I still do, but now I’ve realized how taxing it is to be away from him given the limited time we have together. This really came to a head at the beginning of November… after so many fun trips, I was surprised at how tired, spent, out of synch and drained I felt. I simply missed being home with my husband, and so this coming year I’ve decided to be much more selective about time away.
Another residency challenge? Whenever he has free time, he’s usually studying. I know the weight of perpetually needing to study is always hanging over his head.
All that being said, none of these challenges have been a huge shock or surprise. I had a pretty realistic mindset going into this and knew it was going to take a lot of positivity, a lot of grace and flat-out dependence on the Lord to navigate residency. And it certainly has taken all of that, and then some, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This season is challenging, but we keep reminding ourselves that one day we’ll be on the other side of it, and it will all be worth it! In the meantime, I see the Lord using it to draw us closer to one another and to Him. For that, I am thankful.
I’ve also had to remind myself over and over that this season is a chance for me to love him sacrificially. Because of the demands of residency, Andrew has more on his plate than I can imagine. I’m daily praying for extra doses of grace and love towards him so that I can be a safe haven and support, not a nag or complainer when I get sad that we aren’t able to do the things other couples can. Honestly, I’m usually the one needing the extra grace! He’s a saint, and I 1000% do not deserve him.
A few things that have helped me navigate residency and marriage? I now have a set dinner time. After a few nights spent waiting and waiting for Andrew to get home (only to end up tired and hangry by the time he finally made it back) I made the decision that if he’s not home by 8:30, to go ahead and eat dinner by myself. It sounds silly, but that structure has given me a lot of freedom from feeling like I’m waiting around all night. I’ve also started trying to say “no” to things that cut into our time together on the evenings/weekends, even though it can be a sacrifice, and have focused on protecting those moments so we can have quality time together.
So in a nutshell, residency is hard. But we are wholeheartedly committed to leaning into it and giving it our all. I have a whole new respect for all of you in the medical field, let me tell you!
What was your favorite part of being engaged? What is your favorite thing about married life?
Favorite thing about being engaged? All of the excitement leading up to the big day! Favorite thing about married life? That I never have to be engaged again. :) It sounds anticlimactic, but slowing down and getting back to normal life after months of wedding-prep has been the. best. thing. ever. Can I get an amen from all you newly-weds?!
Hardest adjustment to married life? Biggest struggle with marriage?
Honestly, there haven’t been any huge “hard” things yet! I know there will be many in our future, but I am thankful for the wonderful start we’ve had.
Now, of course, our marriage is not perfect and I’d never want to paint that picture. I think managing expectations has been the hardest adjustment we’ve been figuring out thus far. Funny example: I’m a huge physical touch person, and Andrew, on the other hand, is not. So if you accused me of having a full-on melt-down a couple of weeks into marriage when I learned Andrew prefers to sleep roughly 100 feet away from me, I wouldn’t deny it. :) Learning how each other gives and receives love is something I think we’ll continue working on until the day we die!
Most surprising thing about marriage!
How much fun it is!
Ok, y’all. Rewind to the months leading up to our wedding. I started hearing an expression, one that I still see everywhere today: “Marriage is so hard, but so good” and it started getting to me. I love the truth behind that message, that something can be hard and good all at once, but some point, it began to feel like the loudest message I was hearing about marriage.
Honestly, I think it got into my head, and I don’t know… I guess I started to expect our marriage to be no fun, perpetually hard, and endlessly draining. But still, somehow, good? Well, here I am, six months into marriage, and I have a revision I’d like to make:
“Marriage is so good. Sure, just like with any good thing, some things about it can be hard. But marriage is good.” And it’s actually really, really, really fun to build a life from the ground up with the person you love most!
Have we had silly disagreements? Oh yes. Have we disappointed each other? You bet. Do I feel fully fulfilled because of Andrew’s love, and do I perfectly meet each of his needs/wants? Heck no. But that’s the point! Imperfect love between two people pointing to the perfect love Christ has for us. And in the midst of all of that imperfectness, there is so much joy, love, and fun! And I think it’s worth celebrating that from time to time as well.
Are you and Andrew planning on starting a family or no kids?
We dream of having a family one day! Right now, we are loving being newlyweds and don’t have any immediate plans for babies. We both decided to table the subject until we hit the one-year mark, and then we’ll see how we’re feeling! I think I’d like to wait a few years, but honestly, who knows. What we do know is, we definitely want kids… whether they’re biological or adopted!
Expectations vs. reality of married life? Current prayer/scripture themes?
My expectation? That I was going to be the perfect, selfless, loving wife. Always putting Andrew’s needs before my own, like I vow’d to. Never complaining when I didn’t get my way. Reality? Through marriage, I’ve realized what a selfish brat I can be. (Hahaha, so sad but so true!) I have to constantly catch myself whenever I find myself wishing/wanting Andrew to do/say/be exactly what I need whenever I need it. His role is not to fulfill my every desire, and I hate that I feel so entitled to that at times!
As the Holy Spirit has started to convict me of this, He’s been so gracious to lay this verse on my heart:
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
It’s my continual prayer that the posture of my heart would be to serve Andrew, wholeheartedly and joyfully, without any strings attached, and not to be served, which is the desire I so often revert to. Needless to say, I am so thankful for grace! I am constantly falling short.
Does Andrew ever bug you?
Hahaha, I would love to hear him answer this question! On the whole, are there things that drive me absolutely insane? No! (Not yet, at least!) Are there little things that the both of us are getting used to? Yes, but we usually end up laughing about them. He likes to put dirty dishes on the counter instead of in the sink. I’m terrible about closing the garage door. At the end of the day, I like to think we balance each other out. :)
As a newlywed married couple, are there any new Christmas traditions you want to start as a family?
This is one of the things we are most excited about! And perfectly timed, because this year, we are actually doing Christmas on our own. Andrew works the day before Christmas as well as the day after, so traveling to Texas just wasn’t a realistic option for us. So we’ve decided to have our own little newlywed Christmas and start creating a few traditions of our own!
We have yet to work out all of the details, and I imagine we’ll be building on these traditions for years to come, but we already have a few ideas and I am so excited about them. (I think I’ve convinced him to do a pajama swap the night before, although he nixed the matching set idea. Ugh. #boys) If you have any fun traditions you’ve started with your significant other, we are all ears!
Do you still get butterflies every time you see Andrew even though you’re married?
The romantic in me would love to tell you yes, but in reality? No. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely moments I do a doubletake and can’t believe he’s mine. (Also, have you SEEN his eyes? Legit clear blue. Not over them. #HotHusband) But I’m so happy to report that after six months of marriage, I’ve learned there is so much more to love than butterflies.
Like inside jokes. Weekend traditions. Random texts throughout the day. Evening bike rides. Harry Potter movie marathons. Getting medicine when the other is sick. Bringing home takeout when the day is too crazy to make dinner. Knowing each other’s snack preference for road trips. Spontaneous dinner dates.
The day-to-day, best-friend things may not be as glamorous as the just-started-dating, butterfly feelings, but let me assure you. They are so, so much better! And if you are feeling like the butterflies are “leaving” your relationship… I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad sign. It might just mean that your love is growing, deepening and maturing into something even more wonderful and longlasting.
Have you and Andrew been able to settle into a routine since you travel so much?
Routine is one thing Andrew and I are both craving, but between his every-changing rotation schedule (basically, his work schedule changes every couple of months) and my travel schedule, we haven’t quite figured that out!
While we’ve tried a few different strategies, but we haven’t found the perfect solution yet. I have to keep reminding myself, though, that we are only a few months into a new marriage, a new job, a new home, a new city and that a routine is going to come… it’s just going to take time! We’re both hopeful that this second half of the year gives us a little bit more breathing room to really get into our rhythm. Baby steps!
a new city
Hopefully, you feel fully up-to-speed on the whole topic of, you know, being married. (Eek! Still so fun to say.) Now, let’s dive into another “new.” Our move to Gainesville, Florida!
A quick refresh if you’re new around here… Andrew and I made the move from our hometown of Dallas, Texas to Gainesville, Florida three weeks after we got married for his residency at the University of Florida. Talk about a whirlwind month!
It has definitely been a transition, filled with both ups and downs. Let’s get into those, shall we?
More about how you’re liking Florida!
On the whole, Andrew and I are truly loving Gainesville! It is such a friendly town with a young, up-and-coming vibe. We are loving our neighborhood, and we’re still not over how beautiful this part of the country is. Everything is always so green!
My one qualm with Gainesville is the food scene. Andrew and I are just now finding some favorite spots (like our new Thai discovery the week before we left!) but let me tell you… we looked like a pair of ravenous wild wolves in Dallas this past week trying to eat at all of our favorite places! Still trying to find a delicious Tex Mex spot with decent margaritas. Tougher than you might think!
How has it been making friends in a new city?
It’s been going well! When I moved to Gainesville, I made a goal to hit the ground running. I joined a dance class, got coffee with as many people as I could, and said yes to everything that came up!
I was lucky enough to meet our interior designer, Kerry, early on. She is such a doll, and I have so loved getting to know her over the months! (She also just had her first baby, a precious little girl!) Her husband is also residency, and she has been sweet enough to introduce me to other Gainesville ladies! Truly such a blessing.
The Lord works in mysterious ways, y’all, because I met another friend, Hannah, early on! She and her husband are actually from Dallas as well, and we even went to the same high school! Isn’t that the craziest thing? It’s been so wonderful having a friend who’s also from Dallas and figuring out a new life in Gainesville.
I’m also lucky enough to have the most amazing intern, Aynsley, who has become one of my sweetest friends in Gainesville. I wish every one of you could meet her… hilarious, creative, hardworking and just so much fun. I love working by myself, but my days are infinitely better when she’s working with me!
Andrew and I have also lucked out in that he has an amazing group of residents. Some programs have a reputation for being extremely cut-throat, but we have truly had the best experience thus far. We’ve hosted game nights, all gotten together at local breweries, and truly enjoy hanging out. I may not understand what they’re talking about 75% of the time, but it’s so fun having a group. :)
On the whole, I’ve been learning that making new friends in a new city, especially during this season, takes a lot of patience with yourself and a lot of putting yourself out there. I feel like the second half of this past semester (does anyone else still view the year in semester chunks?) I’ve been gone so much that I haven’t gotten to see my Gainesville friends as much as I’d like to. Definitely looking forward to changing that here in the coming months!
Do you ever just get sad about having moved away from your family and friends and cry?
Of course! Honestly, not as often as I anticipated, but I’ve definitely had my moments. I’ve only had one “cry it all out” moment so far. One Friday night, Andrew and I had fun plans for dinner and a movie. Work ended up tying him up and I didn’t hear from him until he got home at 10 that night. I think that was the first time the reality of residency and feeling alone in a new city truly set in. Honestly, sometimes I think the best therapy is a good, hard cry!
How did you find a church after moving?
This is one of my favorite stories. I had been praying for a church home for months before our move, as Andrew and I really wanted to find a community as soon as possible. So many of y’all sent in lots of recommendations, so we compiled them all and made a list!
Our first night in Gainesville meeting all of Andrew’s fellow-residents, we ended up talking to a couple (now our dear friends) a year ahead of Andrew. When Andrew told them we were checking out a new church that next morning, they invited us to join them and visit theirs! So we made a last-minute change of plans, and ended up absolutely loving it.
We visited a few other churches after that, but in the end, we kept going back to City Church. So, so thankful to have found this special place, and so thankful for the way the Lord led us there!
Was it hard moving away from family?
I think you’d be hard-pressed to find two individuals closer to their families! Andrew and I are both big homebodies at heart, and definitely wish our families were closer.
That being said, we are both incredibly thankful for this time away. While it can be difficult to be so far away from family and friends, we see this as an amazing opportunity to figure out our own marriage and family for a few years! Since we’re both born and raised in Dallas, moving far away has taken us out of our comfort zone and forced us to figure out our own, new life. Had we stayed closer to Dallas, it would have been so easy for us to rely on our families instead of one another during this time. While being away is hard at times (and definitely more so on Andrew than I, since I travel to Dallas for work pretty frequently) we’re very thankful for the lessons we’re already learning through it, and we’re having lots of fun with it too!
How did the whole moving from Dallas process work?
Planes, trains, and automobiles is what it felt like! When my apartment lease ended last February, I packed up most of my belongings into a big POD container and moved into Andrew’s parent’s backhouse. After we returned from our honeymoon, Andrew and I spent our first two weeks in that same little backhouse and managed to somehow fit the rest of my things, and all of his stuff, into a UHaul. Once we were all loaded up, we made the two-day drive to Gainesville in two cars… Andrew driving his truck with the UHaul attached, and me following behind in my car! A few days later, our POD was delivered to our home in Gainesville, and we hired some movers to help us get everything inside. On the whole, the process went much smoother than anticipated. Although I’m already dreading doing it all over again!
Do you plan on staying in Florida or will you come back to Texas?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the medical journey, it’s that there are so many unknowns. What Andrew and I do know at this point is that we will definitely be in Gainesville for three years for his residency. After residency, Andrew will most likely do a one-year fellowship… which could be anywhere. After all of that, we’ll finally get to “decide” where we want to land. I know we would both love to end up back in Texas, but we’re trying to take it a day at a time until we’re finally able to really make that decision!
How is Gainesville compared to Dallas?
Much smaller. Much greener. Much more humid.
All jokes aside, it still has the same friendly, Southern vibe that Dallas has, but definitely has that college-town feel. People are much more casual in Gainesville, and the city as a whole feels much more chill! During the summers, it can feel pretty empty, but once the school year starts back up and all of the UF students get back into town, Gainesville really transforms!
One thing I miss about Dallas is being able to get almost anywhere in 10 minutes. Andrew and I live about 20-25 minutes outside of downtown Gainesville, which can make commuting anywhere more of a challenge. Especially with traffic. (It usually takes me about 30 minutes just to get to Orange Theory.)
But we are loving how close it is to so many fun destinations down south, including Palm Beach, Seaside, Savannah, Charleston and many more. I love this part of the country, and it’s so fun being close to so many beautiful cities!
a new home
Well… actually one from the 90s. :) But we couldn’t be more in love with our house in Gainesville, and I’m excited to answer your questions about it!
How decorating the house is going?
Things are kind of at a standstill as of late, but I’ve managed to “complete” our most lived-in rooms. Our master bedroom is pretty much done (I’d love to eventually find us new dressers, but our two IKEA ones will do for now even though they are falling apart!) and I love our cozy little living room!
When I get back next week, I’m so excited to get together with Kerry Spears, our interior designer to work on our dining room and Andrew’s office! They’ve both become a rather sad holding place for a few random boxes and items we don’t have a spot for yet, but I have a feeling Kerry is going to make them absolute magical.
Eventually, we would love to do a mini refresh on our kitchen (new floors, painting the cabinets, new countertops, etc) but for now, we are loving everything the way it is!
How have you decorated your house? Newlywed and new house here too and I’m struggling with decor!
Honestly, I’ve filled many of the spaces in our house with items I had from my apartment! If there’s one thing I’ve learned about decorating, it’s that it can get so expensive to buy new furniture/decor. So, we’re using all of the gold, spraypainted pieces I got from IKEA and filling in anything necessary with budget-friendly options. I’m also using the colors we already have in our house as a base to decorate from. The master room came with cute blue striped window treatments, so I decided to keep those and decorate with blues, whites and beige!
If there’s anything I’d love to spend a bit more money on, it’s updating some paint and wallpaper in a few rooms and adding new light fixtures in our kitchen and dining room. Other than that, I’m a sucker for HomeGoods and any sort of interior design sale for keeping things cost-effective. (Still obsessed with this credenza I found on WayFair!) Spacing big purchases out over time also helps!
a new puppy
Adding Flynn to our little family has been the most wonderful thing ever! Like marriage (haha) having this fluffy little friend around has been even better than I dreamed. Y’all, we are hopelessly obsessed. He has been the biggest little blessing and we can’t imagine life without him!
Ups and downs of having a puppy?
Let me start off by saying I am so glad I waited to get a puppy until I was “ready.” I knew puppies were a ton of work and a big commitment, and so I didn’t get one when I was single because I loved not having the responsibility! Once Andrew and I got settled into our new home in Gainesville and I got a better idea of his residency schedule, I knew it was time to bring a little furball into our family.
The “downs” are just what you would expect. Those first two weeks were a lot… constantly (and I mean 24/7) watching Flynn, trying to teach him simple concepts, enduring his howls when we’d put him in his crate or leave the house, etc. It also takes much more planning when we go out of town. I was also devastated when he started showing signs of being afraid of people. I should have known it was just a phase since he was so young, but I was terrified he would grow up to be a “mean” dog. It took all of two weeks for him to work out of that, though! With lots of love and a few friendly older dogs, he’s now the sweetest, bravest little thing you ever did see.
The “ups” far, far, far outweigh the downs though, and we knew they were all part of the equation, so we were ready! I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been to have another little body in the house, especially when Andrew’s stuck at the hospital or on call for the weekend. It’s only been a few weeks, but little Flynn has already helped whenever I start to get lonely working from home. He’s unbearably precious, and Andrew and I joke that he has brought “so much purpose” to our lives. Haha!
How are you training Flynn?
A sweet reader recommended this book, and I followed the “earn it” method with Flynn right from the get-go! Basically, I would use the food from his meals as “treats” throughout the day to teach him basic manners like sitting, staying, etc. We have also been crate training him (which resulted in a couple of sleepless nights initially) and socializing him as much as possible!
At first, Flynn was afraid of humans besides Andrew and I! Taking him through the airport was so nervewracking, but he actually did icnredibly well! And let me tell you, having him here in Dallas to socialize with our families and family dogs has been amazing for him. He’s such a good, laid-back, confident little boy now!
We’re waiting until he’s had all of his vaccines for more formal training, but I definitely plan on taking him to a few group classes. He’s already shown us he’s so smart, and I’m so excited to watch him grow! (Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how mom-ish I sound, haha!)
What have been Flynn’s favorite toys?
Oh, you know, anything that isn’t one of his toys! He has a special fondness for dirty socks. (Wonder if he takes after his father that way?) But out of his toys, he loves the snuggle puppy we first brought him home with! His first couple of weeks, he loved sleeping with it, but now I’ve taken the removable heartbeat out and he totes it around and plays with it as a toy. It’s absolutely adorable considering it’s literally his same size!
Christmas gift ideas for Flynn?
Andrew and I have them all ordered and are feeling like very on-top-of-it parents! Andrew found him this robotic ball toy and I ordered him this adorable monogrammed dog bed. We can’t wait for him to “open” them up on Christmas! :)
Do you fly and travel with Flynn?
Yes! Flynn took his first flight home to Dallas with us a little over a week ago, and he did great! It’s surprisingly easy to bring a “carry on” pet. You have to notify the airline, bring a soft-sided carrier (we’ve loved this one), and fill out an easy piece of paperwork at check-in. But we were happily surprised with how easy it was! Flynn loved being cozily tucked under the seat, and we definitely will do it in the future!
How did you pick Flynn’s name?
So this is actually a funny story! Andrew and I have been brainstorming names for months. We thought we had decided on Scot (named after our highschool mascot) but Flynn’s breeder had actually named him “Flynn,” and when we first saw him we instantly knew it was a perfect fit! Now I can’t imagine him as anything else.
Funny Flynn stories?
Oh, I have a million! But one of my favorites is the time he discovered he could climb underneath our dresser. I completely panicked for all of 5 minutes when I couldn’t find him. He finally crawled out with a huge dust-bunny all over his muzzle making him look like he had a beard. It was the cutest thing!
Any tips for new puppy owners?
I feel like I could write a book, and he’s just 12 months! But I would say commit to consistent training early on, and try to socialize your puppy as much as possible! Flynn has been learning so much these past few weeks, and it’s been amazing to see his progress. Stick with it! (A reminder to myself as well!)
a new chapter
So… here I am, friends. A new wife, a new puppy-mother, a new Florida resident. When I looked ahead at this season of so much change, before it all happened, I definitely felt overwhelmed. But I also felt so very excited. I’ve always loved change, as odd as that may be, it made it easy for me to have an upbeat attitude about everything coming our way!
Now that I’m nearly half a year into this new chapter, I can confidently tell you it’s been my favorite yet! And six months into this new life, I feel like things are finally settling down and we are truly settling in. I’m loving work, as I recently signed with a management team and they have given me so much time and, honestly, life back! I’m loving our new home, and all the memories we’re making in it. I’m loving our new family, and all the new traditions we’re creating, and I’m loving our new life in Gainesville.
Now that the “settling in” period has finally started to happen, I’m ready to truly enjoy this holiday season, take a nice long break around Christmas, and dive back into work and social obligations in the new year! I’m not usually a big “new years resolutions” fan, but I’m oddly excited about them this year. Maybe it has something to do with the new city and the new last name, but 2020 really feels like it will be a new start after a year of wedding planning and moving!
I’m looking forward to hopefully finding or starting a weekly bible study, volunteering with an amazing Gainesville organization, Created, and continuing to host new friends in our home. Not to mention bringing lots of fun new content here to Lonestar Southern!
Now, I thought it would be fun to answer a few more random questions y’all had about my life as of late!
What’s on your Christmas list?
A Peloton! I’m missing spin big time, and don’t have a studio anywhere close to me out in Gainesville. It’s a big ask, so we’ll see if Santa pulls it off! Another pipe-dream Christmas gift I’d love to get is the Dyson air-wrap. I came sooo close to “treating myself” on Black Friday, but I just cannot, for the life of me, justify the price! But everyone is saying it’s life-changing… so maybe one day. What is on your list?!
How do you deal with loneliness when your husband works so much/isn’t home a lot?
I think I’ve shared this before, but whenever Andrew has a night or weekend at the hospital, I make a list on my phone of all the things I want to do. From watching an episode of Suites while folding laundry to going on a walk to calling a friend to catch up, this “list” makes me feel like I have a fun, productive day and keeps me from wallowing around that Andrew isn’t there!
Honestly, Flynn has helped so much, too. :) Highly recommend!
What are you putting in Andrew’s stocking?
Confession: I haven’t even thought about it yet! I have all of his gifts decided on and ordered, but we haven’t even talked about stockings. I’ll probably include his favorite candy as of late, Trollies, and a few funny things. Any ideas? I am so pumped for his”big gift” though. Dying to show it to you!
What does your typical day look like?
With so much travel as of late, I feel like I can’t accurately answer this question! But when I have a normal day in Gainesville, this is typically what it looks like:
5:45am // wake up, take Flynn out, make Andrew eat breakfast (haha) and pack up his lunch
6:30am // coffee, breakfast and quiet time
7:30am // head out the door for an 8:00am orange theory class
9:30am // run any errands needed
10:30am // shower and get ready for the day
11:30/12:00am // quick break for lunch for me and Flynn
12:30pm – 5:00pm // computer work and/or photos
5:30pm // feed Flynn, start on dinner
9:30 // get in bed
Again, this is a *normal* day… but with Andrew’s call schedule and my travel schedule, it isn’t terribly consistent!
Do you get lonely working from home when Andrew’s at work? Any advice for that?
Both yes and no! I am honestly so thankful that I work from home, especially being in a new city. If Andrew is working late, I have no problem with, and genuinely enjoy, working late myself! It gives me something to do rather than to sit at home alone.
But yes, there are definitely moments where I feel isolated. Those are the days I make an effort to work from a coffee shop or at least get out and run some errands. Honestly, I’ve found that if I start off my day with an Orange Theory class, I get my social-fill for the day, along with lots of happy endorphins!
Are you hosting a Christmas party? What’s on your menu plan if so?
Ugh, I wish! Not this year, but I’d love to next year! I would do a Saturday morning brunch… everyone would have to wear Christmas pajamas, and I’d serve mimosas, coffee cake, brown sugar bacon, and all of my favorite Christmas brunch treats!
How do you maintain a disciplined quiet time?
I am most disciplined with my quiet time when I’m in a routine. I make it a part of my breakfast! Instead of scrolling on my phone while I sip my coffee, I pull out my study and spend time in the word. Trust me, it’s a much better way to start the day! If you’d like to hear more about how I grew my love for reading the Bible, check out this post.
Loved your post about your wedding fitness journey. How are you doing with body image/eating post-wedding?
What a sweet question. Thank you! You know… it’s been up and down. Like I mentioned in this post, I’m no longer counting calories and working out obsessively like I did in preparation for my wedding, and let me tell you… I’m sooo much happier. But, I’d say I’m much harder on my body image than I was before I started any of that. As much as I hate to say it, I almost view my “wedding weight” as my new standard, and that I’ll never be happy with my appearance again until I reach that. But here’s what I do know… that is 100% a lie! And an age-old one at that. So every day, I’m working on changing that mental narrative and loving the way I look now!
Dealing with post-wedding depression?
This is something I personally haven’t been going through, but I do know it affects a lot of girls. And no surprise… you pour months and months and endless blood, sweat and tears into one night. Then, it’s over!
Surprisingly, I actually felt relieved when the wedding was over. During our engagement, Andrew and I were semi long-distance (he lived 45 minutes away in Ft. Worth) while he was working through a demanding internship year. It felt like I never got to see him. Meanwhile, over in Dallas, I was not only planning a wedding but also figuring out how to move our lives to Gainesville a few weeks after the big event! Once our wedding was over, we still had so much change to navigate together that I didn’t ever have a moment to sit and be sad. It was go, go, go! I think if I had gone back to my normal routine in Dallas, as opposed to picking up and moving halfway across the country on a whole new adventure, I definitely could have experienced the post-wedding blues.
If post-wedding depression is something you are struggling with, I so, so, so recommend sharing that with someone! A friend, a spouse, a counselor. I’ve always found when I open up about anything I’m struggling with instead of keeping it inside, that’s when healing happens. Even a quick google search turned up lots of articles on the subject. So if you’re feeling sad after your big day, you’re not alone!
the end (for now)
Well, friends… over 8,000 words and several coups of coffee later, I think we have officially all caught up! I always feel so reflective and at-peace after writing out these posts. It’s so rare I give myself the time to pause and think about life, so thank you for giving me a reason to do that, and for sharing in this crazy journey with me!
If you’ve made it this far, know that I wish I could buy you a venti frappuccino with extra whipped cream as a thank you! Sending big hugs and all my love. I know I say it often, but it truly means the world to get to walk through all of this with you!
Love from Texas,