The Road Trips Reach 1 Year

Third Time Wife

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the Road Trips said I do!

The Road Trips, November 2, 2013 | photo via Pink Shutterbug Photography

The Road Trips, November 2, 2013 | photos via Pink Shutterbug Photography

If I had to sum up our first year of marriage in one word, that word would be “home.”

That might sound strange since we’d lived together for several years before getting married, but about 6 weeks after getting home from the honeymoon we put in an offer on a house and have been obsessed with it ever since. We’d been looking forward to relaxing after the wedding and holidays were over, just getting back into the groove of the day-to-day. Instead, we spent the next 10 months like this:

Sometimes you just have to take a chance on something--be it love or a handyman special home! Our "Gingerbread Dollhouse" pre-renovations.

Sometimes you just have to take a chance on something–be it love or a handyman special home! Our “Gingerbread Dollhouse” the day we first saw it in person.

  • Christmas through mid-April: trying to close on the house
  • mid-April through mid-July: required renovations to the house
  • July: moving (it took an entire month of weekends to fully move out of the rental and into the “Dollhouse”)
  • August through October: “triage” and unpacking

While it’s been absolutely exhausting at times and frustrating at others, the simple fact of the matter is that it only happened because we were together. I know I’d never take on a house that had been subject to so much neglect (or, as they say in real estate, “deferred maintenance”) if I didn’t have the very handy Mr. Road Trip by my side.

But a house is just a building until you make it a home. When we were living together pre-wedding it was in rentals, and the lack of permanence was looked at–maybe not by us on the day-to-day, but definitely by others–as more than just our living situation. Having a wedding, becoming husband and wife, reassures the people around us that we’re solid, that they know what to expect. Similar to the way your neighbors look at you when you buy a house instead of a renting one.

Even though the last several months have been trying, those tests have shown us just how much we can make it through (just in case we had any doubts). Dealing with banks, insurance agencies, and contractors on top of moving across state lines while trying to keep everything else on track was not what we’d planned for this first year, to say the least. But it showed us our best way of working together to solve a problem (or three) and we’ve built memories along the way. We see this house as our forever home, just the way we see forever in each other.

a pre-dinner selfie | Road Trips 2014

a pre-dinner selfie | Road Trips 2014

We keep anniversaries low-key in the Road Trip household, exchanging cards and simple gifts. Those of you who were here for the planning posts may recall that I refused to “restart the clock” on our relationship, and we were married on 6th dating anniversary. So this year was a combo of 1st and 7th anniversaries (for the curious, the 7th anniversary gifts are copper or desk sets). We went out to a fabulous dinner at a local restaurant on Saturday night and then spent our actual anniversary night dining in.

I am always grateful for a husband who enjoys cooking as much as I do!

I am always grateful for a husband who enjoys cooking as much as I do!

Since we had a brunch reception last year and need few excuses to have breakfast for dinner on any given night, we’ve decided to start a new tradition of having something brunchy for supper on our anniversary. It’s was Roadie’s turn to cook last week, so he made steak and eggs: grilled, bacon-wrapped filet mignon with Eggs Florentine. His plans for Mimosas were almost thwarted by Georgia’s no-booze sales on Sundays rule, but for the fact that I had several bottles of Champagne at home. Always prepared isn’t just for scouting!

What are we looking forward to in Year 2? I’d love to say relaxation but we know better! We’ll actually start the room-by-room renovation of our home in a few months (all of which you can follow on my blog,, keep working our day jobs, and I hope to finish my second book at some point in 2015. Maybe we’ll even get an honest-to-goodness, non-working vacation in there somewhere!

Anyone else go for the low-key anniversary their first (or seventh) year?

(This post was shared with, hence the self-referencing and nick-names–it’s a Bee thing!)

Our 2 Year Engage-iversary

Wedding Planning

When Mr. Road Trip and I made our engagement official, 2 years ago today, November 2013 seemed so very far away. We’d already been doing some planning “under the radar” for 4 months prior and knew that the next 2 years would afford us (literally) the opportunity to make the wedding into just what we wanted, and not what we’d have to settle for with a shorter engagement.

This time last year we spent the day in a car, driving back from a comics convention in middle-of-nowhere Mississippi. Today is, in many respects, just another day: work, dinner together, and whatever else we can squeeze out of the evening. And while our engagement anniversary isn’t something we plan to observe each year, it is nice to mark the day as, this year, it also reminds us that we’re only a smidgen over a month away from the wedding!

In some ways, we’re exactly where we planned to be two years ago. We’ve continued to meet our savings goals each month and have kept at least the big things within the budget (smaller purchases coming out of our regular spending); going into debt for the wedding was definitely something we wanted to avoid. On the other hand, I thought I’d be much farther ahead on the DIY front by now, and not still staring down the barrel of a really long to-do list.

Some things I did get done far ahead, like my cardigan and a boatload of beading. We settled on our venue early on and made some plans, but there was a very big lull when I wish I’d be working on other projects. But now the ‘oh, we’ve got plenty of time’ tune has changed to ‘holy cats, we’ve got 5 weeks!’ Four, really, since I hope to have everything that’s going to get done, done by the week before the wedding. Having a week to decompress is really important to us.

Luckily, the main things are done. The biggies left on the list are things like creating our playlists for the various parts of the day, getting our marriage license, and finishing our vows (why we keep putting that off I don’t know!).

Thinking back, I don’t see any major changes in our relationship from then to now: we’re still the same goofy couple with a tight-knit friend group. We like to stay home over going out, and we’ve yet to have our first fight. Yup, nearing six years together and we vaguely remember this one time that we disagreed on something but apparently it must not have been important because we can’t even remember what it was that we agreed to disagree about! Part of that is that we both had such combative partners in the past that there’s very little we’re willing to go head-to-head over (life’s too short to live in strife and all that) and part of it is that we just generally see eye-to-eye on all major issues. Makes for a peaceful household if nothing else.

Hindsight being what it is, aside from wishing I’d gotten more done earlier, I don’t regret having a long engagement. I’m ready for the wedding to get here so we can move onto other projects both together and individually, but I’m glad we made the choice we did.

Would you have preferred a longer or shorter engagement?

T-2 Years and Counting!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Today, as we officially launch Third Time Bride, is the 4th anniversary of our first date.

It’s also exactly 2 years from our planned wedding, so kind of a pre-versary as well.

And it’s kind of an odd feeling.

I mean, I was always up front with Todd about wanting a long engagement and knowing that our best-case-scenario date was 2 years and a bit out seemed like a really good idea when we first started talking matrimony (and it still is, don’t misunderstand) but neither of my 2 previous weddings allowed for this much planning!

At 19 I think we planned everything in maybe 2 months–there was no time to celebrate pre-milestones when you’re trying to squeeze in a wedding before fall semester starts. At 26 it was a planned elopement (which only 1 other person–my roommate–knew about) so there was no build-up or anything at all.

So to have my handy little the ticker tell me that we’re 731 days away (there’s a leap year in there, hence the odd number) is a bit surreal.

But in the best possible way.

We have this luxury of time and I am so grateful for that. I know long engagements (which we’ll talk about more in theory, later) can be considered ridiculous–I used to think of them that way, “why wait?” I’d say when anyone asked what the hurry was. But, really? Why not wait? Why not take our time to choose what we want and discard what we don’t? Why not make the time work to our benefit rather than fighting the clock and the ever-present to-do list?

It’s not like we’ve put our lives on hold until the wedding happens: it’s just the next step for us. We spent almost 4 years and boyfriend-girlfriend and now we’ll spend 2 years as an engaged couple before spending however many years we’re granted as husband and wife. I think 2 years is just the right amount of time.

Pretty Book and Flower Icon

Did you (or do) have a long engagement and, if so, have you celebrated any “pre-versaries” leading up to the big day?

Setting a Date

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
Scattered clear calendar tiles

image via stock.xchng | photograph by mai05

Setting a wedding date is tricky, especially if you’re thinking of having a long engagement. Sure, looking 2 years out means you’re more likely to find the spot you want available on that day, but first you have to figure out the when. It’s kind of a chicken and egg thing–the where may depend on the when and vice versa.

For me, though, there’s one other bit that matters: we already have an anniversary! We met, and got to know one another, online and dated long distance for the first few months of our relationship. We’ve always considered our anniversary, however, to be the day we first met in person–Nov. 2. Mr. Road Trip came to town for the weekend and we consider that Friday, the night of our first date, our anniversary.

My dating history, by the way, leaves something to be desired. What I lacked in quality, apparently, I made up in quantity if you count all those first/blind dates that never went anywhere.There seemed to be a few pretty steady lines of demarcation:

  • If we were still talking after the first date, 3 weeks seemed to be the next drop-off point.
  • If we were still dating after 3 weeks, 3 months was the milestone it most likely ended upon.
  • If we made it past 3 months, though (and this was rare), at a year things fizzled.
  • Unless, of course, we decided to get married. In which case, we never quite made it to 3 years.

Yes, you read that right: neither of my previous marriages lasted 3 years. I also had the nickname of gypsy for a while, 3 years being the longest I’d lived in any one place and even then most were shorter stints.

Looking back I kinda have to wonder why I’ve always considered 3 my “lucky” number.

So Mr. Road Trip comes along. A bit more than 6 months after we start dating, he moves to Florida. A year after that we move in together (signing that lease was a scary thing, indeed!) and then we renew our lease. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that, as we approached that 3 year point, I was a bit nervous. Okay, I was paranoid.

But here’s the thing: we were still talking. We were more than talking, we actually LIKED being together as much as we possibly could. We’d gone on trips, even a 7-day cruise, and hadn’t needed time apart.

So, now that we’s achieved the illusive 3 years and were still going strong (a major factor in my thought process in the me vs marriage debate) I didn’t want to give up those years we’ve already logged in our relationship. I don’t want to have to pick another date and start all over at day 1 again.

I want to get married on our anniversary.

When I realized this I grabbed my calendar to check out the upcoming years. (Keep in mind, this was still pre-proposal, so I might have been jumping the gun a tad but, hey, a girl’s gotta know what she’s working with!) Turned out, November 2nd falls on a Friday in 2012 and a Saturday in 2013–perfect! And, hey, if we want or need to make it a really long engagement, there’s still a Sunday in 2014 (though I hope it doesn’t come to that, honestly–I said I wanted to try a long engagement but not that long!).

And, yes, I did broach the subject with Mr. Road Trip, pre-proposal–mainly because my head was swimming with ideas and thoughts and maybes and maybe-nots so I wanted us to be on the same page. Turns out, the way he saw it, he’d considered himself ahead of me when it came to future-thinking and my obsession has managed to catch us up to each other.

Did you have any date dilemma when planning your wedding?

Which came first, the when or the where?