December 31, 2009

Should auld forgottences be acquainted...

Brett and I invited Dave & Dayna to come spend New Year's Eve with us a few weeks back. This year I just wanted to have a nice evening in, with good friends, good food and good conversation to ring in 2010.

After I had a really great end of my year at work (I hit my quota...which I was tickled to death about), I met up with the rest of the gang and we went around town getting what we needed for our evening. Groceries, firewood and a quick trip to Old Navy...and then we were all set for our night.

Brett got the fire going and we were ready for our crazy New Year's Eve. Heehee! :)

First off was Rook. Brett showed us all how to play and we caught on fast. I don't think any of us were that pleased with our beginner's luck performances...but we'll be ready next time.

You know I love a good self portrait. Thank goodness for the wide angle lens or this wouldn't have been possible. :)

It was a group effort for dinner....and it was so neat how it all came together. We had the steaks already, and had bought brussel sprouts at the store. But then, it was like I was Laura or something, because I had leftover goodies from Christmas dinner, and so we used the onions and some garlic to saute with the brussel sprouts. Then I remembered the red potatoes and chives and whipped us up another great side.

Brett cooked us up the steaks.....and had some fun while doing so.

We had quite a spread (and later realized that we'd forgotten about the salad) and it was a wonderful joint effort to get it all together. We dined by candlelight as we thanked God for a blessed 2009 and prayed for the same of the coming year. All of us have lots to look forward to in 2010....the birth of Dave and Dayna's daughter.....Brett and my wedding.....and I'm sure many other memorable moments will occur in the next 365 days.

After dinner....we decided to give Hoopla another run. We were all pretty good at it, and for our second round let the timer run all the way through without stopping for the 15 minutes. We managed to beat the clock and gave ourselves high fives for that.

We killed some time waiting for midnight by eating up the brownies that we had made with some yummy ice cream. Yummmy indeed!

We made it to midnight.....barely. The TV was turned on so we could join Ryan Seacrest in our weak attempt at trying to pretend we cared about the countdown.

2009 was a great year. I'm so blessed. Here's to 2010. I can't wait to spend it with all of you.

December 28, 2009

Making it fit

After everyone left today, Brett and I headed down towards Burbank to get my ring sized. We made it to the store right as it was opening, and Ayda promised that we'd have the ring back by the end of the day.

We called on Dave and Dayna to see what they were up to....and to our luck, they weren't too busy to hang out with us. We picked them up and went for some Greek food for lunch at the Promenade and did some walking around.

It was a short trip but always a good one when we get to see these two. We snapped a quick pic before dropping them off...but to my surprise, it's missing from my camera. I have no idea where it hopefully D&D will read this and send me a copy of the one that they took on their new camera. :)

On the way home we got my ring, and it is perfect!! I'm so happy!! :)

December 27, 2009

Up and Down the Horsies Go

Brett and I made it to church for the early service. We were so happy to be there as Reality was sending off Dave and Ashley Lomas for the birth of our next church in San Francisco. Its first service is on January 10 and we couldn't be more excited for what God has planned for them, and Reality, there. Best of luck to Dave and Ash as they start up this next chapter in their lives together.

We got back to my house to everyone already sitting down eating breakfast together. We decided that we'd take a trip down towards the pier today. First stop was the carousel. My Mom LOVES carousels and so this was the one thing that I knew that we HAD to do while she and my Dad were here.

We took a spin on the horsies and took a few snapshots of the fun. Not sure if Loralyn or my Mom had more fun. It might have been a tie.

Fun timer group shot. Yes, I love these. Glad to have gotten a fun one at the ride.

We did this with Loralyn way back when I first visited Vegas, and thought to try it again with my point and shoot. Not too bad I'd say. For those of you that have kids....try it. Just put your camera on continuous mode and press the button.

After the ride, we walked along Cabrillo through the artisan market.

We made it over to the pier. It wasn't the sunniest of days, but it's still a pretty view and sight in Santa Barbara. I do love that we are so close to the ocean.

We walked all the way to the end, grabbed a few pics...I love this one that Brett jumped into...he's such a goofball.

The signs at the end of the pier said that we aren't allowed to feed the birds. Too bad, since I had the leftover Eggos in my purse.

But....when we got back towards the middle, there weren't any signs....and so we went ahead and tossed over the crumbs. These guys were pretty thrilled that we had.

All that walking worked us up an Los Arroyos it was for lunch. My Mom snapped this funny picture of my Dad on the walk there. Guess they don't have the kind of trees that you can pretend you're strong enough to bend in TX. :)

Autumn, Rob and Loralyn headed back to Vegas after lunch. Our parents went to take the scenic drive back to my house.

When we all got back, we decided to order a pizza and play Hoopla. It was a great way to end our evenings, and the game was such a hoot. We all got a kick out of each other's ways to get us all to guess the clues.

Tomorrow everyone takes off as Brett and I head into LA to get my ring sized.

It's been SUCH a great trip having our families here together. I'm excited for all of us to get together again real soon when we have our wedding.

December 26, 2009

Boxing Day is Movie Day in Santa Barbara

It was a super lazy day after Christmas. My parents went to visit with some friends around the LA area and so I was hanging out with Miss Molly in the living room for a bit this morning before anyone else woke up.

We decided that it was the perfect day to go to the movies. Brett and I went to see Avatar in 3D at The Arlington, while the rest of the gang saw Princess and the Frog. Silly Brett wanted to keep our 3D I made him take a picture with them on. Even in the silly glasses I think he's cute.

We met up with the rest of the gang and had leftover chili for lunch. We figured it was still a great day for some more movies, and so after watching some funny kids movies with rodents....oh yeah, G-Force, we were set to watch another one.

The guys also got some firewood and so we watched the last movie of the day by the crackling fire. So warm and lovely.

Another great day with the family. It's so easy going and that's what I enjoy the most. :)

December 25, 2009

Ho, ho, ho.....Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!! My Mom, Dad and I started off Christmas morning with a merry Skype session with the Waldorf kids on their new iMac. They have their own Skype name now too, so hopefully we'll get to see more of their smiling faces, and get more of their IM messages from now on. They also figured out how to take pictures with the PhotoBooth and sent us a few of those as well. It was a great way to start off the Christmas Day!

I had some grand plans on making us a really nice Christmas breakfast, so I got to it in the kitchen. I whipped up a scrambled egg and sausage ring and we also had some yummy cinnamon rolls. Eggos and mini sausage patties also rounded out our morning menu.

After we were all stuffed, it was time to get the living room ready for the presents. There were SOOOOO many presents under the tree. It was such a fun sight! We pushed back the couch, and everyone took their spots.

Rob and Loralyn helped deliver all the presents to their lucky recipients. We took turns going around the room, everyone opening one present at a time. I really love opening presents this way so that everyone can enjoy seeing all the gifts. Everyone was extremely generous to both Brett and me. Thank you to everyone for thinking of us.

We had a little bit of fun too while we went around the room. I think that our families are going to get along just fine for the future. There was just the right amount of goofiness from everyone. :)

The early afternoon found us relaxing. Some people took naps. Loralyn jumped on her new trampoline and dazzled us with some art on her new easel kit.

Around 3, I decided that I should probably get started on dinner. I had a pretty intense menu planned, and I thought that it would probably take me at least an hour or so to get it all ready. Rob and Betty helped me get it all started, and then almost everyone ended up chipping in at some point.

Thank goodness that I had so many helpers. Little did I know that it was going to take me over three hours to get it all fixed. Around 615pm it was all done (with only one minor menu mixup) and we were ready to eat.

My biggest intention was to make normal size sides in the hopes that we wouldn't have leftovers.....well, that plan failed. It was a good thing that I bought some new tupperware....because we used it all. There was so much food leftover it wasn't even funny. Oh least they are good leftovers!! :)

After we'd cleaned up, we retired to the living room and decided to play a game of Cranium. We paired up as teams of couples. My Mom and Dad surprised us all and took a very fast head start. They barely missed a single question, and before we knew it, were in the center circle. Brett and I caught up to make it into the middle, but Mom and Dad prevailed and took the winner's spot with their wrestling sculptures.

It was a beautiful Christmas. I had such a wonderful time having both of our families here. Hope you all had a merry day as well!!!

December 24, 2009

Santa Claus is coming to town...

While Brett did a little last minute Christmas shopping, and Rob, Betty and Bruce ran out and did a little bit of the same, Autumn and Loralyn made a "Bringerbread" House. Yes, I spelled that wrong on purpose....that is how Loralyn said it.

They had a good time putting it together. Most of my morning I spent writing up our engagement story. It took me much longer for me to write it than it took you to read it, but I'm so glad that I did it when I did. Already, a week later, I'm finding it difficult to recount all of the happenings of the Christmas weekend. That is mainly the reason why I keep this blog. I want to be able to come back to it later and remember what it was that we did. :)

So, they built the house, and it turned out pretty cute. :)

After everyone had finished up their shopping, we met up for the Christmas Eve service at Reality. It was really great and I was so happy to have everyone there with us. Poor little Loralyn was so sleepy that she slept through the entire service. Not sure how she did that with Dominic jammin the worship for us, but I guess she needed it pretty bad. Britt preached a really amazing message, as usual, and then we were off back to the house.

I had made up the chili earlier in the day, so it was ready for us to eat when we got home. It was so good and this time I thought to quadruple the recipe, so I did have plenty for all of us. There was enough for a few of us to have seconds....and then there was even a ton leftover for us to package up for later.

After dinner, we curled up on the couches and watched UP. It was a perfectly relaxing Christmas Eve.......until.......

Until, in the middle of the movie....we hear HO HO HO coming from the fireplace. Santa made his stop in Santa Barbara to visit Loralyn!! Click the picture below to see what happened. :)

It was a wonderful Christmas Eve in Santa Barbara with both of our families!! Can't wait for Christmas tomorrow!!

December 23, 2009

The Day that Everyone Arrived!!

Today it was harder than EVER to focus at work! For every work call that I made, I answered or made one personal phone call to share the great news with our friends. It was a super fun day, but impossible to really get any work done.

So, after I'd taken care of everything that I could at work, I asked Albert for the 2nd half of the day off. My parents had just landed in LA and I couldn't sit still any more.

We met up with my Mom and Dad at my house. After showing them around, we made a quick trip up to the top of the hill to borrow a table and chairs. Of course, we had to stop and enjoy the view and the sunset too.

We got back to the house and waited patiently for the rest of the family to arrive. I started to cook up our dinner around 630 so it'd be ready when everyone got there. I tried one of Laura's recipes that she borrowed from Jamie Oliver. It was super simple, and I actually kind of liked it. Turns out that I probably could have quadrupled it instead of just doubling. We ended up finishing it all up with no problems.

Brett's sister and her family arrived and we got to get my parents acquainted with them for a bit before everyone else got to the place. We told Loralyn that I was going to marry Uncle Brett and I think we got her seal of approval.

Brett's parents got there a little bit later. We ate up all the dinner, and hung out for a while before everyone turned in for the night. Lots of fun days ahead of us over the next few. So glad that everyone is in town to celebrate Christmas together.

So, what does the ring look like?

It seems that is the next question after "How did he propose?", is usually, "What does the ring look like?", so I thought I'd answer that question. I took a really shoddy picture when I was at work with my phone that I was sending out, but when I told Brett that after work today, he wouldn't have anything to do with that. So, he grabbed the nice camera and took a few shots. Then he fixed it all up and made it pretty, so I thought to share. :)

It's a sparkling round diamond in the center. There is a peek-a-boo diamond in the band right below it. The sides pinch in to meet in the center and they also have little diamonds on them. It's beautiful and was WAY more than I ever expected.

But, I like to tell I'll share a few other things with you.

He picked the ring out all by himself. We never had any conversations about what I liked, or anything of that nature. I'm actually glad because I really had no idea how to even answer that question. I didn't even care if I got a ring, I just knew that I wanted to marry him, with or without a ring. When we first started dating, his friends joked with him that any girl he ever dated would have to be okay with getting a CZ if it ever came to it. I said at that time, and still meant it, that I didn't care either. turns out that Brett changed his mind....and in a big way. When he retold the story of him and Dave at the jewelry shop, he said that he was asking the girl about a bigger diamond when he was looking at them. I think he got a little giddy when it came down to picking one out. He told me that he started to think that this was something that I was going to wear for the rest of my life, and so he wanted to get me something nice. The one he picked out for my ring is beautiful and I couldn't imagine it being any different. He said that when he saw this setting, he knew it was the one. :)

The funny thing is, that I also had no idea that he'd even gone to the store. He said that for the last 10 days or so, he had to be sure to have a legitimate reason for doing everything that he was doing so that he wouldn't have to lie to me about what he was doing. So, when he said that he was going into LA to meet Dave for a birthday breakfast last week, I thought nothing of it. Well, not nothing, I thought it was incredibly sweet and I was glad that he did it. When I asked him how his morning went, he said that they had breakfast and then spent a bit of time in Best Buy. Typical. :) He just left out the part about how he also spent some time at the jewelry store.

I came home from work today with a folded mess of yellow notepad paper taped to the back part of it so it would stay on, which Brett was disgusted with, so we found a local jewelry shop that fixed me up with a spacer, or whatever you want to call it, that will suffice until we can get to Burbank to get it sized. I am not sure that I will give it up for any amount of time to have them fix it, so we'll just have to wait and see how that one goes. :)

December 22, 2009

Just another Tuesday...or maybe not???

I woke up this morning at 545am and went out to my living room at 615am. It's normally completely pitch black dark on the way to my front where I use the light from my iPhone to light the hallway. But, this morning, one of the lights near the front door was on. It's a good thing it was on, because I would have completely walked past and not noticed this.

On the back of the couch was two red roses and a note with my name on it. Now, if this was a normal occurrence, I probably wouldn't have immediately thought "Oh my gosh!! Today is the day!!", but I haven't ever woken up to roses in my living my next thought was "Eek!! I look awful. I need to change!".

And so starts another Tuesday...
But this morning is already different than most.
Perhaps by the setting of the sun....
It will be a day that you never forget.


I was excited, freaking out, trying to keep quiet all at the same time. I was SO thankful that Emily was about to arrive at my house, as I was taking her to the airport. I calmly walked out to her car as she parked it on the street, told her that she had to come inside and see something....and when she got inside, she had to keep quiet and not freak out too. We hugged and jumped up and down a few times, and started to predict out how the regular Tuesday would end. I knew, I think that was Brett's intention, but I refused to jump to any conclusions.

We went out to my car, and right as I opened the door...I found another rose and note.

Sell some software today.
As hard as it may be....
Try to go about this Tuesday like normal.
Don't forget your camera.

More hugging and squealing ensued as we tried to remain calm on the drive to the airport. (Side note: My security key fob didn't work last week at work, and so instead of coming back to my house, I called Brett at 625am and asked him to let me into his house, since it was closer. So, last night, as Brett was leaving my house, he said to me "Whatever you do, don't call me tomorrow morning at 630.". I didn't think anything of it, but guess I thought it was a little strange since the doors had worked for over a week now.)

So, Emily and I decided that it was a good idea for me to text Brett instead of calling at 627am.

Just like any other Tuesday...on my way to work. Going to sell some software. Not calling you at 627am. Love you. :)

After dropping Emily off at the airport, and promising to keep her posted on the rest of the day....I drove to my office. For some reason, I thought to turn on all the lights before going to my desk today (something I don't normally do), and it was a good thing, because sitting on my desk, were two roses.

I didn't mention it yet, but on all of the roses that I'd received so far, there was a little white tag tied to it with red ribbon, and on each side of the paper, was something written on it.

So far....the roses had spelled out...

Side 2: B R E TT -A

So...I'm at work...I have this "secret" and it's killing me. I don't want to really say anything because I only have part of a story to tell. One that I am not 100% sure of the ending. I was glad to have some things that I had to take care of for work to try and keep me distracted.

When Danielle got to the office (one of my roommates works with me now), I calmly went to her desk and asked her "So, did you see anything out of the ordinary last night before you went to bed in the living room? Like some roses and a note?".

She didn't know what I was talking about, so I showed her the pictures that I'd taken that morning and told her about the other roses that I'd gotten so far. She got really excited too! I sat back down at my desk, tried to concentrate. I had to share with someone what I knew already, and so I replied to an email that Renae and I had going, and then snuck in the bit about what had happened already this morning. She called me right away and my voicemail was something like "Ohmygosh! Ohmygosh! Ohmygosh! I'm dying over here!!! I can't believe you just put that in an email! Call me!". So I called her back and we shrieked some more on the phone and I promised to keep her updated.

At 8:07am I texted Brett again. I didn't want to talk with him, but I did want to let him know that I was getting everything that he set out for me, so I sent him a message.

Are you up yet? I think some little elf has been busy putting things in places for me today. I'm quite liking it. Wanted to tell the elf that. ;)

At one point in the morning, I was staring blankly into space, and Danielle yelled over at me "You can't focus at all, huh?". She was right. I wasn't really able to do much, so when lunch time rolled around, right at 11, I said "Let's go!".

We went out to our cars, and as I looked into mine, I saw another rose. ND on one side. THE BIGGEST on the other.

We went to run a few errands and got a bite to eat. Danielle was already asking me if I'd thought about when I wanted to get married, where, etc, etc. I kept telling her that I haven't thought about ANY of that, and wasn't going to unless I had a reason to! She thought I was ridiculous, and kept telling me "This is it! Even if you're going to be conservative, I'm going to be excited. It isn't your birthday, it's not your anniversary, it's not Christmas...this is THE day!". Of course, again, in my heart, I knew it.....but wanted to just see how it was all going to play out. :)

After eating, when I got back to my desk, there were two NEW roses there waiting for me. I looked around to see if anyone in the office wouldn't be able to hide a smirk letting me know that they know what is going on, but no one gave me any clues. Danielle acted surprised. Uh this point, I figured that she was in on it...that some of that texting and playing with her phone during lunch had to be her telling Brett about our whereabouts, but I didn't want to know, so I didn't ask. I just wanted to enjoy the story as it unfolded.

These roses said -A, NN and BLESSING IN MY.

At one point, I said to Danielle...."Well, what am I supposed to do? I haven't talked to him, so what am I supposed to do after work?". Luckily, Brett thought about that too. The note at my desk told me what to do.

You've worked hard today...
So you definitely shouldn't work past 3:00.
When that time comes...
Head on home. it was now about 1230, only a few more hours to kill. I made some work phone calls, took care of some business, and around 2 I started to think...okay, just a little bit longer. I got an email that I knew was going to take some time to sort through so I got on the phone with one of my prospects and was trying my best to get her to sign the contract. She asked me, well, how much longer do you have until you leave? I told her "I have 11 minutes. Can we go ahead and get this contract signed before then?". We got that sorted out, the contract was in, I did what I needed to get done, and at 245pm, I was running out the door telling everyone that I had to go.

I called Renae from my car on the way home and filled her in on what had happened so far. She kept asking me if I was in my neighborhood yet and if his truck was at my house. When I finally got there, his truck was nowhere to be seen, but there was a package on the front door. They weren't for me, but I slowly brought them inside. Brett was nowhere to be seen. There wasn't anything in the living room for me, but when I got to my room, there were two roses and a note on my dresser.

Get all sexy looking...
Someone will be by at 5:15 to take you away.
It's cold out there...
Make sure you've got a way to stay warm.

I saw the note said that I had until 515, and I breathed a big sigh of relief. I had rushed home so I could do something with my hair....but now I had almost 2 hours to get ready. Phew. I quickly turned on the shower and started to think of how much I really disliked my clothing options at that point. Then I noticed that Brett had put out a few options for me to choose from. :)

I got in the shower so quickly that I didn't even look to see what the roses said until after I got out. I shrieked as I read these two roses.

They said NE MA and LIFE. WILL YOU.


Eeek!! Will you. Will you WHAT???

I finished getting ready after trying on more than a few options in my closet. I did try on one of the dresses that Brett put out, but they just looked ridiculous as it was 50 degrees outside and I wasn't about to wear open toed shoes. I finally made up my mind, got my hair fixed up, and it was only 430pm when I was finished.

I sat on the couch and tried to kill time. Oprah had Sarah Palin on, I thumbed through a magazine, and then Shyla called. She kept me distracted until around 513 when I said...I gotta go, I have to leave in 2 minutes.

I sat in the chair by the front window and tried to stay calm as I was looking for who was coming to get me. Kyle pulled up around 520 and slowly walked to my door. When I opened it, he said "This is for you", and handed me a rose that said RIE on one side, and BE MY on the other. I played it cool, and put it on the table with the rest of the flowers, and walked out to the car with him.

I said to him, "I'm not asking you any questions because I don't want to know", to which his response was "Good, because I don't know anything.".

He proceeded to drive as slow as humanly possible all through Santa Barbara. We were in the car for about 30 minutes before we got over towards the area near the Biltmore and Butterfly Beach. As we drove along the main road, we passed by Brett's truck, and then Kyle pulled into the circular drive near the end of the beach, and I saw Brett.

"Hey, I know him".

Brett walked up to the car, opened the door, and lead me out. He handed me one more rose, the side saying WIFE? on it, towards me. He asked if I'd been keeping up with what they said during the day. Well, duh!! He then very quickly, popped down on one knee, pulled out a box, opened it, and said "So, Annemarie, will you be my wife?".

Of course I said yes...I think more than once. :)

He lead me over to the end of the walkway where he had a speaker setup and he started one of our songs "You and I", and we danced and talked. He told me that he had a few nice things that he was going to say to me when he proposed, but when he saw me get out of the car, he got too nervous and a little choked up, and decided to just go for the one line he knew he had to get out. :)

I think it was perfect. The day was a LONG one. Almost 12 hours of waiting....but Brett liked it that way. I told him that I knew as soon as I saw the roses in the morning but was anxious and excited for the rest of the day to play out and didn't want to jump to any conclusions. I loved all of the surprises during the day.

We took a few pictures at the beach. It was great that it was just him and me. We had fun sharing a little bit about our days, I begged him to tell me who his helper was, and we just laughed, smiled and loved.

As we were packing up, I noticed the back of the tag on the last rose, and it said .COM. I was like "What?". I had figured out that the back of the tags were spelling out our names, but I didn't put it together that Brett was spelling out a website address. He bought and had it setup for us already. I looked it up on my phone right away to see what it was that he'd done. So adorable!! Love that I'm marrying someone that thinks of something like that. Yes, this is one of the many reasons why we are definitely meant to be with one another. I didn't figure it out....but he had up another home page just in case I had during the day of Yes, he's so funny. I love him for that.

We drove off to our plans for dinner....he had reservations for us at San Ysidro Ranch at Stonehouse. I'd heard about this place and was excited to be celebrating together at such a pretty and wonderful place with my fiancee. Heehee!!

On the way to dinner, Brett turned to me and said "We're going to get married. We're going to be a family. We're going to have kids!", and that was when it hit me. I mean, I knew that this was going to be part of our future, but we hadn't ever talked about it anymore than that. I wanted all of this to be a surprise when it happened, and so we never spoke about dates, timelines, possibilities, etc. We lived our relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend as just that and it was perfect. When the morning started, I knew that was what the day was going to end like, and it happened so fast, that I really didn't have too much time to react. But then when Brett said that to me, with the biggest smile on his face, it hit me. I'm going to marry this man, spend the rest of my life with him, and have children with him....that made me so warm inside and that was when I realized what it all meant. I couldn't have been happier.

We had a perfect dinner. We recounted every minute of both of our days to each other....and I gave myself a headache from smiling so much. We had the yummy dessert on which the chef congratulated us on our engagement. One last picture in front of the pretty Christmas tree at the restaurant before we headed back to my house.

On the way home, we called both of our parents to share the news with them. Of course, they had known it was going to happen since Brett called and talked to both of them the night before. He waited until the last minute on purpose as to not burden any of them with trying to keep a secret. Kyle and Bethany came to see us before the night was over at my place, and we shared with them the end of the story.

Of the perfectly normal Tuesday....but unlike any other Tuesday I've ever lived.

I realized that I hadn't gotten a picture of the last two roses, so I snapped a quick one back at the house of each.

Around 930, we kicked out B and Kyle so we could make a few more phone calls before we both passed out. Brett commented, "I know we should probably be excited to stay up and talk about this for a lot longer, but I'm exhausted". I was with him, I was pooped. All the excitement of the day wore me out....and he'd been running around the last couple days coordinating and planning to pull off the most perfect surprise.

We called and talked to my sister, Erika, and Brett's sister, Autumn, and made plans to figure out how to track down my other sister, Taylor, who is in Chicago for Christmas, the next day.

Brett tucked me into bed, and we said our goodnights. It would have been like any other Tuesday that he'd done the same with me.....except, this Tuesday was different than most. This Tuesday was the Tuesday that the man that I love asked me to spend the rest of my life with him, and I said yes. And Brett was the setting of the was a day that I will never forget.

I love you, Brett Bollman, and I can't wait to be your wife.