Friday, March 31, 2017

Our Story (the 10 year edition, Part Three)

Picking back up today from where we left off.

Part I
Part II

On Brian's second attempt to hang out with me, I got a random phone call while out shopping with my friend Meg at Alamance Crossing one afternoon.

"Who was that?" she asked.
"It was just my friend, Stephanie, from Mill Creek," I told her. "She and her husband went to Elon a few years ago. She's at West End bar now and invited me to come hang with her and her friend Strawberry.  I think this guy has a crush on me."
"His name is Strawberry?"
"Yeah, I know. Silly. I don't wanna go. Let's just keep shopping."

Part of me was hoping Strawberry would give it up at this point, but another part of me was flattered. If he stopped liking me, surely I would be a little disappointed. I needed to keep him around a little bit longer until I made up my mind on what to do. I needed to reel him in, but then possibly throw him back in the water if I panicked too much.  (I am Woman, Hear me Overthink.)

A couple weeks later, I found myself at home on a Saturday night with my roommate, Leah, and some of her friends. It was fairly rare that I was ever at home on a Saturday night. Maybe nothing was happening at Mill Creek. Meg was probably busy. I remember it was Elon's Homecoming Weekend.

I shared a couple drinks with Leah and her friends in our kitchen, and then they headed out the door to go to Lighthouse.

"Come with us," they begged.
"Eh, what the heck," I shrugged, as I grabbed my stuff and headed out the door behind them.

About halfway across campus, I realized I had made a mistake. Leah and her friends walked ahead of me, talking and laughing. The closer we got to Lighthouse, the clearer the image in my head:

I was about to be standing by myself - alone in the corner - at the crowded campus bar.

(Elon was like a big high school, so this was a true emergency.)

"Hello?" he answered.
"Hey Strawberry. It's Kelly," I said casually, as I continued the trek to the bar. "Where are you?" I asked him, as if this whole phone call was completely normal.
"Uh, I'm at Jason and Steph's house. Guitar Hero III was just released today, so we're playing that. Uh, why? Where are you?"
"Headed to Lighthouse with some friends. Everyone's there tonight, and since it's Homecoming weekend I just figured you might be out."
(A pause. I waited. What the heck was I doing?)
"Oh, okay. We can be there in about twenty minutes."

I probably downed three drinks in that twenty minute span. I needed liquid courage. I remember seeing the white Tahoe pull up to the bar, and Strawberry jumping out to meet me.

A David Gray song was playing in the background.

He came over confidently, and it was a moment that can only be summed up like this:


It's something that can only be summed up like this:

So there we all were. My friends. Strawberry's friends. Hanging out at Lighthouse.

At some point during the evening, Brian was chatting with Leah over near the pool table.

"So, do you like Kelly?" I overheard her asking.
"Yeah," he responded.
"Well, you need to get in line. There's a really long wait list. Every guy in here is crushing on her."

That was the nicest lie anyone has ever told for me.

Later that night, we went a couple more places. Not much happened, but as Strawberry got up to leave, I asked him a question.

"Oh, by the way, are you on Facebook?"
"No" he responded, a little confused. "I have a MySpace." (Brian was 25 years old. Very old and not in the know. He wasn't aware that MySpace had been uncool for about three years at this point.)

The next morning I woke up, thinking about everything that had happened (and not happened) the night before.

I knew what I needed to do, so I did it.

I created a MySpace, desperately hoping that Brian wouldn't realize I had done this just for him.

In hindsight, it had to be obvious.

Kelly Lawrence has 1 friend.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Pippa

Cam inherited the dog gene.

I suppose this was inevitable given the possible maternal and paternal allele combinations.

This is the only time in my life where I get to be a DD.  (Double Dog lover)

Brian is represented by Dd.  (normal Dog lover)

To say I was dog-obsessed as a child would be the understatement of the century. I talked about dogs non-stop. I watched all the dog shows on Animal Planet.  I made ever-changing lists of my top ten favorite dog breeds, as if that's something you should always keep handy.  (#1. Border Collie, always) When we'd go to the media center at school, other kids were checking out Goosebumps and Amelia Bedelia. I was checking out:

Maybe I should get that book for Cam.

He mistook a petite, clever Miniature Pinscher for a Pippa the other day at the park.

Pippa has more in common with a beached whale than that Miniature Pinscher.

Cam saw the dog arrive as he was swinging, and as soon as it came into his view, he threw a conniption until I got him down to go see it.

"A Pippa?"

"No, a dog."

"A Pippa!"

"A dog."

"A Pippa?"


For Cam, all dogs are currently a Pippa.

The owner was nice and let Cam say hey and pet his dog while he was sitting on the bench, only Cam didn't want to leave. I kept trying to re-direct his attention to other - more exciting - things, such as the sandbox, but this kid could not be fooled.

He hovered awkwardly around the guy and his dog for about ten minutes, which meant I also hovered awkwardly around the guy and his dog for about ten minutes. Finally, the guy realized that Cam was not going to lose interest in the dog anytime soon (or ever), so he got up and left.

Cam was so sad to see the dog leave, and I suppose I know the feeling.

There is nothing in the world that can ever top a Pippa.

*Unfortunately those pictures are in chronological order. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Life Lately

Unhappy to report that #21earlydays has not been going well for me.

I was sick last week, which was part of it, but also it's mentally hard for me to get up that early when I go to bed later than normal. We watched a movie until 11pm twice last week. I knew getting only a few hours of sleep would be rough, so I allowed myself to cheat and sleep until 5. Last night, Brian's iPad kept me awake until about 2:40 in the morning! Ugh. I was so mad. I slept until 5:45 this morning.

In the words of every dieter, #21earlydays starts tomorrow....

Currently Reading:


Currently Watching:

Because I fall asleep so often during movies, it took me three attempts to watch this, but it was very interesting. If you're a minimalist like me (ha!), there's not much new here, but it is all so fascinating. The world's obsession with stuff. Wow. The facts about the self-storage industry were mind-blowing. America's houses have tripled in size and there is still not enough room for all of our stuff! Also, did you know that people's well-being increases with their income up to $70,000? After an income of $70,000, well-being levels off and people report the same satisfaction and happiness whether they are making 70K or 500K or 100M.

What I'm Currently Loving:

This stage with Cam! He has been in such a great mood this weekend. He was so cute at the park yesterday - a few moms asked if they could trade kids with me. :) He was perfectly content playing with everything and so incredibly happy to be there! He is such a little ham.  He would go up and wave "hi!" or "bye-bye!" to everybody.

I know it won't always be this easy, so I need to remember this phase where he is so sweet, easy-going, and loving life! Thank you God for this precious boy. He is such a joy.

Back later this week with Part 3 & 4 of the Our Story from last week's blogs!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Our Story (Part 2)

Nothing exciting happened right away.

As the months passed by, I heard that Strawberry was dating someone, then engaged, then un-engaged, then single. I'm not sure the timeline. All of it was just hearsay.

At some point in October, Strawberry texted me and asked if I wanted to go to the State Fair.

"I've already been to the fair."
"Do you want to go again?"
"I've already been twice."

I was twenty years old by now, but going on a date with a guy was still the scariest thing I could have ever done. Lying was my only option.

I have no idea where my nervousness stems from, but it's always been there. Ask any of my best friends the name of my middle school crush and they'll still plead the fifth. I put the FEAR OF GOD in them if they ever told. Diary after diary was filled with my future signature, Mrs. Kelly ________.

See, I can't even type it.

I was Drew Barrymore from "Never Been Kissed." I was so nervous around guys. Strawberry's invite to the State Fair sent me into a full-fledged panic attack.

Why would he like me? I was overweight. He was out of my league. Did he realize I had a big chart on the back of my bedroom door with my weight loss goals and their non-edible rewards?

145 lbs -  Get a pedicure!
140 lbs -  Buy a new outfit!

(I ended the year ten pounds heavier.)

So I lied about the fair because I was too nervous. But as you already know by now, that's not the end of this story.

Lucky for college kids everywhere, there's an easily-accessible cure for a bad case of the nerves.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Story (the 10 year edition, Part 1)

Our first interaction was a transaction.

I had just flipped the beer cart over a small foot bridge on the second hole of the golf course. I swear I'm not a bad driver; it's just that the wheel of the cart hit the edge of the bridge just right, and so it happened that the huge cart went flying into the air and came crashing down on its side, spilling beer and ice all over the ground.

It all happened so fast, really. I had abandoned the cart mid-flip, so what occurred in two seconds felt like ten minutes as I laid there and watched my cart sail into the air and land on its side, dangling off the bridge by just one wheel. Fortunately for me, not only did I crash the cart on my first day of work, I also had an audience of eight guys. They ran over to me, concerned for my safety and eager for beer.

(Still to this day, I'm bad about hitting curbs. Brian won't let me replace the hubcaps on my Honda with nicer, more classy wheels. Smart guy that Brian.)

Like a damsel in distress, I held back tears as I adjusted my sundress and quickly started gathering beer. The guys were so helpful and got my cart back onto the path. I cradled Coors Light and Heineken in my arms, as my hands reached out for the cash coming my way. They filled up their coolers with muddy ice and grassy cans, unfazed by what had just happened. I stuffed money into my pouch in a hurried attempt to leave.

(Mind you, this was the second hole and they were already re-stocking. How much beer were these guys planning to drink?)

As the nightmare was finally ending, I turned around and there stood Strawberry. We locked eyes for a brief second, and everything stood still. He offered me a few dollars in exchange for some Bud Light.

"Am I suppose to give you a tip?" he asked, genuinely.

I honestly can't remember if I answered.

One time when I was re-telling this story, Brian said we had met beforehand in the clubhouse, so now I have a fuzzy memory of my friend Jason introducing me to his friend "Strawberry" while we were all gathered in the pro-shop that morning. Is it really a memory or did my mind make this up? I suppose it doesn't matter either way.

A few days later, Jason's wife, Stephanie, came into the pro-shop and chatted with me as I stood behind the counter. (For some reason, my boss had suggested I try working inside at the pro-shop.) 

"Do you remember Strawberry?" she asked. "Would it be OK if I gave him your number?"

Right then and there, it was confirmed; I hadn't just imagined it. There had been something between us that day. Right in the middle of my embarrassment and panic and humiliation, there had been a pause of curiosity.

Who is this Strawberry guy?
Why does this moment feel so defining?
And yes - you're supposed to tip.

We had more fun than Caddyshack. Honestly, some of the best days of my life were spent here!

 Hole 2. The cart path where I wrecked is on the left behind the trees. 

The clubhouse. Many evenings spent with friends on that porch.

Also, I'd like to insert that Brian's version of this story would likely be summed up as follows: "I bought some beer from Kelly that day she flipped her cart over. I don't remember sharing a 'moment.'"

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Our Story (the 10 year edition)

St. Patrick's Day weekend marked ten years since Brian and I met at Mill Creek Golf Club.

I was nineteen years old and it was my first weekend driving the beer cart. There was an Irish Four Ball Tournament that day, made memorable by the fact that the high-strung manager, Ron, and his wife Cathy were in a  frenzy that morning, attempting to set up a keg of green beer on the porch.

I've talked about my life leading up to that day a lot on this blog and I've joked about some of my first dates with Brian, but I haven't ever discussed the two year period between when we met and when we actually started dating.

For the rest of the week, I want to tell that story. It's just a handful of ordinary moments, but I think I can make it interesting.

As you know by now, Brian is my favorite subject. He's my favorite subject to write about, to talk about, to think about. He's the only person I've not ever been able to figure out, but the Lord knows I'll die trying.

I've had fun this week thinking back to those first two years and trying to re-play everything in my mind. When you've known your spouse for ten years, it's good to remember the feelings you had during those early days when you first fell in love.

I read a great book last month, The Meaning of Marriage. In it, the author said that if you're lucky enough to be married to the same person for 50 years, you'll likely be married to five different people in your lifetime.

I can attest to that.

Stayed tuned because over the next few blog posts, I'll tell you the story of a different person. She's the person I know best, but at the same time hardly recognize.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pre #21early Days

I wrote the post below last Wednesday morning, on the first day of my #21earlydays experiment.


Well, I finished writing a blog post and it's only 5:12 AM, so I have plenty of time to write another.

Today I'd like to give you an idea of where I was at before this experiment.

I typically woke up around 5:48 AM on weekdays. My alarm clock would go off at 5:30 and I would usually hit snooze twice.

We started a new sermon series last week at church called "The Excellence Factor" and Pastor Clay mentioned that acknowledging God each morning right when you wake up is an excellent way to start the day. Ever since, I've been using the first nine minutes of the "snooze" cycle praying specifically for Brian, since he is right there next to me.

Yep, I've been covering Brian in prayer each and every morning.
Since last Sunday.
So, for the past two days.

After I wake up, I use the bathroom, wash my face, then go take care of the dogs.

I feed them and then I take them outside, which is super annoying since we don't have a fenced-in yard. I have to put them on a leash because they are runners (surprisingly fast runners) and they've attempted to run away on numerous occasions.

The fast runners.

After that, I usually make coffee and read the Bible for about 15 minutes. I read through the whole New Testament in 2015, and then I started the Old Testament right after that. I'm currently in 1 Kings, so this is a very slow reading pace we're talking about.

Next, I get ready for work very quickly, wake up Cam, get him ready, and scurry out the door because at this point I'm usually running late. I need to be out the door no later than 6:45 if I want to beat traffic. He eats breakfast at day care, so that works out well.

I'll report back after my Early Morning Experiment and update you on my new morning routine, now that I have an extra hour and a half before work.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Eyelash Extensions

I can't even begin to count the number of times in my life that I've considered fake eyelashes, because that number is zero.

I never even knew this was a thing.

Two weeks ago my friend gave me her Groupon for a full set of mink eyelashes. She wasn't going to use the Groupon, so she asked me if I wanted to try it, and heck - you only live once.

Those are my fake eyes.

This same friend has given me no less than $500 worth of beauty-related items this past year for FREE. If I didn't know any better, I think she's trying to tell me something.

Anyhow, I was a little worried that this experience wouldn't go well after reading the two Yelp reviews for Rich and Rare Lash Bar; however, I'm happy to report I had a great experience.

It was a Saturday morning appointment, so Brian stayed home with Cam while I had the morning to myself. I could relax and enjoy my free eyelash treatment.

If you're a mom to a toddler, then you can attest that this was a "Rich and Rare" morning.

I got home from the appointment and immediately stood about two inches from Brian's face and did this move:

Brian was like "Uhhh....what am I supposed to be looking at?"

"My eyelashes."

"Oh ok, uh, they look good, but I can't really remember what they looked like before."

So FYI - Do not expect any men in your life to notice the lashes.

For comparison, we went to dinner at Kanki that night with friends and all of us girls were sitting at the bar waiting for a table. About an hour into our wait, I was like "I forgot to tell y'all I got eyelash extensions this morning" and all three girls - in unison - were like "OMG WE KNEW SOMETHING LOOKED DIFFERENT! YOUR LASHES LOOK AMAZING!!!"

So FYI - The females in your life will notice.

Here's some Q & A for those that might be considering this:

Would you do it again?
Probably not, unless it was free again, but I would recommend this place for sure. She did an outstanding job.

Describe the experience.
Very easy and relaxing. She does put this sticky gel pad on your bottom lid to hold down your bottom lashes, so if you are finicky about stuff near your eyes, that's the only bad part. Your eyes are closed as she individually glues on each lash, so that part was easy.

How long will they last?
Supposedly a month or more. They will fall out over time with your normal lash growth. You cannot get them wet for 24 hours, so be sure to shower before you go. You also shouldn't wear mascara if you want to get the longest wear, but you honestly don't need mascara with these. Also, you should not sleep with them up against your pillow, which is hard for me since I sleep on my stomach.

Do they feel weird?
Yes and no. You cannot feel them at all until something touches them. When you touch them, it definitely has a stiff and noticeable feeling. The next time you shower, take notice of how often you rub your eyes. I never realized this, but it was very weird not being able to rub your eyes in the shower. Technically, she said that you can wash your face like normal, but it definitely feels uncomfortable when your hand or washcloth is touching the lashes.

What do they look like?
She'll ask you your length preference and your reason for getting the lashes - special occasion or daily wear? I said daily wear. I already have naturally full lashes, so I can't imagine getting any more dramatic without being scary. My friends at dinner on Saturday thought it looked like I had curled my lashes and had on mascara, which I had done neither. One friend actually purchased the Groupon that night, so I would say everyone thought it looked really great.

Here's the Groupon. Full Set Mink Lashes for $89.

Overall, I am very happy with the results!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Family Values

I realized this week - for the first time actually - that being a parent is going to be tough.

Having a newborn was tough. It was pure survival mode for me. But Cam wasn't relying on me to make rules, enforce boundaries, and instill values that will set him up for his best life. He just cried 24 hours a day for no reason.

Brian and I eloped with no pre-marital counseling. We entered the world of parenthood by complete surprise. Everything in life for us has been "go with the flow," and our flow has looked something like this:

(Please do yourself a favor and Google Image "whitewater rafting crashes." I have seriously never laughed so hard this early in the morning.)

Two things happened this week that made me realize I need to establish some family values.

Real family values. 

Not cheesy ones like this:

Those signs are so cheesy to me. 99% of you reading probably have one, so apologies in advance. 

In this house we do real??

Moving on...

Brian and I had a conversation last weekend that led me to ask him the question, "What will we teach Cam about this when he gets older?"

We didn't have an answer.

After some thinking and praying, I realized there will be areas where we must have a zero-tolerance policy in this house, and whether Cam likes it or not, it will be for his own good.

And then, on Wednesday morning, I was driving to work listening to KLove, and the following situation came up on the radio show:

The host, Amy, had made a commitment to speak at a women's conference one weekend. Her son's basketball team, however, is now headed to a state-wide championship game that same weekend. She has attended all of his games so far, so she felt like she needed to honor her commitment and attend the conference.

All of the parents of the teammates and everyone who called in to the radio said Amy needed to go to the basketball game to support her son.


What does that teach her son about honoring a commitment? That you can agree to something until a better option comes along? 

Let me tell you a quick story:

I played the drums in 6th grade band, and it was about mid-year through 6th grade when I had a sudden revelation: 

Band is social suicide.

One day, I mistakenly agreed to my mom that I would stay in band through middle school if she didn't make me do high school marching band (even nerdier than middle school band). 

You'll never believe what happened next.

The world's worst mother made me honor my commitment. 

My parents endured three years of pouting, crying, shouting, anger, depression, frustration, and absolute misery on my end. I threatened to kill myself and because I was a hormonal adolescent, I really wasn't kidding. I wanted to die and I wanted my mom to be responsible and explain this to everyone at my funeral.

Yes, it was that bad. 

Nevertheless, she persisted. 

Even my dad at one point was like "Cindy, we should probably just let her quit band before she actually goes off the deep end." But if you know my mom, then you know my mom.

So I played the drums for three years and miraculously I survived the ordeal.

And here I am today, adding the first item to my list of family values.

Strawberry Family Values

#1.  In this house, we honor our commitments.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Early Morning Thoughts (Day 2)

Two of my New Year's Resolutions were to blog more often and to wake up earlier. Mid-March seems like a good time to start working on those.

I bought a Groupon for Burn Bootcamp a few weeks ago. Burn Bootcamp offers early morning workout classes that would be perfect for my needs.

I just knew that purchasing the Groupon would get me motivated to get out of bed and go to the gym.

I'm not sure why Groupon feels the need to point out my failures in life, but they keep filling up my inbox with hate mail.

"Your Groupon is Waiting."
I'm fully aware.

I also need to explain for the millionth time why I haven't been blogging.

I have major blogging anxiety.

I'm worried people will read it. I'm worried people won't read it. I'm worried that I share too much. I'm worried that I don't share enough.

(That last one was a joke. I always share too much.)

Blogging is so much pressure. It's so personal. It'd be so much better if I could gauge my audience. I don't even know my audience. (Hi, Mom!)

My blog needs a sign-in sheet. Every once in a while I could review the roster, see who stopped by, and then be like "OK. I'm good with that."

Remember when I posted this picture a while back?

If my old college boyfriend ever stumbles across my blog after Googling my name and sees that selfie, I'll be mortified.

Chuck, if you're reading this, the above picture is very, very old. Here's a more recent one of me goofing around at the beach just last week:

Don't let the Valencia filter throw you off.  It's definitely me. 

Is it mostly my friends reading? Or co-workers?

Or fellow church members?
Multiple times a year you'll get a Come to Jesus post followed by a random post that leaves you wondering how many drinks I've had that night.

Let the record show that I yelled "HOLLYWOOD IS POISON!" across the house at Brian the other day, so apparently I've turned into a Bible-thumping grandma. 

(For context, Brian was discussing how much he respected the work of his favorite Hollywood movie producers. Something that seems very...toxic.)

In the words of a true belieber,

So I didn't wanna write a blog, 
'Cause I didn't want anyone thinking I still care
I don't but, you still hit my blog up.
So baby I'll keep writing on
And I think you should know something 
I don't wanna hold back
Maybe you should know that.

Current time: 5:34 AM

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 1 of 21 Early Days

I got sucked into the world of Ted Talks on Youtube the other night, which included, but was not limited to, the following:

Seven Ways to Make Conversation with Anyone
The Great Porn Experiment
How Waking Up at 4:30 AM Every Day Will Change Your Life

I'm not going to explain the Great Porn Experiment (you have to watch that one yourself), but I will explain the 4:30 AM Ted Talk in a few short sentences:

A study found that many of the most successful people in the world all woke up at 4:30 AM each day. This guy tried it for 21 days based on the fact that it supposedly takes 21 days to form a new habit. His experiment went viral back in 2015 and was known as #21earlydays.

I mentioned this Ted Talk to the girls in my Articles Club last night and Emily was like "you should try it and report back to us next month."

So thank you Emily for that great suggestion/challenge.

Here I am typing this and it is now 4:56 AM on a Wednesday. I've already started the dishwasher this morning and I actually still might be here to unload it....which is weird, right?

I will totally leave the unloading for Brian.

I also started the "Touch Up" cycle on the dryer in the hopes that I'll fold the clothes left in there from....last Saturday.

The dogs are sitting by their food bowls totally confused.

Will I actually beat the 7 AM traffic and be on time to work this morning?

Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

But I do still have 1 hour and 56 minutes before I need to go to work, so right now I'm feeling like the world is my oyster.