Our first year of marriage

August 2nd, 2013 I was a very excited bride-to-be. I remember the details of that day very clearly. Our wedding was truly everything I could’ve ever wanted! The entire wedding just felt like a dream come true.

It’s been one year since we walked down the aisle and vowed in front of God and our loved ones to stand by each other as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.

How do you even begin to put into words what the time in between those two events entails? I don’t really think it’s possible. Married life is incredible and this past year has just been full of blessings!

Marriage teaches you a lot. It teaches you a lot about yourself & about your spouse.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past year:

  • Your spouse should be someone you truly admire.
    I look up to and admire my husband more than I ever realized was possible. There are so many character traits I see in him daily that I pray God will help me to improve upon in my own life. Gus and I dated for four years before we got married and although I saw several of these traits in his life throughout the time we dated, when you live with someone and see those admirable traits on a daily basis it’s pretty phenomenal. Don’t get me wrong – he’s not perfect (and he’d be the first one to tell you that) but he is really a great example to me. I admire his patience. I admire the way he trusts God fully and doesn’t worry. (If you know me at all you know that I’m such a worrier – good thing God gave me a husband who isn’t like me in that area!) I admire his love for other people and the way he talks so highly of others rather than gossiping about them or judging them. I could go on and on. I’m just grateful to be married to a man who is such a great example to me and whose life challenges me to be a better person.
  • No matter how long you’ve known someone, there is always more to learn.
    Because we’ve known each other for so long, it’s been really amazing to see how far we’ve both come in the years we’ve been a part of each other’s lives. When we first met, we were both punk high schoolers who really didn’t have our priorities straight. It’s been really great even over this past year to see how God has changed us and helped us both fit into the roles as husband and wife. There are little things I’ve learned about Gus (and am still learning) that I really didn’t know until we were married. For example, he’s extremely OCD. He loves having a clean house – and when I say clean I don’t just mean having clutter put away – I mean CLEAN: spotless, swept, mopped, vacuumed, dusted, etc. Right when we finish dinner, before he does anything else, he likes to clean the dishes and put them away ASAP. I wasn’t raised that way. Don’t get me wrong – we weren’t slobs at all – but our house was lived in and we liked it that way. That’s been an adjustment. (But I mean hey, it’s not bad – I have a husband who likes a clean house and who likes to clean – I’m not complaining!)
  • Opposites do attract.
    Gus and I are opposites in so many ways. It’s really comical, actually. Thankfully, we had several years to realize this fact, and we were pretty well-prepared for it and what it would entail. Even in little ways we’re opposite. Gus is the youngest of 9 siblings. I am the oldest of 2. Let me tell you, having the “oldest vs. youngest” mentality actually works out pretty well in our case! Also – Gus is not a planner and is a very “go with the flow” type of person. I, on the other hand, am a total Type A personality who needs everything planned out to the very last detail. Gus despises making lists and I literally write a to-do list every day & have a planner so I can organize my everyday life. But it works. If Gus had married a girl who was just like him, it would have probably been chaos. If I had married a man who was just like me, we would have stressed each other out so much and it would have probably been terrible. Even though we are complete opposites, it totally works & I wouldn’t want it any other way.
  • The first year doesn’t have to be the hardest. 
    When you get married, people have a lot of advice to offer. Some of that advice has been extremely helpful – some of it I honestly could’ve done without. Several people warned us that the first year would be the hardest and that adjusting to married life would be very difficult. Gus and I really appreciated this piece of advice and we were prepared for a difficult year full of adjustments and arguments. I can honestly say that this past year has been amazing from start to finish. Gus and I have talked several times throughout the year about how the first year of marriage was actually a lot easier and a lot more fun that we even anticipated. Don’t get me wrong – I’m NOT saying that marriage is easy – you’re a flawed human living with another flawed human and you’re going to have your difficult days and moments. However, when you love someone so much and you strive to have God as the center of your marriage- it works. Overall, we’ve had it really great over this past year. The hardest part for us of the first year was probably adjusting to Gus working the night shift and balancing that with me being in school all day during the week. That was rough just trying to find time to spend together but we made it work, and now we’ll make it work adding a little baby into the mix.
  • Getting married young doesn’t mean you’re putting your life on hold.
    When we got engaged in August of 2012, several people had comments about how young I was. I had several people actually ask me “Isn’t there still so much you want to do with your life?” Then there were those comments like “Wow, you’re really young to be getting married. Are you sure you’re both ready?” I tried to take those comments with a grain of salt, but honestly sometimes they really got to me. Some people were acting as though getting married meant that we were putting the rest of our goals and ambitions on hold. In reality, by finding and marrying that person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, you’re already in the process of making dreams and goals come true. Yes, there were still things we wanted to do with our lives. When we got engaged I still had other passions and dreams I still wanted to pursue. When we got married we knew that we would both continue to pursue the goals and plans God had for our lives. Getting married young doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. It just means you have the opportunity to pursue those passions and dreams with your best friend by your side every step of the way and there is nothing I would want more than that.
  • Your five-year plan might not go as planned – and that’s okay!
    If you know me, you know I’m a planner and I definitely had a “five-year plan” for our lives. I was going to graduate with my nursing degree, get a job as a nurse, go back to school to get my Masters degree, and maybe start having kids 4-5 years down the road. Well, actually God’s plan for our lives was a whole lot different than what we had imagined. We found out we were pregnant in December and let’s just say my five-year plan was demolished. (And now I’m 100% okay with it). I’ve learned this year that although it’s wise to have a general plan and an idea of what you want for your future, ultimately I’m not the one in control. Gus and I never thought that we’d be expecting a baby within our first year of marriage! It’s funny because now, it’s hard to picture our lives any differently!

I could add so much more to this list but these are just some of the things I’ve learned this past year. I know when the years begin to add up, it will be difficult to remember these things I’ve learned. I wanted to write a post about it so I can look back and remember how I felt as a “newly-married woman.” We’re still newlyweds, right? When do we have to give up that title?

Thank you, Gus for an amazing first year of marriage. I’m so blessed to have you as a husband & you are going to make one incredible daddy to our little girl. (IF SHE EVER GETS HERE!)



Not just “another semester”

Another semester of nursing school is about to come to a close. However, it doesn’t seem fitting to call this semester just “another semester.” This has been, by far, the most difficult and yet somehow the most enjoyable semester of my college career. I’m sure many of my classmates would agree that this semester is one we will never forget. This semester has been filled with multiple challenges, countless blessings, extremely difficult days, and some of the best days yet.

I honestly did not even expect to finish this semester. Thanks to a lovely little thing called morning sickness, I spent about the entire month of January and into the first week of February feeling awful. I remember just sitting in class every day hoping I wouldn’t get sick. At some point, I decided that if I was still sick in another week, I’d probably have to sit out for the rest of the semester because there was no way I could do well in school feeling as terrible as I did. As if right on cue, a couple of days later I began feeling so much better. I am extremely thankful God gave me the strength I needed to get through those days.

Academically, I thoroughly enjoyed this semester. Don’t get me wrong, it was very difficult, but it was also extremely interesting and I learned a lot! We were in both pediatrics and obstetrics, which makes for a fun semester. I enjoyed pediatrics, but I discovered a love for OB nursing I never knew I had. Being pregnant while going through the OB semester was interesting. I definitely feel well-informed (probably a little more than any expectant mother should be). Overall, it truly was an amazing and unique experience. I absolutely loved my labor and delivery clinical rotation and it’s something I could possibly see myself doing in the future.

Emotionally, this semester was exhausting. On Monday, March 17th, our nursing class lost a very loving instructor and friend. Mrs. Peggy Irons passed away unexpectedly that evening after lecturing for us earlier that day. I loved Mrs. Irons, we all did. I can’t even describe to you the pain and heartache we all felt and continue to feel because of her loss. That day and the days immediately following were the hardest days of the entire semester. Despite the unbelievably devastating circumstances, somehow our nursing class came together and lifted each other up. I truly feel like the things we’ve been through as a class this semester have somehow caused us to become even closer. We’re not simply a nursing class – we’re like a family.

Again, this semester has had several ups and downs. In the end: my nursing class is seriously the best. On April 26th, I went to one of my teacher’s homes for what I thought was a small group of us getting together for lunch. My teacher invited the two married students to bring their spouses if they wanted to join us, so Gus came with me. When we pulled up to the house, my friend Blair and two of my teachers were sitting on the front porch enjoying the weather and I assumed the other 4 students were inside the house waiting to eat lunch. As my teacher opened the door and led us into the house, voices erupted in a loud “Surprise!!” At first I had no idea what was even going on. I screamed and as I looked at my nursing class and my instructors I noticed pink streamers and decorations behind them & I realized it was a surprise baby shower for us. I was so excited. Apparently, they had been planning this surprise baby shower for over a month and Gus was even in on it! I had absolutely no idea! I was shocked (and still am) that no one in my class accidentally mentioned it to me throughout the semester. We had so much fun enjoying each other’s company, playing some hilarious games, eating delicious cupcakes, opening gifts, and spending time with everyone. After I finished opening what I thought was all of the gifts, I was told to close my eyes because they had one more gift for us. When I opened my eyes, I saw a gift from my whole nursing class to our little girl – a beautiful bassinet/pack and play. The shower was an absolute blast and I am so grateful for everyone’s generosity and kindness.

It’s been one crazy semester. It’s hard to believe I only have one more year left of nursing school! It’s even crazier to know that when I start school back up in September, I’ll be a SENIOR and a MOMMY! (Yes, I’m going back to school).  I’m so excited for what God has in store.

One more semester down – only two more to go!!! This girl is beyond excited about being a nurse in the near future! 🙂


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Happy one month of marriage, my love

Ever since I was a little girl I have looked forward to my wedding day. As I got older, conversations with friends and family often included the phrase, “When I get married…” In 8th grade I started praying that God would prepare my future husband and I for our future marriage together.

I met Gus when I was in 9th grade
The summer before my senior year, Gus and I started dating. I had the privilege of dating my best friend for four years and throughout those years the topic of marriage came up frequently. Throughout all of those stages in life, however, my wedding day felt like just a distant dream.

A month ago today, I actually had the wedding of my dreams. Now, I am enjoying married life with my best friend. I was overwhelmed with gratitude as we stood before our family members and friends who love and support us. I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who helped make our wedding possible!

I’m a wife. I have a husband. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real.
Without God, none of this would’ve been possible.  All of the glory belongs to Him.

One month down, forever to go.
I love you so much, Gus Vanaman.

One month & I’ll be a married lady!

This time next MONTH I will be married. Actually, my husband (woah, that’s so weird) and I will be driving to our cruise port! I cannot even believe it. I keep asking myself “Is it really happening next month?”

We have been engaged for almost a year and during the engagement we have both been so busy. Not long after we got engaged in August of 2012 we had to head back to college and it was back to the school routine and business of life. From August to May I really didn’t do much to plan the wedding (oops) or even think about the wedding because I needed my focus to be on my classes. Looking back, I definitely wish I would’ve done more planning gradually instead of waiting until school was out but it will still get done (Don’t mistake this as me complaining– consider it my advice to other future brides). For about nine months I had to force myself to not obsess over the wedding or even be too exited about it because it was “so far away” and I didn’t want to get impatient. Now it’s right around the corner & I am so happy!!

I have amazing family and friends who have been helping me throughout this entire process and I couldn’t be more appreciative. I know this next month is going to fly by and we have so much to get done before August 2nd. It’s really crunch time now and I know that from here on out it’s going to be super busy. That being said, I want to say thank you to those people who have been helping me immensely throughout this entire process. You know who you are and without you, none of this would be possible. I’m so thankful that God has brought each of you into my life.

I had a beautiful surprise bridal shower on June 22nd and it was amazing to be surrounded by so many people who love and support us. Family and friends traveled from near and far (some from New Jersey, South Carolina, and North Carolina) to be at the bridal shower and I was just so overwhelmed and beyond happy to see everyone. Thank you everyone who was a part of that day and for the generous gifts! We are so thankful and cannot wait to see you again on our wedding day! We had a trip planned to go to Greenville for my sister’s college orientation and so the Wednesday after the bridal shower (which also happened to be my birthday) we loaded up the car and headed to Greenville. We surprised Gus a day early and also surprised him with all of the gifts we received for our shower! It was so much fun showing him all of the loving gifts we were given and it was even more fun unpacking everything into the apartment and setting it all up. It really looks like our home now and I can’t wait to move in after the wedding!

30 days!!