Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Totally just realized I let a good six months go by without posting anything. Oops. What can I say? Life is certainly busy. Work has been crazy busy for me (but it's paid off- I just got a raise and a promotion, wahoo!) and it seems like the only thing I want to do when I'm at home is hang out with my boys. I'm working on rounding up some photos of the last year so I can sum it all up- if only for myself :)

Since it's going to be a minute until that happens, I leave you with a conversation Joshua and I had the other day in the car. I laughed so hard I can't even come up with a good metaphor about how hard I was laughing...

Has anyone else noticed the striking resemblance between Bruce Vilanch and muppet monster Sweetums?

So, Yeah... We Got Married!

I really wish I would've blogged about this sooner before I started to forget all the little details. Better late than never though I suppose. The way Joshua and I decided to elope was pretty spontaneous. We had been planning our wedding for MONTHS (since before we were even engaged, lol). The only thing preventing us from setting a date was my divorce being finalized. I never imagined it was going to take more than two years and with things continually getting dragged out we were hesitant to set a date not knowing what was going to happen next. The day I became legally single, during our celebrating Joshua was holding me tight and asked me when I wanted to get married. I said "This weekend" and he said "Let's do it!" so what was originally an off the cuff remark made out of excitement quickly turned into some serious scheming.

Joshua planned just about every detail. Miraculously, I was able to keep the whole thing a secret from almost everyone. Jenna, Lacey and my Papa were the only ones I spilled the beans to aside from my work family, who had to be in on it in order for us to pull it off! In the span of a little over a week we planned our entire ceremony and the phony story to lure my parents to Seattle, bought my wedding dress, had a veil custom made (thank you, Yashmeen!), rented tuxes for the boys, arranged to fly our friend Levi up from San Francisco to officiate and dozens of other little details (like "borrowing" some of my mom's jewelry without her knowledge or consent lol).

We took my parents out to a fancy dinner to celebrate my newly singlehood status. Little did they know we got our marriage license the day after my divorce was finalized, haha! Joshua had booked all of us in a beautiful hotel and I told my parents we were going to head to the Space Needle to take some family photos but I wanted to change before we left. Josh, Benjer and I got out of our dinner clothes and into our wedding clothes and headed down to my parent's room. I knocked on the door and stood in the hallway with my finger over the peephole for what felt like forever before my mom opened the door, immediately burst into tears and said, "Thank you, Jesus" My dad, who was on the phone at the time just stared for a minute. I promptly told him to hurry it up because we had a wedding to go to.

When we arrived at the Space Needle's observation deck, I spotted the rest of our small party. Our officiant, Levi and Josh's two best friends Jim and Adrian (also known as crazy Uncle Bibby) were all sporting amazingly awesome fake mustaches. Completely surprised by this detail, I turned around to find that my groom had also put on a mustache.

Levi opened our ceremony with the priest's monologue from my favorite movie, The Princess Bride. You know the one. "Mawwaige. Mawwaige is whot bwings us togeva today..." He even did the speech impediment. It was epic. He had prepared the sweetest opening speech as well. He spoke about Joshua and I being "independently awesome" which I loved. Josh and I wrote our own vows to each other. Mine was two paragraphs. His was two pages. While I was sure he was the one that would cry, I ended up being the one needing the tissues. I barely got through my two paragraphs. Luckily, his vows were heartfelt and hilarious- an excellent combination!

We also wrote our own vows for the exchanging of rings and the I Do's. I won't share the whole thing, but I will tell you it ended with "until death or the Zombie Apocolypse parts you". We planned on getting these really awesome custom wedding bands that have each others fingerprints on the inside of the band... but with a week to plan, there was no way they were going to be ready. Instead, I got Joshua an octopus locket ring and he got me a very obnoxious, extremely loveable white owl ring (I still wear it!). Once again, another quirky and tacky detail that made the day so uniquely "us"

We ended our ceremony with the perfect kiss and a less than perfect dance to our favorite Mountain Goats song. It was joyful and uncoordinated and so much fun. It was a little like getting married in a fish bowl. We had people watching from the other side of the glass laughing and cheering and one even crying. It was a wonderful, wonderful day.

I especially enjoyed Benjamin's reaction to the whole thing. He spent a large part of the ceremony flirting with and waving to passers by. It was so cute. And although he's been calling Joshua "Daddy" since he started talking, it was almost like he knew something was different. Joshua graduated from "Daddy" to "My Daddy" which he still calls him.

I couldn't have asked for anything more special or memorable. I can't imagine a more appropriate way to have married my best friend.

"Thank you, Jesus" indeed!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Supposedly kids all go through phases where they prefer one parent over the other. One area that has stayed consistent for Benjamin is bed time. For Valentine's Day this last year, Benjamin's gift to Joshua was a new bedtime book called I Love My Daddy Because... 

Benjamin has been pretty insistent that Daddy reads him the "Daddy Book" at bedtime. In the event that Daddy is not around and Momma tries to read it? Not the same. He gets this look on his face and shakes his head at me like, "Nice try, Momma." The book is so well loved it's getting worn down a bit and Benjamin knows it by heart. Each page shows a daddy and baby animal of some kind and Benjamin and Josh do the animal sounds together. At this point, Ben starts making the animal sound on the next page before Josh is even finished reading the sentence on the current page. So for Father's Day I re-created the book with the same text, using pictures of Josh and Ben. A few of my favorites are as follows...

I love my Daddy because he takes naps with me.

 He makes me laugh.

He plays hide-and-seek with me. 

All said and done, the book is about 40 pages of Daddy and baby activities (he reads me stories, he sings me songs, he teaches me to be brave, etc.). I had a lot of fun sorting through pictures of my two best gentleman together. I am so proud of our little family and feel so incredibly lucky to have found this man who is so amazing. Even as I'm typing this with Ben on my lap, he periodically points to the screen at the pictures and says, "that's Daddy! love Daddy!" It's very sweet and makes me a little misty.

So, Happy Father's Day, Papa Bear! We love you more than I can say.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Last Year...

Life has been extraordinarily busy. Spent weeks gearing up for Sasquatch, went and had a fantastic time and we're just now starting to feel recovered. I haven't even entirely unpacked my suitcase yet. More on the festival later. Last night we went to see one of my favorite bands, The Mountain Goats and had the most incredible time! The show was AMAZING. One of my favorites we've seen. This morning, while driving to work and wishing I was either a.) still at home sleeping or b.) dead I got to thinking about all the amazing bands we've seen in the last year. Some of my favorites?

I've always loved going to shows and feel so, so, so lucky that my man friend not only shares my passion for live music, but always seems to find a way to make going to shows and festivals happen. I think have seen more bands in the last year than the previous 10 combined. It has been so fantabulous. So, on that note. I still feel like absolute death from shaking my bootie into the wee hours of the morning and getting about 3-ish hours of sleep, but it was worth it! Looking forward to having the weekend to relax and recover and SLEEP

Who Rocks the Potty?

I got pooped on last night. Again. Literally. Poor Benjamin. Bless his little heart. We have been working on potty training for a while now and although he will tell us when he is going, and knows what the potty chair is for, he still prefers to go in his diaper... and on me, apparently. This is the second time I've been pooped on this month!

Benjamin loves Elmo. I mean really, that kid LOVES "Melmo" So when I saw this potty chair at Kmart, I scooped it up... until I saw the price tag. Almost $30! So I put it back. The very next week we were back at Kmart for something else and I saw the same potty chair with a little red tag on it. So I looked a little closer. Then I looked again. Then I put it in the cart. It was marked down to $4.99! Heck yes! Ever since we got it, it's been sitting in our bathroom. Benjamin will sit on it, but will not go potty on it. Ah, parenting.

Gearing Up for Sasquatch!

Holy Hannah! This month has FLOWN by and we're less than a week away from Sasquatch! We have been ridiculously excited about this. I requested my time off from work all the way back in December and Josh bought the tickets right when they went on sale. During our long car rides to Seattle and back we've made lists of everything we need to bring (of course I have NO idea what happened to the lists!) And now we're down to the wire and totally unprepared! Well, I guess not totally... we did buy a couple of things for camping (now I just need to find where I stashed them!). So this weekend will be eventful. Laundry, packing, shopping, getting the house ready for the housesitter, moving a ton of stuff... As much as I'm looking forward to our mini-vacation, I'm a little stressed out about getting everything ready in time. That being said, I am so stoked to cross another bushel of bands off of my bucket list! The lineup is pretty incredible. I'm sure we will come home happy and exhausted, and maybe a little bit sunburned (that reminds me- I better remember the sunblock!). Even more so than the live music, I think I'm most excited to get to spend some quality time with my best friend. With both of us working full time, even though we see each other every day... I feel like I never see him sometimes! With as busy as things are leading up to our departure, and as busy as we'll be as soon as we get home, it will be really nice to have a few days of down time.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Part Deux: Das Matron of Honor

 Awesome Auntie to my son, marvelous Mommy to my niece and nephew, wonderful wifey to my big brother, my very own sweet sister and matron of honor... it's


I met Jenna... um, I can't even remember how long ago. I think I was still in high school actually. Matt brought her over for lunch one Sunday after church because he wanted us to meet the girl he was dating. I got to know her a little bit better a little bit at a time (what can I say? Matt was a Jenna hog!). Now, all of my "TMI" stories get told to Jenna first. She was the second person I told about our engagement (after my momma, of course). She was wonderfully excited. There was yelling and jumping and dancing. It was the best reaction I could've gotten.

I just love my Jenna. She gives great advice, always listens and is never judgemental. I always call her my sister because one- it saves me two syllables by dropping the "in law" and two- she is my sister! The best one I could ever ask for... which is apparently extremely confusing for the people in my life because it's always assumed that we're biological sisters because we look so much alike (at least that's what I've been told about a zillion and one times). I only wish we had more time to spend together. Between both of us having kids now and working, we rarely get a chance to hang out. But she's always there when I need her- like when I needed a date for the Evelyn Evelyn show!

She makes me laugh so hard. She's always finding the most random things on the Internet. She is a fantastic ridiculous dance party partner. She was there every step of the way through my courtship with Josh to give me advice. She's even the one who came up with the nickname "Mr. Perfect"  (which is still what it says on my cell phone when he calls).

I'm so excited that she'll be standing next to me on our special day.

I love you, Jenna!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I haven't really posted about Benjamin yet. What can I say about Mr. B? He is the brightest, happiest, funniest, smartest, most beautiful little baby big boy I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I am so proud to be his Momma! We're quickly approaching 18 months and I cannot believe how fast he has grown. Everyone says time seems to go faster when you have kids, and now I know it's true! I also now more completely understand the whole "pitter patter of little feet" saying. He has a very distinctive run and I can always tell when he's up and about. I think my most favorite sound ever is his laugh. I think that kid has made me smile more in the last couple of years than any other person on the planet (and yes, I do count the months that he made me smile while he was in utero).

Even from the time he was TEENY tiny, I would get almost excited when he would wake up in the middle of the night to eat or have a diaper change because it meant I go a chance to interact with him and see him and love on him. In fact, he's sitting in my lap right now enjoying some juice and watching Charlotte's Web. He looked over at the pictures I uploaded and started pointing, "Momma! That's Daddy!" I can't believe how much he's talking! Sentences already? Granted, they are usually only a handful of words, but him being able to say things like, "Momma, I see Daddy!" (watching Josh outside through the window). Or "I want my Momma." (to Josh while I was at the Chiropractor). I mean, really? Already? Our kiddo is a genius!

Granted, Joshua wasn't there for Benjamin's birth (we didn't know each other yet), and he missed the first little bit of his life, but I am so thankful that Benjamin will never remember life without him. They are so sweet together, I'm almost tempted to shed a tear or two just thinking about it. I couldn't ask for a better partner in parenting. He's been there for his first steps, first words, and takes so much joy in teaching him things (the high five was a big milestone lol). Now I love watching Josh tackle encouraging Benjamin to use the big boy potty chair. He is generally the first one to spot the potty face and is usually in the bathroom with Benjamin on the potty chair before I'm even half way down the hallway. 

We love you, Benjamin! I hope you won't be too embarrassed when I share details about your potty training and cute things you do with the blogosphere :)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Meet my Bridesmaids: Part One

Happy Birthday, Lacey!!

I met Lacey the summer before I started 10th grade. We spent the summer pretending like we could play the guitar in her lawn, "camping" in the grass (also in her lawn), walking around on the beach and all around having a blast doing pretty much nothing but being together with Ms. Corynn. She moved to California and we lost touch for YEARS after that. Then, a few years after I had moved to California, I found her on myspace and realized she lived about 15 minutes down the 5 from me! We made plans to get together and I went to her house a week later. I was so nervous! You never know how it's going to turn out when you haven't seen someone in a long time that you were close to at one point. It can get awkward. Luckily, it wasn't! For the next year or so (until I moved back to Washington) we saw each other pretty much every day. We were able to reconnect and became so much closer than we had been before. She was there for me during the hardest part of my life so far. She has been my sounding board, my advocate, my best friend. We spent the year going shopping, snorkeling at the beach (okay, so that was only one time but it was so much fun it should be mentioned!), making crafts for the Encinitas Farmer's Market, telling secrets, using a long board to go sledding (lol)... I miss her almost every day! Luckily I can call her any time. She gives the best advice! I also had the chance to fall in love with her little boy, Ashland. I had the pleasure of babysitting him several times and now that Benjamin is getting to the same age Ash was when I left, he reminds me so much of that precious little boy! Who, I should mention, is growing into a beautiful big boy! Another reason I love Lacey so much is she taught me so much about what it means to be a great mama. I admire her in so many ways. Having a friend who inspires you is so priceless! I also should mention, her hubby Paul is an incredible musician! Check out The Paul Cannon Band and go see them live if you get the chance! You might even catch a glimpse of my Lacey!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Proposal

I LOVE telling this story and have lost track of the number of times I've told it. My poor co-workers have heard me re-tell it countless times! Josh and I had been talking about getting married for a while. We had talked about our hypothetical wedding, looked at engagement rings... he even took me to a jeweler to get sized for a ring. One night I came home from work to pick him up to go out for dinner. We weren't really doing anything special, just going out to Applebee's with Benjamin for a low-key celebration of one of our "month-iversaries". I showed up at the house with Ben in tow, ran inside to grab Josh and head out (the car was still running in the driveway!) and when I got inside, there was Josh, standing in the living room all dressed up in a suit and tie, dress shoes, the whole 9 yards. He had a little black box in his hand. I immediately freaked out and asked him what was going on. He got down on one knee and again, I asked him what was going on. He said he was tying his shoe. From there, the conversation went something like this:

"What's in the box?!"
"What box?"
"The one that was just in your hand that's right next to your foot!"
"Oh, that's nothing."
"No, REALLY- what's in the box?!"
"My cuff links"
"NO, REALLY, Josh- What's. In. The. Box?!?!"
"No, Really, Mel... it's my cuff links. I'm totally messing with you"
And he opened the box to reveal none other than... his cuff links.

If it hadn't been so funny, I would've roundhouse kicked him to the face.

About a month later we were in the car and he got this sly look on his face. He told me he got me something from the jewelry store that day that I had been really wanting but I couldn't have it until we got back to the house. I was ecstatic. We got home and he pulled out a bag from Gerald's Jewelers. I peeked in the bag and found... a jewelry cleaner. I looked at him. "PSSHT, Very funny, you got me again." He looked all excited and asked me if I was going to open the jewelry cleaner box. I asked him why, what was inside that I needed to open the box. "I think you need to open the box, you're going to like what's in there." So I opened the box and inside the box was... a jewelry cleaner. At this point, I started to cry. The first time was funny, but this time was not so humorous. He felt appropriately terrible and apologized profusely. I made him promise not to tease me anymore.

A few days later... we were watching a movie. And, like the old people we are, Josh asked me if I wanted to do a crossword. I was grouchy so I said no. A few minutes later, he asked me if I wanted to do a crossword. I was STILL grouchy so I said no again. About an hour later, he practically begged me to do the crossword puzzle so, begrudgingly, I gave in.

"OK, a 4 letter word for wild pig"

It took him about a second to say, "boar!"

I got about half way through penciling in the "O" before I saw my name in the puzzle. I looked a little closer and saw that question 44 down said "Melanie, will you marry me?" I just about crapped my pants. When I looked up, he had this...

I. WAS. SPEECHLESS. He had this whole sweet speech to go along with the proposal. Of course I started blubbering. All the while, Benjamin was in between us babbling and trying to steal the pencil in my hand. Finally, Josh said "It's a 3 letter word, for "Will you marry me?" Are you going to write in the answer?" So of course, I wrote in Yes. Cried some more, Benjamin laughed and it was all around a beautiful moment. I didn't expect his proposal would come at a time like that. I was grouchy, not wearing any makeup, in pajamas, dead tired... but he says he wouldn't have it any other way because I was caught completely off guard.

Further proof that I have the most AWESOME fiancee ever! Sorry, gals, he's all mines!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Love Of My Life...

Isn't he the dreamiest?

I met Josh last year. It wasn't love at first sight... it took a good 20 minutes or so before I totally fell for him, lol. I believe the precise moment was during our discussion of The Mountain Goats :) And here we are, about a year later and we're planning our wedding! So many times during the week I feel like I'll wake up at any moment because I can't believe I finally found the man that God had planned for me all along. He is the best partner I could ask for- we are similar in so many ways, which is awesome and our differences are equally wonderful because he's taught me so much (example- I'm not the best communicator; he is an excellent communicator and has really encouraged me in expressing my feelings instead of keeping everything bottled up). He is so thoughtful and kind, quite possibly the funniest person I've ever met, and an incredibly fantastic Daddy (just ask Benjamin!). My intention in starting this blog was not so much to just gush over Joshy, but to catalogue our adventures in starting our family together- which means you can expect posts from the wonderful man himself at some point.

The name of the blog, "The Other Side of an Ampersand" was Josh's idea. I have a diamond ampersand necklace that I used to wear all the time when we first started dating. He asked me about it once and I told him it was meaningful to me because it reminded me to not repeat an old mistake of losing my identity in a relationship and instead of being me, focusing on trying to change to please someone else and feeling like I became just the other side of an ampersand. I still have the necklace and I don't wear it as much but when I do, looking at it brings me so much joy because I am so thrilled to share an ampersand with Josh... who loves me exactly the way I am.