Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You and I

Well it happened. The Stevens clans made it to NY, Britney went through the temple, the dress was put on, and everything else is a blur. 
December 4th: Britney, her mom, and little sister Brynne drove into the city in the morning, hit some inconsequential traffic, greeted Adam and his family for a few brief minutes and ran into the temple for Britney's session. It was an amazing experience. Going through together made the decision we are making real. The Spirit was sweet and piercing and our testimonies and love for each other were strengthened. We can't even tell you how special this experience was. Soon after, Britney bought all her garments and we changed and made our way down to dinner. Yet as we made our way to our east side location, we were stopped by A Diamond is Forever jewelers right around Madison Ave where they were currently stationed, offering couples the opportunity to have their picture taken under the mistletoe for free. Considering our empty bellies and the frigid city, we weren't too excited about standing in line for an hour while our family had nothing to do. We told this to a rep, casually mentioning we were getting married the next day, and he bumped us up to the front of the line. So sweet. So we got our picture taken. Oh, and did I mention they used about 100 different cameras swirled around us? Consequently, we now have a "picture" of us under the mistletoe on Madison Ave that spins around us like a frozen video. SO COOL. (does anyone else have this, No) They even interviewed our story afterwards, check out the small clip they used here (click on "Responses"): http://whenforeverbegan.adiamondisforever.com/#/?behind_the_scenes. Soon after, Adam's family, Britney's mom and sisters Brynne and Briana, and we made our way over to Big Daddy's diner off of 20th and Park.


It's an awesome restaurant that serves upscale diner food (imagine that). Everything was super good. From the milkshakes, main courses, and jumbo-awesome cupcakes, we were stuffed to the brim with good, fairly priced NYC food. Mom and Dad Stevens presented the bride's maids and grooms men with gloves and lip glosses for the girls and sweet ties for the guys and dads. We then presented Jenn, our super awesome gorgeous fabulous talented ambitious photographer, with a tote bag with her initials and also the promise of a painting by Adam done of her and her husband (gifts which cannot even begin to repay her generosity).
Afterwards, we said goodbye to Britney's family and headed over to Broadway to get ready to see Wicked. Since we were a little early, we walked over to Times Square and visited the M&M store. Fun fun. 
Wicked was incredible! This was Britney's first Broadway play and way more than she expected it to be. Adam was challenged to resist the urge to belt out the songs while the witches left us breathless from their awesome talent. Afterward, we decided to head over to the Carnegie Cafe with everyone and the Dalley's, some of Adam's family's close friends who came for the wedding. Everyone ordered desserts and were pleased (or horrified) to find that they were huge. Maybe it's just me, but a slice of cheesecake the size of a small infant at 12am just doesn't sit. But still, they were delicious. We just ordered some hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. So good. We then decided to go over to Rockefellar center to see the tree all lit up, but they had turned it off half an hour earlier (LAME). Well, we all departed, left the city, dropped Britney off on 68th and Lex, and headed to our sleeping quarters, only to wake up 6 hours later (if we even slept)
The BIG Day: Britney slept over her sister's in Manhattan. She woke up around 7am and headed over to her and Briana's friend Karrie's house to have her hair and makeup done. Karrie curled her hair, while their friend and professional Christian Dior cosmetologist, Judy, painted her up. It was so fun and rushed and Britney was SO grateful for the extreme kindness of her friends. Judy did an incredible job, and Britney became even more grateful (and a tad embarrassed) after she figured out Judy does makeup for about $1000 a customer. How ignorant can Britney get? Once everything was done and packed, Britney headed over to the temple with her mom and brother. Once we saw each other and how nervous we were (Adam was the worst) the reality of getting married started to set in. Britney felt like a goddess in the bridal room getting ready and all the matrons were so accommodating. It was such a beautiful experience. Sitting in the celestial room together before the sealing was almost unbearable (at least for Britney) as we awaited the ceremony. It was a great day in the temple to say the least. It was amazing to be all together as one big family. 
After changing into our wedding attire, we headed out of the temple to greet our family and friends and headed over to Central Park for pictures before the reality of the cold set it. Mom and Grandma kept insisting Britney wear her white fuzzy blanket to keep warm, but it kept rubbing off on Adam's sharp black tux, so needless to say we were cold--but our hearts were warm. We had all our family pictures taken in the park nearest to the temple, and then Adam, Britney, Jenn, and Chad were off to the Bethesda Fountain right smack in the middle of the park to take more pictures. We were shocked at how perfect the area was for pictures in December. Along with the fountain, there were beautiful stairs, "balconies", and underpass/tunnel-like structures under the walkways. It was gorgeous and our pictures are fantastic. We then made our way over the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel where we had permission to take pictures. Unfortunately, Nascar was having a convention on most of the floors--including the one with the black and white 
checkered flooring--but a kind bellman offered to show us to various different floors and places of the huge luxury hotel to take pictures. 
Needless to say it was fabulous and we felt royal in our wedding outfits. After we were sick of pictures, Grandma and Grandpa Handley drove us back to PA for our reception. Encountering some traffic caused us to be about 45 minutes late to the family dinner, but the actual reception didn't start until 7:30, so we were safe. 

The night was incredible. The cultural hall sparkled in its glamour and glitz and we were more than grateful for the kindness and time of all those who helped with food and decorating. It was such a relaxed night and Adam got to meet all our guests.
 After we ate, danced, and spoke, we changed out of our clothes and ran through a line of sparklers lit by our guests and hopped into Britney's "decorated" car toward our hotel about 10 minutes away. Thank you so much to everyone, all our family and friends, for your support, presence, and love, which made this step of our lives possible and special. 
Honeymoon: We didn't leave for Puerto Vallarta until Sunday, so we took Saturday to open all our gifts, return the duplicates, and get the rest of Britney's things packed and ready for moving out. We drove over to our hotel in Newark, ordered Chinese, and called it a night. Sunday morning we left early and headed over to the airport. The flight was non-stop so we slept most of the way and got to Mexico a lot quicker than expected. Adam's spanish proved beneficial from the start as he conversed with many airport personnel. We got to our resort called Villa Del Palmar and were treated like royalty. It was GORGEOUS. We walked into our studio-styled room and nearly dropped to the floor. It was a great size, with a balcony and food basket from the Listons (the couple who offered us the week for time share) and our bed decorated with swan towels, rose petals, and a small cake. The week was phenomenal. We ate delicious Mexican, swam in the resort pool and beach, and soaked in the sun as we enjoyed the 80 degree weather. Summed up we shopped around at flee markets, went scuba diving and island hopping on a double-decker boat, went horseback riding through the Mexican mountains and river banks, and ate at great restaurants (not to mention late nights with Oreos, milk, and Family Guy). 
We got back Friday night and planned for our open house the next evening. Britney's parents and sister Briana made the trip and were staying in Portland so we ended up doing lunch together at Leonardo's in Portland with us and Cory Furin, one of Adam's close friends, Saturday afternoon. 

We then made our way over to the open house where we enjoyed wearing our wedding clothes for the last time and greeting Adam's family and friends. It was such a great night and we all became closer as a new family. 
Needless to say I am tired of writing this article. You're just going to have to imagine the wonderful things I had to leave out due to writers block and, honestly, boredom and restlessness. We love you all. Feel free to call anytime regarding the past few weeks with questions, concerns, or curiosity. Thanks again for your love and support and we are enjoying finally being together again and forever. It's a peace and joy like none other. 
Married Life Is Awesome!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oh My Gosh Oh My Gosh Oh My Gosh

As we near the end of this inexplicably loathsome long distance, cell-phone and mac reliant relationship, we have come to various conclusions that will hopefully prove beneficial as we start our lives together:
1. Britney is able to get by on 6 hours of sleep nightly for at least 5 months.
2. Adam is teased by air kisses.
3. Adam can only frustrate Britney by not telling her he's going out until she's sat up till 1am.
4. Britney has a very obvious lying face. 
5. Adam loves eating Oreos by combining the cookie and milk in his mouth simultaneously. 
6. Staring at each other's faces for 3 hours a night ends up limiting the amount of stuff to talk about.
7. Britney lives in sweatshirts, consequently forming a habit of hiding in them.
8. When all is quiet and there's only typing, we're probably being dirty (in a clean way).
9. Adam loves it when Britney says, "I know, right?" (Homestar Runner anyone?)
10. Britney abhors the use of internet cords with a laptop (what's the point?)
11. Although Adam enjoys the thought of being included in wedding details, he really doesn't care.
12. Britney doesn't like pet names such as "dirty pumpkin" or "butter-buns".
13. Adam finds joy in simple pleasures like a good sandwich after work and the occasional pie and cool-whip.
14. Anything we talk about online we would probably never talk about together.  
15. Adam has a tuft of hair in the front of his forehead that separates from the rest of the pack when not done up with gel or mousse. 
16. Britney is self-conscious with her post-shower appearance. 
17. Adam likes to talk to other people online in the middle of our i-chat, consequently he owes Britney at least 50 air kisses he didn't reciprocate. 
18. Britney often craves pancakes after 12am.
19. Although Adam has seen more of Brynne's bare body than Britney's, he still wants Britney more.
20. No matter how far apart, or how intangible of circumstances, we both love each other more and more daily and rely on one another for strength and peace. 
3 days everyone! Get your tickets ready!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Britney Bridal Shower

This past Saturday, after undergoing the infamous wisdom teeth removal surgery, Britney received a surprise bridal shower at the home of her best friend and maid of honor, Tara Brown. Earlier in the week, Tara informed Britney that she had the weekend off from her duties at West Point and wanted to do some fun, "besties" things together that Saturday like getting their nails done and dining at a chic place out of town. Friday night, she called once she arrived home to inform Britney that her mom was having a basket party around the same time as their soiree.
So Saturday night around 3pm, Britney's still fat, swollen face made her way into some normal clothes for the first time that week and pulled into Tara's car-packed street. 

She entered the house, told to come downstairs to "meet everyone", and surprised to find most of the female members of her family and many close friends from the church ward.
Not only was the company enjoyable, but the atmosphere was also fabulous. The Browns have a reputation for knowing how to throw a good party. Between the beautiful tulle and lights, food, and music, it was a great party, one which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. We received a bunch of gifts and gift cards from the stores where we registered at, and also maybe so more not-so-expected treasures that will remain on the *hush hush*. Britney's sister Briana conducted a questionnaire dedicated solely to questions about Britney, which, of course, Brynne won. 
Then, Britney was put to the test answering questions about Adam and his favorite things. For the most part, she got everything right. 
Adam has more than one favorite thing for most everything (which is totally fine hunny) so we can negate those that had more than one answer.
Although smiling caused straining and laughing was becoming more and more excruciating, the party was so much fun and Britney had a great time celebrating our impending marriage with her closest family and friends. Now all that's left to do is write thank you notes, apply every safety measure possible to prevent losing the gift cards, and figure out the cheapest way to get all this wonderful stuff out to Washington. 2 WEEKS EVERYONE! 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Last Few Laps

Although we are currently disconnected, besides our 15" computer screens which display not-so-perfect representations of the two of us, I would feel remiss if we didn't have at least one new post up every 2 weeks. Differing work schedules and family obligations have continuously made time to talk nearly impossible, but we always manage to squeeze in at least an hour to talk daily, even if it means Britney's poor, restaurant slaved body is up until 3am more than four times a week. Still, with our impending wedding and plans that never seem to end, we are learning more and more daily of the decision we are making and how important we will value our lives together. 
I (Britney), feel a special pull from the Spirit ever since the end of October and the beginning of this last month. Throughout the whole journey so far, I really haven't stopped, put down the pretty ribbon, and thought about what is really important and how blessed I am for the opportunity I have for it to happen. I have the privilege of taking out my endowments soon and going through the temple with my parents and Adam. Then, I'll be with him again in the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity, and become one with him and the Lord. Now, I am reminded daily to thank the Lord minutely for the amount of blessings He has so readily given me. I've realized that my time in this life and the next mean absolutely nothing without Adam and his family. I have never felt more accepted, more appreciated, and of more worth to God and man than I have since I've been with Adam. I am constantly astounded at how perfect he is for me. I never thought I would ever find someone so real and perfect to suit my needs, and one who makes it so easy to fulfill his. During my years in young women's, I used to write lists of qualities and characteristics I wanted in a future spouse, knowing that a mortal man could never be made of such "unrealistic" things, which caused me to leave out even more "outlandish" details. I testify that the Lord blesses you for your obedience. Not only have I been allowed the opportunity to be with the exemplary man I described, who not only treats me well but makes me happy, I also have a wonderful new family who does exactly the same thing and who I love dearly. My heart is full, my testimony is strengthened, and I know more than ever that the Lord loves us, intends for us to have joy in this life, and knows our needs, which He is more than willing to give us. 
I can't wait to spend the rest of eternity with the man Heavenly Father prepared for me. I asked, He listened, and He has blessed me with continual strength, peace, joy, laughter, and meaningfulness for all eternity in the form of a gorgeous man from Vancouver, WA. Who knew right? 

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend on the East Side

We apologize, Adam left his camera in Britney's car this evening so pictures of the trip will not be posted until his camera arrives in the mail later on this week. Hang on...
This past Thursday, Adam flew into Newark Airport to visit Britney's family. Britney's disdain for transbridge bus lines grew ever blacker when the driver of her bus informed her halfway through the ride that he wasn't taking her to the airport. Instead, Britney was dropped off in NYC with the rest of the passengers. One can only imagine her anger. She got off the bus, ran to the subway, got off and ran to the train station, and sat on a train for 25 mins. When she finally got to the airport, she met Adam as he came off the Airtrain and the weekend began. 
Day 1: We took our first train together (luckily one of the new/fancy double-decker ones) into the city. Adam surprised Britney with how well he blended in as a tourist. He wore square-toed brown dress shoes while dawning a brand-new classy peacoat. Gorgeous right? We took the subway over to Briana's (Britney's sister) and then rode over to a cute place just outside of Queens called St. James Place. It's a fun little area of Manhattan with tons of amazing Asian food and cheap sunglasses. There, Briana bought us each a pair of Ray Ban's, which seemed to cause her more excitement than us. Soon after, we met Britney and Briana's cousin and cousin-in-law Cassie and Bryan for dinner at a restaurant called the Yaffa Cafe. There we enjoyed an exotic dinner of hummus, curry, and whole avocados. After dinner, we went over the Briana's friend Kerrie's studio-styled apartment to stay for the night. 
Day 2: We woke up around 11am (woops!) and stopped at a smoothie place for breakfast before heading over to city hall located right next to the Brooklyn Bridge to apply for our marriage license. After about an hour in line, we received our license (yay!) and walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge to take pictures.

 Adam loved the architecture and energy of the city. We then took the subway uptown to a bakery called Crumbs where we got HUGE Chocolate chip cookie dough, Reese's, Brownie, and Blackout cupcakes for Briana, Kerrie, and of course ourselves. We then proceeded to the exciting west side to get the famous "Jumbo" slice of the best NYC pizza. Britney forgot how huge the slices were, but Adam gobbled it up like nothing (haha just kidding). 
He absolutely loved the difference of the pizza, but upon leaving the shop, Britney realized she had left Adam's memory card for his camera on the counter after taking pictures. Don't worry, we ran back and, to our surprise, actually retrieved it. Since it was 4 o'clock and we needed to meet back on the east side at 7, we had lots of site seeing to do in a very short period of time. First and foremost, we took a trip over the temple on Columbus Ave. There, Britney saw an elderly couple her parents and grandparents knew from Scotch Plains, NJ, and enjoyed having them meet Adam. The Church makes the world so small. Then, we walked over to Times Square (aka LIGHTS AND VIDEO BILLBOARDS GALORE).

Adam was amazed at the amount of signs, flashing lights, and busy people. On the way to Rockefeller Center, Adam realized he really wanted some nice ties. A few steps later - low and behold - we found a street vender selling really slick Italian ties for 5 for $20. It was a total man hotspot. He picked out 5 gorgeous ties and clutched his newfound treasures as we walked into St. Patrick's Cathedral. Adam really liked the architecture and size of the cathedral. We then walked over to Rockefeller Center. It's so pretty right now with the tiny tree lights and skating rink. Our last stop on the west side was H&M -- an east coast clothing store. There Adam picked out a hot pair of dark jeans, perfecting his NY look in just 2 short days. 
We then took the subway all the way to the east side. Our stop was supposed to be at 96th street, but at the 86th street stop, Britney realized we hadn't been to Pinkberry yet. So we ran off just as the subway doors were closing and made a B-line over to 2nd Ave. Pinkberry is an extremely popular frozen yogurt store on the east side. The flavor of the yogurt is unique because it's non-fat and not very sweet. With an added lemony taste, the savor is tart and very light. You can add a variety of sweet cereals or fruit to your yogurt. We chose blueberries, strawberries, and bananas (ugh yum). Adam took his first scoop of yogurt and fell in love. He said it was the best dessert he's ever had.
 Upon finishing, we quickly made our way all the way over to the subway station (realize, we'd been walking since 11 that morning) until we realized Adam left his bag of ties and jeans in Pinkberry. Lame. So we went all the way back, made our way to the station, picked up our bags at Kerrie's, and then made our way back to the west side to catch our bus out of the city. We were supposed to have dinner on Madison Ave at a place called Shake Shack for Briana's birthday, but we didn't have time. So after grabbing a sandwich at Pax Whole Foods (absolutely amazing), we hopped into a cab and rode over the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Considering the line to get on the bus, we didn't end up sitting next to each other until people got off at the Clinton stop. So around 11:45pm, we rolled into the Burwell residence and met the rest of the bunch besides a sleeping dad. 
Day 3: We woke up around 11 again (haha woops). Grandma and Grandpa Handley were expected to arrive around 12:30 that afternoon so we quickly had breakfast and started getting ready for the day. When they arrived, Grandma and Grandpa walked through the door and greeted us and Adam. Grandma saw him, smiled SO big, hugged Britney real tight, and then latched onto Adam. Giggling, she then pulled away to reveal a considerably teary-eyed Grandma. She's the cutest little thing ever. Grandpa cracked some Adam and Eve jokes, and then we left to run some of what we thought would be quick errands. First, we stopped at a local bridal shop to pick out a tux vest and tie for Adam on the wedding day. After waiting awhile behind another couple, we walked into a small room, looked through just one book of rentals, and picked out an ice blue vest with a matching blue and white striped tie. Super classy. Next, we ran over to the mall and bought Adam's wedding band (wow I still can't believe we did that). We then realized Adam had left his camera at the bridal boutique, so we called up and had them hold it for us until later. We then had about an hour to kill before Briana arrived at the bus station, so we went over to Wegman's to get something to eat. For those who aren't familiar, Wegman's is like the Gucci of grocery stores. You can pretty much get any gourmet food there. But of course, we decided on a plate of chinese food. Afterwards, we picked up Briana from the bus stop, got some groceries for mom so we could report home 4 hours later. Dinner was hysterical. Britney had forgotten how funny her family is when they're all together. 
With bouts of uncontrollable laughter, ridiculous faces, and eventual accidental water spitting, our sides were splitting from trying to laugh and eat at the same time. Dessert was great. Grandma bought two trays of different flavored cheesecakes for Adam, which complemented the pies and cookies Mom made. Briana and Britney opened birthday gifts and everyone else opened a gift mom purchased for each of us at a local thrift store. Adam received Tasty Cakes (not from the thrift store and unfamiliar to WA) and a mug with a golfer on it. Mom Burwell is just so creative. 
Grandma then presented Adam and Britney with a gift from Britney's childhood -- two antique, crystal classes she received as wedding gifts which, of the six, Britney had broken two of when she was three. They will be treasured gifts. Well, after all was opened, eaten, and said, Grandma and Grandpa departed and Adam started complaining of stomach pain. Not thinking too much of it, Britney recommended that he just lie down and watch a movie so his stomach could settle. Yet, as the night progressed so did Adam's stomach pain and nausea and around 12am we walked upstairs for bed only to have him openly declare he was going to vomit (stupid gourmet chinese food). Britney sat on the stairs shaking her head in empathy and disbelief. What are the odds that the weekend Adam comes to visit he ends up vomiting in the Burwell family toilet? A little embarrassed but still beautiful Adam walked out of the bathroom and said he was feeling a lot better. Great! Unfortunately, about 5 minutes later, his stomach "turned" and Adam's poor little diaphragm and esophageal muscles started cramping uncontrollably. A scared-to-death Britney ran downstairs to look through a medical book as she called an on-call doctor. We came to realize that the cramping was a common post-episode experience from over-exertion. Pheww. So we hesitantly called it a night while Britney hoped and prayed Adam would be feeling at least 90% better the next morning.
Day 3: Well by 8am, naturally, Adam was still feeling nauseous and needed to rest. Disappointed, the long anticipated opportunity for Britney to show Adam off to her ward members was gone and she attended sacrament meeting alone while Mom stayed home to tend to the patient. After the meeting, she and Bryon drove home so they could stay with Adam and Mom could attend her meetings. With Bryon as our chaperone, we watched a couple church videos, got some toast in Adam's stomach, and eventually got his flight changed until Monday evening so he wouldn't have to travel sick (or just so we could spend another day together, either way). That evening, when Adam was starting to feel a little more like himself, we went to visit Britney's friends the Browns, Clifts, and Fowlers. It was nice to have Adam meet some ward members and prove that he was actually real. We then came home, ate Oreos with Brynne, Mom, and Bryon, and watched home videos. Fun, fun, fun. 
Day 4: We woke up at 8:30am, ate breakfast, watched Family Guy, fell asleep on the couch until 11:30, got dressed, visited Britney's friends the Grubers, stopped in to meet Britney's other Grandfather at the family business in Maplewood, NJ, and made our way to the airport. This was no easy task. The airport was only 15 mins away, but the airport exit was completely blocked off due to a tipped school bus. Along with the inevitable rubber-necking, traffic was not in our favor. Nevertheless, we found our way to the airport, while a choked up/teary eyed Britney dropped her fiance off at the gate. We said our final goodbyes and gave our final goodbye kisses and Adam was off on his plane home. 
All in all, this was an extremely successful trip. Adam met many of Britney's family and friends and they've all concluded that he is an absolute sweetheart. We received great advice and counsel and we know more than ever that we're in love and ready to start our lives together with the Lord. One and a half months everyone! 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Almost done!

Plans are finally coming together.
A series of amazing/helpful events helped plans move forward this week.
After an out-of-stock scare, Britney's sister Briana found the bride's maids dresses we'd been planning on getting for a least a month from Banana Republic. Of all the girls who tried them on, they look absolutely fantastic and can't wait to wear them. Last week Britney also met with her Aunt and got all flower arrangements taken care of as well as favor boxes and tea lights. Currently, we're trying to find the perfect cupcake recipes to go with our cupcake tree. 
Call it a case of an overzealous tendency to freak out, but Britney's bridezilla tension has finally waned (a lot) and she's beginning to enjoy the planning process.  
Two months! 

Monday, September 29, 2008

3000 miles apart

We're 3000 miles apart but only have 2 months until we're together for eternity! Britney went to visit Adam and his family about a week ago. There, Adam completely shocked her by proposing the second day she got there. The day started out with both of us touring a cute little area of Portland comprised of mostly small, independent shops. The whole time Adam kept checking the time and worrying about whether we'd have enough time to do everything he had planned. Britney was a little confused because we had the whole day to ourselves. What was the big deal? We were supposed to go to this crepe place for lunch, but instead, Adam decided we'd go to an art gallery he'd been talking about for weeks. We got there (after a hungry Adam had trouble finding parking) and walked in. All the paintings were what Adam called "drugged up" because they were amazing but crazy colored and abstract. We turned a corner and a black and white painting caught Britney's eye. It was a painting Adam did of our second date! She almost fell to the ground in shock and had so many questions --how did it get there, when did you do this, etc. In her confusion, Britney turned around and found Adam on one knee asking her to marry him. After asking if he was serious about 8 times, Britney said yes! Adam's family friend Peggy came out of hiding and revealed that she had taped the whole thing! We left the gallery, went to lunch, registered at various stores, and then enjoyed a surprise couples bridal shower as we returned back to the Stevens household. It was an amazing weekend and we can't wait until Adam comes to visit the east coast in 2 weeks!