For our first anniversary, Scott and I decided to take a trip back to Columbia, Missouri where he first came to visit me. He was living in Iowa and I was in Columbia, Missouri when we began communicating again.
I fell in love with the town of Columbia the first time I visited it and have missed it since living in Independence for the past year and a half.
It was a FABULOUS two days of being together with no responsibilities other than to enjoy each other’s company. After a rough beginning trying to get out of town, we finally arrived at our first destination right at sunset.
We booked our room at an absolutely lovely old hotel, Hotel Frederick. Built in 1905, it was recently converted to a green hotel: steam heat, instant hot water box in the bathroom, heated sub-flooring, etc. etc. After getting all our stuff (including our decidely NON-green box fan I have to sleep with) loaded into our room, we went to a local restaurant in historic downtown Boonville, The Stein House, and enjoyed some very good food.
One of the best benefits to the hotel is that it was fully stocked in Zum Bar soaps! The coolest of cool handmade soaps from KC (with a personal connection to Scott’s family.) We were spoiled with the linens which were all Signoria…thick, beautiful bathrobes, towels, bed linens, etc. The towels were all hung on a steam-heated towel warmer in the bathroom.
Scott has been so funny about the gifts he bought me. For days now he has been saying, “Let’s just give one of our gifts now…” so I finally gave in after dinner on Friday evening when he immediately said, “Is it time to give gifts yet?!” If you’ve ever been to our house in the winter, you would fully appreciate the dual controlled, automatic shut off, plush electric blanket he gave me! Then, he handed me a jewelry box. One time (seriously, once!) I said I liked the idea of Pandora bracelets. I have had a loaded-down charm bracelet for years and absolutely love the sentiment behind each of the dangling charms. However, I can rarely wear it because I lose charms. They get pulled from the bracelet, etc. The Pandora charm bracelet has bead-like charms that are more secure. Before Christmas we were with Monica and I was admiring hers. Not long after that, Scott started talking to Monica about what kind to get and the plot was on!
He bought the bracelet and the very first charm to go on it. The charm he found was from a company in Ireland. There’s a couple of pictures in the slideshow below… The first rings we got (before we were married) were from another company in Ireland that featured the Celtic eternal knot. After we got married, I wanted a non-traditional wedding ring. We both fell in love with an emerald ring. Scott’s ring is Celtic also, with emerald chips. So the first charm for my bracelet – on our first anniversary – made sense. It has a Celtic trinity knot on it with the words ‘Mo Anam Cara’ that encircle it. Meaning, “my soul mate”.
Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.
The next morning we woke up early. Scott and I walked out back to see the Missouri River as the sun rose and also just in time to see a Union Pacific train come racing across the tracks! Downstairs was a delightfully quaint continental breakfast in the dining room. China plates, tea cups, smoked salmon, juices, and the typical breads of a continental breakfast. But the presentation was everything! Many of the guests sat around the table with us, discussing what brought them through Boonville. Many of them were attending a Farmers Market meeting in town.
We ate just a few things because our breakfast destination was “Luke’s” in Columbia. Hannah and I were obsessed with Gilmore Girls when I lived in Columbia. And we quickly established one of the local diners (Broadway Diner) as our very own Luke’s. Scott and I ate there every time he was in town. Before I moved back to Independence, the waitresses knew my special breakfast order by heart. The owner didn’t quite look like Luke from Gilmore Girls, but the diner was very similar.
After our typical diner breakfast, we went to the Columbia Mall for the other part of my anniversary gift…a gift certificate for two more Pandora charms. I picked a simple heart, and the letter ‘S’. I am going to have so much fun seeing this bracelet grow and expand with symbolic charms.
Time for coffee and the best hot chocolate in the world – Kaldi’s Coffeehouse. While we were sitting at the table at Kaldi’s enjoying our hot drinks Scott said, “Do you still have that deck of cards in your purse?…Let’s play 3-of-a-Kind Rummy. So out came the deck of cards and the competition was on. (achem…I won!)
We walked across the street to one of my all-time favorite thrift stores: Blackberry Exchange. I found many goodies there that I’m excited to share later. Scott is worth every ounce of gold when it comes to thrift store shopping. “I’m gonna go sit down, but I’m not rushing you. Take your time.” then a little while later I feel my purse strap being removed from my arm as he takes my stuff back to the chair where he’s sitting.
Walking through the downtown of Columbia, with all its unique shops and artsy residents, a very typical example of Columbia drove by: a perfectly restored orange VW bus. Classic Columbia!
I wanted to look at an ‘S’ metal letter like the ‘g’ letter I bought at one of the gift shops when I was in Columbia working on the Obama campaign. Unfortunately, the ‘s’ was….ugly. So it was a big no on the ‘s’ metal letter. We enjoyed the shop though with its Pop Up Book of Phobias (claustrophobia..bunch of people stuck in an elevator – snakes – and of course, spiders!) There was a fabulous diaper bag in there that almost made me want a baby just for the bag!
Hot Box Cookies opened while I lived in Columbia and I was really happy to see it was still in business. Three MU Business majors got together and opened this unique cookie store. The concept is similar to getting a concrete ice cream cone. You pick the cookie batter you want (regular, chocolate, oatmeal) and then you pick what you want in your cookies (choc chips, M&M’s, raisins, etc.) Cute kitsch. Scott and I have played some pretty intense Battleship games here (they have shelves of games you can play.) So….today was no different. And as per usual, Scott cheated. I can’t prove it. But I’m pretty sure there was cheating going on. ‘Nuf said.
It got intense. It was loud. We had on-lookers.
We drove by the house where I lived in Columbia…where Scott first showed up at my doorstep with his now greatly loved big, goofy smile. Who needs Paris to fall in love?! Columbia was perfect.
Driving to our lunch destination, we passed the Mega Bus. Another Columbia favorite. I rode the Mega Bus a couple of times – and with Hannah. Such a FAB.U.LOUS mode of transportation if you can do it. Nice big seats, double-decker (where you look down on the tops of semi-trucks on the highway), free wifi. Cheap, cheap, CHEAP prices.
And then, lunch at Which Wich. Some of you might be familiar with this chain. Unfortunately we don’t have them in KC. You walk in, pick a brown bag (each bag is different: Seafood, Turkey, Veggie, etc.) Then you select one of the MANY red Sharpie markers and mark what items you want on your sandwich. You write your name at the bottom of the bag and go to the cashier and pay. Your bag is then placed on a wire with a clip that moves down the assembly line of sandwich making. Because of this, many people decorate the back of their brown bags. The store even displays many of the artistic bags that have been left over the years.
My name for the day was Lorelai (I pick a different name every time) and on the back I wrote ‘Today is our 1st wedding anniversary!’ After our sandwiches were made and they called our names to come pick them up, we walked to the counter through a myriad of ‘Happy Anniversary!’ wishes from people who saw the bag.
My crab salad sandwich was as fantabulous as I remembered. LOVE me some Which Wich.
Then it was on to another of our favorite spots in Columbia: Ragtag Cinema. It’s so hard to accurately describe this theater. It has a full coffeeshop in front (that is always filled with people). A full bar. Sandwiches, etc. You can order and then take it back to one of the two theaters. The large theater is filled with lines of padded, straight-back chairs with arms – and two rows of couches up front. We always get the second row, far left couch. The smaller theater is filled with Lazy Boy chairs, living room chairs and a variety of couches. SUCH a cool idea.
Probably the best part of Ragtag are the previews. Before the featured film starts, a person walks to the front (most likely a theater student from MU) and describes the two movies that are currently playing. Then they talk about the movies that are coming soon: who won what award, what other movies the actors have been in, some personal opinions of what the show is like….SUCH a fun way to do movie previews!!!
We saw The King’s Speech. Scott and I both really, really liked it! Lounging on our couch, we were completely wrapped up in the movie’s spectacular-ness! It’s much funnier than I imagined and thoroughly inspiring. It’s an added benefit if you have a fetish for England’s royalty (me) but you don’t have to know or prefer English films in order to enjoy this movie. It is a must see for everyone!!!
We walked out of Ragtag as the sun was beginning to go down.
We had one more thing to do before sundown…
Last year, on January 29, we went to the Independence Courthouse and had a deeply moving (truly), quiet wedding ceremony with the justice of the peace. We had that day planned for months, with the intent of having a wedding celebration later in the summer with family and friends. We knew we wanted to get married, but Scott was living in Iowa and I was in Missouri. Logistically (very unromantically), Scott has fabulous health insurance with the railroad and wanted me on his plan (which turned out to be an absolute God-send.)
But Mom died a few days before our planned date. After talking about it some more, and talking to Dad about it, we snuck away to the courthouse as out-of-town company poured into town for Mom’s funeral (January 30.) We kept it a secret from everyone (except Dad, my sister, Baird, Ryann and Hannah).
A couple of hours after we got married, I was to meet Anna-Margaret and Dad at the funeral home to view Mom’s body for the first time. Not the way most people do a honeymoon! So after getting married, Scott and I stopped by Quik-Trip convenient store for some pops and standing in line decided we needed some “wedding cake”. We sat in the Quik-Trip parking lot, interlocked arms, and took a picture of us eating a Twinkie as a substitute for our wedding cake!
In the parking lot outside of Ragtag, we toasted our happiness again
It was an incredible anniversary trip. It was potentially the beginning of some new traditions for us to share. But it was, always, the way we prefer to spend time: together. No distractions. Laughing at stupid things and mostly at each other. Talking superficially as well as planning our lives together . Setting goals and ever-simplifying our lives.
Scott and I are in a unique position, I realize. We don’t really have a blended family. Our children are older. We aren’t trying to figure out how to ‘parent’ the step children. We met and fell in love at a time when our children were older. It is difficult to even consider the other’s children as “step” anything. They are cherished friends. I know there are many subsequent marriages that have to deal with that issue which puts a great deal of strain on a new marriage. So I realize how lucky we are to spend the amount of time that we have had together – growing and learning about each other. As a mother, I do not know what it would have been like had my kids not accepted Scott. During our mini-trip to Columbia, I kept thinking about Baird and Hannah and Dad and Anna-Margaret and the girls. It was the one thing that instantly produced tears every time they crossed my mind. They have each accepted Scott as a family member. Not an ‘in-law’ or a ‘step’. Baird and Hannah have individually referred to their “three parents”; each one of them turning to Scott for advice or help…as a friend, as a parent. My heart explodes when I think about the way they have loved him into the family – and how very deeply he feels for them. Scott has his own relationship with each one of them. Many times I will say, “I haven’t talked to Ryann in awhile.” To which he will say, “Oh. I talked to her yesterday.” and precede to tell me about what’s going on in their lives. God has blessed those relationships beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
I am exceptionally happy. Moreso, I am deeply, deeply content. Scott’s personality and temperament offsets my ‘potential’ craziness. He calms me. He (for lack of a less trendy word) centers me. It is impossible to describe how much he means to me. Our lives have melded into one really workable unit. I enjoy his company…I can’t think of a better way to define a happy marriage. I really like him.
Thank you, sweetie, for an incredible weekend.
For the extremely thoughtful and purposeful gifts.
Thank you for the deep, healthy laughs that you bring me every day.
Thank you for loving me as I never thought possible.
Thank you for seeing me.
I respect the man that you are.
I appreciate your love for my family and your love for Christ.
I absolutely adore your heart.
I love you beyond measure or words or comprehension.
Thank you for making Life such an enjoyable adventure!