Time flies…

..definitely when you’re having fun!  Just a couple of days ago, Zach and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary.  HALF A YEAR!!! It’s so hard to believe that so much time has passed already.

Our lives seem so everyday sometimes, and with work we can miss each other for a week or more even! So we try to stay connected on our days off and do fun things together.  We’ve recently gotten into running together and have already done our first 2 5k races together:

Covey 5k in Woodinville

Monster Mash Dash 5k in Shoreline (We won Best Group Costume with a Dog )


We’ve also been focusing on spending time with family when we can/when they’re available.  It was so nice to see Hank, Rebecca, and Annabelle before they headed to Panama.

She’s so gorgeous.

We tried to soak up as much of her as we can!

We also got to celebrate my Maid of Honor’s wedding in September!

At the beautiful Newcastle Golf Club to celebrate the new Mr. and Mrs. ZuHone!


On the Great Wheel in Seattle, spending the day with the in-laws!

Zach and I love planning for our future: house buying, travel…and adding to the family.  Not anytime soon though!  We have a long list of things to accomplish before we attempt to grow our little family and so Henry will just have to be an only child for a while longer.  We’re really looking forward to our travel plans that we’re lining up:  the Philippines in March, an undecided location for our anniversary in April, and hopefully a nursing mission together in October 2013!  we’ve been paying extra on our student loans and our estimated date of being debt-free is March 2015. We’re also working hard at saving for a house:

Yay for goals!

But for all of our looking ahead into the future, we also try to take the time and live in the moment with each other and the weather this summer was perfect for that:

Picnic in the park.

Berry picking and pie making!


We based it off one of our couch pillows 😛

The above picture was a painting that Zach and I painted together…for hours in the wee morning on a day off.  We searched high and low for a living room painting that fit our couches and when we we couldn’t find anything, we decided to paint it ourselves.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I used to draw and paint a lot in high school.  This was never the type of art I did; I was never into the whole abstract thing.  But of all the pictures I’ve painted, this one means the most to me because it’s something that Zach  and I created together.

We hope you come to visit us in Everett; know you always have a place to stay if you don’t mind a mute beagle who loves food.  Then you could see the painting in person!



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The Married Life! (Part 2)

Here we are, 4 months out since saying “We do,” and a lot and a little of happened.  First, a recap of our trip to Denmark:

We went to go visit Stephanie, Tom, and Liam to welcome little Nohi to the world.


Saying good night before the big day!


A little something to get through their stay (little did I know that they would only be there for 4hours after the birth!)


Welcome to the world, Nohi Oliver!


Proud Auntie and Uncle!

Happy Birthday Malou!

Nohi’s first outing: a day at the zoo

Newlyweds pretty much on a second honeymoon ;-P

Obligatory Jack the Travelling Bear photo with the Little Mermaid

We did some sightseeing

And some eating… (La Glace’s hot chocolate is to DIE for! I dream of it some days….)

Some more sightseeing!

I also remember lot of naps. (Not pictured: Zach and Larissa napping too)

More eating…with our first shawarma experience…mmm…

I think we mostly ate while there. Traditional Danish brunch!

The happy, newly expanded family!

Phew!  What a great experience to be there for the birth of our new nephew, and our trip to Denmark marked the THIRD international trip we were able to make this year, all within the first 6 months.  Denmark was a completely different place compared to Mexico and Bolivia; partly because Zach and I have a little Spanish to go off of.  In Denmark, NOTHING was familiar.  I learned 3 words while there: os (cheese), tak (thank you), and nej (no! which was heard a LOT by a certain big brother).  It was truly bittersweet to leave Denmark, as we were happy for the experience and opportunity to be there, but VERY sad to be leaving our family and newest addition.  We can’t wait to see how Liam and Nohi will continue to grow!

After getting back from Denmark, it was a whirlwind of moving and starting my new job at the labor and delivery unit at Providence Regional Medical Center.  It was hard to go through orientation and be on an opposite schedule from Zach; I guess I’m spoiled at getting to see him all the time since we’ve been living together even since before we were married.  More respect for those long-distance couples out there!

But totally worth it for this:

Carpooling with your spouse is awesome!

Donning the teal of PRMCE!

I feel like we’re finally getting settled into our apartment; we were sitting on the floor in a rat’s nest of pillows and blankets for the first 2 months but finally got our new couches, coffee table, and dining room table so we are ready to entertain visitors!!!! We would love to have anyone stop by so let us know!




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The Wedding Day: A Groom’s POV

A few posts back, Larissa recounted her memories of the wedding day.  I’m here to make sure the Groom’s perspective doesn’t get lost!  So, after much procrastination and some not-so-subtle nudging from my wife, here are the Groom’s Memories of that great day.


–          Waking up to a silent apartment, having some cereal with Mitch, watching ESPN, and talking sports.  Mitch had stayed the night so it was great to have someone there to keep the normalcy in place.

–          Loading up my car with 1.5 years worth of wedding decoration planning.  These boxes and craft supplies had been in our apartment for so long that it felt good to finally put them to use, yet amazing that they fit in my little Camry.

–          Rushing.  Nothing was at a normal pace as our car pulled away from the venue that evening.

–          Meeting the guys for food (groomsmen, photographers, officiant, DJ).  I was anything but hungry, but the guys shoveled protein on my plate so I wasn’t a hypoglycemic mess.

–          Mad Dash Decorating.  After a 45 minute lunch, we all had about an hour to unload all of the decorations and get things underway. 

  • Paul’s years as a bus boy served him well.  He was a freaking speed demon, setting up every table with napkins, straws, menus, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, other people helped with that too, but they were reeling in the dust from his Tasmanian pace!
  • My Sister:  She was designated the manager of the decorations.  I downloaded all of what Larissa and I wanted into her brain so when I left, she could dictate where things would go.  She had a good excuse not to do any actual lifting (See: Baby Nohi)
  • My Mom: Candle setter-upper extraordinaire.  After only a little deliberation, we both decided to go AGAINST my specific instructions from Larissa NOT to light the candles before the ceremony, only for the reception.  What do you all think?  Good, bad?
  • Ryan: If anyone ever needs to have a Chinese Lantern set up, you can call Ryan Dixon.  His delicate little fingers didn’t tear a single lantern! (golf clap)
  • Hank/Mitch/Father-In-Law: I’m sure they did plenty of other stuff, but my memory is of them standing on ladders and reaching to set up the white lights.  Great teamwork, guys.
  • DJ-o-e:  Once again, I know he did a ton to set up as well, but my memory is of him standing behind the computer, reading over our notes with furrowed eye brows, and concentrating on likely the biggest moment of his life 😉  Did you know he spent hours in his hotel room going over things to make sure everything was perfect?  It was people doing things like that that made the day so perfect.
  • Everyone:  No one got annoyed with me as I barked out orders.  We had a TON to do in a short time. When the groomsmen and I left, it was only 50% done, and when we showed up… 100% perfection!

–          Getting Dressed:  Everyone crowded into DJ-o-e’s hotel room to get our suits on.  We played music, made inappropriate jokes, and half-practiced our little song to be performed later in the night.

–          First Look:  Such a great moment.  All of those months of keeping me from seeing the dress paid off.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to quickly divert my eyes after almost seeing pictures of the dress on her phone or our computer.  I don’t think I’m alone when I say she was absolutely stunning.

–          Pictures: We decided to do all of our pictures spontaneously as we walked from our hotel to the venue.  We probably didn’t give ourselves enough time, but Nathan (photographer) did a great job of adapting on the fly. We had to cram in our last pictures as the Sounders game got out and started to flood the streets with fans (at least they were dressed in our color!)

–          Greeting:  I didn’t know what to do as we waited for guests to arrive.  I didn’t really know what a groom wash supposed to do.  So I just stood there and said hi to people as they walked in, haha.  This might have been a good thing, since we missed getting around to everyone during the reception. Sad face.

–          Ceremony: Nothing.  I remember nothing.  Just kidding.  It was the most important 40 minutes of my life.  ‘Sealing in’ the girl of my dreams for the rest of my life.  No big deal. I remember our supposed roles being switched.  She was supposed to be the emotional one while I was supposed to be calm/collected guy who’s always in front of groups of people.  I also will never forget Evan’s great Word’s of Wisdom, how special it felt to have that many people travel so far to see us, and feeling so proud to have the 4 men beside me that I did.  I could never forget any of that.

–          Upstairs, while everyone was grabbing drinks and a seat, we were signing documents, toasting Champaign together, with the closest people in our lives.  It was an intimate moment and great to have those few minutes together.  Just prior to that, we were allowed to sit alone and take it in.  We could hear the plates clattering and people talking below us.

–          I remember the twirl Jessi and Hank practiced that they executed during the introductions.

–          I remember DJ-O-E hitting all of his marks.  All of those little songs, crossfades, and timelines we made played perfectly!

–          Cake Cutting:  I knew I was going to smash it in Larissa’s face.  What I didn’t know was that I’d accidentally stick my pinky finger up her nostril.  How romantic.

–          The Rap: Having practiced the lyrics on my car rides home from work the week before, I only felt half confident.  There were a few words I had to mumble because I couldn’t remember them, but it was a blast to perform.  And even greater was the look of surprise on Larissa’s face. I promised her no more secrets after smuggling the engagement ring into our apartment.  This rap was the last… I swear!

–          Dancing:  We had the playlist slated so that some of our elders in the crowd would enjoy the songs early, and some of our younger friends would enjoy the ones later.  Well, our elders held their own way into the young/hip/wid-it crowd!

–          The send-off:  While it was great having everyone send us off, I remember about 20 different things being yelled at us and given to us, and a few questions.  This all happened in about 15 seconds!

–          Driving home, hearing the silence, feeling the weight being lifted and the reality setting in.  We just held hands the entire way and actually didn’t say much.  But the day that was 1.5 years in the planning was all behind us. 

But so much more in front of us!






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The Married Life! (Part I)

Wow!  Has it already been 2 months since we got married?!  How time flies!  Just like it did with the wedding day.  It’s been a VERY busy 2 months since the wedding.

First things first I suppose:  the honeymoon.  We went to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for our honeymoon at the all-inclusive Dreams resort (actually located in Nuevo Vallarta, which is just north of PV).  It was a very different trip from our vacation in Bolivia in that it was less adventurous and less of a culture shock.  It’s pretty isolated (read: Americanized) on the resort, like its own little city.  I’m really glad we went with the all-inclusive.  It was so nice to not have to worry about paying or managing our money (after all the managing of finances for the wedding).  We probably weren’t getting our money’s worth just because we weren’t able to eat as much or drink as much as the resort kept trying to get us to.  We need to learn gluttony when we go.  But we made good attempts!

Their daily newsletter had a Happy Honeymoon for Mr. and Mrs. Smith (which we had to assume was us…)

The view from our floor!

Stuffing our faces!

No end to the food…

…or the drinks…

…or the desserts!

When we got to the resort, they immediately handed us both mimosas and we sat down to check-in.  We found out we had a room credit so we used it to upgrade to the Presidential Suite (the only one on the resort and totally unnecessary for just 2 people, but HEY it was our honeymoon!)

This picture does not do the view from our room any justice at all. The entire sliding glass door/wall opened completely to let the sea breeze in. Amazing.


What are we gonna do with all this space?!

Aww…a heart!


We spent a lot of time by the pool, getting our tan (and burn) on. We also went on a couple of excursions which were a lot of fun and got us off the resort!

We went ziplining, which I had been dying to do!

I was brave enough to go across the canyon upside down.

Strangely, the ziplining company has a little “petting zoo” where we fed and held monkeys!

Romantic beachside dinner.

Deep sea fishing was Zach’s excursion.

We both caught something, just not the blue marlins we wanted 😛

We also saw a traditional tribal dance on Las Caletas.

And had dinner afterward…

…surrounded by hundreds of candles and torches.

We visited Puerto Vallarta for a day.

But we make for bad tourists because we never buy souvenirs…

We were never short on beautiful sunsets…

And even caught a pretty sunRISE on our way out to fishing.

And of course, Jack our travelling bear got his debut by the pool.

So even if our honeymoon looked like a lot, we also spent it just relaxing and enjoying each other as husband and wife!  It was a great trip, but it was also great to be home after 10 days.  We had missed our little puppy Henry and home.

Part II will come:  new job, ANOTHER vacation, and more!



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Memories for a lifetime.

I have serious doubts.  Doubts about whether I’ll make it through this post without getting teary-eyed, if not shedding tears.  It won’t be a very grammatically correct or structured post, but it possibly will be one of the most important posts I’ve written so far.  Because it’s going to have all the little (and big) details of Zach and my wedding day.  I hope Zach will forgive me, for a lot of them are memories of his reactions.  And I can’t ever forget them…so here they are.  Get in the mood, play the music while you read through them.

    • Spending the night before ironing my dress for what seemed like hours and hours, as Jessi and I tugged it back and forth on the ironing board.
    • Getting ready with the girls at Gene Juarez and watching as each of them, already beautiful women in my life, came out of hair and makeup looking like movie stars.
    • Seeing our bouquets for the first time; for all my claims that I didn’t care about flowers, I was so happy with my bridal bouquet.
    • Our first look:  Seeing Zach for the first time in his suit from Bolivia as I walked across a busy Seattle street from the Courtyard to him; his reaction purely genuine as we both cried in each other’s arms.  He called me beautiful and said that he couldn’t have asked for anything more.
    • Before Zach saw me, looking behind me at the hotel and seeing our entire bridal party with their faces pressed to the glass to watch our first look.  Makes me smile and laugh when I think about all 8 of them crowding to see.
    • An impromptu picture as Laura prompted 4 sailors who were walking by in uniform to pick me up for a picture. (Who they saw later at 88 Keys, I guess?)
    • Walking through downtown Seattle as the streets filled with Sounders fans, wearing the same rave green similar to our wedding green. People – perfect strangers – cheering and congratulating us.
    • Getting to the venue and seeing all my little DIY projects set up on the tables: our Jones soda bottles, the straws with the marriage quotes, the green “Eat, Drink, and be Married” beverage napkins, the black lanterns.
    • Giving my dad a handkerchief that said, “”Of all the walks we have taken together, this one is my favorite.  As the first man I have ever loved, when you give me away, know I will always be your little girl.”  He sobbed I think as soon as he read the first line.
    • Sitting upstairs in an office with the girls, trying to hold it together.  I was SO nervous, they gave me paper clips and told me to make a chain out of them.
    • Taking a “shot” of tequila from my dad’s flask as we got ready to walk the aisle.  Mine was probably a good deal less than a shot.  I didn’t want to stumble.
    • My dad turning to me right before we walked the aisle together, and said, “I Love You.”
    • Seeing Zach at the end of the aisle, I think he was teary-eyed.  I don’t remember seeing anyone else at the end…
    • Being surprised at how little I cried during the ceremony.  I had decided once I got up there that I was simply excited and I didn’t want to cry.
    • The long pause before Zach was able to start his vows and telling him it’s okay.
    • Every once in a while, glancing at all of you, our guests and smiling to see so many who love us who came to celebrate.
    • Getting up to the room to sign our marriage license and just staring dumbfounded at each other as we realized, we’d done it!
    • Zach leaning back into the couch there and shedding the sweetest tears as he pulled me in to hold me.  That quiet moment was the best…
    • Celebrating with Jessi, Joey, Hank, and Evan with glasses of champagne as we signed the marriage license.
    • Having Zach make his Thank You toast and hearing him thank his ‘beautiful wife,’ and wondering for a split second who that was before I realized that ‘that’s me!’
    • Hearing people ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ as our whole roasted pig made it’s debut through to the dining area.
    • Watching the slideshow/Proposal video and seeing people laugh, smile, and even cry during it.
      • I will always get teary-eyed as the guitar riff and first line of Train’s Marry Me plays.
      • Smiling the whole slideshow and then losing it when it showed this picture of my grandfather and I:
    •  Trying to hold it together during our Father-Daughter dance as we listened to Leona Lewis’ Footprints in the Sand; my dad said it was a good song.  We joked during it, in order to not cry.
    • Trying to hold it together during Zach and my First Dance together, which is the song you hopefully listened to at the beginning of the post.
    • Having the money dance go completely awry as people just handed me dollars and slipped them in the folds of my dress.  I had been hoping to dance longer with each person, but it was crazy!
    • Cutting the cake and not being wussies about it: we smashed into each other.
    • Zach rapping his own version of Bruno Mars’ “Nothing on You” to me.  Total surprise since he’d said no every time I begged him to sing to me at our wedding.  Which just made my heart melt:  this man will truly give me whatever I want.
    • Throwing the bouquet and watching as all the girls lifted Alissa up to catch it 😀
    • The dancing.  So much fun!
      • Including dancing with my mom at one point probably to a Black Eyed Peas (a shared band we love.)
      • Dancing to a Gaga song and doing the dance moves for my brother. (I think it was Judas).
      • Definitely having a dance circle happen; best thing ever.
    • Seeing how beautiful our venue looked with all the lit candles and lights in the trees.
    • Looking at all of our family and friends holding sparklers at the send-off, smiling and laughing and just feeling such love and happiness for all of you for sharing in our special day.

I’m sure as I think of more, I will add them to this post.  We would LOVE to hear any of your favorite memories of the day, please share them in a comment!


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Less than a week!

Spring has sprung! Look at this sun through the leaves I took today!

I love bokeh (the blurry effect).

I can only hope that this weather continues or at least comes back again on Saturday!  There are SEVERAL weather sources saying that Saturday is going to be “Partly Cloudy, with a high of low 60s”  that sounds pretty great to me for Seattle weather in the spring!  So I’m taking any and all prayers for the weather to be as good as it has been for the past couple of days.

So here we are, down to less than a week away from the wedding.  Our apartment is finally starting to get more organized as we pack away the necessary things for decorating and the ceremony.  Just within the last day, after 16 months of planning, I suddenly felt this feeling come over me that wasn’t stress or worry to get something done:  Excitement.   I can actually feel excited without the “To-Do List” overshadowing my happiness.  Sure, there’s still things left to do, but they’re small and easily accomplished.

I’m also so excited to see everyone!  MOH Jessi is here in town:


And congratulations to her and her fiance, John!  They were engaged last month and so she’s trying to multi-task in planning her own wedding and being in mine!

I had a hair trial last week that didn’t go so well and so I had to switch hair salons barely a week before the wedding.  Thankfully, my mom and Jessi were so supportive and encouraged me to go wherever I felt would give me good customer service and give me the look I want.  I have another hair trial at Gene Juarez tomorrow; hopefully it goes better.  I’m really excited for the day of festivities, I know it will go so fast and I wish there would be a way to slow it down so I could just absorb it all.

Unfortunately, Zach is working a lot this week, so we won’t get to see each other.  Which is hard, but may make the wedding even more exciting.  We can’t wait to see all of you soon!  Let’s all think sunny weather!!


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A Day to Remember

Today is officially TWO weeks away from the wedding! What?! It’s going to so fast now and I feel like I’m being swept away. I was watching ‘My Fair Wedding’ with David Tutera a couple of nights ago and as I watched the bride getting ready before the ceremony, I realized, “That’s gonna be me soon!!!” it’s really starting to hit me now. How exciting!

Unfortunately, today is a day for a different celebration, a celebration of a life well lived. Back in December, I lost my grandfather to a long drawn-out battle with cancer. Today, my family was on our way to Eastern Washington to his memorial.

This man was my absolute best friend for the first 13 years of my life. Every summer, I spent my free time with him going swimming and on cattle drives. He taught me my love and compassion for animals. He supported me in EVERYTHING I wanted to take on: drawing, a martial arts yellow belt (in 3 months at that!), and most importantly, my passion to become a nurse.

At my nursing pinning ceremony - he had the most impeccable sense of style!

I don’t think I’ve ever been as loved and supported unconditionally by any other man other than my father (and now Zach).  How blessed I was to have such a person to support me and set such an example for me.  Even in his retirement, he was a reserve police officer, volunteer firefighter, and volunteer EMT.  Yes, ALL of those.  He was amazing.

Today was a hard day as friends and neighbors all spoke of his nature: “being there for people.”  In his last days, I had so few words I could say to him, and I can only hope that my being there with him showed him how much he meant to me.

I Love You, Grandpa.

I hope you listen to this song.  It’s very beautiful and made me think of him.

Thank you to everyone for their love and support as my family goes through this hard time.


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