Today marks one month of marital bliss, which made me realize that I have yet to come back and tell you about life after the wedding! So much has happened, so I'll try to pack it all in as best as possible!
The day after the wedding was spent cleaning up the reception with both of our families, unwrapping our wedding gifts, sending gifts back with the Texas crew, and starting to pack me up at home. We planned on heading back to TX ourselves the next day. Our biggest reason for waiting was that we were able to take our marriage license back to the courthouse to have it officially filed, where we didn't have to wait to receive it in the mail, especially since we would be out of state. Personally, I rested easier knowing that that was taken care of. When we returned from Enid, Thomas and I finished packing my necessities, and we loaded my car down to the point that we essentially just had space for us to sit, and that's about it. Of course, we said our goodbyes to my sisters, nephews, and parents. It was a fairly emotional time for us all, but can you really blame us?
Aside: I should mention that I, by NO means brought all of my things back to Texas. Space was our biggest limiting factor. That just means we'll have to go back to visit! If you can't tell, yes, I am very homesick. I mean, I basically left everything I knew--my family, my house, my job, my friends, my church--everything. I gained a lot in the process (like marrying my amazing husband and NOT being in a long-distance relationship), but there have been a few growing pains for sure. Thomas has done a lot to help, and I've both stayed in touch with my family and embraced being down in Dallas. I digress...
When we came home from Oklahoma, Thomas' parents, sister, and aunt (Jean) were sweet enough to tote all of the wedding gifts up to our third-story apartment in the oppressive July heat. We were thrilled not to have to do this ourselves (seeing as we had my car full of my things to unload as it was), and a little stressed to be living in a world of boxes and gift bags. It was like Christmas on steroids! Thomas decided to take that Tuesday off to help tame the craziness that was our apartment. By the end of the day, we had reclaimed the better part of our living and dining room! Granted, we had LOTS of empty boxes to dispose of at that point, but, by golly, our apartment actually looked inhabitable! Truth be told, we still continue to unpack, but that's to be expected, right?
My crowning accomplishment was a couple weeks ago when I unpacked all of our crystal and china. That took a little bit of doing, as I had to get creative with crystal arrangements in our hutch. Also, the fine folks at the Waterford company (who also make china, not just crystal, fun fact) are WAY proud of their items, as all 5 pieces of all 12 settings had 2-3 stickers on them. My thumbnails hurt for 2 days after that.
We've been loving getting to break in all of our wedding gifts, but our current favorite gift has got to be our Instant Pot. Thomas' groomsman/HS buddy Tim and his parents gave that to us at our Dallas shower way back when. We didn't register for it, and truth be told, had no immediate use for one, but he promised that we'd love it. I was a little intimidated by it initially, which is probably saying something, seeing as I love to cook. After a week or so of having it stare at us from the corner of the kitchen, we decided to break it in. Oh. My. Goodness. It is a game changer! If you work crazy hours and don't have a ton of spare time to tend to a stovetop or lots of excess food prep, this is the tool for you. We are officially obsessed and totally bowled over by how amazing it is! We've loved everything we've made in it, but the best part is how quickly (and efficiently) it cooks gourmet meals! I'm now geeking out over it. I have started researching all the ways we can utilize it. Our current favorite meal we've made with it was Dr. Pepper pulled pork. Seriously, if you're on the fence about getting one, just go for it! You won't regret it!!!
In settling in, I also decided to go for a bell pepper and zucchini plant for our balcony, which receives lots of afternoon sunshine. They're well-sprouted, now I'm just waiting for blooms! (Random, I know!)
In other random news, Thomas' cousin Nicole (who graduates with her master's degree in nursing from DePaul University this weekend...go her!!!) was unable to attend our wedding. We were all so disappointed that she couldn't be there (she was in the midst of clinicals). However, we talked to her not long after the wedding, and she mentioned that she'd be sending us a gift from her beloved Chicago. Well, a few days later, we were greeted by a box that contained two pizzas and a box of chocolates, shipped on dry ice! They were authentic Chicago deep-dish pizzas, and they were AMAZING! I've never really eaten that style of pizza, and it was a nice change of pace. I think I can definitively say that I prefer NY style on the whole, but Chicago style is also great. It was one of our most unique gifts we received, but we loved it so much!
We've also managed to make a couple trips out to Thomas' parents' new country place near Quitman, TX (about 2-ish hours east of us). The first trip was our "mini-moon", our post-wedding retreat that we did about 2 weeks after the wedding. It was nice to be out in the solitude of the countryside. Every other time I've been out there, it didn't seem all that special to me, probably because it was just like being at home, but with all paved roads. (There are NO dirt roads out there...it makes me slightly hesitant to refer to it as the countryside, but that's just my opinion.) This time, it was a nice oasis from the noise and craziness of the big city. Also, it helped a little with my homesickness. This past weekend we also headed out there for an evening. We were in the midst of a crazy lightning storm that ended up striking a tree not too far from the house there. The strike shook the house, scared the bejeezus out of us all, and blew up the tree. Apparently, wood debris was scattered up to 20 feet away from the stump. Another tree was also struck, but it just took off a small stripe of bark. Crazy stuff!
In the midst of all of this, I began slipping into a near hermit-like state. I mean, it was inevitable. I don't really have a job to go to currently, I don't have a multitude of friends down here, and Thomas is gone from about 6:30-5:45 ish every day. At Thomas' suggestion, I started attending daily Mass a few days a week, just to get out of the house. I haven't really made any friends from this, but it's been nice to have a little more purpose. I also got involved with a young women's group at our church that has a Bible study. I've only attended once due to scheduling conflicts, but it was nice to meet more people. I also went to lunch with a girl I met from women's group, who happens to teach at a local Catholic school. She gave me lots of great advice on expanding my tutoring business, and said that she'd be sure to reach out to the math teachers at her school so that they could recommend me when students asked about that.
As far as tutoring goes, I start working with the family next Monday morning. I'll tutor the girls 3 mornings per week. I've also signed up on the sub list for Thomas' old middle school. More so, I've made great strides to expand my tutoring services. This includes creating a website, a special email account, and business cards, so that I appear to be more legit than before! Now I just have to play the waiting game and hope that people will start contacting me soon! God has made it abundantly clear to me that this is what he wants me to do for the meantime, so I'm embracing it wholeheartedly and continuing to act on faith!
As much as I've gone on about being homesick (which I still am), I have enjoyed getting to spend a little more time with Thomas' extended family, which is something I've never really had the opportunity to do to this extent. There have been a handful of birthday dinners, random lunches, or sporadic shared dinners. It has been nice to get together with all of them in more casual settings and more often. The fact that they are now technically my family too is becoming much more apparent now that I'm married and living down here, away from my own family. If I can't have my family, I'm glad to at least have them. It makes this time of adjustment a little easier on me, if we're being completely honest.
Little by little, I'll get the hang of being a wife, city-resident, and Texan. Take care, wherever you are!