2010...Best Year of My Life!


WARNING: This is an extremely long post with lots of rememberings! Pour yourself a cup of cocoa and enjoy!

2010 was the year of weddings, firsts, and lots of love, laughter, and joy! It almost scares me to think about all that we jammed packed into this past year, and I wonder, how will any year ever live up to this one!? Luckily, I am a glass half full kinda gal!

Kyle and I were playing back the year to each other, and I found myself asking, "Did anything memorable happen from January through March?" Obviously not, since neither of us could remember! But can you blame us? We were planning our April wedding and hunting for a house! Thankfully, with this new blog, come December 31st of 2011, I won't have to ask myself if anything memorable happened throughout the year because it will all be documented on my blogger-ooski!!! 

So, we'll just start with April...

Let's see...April 15th kicked off the wedding festivities with my bachelorette party in Downtown Wilmington, hosted by my child-hood bff and MOH, Kristen! We had an amazing dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Circa 1922, followed by a scavenger hunt all over down-town, and finally some stops at a few bars before I pulled my bride trump card and said I had to get some beauty sleep! Note to all the future brides...if at all possible, plan your bachelorette party on a weekend before the wedding! But, if your MOH is flying in from Michigan, you don't really have a choice, so enjoy yourself and remember you can always sleep when the wedding's over!

The next day, April 16, we had an adorable bridal luncheon, hosted by my aunts. I will never forget the tears shared as everyone shared memories and stories. I felt so much love the entire weekend, and am truly blessed with the best friends and family in the world! It was also really special because the date was my Dad's mother, Mama Louise, who I never got to meet's birthday, and I know it sounds crazy, but I really felt her spirit in the room that day. 

That night, we had a fabulous rehearsal dinner hosted by Kyle's parents at his church (it helps when you're marrying the rector's son!) followed by an amazing after-party where we got to visit with all of our out-of-town friends and family!

You'd almost think that it'd be hard to top all of the pre-wedding festivities, but I'll tell you, our wedding day (April 17th) was the most amazing day of our lives! It was all that we could ever ask for, and more! It had been a long time coming (we'd been dating since our junior year in high school!) and the celebration of love and friendship was heartwarming!

Most brides experience something along the lines of "OMG the wedding's over, I spent the last ____ of my life planning this huge day, now it's all over, what am I going to do with my life!?" I did not even have a chance to feel that because once mine was over, I jumped right into planning one of my college bff's, Ashley's, bachelorette party on April 30th! We had a LBD party, with dinner at PF Changs, drinks and a lingerie shower back at the apartment. Fun times all around!

Then, in the midst of my 3rd graders End of Grade testing (my first experience with this, very stressful to watch your babies take this big test!), Ashy-poo married her high school sweet heart on May 8th in a beautiful ceremony and reception at the Angus Barn pavillion. I was honored to serve as a bridesmaid and Kyle got to be the DJ!  Did I mention I just love weddings!?



One  week later, on May 15th, Kyle graduated from NC State with his BA in Political Science! 

Five days later, on May 20th, we closed on our first house and began the move-in process!

Can you imagine why I may have been just a tad bit exhausted around this time?

On June 10th, I balled my eyes out on the last day of school and end of my first year of teaching! It was the best experience of my life, and I love those kids with all my heart! Luckily, they pass by my room on their way to 4th grade every day, and I adore the hugs they give me, and the fact that they still call me by my maiden name!

On June 12th, we packed our bags and headed on our big honeymoon adventure! We visited my college bff, Beebs, and her boyfriend and family, in Baltimore for the weekend before heading up to NY to catch a visit with Kyle's grandparents and a Yankee's game (of course), and flew out June 16th for the most fabulous trip of my life...2 weeks of honeymooning in France and Italy! I won't bore you with the details here...just check out of honeymoon blog, if you're interested! I had never been to Europe and any other countries (excluding Canada and Jamaica), so this trip opened my eyes to a whole new world! Priceless!


August was another jam-packed month for us as we continued to settle into our new home, Kyle searched for a job, and I prepped for the start of school! Great news came on August 12th when Kyle was offered a job with a wonderful non-profit organization where he gets to oversee a program that provides back-packs of food each week to underprivileged children. It was such an awesome feeling to know that we were both doing jobs that we loved that also provided great service to others!  

I started my 2nd year of teaching 3rd grade on August 25th with a new group of 23 totally awesome kiddos, who keep me laughing, and on my toes, daily!

Kyle's best friend from high school, David, married his gorgeous and sweet fiancee, Lia on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend (September 4th)! It was a beautiful ceremony at the same church where we were married. Kyle was a groomsman, and it was so fun to see Kyle's Dad do the ceremony!


October gave us beautiful fall weather...perfect for pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and the good o'l State Fair!


Our peaceful October turned into another busy November! Kyle and I are born a week apart, and his birthday is November 14th, which we spent with our fab friends Beebs and Bdo at the UNC vs. V-Tech game! My birthday followed on November 21st with a surprise party at a cute down-town spot that we'd been dying to try called Alivia's. No pics there! Since it was a surprise, I didn't know to bring my camera!  Kyle is always so sweet and really does it up big for my birthday! I definitely owe him a great 2011 one!                                         

The next weekend was Thanksgiving, which we celebrated at my grandparents' house. It was a different celebration considering my parents and my aunt and uncle and one of their daughter's were absent, doing some amazing mission work in Haiti. With the lack of 2 of our best kitchen helpers, Kyle and I, and the other cousins had to step up to the plate!

One of my high school friends, Laura, got married on December 4th in a gorgeous ceremony at my home-church. Christmas weddings are so beautiful with the churches all decorated and the candle-light!

Baby Addison was born December 10th while I hosted my very first gathering with some teacher friends for the holidays!

Sadly, Kyle's family said good-bye to their beloved dog on December 16th, Madison, who lived a long and happy life. He will forever remain their "bad-a**" dog, as Kyle's brother, Ryan, refers to him.

December 25th was our first Christmas together, and it was fabulous indeed! Our plans changed last minute with the pending snow storm! We spent Christmas Eve at Kyle's house and opened presents with his family Xmas morning, before hopping in the car and heading up to my grandparents to meet up with my family! The snow started falling, and just as predicted, we had our first white xmas! I had so much fun playing in the snow...something I never take for granted after growing up on the coast!

Tonight, we plan to ring in the new year with friends and fondue!

So long, 2010...it's been real! Real good, that is!

Apple of My Eye...For Now!



Meet Baby Addison, the newest member of the clan and daughter of my beautiful cousin Kathleen and her fabulous husband Eric! 

Eric & Kat, the new parents!!!  Xmas 2010

Unbeknownst to them and the rest of us, they were preggers at my wedding in April, and sent out a family email blast a couple weeks later with the exciting news and a disclaimer that this was not, in fact, to steal K and my's thunder!!! 

The funny story behind all this is that I had been going around for weeks telling every married couple I knew that they needed to get on it with the baby business because I was ready for a baby in my life...just not one of my own!!! I have always LOVED babies ever since I spent 1 summer babysitting a 6-month old named Ella. She and I had the best time and it was then that I realized that there was nothing more relaxing than holding a sweet sleeping baby. Simply priceless!!!! Kathleen and everyone else weren't too sold on my plan, but little did they know that God had a different plan than their plan!  

Kathleen and Eric are both teachers and are also doing grad school! They are 2 of the hardest working people I know, and I know Addison could not have been blessed with better parents! Even though Kat informed me that contrary to what doctors may believe, new mommies do not know everything about babies (even if they have had their heads burried in What to Expect When You're Expecting for the last 9 months) and the road might be a little scary, the blessing of new life is beautiful and fabulous and all things good!

And ya'll, she is the most precious baby I have ever met! Beautiful brown hair, Eric's tan complexion, and what a stylish bambino she is! She is sure to be spoiled rotten as the first of the next generation in our family! I am so excited to be a part of her life and watch her grow up, especially because she will be the first baby I will know from the day she was born!

                                          Kyle & Addison...so adorable!!!! Xmas 2010

                                         My first time meeting Addison, Xmas 2010

 Kyle and I left our family gathering with  2 thoughts on our brains:

1. We really, really, really want a baby but also really, really are not ready (aka... I'd actually have to learn to cook and actually have to clean every once in a blue moon), so we'll stick with the 5-year plan!

And... 2. How on earth are we ever going to have a baby as beautiful as Addison!? Lucky for us, Kyle's claim to fame is that he was asked to be a baby model...Ay Caramba!!!!

How Lu Came to Be...


I have rarely been called by my actual name, Laura. In fact, I get a little scared when I hear someone call me Laura because I'm either in trouble, or someone is upset with me and therefore is refusing their affectionate nick-name for me! 

In turn, I don't call anyone or anything by it's real name, just like I abbreviate most everything. The example that gets brought up at every family gathering is how at graduation is screamed to my friend "We'll get a pic in a min!". Harris Teeter is "the teeter," Family is "fam," dinner is "din-din". My teaching assistant is "Whitey," my best teacher friend at my school is "Mojzi," my mother-in-law is MILLIE, my brother is "B" or "Beevus." That's why I've never minded being called nicknames. I think they are terms of endearment   

To my brother, I am "La-poo." 
                                                  The brother and me, Xmas 2010!

To my dad, I am "Rah", short for "Laur-ra", which my dad always follows up with "The Sun Goddess." 
                                                        Daddy and me on my wedding day!

To my high-school friends, I was "Bark" or "LB" which played off my last name and my initials. 
                                         Pagina, JP, Ally, KG, and me...HS reunion for my 21st!

To my 3rd graders, I am "Mrs. A," and I honestly debate changing that name, oh let's say, about 300 times a day...but I swear, that's the only one I sometimes want to change! 

To Kyle, my fabulous hubby, I am "Schnooks" or "Lala." 

                                                    The hubby, Kyle, and me Xmas 2010!

But my most famous nickname of all is "Lu" or "Lulu." And, like everything, there is a good story behind how Lulu came to be!

My mom called me 2 things growing up..."Lala" and "Lulu." And they weren't just said, they were sung. As in "Luuuuuuu-luuuuuuuuuuuu" or "Laaaaaaaa-laaaaaaaaaaaa." Cute when you're four, totally embarrassing when you're 13. 
                                         My beautiful mom and me, before LEG's wedding 2010
 Growing up, I had 4 best friends, and we pretty much did everything together, including set up our Hotmail email addresses in 8th grade. Julie was the most tech-savvy of us all because she had her own computer, so I let her go to town. And you know how they make you enter your first and last name so that when you send emails, it says that its from "John Doe", well Julie thought it would be hilarious to put my first name in as Lulu. I didn't think twice at the time, but about 5 years later, when I was doing all that college stuff, it came back to bite me...and give me a good laugh!

You see friends, I was so excited when I found out who my roomate was! The idea of college and new friends was so exciting to me! I immediately emailed my assigned roomate, Christa, so we could get to know each other over the summer before school started in August. Boy was I surprised to get the email back that said:

                 Dear ?,

                       Is your name Laura or Lulu? The name on the sheet says Laura, but when you emailed me, it said from Lulu. etc etc etc

WHAT!???? WHAT on Earth!!!???? Kill me now! Here I am trying to be all cool and impress her and she thinks my name is Lulu! And I immediately remembered that day in eighth grade when dear old Julie had set up my hotmail account!

The good news is, Christa totally loved that I was called Lulu. She even added "kins" to the end of it so I was "Lulukins," so I, of course, had to call her Christa-kins. 

                                                     Lulukins & Christakins, freshman year!

Christakins and I had a great first year of college together. I met my 2 GREAT  bff's from college, Beebs and A.Stew, who still call me Lu! 

                                              Me, A. Stew, and Beebs at our college graduation!

I actually went through a little withdraw period after college graduation when I entered the working world and exclaimed to Kyle with over-dramatacized sorrow, "No one knows me as Lu anymore."  It's my favorite name to be called, and I really want to name my first dog Lulu....but don't tell Kyle that....because I really don't want a dog...I just want to name one....but more on that later!

Ciao for now, and as always, lots of Lu love!!!

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