Thursday, March 26, 2015

INTRODUCING OLIVER GOLDMAN

Today, our little rescue kitten is six months old. When we first met him, he was smaller than the palm of my hand. This morning, he ran around our apartment following me, jumped on counters, nuzzled, meowed, tried to eat my feet, and was all around huge and adorable.


Little Oliver Goldman is a huge part of our little family and we are so blessed to have him.

So what led us to adopt an 8 week old kitten right after we got married and bought our first place? I mean... look at that face!?



Before we ever got married Josh and I knew that we wanted a pet. Someday we'd love a dog but we knew that we would never want one while we a) work so much and b) live in a condo. So as we planned our wedding we also planned that someday we would adopt a cat to add to our little family.

Since we didn't live together before getting married, we knew we would need to wait until after we were both Goldmans, but even before the wedding we had started to talk to friends and family about adopting a cat.



From the beginning we both wanted a kitten. We still wanted to do a rescue but we wanted to take a little guy into our home while he was still tiny. Neither of us had ever had a pet on our own as adults so this was an experience we were really excited for.

Oh it was exciting all right!

Guys, kittens be crazy. That's all you need to know. They are so so so worth it. But also insane.

All right so we knew we wanted a kitten and so my family friend JudyAnn gave us a lot of advice (and actually her wedding present to us was a bunch of cat stuff - toys, scratchers, bowls - that Oliver still uses and loves) and Josh's friend Vida invited us to her home to meet the current set of kittens she was fostering when we returned home from our honeymoon.

Yep, it started that soon. :)



When we got to Vida's to meet the four kittens and their mom for the first time our hearts melted. Josh had an immediate connection with 'the orange guy' and I had planned on a girl kitten named Scarlett (O'Hara) since I was ten years old.

Vida and her husband were so incredibly gracious to let us visit multiple times, give us endless advice, and help us make an adoption decision. Ultimately, Oliver, our little orange guy became a Goldman and we never looked back.



At one brief time we thought about adopting two kittens. We know now that we never would have survived! HAHAHA. Except I'm not joking. At all.

We were so lucky to be able to adopt Oliver (who lived with Vida and her husband since he was two days old) from the Prince William Animal Shelter. Since Vida had been fostering the litter, he didn't have to go back to the shelter but could come straight home with us.



He was so so tiny when we first had him home. I hope God blesses us when we have children some day because you would think this cat was a child. We acclimated him to his new space by transitioning him from a large bathroom, to that and a bedroom, and then adding the entire apartment.

Now the little guy who would tentatively look out the door runs our house and he lives in the lap of luxury.

The best part about Oliver is obviously not scooping his litter box or paying for vet bills when he hurt his paw, it is that his little soul is part of our family. He has such a distinct personality - I think he thinks he's a dog because he follows us around and always wants to be touching a human - and is so full of love. He snuggles and rubs heads with us every morning and every night when we get home. He learns new things every day and has more curiosity and zest for life than I've ever seen.



He is a joy. He brings us joy every day.

Adopting a rescue cat was one of the best decisions we ever made. It is not one to be taken lightly - He's a lot of work! - but the rewards are so worth it.

If you think you might want to adopt and live in the DC area, check out Vida's instagram (#thecarrrollsfosterkittens) for lots of cute cat pictures. All these furry babies need homes. Kittens and adult cats (which in hindsight would have been easier to manage haha) are waiting for you!







P.S. His name? We chose Oliver because Josh and I met years ago while performing in Oliver! the musical. No wonder he constantly meows for more food. ;)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015: YEAR OF PATIENCE




I always get super emotional around New Year's Eve and this year is no different. But it's emotion in the positive sense - I love reflecting on everything that I've accomplished in the past year, all the wonderful things that have happened and all of the blessings brought into my life.

I spend a lot of time in the car driving to work and recently I've been thinking a lot about how my view on life would change if I automatically assumed that everything is for good. 

Think about it... you have to stay late at work because your boss asks you for a deliverable. If 'everything is for good' that means your boss is helping you develop your career and setting you up for success. 

Just an example, but it really makes you think. 

I really believe that people are good at their cores. Barring illness and extreme cases, everyone you meet is ultimately good. And how much better does the world look when we have this approach. I've been trying it recently and I'm going to try even harder in 2015. 

But before we jump in, let's take a look at 2014 and see how I did with those goals...

I had one resolution in 2014: Be Present. Last year I said that I wanted to focus on living 2014 and enjoying every moment of the year of my wedding.

"I will savor the little details and each once in a lifetime experience. I will relish the magazines and I will even enjoy eating extra veggies and exercising. I will glow with excitement and anticipation and feel every inch of gratitude for the support and love I receive from my family."

I can't say that I was perfect, but I think I really accomplished this goal well. My wedding was the best experience of my life. The whole planning process and the day and feeling the love of all of my family and friends and joining my life with Josh's. It's all a miracle if you ask me. And I miss it terribly. I am lucky thought that I felt every moment of it. Really. I think I cried happy tears of love and joy every day in 2014. And I am so grateful.

Which brings me to my goals for the new year. What a joy a fresh start is. Full of possibility and promise, January 1st is a clean slate. I love the sense that there is a clear end and beginning. And yes, one day feels just like the next, but it will be marked with a different number, a different chapter of my life. And since I'm still writing the book, I don't know what will happen next. Isn't it wonderful and scary and thrilling?

I have an overwhelming sense that 2015 will be my Year of Patience. The idea of patience to me is such a positive and calming concept. I've recently had a lot of changes in my little life: bought a condo, got married, changed my name, living with my husband, adopted a kitten. All of these changes are wonderful but I feel as though I am now in a place of stillness. My life does not need a lot of change right now. That is a beautiful thing. 

But for me it is also a challenging one. 

I function best when I have a clear goal and I'm knocking off action items to accomplish it. So what does that mean for 2015. If my goal is to be still, be patient, how do I accomplish that in my vigorous and determined way. 

I think the answer is -- I don't. 

2015: Year of Patience.

2015 is about being where I am right now. Instead of running roughshod over my life and making choices and taking action, it will be about opening myself and remaining still and available for new opportunities and blessings to come my way. 

Do you ever think, "What would have happened if I hadn't made a decision and took a certain path? What would happen if I actually let things come into my life and present themselves?"

Well I'm going to find out. My Grandpa always says, "Patience is a virtue." My usual retort was, "Well, it's just a virtue that I don't have." But not this year! Patience here I come!

So that's the big picture. And I'm excited about it. It will be really challenging for me. And that's the point. 

Just so you don't feel slighted though, I also have one more practical resolution: Take Home Movies. Growing up, my mom always took movies of everything and now we can watch them and giggle and feel nostalgic. Starting now, I'm taking them for my family and my life. And in 30 years, they'll be a hoot to watch!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

TO 2014, WITH LOVE

2014 was hands down the best year of my life so far. What a wonderful blessing it is to look back on a year with such fondness and love.

January
Planning Planning Planning!

February
Dress Shopping
Bought my wedding dress



March

April






May



June






July





August
Bachelorette Party
Bought our first property




September
Wedding!
Honeymoon!









October
Living together
Married life
Miriam's Wedding

November
Grandpa's birthday party
Adopting Oliver
Thanksgiving

December
Brooklyn Christmas
Christmas Eve at Condo de Goldman
Christmas


Obviously you can see that life got in the way of blogging once August hit this year. I just had too much wonderful life in my life. :)

I have so many pictures and feelings and stories to document and capture about the wedding. Honestly, I can't decide if I just want to post everything here and just start in January looking back on everything. Or if I want to go the traditional scrapbook route and craft something that will be a tangible keepsake. Both are excellent options. So we'll see what happens. 

I would also like to note that with joy in life there is always sorrow. In 2014 we said goodbye to two dear family members, my Uncle Dave and my Grandpa Paul. My mom also lost our sweet dog Max and her horse, Ladd. They will be extremely missed and I pray that God keeps them safe in Heaven.

Monday, November 3, 2014

HER STORY

Exactly three years ago today, I sat outside of Josh's house while he was sleeping off a terrible cold and left him three voicemails. I wanted him to wake up. I wanted to cook him dinner. I wanted to hang out with my friend Josh. 

Three years later and we are married. 

To my love, 
Thank you for waiting for me. You knew before I did that my mind just needed to catch up with my heart. You are my best friend, my rock and my future. I love you so deeply within my soul that I cannot qualify it with words.  
Here's to four years of knowing you, three years of being with you, and a lifetime of years ahead.  
Love,
Maureen
One of the first pictures ever taken of us during Oliver!


How did it all start? Let me tell you...

I remember the exact moment I met Josh. We were at a callback singing together for the musical Oliver! at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. I was singing for the role of Nancy and Josh was singing for the role of Bill Sikes… the old, really mean character. I remember thinking, “this kid is way too nice and way too young to play this part.” What I didn’t realize was that this kid was the amazing man I was going to marry.
 
Actually, I wouldn’t let myself even consider the fact that Josh was the man I was going to marry for a very long time. Now, don’t stop reading… this love story has a happy ending, but I think that the truth of my falling in love with Josh is the most beautiful part. Our story has a lot of bumps and turns and twists because our love story is real. And for that I am eternally grateful.
 
Josh met me when I was going through a very bad time. I can say this now and laugh, because in hindsight that horrible experience is one of the ways in which God was able to bring Josh into my life. But at the time, I was a mess. The funny thing is that Josh didn’t care. 
 
Though he wasn’t cast as the mean old man, Josh and I were both in Oliver! together and after chatting with a group over dinner and drinks after rehearsal one night, I opened up to him about how much fun I had on my recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic. One thing led to another, we started talking about the trip, and  and an instant friendship was born.
 
No one has ever made me laugh as hard as Josh. Ever. Those of you who know him well know exactly what I’m talking about. His warm heart and impeccable comedic timing make him one of the funniest people I know. He is also incredibly kind, almost unbelievably so. Josh stood by my side as I healed, listened when I needed to cry, and was always there when I needed him. 
 
In those early days of friendship with Josh I used to love coming to the theatre to do the show (and though I wouldn’t admit it to myself, to see Josh). At a time when I was closed off from the world, Josh re-opened my heart.
 
He never used to eat dinner, so I would share mine with him each day. I would stand back stage and make goofy faces while he sang. And he would always text me to make sure I got home safely after our late night drives home after the show.
 
Fast forward--because I’m always too verbose and this is getting long--the show ends, Josh and I are great friends, we spend several nights a week together hanging out as just friends, a few months go by and then he kisses me.
 
This is where the twists come in to our story. I was still not in a great place and certainly not ready to be dating. But we tried, and then I freaked out and so we stopped. That summer was a really hard one and we had periods where we weren’t talking, periods where we were trying to be friends, and periods where I was dating someone else. I tried very hard not to love Josh. I thank God every day that I failed.
 
Later that fall, Josh and I came back into each other’s lives as friends. Because he is the best man I know, he instantly welcomed a re-kindled friendship with me. After a month or so, of making dinner together, hiking Old Rag, and auditioning for another show together, I finally realized that above all else, I wanted to be with Josh. That was November 3, 2011.
 
Our anniversary is one of the funniest stories. It was a rainy weeknight and our rehearsal for Spelling Bee had been cancelled. My friends wanted me to go to happy hour, a nice guy wanted to take me to dinner, and instead I asked Josh what Josh was up to that evening. Poor Josh was sick and informed me that he was taking some Nyquil and going to nap. 
 
Ignoring texts from everyone else, I decided to go grocery shopping and cook Josh his favorite dinner. I called him from the parking lot of Giant. He obviously didn't pick up because the poor man was sick and sleeping. So, logically, I drove to his house and sat outside hoping he would wake up. I left two more messages on his phone before I realized I was acting like a crazy person, admitted that my actions indicated how much I cared about him, and freaked out and drove home. 
 
My brain was so worried about getting hurt and overanalyzing every reason why we should or shouldn't be together, but my body had literally driven to Josh's house because all I wanted to do was spend time with him.
 
Later that night, Josh (after laughing at my messages) came over and I cooked him dinner and finally confessed how much I wanted to be with him.
 
Since that night, I am blessed to say that I have been. I am even more blessed to spend the rest of my life with him now.
 
Josh still has those three phone messages saved. They are so embarrassing and hilarious but one of my favorite memories. I am quite sure he will be playing them for our grandchildren some day and I plan to be sitting next to him, holding his hand, and laughing right along. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!



If you should know anything about me it's that I love Halloween and take my costumes very seriously. Since college things haven't been quite as extravagant for costumes but I still always think it's fun to at least wear something. :)

Yesterday we had a costume contest at work and my team went for engagement rather than extravagance. I work in digital marketing so anything interactive and tweetable is right up my alley. 

Can you tell what we were?

The best part was hiding around the office all day. We even put together a Where's Waldo picture book for our boss of us throughout the day. It was hilarious. 








I'll be repping Waldo again tonight with a few friends at a house party. So easy and so comfortable. Seriously, anything that you can get for less than $25 on Amazon.com is a win in my book. 

What is your costume this year?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

HOW I ASKED MY BRIDESMAIDS

My bridesmaids. Man oh man, I didn't know how much I would need them when I first asked them to stand by my side at our wedding but I am so grateful I had these wonderful women to lean on!

Right after we got engaged last fall, I started thinking about who I wanted to ask to be in the wedding party. I'm not going to lie, I had over 12 people because my friends are so awesome and I love them all so much. But Josh eventually let me know that he had 6 gentlemen he wanted to ask so I asked 6 wonderful women to join the wedding party on my side. 

I wanted to do something really special for each girl - being in a wedding is a big commitment and I knew if they said yes they would be spending a lot of time, energy and hard-earned moolah to be a part of the wedding. I really wanted to convey how much each friendship meant to me, and the first thing I thought of was pictures. 

Starting in college when I got my first digital camera, I have been a picture-taking queen. I am always the one at family gatherings and parties with friends taking a million pictures. I love it. LOVE! They capture memories so perfectly. Even now I'll go through old pictures and just feel happy thinking of all the great times we had. 

So after pouring through my external hard drive and 10 years of pictures of me with different shaped eyebrows (sad but true), I also wanted to give each girl a message. I wasn't able to be in person when I asked them, so I created videos of me talking to each one of them, telling them why I loved them and asking them to be in my wedding. 

When each accepted they sent a picture giving a thumbs up! It was so fun to create each video and even more fun to hear their reactions when they watched. 

Click on each lady's name below to see her video!







I also asked two friends to sing in the choir at our wedding. 

Josh and I also asked a few friends to sing in our wedding mass and play the piano. I made videos for Steph and Gem too. :) And man oh man was it amazing having their voices at my wedding. From the moment they started singing at the rehearsal on Friday night I was in tears. It was just gorgeous!

Since Josh is the original video editor in our family it's no surprise that he made a video to ask the guys too. The funniest part was that some of them thought it was just a "how-to" video about bow ties... Josh had to tell them to watch all the way to the end!


Kevin

Mike

Peter

Casey

Taylor
Mark


Our wedding party was hands down the most amazing of all time. I cannot even begin to think of how we would have handled the wedding without them. Each one of them came to our rescue at one point or another and constantly provided us with love and laughter. We're so grateful they all said yes!

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