Friday, July 29, 2011

The Wedding Files: Half way there..

I've been thinking about the process of planning a wedding as more of a journey than just a destination. Many people have mentioned how the actual wedding day flies by, so I am savouring the lead up and want to remember all the little moments.

There was the sneaky secret planning before we were officially engaged, which involved vague conversations with Ps Murray about his availability for a 'big event in our lives', lots of emails to a special photographer and an amazing Will contacting event hire places in Brisbane from the other side of the planet...

Then there was the little 'coincidences' of being at another couple's engagement party, and taking up a friend's offer for a lift, and me happening to look up from my phone and out the window as we happened to drive past a lovely little cafe - a lovely little cafe that looked perfect for a dinner party, and happened to host weddings, and just happened to be available for a wedding on November 19. Perfect!
Of course, then came the big events - Will coming home, and proposing, and celebrating with boiled eggs.

And then there was asking the bridesmaids, and finding the dress, and the suit, and designing the invites, and booking the hair dresser, and makeup and making a billion to do lists - but more on all of that another time, because today's big news is that...

We are halfway there!

Today Will and I have been engaged for 3 months and 20 days, and today also marks 3 months and 20 days until we marry. It's all so exciting!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Mama Liz

While I will always be a Fraser deep down inside, I am getting so excited about officially becoming a Swanson. I love this family and it was so nice to start the week with a family dinner for Liz's birthday. Happy birthday Liz!! And luckily for me, the night was personality-test-free.

In the midst of planning a wedding, we've been talking a lot about the future and what we want for our marriage. Family and friends and faith are priorities, along with food and fun and fresh air. And yes, the inner-alliterationist in me loves that they all start with the letter F.

But we both feel so blessed to have such wonderful families, and really value the time we spend with them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The 13 Days of Birthday...

The 13 Days of Birthday are like the 12 Days of Christmas. Except, instead of starting with a partridge and ending with twelve drummers drumming, the 13 Days of Birthday start on my birthday (July 6) and finish on Will's (July 18).

We weren't smart enough to realise our birthdays book-ended a 13 day period last year (it was the year we thought living on two separate continents was an okay idea, we were delusional, obviously!) but this year we really smartened up and realised we could turn two individual birthdays into almost a fortnight of celebration. And celebrate we have!

Here are some of the highlights:

Day One: My birthday! Will gave me a cute succulent plant named Albert, we had International Food Day at work, and we had the entire Salon Lounge to ourselves on the account of it being State of Origin Night. We drank cocktails and ate yummy food and Will didn't even gloat when Qld beat NSW.

Day Four: Will spoilt me with a romantic morning horseriding through the beautiful Mooloolah Valley. We made new friends in Alabama and Grizzly Adams, rode through an abandoned train tunnel and I only rode into a tree once. In my defense, it was Alabama's efforts to avoid walking through mud that landed us in such a predicament - who knew horses didn't like dirt?

Day Six: We had a gorgeous picnic in the park and finished the day with a Fraser family dinner - for my birthday and Jeremy's last night in Brisbane before he moved down south. Things got a little crazy when Father Fraser pulled out a personality test for us all to complete, but Will passed with flying colours and, thankfully, still wants to marry me. Cue some Meet the Parents jokes now.

Day Seven: Unrelated to Birthday week, but a big day in both families. Jeremy flew out early in the morning, and Paul and Lauren announced Baby No. 2 early in the afternoon. Bye bye brother and hello new nephew or niece!

Day Eight, Nine and Ten: I wound up in bed for three days with a nasty fever/cough combination. Will brought all my favourite things - a punnet of strawberries, a packet of pork crackle and an interior design book. He's a keeper.

Day Twelve: We had Swanson family lunch to celebrate 28 years of William. The food was delicious and the company was lovely! Will joked with facebook that he felt awkward with all the birthday kisses I gave him, but I know he secretly loved them.

Day Thirteen: Will received birthday balloons, birthday chocolates, a birthday card with a special birthday voucher, and more birthday kisses after work. We had Pizza Capers, snuggled up on the couch and watched a movie. A very fitting end to a wonderful 13 days.

Only, it wasn't the end! As Brisbane seems to shut down on Monday nights, we postponed Will's birthday dinner to Wednesday and treated ourselves to a delicious feed at Blue Smoke BBQ and a selection of sorbets at Freestyle Tout. We turned 13 days into 15, adding a little extra birthday cheer to a very happy fortnight.

Happy Birthday us!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A long distance 'Hey! I love you'!

Last year, Laura and I spent a large part of our relationship in other countries and on other continents. There are only so many flowers you can send while in a long distance relationship and I couldn't help but feel there was something so unromantic about punching in my credit card details over the internet to do so.

So, on days when there was no emergency unfolding or gantt chart needing populating, I did things like this instead - make a movie with George Clooney in it...

Celebrity Stalking in Sudan from willswanson on Vimeo.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Handsome

Today marks 28 years of William, and I think that deserves celebrating! So here's another list of reasons why Will is one-of-a-kind and worth so much to me...

1. Will has been diligently managing a growing list of potential rental properties - finding suitable houses, contacting agents, organising inspections and generally working his butt off to find a home we can call our own. He works hard!

2. He's smart and super intelligent, but completely down to earth. We have great deep conversations about faith and life and politics and science.

3. His amazing smile. See evidence above.

4. Seeing him pull faces with his gorgeous nephew Christian. Will makes everyone smile and always lights up a room.

5. He's just as adorable when he's playing with beautiful Labrador pups.

6. After spending three days in bed, Will visited me every night, bringing gifts and funny stories and back rubs. He looks after me so well.

7. He's such a talented photographer. I love looking back through his blog and seeing the world through his eyes.

8. He makes a delicious Tom Yum. And he goes out of his way to buy all the ingredients when one sick little Laura requests it for lunch.

9. Will is willing to let me run a gazillion wedding thoughts past him without getting fazed. He has great taste in fonts, diplomatic when sorting out guest lists and always brings me back to the bigger picture.

10. He is loyal, strong, handsome, generous and wise. He's just the best.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

22 in review

Last year I was inspired by one of my favourite bloggers (Elsie) and wrote a birthday list - 22 Things to Do Before I Turn 23. I posted it to my Laura and Friends blog and started working my way through a bunch of things I had 'always wanted to do' but had never really made happen.

Given that my birthday is tomorrow and I will officially be 23, I thought I'd see how I went. So here goes:


#3 - Start a new blog and post regularly.
One of the big 'moments' of our relationship, along with the first 'I love you' and the 'Will you marry me?' was the first conversation we had about starting a blog together. I guess it's the unsexy, unmarried Christian equivalent of 'let's move in together', but a natural progression for two people who have been blogging for a very long time (anyone remember the good ole' days of Will's Red Hero blog?). We have so many memories to keep track of and don't want to forget a single one.

#5 - Go away for a weekend with girlfriends.

One of the best weekends of 2010 - full re-cap here.

#6 - Memorise a chapter of the Bible
So I cheated and found the shortest chapter of Bible - Psalm 117 - but then discovered it is a beautiful, albeit brief, passage about God's love and faithfulness, so I am happily keeping it close to my heart.

#9 - Learn to cook something clever

I can now cook a curry, Thai Larb, Potato Rosti, make sushi, meringues and macaroons.

#10 - Send 50 hand written letters or postcards (okay, maybe not 50, but at least 20!)

#11 - Sew a summer dress
Rocking out my aqua + lime creation. I'd bought the fabric a few years ago in Ghana.

#12 - Make the most amazing care package for William
A special 'First Day of Work' survival pack that included a massage voucher. I think that counts as pretty amazing!

#14 - Read my first ever Jane Austen book

#16 - Graduate university

#17 - Go vegetarian for a month.
Yep, definitely the hardest thing on the list! Though this tofu burger was seriously amazing.

#19 - See ten ‘classic’ films I’ve never seen before
I counted anything that was really old or had one a lot of awards or was one of those films that everybody has seen - Anne of Avonlea, The Queen, Forrest Gump, The Piano (DON'T see it), Revolutionary Road (okay, caught out, only saw five).

#20 - Finish my 365 Days Grateful project

I wrote a reflection here last week - I was so happy to started this, and a little proud to have made it the full 365 days through!

#21 - Give away $500 just because

#22 - Donate blood
There were cheese and biscuits to munch on after and I found out that, though 1 in 3 people need blood, only 1 in 30 donate. I saved three lives, and you can too.



#2 - Fly an aeroplane.
I'd give it another month or two and I'll be able to cross this off the list - excited!

#13 - Work up to being able to run 5km at once.
Will and I are making progress on this one, running along the Brisbane River a few nights a week.

#15 - Visit my Grandma in NSW.
We were all set to go back in early January when Grandma wisely suggested we postpone due to the possibility of flooding. Just a day later, most of Queensland was declared a natural disaster zone and northern NSW was just a inundated. Grandmas are wise women. New trip has been rescheduled for later this month.


Any items missing (of which there are a couple) may end up on my 23 Things to Do Before I Turn 24 list. Others, like #4 - Watch the sunrise and the sun set on the same day - have been tossed into the 'Probably too ambitious in the first place' basket.

Yay for Birthday lists - I have loved this last one and am already dreaming up lots of fun things to the next one!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Last weekend, Mum and I got up at 4am on Saturday morning, to be greeted at our front door at 5am by Will, to get to the airport by 5:30am for a 6:30am flight to ADELAIDE!

We were off on a mother-daughter trip to visit family friends. Their eldest daughter, Grace (8), is my goddaughter, and last weekend was her First Communion. Given I'm not Anglican, I had to read up a bit on what that even meant, but it was really special to spend some time with Grace and her little sister Emma.

We went to the park, saw the ducks, drank lots of hot chocolates, played hide-and-seek in the rose bushes, made electrical circuits, visited the most incredible State Library, wandered through the Museum, hurried through Art Gallery, cuddled with Henri the Cat, enjoyed a fancy dinner party, picked mandarins from the garden, played with the most amazing dolls house, and of course, headed off to church on Sunday morning.

Needless to say, I'm glad to be a 'grown up' - life as a little human is BUSY, and tagging along made me sleepy. I've spent this past week taking naps in an effort to recuperate. But there's nothing like a little interstate interlude to mix things up!

And can I please have a house just like this one?