Anniversary of Sorts

September is my favorite month. It’s not because of a certain birthday, start of football season, playoff run for baseball season, or the best Northwest weather–even though all those things are worth celebrating!

I love September because it is an anniversary of sorts. Three years ago, we had a wedding in front of our closest family and friends in a humble ceremony that we scraped our own pennies for. He was home from deployment, both sides of the family traveled from afar, and everyone we cared about got to celebrate an important milestone in our lives; the creation of a new branch of our family tree. This was a milestone in the making.

Melissa & Ryan from Edward Bello on Vimeo.

Another anniversary I celebrate is the first and last time I ever fell in love. Sure, cheesy. But hear me out…

Eight years ago, I met my future husband. He was comfortable. He was a challenge. He was so foreign to me. When you’re a 18/19, your standards are far from set and you’re still reeling off the pain of knowing that Ryan Gosling will never be your future husband. And while our “how we met” story is far from romantic (no clumsy coffee shop run-in, no damsel in distress situation), it’s my favorite story. A story most of you know that involved expensive phone bills and having no idea how tall he was (and how short I was) in person until months after we started talking.

Every September that passes, I think of how I felt at 19, wondering how a single person could change my world for the better. How a life partner could be your biggest cheerleader through life’s ups, and a major source of encouragement through its downs. The Lord knows how euphoric those highs were and how deep those downs have been. It all feels so vivid like it just happened at the blink of an eye, even if several years and changes have passed by.

Every September, I feel 19.

So cheers to another year with my best friend. To our health, the home we’ve built together and the dog who has our heart. Cheers to the many memories we get to make together, especially after many Septembers we’ve been apart. Cheers the belly laughs we get to share together and the tears that bring us closer. Cheers to growing older, but still looking at him like the clean-shaven, dimpled, freckled kid I fell for–that I hope our babies will look like!

Anniversaries are a great reminder of how you felt the day you kicked off a love worth celebrating. They tell us “hey, you made it this far!” and “hey, you have a long way to go!” Every day is a blessing, and every year is a culmination of those blessings. Celebrate and cherish each of them for what they are and how they shape you.

Wedding photos by Chloe Photography: http://www.chloephotographyblog.com/?p=1654
Engagement photos by Chloe Photography: http://www.chloephotographyblog.com/?p=468

 

MW

The New Camera + Christmas Planned Early

Have you ever seen something with your own eyes that you wish you could capture and convey with the kind of vividness that so few cameras can grasp?

I do. All the time! Perhaps it’s because I foresee so many memories being made in the near future that I would love to treasure forever using something a little more powerful than my iPhone. With some big events and a special project coming up, I decided to start capturing those personal images with something that could also teach me a few lessons on photography. Ok, a LOT of new lessons. Like what ISO means. Yeesh.

After deciding that DSLR was too impractical and costly for the beginner that I am, and that the versatility of the point-and-shoot can be limited, I found out about the happy medium of a compact system camera. A great example of a compact system is the Sony NEX series. For budget-conscious rookies like me, the 3nl or a5000, made the most sense. It provides us a little room to grow as we could eventually experiment with different lenses. We are slowly, but surely learning more about it in our hands more than just reading about it.

Highly recommended by a survey done on several pro photog friends of mine (they are smart friends to have!), the 3nl/a5000 felt like the best choice for my needs.

We love it so far! So, what could we possibly be shooting with this camera that we can’t catch on our phones? Well here’s a list:

1. Family. Includes the pup, parents, siblings, and good friends.
2. Each other. I see how much we’ve changed and grown in the last eight (YES, EIGHT) years we’ve known one other that I would hate to miss a beat. Plus, I think we’ve gotten better-looking with age 😉
3. Babies. When we start having mini-Ryan’s running around, it’s over. I’m snapping every move and freckle.
4. Our trips. We have a few in the works including a road trip to Disneyland!
5. My special Christmas gift project.

To elaborate on #5, I want to first warn you that this project is still in its infant stages of designing and planning. Any feedback or suggestions are welcome! For Christmas this year, I want to give my mother-in-law, and two sisters-in-law a Will family cookbook. All four of us married into the predominantly-male Will clan, but have offered so much rich history and flavor to the family tree. What I realized from my last trip to my parents’ home country of the Philippines is that you can literally eat your way through history. Ever morsel, ingredient and dish has a significance of where someone came
from and the experience they had there. To me, that’s the most amazing thing you can pass on to your children. History and food.

With the help of this handy camera and some lighting techniques, I hope to take photos of some delicious dishes that we as Will women create in the next few months. Everything from my mom-in-law’s grandmother’s trusty pie crust recipe that we all use now to the Navarro family favorite, a peach pie learned from a Navy wives club.

Combining all these great recipes into one book is something that would make a great gift one day to our children and grandchildren. A little piece of our generation, honoring past generations.

With the help from a designer friend who has an incredible portfolio, we’re coming up with a great book design. Something vintage, classic and timeless.



I can’t wait to share my progress! And of course, the final product. In the meantime, I look forward to also sharing some fun images that show how we view our life and the world around us, day by day.

❤ MW

 

Face-lifts and soul-lifts

Shores
It’s been a tough couple weeks, to say the least. Without going into much detail, just know we’re doing a lot better physically and emotionally thanks to the power of prayer with a heaping spoonful of hope and ice cream. Just in time for spring, we decided to do some cleaning, slight home improvements and take an impromptu trip in an effort to celebrate growth. It’s times like these that make me thankful that Ryan can be home for rebuilding. So much of my personal trip-ups in the past have been a solo battle, with my battle buddy being miles away or having to go to work. He’s proving his worth, so I’ll keep him around 😉

We started with a trip to Ocean Shores, a small beach town a couple hours west of us here in Washington. Expecting rain all day, we decided to load up Elvis in the new car anyway and go.

Oh yeah! We bought a new car. After selling my trusty, but old ’98 Honda Civic, and being stuck with a gas hog of a Jeep, we decided to get something that will last us forever and save us a lot on fuel. So far so good!

…back to the beach. It rained the entire drive there, but as rain-lovers we relished in the Pacific Northwest green-ness of it all while listening to the Black Keys on Pandora. Us Wills are electric blues lovers no matter the weather.

After arriving in a place we haven’t been to in years, the sun came out. We got to do something special with our one and only baby and introduce him to an ocean beach. What I love about Elvis is how curious he is because of his hound dog blood, but also his sweet innocence. You can see that in a lot of young dogs, but there’s something about him that warms my heart. It makes me want to take him all over the world and explore the terrain of different places. If anything, he got a dose of how loved he is by Ryan and I. Adventures aren’t the same unless we bring Elvis along.
elvisshores

We did some windy kite-flying and running around, Ryan and I decided to walk around the shops in town before the rain would start coming in again. Simple times, good memories. Once the rain came, we drove around to see the empty beach houses whose residents were probably working away at home in preparation for a summer at Ocean Shores. We worked up an appetite and visited an old Will family favorite, Galway’s. Irish food and beer! Chowder, soda bread and Guiness… yum.

We picked up some ice cream, did some doughnuts on the beach before making the drive back home. It was kind of blessing to find time to do this on a weekend, after being so busy since Ryan’s schedule opened up Saturdays for us. Laughter, a bit of (happy) tears, and just getting our minds off the heavy stuff is what we needed to recharge and face reality with the best attitude.

As for the house, we managed to clear out some old furniture, get rid of tons of new clothes and do some painting! Again!

Our bedroom went from a dark red to a tropical blue, offset with grey, green and reddish oranges to bring out a Maui-like appeal that helps us fall asleep. We also picked up a couple of great flea market finds for the hallway and dining room and have decided that the green-thumb owners before left us too much work to maintain. So the plan is to clean up the front yard with some hired help. I’m a little too embarrassed to show you what it looks like right now!

roomredo
The bedroom with a fresh, tropical twist

The timing of our growth and change couldn’t come during a better season. Springtime is a good opportunity for us to refresh, restart and recharge for what’s ahead. I’m no marriage expert, but tackling some of these challenges together can be a challenge in it of itself, however, it’s always helped to remind each other that we have common goals to reach. We aren’t perfect at all on our own, let alone with each other. That’s why there are the good times with the bad, and the sickness with the health. The imperfection has been a gift.

flowers

MW

Winter blues

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Bask. Enjoy.

This was taken by my iPhone in Maui during our last trip this past December. It’s raining here in Seattle right now and although I love the PNW, there’s just something about our second home that keeps me daydreaming about sea breezes and pina coladas.

Aloha, y’all.
MW