Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Since the Wedding...

It's near impossible to sum up nearly 16 months in a single entry, so I'll just hit the high spots!

After getting married on May 31, 2008, Tyler and I spent our honeymoon at Sandals Dunn's River Villaggio in Jamaica. If you've never stayed at a Sandals resort, I highly recommend it. It just feels nice to be pampered and waited on 24 hours a day. We loved it! We got home a week later, and I began preparing for my boards. I took my NAPLEX on June 27th, and then my MPJE law exam on July 3rd. I received my license to practice pharmacy on July 16th, and Tyler and I moved into a new apartment two days later!

Fall was spent working and enjoying some Crimson Tide football, as always... At the time, I was a floater for CVS, working all over north Alabama, and Tyler was working full-time and studying to finish his MBA in finance. After a couple of years of classes, Tyler graduated with his MBA from UAB in December 2008... With a 4.0 GPA, I might add. To celebrate, he and I took a trip to New York City the week before Christmas. The day after we returned to Alabama, we enjoyed those Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets he had bought me for my birthday. Our first Christmas was so much fun! Family get-togethers, holiday parties, Christmas shopping, and our FIRST Christmas tree! (Tyler says only Buddy the Elf rivals my love for all things Christmas.)

Shortly after the beginning of 2009, Tyler and I began our house-hunt. We loved our apartment, but we were ready for a home of our own. After about six weeks of looking at homes in the Birmingham area, we decided on building a house in Kimberly, where our friends Drew and Sheri had been living for almost a year. We signed the contract on February 11th and started the hectic process of building a house.

After eight months of floating (which I loved), I decided in March to go on staff full-time at the CVS in my hometown, Oneonta. It's quite a commute, but I have enjoyed working in my hometown. I get to see people that I haven't seen since high school on a semi-regular basis now, and I especially love being able to have lunch with my mom nearly every day that I work. Every day when she finishes her mail route, she calls to see what I want for lunch that day. Maybe I'm a little spoiled... I just think God gave me the best mom in the world! (My co-workers love it, too, because she brings them goodies every now and then as well.)

Tyler and I celebrated our one-year anniversary on May 31, 2009, and we closed on our house on June 22nd! We LOVE our new house, and I am immensely enjoying decorating it! It's also nice to live a little farther outside the city, because we have a yard now, and we see all kinds of critters! Our favorites are the two wild turkeys (which we have named Pilgrim and Mayflower) that visit our backyard at least once or twice a week. But we also have deer, owls, bobcats, you name it.

In July, we went on a big family vacation to the Rocky Mountains. We all (Mama, Daddy, Ashley, Phillip, Grandma Sarah, Sonja, Randy, Noah, Tyler and I) stayed in a big log cabin in Breckenridge. We had a great time. We visited the Rocky Mountain National Park, rode four-wheelers in Vail Pass, shopped in Breckenridge, saw lots of wildlife (Mama and Daddy even saw two bears and a fox), and did a lot of relaxing.

Earlier this month (September), Tyler and I rented a two-bedroom condo in Gulf Shores and enjoyed a wonderful long weekend at the beach! Mama and Daddy came down and stayed with us for two nights, and we had a wonderful time relaxing at the beach.

Football season is now in full swing, so we are again enjoying some Bama football. We are still settling into our new house, so there is lots of yardwork to do (Yay Tyler!) and decorating to continue working on (Yay me!). We have also recently began our small group semester at church. Tyler and I are so excited to be a part of a young married small group led by Everitt and Ruthie Simmons, and we're so thankful for the opportunity to learn from a spirit-filled couple! I have also joined Ruthie's small group for young wives, which meets every Thursday morning (One of the few times I am available every week... Isn't God good?).

So that's our life for the past 16 months! Of course, that's the abbreviated version. I didn't even mention our first Thanksgiving, our first snowstorm, our trip to Kentucky, Tyler's bout with kidney stones, or our first experience at City Stages (REO Speedwagon!!!). Suffice it to say, we have stayed busy! And God is good... All the time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Wedding

Tyler and I (with a lot of help from my mom and sister) planned a wedding in three and a half months, while he was taking classes and working, and I was finishing my last semester of pharmacy school. It was a hectic time for us, but it was so worth it! I graduated on May 16, and we were married on May 31, 2008! Our wedding was so special (as they all are)! We wanted our wedding to be a fun, comfortable, and laid-back occasion for us and for our guests. We had the ceremony and the reception at my parents' home, where I grew up in Oneonta. The backdrop of the pond was beautiful, and the weather--though hot--was gorgeous! My aunt is a florist, and she did my flowers, which could not have turned out any more beautiful! Instead of a traditional bouquet, I carried a unique arrangement hanging from a silk ribbon and two strands of pearls. I still get compliments about it. Instead of a formal tuxedo, Tyler wore a khaki suit. My bridesmaids wore espresso dresses, and Tyler's groomsmen wore khaki dress pants and pale blue collared shirts with the sleeves rolled up. (They appreciated that, since it was 92 degrees that day!) At the reception, we had fried chicken, ham biscuits, cocktail sausages, cornbread muffins, cheese biscuits, fruits and vegetables, homemade lemonade and strawberry water. But the crowd-favorites were the SIX cakes, five of which my Grandma Sarah made from scratch, and one of which my mom made! My bride's cake was a three-tiered Red Velvet cake. Instead of a traditional groom's cake, Tyler and I decided that we would love for our guests to have their choice of several different cakes. So we asked my grandma instead to make several smaller two-layered cakes, and we ended up with a coconut cake, a German Chocolate cake, a Mandarin Orange cake, and a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. My mom made a strawberry cake, and that rounded out the cake "menu". To this day, we still get wonderful comments about our wedding... Especially the cakes!

The Engagement

Tyler and I dated for almost a year and a half before we were engaged. During that time, he had been working and taking classes to earn his MBA, and I was in pharmacy school. We were engaged on February 22, 2008. Tyler had come to pick me up for dinner, but he hadn't told me where we were going. He got there a few minutes before I was ready to go, so when I finished getting ready, I started walking to the door to leave. He stopped me and said, "I got you something." I turned around and asked him what it was. He handed me a formal-looking folder with paperwork inside. The folder was from the International Star Registry. When I opened it, the first page inside was the certificate for the official naming a star. It said "Autumn Brooke Lowros"!!! By the time I figured out what was going on, he had gotten down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He gave me the most beautiful ring I have ever seen! He picked it out all by himself and did a PHENOMENAL job! What a wonderful man!

Our First Date(s)

You may wonder why the "(s)" after "Date" in the title of this story... Well, that is because our first date story will differ, depending on who tells it. Tyler likes to say that my first date with him was different from his first date with me. At any rate, here they are:

Our REAL first date was the Thursday after we met, which was September 28, 2006. Tyler and I had been talking a little bit on the phone and e-mail since meeting the previous Sunday. We were just getting to know each other, and it had come up in one conversation that I do not like Mexican food. Tyler assured me that I would love Mexican food if I would just try it at his favorite Mexican restaurant, Cocina Superior. So that Thursday we ate (just the two of us) at Cocina Superior, and yes... He paid for my meal. I am still not a fan of Mexican food, but I have learned I can make a meal of a plain soft taco and the free chips and salsa.

The other first date story that may be told from time to time, however erroneous it may be, took place on November 17, 2006, which is the day after my birthday. Tyler had given me my birthday gift the actual day of my birthday, but since I had a Therapeutics exam the next day and had to study all night on by birthday, Tyler had told me he would take me out for my birthday the next night. He wanted it to be a surprise, so he didn't tell me where we were going, only what time he would pick me up. He took me to Firebirds, which was exciting because neither of us had ever eaten there before. Dinner was great, but the highlight of the night came after he took me home... Because that was the night that Tyler kissed me for the first time!

There were also many times between September 28th and November 17th that Tyler and I went out to eat together, and a few times he cooked for me or I cooked for him, but those are the two "first date" stories of our dating relationship. I still hold that our first date was the September date to Cocina Superior. Regardless, November 17, 2006 holds great significance to me as well.

How We Met

When my alarm clock woke me up on Sunday morning, September 24th, 2006, I will admit that I was tempted to go back to sleep. I had no one to attend church with me that morning, as I was living alone at the time and my former roommate Heather was now married and attending church together with her husband. I was nervous about going to church by myself (even though I had been there tons of times before), but I convinced myself to do it anyway, sure that God would bless me!

So I got ready and drove to the late morning service at the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham. I went inside, found a seat, and the praise and worship music soon started. A few minutes later, three guys walked in looking for seats. As the GOOD Lord would have it, there were three empty seats to my right! They came and stood at those three empty seats as praise and worship continued. As usual, the music minister encouraged the congregation to greet one another between praise and worship and the morning message. That is when I officially met Tyler and his two roommates, Chris and Drew. As it turned out, Tyler and his roommates were actually regular attenders of another church (the church Tyler and I now attend and love, Church of the Highlands) and just happened to be running late that particular morning, so they had chosen to attend the later service at the Church at Brook Hills. I am so glad they did!