Friday, December 4, 2009

Hooray Finals! (Gerrit) (Archive)

This week I started finals. I only actually had one today, but next week I have three... on tuesday.

This semester has been ridiculously busy. Some say I should have guessed that by the fact that I registered for 21 credit hours worth of classes and was holding down a part time job. Trust me... I guessed it, but there's no way I could have predicted how crazy the last few weeks have been.

Between three group projects worth around 25%-30% of my grade in each respective class, scores of tests, and starting training for my internship I haven't hardly had a chance to breathe... much less blog.

Despite all of the business, there have been some incredible events of various life-change that have happened over the past few weeks.

  • The Dan Mullen Era at Mississippi State ended its first season with a victory over Ole Miss

  • I secured A's in two classes in which my average was below 90, just by talking to my professors and explaining why I deserved an A

  • My systems design team tied for first in best system of the semester (we built a website called ""... I wish I could devote a whole post to explaining its awesomeness)

  • I started training for my internship with Garan Manufacturing. I'll officially start in January and work full-time throughout the Spring semester.

  • oh... and I got an incredible job offer from ExxonMobile in Houston, TX for after I graduate...

On top of all that, I've been working on re-designing the website, reading nerdy books about technology, and trying to figure out how to be an accountant for a semester...

I'm so looking forward to getting done with this semester and heading home for christmas! Almost there!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's Great To Be An Auburn Tiger (Erin) (Archive)

This past weekend I went to my first Iron Bowl ever. I know this is kind of hard to believe, considering how I have grown up being indoctrinated by Auburn everything. But it was my first (and hopefully not only considering our move to Houston) Iron Bowl and it was a fantastic experience.

I really don't think I have ever been so proud to be a part of Auburn.

First of all, even though we lost we played amazingly. Really better than anyone thought we would.

Second of all, I have NEVER seen the student section so excited and crazy. I actually had to sit down because my stomach was starting to hurt from all the jumping and screaming.

Third of all, after it was over no one wanted to leave. We all stood around and then someone started the "It's great to be an Auburn Tiger" chant, and then when the football players went back to the locker room from the field we just cheered and cheered for them. And I swear I almost started crying.

The day just really exemplified why I love Auburn so much. Time with my family. Being around other Auburn families. Watching the team play, and cheering even when we loose because we played a good game.

Even though we are moving to Houston, I hope hope hope that I will still be able to come back to the Plains occasionally. Auburn has always been such an important part of my life, and I don't intend on letting that change just because we're moving to Texas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Exciting News! (Erin) (Archive)

It's official today! Gerrit and I are moving to Houston next year! He officially accepted the job this morning.

Gerrit went to Houston at the beginning of this month for interviews at Exxon, and came back so excited about the job possibility. He heard back with an offer within a few days and we pretty much knew that we would take it. It's a great offer with great benefits (they really take care of you), and Gerrit is so excited about what kind of work he would be doing (computer stuff that I couldn't explain haha). But even though we felt really sure about this we decided to wait to make it official because he had another interview with another company later in the month.

But now he has accepted the job and we are so excited and I am so proud of him! It's quite scary still, and there are lots of details to be ironed out, but we know it will be a fun adventure. We of course have been doing lots of research, and I have ordered some books about Houston.

Sometime in May probably we are going to be going to Houston to look for somewhere to live. Exxon is wonderful in that they are going to help us out with all of that. I'm excited to go and see the new city we will be living in!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekending With Erin's Family (Gerrit) (Archive)

This weekend has been a wonderful time to hang out with Erin and her family. I came down on Friday evening and helped Erin get her trailer clean for company, then her parents arrived and we had a nice time just hanging out, visiting, and catching up. We talked about the possibility of Houston and I described what this coming Thursday and Friday have in store for me on my site tour.

On Saturday, we got up pretty early to head to the Auburn v. Ole Miss game (which kicked off at the odd time of 11:21am). Erin and I had to be there early to get good seats in the student section. We met up with one of Erin's friends and her boyfriend before the game at a tailgate, then we headed into the stadium. Due to the threat of rain and the early kickoff, we didn't expect to struggle to find seats. I was surprised at how many people were there already, but we got great seats to the game! We were four rows up in the corner of the end zone (here's the link to a pic -> and actually made it on TV (here's the link to two pics my dad took off his TV -> and It was a really fun game... and it was good to watch Auburn have some success on offense. There were some HUGE hits laid out yesterday... it was a very exciting game to watch.

After the game was over we headed back to Erin's trailer to get ready for the big fiesta. Family, friends, and significant others all piled into her living room for feasting (no seriously... there was so much food), chatting, and more football! I was really pleased that the Mississippi State game was on TV... and I really enjoyed getting to watch us play a great game too :) We beat Kentucky 31 - 24, making my day a perfect three for three. 1. getting to watch auburn win 2. getting to watch Ole Miss lose 3. getting to watch State win.

That deserves a big smiley :D

Now we're gearing up to head to lunch with Erin's family and grandparents... and are hoping that all parties remembered the time changed last night...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Lone Star on the Horizon? (Gerrit) (Archive)

I haven't posted about this situation that's been brewing because: a) I didn't want to jinx it... and b) I was worried that I'd get your hopes up (and in the meantime over-inflate my own)

Anyway, now is a good time to give you a very important update on a big decision that Erin and I have been thinking and praying a lot on recently...

Around three weeks ago I went to an information session for ExxonMobil and really was impressed by what they had to say. The jobs they described that they were recruiting for in their Information Systems department sounded excellent, and the benefits even better! Only one problem... a job with Exxon would require a move to Houston.

A few days later, they invited me out to dinner with some of the other recruits they had decided to interview. The dinner brought even more enticing information to light, and I got to sit down and talk with a lady who works in their information systems department. She told me her favorite thing about working for Exxon was that they rotate you through positions around every two years. They do this to keep their employees fresh, innovative, and to constantly look for the managerial talent. A great part of this is that often, you get to sit down with your supervisor and pick your next assignment.

Very excited, I went to my interview the next day. I was relieved when the lady I had talked to at the dinner turned out to be my interviewer! Already being comfortable around her made the interview much easier. The interview went well,and she told me that I should hear back in the next few weeks.

Just over a week and a half later (now we're up to this past Monday) I got a phone call from a woman in the ExxonMobil HR department. She informed me that I had made the cut and asked if I would be available to fly out on November 5th and 6th to Houston for a site visit and a series of additional interviews. She told me that I wouldn't be competing for a position with the other recruits, that there were plenty of positions, but gave the impression that the interviews would be more designed to determine placement within the company.

After a quick call with Travel to set up my itinerary, I was all set to fly out of Birmingham on November 5!

Erin and I are VERY excited/nervous/scared/pumped/uncertain/anxious about this possible move to Houston. Even though it would be very very hard to be away from "home" and from so much of our families, it would be a fun adventure.

Please pray for us as we work towards making this big decision, that Erin would be able to find a good job there too, and that we'd be able to find the perfect place to live (if this is what we decide).

Nothing is set in stone yet (I don't actually have an offer... and won't hear official until the beginning of December), but Erin and I are doing a lot of research.

Your prayers are appreciated!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Engagement Photos (Gerrit) (Archive)

So we have our engagement photos back and they are wonderful!

For those of you who would like to see them, here is a preview.

You can also go check out more on our photos page, or go to Simply Bloom's blog (

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Update... (Erin) (Archive)

Oh my goodness! It was been over a month since we have written anything and I am quite sorry for anyone who has been waiting for an update...

Gerrit and I have both been incredibly busy with the start of a new semester. My schedule is a bit less intense than his. He is taking 21 hours which is insane and hopefully he will survive. So far he's doing a really good job though. I, on the other hand, am taking less hours than I have ever taken before, but, being the student that I am, I have been able to find plenty of ways to stay busy.

Football season is also underway (yay!). This past weekend Gerrit came to Auburn to visit for the Auburn vs. Mississippi State game. Unfortunately (for him) Auburn won by a lot. Really I didn't want us to win that much. I really was rooting for Mississippi State at the end because I didn't want him to be so disappointed in his team. I'm sure my family is appalled by this fact. ;)

After the game Saturday things got worse though. I had a fever. I'm so glad Gerrit was in town to take care of me and I felt much better on Monday. I relapsed yesterday though and went to the doctor today (which is not very helpful and only necessary because I am missing class and need an excuse). So I'm at home resting today and trying to get better because I hate missing class. Hopefully Gerrit won't get sick later this week though!

In other news: we got our engagement pictures back! Hopefully soon we will have some blog images for everyone to see!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Engagement Pictures (Erin) (Archive)

This past week in Huntsville has been extremely busy. We decided on a caterer and a florist, but the most exciting thing was taking our engagement photos!

Tuesday we went out to Camp Maranatha (for those of you who don't know, this is where we met while we were working together) to walk around and reminisce and think about the special places we wanted to get photos at.

Tuesday night and Wednesday, though, we were nervously watching the weather. It stormed on Tuesday night and they predicted rain on Wednesday, but thankfully it cleared up and we had perfect weather for our engagement session!

We had no idea that taking photos could be so much fun! We had such a great time and enjoyed walking around finding great spots for pictures! We had to do a little trekking through the woods, too. ;)

We know that we got some amazing images (Simply Bloom photography is incredible!), and although they all won't be ready until September or October (they are taking a bit of a vacation after a busy summer) they did post a sneak peek of upcoming sessions with one image from ours included!

Go to their blog post a scroll down to see one of our images! Let us know what you think, and we will let you know when there are more to see!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy... (Gerrit) (Archive)

Hello everyone!

It's been awhile since we've posted, but there is certainly good reason for it! Erin and I have been finishing up summer school recently, but as you are certainly already aware, sometimes "vacation" can be busier than normal life. We each were overwhelmed with work during the July term (I was taking two classes and working 20hrs per week, Erin was taking two classes, working, and doing undergrad research).

Now that we're home, we've barely had a moment to stop and breathe. Between our younger brothers getting ready to move into their respective colleges and trying to find the perfect dress for Erin for our engagement photos (which are supposed to happen on Wednesday, weather permitting), we've been moving non-stop. Today we have an appointment with a caterer, so you can go ahead and throw wedding planning into that mix as well.

Of course, despite the "go-go-go-ness", we are certainly enjoying having these two weeks off in between semesters to spend together.

Hope life is treating our faithful readers well...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend (Gerrit) (Archive)

Erin and I went home to Huntsville this past weekend for our fourth of July "break". I got to go home wednesday evening thanks to my professors moving my exams up, and Erin came home thursday night.

I was really looking forward to the break because I had some family coming in from texas (my mom's brother and his daughters, along with my maternal Grandparents) and I was looking forward to getting to spend some time with extended family and Erin together. She was a real sport about the whole thing and I must thank her father for allowing me to steal her from him for virtually the whole weekend.

We had a lot of fun swimming with my two cousins (Alexia, 12 and Mia, 5). Mia absolutely adored Erin, and it was fun to play little kid games in the pool (though my brothers were never really into playing "mermaids" when we were younger). It was really one of very few opportunities that Erin and I will have to swim this summer, so we enjoyed it to the fullest!

On the fourth Erin and I went over to our friend Lauren's house so that Erin could try on her bridesmaid's dress for their wedding, and we came back later that evening with all of my family to join the whole street, which we used to joke was called "Willowbrook Way" for the number of families from our church that lived there, for fireworks and home-made icecream.

All in all it was a nice weekend, and now we're back at our respective universities starting classes all over again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anniversiary Weekend (Erin) (Archive)

This past weekend (the 19th actually) marked three years of Gerrit and I dating. This was the first time we have been able to properly celebrate an anniversary. The first year we were at camp. The second year Gerrit was in Spain. So this year we actually got to go out to a nice dinner and celebrate.

Saturday morning we went to the pool. There is nothing like the pool to make it automatically feel like summer and to make you forget about homework and projects! I wish I had more time to enjoy it this summer!

Saturday night, probably my favorite part of the weekend, we went to go see Up. It was a fantastic movie! I was a little unsure about the 3D thing, because it always scared me as a child. But really it just makes the movie so much better! The movie itself was touching (Gerrit and I teared up in the first five minutes) and yet at the same time an exciting adventure!

It’s always wonderful when Gerrit and I get to spend time together on a weekend, and even more wonderful when it is to celebrate our anniversary.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just Catching Up (Gerrit) (Archive)

It's been a few weeks since either Erin or I have posted, so we figured we'd get you caught up with what's going on...

School has been very intense, especially for Erin. I know she's taking two classes and doing research hours, on top of working. She is teaching spanish classes at a preschool in Auburn, and is also volunteering at the local public library.

I'm a little better off, I'm in two classes and working about 15-20 hours a week. I'm still working as a web developer for the Southern Rural Development Center, in addition to managing and developing websites for my small business, Inversion Web Studios.

Recently I've had the privilege of being able to offer to make websites for several great friends of mine and erin's who are also getting married. This idea of having a couple having a website seems to be catching on!

One of the more interesting things that has happened to me in the past week is having computer issues... I recently decided to reformat my hard drive and just wipe everything off, as I'd heard it was a wonderful thing to do if your computer was being slow, sluggish, and abnormally weird. I carefully made several backups of all the important things on my computer and then wiped the drive clean.

Despite a few very minor issues getting everything set back up, I thought everything had gone really smoothly! That is... until I tried to open the files I'd restored from my external Hard Drive onto my computer.

For some reason, I couldn't get access to some of the files in the restored "My Documents" folder! I was a little freaked out, because I put all of my web site files in there. I did some research, tried everything I could think of to get them open, and finally decided to take it to the computer shop here in Starkville to see if they could fix it.

After several days of waiting, the told me that somehow I (or some program on my computer) had chosen to encrypt the "My Documents" folder. Unfortunately, this meant that while I had all the files on my newly formatted computer, that they were "loyal" to the pre-wiped version of my computer and there was no way to decrypt them on my post-wiped version of my computer.

While there were a lot of things that I did lose, the worst part was losing my pictures and my layered Photoshop documents... neither of which can really be replaced.

So... now I'm just getting things back on my computer that I can and enjoying having my laptop back in my possession...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Some Time In Huntsville (Gerrit) (Archive)

So after a few weeks in Huntsville, it is time to go back to school (at least for me...Gerrit doesn't start summer classes until next week).

We certainly got a lot done while we were in town though! Here are some updates.

1) We attended two weddings, one of which I was a bridesmaid in. We still have two more to go to this summer as well! It's just that time of year and that point in our lives.

2) We went to Six Flags (see previous post)

3) We met with several photographers, and after lots of debate we made a decision. We have booked Simply Bloom Photography! They do amazing work! Their style is very artistic and unique, and at the same they assured us that they take the traditional wedding pictures as well, so we should have a good mix. We are looking forward to having them photograph our wedding, as well as our engagement pictures and my bridal portraits. Check out some of their work at

4) We met with many caterers and are yet to make a decision on that front. But we are making progress.

5) Both of our brothers graduated high school and we had a great time being with each other's families. Not so great a time sitting and listening to hundreds of names being called out.

6) I bought my wedding dress! I went back to the Something Blue Shoppe with my mom, dad, and Gerrit's parents. I tried on the dress for them, everyone loved it, and we placed an order for it! Since we ordered it the store let us take pictures and I have looked at them so many times! I can't wait for everyone (especially Gerrit) to see my dress!

We had a great time in Huntsville! But now, unfortunately, it is time for the start of what looks to be an extrememly busy summer semester.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mothers Day at Six Flags (Gerrit) (Archive)

I have a wonderful mother!

In lieu of traditional mother's day activities, she announced several weeks ago that she wanted to go to six flags as a celebration. Rumor had it that the park was practically empty on Mother's day, which made perfect sense! Who else has a mom that cool?

I can't give all the props to my mother though... I've got to give some cool points to Erin's as well. My mom extended the invitation to include Erin as well and her mom agreed to let her not only forsake the traditional mother's day activities, but to spend mother's day far away from her! I was pretty pumped... not that I don't love my family, but it's just nice to have Erin around...

We were a little apprehensive about the weather as we saw varying forecasts all predicting storms and rain, but we loaded up the cars and Philip, Tucker, Erin, and Myself followed My mom and dad in a separate car (not enough room for all of us in one...). Erin had to get up super super early, because we left our house at six and she lives thirty minutes across town in the opposite direction.

After driving there (and seeing some very entertaining police activity on the way), we got to six flags just as it was opening. Despite the protests of Erin, my mom, and philip, Tucker led us first to the newest roller coaster in the park, the aptly named "Goliath". So we hopped on board the 17 story roller coaster with a first drop that accelerates you to speeds upwards of 70 mph to kick off a day of fun.

Though the park was far from empty (we came to find out that since the park had been so deserted the year before there was some ridiculous promo to get more people to come) it really was not over crowded at all. The most we ever waited in line was an hour and a half, but 45 minutes of that was a rain delay. Most of the line waits were about 15 - 20 minutes... which is not bad at all!

All in all it was a great day... and a great mother's day. Mom really enjoyed herself and we all enjoyed having mothers as awesome as ours...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wedding Dress Shopping (Erin) (Archive)

So after a very busy week I am finally finished with exams and am hanging out in Huntsville for about two weeks. Except "hanging out" isn't exactly the correct phrase as Gerrit and I have many wedding things to do--planning for our own and going to other people's!

This morning I started it all off by going wedding dress shopping with my mom. We went to The Something Blue Shoppe in Hartselle. They were very helpful and my mom and I had a great time looking through the racks of dresses. When we pulled ones that we liked, the people at the store put them in a dressing room for us and when we got about 10 I went to try them on.

My goal for the day was to have a good time, make it enjoyable for my mom (she was almost more excited than I was to look at dresses), to get some ideas of what I wanted, and possibly to narrow it down to a few choices.

So I was very surprised when I put on the perfect dress. I had no idea that it would be so obvious! I love it so much and am so excited about it! I didn't want to take it off at all--I walked all around the store in it looking at other things until I finally had to take it off in order to leave

We're going back in a few weeks with my dad and Gerrit's parents to look at it one more time and then to hopefully order it! I had no idea I would find the perfect dress so soon!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Done With School!... At Least For a Short While (Gerrit) (Archive)

Thursday marked my last exam. I am officially done with classes for this semester. What a liberating feeling! Unfortunately I'm going to be taking summer classes in an effort to graduate early in my program, so my summer reprieve will be short lived.

However, wanting to start it off right, I've headed to auburn and have spent the last few days here spending time with Erin and our good friends. We've had a great time so far watching movies, going to the pool, throwing football, and even heading to Birmingham on Saturday night for an engagement party for some friends who go to UAB and Samford.

It's really been a wonderful way to start off the Summer. I've been able to relax and work on some projects while Erin studies for exams. It's been nice to know that we'll see each other for so long as we don't start summer school until late may (for erin) and june (for me).

We're here in Auburn until wednesday evening, when we'll head back up to Huntsville for the remainder of may and the 13 billion weddings we'll be attending.

Hope all is well for all of you!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Internship... check! (Gerrit) (Archive)

At the beginning of January, I began the search for an internship. As an International Business and Spanish major, I am required to hold an Internationally focused internship before I can graduate.

In order to help get a jump start ahead of my classmates, I attended a career fair on campus, but due to the slow economy, not many of the companies represented there were even hiring interns. I signed up for "Corporate Boot Camp" (a program offered by the International Business program to help it's students be prepared for things like resume writing and interviewing) and started talking with my Academic Advisor about the connections that Mississippi State had with the corporate world.

My advisor started sending me emails with job listings, and I would respond with my resume. I waited for just over 2 months before hearing back from anyone...

Two and a half weeks ago I hear back from a company called Garan Manufacturing (they're most known for their children's clothing line "Garanimals") and they set up an interview. I was very excited to interview with them because they have an operations center here in Starkville. That would mean I would save serious money by not having to find a place to stay in another city.

The interview went really really well. I was thrilled when they told me the position would entail frequent video conferencing with their manufacturing facilities in Honduras and El Salvador, and possibly a visit to one of those facilities on the company jet (they did tell me they don't usually do this, but since my spanish abilities are very good, they might consider it).

Two days after the Garan interview I got a call from Citi bank's Latin America branch. That interview was via phone and I have honestly never had a better connection with an interviewer. They were very very impressed with my computer skills and my language skills, and I just seemed to share a lot of personality traits and likes in common. We started talking about what books I like and he even started recommending books to me! The guy told me that there would be a follow-up interview in a couple of days.

Unfortunately the Citi internship is in Ft. Lauderdale... a full 11.5 hour drive from Erin.... and it lasts for 6 months which would mean I'd have to delay graduation, and that would pose a problem with the wedding date of August 7, 2010 that Erin and I are planning for.
Citi called me back several days later to directly offer me a job... they didn't even do a follow up interview. I asked them how flexible the position was, as far as position and length of time go, and they told me that it was not flexible... so in the interest of Erin and our wedding, I turned down the job. It was very difficult to do because I had no idea what other positions would present themselves. Garan had been supposed to let me know already and I had been unable to get in touch with them to affirm what I assumed would be a no. I thought my advisor would see turning down the prestigious Citi internship imprudent as I had nothing else lined up.

Then, last Wednesday, Garan called me.

I got really nervous when I saw the unkown number show up on my phone with a starkville area code. It was Kristen, my contact from Garan, and she was calling me to offer me a job.

I was ecstatic! I told them that I'd call them back the next day to let them know, but I was completely thrilled! I called Erin to let her know and she was very very excited for me too! The internship will begin in January. The position I had applied for was initially for the fall, but they had hired a friend of mine for the fall who is graduating in December for that position, but had liked me enough they wanted to go ahead and hire me.

I cannot wait to start! I'll keep yall posted as I know more!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Weekend in Starkville (Erin) (Archive)

This past weekend I traveled to Starkville to visit Gerrit! I don't go over to Mississippi as much as Gerrit travels to Auburn because we have a lot of friends we regularly hang out with in Auburn. So it is a nice treat to take a trip to see Gerrit, especially since I get to go to my favorite restaurants!

Friday night we went to Mugshots, a bar and grill with delicious hamburgers and sandwiches. The thing that makes their food so great is their bread--it is buttery and sweet! After eating we went to his friend Amanda's Labrats comedy show. It is an improv comedy group (kind of like Whose Line is it Anyway?) and the show was HILARIOUS. We laughed for a full three hours and fully enjoyed it.

Saturday was a nice relaxing day. We got some homework done, went to eat lunch at Chick-fil-a, and browsed around the bookstore. In the evening we went to the spring football game, which to me didn't matter all that much but to Gerrit it did. As much as I love football (particularly Auburn), spring games are so uneventful because no one cares who wins.

After the game we went to my other favorite restaurant--Stromboli's. This is a little Italian place with delicious pizza that has crust more like sweet dough. It is also very small and often extremely crowded. It is a very popular place to eat, but they only have about eight tables inside! After Stromboli's we went to get ice cream at Bop's, which actually isn't ice cream but delicious frozen custard.

We had a great weekend of relaxation and laughter and great food!

Now if only the end of the semester would get here...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Weekend (Gerrit) (Archive)

Sorry for not posting in awhile... I know that you (our most dedicated and loyal followers) anxiously await any updates and Erin and I are working to make sure that we keep you posted more frequently. As you can imagine, school is busy right now and free time for both of us is pretty much non-existent.

Anyway... I digress...

This past weekend was Easter, and Erin and I both went home for some time with family. I had Good Friday off of school and work, so I went home on Thursday, but Erin had to wait until Friday afternoon to join me.

On Friday afternoon I was at the tire shop getting some new tires on my car watching some SERIOUS weather come in, thinking the whole time about poor Erin (whom I knew was driving out in the middle of it). Quarter sized hail was raining down on South East Huntsville, and I was really worried about her being on the road. Later, looking back on it, Erin probably hit the best possible gap in the storm because she never ran into any tornadoes or hail, which is more than most of North Alabama can say for Friday.

After borrowing my dad's car to head to Erin's side of town after the storm had passed, Erin and I went out to eat dinner with her mom and dad at a sushi restaurant that her family frequents. We had a nice time and enjoyed the charge given us by her parents to go pick up a few things from the grocery story afterward (bribed by the option to pick out a dessert while we were there). We found some delicious ice cream sandwiches with a healthy portion of vanilla inside of two chocolate chip cookies. I don't even remember the other things we picked up because my mind was on those the whole time. :)

After coming back to her house, Erin and I spent some time watching the special features on the dvd for "Marley and Me". Her mom was working on a project for her masters program on her computer that involved some video editing, so I ended up spending some time working with her to get the project just right. It turned into a late night because I had some difficulty. Being a perfectionist and very novice video editor is a bad combination...

Saturday morning brought clearer skies, and Erin headed over to my house to spend the day with my family. We mostly just relaxed in the morning and then went out to grab some lunch. While we were out to lunch, her mom called needing some additional help on the video. It ended up being perfect because going out there allowed Erin to have a chance to work on some homework that I'd been keeping her from during the morning :)

Later that evening, after having dinner back at my house, we watched "Slumdog Millionaire" with my parents. It was a very intense movie, but one that Erin and I heartily recommend. It tells the story of a poor boy from the slums of Mumbai, India, who endures all sorts of tribulations, but goes against all odds to win the Indian version of "Who wants to be a Millionaire". It was very touching... and an overall wonderful movie.

Sunday morning we went to church with my family and then afterward went to lunch with her extended family.

Then, our weekend ended (as they frequently do) with us following each other down to Birmingham before our ways home diverge...

It really was a nice weekend. We enjoyed the time we got to spend with each other and with our families. Now we're looking forward to this weekend when Erin is coming to visit me at MSU. :-)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wedding Planning-Reception (Erin) (Archive)

This past weekend I went up to Huntsville to see my family, go to a bridal shower for one of my friends, and go look at a few reception sites for the wedding!

My parents and I (unfortunately Gerrit wasn't able to be in town) were planning on looking at the Huntsville Museum of Art on Sunday, and last minute we made plans to visit the Botanical Gardens as well. We were just sitting around Saturday afternoon talking about possibilities and decided it would be good to look at the Botanical Gardens, and so we called and they said we could come right then!

The venue we saw at the Botanical Gardens was The Arbor (it's the only place big enough to hold the amount of people we are planning on). It is a beautiful room that is supposed to have an indoor garden feeling. It has vines entwined with lights that climb up arbors on the walls, a high ceiling with a beautiful dome, a working fountain, and so many other unique details. My mom, dad, and I walked in to the room and were wowed by it. By the time we left we had decided that any other venue would be hard pressed to beat this one!

On Sunday afternoon we went to the Art Museum. It was also a beautiful room! It was much simpler with high ceilings, windows that lined the top of the room, and gorgeous artwork on all of the walls. It also had two adjoining rooms that could be good logistically. It felt very elegant, and I could definitely see the reception in this place as well.

All this to say, when we were done looking at both venues (and forget looking at more! our decision was already hard enough!) there was a lot of discussion about them. Pros, cons, costs, etc. And FINALLY I think we have decided on the Botanical Gardens!

The only problem is that we can't book it until August...which, being the planner that I am, makes me very nervous. But we talked with the lady there and she said it really shouldn't be a problem at all and we will continue to be in touch with her to make sure nothing comes up.

We are excited to have made a decision though! Now we have somewhere to visualize when making plans for the reception. And here it is for you to be able to visualize!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Save the Date! (Erin) (Archive)

We’ve officially set a date!
We will be getting married on August 7, 2010 at Faith Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, AL.

Currently we are working on our website so that you will be able to go to and view wedding details, photos, and more. We’ll post wedding details as we know them in order to keep everyone up to date!

It’s exciting that plans are getting put into place!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Backpacking in the Sipsey Wilderness (Gerrit) (Archive)

As a way of kicking off Spring Break 2009 (one of TWO spring breaks that Erin and I have actually had overlap) We went backpacking for three days with some friends of ours through the Sipsey Wilderness. It was a thoroughly planned, three day, thirty mile adventure where we'd planned on walking in a very large circle carrying very heavy "backpacks".

On the eve of our departure we had to make some tough decisions as a group. At the time we made these decisions, there was a storm stretching from Atlanta to El Paso that showed nothing but endless rain in the forecast for the weekend. Here's some key words to pick up on so far in this post: Wilderness, Rain, "Thirty Miles", "Heavy Backpacks". Maybe now you can accurately see the picture we were facing.

Alas, we left early the next morning with nary a backward glance...

Upon arriving at the trail head and covering every scrap of cloth on our bodies with ponchos and rain jackets, we set off on the thirty mile loop. Progress came to an abrupt halt when we reached the "creek" that the trail map assured us would be no big deal to cross. I say "creek" because the raging torrent before us was about 20 yards wide, neck deep, and moving at a speed that rivaled white-water.

Quickly giving the dream of hiking the thirty mile loop in the downpour (some of us more quickly than others), we trudged along on another trail, the destination of which we were unsure.

Lots of hiking in mud, climbing one cliff, and crossing a knee deep stream later we eventually found a suitably dry campsite about 5 miles into the trail. We had dinner, went to bed super early, and tried to stay away from swimming in the tent thanks to all the leaks.

Thankfully the rain mostly stopped during the night and the rest of our camping trip was very fun and mostly dry. We didn't make near the thirty mile goal (it ended up being more like 10) but it was certainly a memorable experience...

I have a cold now...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Engagement: My Version (Erin) (Archive)

I'm excited that we have this website to keep everyone updated as to what is going on with us! And thank you so much to everyone for your congratulations! We are so excited and it means a lot to us that our friends and family are as well.

So here is my version of the proposal:

Let me just preface everything by saying that I wasn't expecting a proposal at all until Spring Break. We had talked about the timing of it a lot, and I was getting very anxious trying to get clues from him all the time. But from what he had said and what his attitude seemed to be, I was completely expecting it to happen in March.


I had been shopping with my mom at Bridgestreet and we were in the dressing rooms when my dad called my mom wondering why Gerrit wanted to go out to lunch. Gerrit had already told me that he wanted to go meet with my dad about a website, and so this didn't really alarm me. But my dad wanted to know if this was "it."

After Gerrit had gone to lunch he came to meet up with me and my mom. We saw our friend Lauren and we were talking to her which brought up the conversation about him getting sized for a suit. He needs to get sized for her wedding and I have been bugging him to get this done for awhile now. So I asked him if he had gone that morning like he said he would, to which he responded that he hadn't and that he wanted me to come with him to go to a store over the mountain. I complained (why wasn't the S&K in Bridgestreet good enough?), but then he begged again in a "please don't ask questions or you will ruin this for yourself" kind of way.
I'm excited that we have this website to keep everyone updated as to what is going on with us! And thank you so much to everyone for your congratulations! We are so excited and it means a lot to us that our friends and family are as well.

So here is my version of the proposal:

Let me just preface everything by saying that I wasn't expecting a proposal at all until Spring Break. We had talked about the timing of it a lot, and I was getting very anxious trying to get clues from him all the time. But from what he had said and what his attitude seemed to be, I was completely expecting it to happen in March.


I had been shopping with my mom at Bridgestreet and we were in the dressing rooms when my dad called my mom wondering why Gerrit wanted to go out to lunch. Gerrit had already told me that he wanted to go meet with my dad about a website, and so this didn't really alarm me. But my dad wanted to know if this was "it."

After Gerrit had gone to lunch he came to meet up with me and my mom. We saw our friend Lauren and we were talking to her which brought up the conversation about him getting sized for a suit. He needs to get sized for her wedding and I have been bugging him to get this done for awhile now. So I asked him if he had gone that morning like he said he would, to which he responded that he hadn't and that he wanted me to come with him to go to a store over the mountain. I complained (why wasn't the S&K in Bridgestreet good enough?), but then he begged again in a "please don't ask questions or you will ruin this for yourself" kind of way.

This was my first hint that something was up. He also didn't have a very good excuse as to why he hadn't had time to run this errand earlier in the morning.

We left Bridgestreet and started driving and I kept asking questions trying to evaluate the situation. What is this place called? Do you know where it is? All of his answers were sketchy, and this made me more suspicious.

Despite what he says about me playing into his plan perfectly, I knew as soon as he turned to go up the mountain that he was up to something. I knew even more that he kept making different detours. But I was just in denial. As much as I had hoped, I just KNEW that he wasn't going to propose this month.

But he did. We found a pretty view, got out of the car, and after he said something mushy (I really don't even remember) he proposed.

And as wonderful as that moment is, and as much as everyone makes a big deal about the proposal, the best part has been everything afterwards.

That night our families got together for dinner. It was so wonderful to see everyone so excited! Telling our friends has also been so much fun! It seems so surreal to us, but with everyone visibly excited around us it helps it to sink in a bit more.

We feel so loved! And we love all of y'all!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Engagement Day! (Gerrit) (Archive)

I know many of you have already seen my post from the morning of the 21st… but I haven’t had the time to sit down, digest, and write about the events of the rest of the day until now.

For some of you this is the first post you’ll read on the blog. For you first timers, I thank you for coming to our blog to keep up to date with our engagement and other plans. We’re very appreciative of all the support and congratulations we’ve received. We’re so happy that you’re excited enough about us and care enough about us to think to pass your notes of congratulations and your excitement along. Your thoughts and prayers are always appreciated.

But here's the meat of the story that you're really caring about: (a longer, more detailed version of the story for those interested can be found here(edit: link actually works now). Be advised, It's long... and detailed.)

(if the image doesn't load, click here to view the album through the flickr website)

Ok, so after arranging for lunch with Mr. Perry, I got ready and nervously wasted a few minutes on the computer trying to make those last few ticks of the clock happen. I drove out to his office and met up with him and we went to a Vietnamese restaurant. We talked a bit about a website that I'm going to be doing for him, but obviously the real reason I wanted to talk to him was something else.

When there was an appropriate break in our conversation, I asked him for his blessing (I had really wanted Erin's mom to be there for this part, but it unfortunately didn't work out with the timing). He assured me that both he and Mrs. Rebecca were thrilled and that they thought highly of me. Our conversation continued for a bit and then we got back down to the business of web site details.

After lunch I met up with Erin and her mom who were out shopping. I almost exploded with excitement when I walked into the store because a good friend of mine who recently got engaged as well was there with her dad and I wanted more than anything to tell her what was going on! I went over and met up with Erin and her mom and followed them around for the remainder of the shopping trip.

My idea was to get Erin up on Monte Sano Mountain, and the easiest way I could think of to do that was to tell her that I needed to go get sized for a suit in the area of town that's on the other side of the mountain because a particular place had been recommended to me (I really did need a suit, and I was supposed to go get sized for one earlier in the day, so Erin was at least tolerant of the idea...)

As we drove up the mountain Erin fell perfectly into my trap by starting to talk about how it'd been forever since she'd been up here and pointed out where she'd taken piano lessons all her life, etc. I suggested that we continue this walk down memory lane by driving to the state park on top of the mountain that we'd both been up many times as kids.

I could tell at this point that erin was getting a little suspicious, so I found a place down by some old cabins that had a pretty view of the city. We got out of the car, looked out over the city, I talked to her for a minute about how much I loved her, and then I dropped onto my knee and asked her to marry me!

On our way back down the mountain we began the marathon of phone calls. Erin called her house and they invited my family over for dinner. It was so exciting to see our new family together so excited about our future!

To summarize: I am engaged and am so happy!

If you're craving more, you can see it at the link above.

If you're craving pictures, here's a slideshow I think you might like...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ok ok!... so I lied! (Gerrit) (Archive)

I lied. I freely confess it to everyone. I had initially planned to propose over spring break, but I just cannot wait any longer.

Last night Erin came over for dinner and hanging-out-with-my-family-time and I thought the ring was about to just jump out of the box up in my room and come shooting down the stairs to Erin's finger of it's own volition!

Last night I lay awake for a long time thinking about what to do. I finally decided that if I could work it out to talk to Mr. Bruce today, that I would propose today... I called him earlier this morning and asked him if we could go to lunch under the guise of talking about a Web Site that I'm going to do for him. I'm leaving in fifteen minutes to go pick him up... and am going to ask for his "blessing". I know he'll be super excited, but that doesn't keep me from feeling nervous. I hope Erin's not mad that I'm not going to have a chance to talk to her mom first as well...

As for how I'm planning on actually proposing, I plan on convincing Erin that it's such a pretty day that we should go out and enjoy it... and then going from there...

I need to go now so I can get ready for lunch... but i'm sure there will be many a picture to post later... :)

I'm so excited I can't hardly type... :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Erin's Birthday and the Coming of the Ring (Gerrit) (Archive)

So after fate dangled excitement right in front of my eyes earlier this evening I went down to the FedEx distribution center and picked up the package. I really wanted to get it today because today, ironically, is Erin's Birthday!

I find it interesting that the thing Erin craves most in the world right now arrived in my hands on her birthday. I wish it was a present that I could give her today!

I have been really impressed with Apollo Diamonds so far, and that continued with the contents of the box they sent me. The box included not only the ring in a beautiful polished wooden box, but also a portfolio containing detailed certificates of authenticity, serial numbers for each of the diamonds, and a thank you card from the entire staff "signed" by everyone. I highly recommend them to anyone...

Here are some pictures... which I'm sure you all want to see:

(if the image doesn't load, click here to view the album through the flickr website)

I can't wait to take it home this weekend to show off to my family! I really can't wait to give it to Erin... but still have about a month to wait on that...

Fate is a Cruel Master to Serve (Gerrit) (Archive)

Ok... so the most unlucky thing just happened to me... Fate is so cruel.

I've been worried all day about the ring coming in because I'd have to sign for it. I've been hoping all day that the package would arrive when I got home after 6.

So I'm driving home from a meeting that lasted until 5:45 and as I was pulling in all I could think was "I hope I beat the FedEx truck home". As I was pulling off of the highway and on to my street, I saw the FedEx truck...

My heart rate doubled in less than half a second and I got SUPER EXCITED that God had worked it out perfectly!... that is until I saw the FedEx truck turn back onto the highway and bypass my street. My heart sank...

Now I've just looked up the location of the ring online and that particular office is open till 8pm. So I'm going to pick it up right now because I just can't stand it!!!!!

I'll blog when I get back!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ring Ring Ring (Gerrit) (Archive)

Chris (the salesman from Apollo Diamonds) called me today to let me know that he was mailing the ring! It's getting Second Day Aired so hopefully it will be here on Wednesday! I'm so excited! I'm sure I'll take it home this weekend to show it to my parents. Erin, When you're reading this in the future... know that it's going to be SO hard for me to hold onto this ring and not give it to you when we see eachother and I have it in my possession!

Speaking of my parents... I talked to my dad today and he and my mom are super excited about it all! I was a little worried about that because originally I had told them a summer proposal, and didn't know what they'd say to a 17.5 month engagement. Mainly this worry came from the fact that 17.5 months is almost three times the amount of time my parents even knew each other before they got married... :)

Anyways... I'm super excited! I can't wait for the ring to come in so that I can see it and be tempted to give it to Erin! My idea is worth it though...

I'll keep you posted... most likely after the ring comes in on Wednesday fingers crossed

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines Day Weekend (Gerrit) (Archive)

I went down to auburn to visit Erin for Valentines this weekend. Not wanting to go out when every other couple was going to be hitting the upper-middle-priced restaurants in a college town, Erin and I decided to go out on Friday night instead! Erin decided she wanted steak. I took a second to thank God for such a wonderful woman, and then enthusiastically agreed.

I called ahead to Outback to get our name on the list, and I'm glad we did. When we got there it was packed! It was about an hour wait at that point but we only waited for about 15 minutes. It's amazing how nice a dinner can feel when you treat yourself to an appetizer, and entree, AND dessert! It was all delicious! We had a great time! While we were there I also gave her her present, which most people really just don't understand so you need a little back story...

I'm a web developer, Erin loves books. I love books too. I started working on an online book community and library manager over the summer as a medium to teach myself some new skills. Well school kicked in and it was just too time consuming to work on during school... so I put it on the back burner. I knew that Erin really wanted me to finish it, so I decided the week before Valentines that that would be the perfect present! I spend MANY hours during the weekend and weeknights to get it finished. It's still a work in progress... but it was done enough that she could use it.

I know it sounds weird to say I gave her the website for valentines... but she was absolutely thrilled! I was pleased with it because it's something personal that I invested ALOT of time in... and It pleased her that I'd actually finished it!

In case you're interested... the site is called Feel free to swing by and check it out!

Anyway... Valentines was good... I know that Erin was somewhat secretly hoping that I'd come out of nowhere and propose this weekend. She is DYING to know what I'm scheming...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaguration Day... and so much more! (Gerrit) (Archive)

Wow... Today's a big day!

I'm currently sitting in the State Fountain Bakery here at MSU watching coverage of the inauguration of Pres. Barack Obama... He's going to be sworn in any minute now...but however exciting this seems... it is not at the top of my current things-that-make-gerrit-shake-he's-so-excited.

To be quite sure, I'm almost shaking right now because I just got off the phone with Chris at Apollo Diamonds (with whom I've been in contact with over the past several days) and he's about to call me back any minute to confirm my order...

Yes... I just bought an engagement ring...

I am so super excited right now! Though I am not planning on proposing until a bit later on in the spring, I thought it prudent to go ahead and order the ring (Since it's all online and the ring will take 3-4 weeks to be made and delivered... I decided that I'd rather go ahead and have it in case something happens in transit or something of that nature... that way I still have time to fix the problem)

And just in case you're wondering... I do have a plan for proposing... and it's a good one. I'm not going to post it online though... yet.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

To Tiger Town for Ring Shopping (Gerrit) (Archive)

Super excited about actually having something of significance to blog about this time! Erin and I went earlier today (actually I guess it was yesterday now... technically speaking) to Tiger Town to visit Ware's Jewelers. I know that a lot of people would scoff at me not wanting to surprise her with the ring... but I wanted to go to look for several things in particular:

- What size she'd feel most comfortable in
- What size diamonds and ring styles looked best on her
- Something she's going to enjoy wearing for forever

We certainly succeeded in finding a ring that not only fit all of the above, but also was almost exactly the same as a ring that Erin had been looking at on the Apollo Diamonds website. If you don't already know about Apollo Diamonds, you should definitely check out their site. Their process for creating "synthetic" diamonds is quite amazing... and the result is a diamond that is chemically identical to a "real" diamond, yet it comes with none of the conflict, corruption, or environmental destruction that mining diamonds brings.

Anyway... I'm very very excited about taking this one step closer...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Setting Up the Blog (Gerrit) (Archive)

Hey there! I'm super excited about today! I just set up the new blog that I'm going to be giving people the address to so they can follow Mine and Erin's engagement (which as of the moment has not happened yet)! I figured that this would be an excellent way to keep in touch with people and provide frequent updates! She has no idea that I'm setting this up... I'm going to blog a few times about a few significant events coming up in the next couple of weeks and then surprise her with it after I propose... I think it will be fun :)

Now I just have to get the look of the blog just right...