27 May 2014

Memories of Memorial Day


For the Buchandermann family, Memorial Day weekend is a "Super Holiday."  Like many American families, we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation... but also a birthday! Kyle's birthday is 27 MAY, so we have made a tradition the past two years of a summer kick-off vacation.  

We wanted to celebrate the holiday in New York City,  so we quickly started searching for a place to spend the weekend. We also love visiting military bases around the country and are super fortunate to get to stay at the base hotels at an affordable cost (wayyyy lower than anything in NYC). We stayed at an Joint Army-Air Force base in Jersey, which was an awesome experience and just a train ride away to NYC.

On the first day of our Memorial Day / Birthday Extravaganza, we wanted to attend Fleet Week New York.  Fleet Week is the opportunity for the public to meet Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as witness the capabilities of the modern ships, land attack vehicles, and technology they use. With Kyle in his summer whites along with the other sailors, and tons of other Marines and Coasties around, it was a "saluting nightmare," as he calls it, for sure. And keeping those whites clean on the dirty NYC subway was a nightmare in itself! We toured several ships, including the USS Cole (the ship that got attacked near Yemen in 2000).  Aside from all of the awesome military gear, our favorite part of the Fleet Week was how they included the kids in the celebration of our country's naval forces. 

 The kids are actually counting and responding with "Yes Sir!" 

 NYC Fleet Week


The next day in NYC, we wanted to go on our own schedule.  We did some research on the train to the city, and decided we really wanted to see Wicked on Broadway.  Kyle has seen it several times, but I haven't and have always wanted to! I'm obsessed with anything with an evil witch (YES, MALEFICENT!) and loved the Wizard of Oz as a kid, even though we weren't allowed to watch it because my twin brother, Coy, was TERRIFIED! We obviously hadn't bought tickets on such short notice, so we checked into same-day opportunities. We rushed to Manhattan to enter the "ticket lottery," a really neat system in which they sell $30 front-row tickets to 13 lucky people whose names are drawn out of a bin a la Hunger Games reaping! The odds were not ever in our favor for those seats, so we had to hurry and jump our way into the "cancellation line" and see if anyone wasn't going to show up for their seats. After waiting for nearly three hours in total... we got two tickets for the show! The seats were perfect--about 20 feet from the stage, dead center. It was truly a dream come true, and we will always cherish our Wicked memories together. 

Elphaba was my favorite, of course


After skipping lunch so we could wait in line all day for tickets, we stuffed our faces at the world famous Carnegie Deli! This place was crazy good, and we are super happy with our colossal Reuben sandwiches (and cheese cake that we got for our train ride back to NJ). 

This should be called the Reuben Studdard

Our last stop in NYC was my personal favorite place, China Town! We walked between China Town and Little Italy, scoring a super cute hat for Kyle (Which I will try not to claim for my own...).

On our last day in New England, we spent Memorial Day with Kyle's God-brother Aaron, his wife Marissa, and their kids Kate, Jacob, and Ruby.  Aaron's family put together a wonderful St. Louis Cardinals-themed Memorial Day backyard BBQ, with neighbors and "a billion" kids! Marissa even baked Kyle a cake for his birthday!  We are so thankful for many new friends, and the opportunity to celebrate with family. 

Ruby loves selfies... and her mother's lipstick

19 May 2014

A Formal Dinner with Cake and Spam


I am fully convinced that we are some of the busiest human beings on the planet. This weekend, we attended the American Military Partner Association 2014 Gala (our first military ball!). This was huge dining-in that I helped plan with the organization for which I volunteer. It was an incredible night, and I am super honored to have met my fAMPAily (minus my closest fellow communications assistant who lives in San Diego, of course).

Prior to the event, I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to wear... However, I somehow convinced myself that I had a suit somewhere in my closet. HA! So, in typical Buchandermann fashion, we had to go purchase a suit the day of the big event. How does Kyle put up with me?

 Kyle and I almost forgot our selfie at the Gala

Kyle, Myself, and Stephen (President of AMPA)

The following day, we dragged ourselves out of bed to get to church on time. We have been busy with traveling, so we have barely gotten the chance to attend church this month. The officiant of our future wedding is actually the assistant pastor of our church in DC, so we hoped to chit-chat with her for a while... However, God had his own plans and she wasn't attending church that morning. Ha!

Once the church service was over, we hustled to a wedding cake tasting and open house in Maryland. One word: Over. Whelming. We are still waiting on several of our wedding plans to fall into place, so we decided we better get started on this wedding cake adventure. After tasting everything from pistachio to red velvet, we decided we wanted to do something a little more special at our wedding... Get excited! (No, no hints yet).

Confused. Worried. Overwhelmed. Full.

Once we got home, Kyle wanted to do a "CVS dinner." This is when we go to drug store under our apartment and just get cheap, random junk food to somehow make into a glorious gourmet dinner (we live a hard life, I know). Last night, we made a REAL Hawaiian pizza (or Chamorro in our case). This pizza might be a little bit different from what us mainlanders are use to seeing. No Canadian bacon here... only SPAM! (courtesy of my mom for Kyle's graduation gift--a whole cooler full of things for the island, including eight flavors of the stuff!) The pizza, well... it wasn't terrible.

Guam is the world's largest consumer of SPAM

15 May 2014

Plan The Wedding? You Mean We Can't Just Show Up?!


Now that things are starting to fall into place for our wedding, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed. However, I have never felt like this before.  Normally when one is overwhelmed, it is in a negative manner.  I am overwhelmed with love and opportunity.  We have been busy; we are attempting to get a couple of ideas in place for the big event.  I do not know how much I wish to uncover, but I just know everything is going to work out! Only 149* days until our wedding! 

*Results may vary... math isn't my strong point! 

On a different note, one of my favorite things about being a Navy family has to be the opportunity to travel the world! (Join the Navy.. see the world!) We purchased this little knickknack a while ago, but it is a new project of ours! Hopefully we run out of room to hang it up! 

13 May 2014

The Beginning of the Beginning...


We've returned from Tennessee to the D-M-V. Let the wedding planning commence! 


That's it, I'm already overwhelmed.

Pinterest. The Knot. Registries? Colors. Music. Reception. Guests. Food? Saber arch. Dress whites? Photographer. Oh boy...

But we have a date! 

11 OCT 2014

Soon to be the happiest day of my life, to date.
I can't wait! <3

09 May 2014

Back on Good Ole Rockytop!


This has certainly been quite the week for the Buchandermann family! Currently, we are in Knoxville to  celebrate Kyle graduating from the University of Tennessee with his PhD in Psychology! 

I am very proud of all of his accomplishments, but this one has been one of Kyle's goals for a long time! I could not imagine getting a PhD. I believe that it takes a very special type of person to put forth the effort to obtain this level of acadimic achievement.  Not only did he obtain just any "plain ole' PhD," but one in psychology! It takes an even more special person to be a successful psychologist! 

Yay PhD!

We always get super excited when traveling to the south. Knoxville, in particular, holds three places we make sure to visit on every trip: Tupelo Honey Cafe (those biscuits, tho!), Dollywood (which we're visiting today), and Walmart! 

Yes, Walmart. In our observations, while "people of Walmart" (you've got to see that website) are probably more homogenous, the stores themselves are very different in the northeast. We will never forget our first trip to a Maryland Walmart, which was more like the 76th Annual Hunger Games, complete with tributes from at least 100 different countries. People were fighting over shampoo, because there wasn't enough on the shelves. The floors looked like people had walked on them barefoot and, while we wouldn't have ever purchased the "produce" on the market side of the store, this is a moot point since there was no such market side--it was a regular, non-24 hour, non-supercenter Walmart. Seriously? Is this 1992? Suffice to say, the South's Finest Walmart and Sam's Club are one of our favorite destinations to stock-up on $2.96 Old Spice Body Wash. My reaction: "Look at these prices! Everything's basically freeeee!!!"

More adventures in Dixie to come!

05 May 2014

Some Things Warrant a Composed Response


Lance and I are humbled and encouraged by the outpouring of love and support this past weekend. Thank you to everyone who took part, however directly or indirectly. We appreciate having you in our lives! I can't, however, hastily conclude that we've "arrived" at a time where hatred is just a fringe stance. One look at the comments on the photo that went viral on AMPA, the organization with which Lance volunteers, shows that we still have a long way to go. 

While I wasn't ignorant that there would be some push-back from a select few, it's difficult to continue to read vehement opinions about your relationship, especially from those who profess to be of the same faith, creed, and national allegiance. While it's easy to say we should "ignore the haters," I can't help but feel these are the type of stances with which many people, even those very close to us, continue to associate. While it would be very short-sighted for us to take these comments personally, we do take them to heart as a call to reconcile faith, even with all its misguidedness, with the lives of God-fearing, country-serving, loving people such as ourselves. Still, those beliefs don't cause us to question the validity of our own faith, our relationship, our impending marriage, or our love for one second. 

So, to those who support us fully--thank you. We love you and, pray for your continued blessings, and hope truth continues to reveal itself to you. To those who do not--the exact same goes for you.

04 May 2014

Speaking of Little Signs...


In the middle of cleaning up our home, look what we just found under the sofa! This was the Cracker-Jack-like ring Kyle used to steal my ring size! (See post from 16 MAR)

Another Little Sign

Proposal Recap

So... here are the details from our big day yesterday!


The rings FINALLY came in from Germany... just four weeks late. Ingrid (the jeweler) called me on Monday and said she they had been shipped from the artisan and she would track them daily. She was certain they would be here by the end of the week. I took this as a sign that it's "go time" and made plans for everyone involved. 

I told Lance that my coworker, another Navy LT at Walter Reed, was getting engaged to his girlfriend and asked Lance to take photos of the proposal.


Looking back, I cannot believe I did not catch on.  At this point of the journey, I was super  excited to take engagement pictures! (Which I'm still wanting to take... *hint-hint*) I immediately wanted to know details, but Kyle said this was a surprise photo shoot, so there wasn't much to plan.


The only plan was to meet up near the Capitol Building. The cover story was that this is where Joseph was going to propose because... he's into government stuff? I don't know... But the real story for us was that this is one of the first places we took a picture on our first visit to DC when I was interviewing with the Navy at Walter Reed. Also, in designing our Christmas Card for 2013, Lance and I couldn't decide between a greeting of "Barack-in' Around the Christmas Tree" (which was ultimately the decision) and "Happy Holidays with a 'Capitol' H!" Not being one who can let go of anything... I decided this was an opportunity to say, "I love you with a 'Capitol' L!" :)

January 2013

I told all my colleagues at work, friends in DC, and Lance's friends/coworkers from Starbucks about the location and meet-up time. I asked them all to be there to support us, and document our day like a scrapbook via social media, with the hashtag #Buchandermanns (a portmanteau of our last names; also, portmanteau is one of the Navy psychologists' favorite words...).

The majority of the events happened Friday evening into Saturday. Lance had to work all day on Saturday, so I made final arrangements for "Joseph's proposal photo shoot" and then told Lance that everyone was gathering at our place after the event to celebrate. Somehow, I had to explain the mass amounts of food, drinks, and ESPECIALLY the Georgetown Cupcakes.


Okay, I know what you're thinking... REALLY?! How could I have possibly not known?! Kyle told me that the celebration was going to be held at our apartment, and that people brought food while I was away at work. I would never question cupcakes...


Saturday morning was really a blur. I forced myself into working out and yoga to cool the nerves, then ran errands all over town to get things set. It was really hard not to eat the cupcakes when I picked them up... but I resisted! Lance finally got off work at 17:00.


After fighting off an abundance of entitled middle schoolers for "Frappuccino Happy Hour," I was ready to get home so that I could get ready for the surprise photo shoot! I normally call my parents when I'm driving home, so that I can keep them updated on how everything is going. However, since I was running late, covered in an array of Starbuck's syrups, and hitting every red light imaginable, I did not call them. (Lucky me. My mom CANNOT keep a secret!) 


While Lance was finishing his hair (looking that good barely takes any time... but it's still an art!), I stowed away a small Bluetooth speaker in his camera bag and hid his phone (making him think he lost it... again) so he couldn't follow the barrage of social media events that would have spoiled the surprise. The speaker was so I could play our song, "A Thousand Years," as we started to approach our group of friends and hopefully he started understanding that Joseph's proposal pictures were actually Lance's proposal pictures.

Sneaky, sneaky!


Finally, we were packed up and headed toward the Capitol building. As the official proposal events was set into motion, a series of small, yet hilarious, mishaps unfolded. First, right when we left the apartment, the speaker started to play our song! I was so nervous he was going to start connecting the dots. When I talked to Lance's mom to tell her that I was planning on asking him to marry me, she said I had better be careful with secrets. Lance could always shake a Christmas present and throw it down, saying, "It's a shirt. With a necklace." Needless to say, I thought my surprise was ruined.

As he seemingly knew nothing, we started heading for the Metro train to take us into the city. If you've never ridden the DC subway system, just know that it's great and fairly efficient... during the week. On the weekends, trains run about every 15 minutes and there are often outages to repair the tracks. As we approached the station, a train pulled in. We would likely just miss it. Not wanting to be late, Lance and I sprinted and just made it in the doors! Right behind us were three people who got caught in the doors and never made it on the the train. Those three people... Lance's coworkers from Starbucks who were supposed to be at the Capitol waiting for us! I freaked, thinking FOR SURE the surprise was ruined.

When we finally got off the train, the third and final, but probably funniest mishap occurred. Kim, the ever-so-important holder-of-the-rings, had been texting me trying to figure out what train we were on because she figured she had boarded the same one and didn't want to run into us, which might have given away the surprise. Sure enough, as soon as Lance and I hopped off the train, there was Kim, Sarah, and her husband, 10 feet in front of us. Both groups did swift about-faces. Lance and I headed for the escalator. Kim and the other two headed for... a dead end. Oh well, I would leave that for them to figure out. I looked at Lance for an expression to tell me he had put it all together, but nope! Nothing. He didn't even see them. Thank God for blindness!


In the words of one of my coworkers, my big eyes are useless! I STILL didn't piece it all together, I thought my coworkers were just hanging out and enjoying a festival that was happening in the Rockville Town Square.

When we finally got off the ever-so-lovely metro, it was pouring rain! No umbrella, no hat for my hair, and we both were wearing white! (We've all been in that situation before, ha!) Luckily, the rain quickly passed and the weather instantly became perfect! The haze from the city was gone, the light was almost golden, and even a rainbow made an appearance at the location of the proposal! The "camera crew" was thoroughly surprised by the rainbow. We, on the other hand, chalked it up to just one of the many "signs" we have seen in the past years that we believe have been God revealing to us His will for us to be together.

Yay for Little Signs :)

Since our friends apparently got on the same train as us, Kyle stalled by taking a quick detour through the city. I kept telling him, "let's hurry and go to the meet-up spot so that I can scout out the location!" (Accompanied by me telling Kyle how perfect the lighting was for photos for about the 1000th time!)


FINALLY, Kim-Sarah-and-crew texted me and told me everyone was ready and waiting at the Capitol. The weather was beautiful, Lance was excited to practice his art, and I was excited to get engaged. It was time!

As Lance made eye contact with my coworkers... and then his coworkers... I think it began to sink in. I started playing the music from his backpack, and grabbed his hand, and we walked up to the monument. I started to tear up, and it's all I could do to turn and hug the man I love, who I look to for strength and security.


When approaching the capital building, I thought that I saw a couple Navy folk, but since Kyle assured me that everyone was going to wear their whites, I did not make the connection. Then, I noticed Kyle had turned on a speaker that he hid in my photography bag.  This was the "Ah-ha!" moment that made me realize what was really happening to me and I wouldn't be taking anyone's pictures! (But seriously, if anyone wants some engagement photos done...)

I was so shocked, the only thing I could keep saying was "Aww. You little snake!" Over. And over. And over...

FINALLY the deed was being done, and I couldn't even move. Despite the barrage of flashes, it seemed like the world had stopped turning and it was just Kyle and me. Teary eyes locked, smiling from ear to ear, WE WERE ENGAGED! 



Afterwards, we gathered back at our apartment in Rockville to celebrate. Food from our two favorite places on our square, Lebanese Taverna and Bonchon Korean Chicken (we're really multicultural!) fed our hunger, and North Carolina moonshine, Tennessee whiskey, and sailor rum gladdened our hearts. We had a great time with all of our friends, and couldn't imagine being more blessed.

Thank you, everyone, for the love and support. We feel so encouraged.

I love you this much!

03 May 2014

Proposal Day


Today is the day! 

Soon, you can finally start hearing from someone other than me. Who am I kidding? This blog is locked tiiiiight so that Lance can't see it. BUT, soon, he'll be joining me documenting our adventures to Guam and beyond.

I'm thrilled this day is here. Excited. Anxious. But unreserved. I can't wait to share this excitement with the man God has placed in my life as my forever friend, partner, and soon-to-be fiancĂ©. 

To life! To love! To Lance! 

     ...I hope he says "yes."

Cheers :)

02 May 2014

D-Minus One


Tomorrow is the proposal date!!! I don't think I've ever been so nervous. But also, never so excited.

I recall my mother telling me when I was young that when I knew I had found The One, I would just know; that would be enough.

I just know--and the mystery of it all is the biggest miracle.

For a thousand years, and a thousand more...