Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Sweetest Moment and a Sparkly Ring

Early on Wednesday morning Johnny tiptoed into his bedroom from the living room where he had been sleeping on a pallet on the couch and woke me up with a kiss on the forehead. He gave me a letter, the 31st letter consecutive letter that I had received over the past month. Contained within were two slips of paper, just as there had been in each of the letters before. Upon one, I found scriptures written and beautiful prayers about character qualities he was praying over me. On the second page there was a love letter, telling me what he appreciated about me and how beautiful I was. I had been receiving these letters for a month and felt so treasured that Johnny would care so much to pursue me in my favorite way. I remember feeling loved and happy, but also so bummed because I would be leaving later that night, by myself on a red eye back to Kansas. I rolled over and fell back asleep while Johnny finished getting ready for work, printed my boarding pass for me and sat on the edge of the bed eating a bowl of cherrios. Before he left he told me that he would be home early today because his bosses were giving them a half day before Thanksgiving and told me he would lock the door behind him.

I woke up, made the bed, packed my suitcase for later that night and moped around the apartment, already dreading leaving. Johnny told me he could not afford to come home for both Christmas and Thanksgiving, so he would spend Turkey Day with Joe and his Uncle in who lived nearby.

Johnny got home and after a quick lunch told me that he thought we should get out of the house and do something fun before I have to leave. Even though I was sulking around and cranky about leaving, I agreed...thinking it would be better to be up and doing something then sulk at home. Johnny said that he and Joe had been on this neat hike a few months ago and it was the prettiest place he had been in California and he wanted to take me there, so off we went.

We listened to music in the car and enjoyed the beautiful drive to Malibu on the Pacific Coastal Highway. The song "Gotta Feeling" (Tonight's Gonna be a Good Night) came on and I said "turn it-tonight is not going to be a good night, I have to leave". Johnny just smiled and said "I know you are sad, I am too, but lets try to have fun...we will go on a fun hike and have a nice dinner before I have to take you to the airport".

We got to Point Dume and had such a fun time walking around, taking pictures and laughing together. When Johnny bought me a new camera he had also purchased a little tripod to go with it, so we set the tripod up and took some great pictures. Johnny found a setting that would make the camera wait 15 seconds then take a series of pictures every few seconds. We were just having a ball. I mean, how incredible...we were on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean as the sun was about to set. After a few rounds of photos, Johnny set up the camera one more time then walked around to his Saddleback Leather Bag, opened it and said...

There is something I want to talk to you about.

In his hand he is holding a ring box with a beautiful white ribbon around it, as he gets down on one knee he tells me...

Every day I have been with you has been amazing, I love you so much...

....Will you be my Wife?

I of course said "YES" and instantly start crying. I wrap my arms around him and mutter over and over again how I can't believe it and is this really happening? He has the biggest grin on his face and asks, "Well, are you going to open it?" I slipped the ribbon off of the box and handed it back to him so that he could open the box and place the ring on my finger. He did an amazing was just perfect!

We laughed and hugged and prayed and took a million pictures! I was just giddy! We decided to hike down to the beach and take more pictures.

A few moments after he proposed he couldn't contain it any longer and he said, "And I am flying back with you tonight to Kansas City so that we can tell all of our extended family at Thanksgiving!" He planned it perfectly, and told me "tonight is our night, we arn't going to text or call anyone...just enjoy this moment together, then we can call everyone tomorrow!"  As we hiked back to the car to head to dinner he explained all the sneaky tidbits and how he had pulled it all off.

Johnny had flown in to Kansas City early in October to take my Dad to dinner and ask for his blessing. He had also purchased the ring that weekend, on the Plaza in Kansas City. There were a million little sneaky fibs he told me, like not being able to come home for Thanksgiving. He told me that there were so many nights when we were talking on the phone and the ring had been in his hand! Now it was all coming together, the beautiful letters and prayers, the last one of the month ending that day...everything! And he had pulled it off flawlessly--I was SO SURPRISED!

We had the most incredible and romantic dinner at Il Cielo, an Italian restaurant dripping in sparkling twinkle lights and little round tables for two. We had such a fun dinner laughing and talking and dreaming about life together.

We parked the car at the airport and Johnny retrieved his suitcase that he had packed the whole week and had hidden in place of the extra tire in his car! Man, he thought of everything!! Then we boarded our flight at LAX and were welcomed in Kansas City with hugs, excitement and tears by our whole immediate family.

It was the most amazing day of my life. I am proud to be the future Mrs. John Falk. I love him so much and can not wait to begin our lives together!!! A Page is Turned...

Love and Prayers

Tumbleweed and Baking

K-State made an excellent decision this year when they chose to do away with the one day fall break in favor of adding on two additional days to Thanksgiving, thereby giving us a full NINE days off of school. Lets take a moment to say, "snaps for them" *snap, snap, snap*. Yes, this was marvelous, because then I could fly to California Friday after classes, arrive ridiculously late Friday night, and have FIVE days with my love before I boarded the plane back to Kansas City late Wednesday night, to arrive in time for Turkey Day with the Fam. I was delighted. Hollie and I rode to the airport together because she was flying to Texas to see her boy and our planes left within 5 min of each other. Just perfect.

After a series of long flights and layovers, I finally arrived at LAX at midnight! Johnny was waiting for me and I dropped my bags and flew into his arms! We stayed up late talking and decided to wake up early to check the weather and see if Disneyland was still an option for the morning. When we looked it was an 80% chance of rain all day and the sky looked dark and cloudy, not to mention we were exhausted! Sooooo, sadly, we decided to put our Magical Disney plans on hold until later and after a few more hours of ZZZZzzz's went to....

KIMMIE'S COFFEE CUP!!! Yummy! With our tummys full of hot coffee and the best french toast and raisin bread you have EVER tasted we decided to take random pictures in the antique shops.

Oh look, we are just casually reading in our antique living room....haha. 

Rainy Day in Old Town Orange!
Went to California Pets to look at Puppies, ahhh, what fun but also torture since we couldn't take one home!

Oops, playing catch inside!

While en route to IKEA we found the largest tumbleweed EVER!

So naturally, we had to pull the car over and try to throw it!

It's taller than I am!!

I found some friends in IKEA...such a fun place to explore!

While Johnny and Joe were at work I spent my days baking up a storm. I made cookies for Johnny's work, the neighbors and the boys...then moved on to cooking meals and freezing them so Johnny could eat yummy meals the next month or so and not frozen pizzas and quesadillas... oh the life of bachelors. Ha!

Here I am trying to be all artsy with my new camera that Johnny got me after mine broke. This pic is making me hungry!!!

It was a wonderful week, I was a sneaky elf and decorated Johnny and Joe's apartment for Christmas while they were at work, I power cleaned and vacuumed and dusted and organized, I also had a good time just relaxing, reading and spending quality time with Johnny. 

Before I knew it--Wednesday morning was here and I would be leaving later that night, on a red eye back to KC...

...but this is where the fun story begins!

Love and Prayers, 


Shapshots and Tidbits

I have a LOT of things to share, I was trying to figure out just how I wanted to say them I start with the most exciting, then go back in time? Do I share chronologically? hmmm, all very important decisions in the life of this blogger....okay, not really, I have pondered them for all of 32 seconds before deciding this is what I am going to do...first, an update is in order. so here we are. the past month-ish or two  in snapshots:

Mom and Emma came to Manhattan for a girls weekend! We went shopping, watched movies and ate delish black bean raspberry dip at So Long Saloon!
ROAD TRIP! We piled into the car, grabbed our Sonic happy hour drinks and we were off to Weskan, Kansas for a weekend of fun and adventure. We went exploring on Hollie's ranch, took a little dip in the pond :) and went horseback riding around the pasture. 

This is me and my horse Satin!

Johnny came home one weekend in October and we went to the Vaughn Orchard and Country Store, Weston Red Barn Farm and Pirtle Winery...

It was a fun weekend, but went by WAY too fast!

Kappa Kappa Gamma WON Homecoming! Horray! We are the Champions! (Annnd, Emily and I are rooming together next semester...YAY!)

I also had to say goodbye to the best Bompa in the whole wide world, but got to celebrate his incredible life of 91 years with all of my family: cousins, aunts, uncles...and Amazing Grandma Betty.

I successfully completed a huge thematic unit in my literacy methods course about "Celebrations Around the World" It took me a zillion hours and included at least 45 different children's literature books....I am proud of it, but GLAD it is over!

Coming up Next: California Trip... :)

Love and Prayers, 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monkey Faces and Shaving Cream Giants

A Letter to Bompa
August 17, 1919-November 4th, 2010

Oh Bomps, you were the best grandpa any girl could ever ask for. With your loud boisterous laugh and always a twinkle in your eye you have left such an incredible legacy.  I think a favorite memory will always be the "Shaving Cream Giant" What other grandpa on the planet likes to tease AND terrify his grandkids with a make-believe giant covered in shaving cream who just needs a kiss to become dear old Bomps again? I loved playing that game with you! I also loved being the daring and brave one who would "sacrifice" and kiss you so my brother, sister, and cousins would be saved.

Bompa, you are so talented--I really mean that- You are an amazing artist and wonderful singer. I love getting special hand-drawn cartoons from you, always with wit and that sense of humor that makes me laugh like no one else can. I also adore your voice and feel so blessed that we get to share that gift together. I love it when you break into a Christmas song like "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" during a commercial break or some other random time!  Even when all my cousins and siblings would tease me about singing Danny Boy, secretly, somewhere inside I loved it. I loved being little and crawling in your lab, my high-pitchy-overly-vibrato voice mingling with your deep, rich melodious one. I felt so proud, like we got to share something together that no one else in the family did. I will treasure those moments forever Bomps. I hope you enjoyed that last performance at your funeral, boy, it sure was hard to get through it without you...standing up there with everyone watching, but as my voice began to quiver I could hear your strong voice in my ears and imagined myself as a little girl again, sitting in your lab and singing in the living room. 

Bompa, I used to love it when I would walk in the room and you would refuse to let me sit down until you have had your hug and kiss. I loved it when you would make me laugh by adding some fantastic one-liner or bit of sarcastic wit to the conversation.(Like the time my Dad was joking with grandma about her cough and asked if
she needed some Brandy to help and you slyly began coughing quietly to yourself in the corner). I loved seeing you shake my Johnny's hand, and comment about what a good name John is and how he had better take good care of me. I promise you he has taken good care of me, and always will. I am so glad that he got to know you, It makes me smile. 

I loved hearing your stories about when you grew up in New York and how you and Grandma met. You truly had the sweetest romance. I know you are probably up in heaven rolling your eyes, but I have all of the love letters that you and Grandma exchanged and I am going through them and working on putting them in a book for the family. You are quite the romantic, and always! I am so glad that we have your love story captured in letters. They are very precious to me. These past few weeks have been hard without you. We all miss you so much, it seems strange that when I go see Grandma, you won't be sitting next to her in your chair. You two were always there...right next to each other, in your chairs. It makes me sad, Bompa...make sure you find some really comfy chairs in heaven that are right next to each other and save one for Grandma. 

I am glad that you love Jesus, Bompa. I am glad that you raised all eight of your kids to love him to. I am confident you have eared a zillion crowns in heaven, for you were simply the best--a saint! I can't wait to see you again in heaven Bompa, and can't wait to do the monkey face and sing Danny Boy together again. 

There are so many things that made you the best Bompa in the world--I could never say them all, and have only scratched the surface. I know you are in a better place now, spending eternity with the Lord that you loved and served every day of your life. I miss you so much already, Bompa, thank you for the memories, for the love that you lavished on each of us, for the values and morals you instilled in us and for the gift of laughter and love you brought to all!. 

I miss you and I love you!!!

Love and Prayers,

Courtney Grace

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hot Cocoa and Movie Challenge

Soooo my roomies and I have decided to watch our way through a comprehensive list of all movies mentioned in the exceptional television program, Gilmore Girls. As big fans of the show, we felt that to become "truly expert" in all things "pop culture" it would be necessary to familiarize ourselves with the many epic movies on this list. We will work our way through the list, discussing each movie after viewing...that way, after college and life separates us...we will still have the opportunity to bond and chat about the movies :)

First up was the movie "Paper Moon" (We are not working through the list in any particular order). We read the back of the movie and laughed hysterically, "The year is 1936. Orphaned Addie Loggins is left in the care of unethical travelling Bible salesman Moses Pray, who may or may not be her father. En route to Addie's relatives, Moses learns that the 9-year-old is quite a handful: she smokes, cusses, and is almost as devious and manipulative as he is. They join forces as swindlers, working together so well that Addie is averse to breaking up the team -- which is one reason that she sabotages the romance between Moses and good-time gal Trixie Delight. Later, while attempting to square a $200 debt that Addie claims he owes her, Moses runs afoul of of a bootlegger (John Hillerman) and is nearly beaten to death by the criminal's twin-brother sheriff. Painfully pulling himself together, Moses gets Addie to her relatives, whereupon she adamantly refuses to leave his side." 

The review: Epic! How have we not seen/heard of this movie before? It was AMAZING. We made our new favorite warm drink (Hot Cocoa with Sugar Free Hazelnut Coffee Mate) and started the flick. The black and white movie held the perfect mix of charm, wit, and a bushel of laughs. We rate this movie an A. Highly recommend it!

Favorite Moments: 

When Addie (who is wise beyond her 9 years) discovers that Mose is scamming widowed women by delivering unordered Bibles and charging exorbitant prices. He locates these women by going through the obituary colums of local papers. 

It is really funny, because most of the movie takes place in Kansas and Missouri so there are many town names and landmarks like Dodge City. It is funny because Addie just steals your heart even though she is a smoking little nine year old who travels town to town making money in every dishonest way imaginable! It is great!

Movie Watching Extraordinaire,

Love and Prayers, 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Children Forever and Sneaky Surprises!

I am feeling very blessed. I have been so excited to get to write this post! Since Johnny moved out to California at the end of June the Lord has provided two amazing weekends that I got to fly out to CA and see my guy! The first weekend was long awaited and desperately needed. It had been almost seven and a half weeks since we had seen each other and it seemed even longer because those weeks spanned Johnny beginning work and the crazyness that is work week and recruitment week at Kappa. Because of those things our phone dates were scattered and we were thirsting for some extended "catch up" time!! We were excited to get some quality time together, celebrate my birthday and have some fun adventures!

I can't even tell you the butterflies that were settled in my tummy when I walked out of terminal and saw Johnny! He looked so handsome in his work clothes and glasses. It was strange, running up to him and hugging him felt wonderful but different--it was like hugging a stranger, in a good way, not a bad way. Oh my word. I am not describing this well, but basically it was amazing! Haha. Oh goodness. 

Johnny was so sweet to plan a special evening for us. I got in really late, but he had ordered a pizza from a new local pizzeria, he also made a caesar salad and had surprised me with my favorite dessert--Strawberry Shortcake! I was impressed at his baking skills! Soon after dinner he gave me my 21st birthday gift, a Sandlot edition leather baseball glove and a precious book about skills every child needed to know. He went on to explain that it is really important for us to always be able to share fun times together and keep young hearts. He told me that he picked out a baseball glove because playing catch was something we could always do together, no matter where or how old we were. He explained all of this much better and I am sure I am not giving it justice at all but it was very special and meaningful. I am so thankful for the care that he puts into making me feel treasured!

Some other hi-lights from my first California trip were:
We got to watch the sunset over the ocean at this neat park Johnny found, then we had a chance to "be kids" and play catch. We traded gloves because mine really needed breaking in and I was kinda a wimp. I used Johnny's old childhood glove because I needed all the help I could get! 

Stunning sunset! God is a master artist!

What a cutie!

Okay, here is a hi-light for you, I don't know if you can tell, we were trying to be sneaky--but there is a couple behind me in this picture who have a DOG STROLLER. It is all incased in mesh stuff and has a basket on the bottom for the dogs food and water bowl. This little dog was so pampered and yippie. Johnny and I could not believe our eyes. Only in Orange County...Ugh. Maybe we "midwesterners" don't fit in so well here!

This was at the Old Orange International Street Fair. We had a blast people watching and watching all the different cultures dance and have fun. There was fun music and great food!

At the street fair!

This was the greatest little adorable cupcake place. Johnny bought me some mini cupcakes so I could sample the creative flavors! Yummmmmy!

This last weekend was SOOOO amazing. Basically, I decided to embrace spontaneity a few weeks ago and buy a cheap ticket to California at one in the morning. I kept this purchase super secret from Johnny and had a BLAST surprising him!

My master plan was to somehow get Johnny to be on Skype Friday morning so that I could see his face when I told him that I would be in his arms later that day! The problem is, Johnny is a very busy guy and has almost no time in the mornings, we have never skyped in the morning before, so it would have been strange to out of the blue ask him to get on. This is when the scheme began...Thursday night the roomies and I watched P.S. I Love You. Johnny knows how I melt down upon watching this movie...let me paint a picture of what I mean by "melt-down" envision: uncontrollable sobbing with snot and tears mingling as I mop my face up with kleenex after kleenex and mumble: "How would it feel to loose the love of your life"...basically, in a word: PATHETIC. Soooooo, knowing that Johnny is well aware of the effect this movie has on me (oh dear, the first time I watched it...hysterics, but that is another story entirely), I used this to get him to agree to chat in the morning. I called him in somewhat "meltdown" mode telling him "how frustrated I am that the internet isn't working and how it might be better in the am when less people were on and I just needed to see his face in the morning and would he please please please get on skype while he ate breakfast so I could just see him?" I laid it on THICK (totally deserved an academy award).

The next morning, being the amazing boyfriend he is, he got on skype. I am sure he was relieved I was no longer in psycho-girlfriend-mode, anywho. We chatted a bit, then I asked "How many days left til we see each other? He replied, "I think 21 or 22, but check the countdown" (we made a countdown on my phone when we drove to the airport last time). I knew that this was coming so I held up the countdown to the screen and it read 0000!

He was shocked and I said, "Sooo, are you busy tonight? Would you mind picking me up at the airport?"


He was so happy, I was so happy...and I just couldn't wait to see him that night when I finally landed at 11:15!!!

This past weekend was such a blur, it went by way to fast!! Saturday we went exploring, drove to 8 Mexican restaurants in search of a "La Fiesta" of Orange County, no such luck, cheap mexican of Manhattan, KS is just hard to beat! We also went to the movie "The Town" pretty good! Sun bathed at the pool and stayed up wayyyy too late talking. Sometime after two in the morning we both realized we were starving and went on a late night excursion to Del Taco for 39 cent tacos...disgusting...yes, satisfying...yes!

Sunday we went to Kimmie's Coffee Cup, our official new favorite breakfast joint, and walked around Old Orange. We found a cute antique store that had tons of old children's books and took a trip down memory lane. The rest of the day we relaxed, took a nap then headed off to LA to explore a bit before I had to catch my flight!

We went to this old mansion in LA that has been in a ton of movies. See if you can recognize it! It was in National Treasure 2, The Holiday and tons more! I wish we could have gone inside to take pics, but we loved touring the gardens and had fun peeking in a few windows.

The gardens were absolutely beautiful! 
Johnny is a total goofball, he took a series of "statue shots"
Annnnnd, what lies behind door number one. (wish I could tell you, but it was locked)

Johnny treated me to a very special and very nice dinner in Los Angeles before I had to catch my red-eye flight back to KS. The waiter sounded just like a french character from Ratatouille and said "'Ere you are Mademoiselle" as he handed me my menu...LOVE IT!
It was a splendid weekend full of fun! The best was that the whole weekend Johnny just kept saying over and over, "I can't believe you are here!"

Oh how I love being Sneaky,
Love and Prayers,