I have excellent news! Well, I think its excellent…you might not find it all that interesting, but that is a risk I am willing to take! It turns out I am not a cold, heartless bitch! Hoorah! Let me explain…

It is common knowledge that I, Hayley Ann O’Hara, have never been in a big hurry to have children. “Hesitant” doesn’t even begin to cover it…there have been many moments after a bad experience at a restaurant or in a shopping mall in which I have proclaimed, “I will NOT have those¬†things.” What people don’t know is how much my distaste for children really does bother me or how much my soon to be husband, Andrew, adores and wants children.

The last couple of months as the wedding drew near…I have found myself in a bit of a panic…asking myself and Andrew, “what if I never want to have children?” or “Would you still love me if we never had kids?” His response was always a positive one, but he has always been confident that one day my perspective on having children would change; I wasn’t, until now. Well, until this morning. After I woke up from the most wonderful and realistic dream I can ever remember having. In this dream Andrew and I were grilling in the back yard, it was our backyard, except that we had a fence and extremely beautiful landscaping…but that’s beside the point. In that backyard with us were two new additions to the family. One was a medium sized brown lab that I kept referring to as Penny Lane. Penny Lane is my favorite movie character of all time…so I’m not surprised. The dog was sweet, friendly and slobbery, but it was the little girl with bouncing blonde curls, big blue eyes, thick lashes and Andrew’s dimples that had me in awe. Lola Jane, that’s what we were calling her and I like it, was running around the backyard in a summer outfit that could have only been put together by moi and the dream version of her was completely stealing my heart. I spent my entire night dreaming that I was in that backyard with my husband, my daughter and our furry friend and I have never felt so MUCH love, peace and contentment. When I woke up I spent a good 2 hours with baby fever, even calling my mom to gush about the name, “Lola Jane Grade”. Of course a tantrum I witnessed at Panera snapped me right out of it…but I still feel a little warmth in my heart when I think of those eyes and those dimples.

Because I am me…and I had to ruin this whole experience I went to morphthing.com and took the time to morph a picture of Andrew and I to see what our baby would like…I realize this is something only crazy people do, but I am crazy, so its fine. Needless to say…the result was not what I envisioned in my dream…and instead it just freaked me out. Lucky, for you…I decided to share.

Baby of 422223_10100963361168439_414750360_n.jpg and 304343_10101044396468049_748323164_n.jpg

 

For some reason…out of all the tasks I have had to tackle in regard to Andrew and I’s wedding the Engagement pictures seemed especially daunting. I know everyone says…a picture is worth a thousand words and while I would normally smack anyone who even uttered that cliche in my presence I tend to believe that in the engagement picture world…that cliche could not be more accurate.

An engagement session is meant to capture a love story, an aspect of that couple that most don’t regularly get to see. You are supposed to look at those pictures and feel absolutely certain that both halves of that union have found “the one”. Seems like it should be simple, mindless and natural and maybe it is….for some.

You see, most couples fall in love like this:

engagement Engagement pictures

And this

Engagement Session Seattle Library #engagement  #engagement

And sometimes like this:

engagement

Andrew and I’s love story isn’t quite so charming and neither are our photogenic qualities, because our love story looks a lot like this:

And this:

…..

Always this…

A lot of this

So much of this

And not enough of this

While our relationship has so many strong points are portraits are not one of them.

Needless to say, I’m concerned. I knew that posing Andrew and I in a meadow with a picnic basket wasn’t going to cut it. The pictures would come out awkward, strained and unattractive. I needed to find a way to represent our relationship in the most natural and relaxed way possible.

So, about 2 months ago I began my research. Andrew and I don’t go on romantic picnics (though we should) we don’t wander around downtown Omaha (unless we are intoxicated) and we don’t peruse old used book stores (Andrew doesn’t even read). I felt like forcing a picture of Andrew and I standing next to an old barn while staring wistfully into each others eyes would just not result in a decent photograph.

I think I’ve made myself clear.

Lucky for us…I think I’ve come up with a solution. Unlucky for you…I’m not telling you what that solution is until the pictures are done and then I will share here ūüėČ

Andrew and I rarely fight. Sure, we bicker, disagree, annoy, nag (well, i do) and some days I am pretty sure he wants to return me right back where he found me. Luckily, most of our disagreements last less than 10 minutes…but when we do decide to fight, we really fight.

Andrew and I’s fighting styles are outrageously different.

I have a large arsenal of vocabulary words at my disposal and I tend to pull out the sharpest I can find. I string together arguments and rants so impeccably delivered that Andrew usually stands there with a slightly stunned expression on his face. Partly because I just made my side of the argument sound like the “right side” but mostly because what I just said was really, really mean. These rants are usually followed by some dramatic exit from the room including stair stomping and door slamming before I collapse on the bed in¬†exaggerated¬†tears.

Andrew’s approach is much different. He is the most even keeled, patient person on this planet. When things begin to escalate he likes to remove himself from the situation and he becomes very, very quiet. There is no discussing the problem, there is no expressing emotion; its like watching television try to find its cable signal. This approach…absolutely infuriates me. Fury really isn’t a strong enough word. While he goes to another room to watch TV I am still sobbing on the bed; pissed and feeling guilty about what I have already said.

So I do what any other reasonably sane young woman would do…I barge into whatever room he has taken his retreat and begin another rant. It isn’t until I have him yelling back (when he yells I know I have really really pissed him off) that I am satisfied. This satisfaction is usually short-lived because I am irrationally outraged that he would even consider raising his voice at me. Repeat dramatic exit.

Are you exhausted yet?

…at this point the post-tears headache has set in, my eye make-up is nestling comfortably on my pillow and I have officially lost all of my fight; this is usually the moment in which Andrew opens the bedroom door slowly…comes to the bed and kisses my forehead. Sometimes he says sorry first, but most of the time I do. We play the “next time game”, i.e. “I think we could avoid this fight if next time you just did this…” And then we forgive each other and eat something (fighting makes me hungry!!)

I know what you are all thinking…”how dysfunctional.” Some of you are probably wondering if I have ever heard the quote “forgiven but not forgotten” and thinking I should keep my sharp tongue under control. You’re probably right. But are any couple’s fights functional? No, they’re not. That’s why its called a fight.

When Andrew and I finish a fight of this magnitude (just to be clear this might happen twice in an entire year) we feel embarrassed & exhausted…but mostly relieved. A good fight once in a while is much like undergoing a rapid juice cleanse. It is painful, uncomfortable and leaves you with several awful memories…but at the end, once you’ve put your digestive system back together…you have to admit, you feel refreshed!

In approximately 48 hours I will be boarding a plane with my friends en route to San Diego! Exciting right? RIGHT! What some people have found strange is that Andrew, my fiance, will not be one of those friends on that plane or on that trip. “You’re going on vacation without your fiance?” I’ve been asked by several people, usually with a slightly¬†judgmental¬†look on their face. “Yep.” I respond while I enjoy the awkwardness as they wait for some sort of explanation… he has to work (which he does) we couldn’t afford it if we both went (we couldn’t)…but they’re not getting an explanation because I don’t believe one is warranted.

I suppose Andrew and I have become a “we”.¬†¬†We¬†do most things together. We¬† pay¬†our¬† bills. We¬†begin most sentences with¬†we.¬†But while Andrew and I exist as a “we”. I think we both have a definite “me”. Which is important.

In our world an engagement or even a marriage does not mean one does not do anything without the other. Instead, it just requires that one does not do anything without thinking of the other. There are many times you will find me out with my friends without Andrew on my arm; either because he had to work or because he didn’t feel up to a night out. And there are plenty of times you will find Andrew playing softball with friends and having beers without me because that is his thing, his “me time”.

When it came time to decide on the trip I took Andrew into consideration. Will Andrew be bummed he isn’t going with? You bet. Will he miss me? Definitely. I’ll miss him too! It goes without saying that I discussed the trip with Andrew before it was planned, but I didn’t ask for his permission. He didn’t expect me to ask for his permission. Instead, I acknowledged his response and based my decision on that. Lucky for me I am marrying one of the most wonderful people on the planet, so of course he thought it was a great idea that I go to see one of my oldest friends, even if it was without him.

That is a relationship, an engagement & a soon to be marriage. And I like it.

 

I just joined the Tumblr craze. I know it was only a matter of time before my Pinterest fix would be too much and I would be looking for another fix. I found it.

In case you are a Tumblr addict as well…or maybe because you just can’t get enough of me you can check out my Tumblr here::

http://hayleyannohara.tumblr.com/

Anyways, I was perusing the “wedding” tag this evening and soaking in all of the beautiful wedding images when I encountered this short post::

I can’t wait to be married

So that Joe and I can buy our groceries and make our bed (or not) and make cookies all the time, dance in the kitchen, and snuggle under blankets every night before bed and nobody has to go home.

Permanent sleepover.

I can’t wait to have joint things.

‚ÄúThat‚Äôs Joe and Katie‚Äôs couch.‚ÄĚ

Yeah.

…this made me pause. Andrew and I already buy our groceries. It is¬†our couch. And we make a joint decision every day not to make¬†our¬†bed. I had to ask myself…do couples that live together prior to marriage miss out on something?

I decided quickly that the answer was no, not necessarily.

Images of Andrew’s toothpaste splatter all over the bathroom suddenly invaded my mind. Initially, I was jealous of the romance involved in starting your life together in so many different ways. Andrew and I are going to come home from our honeymoon to the same house we shared for years, we’re going to get in the same bed and buy the same groceries. And love each other in the same way.

And just when I was about to kick Andrew’s butt out, sell the house and spend the rest of our engagement in two¬†separate and very¬†small 1-bedroom apartments I realized something. Isn’t even more romantic that I am choosing Andrew and our life together with all of the facts? His toothpaste will always be splattered across the bathroom, his snoring will continue to cost me my sleep, his obsession with discussing the lawn will have my eyes rolling into the back of my head and his test strips will be all over the house…but despite that, despite all of it I can’t wait to have him and his mess and his snoring ¬†under the same roof for the rest of my life. Making that choice, even with reality crashing down on top of us, is more romance than anyone could ever hope for.

You are already intrigued. I know you are.

This title is a very short yet accurate description of what I imagine “pregnant Hayley” will be. My hesitation to have children is public knowledge…I’m not ashamed to admit that having a dependent, slobbery bundle of “joy” is¬†not at the top of my to-do list. But my distaste for pro-creation goes beyond that of raising the child…because “dread” is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about actually being pregnant.

I am a 24-year-old who has 3 different doctors (specialist, nonetheless) in my contact “favorites”. In the past year I have had more tests ran than most 60-year-olds have had done in their life. I’m probably dying…but I can’t confirm that yet. Needless to say…I am not exactly hopeful that a pregnancy of mine will be “easy”. I expect to have to endure most of the “side-effects”…morning sickness? Definitely. Intense heartburn? Obviously. Fatigue? Of course! I will also probably be in labor for 37 hours without any sort of pain medicine because my body will react unfavorably to it. Are you all keeping up with me here? It is really going to suck.

Aside from the health issues I am going to be hideous. Picture a less attractive version of a pregnant Jessica Simpson.

Oh for the love of God…….

I will not be one of those girls whose baby belly is perky and cute…and I can’t even begin to imagine what my already large breasts are going to decide to do with themselves. Andrew is going to be so unimpressed.

It doesn’t stop there. Some would describe me as a very emotional girl. Okay, that’s not true…everyone would describe me as a very emotional girl. I can’t see a homeless person on the street without my thoughts racing to find a solution, a way I can help. I can’t plan even a second of my wedding without being reduced to happy tears. I take everything personal and when I get hungry…or drunk I can get really really mean. Hangry & Drangry as Andrew likes to call it. I just don’t see a real smooth transition into pregnancy hormones. I will be…for the lack of a more unique term…f’ing crazy.

So you see…my pregnant future is looking pretty bleak. But, I do see a potential for an excellent blog chronicling all of the crazy and unattractiveness! So that’s something, I guess…

I don’t think anyone anticipated the excitement with which Andrew would dive into planning this wedding…I know that I certainly did not. I mean…previous events were planned solely by me and Andrew was told where to be and when; I imagined that this wedding would be similar. I was wrong. So. Wrong. From the minute this (beautiful) ring was placed on my finger Andrew has wanted to be an integral part of the planning process. A mere 24 hours after our engagement he sat by my side at the computer as we explored my (slightly premature) wedding board on Pinterest. He let me show him all 460 pins in detail and seemed to be…enthralled by the whole thing.

i love someecards

When the first wedding show came to town he insisted that he come along. Insisted! And as we walked around that room tasting cake, exploring floral options and testing out color combos the other brides looked at me¬†enviously¬†as though I was “the groom whisperer”. I have to admit…I was feeling pretty smug; planning this event didn’t seem so troublesome when I considered sharing the work with my Andrew. Things did, however, take a turn for the worse when the topic of the dress came to the forefront of our discussions….

“I don’t want it to have too much poof.” I remember Andrew explaining as he moved his arms about in a strange manner. I laughed at his attempt and explained to him that the dress really wasn’t his concern that he would love whatever I picked. It was supposed to end there…it didn’t. “I just don’t want you to walk down the aisle and I don’t like the dress.” Andrew elaborated further. Have I ever mentioned how honest Andrew is? It is a trait I have learned to love…most of the time. “Andrew! I don’t care if I walk down the aisle in a¬†re-purposed¬†garbage bag (they exist, I’ve seen them on Pinterest)…you should like what you see!” I told him, feeling pretty insulted. I mean…I think I have fairly good taste in clothes, most people have nothing but positive things to say about my wardrobe choices and I feel pretty comfortable that I will be able to apply that taste to a gown everyone will adore. I explained this to him in with the hope that he would understand that I felt I was being insulted and he would drop the conversation. He didn’t. “I like about 90% of the things you wear, it’s that 10% I don’t like that worries me.” He replied taking a big drink of his Diet Mountain Dew. I felt like smacking the damn pop bottle right out of his hand and shoving this pretty engagement ring down his throat. I didn’t. He’s lucky I like my ring so much.

haha!

After days of constant bickering regarding my dress (he even had the balls to suggest he should be there when I try them on, ha!) I came to a realization. This is our wedding, not mine; and “the dress” plays an integral part of our wedding. His opinion should be considered….carefully. While it is my dress…I am essentially putting it on for him.

There was no way in hell I was letting him see the dress before I walked down the aisle but I did come up with a compromise. I gathered 10 dresses I found on Pinterest, The Knot, etc. and emailed the pictures to him. In the email I asked him to rank each dress (1-10) 10 being his favorite, 1 being his least. He loved it and I got an excellent idea of what Andrew likes..and good news… the kid actually has pretty good taste! I have been emailing him pictures and examples periodically ever since…and I think we both feel better about the entire situation.

And if you are at all interested in my wedding dress style…check out my Pinterest board The Dress!


I have a thing for “firsts”. I can’t help it…I think every “first” should be extra special.¬†Unfortunately, after getting engaged everything becomes a “first” again. I really do mean everything.

“Today is our first road trip as engaged couple!”

“This is our first grocery trip as an engaged couple!”

“This is our first movie night as an engaged couple!”

You can imagine that Andrew might be a little bit beyond frustrated with me at this point. Especially because a very big “first” has finally arrived…our First Valentine’s Day as an engaged couple! Exciting stuff right? I thought it was exciting until a few weeks ago when I found out Andrew had to work (2pm-10pm)…doesn’t leave much time for the epic evening I was hoping for. True to form I threw a fit…I mean isn’t this ring on my finger insurance that I don’t spend a holiday such as Valentine’s Day…ALONE?!

Funny Valentine's Day Ecard: Happy early Valentine's Day to someone who should already be planning the greatest night of my life.

Luckily emotional Hayley fled quickly and rational Hayley took her place.¬†It dawned on me that this ring in fact means that Andrew and I have years…LOTS OF YEARS to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I can’t even imagine the things that will happen in all of those years to prevent us from spending some Valentine’s Days, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. together. We will have to make the best of it.

So it was decided (mostly by me) that I would plan something extra special for Valentine’s Day night in the few precious hours we have after Andrew gets home and before we have to go to bed and Andrew would plan something special for Wednesday (the day after) since he has that night off. Our very first Valentine’s day as an engaged couple will last 48 hours…I think that classifies as an extra special “first”.

Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Kardashians do a lot of things I don’t condone, so I should probably clarify this title a bit right out of the gate. I am specifically referring to Kourtney & Scott’s sleeping¬†arrangement…which is not in the same bed…or bedroom for that matter. Andrew and I’s latest disagreement has to do with this very decision…how bad is it for our relationship if we sleep in separate bedrooms?

Maybe this is a good time to introduce you to Andrew…

He’s adorable right? Right. But there is nothing adorable about him snoring like a freight train in my ear at 3:00am, and I highly doubt he finds my “Andrewwww, you are snoring AGAIN. Roll over. No roll this way, I SAID roll over” very attractive either. By the next morning we are both sleep deprived and obviously grouchy. To make matters worse Andrew prefers to keep the TV on alllll night long. All night. He will wake up randomly, channel surf and then fall back asleep. And I am left being jarred awake by the intro to Sponge Bob Square Pants. Its nowhere near ideal.

All that being said…we still find it difficult to go our¬†separate¬†ways at the end of the day. We have so little time together as it is with separate and¬†hectic¬†schedules. So comes the time to ask…Do we spend the rest of our lives together sleeping apart..or do we spend the rest of our lives together especially tired?

My proposed solution? A sleep schedule. Thursday night-Saturday night (nights in which I can go without a little sleep) he is in bed with me. Sunday night-Wednesday night he kisses me goodnight and heads off to bed. While I recognize this schedule is far from romantic…so is harboring thoughts of smothering him with a pillow in the middle of the night. (I really wouldn’t do that..I don’t think.)

Now we hope for the best. I’ll keep you posted.

After Andrew proposed everyone I encountered asked the same question, “so, what is it like being engaged!?” Usually their voice raised an¬†octave¬†or two at the end making it sound like an extra¬†exciting question…which always left me with the pressure of providing an extra exciting response. I never had one.

The hours following the engagement were obviously some of the most exciting of my life…but by the next morning very few things had changed for the positive. So we are spending the rest of our lives together…didn’t we already know that? We get to plan an outrageously expensive and detailed wedding….are we sure we want to do that? I will not put on a wedding gown until I am 15 pounds lighter…do I really want to diet? I like to call this the “post-engagement funk”.

Once the funk had lifted we were left with the daunting task of planning a wedding and the rest of our lives together. Suddenly, things that never used to bother me were beginning to. “Andrew, do you really think it’s a good idea to eat in front of the TV EVERY SINGLE NIGHT??! What about our future children? Do we want them to be couch potatoes? Huh??” These are usually followed by a breakdown about my inability to even be in the same room as a child. “I can’t have kids! I hate kids, they hate me. I DON’T WANT TO BE called ‘mommy’, what if they get your diabetes? What if they get my slow metabolism and non-existent immune system? What if the two of us making a child is the biggest disaster to ever happen?!” ¬†Then there¬†are the moments when Andrew will do something especially annoying (i.e. leave his clothes and socks strewn around the LIVING ROOM) that I realize these annoying habits aren’t going away…often times I pause in a situation and think…this is our life.

The good news is…that despite all of the uncertainty I know we will have to tackle in life. Children, bills, careers, bad days-weeks-years…I know that Andrew is the one I want next to me through it all. Being in love is not all passion and kind words; its respect, trust and a strong will to forgive.

Last week when I was incredibly sick with the cold/flu Andrew came home from work late one night and woke me, only slightly, from my NyQuil induced coma. I didn’t say anything, I barely opened my eyes. He sat down next to me on the bed, brushed the back of his very cold hand across my cheek before pressing his own cheek against my¬†forehead¬†to check my temperature. I must have passed the temperature test because he kissed me, fixed the blankets and left the room to wind down from work. I drifted off with the cool imprint of his cheek tingling on my forehead; this is our life, I thought…and its a good one.