Wednesday, November 19, 2014

he asked me!

I haven't blogged in months, and then I am blogging about when I got engaged!? OH MAN! SO exciting! It has been a couple of weeks already, and I am still giddy happy and starring at my beautiful ring, Joel gave me! I know the picture is blurry, but it's still one of my favorites. 

Sunday afternoon, after having eaten and played games at some friends' house, Joel asked if I wanted to go on a walk with him around this really pretty area by where he lives. We LOVE going on walks, and can walk hours, just talking and laughing and having the greatest of times. This time was no different. The sun was setting, the moon was shinning brightly through the trees (how do you say all this without it sounding cheesy??? ha!) and after walking a long while, we got to this clearing next to the path and all of a sudden Joel goes, "oh look! A basket!" :) And sure enough, there, tucked behind some bushes was a picnic basket, all wrapped in saran wrap as it had been setting there for several hours, and it had been raining all day! He used to want to be an engineer! There was a picnic blanket and some other special treats for us, and we sat down to a really sweet and surprise date! He told me right away that he had wanted to plan a special date for me for a while, so it quickly did away with any thoughts of this being "the proposal night". I wasn't expecting it AT ALL. So we enjoyed our little picnic and then, as the ground was soaking wet, and starting to come through blanket and our clothes, he suggested we head back. As we stood up, he gave me a huge hug, saying truly wonderful, incredible things, and then before I knew what was happening, he was on his knee, and in English, asked me if I would marry him! Ahhhh! I said YES, of course, through tears in my eyes! I just couldn't believe it! Was it really happening!?! And to ME!? And THIS guy? I am so blessed! He put a ring on my finger... it's absolutely beautiful. He designed it himself and ordered it at a local French jewelry place. He said the jeweler gave him a coffee, and that's what won him over. :) 

We are SO excited!!! It's quite something being a fiance to this guy! He's the greatest! 

We are figuring out wedding dates now, and hopefully will know soon! Thank you for all of the love, excitement and care a lot of you have already shown us! We feel SO blessed and thankful! 

I am going to be a MRS!!!! :) :) 

Friday, September 19, 2014

there's no place like it.

As you know from previous posts, my Grandma lives in Bird City, Kansas. Bird City is in the very northwest corner of Kansas. It's very flat and lots of open spaces. Perfect for watching a beautiful sunset or sunrise! And for playing card games with Grandma Dorsch! 

I knew that when Joel came to visit, I absolutely wanted to take him up there to see Grandma and to let him discover the greatness that is found in Bird City. He was really excited too! 

It's a only a 5.5 hour trip from Whitewater. And it gets less and less "city-like" the further you go. 

At one point, about an hour from my Grandma's, we noticed some road construction, and the signs indicated that it was going to be one-way traffic -- you know, with the person that holds the sign and tells you to go "slow" or to "stop".

There was literally nothing else around. No other cars behind us, no other cars that passed us coming from the other way. We just sat there for a good 15 minutes, taking pictures of this guy.

As soon as the pilot car came by (with no other cars behind him) we were free to go, this man waved nicely, and we were on our way again!

The time with Grandma was really special! She gave us a grand tour of the town of 400 people. Telling us about each person who lived in each house, and even showing us which mulberry tree she parks her car under when she wants a mid-morning snack!

For lunch, she took us out to the one and only, Bird City dinner, and we had a very tasty burger. 

People were very excited to meet the man from France, and I was so proud each time I heard Grandma introducing him as "Melissa's boyfriend"! :)

Visiting Grandma wouldn't be complete with an exciting game of pinochle with some of our favorites! Joel had learned how to play, and I'm pretty sure they beat us in all of the games!

These are such sweet, wonderful people and I am SO thankful that we had the chance to spend time with them! 

On our way back from Bird City, we stopped in Manhattan, so I could give Joel the tour of Kansas State University and the bookstore I worked at during college! It was so fun to be back in Manhattan and to walk all over campus again! 

and this one... hahahaha. I am sure he will be super excited that I posted THIS picture of all of the ones we took at the football field. #myman'sgotmuscles

Wow. Seems like a really long time ago already! 

Oh, and by the end of the day, he was proudly wearing purple! EMAW! 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

andrew + joel + jon + uncle doug

I was thinking about this summer and in looking through some pictures, I realized that I had never really finished posting stuff about when Joel came to visit Kansas. Oops!

After the wedding, and just a few days before going back to France, Joel, Andrew, Dad and I all went out to the field to see the guys baling.

It all started with Casey getting the tractor stuck in some mud.

Before you judge Casey too harshly, just remember what an awesome farmer he was here and know that this was probably the only mistake he made all year. :)

But Jon and Uncle Doug came to the rescue, and pulled the tractor out like it was nbd. 

Doesn't look like Joel was very interested in the tractor getting pulled out, but a lot more curious as to what was on the ground next to him...oh the French. :)

Once the tractor was pulled out, Jon offered Joel to come and ride with him in the tractor. SO LUCKY! I would have loved to ride with Jon, but... Joel had never been in a tractor before! Off they went! 

Uncle Doug told Ando and I to hop in his pickup and drive across the field to watch, if we wanted. Andrew was super excited to drive a pickup all around and we pulled up right next to some bales to watch the bale making action. 

Amazing. The field very quickly started to get full!

Andrew and I were having a bale of a time (hehe, just for you Lindsay!) as you can only imagine!

Melissa: Andrew!!! We are bonding on top of a bale! So cool!!! Let's take a picture so we can remember this moment forever! 

Melissa: Andrew!! Your eyes were closed and you don't look very happy to be sitting next to me! Let's try again!

Melissa: well, that's better. But you still look like I'm forcing you to smile 
Andrew gives me the "are you for real" look 
2 seconds later...
Andrew: ooooh take a picture of me on top of the bale!!!!!! 

Andrew: Sweet!! 

Apparantly taking selfies with your oldest sister isn't as cool as taking fb profile pics. 

When we drove back to meet up with everyone, I snapped a few pictures of Andrew and Uncle Doug talking and I think it's hilarious that the baler changes more in the two pictures than they do! 

Joel (and Jon too!) was all smiles when they got back. Driving around in a big red tractor. 

Andrew had to drive his own car back, and the icing on the cake was Joel getting to drive Uncle Doug's pickup back to the farm. #puttingsomefarmerinthefrenchguy

What a fun afternoon! Great memories! I am missing farm life and my family a lot! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

to the great north we went!

The first week that Joel was here, we decided to the drive the 10-ish hours to the great north to see my awesome brother Andrew and our friends up there.

It happened to be the 4th of July week-end, and our friends made it extra special by helping Joel discover a LOT of various American cultural elements. It was great!

We started out by driving out to their little farm where we had our option between all kinds of activities, including great hugs from brothers!!! His and my favorite activity of the day! :)

Joel, Andrew and I decided to go canoeing. Hmm, do you know how easily canoes tip over? I was so scared. Of course, the guys thought it was hilarious to rock the boat, so I was clinging on for dear life about the entire time we were on the lake. 

We had some other activities, that I won't go into detail about, but just let the picture speak for itself. 

Hehe. Oh yeah!!! Great day at the lake! 

The rest of the week-end was full of other great things, like a Yankees vs. Twins baseball game -- first time going to a pro baseball game for Joel.

I had forgotten how long they could get... good thing they had entertainment...

like the "flex cam" so these guys could show off their guns!

or Andrew teaching Joel how to be gangter cool by turning your hat inside out and backwards,

taking selfies

and laughing everytime the player "plouffe" was called up to bat! :)

Andrew, aka the photo-bomber of our baseball mickey mouse picture. Love my brother. 

It was a great great experience, and we are so thankful to Allen and Sandi for treating us so well! :)

Our celebration continued with matching t-shirts provided by our hosts and some fun football throwing and home baseball games. 

It was such a fun fun and packed week-end! We loved catching up with a lot of our friends and just spending some good, quality time with my brother. He is one really special and quality guy!

Especially for putting up with the two of us! :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

and the tree came a tumblin' down!

We had this tree that was very close to our back porch, whose roots were digging up the sidewalk, and though it was a beautiful tree, it was too close to the house for any future changes that could be made.

When I first got back in June, it looked like this:

Oh, hi Kyle! That's my new brother-in-law!! He is so awesome. Couldn't ask for a better guy to have married my baby sister. But anyway, as you can see, the tree branches were so low and going every which way, that you couldn't even see Kyle's face. Each time we'd get out of the car, we'd be dodging branches and the only living thing that seemed to enjoy those branches was our cat, Sir William Othello, aka Billy O (Lindsay named him!). 

When Joel arrived, my Mom asked him if he wouldn't mind cutting some of these branches down with the hatchet. She even got him a new cut off kansas farming shirt that said USA to wear while he worked so he'd fit right in! 

He was such a hard worker and claimed to love every minute of it! :) He got so much done and was always so happy to do it. What a guy!

So Joel cut some small and medium branches down. 

Then Dad came home, and decided to trim the tree a bit more, and he cut off the bigger branches that were once holding the branches that Joel cut off. Following me? 

"Why are you cutting down branches, Dad?" I asked him as I stood by and watched. "We're going to cut the whole tree down, actually" was his reply. 

What!?! Gasp! I had no idea!! 

And sure enough, a couple of days later, Ben and Casey (awesome cousins of mine) came over and they chopped the tree down! 

Eventually, they'll come and pull the stump out, but man does it make the place look different! There is a lot more light that comes through the windows now! And some people claim we get a better internet signal, but I'm not sure about that. 

We still have lots of other trees, and there are a bunch of new ones that are growing really well and in 20 years... they'll be beautiful! Hi Mom! 

And what about Billy O's house and place of refuge? He quickly found another tree and made it his new home.