11 Years of Adventure

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As of today, September 28, 2014, Sam and I have been a couple for eleven (11!) years. It all started with 16-year-old Sam passing a note to 14-year-old me that said, “Will you go out with me?” in the middle of a church service. (Cue “Awws”) Those teenagers had no idea what was ahead of them–good times, bad times, and a lot of crazy fun in between.

Since we are about to embark on the biggest adventure of our lives thus far with our move to Chicago in three (OMG!) days, I wanted to take a look back at all of the adventures we’ve had over our eleven years together.

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Young Sam and Lauren in 2004. 😉

Gatlinburg 2006

Gatlinburg, TN June 2006

Wedding 2007

Married in Pigeon Forge, TN, June 2007

Ken Lake 2007

Fishing in Kentucky Lake, September 2007

Chicago 2007

First trip to Chicago in 2007–when our love affair with the city began. 😉 October 2007

DC 2007

Hanging out with Honest Abe in Washington, DC, December 2007

Myrtle Beach 2008

One year wedding anniversary in Myrtle Beach, SC, June 2008

Chicago 2008

Second trip to Chicago in October 2008

NYC 2009 (1)

New York City, February 2009

Kings Island 2009

Cincinnati, OH, June 2009

Chicago 2010

Third trip to Chicago–May 2010. 😉

London 2010

First trip to London, June 2010

Paris 2010

First trip to Paris, June 2010

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Celebrating at the Bellagio-Las Vegas, May 2011

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Universal Studios in Los Angeles, CA, May 2011

Boston 2012

Boston, MA, May 2012

London 2013

Second trip to London, at the National Gallery, January 2013

Amsterdam 2013

Touring the Heineken Factory in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 2013

Cologne 2013

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany, January 2013

Brussels 2013

Snow and a medieval castle in Brussels, Belgium, January 2013

London July 2013

Standing among the throngs of (drunk) well-wishers outside of Buckingham Palace after the birth of Prince George, July 2013 (Third trip to London)

Brighton 2013 (1)

Sam trying to throw me into the English Channel in Brighton, England, July 2013

Paris 2013

Second trip to Paris, France, July 2013

NYC 2013

Christmas in New York City, December 2013

 

San Fran 2014

On Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA, July 2014

 

After so many great experiences we’ve gained both by ourselves and with friends and family, we are now setting off on our most daring venture yet–living in what is clearly our most favorite (US) city on this list! I can’t think of a better way to start off our next decade together!

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Outside of our new apartment complex in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago!

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Sleepy Hollow – Season 2, Episode 1 Recap

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After eight months (EIGHT FREAKING MONTHS!!!) of waiting, Sleepy Hollow finally returned to me last night with the first episode of season 2. And it was probably one of the best season premiere episodes I’ve ever seen in the history of television. Let’s pick it apart to see why (or: Sleepy Hollow 2.01, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways):

WARNING: SPOILERS!

1. The opening sequence, while extremely confusing at first, was pretty much straight up fanfiction. Ichabod and Abbie lost their only remaining familial ties a year before, they only have each other, Abbie throws Ichabod a surprise birthday party, you can sense that they’re having “more than platonic” feelings for each other…

ichabbie surprise party

2. Then, when the opening sequence is just a trick played on them by War and Moloch, Ichabod goes back to his grave, and Abbie is back in purgatory. However, as they’re being torn away from each other, Ichabod screams that he’s coming for Abbie (heart beginning to melt here). When in his pine box and wondering if he’ll actually make it out alive, Ichabod attempts to make a recording for Abbie, not for his wife (take that, Ichatrina shippers)!

ichabod box message

3. Jenny is alive, and she is back with a vengeance! She stabs a Hessian in the heart while tied to a chair. Enough said.

badass jenny 1

4. We get to see Ichabod and Jenny team up alone for a brief moment in order to save Abbie from Purgatory, which is something I’ve been developing in my headcanon for a while now, so I’m glad to see something similar make it into the show.

jenny crane hug

5. When Abbie communicates with Ichabod while in Purgatory, they share the most heartbreaking hug and conversation they’ve had yet. Abbie wants to sacrifice herself and stay in Purgatory to keep Moloch’s army from reaching Earth, and Ichabod will not have any of it, stating, “I do not accept goodbye.” When they are about to part, he tells her, “Hold fast, Abigail Mills. I’m coming for you.” At this point, my heart is a puddle. I can’t handle all of these Ichabbie feels!

ichabbie purgatory hug

Be still, my heart.

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The moment when my heart completely melted. He just couldn’t let her go.

6. Ichabod keeps his promise to come for her, which is something I really needed after he betrayed Abbie in season 1 by redrawing the map to Purgatory after he burned the original.

ichabod promise

fist bump Purgatory

7. The Mills sisters are reunited, and now Jenny, Abbie, and Ichabod are ready to take on Henry (War), the Headless Horseman (Death), and whatever new plan Moloch has devised to begin the Apocalypse. Oh yeah, and they’re ready to save Katrina too.

mills sisters hug

While I obviously loved this episode, I do have some qualms that I’d like to put out there. First, when Jenny learns that Ichabod left Abbie behind in Purgatory, she doesn’t yell at him! I expected her to get at least somewhat angry, especially since she told Abbie in the season 1 finale that she would come for her with guns blazing if Abbie wasn’t back by sundown. Also, I’m really annoyed with Katrina, if you didn’t notice already. She’s a terrible witch. (Who thinks that stabbing the Headless Horseman in the hand will lead to you being able to run away from him? No one. That’s who. Where are your powers? I don’t believe it when you say that being in Purgatory weakened them.) Since she can’t actually use any of her powers to free herself, she’s being held captive by a very buff, shirtless Headless Horseman (who used to be her fiance, don’t you know) and of course needs rescuing again. Abbie and Ichabod spent a huge chunk of season 1 getting that witch’s ass out of Purgatory, and now she’s a damsel in distress once again. When will it end?

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Will Headless/Abraham’s perfectly sculpted pecks turn Katrina to the dark side?

Overall, however, I absolutely loved this episode. I loved how it was so focused on Ichabbie–it is their relationship that is the foundation of the show. I also just ADORE Abbie Mills, and her courage was so present and center-stage during this episode. I feel like the show’s writers are getting better and better at storytelling and building up all of the characters.

Going into the rest of the season, I hope that something interesting finally happens with Katrina but that she also does not ruin the chemistry between Ichabod and Abbie (aka–I hope she turns out to be evil). I also hope we get to see more of Ichabod’s backstory leading up to his time in the Revolutionary War. Whatever happens, know that Ichabbie prevails in the end. That ship just won’t sink.

crane in purgatory

abbie in purgatory

On Sleepy Hollow…

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Words can’t express the level of my obsession with FOX’s television series “Sleepy Hollow.” It perfectly combines my some of my deepest interests–history, historical fiction, horror, and the supernatural–to create a whole world of crazy and fantasy that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. However, there are many other factors that go into my obsession with the show. The dynamic between Ichabod Crane, a captain in Washington’s army during the American Revolution who fell on the battlefield in 1781 but was placed in suspended animation to be awoken in 2013, (played by Tom Mison) and Abbie Mills, a lieutenant in the Westchester County Police Department with a troubled and equally supernatural past, (played by Nicole Beharie) is magnetic. And while I know that Ichabod is married to Katrina (a Quaker witch who was stuck in Purgatory until the end of season 1), I still ship him with Abbie. (Ichabbie for life, yo!) Katrina’s character has only been a plot device thus far, and the real heart of the show is the relationship between these two Witnesses (yes, the very Witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelations in the Bible).

ichabbie hug

Evidence of Abbie and Ichabod being end game.

Speaking of those Witnesses, I also adore the fact that this show is led by a black woman, which is something we don’t see in many hit shows. Beharie and Mison are “co-leads,” but its obvious (to me, at least), that she’s the one who holds it together. She is the link between the entire cast of characters, and she is a total badass. I love Nicole/Abbie with all my tv-watching heart.

abbie

Perhaps the number one reason I love this show so much, however, is the fact that Sleepy Hollow came to me (or I came to it, however you want to see it) at a time in my life last year when I was very depressed. I was unhappy at work, I was deep in the pit of finishing my master’s degree, my stress was affecting my home life, and I generally felt like my life wasn’t going as I planned. This show was an outlet–an escape, however brief, from all that ailed me. (Side note: yes, I know that you can’t just run away from your problems by living in a fantasy world, and I’ve since taken care of all of those issues listed. I do believe, however, that having an escape to get one’s mind off of life’s troubles is a good way to collect your thoughts in order to prepare for what must be done next “in real life.” End rant.) While I’m not depressed anymore, this show, its fanfiction, fan art, and tumblr commentaries are still a great way for me to have some “me time” and a way to channel any of my nervous energy (which I have a lot of, in case anyone was wondering).

Last night, Sam and I wrapped up my rewatch and his first watch of season 1 of Sleepy Hollow in preparation for tonight’s season 2 premiere at 8pm, which I am so incredibly excited to see! We’ve got 18 episodes this coming season, so don’t worry–you’ll get plenty more of my commentary on the subject. Until next time…

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Changing Seasons…

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Compass RoseWhen I was eighteen years old, I got a tattoo on my left wrist of a compass rose. Its presence was meant to remind me to always “follow my heart,” and I did that for a long time–I got married when I wanted, traveled wherever I wanted, got into the career field in which I wanted to be, earned three degrees, and I did it all before I was twenty-five. However, in the past year, I’ve realized that I haven’t really been living up to the expectation I challenged myself with all those years ago. I was not truly happy.

Having my first full-time job and finishing graduate school marked a change in me. I thought to myself, “What am I going to do now?” Fortunately, it also marked a change in my lovely and wonderful husband, Sam, who thought, “We can do anything now!” With those forces combined, we set out to create our best life possible.

So that leads us to today. With the changing of the seasons from summer to fall this coming week, Sam and I will also be entering a new season of our life together. On October 1, 2014, the entire Baud Squad (Sam, me, and our three dogs–Missy, Ruby, and Cosmo) will be moving to Chicago, Illinois. We have a deep love for that city, and once the opportunity presented itself to move there, we had to take it. This is incredibly exciting–especially for me, as I have lived in Tennessee my entire life up to this point. I will absolutely miss our family and friends, but I want to step out of my comfort zone and create a fulfilling, bold, and joyful life–one at the end of which I can truly say that I followed my heart.

Chicago Skyline 2014