Saturday, December 31, 2011


What a year of writing this has been for me or should I say lack of writing, well at least I made an effort and didn't completely fall away from the blogging world.

Graeme introduced me to John Acuff, who I enjoy reading immensely. He wrote this blog that challenged my thoughts towards the concept of "finishing" and what it means to finish what I have started. Graeme will testify that I am great with the big picture, the dreaming on a large scale, but when it comes to the details and working through to accomplish this BIG dream I lack the immediate follow through. If I set out to do something I eventually get around to it, but no promises of when that might be. When I read John's blog I couldn't help but laugh out loud, because I felt like he was describing all of my habits.

With 2012 literally hours away, I am aiming to start small and begin to finish projects that I have begun. Starting small I think helps me to get motivated and moving forward. So here is to a year filled with finishing projects and doing my best to post my small and hopefully large successes along the way!

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful start to 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Knock Knock, Are You There Keys?

What was meant to be a fairly relaxing evening ended up in a course of learning how to unscrew the backseat of a Kia Optima. A note I would also like to make here is that Grae and I are looking to buy a car this coming summer/autumn and the Optima had been one of the choices but after this particular evenings experience, I can say that thought has been put on the farthest back burner possible.

My Mum had driven down for Uncle Mike's funeral and we had just returned to our apartment to finish up the day and wait for Grae to come home so we could do the last of our Christmas shopping. Through a flurry of information, rain, and packing up the car for her trip back home in the morning, she locked the keys in the trunk. Now my first thought was, not a big deal, we'll call AAA and they'll come unlock the car and we'll pop the trunk, easy!

Now, calling AAA and having them unlock the car was the easy part, but what we didn't factor in was that everything was tied together via the electronics of the car. Once the car was "forced" open everything practically locked down except for the alarm which went off about every 10 minutes until Grae got home with the tool kit to get the battery out of the car. Thus began a four hour pursuit of the keys in the trunk, from disconnecting a large portion of the backseat, using our phones as videocameras to have a look around the trunk, to getting a great work out by having to pull the back portion of the seats away from the door so Grae could reach in and pull out items that were blocking the way to unlatch the trunk.

Finally after several failed attempts Grae was able to stick the end of a broom in with a good view of the emergency latch and open the trunk... Success!!

The next hour consisted of reattaching the seats to the car, packing up the car, having dinner, and falling into bed.

Lessons learned: buy a car that manually allows the backseats to fold down from inside the car, always know where the emergency latch is within the trunk, keep tools handy, if able have a hide away key stored somewhere on the car, and if possible maintain a sense of humor when such situations arise :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Uncle Mike

My Great Uncle Mike passed away yesterday in his home, with his lovely bride and family beside him. He was the baby brother in a family of ten siblings; he was a beloved Grandfather, Uncle, Father, and Husband.

I have more memories of Uncle Mike from my early childhood than I do presently, but the memory that will stick with me the rest of my life is from last weekend. Through a phone trail we learned that Uncle Mike had been admitted to the hospital again and was not doing well. He had been on dialysis for the past several years and had taken a spill a couple months back which resulted in injuring his leg, and through a series of events, lead to an infection that brought him back to the hospital. Graeme and I spent last Saturday crowded in an ICU room in Fullerton with about ten other family members, exchanging stories, memories, and helping Aunt Pauline with whatever she needed.

After everyone had left, Graeme and I waited to walk Aunt Pauline out. Uncle Mike had been heavily sedated and barely spoke throughout the evening, but when my Aunt Pauline told him she was leaving for the night to go home and get some sleep, he whispered "I love you" and stuck his lips out for a kiss. He had saved his energy for her. Aunt Pauline cried as she kissed him and whispered back, "I love you too, I love you very much". I cried. She had told us earlier in the evening that leaving was the hardest part, having to say goodbye, and sleep separated.

I know Uncle Mike is in a better place, but my heart aches for my Aunt Pauline because this goodbye is now more permanent. They were partners in this life; in good times and not so great times. They were lovers, parents, companions, and more.

Goodnight Uncle Mike, we will all miss you. Hey Uncle Mike, will you do me a favor and tell Grandma Ginny I said hello when you see her and that even after 19 years, I still miss her.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Boy from the Aiport

I recently put an update on facebook about how I married the boy from the airport and some of you had asked about the story so for your amusement here it is.

Graeme and I had only met a couple times over the course of my year living abroad. Never once had we hung out one on one, so our encounters had been brief, around our church friends, and my goodbye party. After I left Wellington with Kristin to travel around Australia and the South Island we returned for one night to Wellington to pack up our belongings and catch a flight back to California.

We grabbed breakfast at our favorite spot the Chocolate Fish in Scorching Bay and headed to the airport. When we arrived several of our friends were there waiting for us to say goodbye. It was quite a surprise and shock to Kristin and I, but something I know we both appreciated.

In the Wellington airport they have a whole lobby/terminal type area that you can sit and wait with people before heading off to the gates. Several other friends showed up after we had checked in, and not too long before we headed to our gate Graeme showed up. To be perfectly honest I don't quite remember when he showed up, it wasn't until my friend Emma pointed him out to me did I realize he was there. I wondered why this guy I barely knew had showed up to say goodbye, but I was overtaken by the emotion of leaving this place I had called home and grown to love very much.

Graeme and I had a chance to talk a little bit about a job interview he had just come from and how he was looking forward to the challenge and change of something new. In a way I felt special that he would rush off from an interview to come say goodbye to me; but again my head was preoccupied with several other thoughts and not the specifics of why he was there.

By this point Kristin and I heard them boarding our flight, so in tears (more than I would like to admit) we said goodbye to everyone, went through security, and boarded our flight home. I cried on the plane, because I didn't think I would be coming back to this place for quite some time, but now, four years later I am tied to New Zealand in more ways than one. I can now say I truly have family there and it is just as much home as the States is.

So, that is how I came to marry the boy from the airport; over three plus years of e-mails, one trip back to New Zealand, two trips to the states, a proposal, civil ceremony, wedding, and now green card, I could not ask for a better best friend or partner in this life. I can truly say Grae is my better half and compliments me in ways I never thought another individual could.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


So Graeme and I have had dinosaurs on the brain lately. We recently got asked to join a book club and it just so happened our first book was Jurassic Park. I had always heard it was a good book and I have to agree with what I heard, it was in fact a really good read. It was hard to sleep some nights because I just wanted to finish the next chapter and see who survived the chaos of that chapter. For those movie fanatics out there, the book is quite a bit different (which more often than not has to be the case when converting something to film) and I have to say far more interesting. 

When we finished the book we were curious to watch the movie again, because the last time I saw it I think was around 15 (Graeme would like it known he was about 7 the last time he saw it...he probably had dinorsaur sheets then too!). So we got it from Netflix (even though it was different than book it was still pretty fun to watch) and after that were even more curious to watch the second installment which we had both seen in portion, but never in its entirety. It wasn't half bad, something tells me the book was probably better.

Now we are waiting for the third installment which has no book attached to it, so my expectations are high (and plus I have heard it is an overall better movie than the second). So here is hoping for some fun entertainment and great special effects while packing for our Montana weekend!

Enjoy the photos below; the delicious treats you see displayed are Graeme's fun creations for our book club. Since snacks were aimed to be "Jurassic Park" themed Graeme took the liberty of having some fun it, while creating his own amazing pumpkin spice cupcake recipe...I am so fortunate to have a husband who enjoys being in the kitchen. :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My How Time Flies...

I can't believe how long it has been since I last wrote a blog...I guess when it comes to planning a wedding, holding a full time job down, and learning our United States immigrations laws, it takes time away from my creative thoughts.

Last week Graeme and I had one of our last big hurdles to jump, our immigration interview. It looked a little something like this...

We showed up to the federal building at 8am, got through security, and found our way to the room filled with about 75 other hopefuls that they would be granted residency. I think I re-read the same paragraph in Jurassic Park about 12 times; just sitting in this room people watching and watching all the interviewees come and go calling out names was truly so interesting. An hour later our name was called and we were escorted through a door and down a long hallway. Our interviewee was really nice and that made us feel a little less nervous and then we walked into his office which had a big window with a lot of light coming through (and for whatever reason the window was a nice little comfort, the ability to see outside and not feel trapped).

He proceeded to go through our photo album that we had created that week of our life from the last year and then through the book Grae had made for the proposal. He made a few nice comments and then proceeded to tell us he needed to write up a few things that would just take him a few minutes. A minute into his typing he asked us what we had done that weekend (I laughed in my head for how subtle the question it was and that he was trying to find any issues with our relationship). We explained that we had hung out with several friends, went to a pumpkin patch, and invited friends over to watch the rugby game. He kept typing and then made the comment that Grae's birthday was coming up and what were we planning on doing for that. So we explained how we invited friends to go bowling, maybe a movie after, then the two of us were going to do a dinner later in the week. That was it. Two questions to test the validity of our relationship.

A few minutes later he handed us two pieces of paper and congratulated us on our conditional green card. Woot! Conditional just means he has his green card for two years when we have to refile, show more evidence of our relationship, and then he gets his more permanent green card. Then a year after that he is able to become a citizen; but I am getting a head of myself. For now he has his green card and we are thrilled!

So that's a bit of our world right now. His birthday is tomorrow and it will be fun to celebrate with friends and then his job hunt will continue. So many possibilities, but we are both praying that the right door opens up and truly is the best fit for his creativity. All in good time.

More blogs to come...I am feeling that creative edge again which is nice. I am off to New Orleans for work next week; I am sure there will be plenty of stories to share about that!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Long Lost Refrigerator Shelf

This shelf you see above you is a beloved piece in our household these days and let me tell you why.

Graeme and I were given some great advice when we found out that we had to buy our fridge for our apartment and that was to go to the  Sears outlet. Given that this is our first apartment and nothing super special except that it is our first place together we weren't wanting to spend heaps on a fridge and the outlet was the perfect place to buy a discounted brand new fridge. Graeme and I went the day he landed from New Zealand and picked out what would be a our new fridge. It arrived on the day we scheduled and the guys who brought it were super nice and very helpful. However, about 4 hours after having the fridge delivered and we started to put items in the fridge we discovered this shelf was missing.

We called Sears and they were more than willing to send us the shelf, which we were ecstatic about. A couple of days later a few boxes from Sears arrived and to our surprise. As we opened them we discovered they had sent every other shelf possible for our fridge except the one that was missing. We called Sears again and spoke with several people until we were handed off to a manager who said they would send the shelf, but it would take about a week; again not a huge problem. About two weeks later we got a note on our door after returning from a night out and it was letting us know they had left a package on our back porch, but to do so you have to throw it over a fence. Graeme walks out onto our back porch and opened up the box to find the correct shelf, but a broken shelf :( Needless to say this process was getting old and we wondered how long Sears was going to believe our stories.

Graeme ended up calling Sears asking for the same manager we spoke to the last time and explained the whole situation, while sending an e-mail with a photo of the broken shelf. The manager explained that the shelf was on back order and we would be receiving it in about 4 weeks. Ok, so by this time we have gotten around not having this shelf, but we both realized how nice it would be to have the extra space, but we are both patient, so obviously we were willing to wait 4 weeks (and like we really had a choice!).

So now that leads us to last week, our shelf arrives and we open the box, hopeful and excited to reorganize our kitchen (exciting I know!). We open the box and the shelf is...BROKEN! We just laugh, because this is just our luck and life right now.

We decide at this point that we had to just go into the Sears outlet and ask them for a shelf from one of their fridges on the floor. Upon arrival, we explain our situation and they are happy to help and give us a new shelf. They explain that these are the new shelves, because they are more sturdy and less likely to break. Hooray! Works for us! So we head home and go to put the shelf in and realize it is about 4 inches too long! So...we head back to the outlet and find a fridge that matches ours, take the shelf out, explain the situation to one of the employees and hand them the shelf that does not fit, and on our way we go.

Which leads us to the picture below :) 2 months later, about a dozen e-mails between Sears and us, and several UPS packages; we now have a shelf that fits perfectly and more room in our fridge than we could have ever hoped for!

Graeme and I have truly been on an adventure of a lifetime just these last 2 months and this was probably the less serious of our adventures, but it made us laugh a lot and I think showed us both that we are able to make the most of each situation! I think our last moments dealing with this situation made us laugh the most; the fact that this is probably a constant cycle in the Sears Outlet arena, because now their is a fridge that is missing a shelf that some poor customers are going to buy and get it home and realize that they are missing a shelf. Here is hoping though some nice Sears employee notices, replaces the shelf before it is purchased and taken home, and the cycle ends with us.

Word of advice if you are buying a fridge from any retailer...make sure all your shelves are there before you haul it away from the store or the delivery guys leave your place! Learn from us and save yourselves a 2 month mini headache! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Sneak Peek

It was an incredibly fun day with Aaron Young, felt more like we were goofing off than it did taking photos, but he happens to be that good. Looking forward to August even more now!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Adventures While I Was Sick

I can't remember the last time I had a fever, but I can tell you the most recent time I got one...two weeks ago. Graeme quickly got to experience the portion of "in sickness" when it came to our vows. He was incredible just in the most simple of ways, bringing me ice, making sure I was drinking tons of fluids, and making sure I was taking my antibiotic; he did this while all prepping for our train ride north to celebrate Father's Day and my Dad's birthday.

Below I documented our train ride adventure (and a big accomplishment for Graeme!), even with still not feeling 100% we made the most of it...

Getting settled in for the seven hour journey
Yay! Healthy enough to travel up North!
 Oranges in Glendale
 Strawberry fields in Oxnard
 Middle of nowhere
 Thank you lollies from Amtrak
Grae passed his first of two licenses tests! Woohoo!

Here's hoping we don't have to experience the "in sickness" part for a few more years. I am truly getting a chance to realize how sweet and yet very trying marriage can be. I am looking forward to having our wedding in August with our family and friends present, especially when Graeme and I share our vows that we have written for one another...they are going to be filled with so much more than they would have been in May, which I think will make them so much sweeter and meaningful.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Change of Heart

So I had big plans to blog my last month of singlehood, but alas those plans got side lined for other plans of moving, preparing, and organizing my family to be together for what will be one of two wedding ceremonies for Graeme and I, and a list that goes on...

Over the years I have had some huge leaps in regards to changes of the heart. In my childhood and part of my teenage years I grew up believing my prince charming would come and I would be in love forever. Then my later teenage years through young adult I didn't really believe a good love existed for me. Everyone around me seemed to have found it or their version of it, but my "loves" seemed to miss the mark in my life. 

Then I became single my sophomore year of college. I gave up someone I loved and took the risk of knowing I could be alone for the rest of my life. Throughout the six years of my singleness I had some great guys come along and refresh my memory that a good love could exist, but none that could persuade me to take that risk everything including the most exposed and slightly jaded parts of my heart. 

Then along came Graeme. 

He is different in every way possible and yet he was and is a good enough and loving enough man to push through my "rejection" of him and persuade me and pursue me to be his. Convincing me that his love was not wavering or judgmental; but a love that is a patient and kind, a love that would tell me the truth and the whole truth. A love that never gives up or walks away. 

Tomorrow before God and the government I will sign away Giacomantonio and become Swift. The day has arrived where I take one of the biggest risks of my life and become one to another. While taking this risk and loving God I will learn to love Graeme more and better than I do currently. Tomorrow I will become his wife legally and in August we will get to celebrate again this risk we have taken and what a true celebration it will be!

Graeme David I love with you with all that God has given me. You are truly the best help mate I could have asked for and I am eternally grateful that you are the one I get to travel this crazy adventure with!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Can't Stop Watching

Something about this just moves me in such a way that I can't help but tear up inside...probably because I see so much of myself in it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Blustery Day...

This feels a bit like our house right now. Thank goodness we don't live in a tree though! 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


H- Hope. It is the well spring of life, it gives us something to cling to and remind us that there is still good in this life and the situations we face on a daily basis.

U- Understanding of others. Each of us has a different path to walk, we cross each other's paths along the way and because of that it makes this journey of life so much more fun and possible to walk. We don't have to walk alone, but we take the time to step outside of ourselves and think of others; it creates this beautiful domino effect.

G- Grace. It's a gift to be given and there is truly something refreshing about it when we are the ones to receive it.

S- Strength. That no matter what this life may hand us we can get through. We are pretty incredibly made and what we can take on always astounds me. Like hearing about my friend whose husband of one year has been shipped off to the Middle East for another tour of duty, my great Aunt knocking at every health organization's door to provide a solution to her very sick husband, new parents being told that their newborn baby is going to life threatening issues throughout his whole life. Strength to make it through no matter what.

I'm missing Graeme right now. It really can be the littlest thing that triggers it. The reality that I think I haven't felt more alone than I do right now. God and my journal are probably the ones who know me the best at this moment. It's a season of transition and not really having a place to call my own. It takes me back to my freshman year of college and those monumental first few weeks...transitional weeks of a small town girl trying to figure out her way in a "big city" on a "big campus". Now it's still the small town girl trying to find her way in this "big world" walking into a new "big adventure".

So, if you happen to see me a hug is most welcome. It's a sweet reminder that everything is going to be ok.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The First Piece of Good News

Approval comes in many forms...this was the highlight of my February...

 This little letter holds what we like to call "approval" of your fiance visa application! My reaction is one for the record books (or so my roommate tells me). Graeme was the one to tell me which was the best way to find out.

He had been checking the government site for months now and on the night of our date night, he happened to check one more time. Approved had been filled in. We were approved! He called, didn't even wait for me to get on skype, he just called (and I love him for it). He told me he had news and I got three guesses. I thought about saying the approval of our application, but then again it was too soon. I had set myself up to be waiting another two more months for this approval (because it had already been extended another two months previously). I guessed it any ways, because I still had hope. I screamed (and startled my roommate in the process). Then I got up and walked to the kitchen still joyful, but silently cried at the same time. It was just a natural reaction to release what had been building up inside; finally to have some good news. Some reward to the waiting.

I have had a couple people ask me if we are doing marriage counseling and we have worked through a couple books and sought the council of some pastors; but can I just say that what Graeme and I are experiencing in these months is by far some of the best council that anyone could have leading towards marriage. The patience, communication, being better at arguing, listening, loving when you can't touch; they are incredible lessons to learn before entering into marriage.

Now, we wait for Graeme's interview to be able to receive his fiance visa, we wait to book his flight over, we wait to plan a wedding, we wait. But with one big milestone it doesn't feel like such a long wait after all. 

I love you Graeme and I am here waiting and will continue to wait through whatever storm, government agency, flight delay God would have us go through. Here's to celebrating the rest of the approvals we need in order to be together again!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So Many Exciting Things to Share...

and they will come...this weekend when I have tons of time to write!

How exciting a weekend to write, read, and watch a movie or two! Yay!

It's the simple things in life folks :) When you're waiting on the BIG stuff you learn to enjoy the smallest of pleasures.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Waiting on Approval

I find the title appropriate for so many aspects of my life lately...waiting on approval from family and the choices I have made, waiting on approval from those I report up to at work that what I am doing is good enough and exactly what they were looking for, waiting on approval to marry the man I love. But really I think the first two are ones I am just going to have to let go and realize that who Heidi is and what she brings to the table is enough and it is good. My choices have been my choices and yes when I am was in high school, college, and now part of my adult life I have made some poor ones (but who hasn't!?). So whether my family approves or not I am making my own way in this life the best way I believe God has given me. The second, well all I can do is put my best foot forward each day and trust that what I bring to the table is enough whether I hear about it or not.

The last one I can't quite let go that easily. I am struggling with this one. I get that there are laws in place for certain reasons, but it is hard when it separates you from that one person who gets you more than any other person on this planet.

So about 3 weeks ago we got told that our early spring wedding was probably not going to take place because for whatever reason paperwork isn't moving as fast as they had hoped and it would and it would just be cutting it too close for Graeme to get here. It's like being told Christmas is on the 25th, but then oh wait we have to change it this year to February 25th for technical difficulties. Thankfully, after the tears had been wiped away and the ache of disappointment subsided, the date was able to move and all the vendors were able to work with the new date. But I still carry this disappoint with me.

I get asked periodically how I am doing (and I am so thankful that people care enough to ask), but to be able to answer honestly it's a lot and I also know it's a lot for people to take on. So I come up with a "fine...making lemonade of lemons" kind of statement and hope that is enough to have them nod and tell me how sorry they are and he'll be here soon response (which again...the fact that people even take the time to ask is wonderful in and of itself). Still makes me feel as though I am standing alone on dance floor as everyone has coupled up and has begun to dance to a song that I don't know, let alone the steps.

Because of this I am practicing my own dance...not caring who watches or thinks I am doing it wrong because it's my dance. My dance to hold me over till I get that approval that makes life just a tad bit sweeter.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our First Pet

Update: so Graeme decided to actually go celebrate with Buddy...went and took him his very first cupcake...he's the best :)

Below is Graeme and my first pet, a pet squid we named Buddy and today is his first birthday!

We ended up "finding" Buddy because when I was down in New Zealand last year I wanted to go view this colossal squid that was on display because it had been caught on my birthday while living there and I had found the whole story behind it so fascinating. So Graeme so kindly put up with me and went along for the adventure!

I don't really like squids, but seeing this one and learning a bit more about them was truly a fun and enlightening experince.

Anyways, all of that to say Happy Birthday Buddy! You have been a great pet squid!