Happy 1st Day of Summer

Happy Anniversary to Us

 “And this I pray, that your love may abound, yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment” Philippians 1:9

Four years ago today, I married my best friend, my other half, my soul mate. Kris and I were together for nearly three years before we were married, by that time we had been through so much more than any two people should ever have to go through, especially at such a young age. Through every problem, every health issue and surgery, Kris never left my side.

(A little backstory for ya: ) About three months before wedding, I had been in the hospital, lost our stillborn daughter and underwent an emergency total hysterectomy. Yet, this man still wanted to marry me. He didn’t care that I couldn’t give him the family I thought he wanted, he didn’t care that it might be weird to deal with a 21 year old menopausal woman, he just wanted to be with me.

This image from rehearsal dinner, night before wedding :)

Wedding Location

Since I had plenty of time at home while healing from my surgeries, I planned most of the wedding on my own, with plenty of help from mama of course. We were lucky to have so many wonderful friends and family members to help out with every aspect of planning, decorating, and refreshments that our budget was pretty low too.

Our wedding ceremony was held in my home town, the small town of Pendleton, SC. The actual wedding was held on a family friend’s 57 acre farm. Kris and I both wanted a teeny tiny ceremony, but eventually did invite around 40 people so that we could have our most important friends and family with us for the big day. We requested that wedding attire be comfortable and casual as it was an outdoor wedding and the temperature was HOT that day.

The wooin’ and the courtin’s done, our life together has begun (from our wedding invitations)…

Our simple ceremony included bride, groom, Maid of Honor, Best Man, and two flower girls. Kristin, the Maid of Honor,  wore a yellow sundress, the boys wore jeans, cowboy boots, and green or yellow shirts. I, myself ended up in a maxi dress, was still recovering from my surgey and the wedding dress I had spent months and months searching for, didn’t work with the 50 pounds lost from hospital time and the new 13 inch scar. So, I got the next best thing, a white cotton maxi dress, and I guess it was alright. The cowboy boots I bought for the wedding didn’t quite work with my cotton dress, so I also had to wear flip flops, yet again, not a bad switch, just something I hadn’t wanted or planned for. The wedding theme was country wedding and our color scheme was John Deere green and yellow! 

The majority of our music for the ceremony and reception was country music and we handpicked each song ourselves. A few of our ceremony songs included, Somebody Find Me a Preacher byTrace Adkins, Soulmate by Josh Turner, and our final song for the ceremony was Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis. 

Our dear friend, Rebecca, married us. She led the quick, but beautiful ceremony and did a wonderful job.

These were our wedding vows:

I choose you ___ as my best friend for life, to embark upon this great journey of marriage with me. I take you to be my husband/wife, my partner, my soul mate. In sickness, I will nurse you back to health. In health, I will encourage you on your path. In sadness I will help you to remember. In happiness, I will be there to make memories with you. In poverty, I will do all that I can to make our love rich. And in wealth, I will never let our love grow poor.

As it was nearly 100 degrees with 100 humidity the afternoon we got married, our ceremony was mighty quick and then we were off to the reception for bbq and sweet tea!

Our wedding reception was also held outdoors, across the field from our ceremony location. Guest were also invited to use the farm house but as with most 100 year old farm houses, there was no air conditioning and 40 people were quite crowded in that space. The picnic reception with SC bbq helped to end out our perfect, perfect day. My friend Marion, from Circle M BBQ, in SC catered our supper.  If you’re ever in the area, check out Circle M BBQ, he’s on facebook. Guest enjoyed Carolina style BBQ pulled pork, smoked chicken, beans, slaw, rolls, and sweet tea. Mom (my grandma) made her famous punch and we had a variety of favorite pies and peach cobbler rather than a wedding cake.

Kris and I left our wedding reception that evening, headed for our hotel that night. We had an early flight to catch the next day for our honey moon and my first trip out of the country. Catch next week for my posts on our honeymoon trip to the Bahamas!

Bouquet Toss

In the four years that we have been married, a lot has changed but Kris and I are still crazy about one another. We’ve helped each other to accomplish each other’s goals and are still working towards a few things, school, adoption, adjusting to life in the northwest. I look forward to many more years with my man and to what our future holds!

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's

Here's to New Beginnings...

Back in January, the Navy decided to see just how miserable they could make the two of us. How far away from home they could send us, how far from our normal could they find? So, they gave my husband orders and we began the moving process for the third time of the year. He had been in school for the Navy and so had been moving about every six months for a year and a half before this last move.

Our teeny tiny townhouse filled up quickly with boxes, the dogs began to panic, and we started saying our goodbyes once more.

We took a trip home for family visits and a best friend’s wedding before heading out for our cross country move to an island that most people have never heard of.

My heart and soul are rooted in the South and moving out of that region, so far away, has been especially hard for me to do. As Kris and I drove into Washington, the sun vanished into the clouds as we drove over the state line. We have been here for almost two months now. It still feels like living on a different planet.

The weather is always gloomy and cold. I have never in my life wanted to wear a long sleeve or fleece in May, but those are regular choices in my wardrobe these days. We have only had a few days with sunshine; I can see now why I have always heard that depression and gloomy weather can be related.

We’re still getting adjusted here; even our dogs are having issues adjusting to the weather and environment. The people (most, NOT all) haven’t been very nice to a young couple with a strong Southern drawl. More often than not, I have found it easier to keep to myself rather than put myself out there only to be ignored, given a blank stare or receive a rude comment about not sounding like a “north westerner.”  

The food choices, music playing in stores, and mannerisms are just something that I’m not accustomed to. We have moved three times since my husband joined the Navy and I’ve never dealt with a culture shock such as what we’re dealing with now.

However, we will be “trapped” on this island for the next few years, so here’s to new beginnings, might as well try to make the best of the lemons that life has thrown our way. Here’s to finding a way to ignore the making fun of the accent and to cooking more “normal” food at home. Here’s to making frequent trips home and learning to appreciate those friends that we do make, that don’t treat us as an outsider. Here’s to appreciating what we learn along this journey and to making the best of what we have been given. 

Letters to Baby 1 {Series}

Dear future little one,

There are so many things we hope to teach you. We hope to nurture you, teach you, and play with you through the years.  We will help you to learn manners and to have respect for those who respect you. As your parents, we will show you how to love and how to receive love.

We want to teach you an appreciation for nature. Your dad will help you develop a love for music and I’m sure his sense of humor will rub off on you as well!

There are so many things we can’t wait to do with you, show you, and help you with.

To be continued…

Wordless Wednesday...

Beautiful Sunsets

I'm not the best photographer and have only recently began to learn the editing part that goes along to making a great photo. However, I bought a camera for our cross country trip/move and really loved taking photos and seeing so many new things. 

My favorite photos and subjects so far have been our dogs and nature, especially sunsets.

Here are a few sunset shots to enjoy! 

Fundraiser Update

So far, we’ve had success with our fundraising efforts. Today, we have a few more items to add to our collection.


 Feel free to message us to purchase one, we also have a Paypal account for those who want to purchase online :)

Giving Samantha A Voice

Let’s get the word out about this new movie, Return to Zero,  and help raise awareness about stillbirth!

In 2009, my husband and I lost our daughter, she was stillborn. Her death caused grief and heartache like we  hadn't known was possible but also brought us closer together. In the weeks following the loss of our daughter, I realized that my purpose in life would be to help raise awareness and to provide comfort and support for families that were also dealing with this type of loss. 

This past month, I learned about an amazing movie that is being created, RETURN TO ZERO. I was given the chance to become a local leader and am so excited for the opportunity to help raise awareness and also meet families who have been in similar situations as myself and my family.

Infant loss awareness, especially stillbirth awareness is a passion of mine, after the loss of my daughter, I want to help other families in similar situations. As this movie is currently in production, we need to help ensure that the movie makes it to the local movie theaters.

RETURN TO ZERO is the first film ever created that focuses solely on stillbirth. The movie casts includes Minnie Driver, Paul Adelstein, Alfred Molina, Connie Nielsen, Kathy Baker, Andrea Andes, and Sarah Jones. They are working to create an amazing movie that will help to raise awareness and share insight into what the family deals with and experiences during stillbirth. This movie will help to show those who might not understand, how these families are touched and the experiences that an infant’s death may cause.

How can you help? Sign the pledge, see the movie. We need as many pledges as possible!

I have signed up to be a local leader for the film and in the next 30 days, I am hoping to get 100 of my family and friends (or more!) to sign up and pledge to see the film opening weekend (which has yet to be determined- hopefully late 2013 or early 2014). By PLEDGING to see RETURN TO ZERO in theaters when it shows in your community we can prove to Hollywood and distributors that that there is an audience for a film about this difficult but important subject matter.

You can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HqU43R7iij8WJt1bavZkmjhmPdci56qakUUKt2VfvWg/viewform

It’ll take about 30 seconds to fill out the form. Please list me (Natalie Welanetz) as your local leader and that's it! The city with the highest number of pledges at the end of the pledge drive will not only receive a special screening of RETURN TO ZERO but writer/director and producer  will attend to host a Q&A afterward!

So, if you live in Oak Harbor or  Whidbey Island in general, please list Oak Harbor, WA as your city/region. Let's bring these guys to Washington!! I understand that you aren't positive that you'll see the film and that's okay! But I encourage you to fill out the form and show your support anyway!!

Please help me make sure that RETURN TO ZERO makes its way to theaters! Let's give our Samantha and so many other stillborn babies the voice they never had!!

Thank YOU!!

Other links you may find helpful: 

Happy Birthday Kris

Wow, this week has been a busy week, full of birthdays! My husband, Kris has a birthday today J I promised him there wouldn't be a huge post full of sappy stories but just a quick note to send my love and say happy birthday!

Kris and I are six months apart; his birthday is one of my favorite days each year. Starting today, he can’t call me the old lady or make jokes on my age (we're six months apart; he sure thinks he's funny).

Belle and Sheldon send birthday love and cannot wait for you to come home to your birthday cake!

Happy Birthday Kris, I love you very much!

Happy Birthday to my Kylia!

Happy Birthday!!! 

It has been my pleasure to know and love this little girl for the past four years. While still out of work from my past surgeries in 2009, I babysat Kylia and now consider this precious girl and her mom family. Kylia and her mom came into my life as I was learning to deal with the grief and loss from my own daughter, she helped me to learn that it was okay to feel happy again. Today, June 5, is Kylia's birthday.

We love you girl, happy birthday!

A Tribute to the Bestie

Friends are people you can talk towithout words,when you have to. elvis Presley

Today, June 4th is a very special day, my best friend’s birthday. It’s the day she finally catches up to me so that I’m not old by myself J

I’ve known Tiffany all of my life, we’re cousins and have developed a wonderful friendship over our 25 years. We’ve always (until the last few years) lived right up the road from each other and were in most of the same classes throughout our years in school. From an early age, Tiffany road to school with my sister and I, and my poor mom got to listen to the three of us each and every morning. We had several school morning rituals; the breakfast at Burger King or Waffle King, where Dale’s dad would usually treat us to a Friday morning breakfast. There were also the synchronized hair brushing each and every morning when we hit that red light on the square.

There were trips to Waffle House, trips to the creek, and times at the shop. I could go on and on about the craziness that Tiffany and I have created or at least been a part of, but I’m sure no one wants to read a booktoday.

I haven’t yet lived down the moment when I tripped at my sister’s softball game. The liter cup of Sprite that Tiff and I were sharing flew into the air and went all over. And then, there were snow days from school. These days usually consisted of playing in the snow, watching Forrest Gump a few times, making snow cream, and eating a whole lot of Milky Way Midnights.

In middle school, there were dances and too many “boyfriends” to even laugh about. We survived a history class together, though given the circumstances and our laughing through the hour, I'm not sure how. There were Halloween costumes, days we came to school wearing pretty much the same things without planning to (happened quite a bit). We both gushed about that resource officer, field days at the park, and that Home Ec. Class that no one really wanted to be in. We rode the school bus together, made great friends and owned that back seat! That bus driver loved her two favorite girls! 

In high school, we rode our last two years of school together and the synchronized hair brushing days came to an end. We both started driving, still eating breakfast out a good bit and then on to the parking lot to hang out with the guys.  We both had boyfriends; fussed about them, set each other up, helped each other break up, the list goes on We took health care classes to watch movies and sleep, we joined the FFA for, you know, the scenery J and of course, because we were interested in learning to grow grass and feed a cow or two. We worked in the office, made friends with that resource officer,and enjoyed Subway for lunch while the other kids chowed down on the cafeteria special.

And then, came senior year. We worked hard, made awesome grades, and yet still goofed off for the majority of time we were stuck in class. Tiffany was dating the guy she is now married to and I, well it took me a while longer to find Mr. Right! One perk of the boyfriend Tiffany was with during senior year (well perk for me); she couldn’t take the “old one” to prom. I was bringing a friend (Ashley) since I didn’t have a date but then landed myself a date with Tiffany to the senior prom too lol. We made a day of it, had our hair and makeup done together and mama helped us with our gowns. We had pictures made at the Botanical Garden, my house, her house, the Shop, and even with Mr. Sausage himself. Our date was at Mac’s Drive In (famous in Pendleton). They treated us to a candlelit spot complete with grilled cheeseburgers with ranch, and French fries on paper plates. Pat even surpised us with sweet tea in a real wine glass!  But no milkshakes were allowed!

We graduated together and then went off to college, for a while.

Fast forward a few years, Tiffany was there as any friend would be when things fell apart for me. She helped me to feel better during the loss of my daughter and major surgeries. We've both lost dear people over the years and have been there for one another. She was at my wedding, and then we lived right up the road from each other once more.

We had weekly dates at El Patron and would go out to dance quite often. We perfected our moves for the Wobble, the Cha Cha slide, and what ever other dances were popular while we were out. The boys became good friends and all was great.

When Kris joined the Navy, I didn’t realize how much I would miss living in the South, particularly, living in my community, Slabtown. I also didn’t realize how much I would miss Tiffany and each of our traditions that we’ve started over the years, like our super fun bonfires out back in the field. It’s odd not to be within walking distance of such a close friend, odd not to just bump into her at Wal-Mart because you usually go around the same time each week.

And finallyI’m almost done J 

This past January; I got the text that I’ve been waiting for, for what seems like forever. Tiffany was going to have a baby, my “nephew”, lil Tim!!!!! As she had been engaged for quite a few years, she had a wedding planned for later in the year but, the two of us put our thinking caps on and knuckled down for the wedding planning MONTH of the century. Yes, you read that right, we planned that wedding in ONE month and it was a darn good wedding, if I do say so myself. I was honored to be Tiffany’s maid of honor and am so very glad that I was able to share that special day with her.

Now, I am living completely across the country from my Burgess sista but still miss her so very much and cannot wait to be home to see her and lil Tim, and Kevin too, I reckon!


I hope you enjoy your birthday. Wish I was there, we’d do it up big, Slabtown style!!

Photo Collage (from left to right):

1. Catching up, hanging out on my trip home from San Antonio, TX.

2. Bonfire party before first move from home.

3. Natalie/Kris wedding reception, 2009.

4. Fun times at El Patron (our Mexican joint)

5. Tiffany’s weddingwe’re all grown up now!

6. Family concert in the woods, this is the night Tiff and Kevin announced their engagement!!

7. Friend tattoos our honeysuckles!

8. High school graduation, 2006

9. Featuring Nat and Tiff performing their famous “Wobble” by the bonfire glow