Monday, June 15, 2009 far.

As it tends to do, now that summer is here it's already packed with activity and flying by. I just downloaded some photos from the camera and it made me realize how much we've been up to in just the past two weeks. Curious? Well, here's a little photographic overview of the first half of June:
On Friday, June 5th Travis and I joined with hundreds of other volunteers from our church to serve with Feed My Starving Children, an organization that sends nourishing meals to starving and malnourished children around the world. Each meal packet contains a chicken flavored powder with 20 vitamins and minerals, dehydrated vegetables, soy, and rice. Over 4 days on two campuses, Harvesters packaged over 600,000 meals. And, we had fun doing it!On Saturday, June 6th we saw Gipsy Kings in concert at Ravinia. The weather was unseasonably COLD (in the low 50's), and so we shivered and huddled together for warmth as we picnicked on the lawn. We went with our friends Allison & Alex and Nate & Bethany, who helped me surprise Travis with a little birthday celebration at the end of our meal. I brought a cake and candles, and my friends distracted Travis and blocked his view while I attempted to fit 32 candles on a small cake and get them all lit at the same time (a breeze made the latter endeavor quite difficult, so I finally settled for the majority). When we unveiled the cake to Travis and began to sing Happy Birthday, we were surprised when at least 50 people seated around us joined in the singing!
Tuesday, June 9th was my small group's first "Group Serve" night of the summer. The second Tuesday of each month during our normal small group meeting time we're volunteering to help out ECFA, a great non-profit ministry located in Wheaton, by cleaning their offices. We had a lot of fun serving together the first week, and look forward to July & August!
On Friday the 12th Allison & Alex took Travis and I out to dinner at Gaetano's in Forest Park for a joint celebration of our June birthdays. We did the chef's 4 course tasting menu and enjoyed every bite. In addition to exquisite taste, Gaetano's puts a lot into their presentation. Pictured here is one of the salad plates (pear poached in spiced Chianti served with watercress dressed with apple balsamic, and a warm gorgonzola, walnuts, and mascarpone fondue) and dessert (that's ice cream, chocolate cake, and tiramisu in the flower pot!).
Yesterday morning Travis picked me up at 3:30 (in the morning - did you catch that part?) to head up to the harbor in Waukegan. From there we went out on an 8 hour fishing charter with one of Travis' friends and one of his former students. The fish were not as responsive as the guys would have liked (only 4 fish were brought in, out of 9 bites), but it was a beautiful day to be out on the water, everybody went home with some salmon fillets (which is what I'll be preparing for dinner tonight), and I got to spend some quality "shoulder-to-shoulder" time with Travis that I think helped me better understand my fiance and his love for sports that involve killing things to eat.And finally, last night we had our second-to-last premarital counseling session. Cindy has made dinner for us each time we've met, so this time I volunteered to bring dessert, which gave me an excuse to throw together a pretty summer trifle. We've really enjoyed our sessions with Dave & Cindy and feel like they've been beneficial, giving us a lot to think and talk about as we prepare for marriage. Last night, however, I had a hard time focusing on what was being said, formulating answers that made sense, and not getting defensive about probing questions. Lesson learned: PMS + only 4 hours of sleep + 8 hours in the sun + premarital counseling = not a great combo. I am thankful that everyone took my out-of-nowhere tears gracefully in stride. :)

Though not photographically documented, during the first half of June we were also busy with Travis' big move out of the house where he'd lived for several years. Most of his things are now in our guest bedroom, from whence they will be integrated into the rest of the apartment. Between now and the wedding, Travis will be living with a co-worker in Oak Park who offered him an extra bedroom.

And what will the rest of the month include? Unpacking and putting away Travis' things, more get togethers with friends, my birthday celebration (Travis has something cooked up!), the meeting of the parents, and some hard core wedding planning.

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