Got married, honeymooned, relocated to another state — all within 30 days

Last time I wrote a blog post, Robby and I were three weeks away from getting married and were visiting Seattle to decide whether we should move here so Robby could attend law school at Seattle University. Here we are, in early July, settling into our new apartment in downtown Seattle.

I know I need to get better at keeping this blog updated. Is the excuse I've been busy still working?

The wedding

(Professional photos to come, but here are a few cell phone shots:)

Married May 10; ceremony at Santa Barbara City College, reception at Hyatt Santa Barbara

The highlights:

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We wrote our own vows and said them to each other on the top of Santa Barbara City College's West Campus lawn, overlooking the ocean.

About 180 of our family and friends joined us. Robby's vows were so sweet and he and I teared up while he was reciting them.

The wedding reception was tons of fun. Robby and I stumbled a bit and left half the moves out during our first dance, because I didn't bustle my dress before the DJ announced us like I was supposed to. The dress was so long and I thought we totally messed up the dance by tripping on it, but no one could see our feet (benefits of super long dress, I suppose), so no one could really tell.

Barthelmess wedding dancing

At least that's what they told us.

We also had a couple's dance with all the bridesmaids and groomsmen (and woman). The father/daughter dance with my brother-in-law turned into a family dance when Robby and his mom joined us, and later his dad and sister.

The food was great and, unlike many brides, I made a point to eat it! We also had an open bar, which I know the guests loved.

Robby's dad - the FIL (that's what I call him, Father In Law, and I'm DIL) — gave a wonderful welcome speech and Rachel did great as a maid of honor in every way, but also when she toasted us. Brandon's best man speech was a poem. He had the crowd laughing the entire time.

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Robby and I snuck away to get sunset photos on the beach, which was tons of fun. Especially since we ran into one of our friends and incorporated her into the photos.

We had the usual bouquet toss, garter removal and toss, and cake cutting/feeding to each other.

Robby and I made our thank you speeches. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when Robby brought a chair to the middle of the dance floor and sat me down to watch a slide show he made of photos of us, including the moment we first met when I was reporting on a walk for the Santa Barbara News-Press and he was shooting photos. He had the photo of when he first saw me.

I cried. So did a lot of other people. It was incredibly sweet.

We danced all night and didn't leave until the Hyatt staff started cleaning up (as a former events coordinator at a museum, I know how annoying that is, so we did leave pretty soon after). When we entered our honeymoon suite at the Hyatt, we were surprised to see our friends decorated the room. They strung red and pink crepe paper from the walls, placed rose petals on the bed in the shape of a heart, along with chocolates, and also blew up several balloons.

We had an ocean view room, and enjoyed room service for breakfast outside on the patio the next morning.

The honeymoon

Honeymooned on three Hawaiian islands: Maui, The Big Island, and Honolulu (Waikiki beach)

The highlights:

We spent the next day visiting with family and packing for our honeymoon, which started the day after that when we boarded a plane for Honolulu. From there, we hopped on a tiny plane and flew to Maui. I loved the Hyatt Regency in Maui. The pool was the biggest I've ever seen and it included a cave-bar (you can drink in the bar, located inside a landscaped cave INSIDE THE POOL!), waterfalls, basketball hoop, slide and more. It was awesome!

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Plus, the beach was just outside of the pool, so you could chill at the beach and the pool at the same time. We even rented our own cabana one afternoon so we could have more space. The hotel staff brought us drinks and we had a great view of sea turtles playing in the ocean.

The hotel had beautiful restaurants and a shopping mall. Outside, in the hotel's atrium, were tall trees and areas with animals I never expected to see in Hawaii. I couldn't believe they had penguins there and we would walk by and watch them. Also, the pond outside of the steakhouse had a swan that just kind of swam around and watched us as we ate. There were also some random exotic birds.

Our honeymoon suite had an ocean view and we were given free drinks by the hotel and guests to celebrate our wedding.

We enjoyed attending a luau.

Also, we went to Lahaina and went 130-feet deep into the ocean on a submarine. FIL knows the pilot, so we got to sit in the cockpit with him.

After three days, we boarded another plan for Kona on the Big Island. A wedding gift from a family friend was to use their house for free for the week while they were in Santa Barbara. They, too, had an ocean view and we enjoyed sitting on the porch appreciating the scenery. We had dinner with a few friends who were also vacationing on the Big Island, and that was fun. They recommended we attend a beer tour at Kona Brewing Co. and we did since Robby's quite the beer aficionado.

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We went snorkeling a few times. I thought I saw two sharks once but apparently they were just big fish. Robby found this funny. I did not.

We went on a helicopter tour over Volcanoes National Park and saw most of the island. That was an amazing experience I will never forget.

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Later that day, we checked out a waterfall.

We also enjoyed hanging out a beautiful white sand beach a few times.

After the week was up, we headed to Waikiki for our last three nights. We met up with our friend Jason-on-Vacation and got drinks. Robby and I spent most of our time hanging out at the beach and the bar at the Moana Surfrider, because his grandfather used to spend time there during WWII. We ordered the drink he used to have whenever he was there. Let me tell you, Papa liked his drinks strong!

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We really loved our suite, which Hyatt Regency Waikiki staff were kind enough to upgrade for our honeymoon. They gave us a room with the best view I've ever seen!

I'm sure I'm leaving some things out because it was over a month ago, but that, in a nutshell, was the honeymoon. We had an amazing time. Also, I didn't put as many pictures in here as Robby did on his blog so, if you feel so inclined, check those out.

After our thirteen days were up, we headed back to Santa Barbara, where I spent my last week at the maritime museum wrapping things up at work while Robby finished packing at the house. My last day working was May 30 and Robby and I left Santa Barbara June 5 for Seattle.

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We made it a longer road trip so we could see the coastline and ended up in our new apartment a few days later. A couple of days after that FIL and MIL (Mother In Law) arrived with a U-Haul full of our stuff. The next few days we spent unpacking, making trips to IKEA and building furniture. FIL and MIL went back to Santa Barbara and Robby and I have been getting settled ever since.

What we've been up to in Seattle

The highlights:

Robby started summer school last week and we've already met up with some of his new friends for drinks. He's been studying and I have spent my time searching for a job. I had an interview earlier this week for a communications position at a foundation that improves foster care. I've volunteered with this organization for years and even received a scholarship from it that helped me pay for college. I am a huge fan of this organization and would be honored to assist in the work it does. So, we will see what happens.

Robby and I have been attending Mars Hill church and have joined a community group. The woman who hosts the group is going to teach me how to make Shrimp Scampi next week.

I've been writing (and editing, lots of editing) an essay about challenges I faced planning the wedding while trying to navigate roles and participation of my family, adoptive and biological. A few publications have expressed interest and I'll keep you posted on how that goes. I'm also continuing working on fiction writing, but have nothing new to report there.

I recently got together with a few like-minded writers and we are forming a writers group.

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Robby and I love our apartment. It's located where three major areas — downtown, Capitol Hill, and "Pill Hill" i.e. First Hill — meet. And it has a great view!

We're near so many restaurants, shops, bars, you name it. The apartment building has its own dog park and many of the residents have dogs. We want a Corgi, but I definitely need to get a job first.

Also, the apartment has its own gym and rooftop garden. The rooftop garden has a fire pit and a couch and several other places to sit to enjoy the downtown view.

So far, so good, Seattle. The weather has been nice but I know that won't last. We should get out there and enjoy it while we can!

Until next time,

Nikki