Category Archives: the story of us

With All My Heart, Always

packing slip

phone case

chicken and dumplingsAndrés got me a monogramed V phone case for Valentine’s day (which I heavily hinted at, haha). But to be honest? The packing slip made me cry. Then I got embarrassed that I was being overly emotional over a packing slip so I tried to put a cardboard box on my head to hide it. It wasn’t my best moment.

Andrés makes me feel loved constantly. When he makes me eggs, when he drives me around, when he indulges my Craigslist whims, when he takes Ruby out late at night. But he doesn’t often say things like those two messages (the second accompanied two dozen roses delivered to my office). So to receive both, in the same week? I feel like the luckiest girl. We all have different love languages that we speak, and words of affirmation is one of mine. And boy, is he speaking directly to my heart.


Halfway to Thirty



beef pho

bo dun

I turned twenty-five yesterday. That’s kind of amazing.

We celebrated with two of my sisters and their partners, and my bestie over amazing Vietnamese food and decadent red velvet cake. I feel so blessed.

(ps: I have this theory that life begins at 20, so I consider 25 halfway to 30. Goofy, huh?)

Merry & Bright

christmas cards 2012

christmas card 2012Our first Christmas cards as a couple.

We included a black & white photo from our wedding in the bright cards from Target. I think we’re going to stick with black & white photos in the years to come because they’re classy, and because it keeps the colors from competing with the card. We were back at Target getting wrapping paper right before Christmas, and the cards were 30% off so I picked up three more boxes of the designs we didn’t pick for this year from the same series. Boom. I feel prepared. Hopefully I don’t forget about them.


name change


I am officially Mrs. CNV. I kept my maiden name as my middle name, dropped my two existing middle names (which made my former initials CMAN), and took Andrés’ last name.

I struggled with the decision a little, but in the end I decided that if I had an established career under my maiden name, I would have just kept my name. But I am excited to have his name, and I’m excited to have the same name our children will have. And, in the end, if I had kept my maiden name, I wouldn’t be keeping “my” name … I’d be keeping my father’s name.

Keeping my existing first middle name, Marie, would have made my initials CMV, which is problematic for me because those initials stand for the Cytomegalovirus. Random that I know that, right? Here’s the thing… I don’t have CMV. It affects between 50-80% of adults, and 90.8% of people aged 80+ have it. It’s not noticeable for most healthy people that contract it after they’re born, but it can be dangerous if contracted while pregnant. I give blood as often as I’m allowed, and they once called back to inform me that I’m CMV-negative, and therefore my blood is extra pure.

So that’s how I ended up Mrs. CNV, à la Hillary Rodham Clinton and Kay Bailey Hutchison. And John Wayne Gacy. As Slate said, “In a way, it is an ingenious political solution: By shunting their old names into a prominent middle-name status, aspiring first ladies can signal to red states that they defer to their husbands while winking at the blue states that they still have their own names.”

One Year

A year ago yesterday, we moved into our house. Our home.

We kept it a secret from Andrés’ mom, and from most of his family, until she arrived about a month later and we surprised her.

In that year we: traveled to Colombia for 2 weeks, adopted Ruby, planned our wedding, and got married.

We started making our home ours in small and big ways. Truth be told, it didn’t really feel like home for me until very recently. We got a dresser for our bedroom, and for some odd reason that changed everything. It pulled that room together for me, and sealed the deal.

I expect to do a massive update to our house tour before the end of the month, but the biggest changes can be seen in the living room and dining room.

Dining room in December 2011:

The dining room more in October and November respectively:

table setting thanksgiving

The living room in December 2011:

The living room now:

Well that’s almost accurate… We have two Christmas trees up right now, but I’m going to update about that later this week.

The house is, by my estimation, at least 2 years from being even close to “done”. There are several rooms we haven’t touched at all, like: the middle floor bathroom, the guest room, the future nursery (the tan room), our master bedroom, the guest bathroom, the master bathroom.

We have so many plans, so many ideas. We just have to do them on our time, when we feel like it. And when we can afford it. I don’t feel weird about having a partially unfinished house. I think it’s charming to see the process.

Giving All of Our Thanks

thanksgiving morning

prepping stuffing

table setting thanksgiving

thanksgiving plate

This Thanksgiving was one of the best I can remember. We did a early afternoon potluck dinner with my parents, two of my sisters and their boyfriends, and Andrés’ mom. Andrés and I made two turkeys (herb rubbed traditional and a pre-cooked Cajun turkey from Popeyes), herb stuffing with beef bacon, bread rolls, and homemade gravy. His mom made black beans, seasoned rice, and mashed potatoes. My sister B and her boyfriend brought adorable muffin tin apple crumb pies and pumpkin pies. My sister Y and her boyfriend made a corn, green onion, and lima bean succotash. My parents brought Apple Mallow Yam Yums (a family Thanksgiving classic), Caesar salad, and broccoli with sautéed onions. All that food made for a colorful plate!

Andrés, his mom, and I went to his aunt’s house for an evening dinner catered entirely by his aunt. She’s a pro when it comes to cooking for large crowds, so of course this meal was fantastic. I don’t know how she does it.

I couldn’t be more thankful for this year. Thankful for my husband, my family, my puppy, our home. Thankful for our beautiful wedding. Thankful for this life we’ve built. Thankful for the opportunities to continue building.