Let's be honest: how many of us discovered so many things in our homes that needed attention once we were forced to sit still with it all???
My poor sweet husband has had to listen to me gripe about how much I hate the wall color in our home since the day we saw it and decided to buy it, and to be fair, I still do and someday we'll be able to have the entire house repainted but for now.....
We were fortunate enough to collaborate with PhotoWall for this Master Bedroom Glow up! It wasn't a complete renovation but we did quite a lot to make this into a more serene, grown up space!
Here's our oh-so-glamourous before shot of our bedroom! We were in desperate need y'all!
Now I'll be real honest, I've never worked with wallpaper before. Like the closest I've ever gotten to wallpaper is when we made a paper mache chocolate waterfall for the jr high play in 7th grade! Hahaha so to say we were noobs is a complete understatement but we were willing to try it out!
When I finally picked out the print I wanted, I knew I needed to change up the walls in our room too because this contractor beige nasty color is just that - nasty. So I used the handy dandy Home Depot ProjectColor App to find the perfect shade of white to match the wallpaper (also did you know there's a million shades of white??? WHY?!) I ran to Home Depot, wearing my mask made by a sweet lady in my neighborhood so I could stay as safe as possible while being out, and grabbed a sample of Winter Morn from Glidden! It has a slight purple hue when you open the container but it's a gorgeous white once it's on the walls!
When we got the product it was even more gorgeous in person than online! I was so excited to finally make an accent wall in our room. As we got started we discovered that they had given us quite a bit extra on the bottom of each panel (which could absolutely be my fault when entering measurements, lezzzzbe real) so we tried to move it up a bit to keep the excess a bit less but that was our first mistake hahaha
About halfway through we realized we had made an even bigger mistake so we just kinda made it work hahaha I won't tell you the mistake for fear of making ourselves look fools (again) but I will say that once we were finished we realized how we should have started and begun the process. Aaaaaaand we also realized that that was what the instructions were telling us the entire time but we were just too impatient/inexperienced to understand that hahaha OOOPS! *facepalm*
Overall, we discovered we are not handy enough to handle wallpaper on another surface hahaha the product we received is incredible, amazing quality, and for people that have done wallpaper before it's probably easy but for us that have never done anything like this it was a bit over our heads hahahaha
After getting this gorgeous wallpaper up on the wall, I knew we needed something else to make it even better and more of a grown up room - enter Wayfair with a killer sale!!
We've been without a headboard since we moved into this house because it got broken in the truck - it's always at least one thing right?? When I found this one on Wayfair I was so excited! It's the perfect simple style with just a hint of glam ya know?? We've been wanting wall lamps for a long time, even before we moved into this house. I knew the general idea of what I was looking for but couldn't ever find the right one until these beauties showed up on my search! And on a serious sale too to boot! I was so happy to add them to my cart!
One of the only things I actually liked in our room before was the vinyl on the wall with the words from our wedding song. So I knew I needed something to be able to have them back up again. My sweet friend and her husband actually built me this 24 X 36 sign and then I painted it and used vinyl from Expressions Vinyl to complete it!
My heart has been so happy these past couple days with a beautiful new master bedroom! I have PhotoWall to thank for this amazing transformation! And as a thank you, they're also giving me a discount code for all of you lovely people!
Use code: ourhappilyeverafter2021 at checkout for 25% off your treasure for your walls!
They have so many amazing prints, it took me almost 3 weeks to finally narrow it down and then an extra one to make sure this was the one!
Thanks PhotoWall for the opportunity and the amazing wallpaper makeover!
So I went back to California, and back to work but it wasn't as exciting for me anymore. I'll be honest, the last like 5 weeks of my internship I just wanted to be home and spend time with Andrew. After all, he'd been gone for 2 years!! July 21 Andrew, Haley, Jamie, Jesse, and Derek came to visit me for a day! I was so excited!
Earlier that morning we had taken our DCP picture in front of the castle
in our costumes (uniforms) and it was awesome!!
After the picture, a bunch of us went to ride Star Tours
one last time before it closed for refurb,
then I raced to the bus stop,
waited for the bus to finally come,
raced upstairs (4 flights of stairs thank you!)
and got dressed in a cute-ish outfit
(also had to be functional for a day at Disneyland)
and waited for them to get to my apartment so I can hop in the car
and get them into the parking structure for free ;)
I had perks!
Also, the same day they came,
my aunt and uncle and cousins came too!
Andrew and I start walking around Disneyland
and all I could think was
"YES! This is what I've been waiting for"
and I was on cloud one million!
And all my friends wanted to meet him
since they'd heard about him now hahahaha
so we went around and I introduced him to everyone.
We also got into a fight hahaha
about proposals of all things!
We already knew that we were going to get married,
and Andrew was determined not to ask me until
he had a ring and I said I didn't care about it.
We could wait to buy a ring until we could afford it,
we could just get a Mickey ring and live with it for now.
It was a full-on fight between us,
and we had never fought before (and still haven't).
But we decided to just forget it for the day and to enjoy our time together
in my favorite place and love it ;)
The day progressed on and we were going into Fantasyland,
we were headed to the castle
and I opted to try and take us through the side way cuz it was less crowded.
Andrew of course was adamant about going under it,
so I was like "Ok whatever."
Then I noticed his hand was shaking in mine,
and I was thinking
"Ok well we haven't eaten in awhile, he's probably needing something to eat",
when he stopped me right as we were about to pass under
and asks me
"What was your dream about this castle?"
I said "Well I wanna live in it, see that tower up there?
It's all mine - I've already got my decorations picked out"
He laughed and said
"No not that one!"
I gave him a perplexed look,
then he got down on one knee and pulled A RING from his back pocket.
He asked me
"Ali will you marry me?"
"YES! Y-y-y-yy-essss!!!" and I stammered and shouted
and the whole thing took about 30 seconds
and only 2 people saw it happen hahahaha
it was great!
I then punched him the arm and called him a "punk face"
for getting into a fight with me about a ring when he had it in his freaking pocket!
And since we were right by the castle,
I took him into the store inside the castle and we got
"Just Engaged" buttons from my friend Stephanie who was working that night ;)
We went around the rest of the night
showing off our buttons (me) and the ring (Andrew).
Yes you read that right,
I was showing off the buttons and he was showing off the ring hahahaha
Needless to say,
the next 3 weeks of living in California was really hard
especially since all I wanted to do was wedding plan!
But I had a great roommate,
and some great friends that threw me a Disney bridal party,
and almost everyday my leads would make me wear "Just Engaged" buttons
cuz they were so excited for me!
Andrew came to my graduation ceremony,
(you can call me "Duck"ter Bowler thank you very much,
we all received "Duck"terate diplomas hahaha)
then we packed me up and drove home and started wedding plans ;)
And you guys know the rest ;)
The first thing I noticed when I got off the plane was the disgusting heat! I was living in Cali where 80 was the high (with a breeze) - not the low hahaha
I was shaking like a leaf, I knew Andrew wouldn't be at the airport cuz he had stuff to do first. So I get in the car with my parents and we're driving home and he texts me saying "I'll be there in like 10 minutes" thus more shaking ensues.
As I'm anxiously waiting for Andrew to arrive, I'm beginning to panic - a lot. I don't know what to do....go for a hug? Handshake? High five? How should I talk to him? SHOULD I talk to him? GAH! I was lying on the floor just trying to calm my pounding heart, I mean this was the moment I had been dreaming about for 2 years - I wanted it to be perfect.
I heard the doorbell - my heart skipped a full minute of beats - I heard my brother say "I'm his first Bowler hug! Mwahahaha" and attacked him. I saw him then for the first time and he looked GOOD! I had seen that he was skinnier than when he left, but I didn't realize how skinny he was! Such a twig ;) So he sees my whole family there (grandparents included) and goes around giving hugs to them since he hadn't seen them either obviously, while saying "Saving the best for last" to me.
After he hugged my mom, it was my turn and it was SOOOO awkward! Mostly because all eyes were on us in the room hahahaha but we hugged and I cried a bit then I said "Oh you probably want your clothes back huh??" and ran to my room to get the shirts he had had me store for him ;) Yeah I know not the best first encounter but ya know.....anyways.
So we go outside to get into the car to go spend some time with his fam, and I got a real true hug ;) No eyes watching, just him and me saying hey for the first time to just each other. BEST HUG EVER ;) Then we got in the car and went to the movies. We hadn't had a chance to really chat at all yet, and we couldn't during the movie. And his ENTIRE family was there watching us watch the movie....no pressure y'all....so after the movie ended we opted to walk to the restaurant rather than drive so we could try to have a conversation.
As we walked there, soon as we were out of the family's sight, he grabbed my hand ;) And then we sat on a bench for a few minutes and looked at each other. Andrew said "So still wanna do this?" I said "I waited didn't I? Hahahahaha" and then we walked hand in hand to the restaurant but he didn't want his family to know yet since he'd only been back 2 days which is understandable. After dinner with the fam, Andrew brought me home so we could each take a break after a pretty emotionally draining day hahaha as he left me at my door, he kissed me good night ;) Yeah he's not one to be subtle or slow - he's all gungho!
The next night we went to my brothers play on our first post mission date. We seem to have a thing for AYT plays being our first dates ;)
On Sunday he gave his homecoming talk, and I've never been prouder of him ;) He sounded amazing and he spoke a little in Spanish which was super hot let me tell you hahahaha ;) They had an open house for him afterwards and I went for a little bit, then I went home cuz I really hadn't seen my family and it was Sunday so I made dinner with Andrew's help that night for them.
*Enter sidenote that I forgot to mention earlier: While he was gone, I had written in a separate journal just to him, kinda like letters to him that I couldn't send out. Turned out that Andrew had done the same thing for me without us saying anything to each other about it hahaha ;) That became my reading material for the plane ride and when I had bad days at work*
Monday I flew back to Cali to finish my internship, with a promise from Andrew to visit me at least once before I left.
...to be continued...
So we had made a pact not to be lovey in our letters to each other because he was dedicated to the Lord for those 2 years, not me ;) But I'll be honest, it sucked hahahaha I had gotten used to hearing "I love you" and "sweetheart" etc and knowing I was getting letters from him that wouldn't say those things was not the easiest thing, and by that I mean one of the hardest parts of this entire process hahaha
But looking back on it, it was the best possible thing we could have done. It helped Andrew keep his focus where it needed to be which helped him become a great missionary ;) And I dealt with it hahahaha I knew that was how it needed to be even though sometimes all I wanted was some lovin ;)
So January of 2010 I got the opportunity to do an internship at Disneyland with one of my good friends, only thing was that I wouldn't be able to come home til August! 2 months after Andrew came home!! When I wrote him about it, he basically said "It's Disney, you gotta go! I'll come visit you!" and so I did ;) And it was the BEST thing I did for myself. (yes mother you were right....there I said it!) During the next 6 months I got letters and a couple short emails, and then it was finally time for him to come home!
I had purchased a ticket to come home on the day he came home, then that day changed so I ended up seeing him 2 days after he was already home. But I digress! So I'm at work when I get a text from Andrew's sister with a picture saying "HE'S HOME" and I may have started to tear up a bit in the Star Wars store hahahaha Then on my lunch break Haley was calling me, or so I thought....so I answer my phone "Hey love what's up?" cuz Haley and I were just that cool and I hear:
"Actually this is Andrew...do you have my FB password?"
Insert my shocked face at both his voice and his question hahahahaha
2 years between talking and he asks me for his FB password.....yeah.......
Don't worry, once I was off work he called me on his new phone and we had a legit conversation, though slightly awkward hahaha then the texting started cuz I was leaving the next morning to come home for the weekend ;) And he said he was excited to see me, but I know we were both super nervous about how this was gonna go. I got up extra early and did my hair, had my roommate pick my outfit since I have no fashion sense and she ended up loaning me a shirt of hers hahahaha and I got on the plane with a text of "See you soon!"
And with that part 5 will come soon! ;)
As I walked out of Andrew's house with tears streaming down my face, my heart shattered. But as I said before, I also had a sense of immeasurable peace. I hadn't felt my Heavenly Father's love so strong for me before and it truly felt like He was giving me a hug to reassure me, or letting me cry on His shoulder like any loving father would do. That night I slept over at my BFF's house cuz I din't want to be alone and we had our other friends come over for a bit too. We ate ice cream, I cried, it was a great girls night for me to get all emotional about everything and have such great friends to support me ;)
Over the next year, I gotta be honest with you, I wasn't very social.
*Disclaimer again: I have always kinda been a homebody until senior year but then it was just with my small group of friends and by this time 2 of them were married and one engaged, so it was hard to get together anymore*
I actually only had one date during the entire two years Andrew was gone. And that happened at my other friend's wedding.
I really didn't want to go alone,and my buddy (we'll call him J) said he'd come with me as my date so I wouldn't feel so lonely cuz all my girlfriends had dates. I was SOOO beyond glad he did! First it wouldn't have been any fun to be all alone at a table, AND he came to my resuce when I needed a friend. This girl (let's call her B to make things easier) I knew from high school came over to our table to say hey and we were all chatting for a bit. Then the other couples went to get food, leaving me and J to talk with B.
Out of the blue B says "So you were dating Andrew Mills right?"
Me: "Yeah, he's in the MTC right now but he leaves for Argentina on Monday!"
B "So what are you going to do when he either writes you off or comes home and doesn't want you anymore?"
Me: *stunned silence*
J: "Well I come home 9 months later and then I'll snatch her up!" (with a smile)
B then left the table.
I was so grateful he was there just to rescue me from hecklers. Although he did actually mean that statement at the time, which made it nicer too ;)
At his year mark, Andrew sent me a tape that was meant for only me to listen to! We had exchanged tapes throughout the year but always with other people talking on it too, so this was something special. He talked about his companion and all the cool people he'd met and at the very end of the tape he said "I love you". It was really fast, so more like "iloveyou" *click* hahahahaha But it made me so happy! We had made an agreement before he left to not be all "loving", for lack of better word, in our letters to each other so that made the tape extremely precious to me ;)
Stay tuned for part 4!
I thought I should continue our story ;) Here's part one if you missed it!
So he asked me if he could date me, and I said yes but then I thought "how am I gonna tell my girlfriends about this!?" So we each took one to tell. They took it really well considering that it all happened so fast and they did have interest in him too.
After all that, I had to get used to having a boyfriend again. I'll admit, I had major issues at first. *Remember ex-boyfriend broke me* I was super insecure, like awkward-borderline-over-defensive insecure. Poor Andrew. He would be such a gentleman and I was a horrible lady. I would open my own doors, kinda refuse any help whatsoever. I was ridiculous, yet Andrew was patient with me and just kept telling me that I was worth everything he was doing for me. It took a good 3-6 months for me to finally open completely up.
When we got to 6 months of dating, I started to realize that I couldn't be without him. And that fact made me nervous seeing as he hadn't gone on his mission yet. That Christmas he gave me Swarovski crystal blue forget-me-nots because I said that his eyes were that color and he wanted me to have something that would remind me of him ;) I know, disgustingly cute right? ;) And that's when we started discussing our future together.
We decided that we were meant to be, neither of us had felt like this with anyone else, and this just felt so right how can we ignore it? But there was one pretty big thing we would have to overcome: his mission.
Now I want to make something clear here: Andrew was going to go on a mission, that was non-negotiable and I told him flat out that if he didn't go on his mission, I wouldn't marry him. Cuz if he couldn't commit 2 years to the Lord, how could he commit to an eternity with me? ;) Yeah I know, one of my more shining moments I won't lie hahahaha So as we got closer to him leaving, we took every moment we could to just enjoy our love and keep the pressure off ;)
One of our friends got married about 2 weeks before Andrew left (actually it was one of the other girls that was in the triangle hahaha) and I was a bridesmaid and Andrew and I really had fun. It was also one of those days where we knew what each other was thinking without needing to say it "will we make it to this point?"
See? Those are two of my favorite pictures of us and both are from that wedding (you're welcome Noelle! ;) ) As we were sitting at their reception, we looked at each other and an understanding came to both of us without words. We loved each other, and marriage was what we wanted.
At Andrew's farewell, I loved listening to him talk and hearing how proud he was that he was the first in his family to go on a mission (the men in his family went into the Navy) and my family all came too cuz they knew how much he meant to me ;)
We look so young! Hahahaha He gave his farewell talk on his brthday and left on Wednesday for the MTC. On his last day we spent it together and I helped him pack for his mission, yeah I was one of those girlfriends - in denial. That night he was set apart as a missionary and I was there being as supportive as I could be ;) He had come up to me earlier and kissed me real quick and a fast hug but I was the last one he hugged and I waited until I got outside his house to break down in the tears that I had held back for weeks. Yes my heart broke again but it was different. I felt this overwhelming sense of peace along with the sad, I know weird right? It was like Heavenly Father was telling me "Don't worry my daughter, he'll be fine and so will you."
Stay tuned for part 3
So I don't know how many of you know our story but seeing as now we're in June, it marks 18 months of marriage and 5 years of being together ;) I've decided that I'll tell our story in a bit more detail ;)
I'm so thrilled that my first Q & A got such a great response! Like I said, you guys are the greatest!
And now I will answer your brilliant questions ;)
If you could have ANY job what would it be?
Wow, ANY job? I would love to be brave enough to be Indiana Jonesette ;) Can't ya just see me with a whip??
If you could visit any place in the world - money and time no object - where would you go and why?
I have always wanted to tour all of Europe. And I do mean ALL of Europe, every little country and fill my passport with pretty stamps ;)
What baby names do you like so far?
Normally, I wouldn't write these, but family already knows and we've had these planned for a long time! Girl - Aurora Rose (nickname Rory) Boy - Benjamin Ryan (nickname Ben)
What are your thought about epidural vs natural birth?
Um....get me the drugs! I'm a total wimp and have HUGE respect for women that can birth naturally Kudos my friends, kudos!
Have you found any fun books about pregnancy yet?
Not yet, honestly though I haven't been looking quite yet, so if anyone has one I should try PLEASE comment below!
How long have you been a blogger and do you have any advice?
I've been blogging for 3 years this December (holy wow time flies!) and my main advice is: write what YOU want, it's YOUR blog after all ;) Don't get too caught up with feeling like you need to write everyday, or link up with every linky party in the world, all the crazy giveaways, etc. Just be you! That's why people read your blog is to get to know you! Also ignore those negative comments that every now and then happen. Don't let it get to you, I just delete them and move on ;)
You waited for Andrew to come back from his mission right? What was the hardest part of that time, and did you go on dates with other guys during that time?
Yes I did wait and it was really hard, I think the hardest part was just waiting to hear from him. He went to Argentina so letters and tapes were slow to get back and forth. But I loved having 2 years of always checking the mail for letters and sometimes getting 2-3 at a time cuz they got stuck in the mail system down there ;) Sometimes it would be months before I got anything, that was rough.....Dates........no I didn't date anyone during that time. (I'm not the best date person apparently) But I did hang out with friends and do some self-exploration during those 2 years and learned more about myself and worked at Disneyland at the end of that ;)
What are you guys doing for your anniversary?
Not a dang clue! Andrew's in charge hahahahaha but he says he has a few different sets of plans all depending on baby behaving or not ;) I know I'll be going to work that day (gingerbread houses day in kindergarten) but other than that it's all a surprise! (But I do have his gift already heeheehee)
How many children do you guys want?
Depends on who you ask ;) Andrew says 6 and I say "Ask me after this one!" I'm content with as many as Heavenly Father decides to bestow upon us but we're not gonna go crazy like the Duggars or anything! (20 kids! Yikes!!!!)
Thanks so much for your questions! If you have anymore, you can comment below or email me and I'll answer them ;)
Thanks to my friend Perla, Andrew and I now have some really nice pictures of us to hang around our house ;)
We did a swap: blog "design" for pictures ;) So check her two blogs out here and here and see my handywork ;) Here are just a few of my favorites:
So after work on Wednesday, Andrew decided he wanted to have a romantic dinner for us.
Isn't he the cutest thing ever!? So after setting off the smoke detector once, we sat down, turned on our fake candles, and feasted on manicotti stuffed with chicken and a creamcheese/diced tomatoes/onions sauce topped with cheese ;)
Can my man cook or what!?
It was an amazing thing that we could stay up til 11 talking, eating, and just knowing how much we love each other.
How did you spend your night?? ;)
Here you will find love, magic, bookworm favorites, Disney tips, and a family on their journey to Happy Ever After!