Are we home yet? – Baltimore Trip Pt 3

We did it…. well they did it, but I like to think our specific cheering squad helped boost morale. If you could HEAR the screams from Ben, and how Toni almost lost her voice, then you would think the same too.

I don’t even know how to write this seeing as we are no longer in the play offs as the Patriots defeated us. Isn’t sports lingo great – defeated – how extravagant!

I was placed with the task of writing about our way home – but I didn’t want to.. I still don’t want to. I want to still be there, still walking around with the rest of the fans, basking in us winning, us still being in the playoffs, still seeing Ben jump down the streets with so much energy that he had to do push ups in the hotel room in order to get some energy out.

However, we came home…we drove…for forever…and ever. I almost got sick – seriously I suck at car rides. I had Gravol, fresh air and I am sure everyone was thankful for that.

There were some highlights of the way home, so maybe I should just let you know about those. Because I wouldn’t personally like to read a sad blog about coming home from a vacation where we were stuck in the car for hours on end!

In the morning, the bakery attached to our hotel had chocolate croissants that were FRESHLY made that morning. As everyone was packing up and getting ready for the day, and to sit in the car, I went to the bakery and got coffee and croissants and brought them back to our meeting point of the trip, Julia and Ben’s room. Now do I have pictures of these delicious amazing, goooooeeeyy flakey yummy pastries? No I do not – because we ate them before I could get a picture of them. They were so good – so darn good!

JUST KIDDING!!! Of course I have a picture – jeeze this isn’t amateur hour, we bought more!

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Yum-O look at those eyes!

We even bought more for the drive home, so the beautiful picture you see above is our second batch of delicious treats.

Another highlight of our whole trip was how friendly everyone was – even as Mike was setting the GPS for home, a man who noticed Mike walked up to the open window and asked if he needed help to get any where. He then proceeded to tell us the completely wrong way to get home, but that was not the point. The point was he wanted to help – he told us to go from his house, which we were no where near, to get to Canada.

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The way home was long, like I said before. But with a great seat partner, which I had, and a request to go SHOPPING – it was made more bearable!

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Seat partner extrodinaire – who even held my hair when I thought I was going to throw up!

We stopped in Pennsylvania to stretch our legs, get food and to get some shopping in. We stopped at Victoria Secret where Julia found the love of real bras again since she has stopped nursing, Toni also bought little goodies, and I bought comfy pj’s. I also had my first Macy’s experience where I found and bought a dress for my wedding shower, and Julia and Toni tried to figure out how to steal a very large mirror that was sitting in the change room.

seriously ... can't take them any where!

Seriously…can’t take them anywhere!

After we were thoroughly scolded for wanting a car break from the men who failed to book off the next day, we were scurried to Subway where the option for “double meat” was asked very cordially. I declined…and I am happy to report for all our heart and waistlines’ sake, no one got double meat.

We were then shoved back into the car and whisked back to the border. The car ride home was uneventful – we tried to get home as soon as possible for fear that the rental fairies would turn our Tahoe back into a pumpkin.

The rest of the trip was a blur of…

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And this…

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With maybe a little bit of this…

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All in all it was a great trip – and I leave with you this amazing entrance picture of the great Suggs. Seriously, how bad ass is this picture!?

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It was a great trip, an amazing trip – and by far the best present I have ever given to Cody – even though the picture evidence that I have doesn’t really show it.

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This was after we won…I swear he loves me! Just kidding, love you babe!

~ Jacqui

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The great 2015

Well, we are back full force everyone, and more than just that it’s a new year! A fresh start – or more like a continuation of the changes I have made over my many years on this earth – a whopping 25, if you didn’t know.

There is so much that 2015 has to hold. Not only are Cody and I getting hitched come June, but our group of friends is GROWING!!! That’s right – we have two amazing couples in our circle of friends that are expecting beautiful bundles of joy! This, if anything, is the most amazing thing to look forward to. Yes, I am excited to marry the man of my dreams, my best friend, but if anything says “You are growing up” it’s when baby showers are in your future.

Normally resolutions are made and then broken. I honestly believe this. Resolutions at the start of the year are pointless when you don’t know what the year holds for you! How can you say that you are going to set a goal if you can’t foresee the future and know that those goals are obtainable? So, this year I have decided not to make any, but rather enjoy everything this year is going to bring. There are so many events that are going to unfold that making a list of what not to do and what needs to be done by the end of the year is just adding to an ever-growing to-do list that I already loathe. I want 2015 to be a year of happiness, love, friendship and family.

It is a widely known fact that the number 1 resolution every year, over and over and over again, is to become healthier and to exercise more. Just drive past any gym on January 2nd and see the numerous cars that were once not present but now are abundant. These cars will slowly diminish. People’s lives are simply too busy,

I sound pretty cynical and negative; however, every year this has been my goal and the only reason that I have stuck to it is because I slowly over the last two years have exercised more and it has become easier for me to the point where it has become a lifestyle choice, rather than a resolution to be healthier at the end of the year. I want to be healthier at the end of every day!

I was pretty interested in what other bloggers thought and what resolutions they were making. I found a lot, and some of their points of view made me think twice. Let’s Talk New Year’s Resolutions is keeping things positive, and instead of seeing resolutions that were not kept as failures, she simply adds onto it and tries for next year. Just like this, most blogs are following the same suit – positive resolutions for the new year. Starting off on the right foot!

Whether you are making resolutions or not, I wish you all the best in 2015 – health, happiness, family and friendship.

~ Jacqui

Trying to stop the madness AND plan a wedding!

When a woman prepares for the the birth of their child, they call it nesting. Setting up the nursery, stocking up the closet with clothes, and generally preparing to welcome their bundle of joy.

As I sit here and write, I wonder if there is the equivalent term for a woman who is planning their wedding?

I only ask as I am slowly sinking into the tulle, colours, dresses, and lace. I am preparing for the big day and I am slowly going crazy. Cody and I want our guests not to have to worry – we both are not froufrou people – however when we discuss the wedding, we have two VERY different views.

The discussion of music and entertainment was brought up. I asked Cody if he knew any DJ’s. I love the feeling a good DJ gives a wedding or event – they feed off your energy, play requests and just help with the atmosphere. When I asked him, Cody’s response was not a shock (he is pretty easygoing) – make a good playlist full of songs we love, plug an iPod into a dock, and the party will be  rocking all night long

I calmly folded my hands, swallowed the laugh I wanted to burst out in, and muffled the “ARE YOU KIDDING?” I explained my point of view, and asked Cody if he could take on the finding of an affordable DJ.  I get where he is coming from, but when he said that I heard a list of things to be done.

  • Need to get an iPod dock loud enough to play for every one to hear
  • Need to make playlist, a good playlist, full of songs that everyone will like
  • Need to remember the iPod dock and iPod on the day of the wedding aside from all the other things I will have to remember
  • What if someone wants to request a song? You stop the music, and then there is that awkward quiet?

My first response was a little dramatic, and not needed at all – to the love of my life and simplest Cody, it’s less expensive and easier than finding a DJ.  To me it is one more thing to do.

I have noticed a pattern – this is my response to a lot of planning details. When something does not go my way, I simply want to scream and throw a tantrum. I fear that the Bridezilla is coming out in me and I am trying OH SO HARD to muffle her! Tell her to calm down! CALM DOWN!

Aside from the crazy, as you could tell I have started the planning and the excitement in my stomach is building! Every chance I get I talk about our wedding and it sends my heart aflutter! (I had it checked, it’s just a feeling, my heart is fine MOM!)

We have some of the big things taken care of, including our BEAUTIFUL venue! A friend’s family home has a beautiful barn on the property. We are so lucky that they offered it to us to hold our nuptials, and we are forever thankful to Cindy and Dave!

Our Beautiful Venue <3

Our beautiful venue ❤

Our wedding planning, if anything, has shown me so far how loved Cody and I are! My oldest sister and one of the most amazing women I know, Julia, is designing and creating our invitations! I love her I love her I love her! Below is a a little glimpse of what she has started to plan for us. SHE IS CREATIVE!

A Little sneak peak!

A little sneak peak!

I am also channeling my creative side and finding unique ways of bringing some country chic into our wedding – if you didn’t get the theme we were going for!

Some Decor Options!

Some decor options!

I promise to post more photos and keep you updated on my crazy! I know I am not alone in the crazy – but someone has to let their freak flag fly!

~ Jacqui

Countdown is ON!

This coming Friday is June 6th. Why am I telling you this? Well, other than it being a Friday of the summer months (think of the activities you can do – unless you are like me and work), it will mark the one year countdown to I DO!

When Cody proposed, the most asked question would be, “When is the big day?” At the time it hit me in the stomach as we hadn’t talked about it, we had just gotten engaged! Were we doing it wrong? Am I a horrible bride already? Should I have a date? Do they think that because I don’t have a date I am not excited to get married? Because I am! Would it be a year? Two years? Three years? What would the wedding look like? Can we save enough money? Can we afford to get married? Will our family be able to attend? What food will we serve? What if we can’t find a venue? What about our wedding party and their budgets, as I have three bridesmaids who are also getting married, one with a baby on the way and one who is a single-income family. How will I make this event fun for everyone? So. Many. Questions. With no answers… I had no answers. I didn’t know. I hate not knowing.

Then there came the warnings and disclaimers from those seasoned vets – Do it for you! Don’t make cuts for any one! It’s your day – they would say. The day will be a blur. It doesn’t matter what other people want! Was this supposed to make me feel better? Yes, it is our day, Cody’s and mine, but whatever we plan will be what we want – and we want our family and friends to look back and remember that the day was filled with love… and that they had a really good time.

This past Saturday, my Saturday morning running group (which for this Saturday was myself, my two sisters (Toni and Julia) and our guest blogger Kim) and I climbed a local trail, Webster Falls. On our way back, we were all complaining of hunger, so we stopped by Starbucks. It was pretty early and other than the employees who seemed less than impressed that four women who were high on endorphins were giggling away in their lounge area, it was empty.

As we observed those coming and going, one group stood out among them – a group of young girls. As they ordered and dressed their lattes, they proceeded to line up their white cups with the adorning of green and took pictures, more than likely for Instagram, more memories of their day. Rather than the bistro writing their names they had requested their titles for the day: Bride, Maid Of Honor, Bridesmaid.

Bride, bridesmaids, matron of honor Starbucks style

It all became real, suddenly my mind raced to the date. Soon it would be June. Crunch time. I am so excited! This year is going to fly by, just like the last year did.

~ Jacqui

 

Broadcast dependence

I love television…I do. I love coming home after a long day at work, dumping my bags at the door, falling onto the couch and putting on any television show.

When I was younger, the TV was barely on – we were always outside creating our own adventures, climbing trees and scraping knees. Then elementary school happened, and it became more and more important that you watched the same shows as your peers, after all who wanted to be different and not watch that amazing episode of The Simpsons (side note, we had restrictions on what TV we watched, and The Simpsons was definitely not in our repertoire).

My parents did not see the same importance of television that I did, and because I didn’t pay the bills, they weren’t really willing to add cable to the long list of monthly household bills we had. Thus we “managed” with 5 channels: TVO, CBC, CTV, CityTV, and Global. I say we managed because it was not instilled in us the requirement of having cable or satellite. We had a TV – and that was more than what others had.  Those 5 channels – they were all we needed.

TV became a meeting place for my sisters, myself and my mother. Wednesday nights after church we would come home and watch Gilmore Girls – this was our weekly ritual, and regardless of what happened in the day, the homework you had or the projects that were due, we all met around our little TV, which was a raffle prize from when I was 6, and watched Rory and Lorelai go through their ups and downs of life.

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Thursday nights were when we watched the best, Friends, which to this day is the most amazing television show and is quoted at least daily.

There was also Boston Public, and CSI, and Without A Trace, which Julia and I would never miss – and even when she moved away we would watch it on the phone together.

Without a Trace

The love of TV is not a foreign concept. I laugh as my mother-in-law and sister-in-law plan their evenings and days around their “Shows”, and there are a lot of them – I would be surprised if the number didn’t rise above 10.

I, too, find myself recording a show that I can’t seem to live without. I wake up early to ensure that I am prepared for the conversation around the water cooler the next day. I watch Grey’s Anatomy and Nashville and love both television dramas. I have cried as the characters cried, and laughed as they make their smart ass comments.

Why – why do we love it? Is it because it plays on our human curiosity of wanting to know and understand different situations? Some argue that television has replaced novels, but it’s a natural evolution! We have evolved from telling stories for entertainment to radio, to black and white moving pictures, to smaller daily productions. Now we have 3D and projection screens to make our experience that much better.

The created and imaginative fiction is still present, the delivery has just changed.

For me the answer of why I love television is because it is a break from thinking of the daily struggles. When I watch TV, I am not thinking about the amount of work I have waiting for me the next day – I am thinking about the quirky girl and geeky guy who live across the hall from each other who one day will finally be together as the storyteller has intended.

I love television – I really do. I love telling and listening to stories, and whether the delivery is a blog or a sitcom, there is still an audience willing to listen.

~ Jacqui

Long-distance sistering

The first thing you need to hear is that long-distance sistering is NOT easy. What I have learned, since moving about 2  1/2 hours away from my family and friends, is that this is one of the hardest things I have ever decided to do. I do my best to come to every family event, and friend stuff as much as possible, but since gas is not a magical, everlasting liquid it’s hard, and I miss out on the random sister get-together stuff that happens throughout the week.

I try to make it through by just thinking about them on a regular basis. Sort of like a WWJD, but more along the lines of WWTSD (what would the sisters do)?

I have a necklace with a picture in it, and it is of all of us when we were little. I think it is our very first of many sister portraits.

I remember the very day I started wearing it on my normal chain with my antique key from Joe, and a claddagh that I bought with friends. Joe and I had just packed up all our stuff in his mom’s truck, and ours, and made the long trek to our new home. After we got there and moved everything into the attic, we were sitting on the tailgate of our truck, all our friends helping us move had just driven away, and I promptly burst into tears.

When I burst into tears, Joe gets this adorable concerned look on his face, puts his arm around me, and because he knows I can’t actually speak human words when I get like this, he started guessing why I was upset.

“Is it about moving?”

*shakes head*

“Okay, is it about missing people already?”

*nods head*

“One person?”

*shakes head*

“I think I can guess. Your mom, and your sisters?”

*increase of blubbering if that is at all possible*

And you know what? He called it. He said, “The first thing you are going to do is double-check with me that it’s still okay with me that we moved, and the second is you are going to start crying because you are missing your family and friends.”

When we got upstairs I grabbed the charm from the box that had my nightstand stuff in it, and put it on the chain. I did this so I remember where I have come from, and remember that my sisters are always there. When I was younger that sounded like a threat, but I am 99.9% sure it is not. But it’s true. They are always there.

But that’s how I stay connected on a daily basis with them, so that every where I go and what ever I do during the day, they are a part of it in at least the little ways. What I am working on now is reaching out to get them to be a part of my regular life actively, not just in my head.

I’m thinking weekly Skype dates or something as soon as I have the internet at our new apartment.

It is incredibly hard to be so far away, but I like thinking of it as my new adventure. A crazy insane adventure that could be the biggest mistake, or the best decision…I’ll let you know when I find out which it is.

~Andreah