An ode to Jacqui

WE’RE BAAAAAAAAAAAACK!

It may not be Tuesday, but Julia and I decided to pull a switch-a-roo so I could have the honour of writing a post to mark this day of our very own Jacqui’s birth.

JQ, my baby duck, happiest of birthdays to you. I hope you have the best day possible today, regardless of responsibility and have to’s required of you today.

I’ve got to say, getting to be your big sister has been pretty kick ass so far, as I am sure it will continue to be. Getting to watch you grow over these past 26 years has been a wild, rewarding ride.

I mean, I got to know you from this point:

Her pants are SO inflated with fart.

Her pants are SO inflated with fart.

And watch you grow into this:

BAM! (she's still 12!)

BAM! (she’s still 12!) [Photo credit: Photography by Heather ]

I can’t believe you’re 26 though. I mean, it really does seem like yesterday that we were much shorter, standing in our country home, getting into whatever shenanigan we could to entertain ourselves…

I love that this picture exists

I love that this picture exists

And now we’re all grown up, trying to navigate all of life’s crazy adventures as they come…I hope it goes without saying, but I’m really grateful I’ve got you by my side through all of them.

I have loved watching you grow into your own person and become even more ‘you’ these past few years. You’ve inspired the hell out of me with your strength in your battle with epilepsy and conquering a shit ton of obstacles to celebrate two years seizure free this week. (Seriously, you KICK ASS)

Last year's one year anniversary tattoo

Last year’s one year anniversary tattoo

I admire your heart, your incredible wit and humor – I seriously still vote ‘stand up comedian’ needs to be added to your resume – and your need for peace making. You’re brave, smart and gorgeous from your heart out.

I hope 26 is incredible for you in every way – with more laughter, love and magic than you can hold. I know you’re already off to the best possible start.

Sisters ♥

Sisters ♥

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Jacqui! We LOVE you!

~ Toni

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Breaking tradition…well, sorta

My family has always said that I ask too many questions, some of which may be comical or the answer may not be what I want to hear, but still I continue to ask them. How else will I learn? Or have pointless knowledge of everything under the sun!?

Have you ever asked where some traditions come from, like for instance why do you blow out candles on your birthday? Or why does every Portuguese household almost always have a rooster in it? Well, I sit here searching through endless pictures of bouquets, hair styles, veils, decor, budget-friendly-anything-at-all to get ideas for the upcoming nuptials, and I find myself asking, why? Why and where did so many of wedding traditions come from?

Why does the bride hold flowers? There are two thoughts on this tradition. The first, according to some, is that brides held flowers in order to cover up their odor (clearly this was B.D. (Before Deodorant)). Every bride wants to look their best on the day, so why not add a little pizzazz with lilac or rose scent? Nothing says “Marry me!” like a freshly flowered bride! The other thought states that brides would hold flowers or bouquets which were made with garlic or other extreme-scented herbs to ward off evil spirits and bad omens. Again, starting off on the right foot with this marriage – smelling good and bad-omen-free. For our nuptials, my decision to hold flowers was neither of these – it should be known that I will shower on the morning of the wedding and that there won’t be garlic or thyme in my bouquet. I will, however, be holding a bouquet on the day because they are beautiful and because that is what you are supposed to do. My sister did it, my mother did it, my grandmother did it and I am going to follow THAT tradition.

Everyone knows that the bride and groom are not supposed to see each other before the ceremony, but why? I’ll let you in on a little secret…I tried to convince Cody to see each other the day of the wedding. That we could sleep in our bed together the night before and then go our separate ways the morning of our nuptials after having a yummy breakfast together. You would have thought I was suggesting to sell our firstborn. The origins of this now tradition came from superstitions when arranged marriages were more common than meet-cute ones. The families of the betrothed were worried that seeing one another before their binding of ties would cause them to make a break for it! For our day, our avoidance is based on surprise. I want to see Cody’s face when he sees me all dressed in white for our day. The groom’s look of love always makes the best pictures.

In all of the planning, I have not yet decided on the old saying of “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Not many know why these requirements are in place, but this is a tradition I can get behind. Something old is for the connection and ties to remain with the families of the bride and groom once the couple are married. Something new is for the new union being created and something borrowed is from the bride’s family to show their love for her, and to show they are walking with her as she marries her prince.

We are coming near the four-month mark ’til the big day (122 days to be exact (according to all of the wedding apps, gadgets and gizmos I have)). There are so many things to do and events coming up that my head is swimming with questions, answers and dates I can’t keep straight. I have to-do lists coming out of my wazoo to try and stay organized and on top of everything, with everything swirling around me, I can’t help but think onto this time next year and what that will look like.

This is, after all, just the beginning.

Party on!

Party on!

~ Jacqui

Crazy, amazing, insane

This past Friday was the start of something crazy beautiful – our wedding party got together to start planning the first event of Cody’s and my nuptials (ever notice how that word sounds kinda… sassy… nuptials), and let me tell you, getting all 14 of our wedding party plus more into our kitchen was INSANE! Amazing insane chaos! Loud, insane, crazy, beautiful CHAOS! I am so excited!!!!

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CRAZY right!?!

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Caught ya!

Caught ya!

It was the first time our family and friends came together to meet one another. There was food, wine, laughter, wrestling (don’t ask), beer, and a bonfire.

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Oh, and baby snuggles.

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She is getting WAY t0o big WAY too fast!

The goal of the evening was to plan our Buck and Doe, which maybe some of you have never heard of – as I tell more and more people about it, I am finding that this is pretty much a Southern Ontario tradition. It is an event held by the wedding party for the bride and groom to raise money and celebrate their up and coming wedding.

It’s an Ayr tradition – our friends who were married before us had one, and the ones who will be married after I am sure will follow suit. Pretty much it’s a large party, where games, raffles, prizes, booze, food and dancing is to be had and we are having one and it’s going to be FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!! All thanks to our amazing ladies and gents.

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See these faces – these faces are some of the reasons stuff will get done! Sassy eyes!

Cody and I were a little worried at first as this is really an odd bunch of characters – each one of my ladies has their own personality and mixed with Cody’s men, it could go either way. It’s not to say that I was surprised – people took charge and were helpful, they had opinions and ideas, and they were all SOOOO wonderful, beyond wonderful – amazing. Seriously how did we get so lucky?

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Some super amazing His and Hers Christmas ornaments from my Kimmie and her HUSBAND Greg

Games were planned, tasks were given, everyone volunteered. Seriously, we feel like the luckiest people in the WORLD!!!!!!! ❤  From Cody and I, thank you to everyone who came out, we love each and every one of you!

And for the rest of you! Stay tuned – I am sure there will be more posts of the many wedding festivities to come!

~ Jacqui

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My handsome man in his younger years – we are going to have the best looking kids! 🙂

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