Tag Archives: Family

Happy Happenings – January 2017

31 Jan

A few years ago I took part in a 60 day Facebook group happiness challenge hosted by a fitness/wellness counselor. The whole basis of the challenge was learning to let go and move past the things that have hurt us in the past, that we may be holding onto still, and that are preventing us to be fully happy in the present. During the course of those 60 days, we had homework and weekly activities that we were required to complete in order to remain in the program. As a result of those exercises, I learned a lot about myself.

One of our challenges was to notice and publicly share three things each day that brought us joy or made us happy, not matter how big or how small. At first, finding three positive things was a challenge, but then it switched to how do you choose only three! When I was drafting my end of year post for 2016, I was recalling all of the negative things that had happened, but I could hardly remember the positive, and that was devastating. In that moment, I decided it was once again time to focus on happiness.

Beginning on January 1, I shared my three things, and from that day on, I have shared three or more things that blessed my life or brought me joy. It was amazing to see how my outlook on life shifted, and how my small acts of gratitude became contagious within my little sphere of Facebook. Over this month, many have reached out to say how much they enjoy reading my “Happy Happenings” each day and how it is nice to see some positivity in a world full of evil.

My goal is to compile all of these moments through the year so that I will have them to look back on when New Year’s Eve rolls around again. I want to be overflowing with happiness and joy and blessings from a fantastic 2017. And I want to share this positive energy with all of you, so without further ado, here are January’s Happy Happenings!

  1. Spent the first 45 minutes of the new year lighting sparklers with Scott and Macayla.
  2. The worship band sang one of my favorite songs this morning – “Whom Shall I Fear” by Chris Tomlin.
  3. Traditional pigs in the blanket for lunch to bring good luck! img_0020
  4. Boys vs. girls Catch Phrase round 2 with Scott, Mom , dad , Megan and Austin.
  5. Last day to sleep in for holiday break.
  6. Trying a new recipe with Scott and it was delicious!
  7. Quiet time reading before bed.
  8. Was slightly amused when I discovered my scarf and hair bow perfectly matched the color of my work water bottle. I may like that color just a little! 😂🙈
  9. The Well was FANTASTIC tonight!! Such a beautiful Women’s Ministry is happening at DFC. Tonight we brought our shame into the light so it won’t discolor or discourage us in the new year. By bringing it to the light, it loses its power. 🙏🏻
  10. 9 minute power workout in my bedroom! Little steps = future big rewards! 💪🏻
  11. Seeing my work friends after a wonderful week off! Missed them!
  12. Tried a new recipe for dinner – vegan stuffed peppers and they were FANTASTIC!
  13. How cute it is when Scotty falls asleep on my shoulder while we’re watching TV. (I love you, hun!!!) 😍😘❤️
  14. My sister Megan officially KICKED CANCER’s butt!!! 5 years clean!! God is Good!!!
  15. A box of doTERRA essential oils was delivered. Love how these oils are safe and allow me to replace medicine – all natural healing and wellness is a game changer for me!
  16. Made it home safely on the slippery roads today.
  17. Joined my church’s challenge to memorize 24 scriptures in 12 months. The verse I’ve selected for the first half of the month is pictured.img_0042
  18. IT’S FRIDAY!
  19. Got a mile workout in during lunch on the walking desk treadmill in the library.
  20. Chocolate – enough said!
  21. Successfully packed all of our Christmas things in one bin! Christmas Tetris level- master.
  22. Reminiscing about past Christmas ornaments while taking them down is almost as fun as reminiscing while putting them up. Fun time helping mom pack away the “sister” tree.
  23. Yiruma iheartradio station while doing dishes is so relaxing.
  24. Chilly nights means adding another blanket to the bed. Busted out my 2005 “Let it snow” seminary blanket and had to laugh remembering all the chilly mornings with Aunt Khristy and Manda studying scriptures before school.
  25. Saw a rainbow while driving to my parents’ house this morning.
  26. Not sure how it started, but Megan, mom, dad and I ended up quoting most of the movie “Jingle All the Way” on the drive home from church.
  27. Sunday afternoon naps are the best!
  28. A coworker surprised us and brought in homemade coffee cake! Yumm!
  29. An Aldi opened up nearby and I had my first successful solo shopping trip there tonight.
  30. Going to bed BEFORE 11:30 p.m.
  31. I get so much joy from purging the office of 5 year old papers, projects and posters. Why were we holding onto all of that stuff?!
  32. All the girls at the office loved my LuLaRoe leggings and Carlie dress! Super cute, comfy and warm!
  33. Best cousin-in-law award tonight goes to Michael!! Thank you for coming over to jump start Scott’s car! We really appreciate it! And thanks for bringing Manda so we could chat and the boys so I could listen to them yell/sing through the window!
  34. Made it to work with enough time to sit, observe and snap a photo of God’s beautiful sunrise. #nofilter img_0049
  35. The custodians did a FANTASTIC job deep cleaning my new office!
  36. Listening to the soothing sound of piano music.
  37. First full day of work in my BRAND NEW OFFICE SPACE! After a year and a half with no walls or door, it’s so nice to have a private, comfortable, creative space of my own! Goodbye cubicle!!
  38. So much joy comes from crossing items off my to-do list! Felt so productive today.
  39. Nothing better than coming home on a chilly evening and curling up with a warm blanket and cheesy hallmark movie!
  40. Peppermint and Motivate in my diffuser at work – one of my new favorite blends!
  41. First time making eggplant parmigiana and it wasn’t horrible!
  42. Watched “Singin’ in the Rain” with Scotty!!!! ☂️🌧💧
  43. Fresh mango for breakfast! My favorite fruit!
  44. Saturday outfit of choice – LuLaRoe leggings and an Irma! Stylish, warm and comfy!
  45. Game night with Macayla, Mason, Scotty, Mom and dad. We laughed so hard while playing the marble game, 5 Second Rule and Apples to Apples. Great Saturday night! img_0059
  46. All caught up on The Bachelor drama.
  47. Michael to the rescue…again. Scott and I really appreciate it!
  48. Trying out my new diffuser – enjoying the smells of Wild Orange and Purify.
  49. Green smoothies are DELICIOUS!
  50. Friendly lady at the grocery store let me go in front of her because I only had two items and she had a heaping cart.
  51. Blogging
  52. The rain stopped and the sun came out right at 5 pm as I was leaving work.
  53. I love designing and interacting with the students on our various social media accounts.
  54. New year means turning over a new leaf at work – stepped outside my comfort zone and presented a few ideas I’ve been playing with. Not only were they accepted, I was complimented for my creativity and diversity.
  55. Collaborating as a team means our events will be that much cooler!
  56. Disney pointing to direct a lost student to the building she needed.
  57. Submitting an assignment a day early. Now to read 100 pages and write a journal (700-800 words) all before Sunday! Bring it on spring semester!
  58. Warm blankets
  59. Scott had dinner nearly finished when I got home from work – tried a new veggie burger recipe. Next time we’ll leave the sunflower seeds out – GROSS (I picked all mine out!)
  60. Relaxing shower before bed.
  61. Had a great meeting with the center for nursing research.
  62. Had a fantastic conference call with alumni relations and advancement. Both are onboard for an upcoming project!
  63. Had a great night at Dave & Busters kicking off Megan’s birthday weekend.
  64. Loved seeing all the photos of my cousin, Erin, who graduated from basic training on her mom’s (Aunt Anita’s birthday!)
  65. Megan thanks for letting me get my puppy fix this morning! Archie is lovable and ADORABLE!!
  66. Had a pretty good hair day! Sorry, no photos!
  67. Celebrated my wonderful, fantastic momma’s birthday with hibachi and froyo! Love you so very much mom and hope you had the most perfect birthday! img_0094
  68. Watching Megan and Austin attempt the bicycle challenge = HYSTERICAL!
  69. Great message today in church all about God’s promises!
  70. Celebrated Megan’s birthday with a delicious meal made by mom , with ice cream cake for dessert! Happy birthday lil sis! Hope it was as super duper cool as you are! Make this year 100% awesome!!img_0096
  71. Submitted my homework on time! It was a close call, I was worried I wouldn’t make it! Week 1 done!
  72. Seeing Grandma and Papa after they’ve been away on vacation for 3 weeks! Great to have them home!
  73. We pulled off a FANTASTIC birthday party for the college today complete with a message from our president and musical entertainment provided by the Men’s Chorus!
  74. At said birthday party, two different papers (local and student media) were there to cover the event as a result of my media alert! First time the local paper has come to anything I’ve invited them to at the college!
  75. Extra cupcakes from the birthday party meant I was sent home with a to-go box to share with Scott!
  76. Coverage of our birthday party was on the front page (just below the fold) of the paper. And yes, that is me in the photo the paper selected. As you can see, I really was broadcasting it live on Facebook! Hahaha!
  77. Splitting a left-over cupcake with a coworker for a much-needed afternoon sugar boost!
  78. Being “kid napped” by Manda on a quick trip to Walmart. It was fun to laugh and catchup!
  79. Thanks dad for reminding me how to check the tire pressure in my car! You’re the best!
  80. Happy birthday to my Disney Sister, Kellan! Had a blast chatting tonight!
  81. Thank you Michael for taking care of the pesky nail in my tire! You are a FANTASTIC mechanic! img_0579
  82. Ordering lunch from my phone at my desk and having it ready by the time I had walked over to the Student Center to pick it up! No waiting in the 20 minute line – FastPass, work edition!
  83. Discovering we had all of the ingredients necessary to make garlic kale veggie burgers WITHOUT a trip to the grocery store! It’s the little things in life! 🙂
  84. Great breakfast meeting at Bob Evans with a coworker and the woman a prestigious College of Nursing award is named after.
  85. Great comment from my Dean as I was heading out the door all smiles on my way to a meeting: “Give you a little freedom and you’re flying around building relationships and making connections!” She told me she’s always thought my work was good, but now, she’s seeing a happier, more creative and idea-producing side emerge!
  86. At said meeting, got my ad approved with only minor revisions to make!
  87. Nothing beats ending your night with a banana chocolate peanut butter smoothie! (Made with 1 frozen banana, almond milk, PB2 chocolate, and chocolate protein powder.)
  88. Singing along to my favorite songs on the radio on my way to work!
  89. So proud of my friend, Tracy! She’s the first nursing student to guest blog for the college and her post went live today!
  90. Pizza and cheesy TV sitcoms are the best way to spend a Friday evening after a long work week!
  91. Thankful for the firefighters who leave their warm beds in the middle of the night to keep me and my neighbors safe. Watching as they check out and clear the building across from mine as it’s alarms were going off. photo
  92. Surprise visit from my dad . It was nice having time to chat, just the two of us! Love you, dad!
  93. Afternoon nap
  94. Finally deciding the topic for my final project in my PR History and Modern world class.
  95. Laughing and joking around with Macayla and Mason! I love seeing how happy he makes her and how comfortable he is in our family dynamic!
  96. Dad and mom sent me home with leftover stuffed peppers and now I don’t have to pack a lunch for work tomorrow!
  97. Journal and final project proposal both submitted before the deadline! Learning so much in the class already and we’ve only just finished week 2!
  98. Angie encouraged me and I encouraged her to go on the “mindful mile” walk at noon with the wellness group. It may have been only 20 degrees, but once we got moving, talking and laughing, the time flew and we couldn’t believe how fast that mile went! img_0581
  99. Had a great workout on the treadmill tonight. It was also great having the whole apartment fitness facility to myself!
  100. Finally all caught up (with the exception of tonight’s episode) on The Bachelor!
  101. My nameplate arrived and looks wonderful on my office door! NOW it feels like my office!
  102. Discussing all the drama that is The Bachelor with my work friends.
  103. While I typically enjoy going to the gym alone, it was nice having Scott tag along this time! We each did our own workouts, but it was nice spending that time working on our physical health together.
  104. After 31 days in a row, my iPad now products “Happy happenings from today” and that makes me so happy!
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Oh Come Let Us Adore

24 Dec

Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. Repeat.

How often do we let ourselves do that during the busy holiday season? I would bet most of us are too busy racing around for the perfect gift, creating a Pinterest worthy holiday dinner or just trying to keep it all together on the outside while we slowly fall apart on the inside.

Often, I fall into the latter category. Holidays are proving to be hard for me this year being out on my own, I saw that last month with Thanksving. There will be some who don’t understand this struggle, and that’s okay. It’s just that had I known last Christmas would be the last Christmas morning I woke up in my childhood bedroom, if I’d known last Christmas was the last time I would wait for my family to all go to bed before I snuck my gifts downstairs and sat looking at our tree in the quiet for an hour, I would have appreciated it so much more. I have been so focused on everything I’m going to miss – late night holiday baking, Santa’s footprints, my parent’s house at Christmas, when I really should have been focused on the reason for the season.

Thank goodness earlier this month we had a meeting at The Well, the women’s ministry that meets each month at church. The theme – Oh Come Let Us Adore. Perfect! Before we entered the sanctuary, we were reminded of the symbols of Jesus in the holiday decorations – the red to represent the blood Christ shed on the cross to pay for our sins; green, specifically in evergreens, to signify everlasting life; the pointy leaves of the poinsettia plant to remind us of the thorns that adorn Christ’s head. Hearing this was a wake up call…Christmas is all about the cross. (Oddly enough, I just found a song by that same title a few days ago by The Ball Brothers, trust me, you’ll need tissues!) And then they let us into the sanctuary as the worship band softly sang “Oh Come Let Us Adore.”

Our hostesses gave us two gifts that night – first, a time to relax and worship; and second, prayer. On our seats were little cards that said “Adore” and during the service they asked us to write down what we needed prayers for. We didn’t have to add our names, just what was on our heart, and then drop that card into the basket. At the end of the service, we each drew one card and were asked to pray for that sister in Christ, for whatever she had written on her card.

Lord, I lift this sister up to you. I don’t know her name or the extent of her struggles, but you do. I ask that you enfold her in peace, comfort, and strength. Help her to remove her worries and troubles from the basket she carries daily and place them in your hands. Lord, help her to see others as you see them. Help her to choose her words and actions wisely, and to be conscious of other’s feelings, thoughts and desires. Let her know that she is never alone – she can turn to you at any time, day or night and you will be there to listen to her. Help her to know your unending, unconditional, all-encompassing love, the kind of love a daughter can only receive from her Heavenly Father. Lord, help her to be wise and strong, and to know that surrendering to you is not a weakness but an act of unwavering faith. Lord, be with her tonight. If there is anger, hurt or resentment in her spirit, I ask that it be removed and replaced with openness, kindness, acceptance and understanding. Help her feel peace and joy at home. Be with this sister, reminding her that You are the Light of the World, the reason for the season,  the Greatest Gift of All.

That night was exactly what my troubled heart needed, and I too, have felt the prayers of a sister in Christ as she prayed over my card. I am so blessed to have this church family to help me grow in my faith. And it was even more wonderful that I was able to spend this amazing evening with my extended family and that we could all be blessed and strengthened together.

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There’s always something to be thankful for

25 Nov

Today much of the country participated in Thanksgiving, a day dedicated to sharing and acknowledging the many ways we have been blessed. Many families woke up this morning and started their festivities with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, followed by a dinner of turkey and all the fixings. The number of people sharing in the festivities isn’t important, but rather it is who is there that is important. 

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember, probably because I am blessed to be part of a family that is extremely close, not just in distance from each other, but in our relationships. It is not uncommon for my family to get-together as a large group multiple times a year. We just love being together – there’s laughter, joy, stories and fun. WIth open arms we accept and adopt friends, neighbors and anyone who needs to be loved, which if you think a about it – that’s everyone. And that extends to our Thanksgiving table as well. Over the years there have been any number of new faces who have joined our celebration and we embraced them as only my family can!

This year, I will admit I struggled with Thanksgiving. It’s the first major holiday we’ve celebrated since Scott and I moved into our apartment (for the purpose of this blog, Forth of July and Halloween aren’t major holidays). Last night, there was no smell of pumpkin pies, pumpkin logs or mincemeat pie baking in the oven. I woke up this morning and there was no parade to be watched (we only have Netflix) and there was no arguing with my sisters over who would get to use the bathroom first to get ready. It felt like any other day of the week to me. Scott and I got ready and drove out to meet my family. I hoped that once we were all together, I would find whatever was missing this year. 

Once at the church (there are just too many at our Thanksgiving dinner to fit in a house, we counted 42 this year!), even the setup was different. For my entire life, we have all sat at one table and passed the dished around. This year, it was buffet style. Honestly, my first reaction was that the tradition was ruined. But in the end, it ended up allowing everyone to sample a little bit of everything (in years’ past, there were dishes that never quite made it all the way to the other end of the table) and everyone was eating much sooner. 

    

One tradition that remained is the olive finger photo – my sisters, cousin and now her son, and my aunt, always put black olives on our fingers and take silly photos during dinner. This has happened ever since I was a small child.


The other tradition that remained firmly in place was that of going around the table and one-by-one sharing the things we are most thankful for. Listening to everyone always fills my heart with joy as I hear their touching words – some spoke about challenges with health, car accidents, the loss of loved ones, but what they all ended with was the strength of this family that has continued to pull them through. 

While I started the day feeling as if today were nothing special, I end the night reminded of what is most important – faith, family, friends and memories. It was not easy letting go of tradition, but today is truly about creating a new tradition and memory every year. 

This was the first Thanksgiving Scott has gotten to spend with me and my family. He has been such a blessing to me as we made the transition to living together away from our families, and continues to be my rock as I have gone back to school to get my master’s degree. He has embraced my family and they him. I could not be surrounded by a better group of people – just check out the photos!

This Thanksgiving was also special because we got to spend part of it with my cousin, Erin, who will be enlisting in the Air Force in just a few days! We are so very proud of her and will miss having her around, but know she will be where she needs to be, following in the footsteps of others in our family who were absent from the table this year, but who are always with us in heart and mind.  

Things I’ve learned about moms

8 May

Have you ever thought about moms? Really sat there silently and thought about these women? Mom has been there from the very beginning, long before any of us knew what the word mom meant. She gave up sleep for late night feedings or to soothe away troubled dreams. She helped with spelling and math at the kitchen table. She made us special dinner for our birthdays.

Mom was there when we were learning all of our firsts, from words, to walking to that first spin behind the wheel. She knew when we had our first crush, and more so when we had our first heartbreak. She held on tight when we cried because of a fight with dad and when those pre-teen years kicked our self-confidence to the curb.

Mom always knew when to listen and when to share some motherly advice. She showed us, more often than telling us, how to be good, faithful, kind and loving human beings. From her I learned to value education and what a loving and lasting relationship looks like. She may not have noticed, but I was always watching her, hoping to be just like her one day. 

There were times we disappointed her, and broke her heart with our choices and decisions, but she had to let us learn and grow. She helped us find our wings and learn to soar on the wind. She had faith in us when we did not. And cheered us on when we were uncertain of life’s path. 

My mom is more than my mom – she is my best friend, my confidant, my safe harbor, my cheerleader and my greaterst supporter. Her opinions and thoughts I seek out whenever I am presented with big or small choices or life-altering decisions. Her knowledge surpasses my own and I have learned to see that as a blessing that I should utilize. 

In my 27 years, here are a few things I’ve learned about my mom:

  1. She loves the Lord with all of her heart and has a strong faith.
  2. Her family – parents, siblings, husband, daughters, extended aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews,  cousins- mean the world to her. Family is not defined by blood, it is by the bonds we build and strengthen everyday. 
  3. Her favorite color is purple.
  4. She would do anything for the kids she teaches at school and on more than one occassion I have seen her fight for children when she recognizes they need to be loved and pushed to excel. 
  5. Someday she would love to see the top of The Statue of Libery. 
  6. She enjoys reading and has no problem spending all day with a new (or familiar) book.
  7. Sappy Hallmark movies make her cry.
  8. She bakes when she’s stressed.
  9. She is technology challenged and loves when we help her sort it all out.
  10. She has a smile that brightens the room and a laugh that fills your soul with joy. And once she starts laughing, you can’t help but join in! 

Happy Mother’s Day to the most loving woman I know. Thank you for being there through all of life’s ups and downs, for being my constant in an ever changing world. 


Mom with The Statue of Liberty in New York City

Becoming a Butterfly

31 Mar

Spring is a time of change. The snow melts. The days start to get longer. The trees bloom and the flowers awaken. And in no time at all, there will be butterflies.

I’ve always been fascinated with butterflies, not because of their colors or their grace, but because of the amount of change they endure in such a short lifetime. Within the span of a-couple-months, a Monarch butterfly will hatch from an egg, spend its days consuming leaves as a larvae (caterpillar), attach itself to the stem of a plant or branch as the pupa (while it undergoes 10 days of change in the chrysalis), until it finally emerges as an adult butterfly with mere weeks left to lay an egg to ensure the survival of the species before passing away.

Change does not come easy to me – it never has, and it doesn’t matter how big or small a change may be, it causes me to over think, over analyze and over worry. I would be a terrible butterfly. I’ve hatched from an egg all alone in the world. Is this plant I’m on safe to eat? What if my chrysalis detaches during a storm? Will I be strong enough to break out of this thing when it’s time? How will my wings know how to fly without being taught? What if I fall? Now I have to produce the next generation – that’s a lot of pressure!

It’s a really good thing I’m not a butterfly – I may have never made it out of the egg!

Just like the butterfly, I find myself in a season of change. I am taking steps to return to school to further my education, a goal I set for myself when I watched my mom graduate with her Master’s degree, the first in her family and the best role model I could have ever asked for.

Scott and I are also apartment hunting. Together we’ve looked at two apartment layouts at one complex, he looked at a different complex today before work, and I’ll look it over on Saturday. I’m ready to have our own place, but I find myself on a rollercoaster of emotions from excitement  to totally terrified.

More often than not these days, I wake with knots in my stomach and a pounding headache after nights of stressful dreams. I know I’m worried about finances and finding an apartment that is clean and in a safe neighborhood. But I’m also worried about me. Living in Florida for a year while on the Disney College Program was one thing, I knew when it ended I would be returning home, to my room, to my safe haven. Now, that’s not an option.

I don’t know who I am outside of these blue bedroom walls – they have been my sanctuary since I was 10 years old (but I should mention that when we built this house I was all about the pink frilly life, so the walls were baby doll pink). This room has seen me change from pre-teen to an adult woman. I have slammed the door after arguments with my parents, shared my deepest, darkest secrets with friends, and cried my heart out in here when a boy carelessly broke my heart. This room has seen many late nights finishing homework or finishing a book that I just couldn’t put down. I do my best thinking and writing from this spot on my bed, staring out the window at the post office and the great void beyond.

My room has changed with me, always adapting to my needs. From pink to blue, from Barbie dolls to mountains of mystery and romance books, and my embarrassing love of Billy Gilman to my new love of running races.

But as I look around, I notice how the room doesn’t feel as big as it once did. Maybe that’s because I share it now. Most of Scott’s belongings aren’t even in here, they are sitting in our front room downstairs waiting for a place to call home. Or maybe it’s because, like the butterfly who knows when 10 days have past and it’s time to emerge, I know the time has come to move on.

I doubt the butterfly ever thinks about what happens to the chrysalis it left behind. I, on the other hand, think about a time when this room will no longer be “my room.” One of my sisters will move in here. They have always shared a room and have been chomping at the bit for me to pick up and leave already. I can’t blame them, it is nice having a space all your own in the house. Whomever moves in will change the walls, redecorate and add her own personal touch to the space. I will be erased. Just a memory of yesterday. My safe haven claimed by someone new.

It may be silly to feel so attached to a room, but we are each unique and have our own quirks. Maybe you are attached to a specific coffee mug, car or jacket. Called it an adult version of a security blanket, it’s that one thing you can count on being there to pick you up and warm your heart. And soon, I will be walking away from mine. I think I will feel lost for a while, unsure of my footing in my new room. But I hope with time I will feel comfortable there.

Change is never easy, but in order to progress through life it is a necessary evil. And so it is at these late hours of the night I find myself praying that my wings will know how to fly because whether I want to or not, I’m changing into a butterfly.

Do you live for change or does every cell in your body fight for things to remain as they always have like me? Tell me your best tips and advice for surviving a season of change! I don’t know how many more rough nights and anxiety starting mornings I can take.

Bridal Shower, Wedding Prep and the Chicago Skyline

12 Mar

Last weekend, Scott and I had the chance to spend two and a half days with his family in Chicago celebrating the upcoming wedding of his younger sister, Abbey.

After a six and a half hour drive through two states that started at 6:45 a.m. Friday morning, and a (terrifying, for me) journey on the Chicago Skyway, we’d arrived. Thankfully Scott was driving when we hit the city because 1. They are crazy drivers coming at you from every which way and 2. It was necessary that I take as many photos as the bumpy road would allow since the only other time I had been to Chicago, I’d flown, and it was an overcast day, which blocked the beauty of the skyline.

But before seeing family, being the hungry-driven travelers we were, we made a quick stop for food at Portillo’s. This was only my second time eating there, and it was just as delicious as I remembered. You MUST try the beef and cheddar croissant… as Scott once told me, it’s something you cannot visit chicago without trying.

Portillos food in Chicaog

Once our bellies were full, there was no rest for the weary! After quick hugs and hellos, we were put to work, the reason for this trip after all!

I had the honor of being asked to do Abbey’s hair for the wedding, along with the bridesmaids, so we started practicing all the different styles she’s sent me over the last few weeks. We tried two different updos and a half updo with curls. All three were beautiful on her, but as we were putting in the last style, I just kept telling her how it was going to be my favorite, and as it turned out, her favorite, too! But I’m not telling what it is until her wedding day, even though her fiancée, Dan, saw her Friday night with the style in. (He approved, too!)

After hair and a yummy dinner, it was on to cutting purple tulle and decorative ribbon to decorate balloons at Saturday’s bridal shower, followed by folding invitations while Abbey and her mom addressed the envelopes. With three of us folding (Dan, Scott and myself) it took no time at all! And not long after that it was thankfully time to hit the hay, I mean pillow!

Saturday morning started with Scott and his mom arranging a sweet photo collage of Abbey and Dan that included baby photos and pictures of the happy couple through the years! I loved seeing all the old photos! Then it was off to Party City to pick up some special balloons and then off we went to the church to decorate!

The room turned out lovely decked out in purple and silver, the wedding colors, and Abbey’s mom did an amazing job arranging cupcakes to look like a wedding dress!

The shower was a blast – she received many lovely gifts and we all had a wonderful time laughing and talking. I felt so at ease and at home and comfortable with these people, which was so special for me as it was only the second time I’ve been around Scott’s family, and he wasn’t even with me at the shower, because, ahh-hem, no men allowed, minus the groom of course.

Scott’s family is a lot like mine, on more than one occasion there were those no-so-subtle comments about when he and I would tie the knot such as “maybe we’ll be celebrating you and Scott next” or “have you thought about what colors you’d like for your wedding?”

Before we go any farther, yes, we have talked about it, yes, it will happen someday, no, I don’t know when that will be, no, we aren’t already secretly engaged, and yes, I have thought about what that special day will look like, what girl hasn’t?!

Now that we have that out in the open, I love knowing that his relatives are excited about me joining their family one day! And to answer one of their questions, I have thought about it, a lot actually, over the years, and it’s entertaining to me to see how my mental picture of that day has changed since I was a little girl.

As we’ve kept it no secret, Scott and I met while working at Walt Disney World in 2010, so naturally, people expect us to have an EPIC Disney wedding. Take a quick look at my Pinterest album, and you’ll see all the parts and pieces of a fairy tale wedding are there waiting to come to life!

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Bet you can’t tell what my favorite Disney movie and Princess is….anyways, the Disney ideas are endless! There’s the overall Disney wedding, the themed attraction wedding, or limiting it to the specific locations we’ve worked, or limiting it still to Disney’s Animal Kingdom since that’s were we met! The cake could even be “dino themed” since we were working at Dinoland all those years ago! Or maybe, we recreate our first date and do an EPCOT themed wedding with all the countries represented! How fun would that be!  Of course there would be hidden Mickey’s everywhere and how about Dole Whips for everyone, one of our favorite Disney treats!

And thank goodness there are sites like Paperless Post that provide dozens of invitation ideas – browsing quickly I found these two which screamed Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast! And of course, they also offer the option to create a style using your own photos, what’s not to love about that?!

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As you can see, so many fun ideas out there should we decide to go the Disney route when it’s our turn to plan a wedding. The only thing I know for sure that I want Scott to be the one standing at the end of the aisle waiting for me to get to his side. Nothing else matters, not the month, colors, theme or the cake. Just the two of us madly in love ready to start living our own happily ever after.

 

Thank you to Paperless Post for suggesting I dream about my future wedding for this post. I was not compensated in any way. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

A Lover’s Holiday

16 Feb

Congratulations reader! You’ve made it through another February 14th. That day has so many names – Valentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day, Chocolate-Lovers Day, this year it was Sunday (lol).

I will be the first to admit that in that past, I have dreaded this particular holiday…but when you find someone one special, and I mean REALLY SPECIAL, that all changes!

For our last few Valentine’s Days, Scott and I have celebrated long-distance style with texts, packages and video chats. But not this year because TWO WEEKS AGO SCOTT MOVED TO MY STATE!!

  

For the FIRST time in our entire relationship, we live in the same state, town, and house! That in and of itself was enough to make this the absolute best Valentine’s Day! Just getting to see him everyday is what I have wanted for so long now, and sometimes I find myself still fearing I’ll wake from this fantastic dream to be rudely awaken by reality. BUT IT’S NOT A DREAM!

The Valentine celebrations actually started a few days early at this house this year. On Thursday evening, mom was preparing to leave for a long scrapbooking weekend and was making heart-shaped sugar cookies for the scrapbooking ladies with their names in icing. With the extras, she made cookie valentines for all of us at home and let us decorate a few as well!

Last week was a stressful one for me, but knowing I was coming home to Scott helped a lot. He was there to listen and provide suggestions and just give me a hug, kiss and encouraging word that he believed in me. When Friday finally rolled around and I arrived home, this sight was waiting for me in my room!

A dozen red roses, an emoji pillow and a two pound box of chocolates!

A dozen red roses, an emoji pillow and a two-pound box of chocolates!


Beautiful red roses

Beautiful roses!


I was totally shocked. I had only been home for a short while when he said “let’s go upstairs, there’s something we need to talk about.” My heart stared racing – thinking something was wrong or upsetting him. Turns out he wanted to “talk” about his early timing of Valentine’s Day! Isn’t he the sweetest!?

Fast forward to Saturday, Scott had to work later in the evening so we couldn’t spend the day together, but we did go out and enjoy a Mexican Valentine’s dinner when he returned home. It was fun getting dressed up a little for a date night – something we hadn’t really been able to do before! I even tried a dutch braided updo using the banana clip tip I learned from the Twist Me Pretty YouTube channel I follow. Worked perfectly – I love how soft and romantic this style was, and it was extremely easy to put in!

Feeling fancy before our Valentine's Date

Feeling fancy before our Valentine’s Date


Dutch braided updo

Dutch braided updo


Mexican Valentine's Day dinner date

Mexican Valentine’s Day dinner date


What Scott didn’t realize before we went to dinner is that I had “hid” his Valentine’s surprise over with his video games. He found it right before we went to bed Saturday night and decided to wait until after work on Sunday to open it. This year I went the practical route and got him things he’s talked about needing. I think he really liked what I picked.

Scott's Valentine surprise

Scott’s Valentine surprise


And as per tradition in our family, mom and dad had these waiting for us Sunday morning – well mom was away scrapbooking, but dad remembered to put them out with mom’s handwritten notes! I love how they even included the boyfriends! I don’t know how many of my friends ever received Valentine’s from their parents, but it makes me feel loved and special and important and it’s a tradition I can’t wait to pass on to my own children one day!

Mini boxes of chocolate

Mini boxes of chocolate


So, for the first time in forever, not only did I enjoy Valentine’s Day to the fullest, I celebrated for four straight days! There was and is lots of love to be felt and shared. So blessed to have Scott and my family who love me unconditionally not only on Valentine’s Day, but the other 364 days of the year, too!!

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. – Charles M. Schulz

chocolate in heart box

Two pounds of chocolate surprise!