Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Coming Out

This is a post I've really wanted to write for so long, but was always too scared to.  In fact, I'm still a little terrified.  Make that really terrified.  Even so, it's important to me to get this out, so here goes.....

I grew up with an amazing family.  My parents have always been a huge part of my life, always there for me and giving me everything I could possibly want.  I was probably a bit spoiled.  I have a younger brother I'm still close to, who has always been able to make me laugh.  I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

I was raised Presbyterian, sort of.  We didn't go to church on Sundays, or have religious discussions, but I knew what religion I was.  I went to church a few times with my grandparents, and my brother attended the pre-school at the church.  Two of my closest friends were part of religious families, but of different religions.  One was Catholic and the other Episcopalian.  Back then I didn't know the difference.  I went to their Vacation Bible Schools in the summer.  When I had a sleepover at their house on a Saturday night, I went to church with their families on Sunday morning before getting dropped off at home.  The mother of one of them taught church school up the street from my house, and so I spent afternoons there with my friend after school until her mom could get her home.

I was also a good kid.  Kind of a goody-two-shoes.  The teacher's pet in school.  I always did my homework.  I got straight A's.  If my grades went into the 80's I got extra help from the teacher, because I wanted it not because my parents told me to.  I played sports.  I never partied.  I never got in trouble.  To this day I've never even been pulled over while driving.  I volunteered once in a while at the SPCA with a friend.  I was in key club (the charitable club in school), and donated my time and energy to many worthy causes.  I was in National Honor Society and graduated with honors.  My brother had a tough act to follow.  Sorry little bro!

I did these things because I wanted to.  Because they were important to me.  Because my parents taught me that being a good person and respecting and helping others was just what you did when you could.  It's a belief that I've carried with me past childhood and adolescence and into adulthood.  I've proudly married a man that has been recognized in three different cities as the team's Man of the Year awarded to the player who does the most to help out the community he's playing in.  A man who believes just as strongly as I do that you help where you can.  I've always willingly attended everything he did that I could and I jump at the chance to assist any ideas the team or the other girls have to give back to those in need.  I love doing it.  I'll never stop.

One last thing about myself.....

My name is Rachel McKenna and I'm an atheist.

Yes, you read that right.  I don't believe in God.  I haven't since I was in high school.  I'm sick of having to keep my mouth shut in fear of what other people will think of me.  I've finally decided that I don't care.  It's not fair that I have to hide because someone might have something nasty to say about me simply because I don't believe.  So I'm done hiding.

Why did I choose now of all times to finally fess up?  Because I can't handle all the Facebook posts, tweets, and blog entries that have popped up recently that basically tell me I'm a bad person because I don't pray.  Really?  Does the person described above sound like some heathen bent on destroying the world?  I don't think so.  In fact I think I care about this world too much sometimes.

This is not going to turn into some religious debate.  I won't go into why I feel the way I do.  That's not why I'm writing this.  I would never dream of telling anyone who believed that they are wrong.  That they are stupid or crazy.  That they shouldn't have the faith they do.  I respect that they have those beliefs.  It would be so incredibly insulting of me to say anything of that sort to them.  So why isn't it insulting that they say those things to me?

All I keep seeing lately is how everyone needs to pray, get right with God, and bring prayer back to school.  Maybe if we did those things all these disasters like shootings and hurricanes and gays getting married wouldn't happen.  I don't even know how to respond to that.  (Side note: I am 100% behind allowing everyone the right to marry whoever they want)  Quite honestly all of that sounds a whole lot like, "Rachel, because you and others like you don't pray or believe in God, you've killed all these people".  Fuck that.  You don't get to place blame on me simply because I'm an atheist.  I won't be your scapegoat.  And you sure as hell will not force my children to pray in school.  Freedom of religion counts for those of us without it too, you know.

The point of this blog post was to open up, to reveal a part of myself I've kept hidden for way too long.  I shouldn't have to hide.  I shouldn't have to feel like views I don't share are being forced onto me.  I shouldn't have to feel guilty or at fault for things I've had zero part in.  I shouldn't have to cry over the stress of being different and the fear of what people would think of me.  I have many friends who are devout and we get along fabulously because we respect each other for both our similarities and our differences.

I don't judge anyone only on their faith, so I'm asking you not to judge me on my lack of it.  If you can't help it and you hate me only because I don't believe, then so be it.  If you can't be okay with the fact that I'm an atheist feel free to stop reading my blog and stop following me on twitter.  It won't hurt my feelings.  I'm only interested in relationships - both in person and online - where there is mutual respect for each other no matter what.  To those of you that can understand and support that, I whole-heartedly thank you.  For those of you that can't, I won't miss you.

And there it is.....I've come out of hiding.  And I have a huge knot in my stomach.  The fear is never going to go away, but it was time to suck it up and defend myself.  And as difficult as this was, I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hello Second Trimester

Time sure does fly during hockey season.  Ever since I've gotten to Peoria in the beginning of October I've been busy.  Busier than I typically am during a season at least.  I mean, I've kind of got a lot going on this year that isn't typical.  And it suddenly hit me last night at about 9:30 PM that I only had two and a half hours left in my first trimester.  Where did that first third of my pregnancy go?

I find that the hockey season portion of my year goes by faster than the off-season does.  Mostly because there's more routine during the season with Mike's practices and games dictating our schedule.  This year it's gone by even faster.  Within two weeks of getting to town, I got a job.  And not just a seasonal for the Christmas holidays job I've always had in the past, but a job that will last me all hockey season barring pregnancy complications.  And I actually like it.  I only work about 20 hours a week, but it's always days so I never have to miss a game, and it gets me out of the house and doing something.  Making some money isn't a bad deal either.  And I really like all the people I work with.

On top of the job, and Mike's games I've also got this whole pregnancy thing to think about.  I've had three doctor's appointments since I got to town, and I've loved every single one of them.  Usually I bitch, complain, and do everything to avoid going to a doctor's office, but this time it's different (obviously).  It's been crazy, but amazing to see the baby on the two sonograms I've had so far, and hear it's heartbeat the third time.  The second sonogram I had the baby was actually doing squat jumps for nearly half an hour straight.  Potentially longer, but that's how long the sonogram lasted.  It was hilarious to watch, not to mention I've apparently already got an athlete who is going to have powerful legs growing in me.  Our tech also took a guess based on what she saw on the gender at that appointment.  We're not telling until our 5 month appointment when we'll know pretty much for sure, but it's kind of fun to potentially already know.

These appointments are literally the only reason I even know I'm pregnant.  The first trimester is known pretty much as the worst trimester of pregnancy and people can't wait to get out of it.  I wasn't one of those people.  Somehow I got lucky, which I didn't see coming.  I spent my whole life just knowing that I was going to have horrible morning sickness and food aversion.  Aside from about a week and a half, none of that happened to me.  I felt a little sick only twice, both times to the smell of spices cooking.  The second I removed myself from the area, I felt better and it didn't come back when I re-entered the kitchen.  And that was it for "morning sickness".

That week and a half I referred to was a goofy one.  For some reason everything sounded amazing to me, but everything tasted like garbage.  I mean everything.  Mike cooked some of our favorite meals that week trying to find something I could eat, and a few bites in I couldn't swallow anything anymore.  It wasn't making me feel sick at all, I just hated how it tasted.  The only things that didn't taste horrible were chips and salsa and chocolate.  I ended up losing three pounds that week and a half simply because I wanted nothing to do with food.

Suddenly one day, that was all gone.  Now I can eat everything again.  Well, everything except Mexican food.  That still doesn't taste very good to me, which sucks because I freaking love Mexican food.  Again, it doesn't make me feel sick thinking about it or eating it, it just doesn't taste good.  I've tried fajitas, and that didn't work.  I tried tacos, and while they were fine, they didn't do it for me.  The sound of other favorites of mine don't sound great to me anymore.  But give me the chips and salsa and I'll take them down! Haha.

I have discovered my first craving however.  Cheese.  And that's kind of a weird one because I'm not a big cheese eater.  I never have been.  I can do the occasional bites of pepperjack on crackers, but even after just a couple pieces of that I'm over it.  I used to pull the cheese off of pizza and eat just the dough and sauce.  I dug under the layer of cheese that covered baked pasta and only ate the pasta that didn't have melted cheese on it.  Now I can't stop.  And grilled cheese is topping that list.  I've had it for lunch every single day I haven't had to be at work by lunchtime in the past two weeks.  And there is no sign of that going away.  Even as I type I'm seriously contemplating making myself one right now.  I had pizza recently, and there was no thought of taking the cheese off of it.  I walk into a hockey rink and all I can think about are nachos and cheese or a pretzel and cheese.  I just made Mike make homemade chicken parm last night and I didn't pull half the cheese off the top like I typically would.  And yes, it's officially settled.  I'm making a grilled cheese the second this post is up.

Now, as of today I am starting my second trimester.  The Bump tells me that baby is the size of a lemon.  Weeks ago it told me to start shopping for maternity clothes.  I was ready, but I've still got time before that happens.  I'm 14 weeks along, and every single one of my jeans still fits and almost exactly the way they did before.  They're barely any tighter and with these belly bands out there designed to delay the need for buying maternity clothes, I'm thinking I'm still weeks away from even having to start looking.  I know it can take longer to show when it's the first child, but at this rate I'm just going to look a little chunky until baby's about to pop out! Haha.  Maybe next time I write a post I'll actually have a baby bump picture to put up.  So far, there's just not much to see.

So life in Peoria so far has been pretty fun.  The girls are great, baby's doing great, the job is great.  We also have a park right behind our apartment complex, so Bauer and I have gone on plenty of walks there.  As much as I miss being back east and close to my family and friends, it's not so bad to have it be November and having temperatures still hitting the 50's on a consistent basis instead of snow.  I'll take it!  And it's nearly Thanksgiving and Christmas, so even better.  One of my favorite times of year!  Well, I'm off to make that grilled cheese now.  What little lemon wants, little lemon gets!  Haha.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Major News!

So, this has officially become best year ever territory.  I already thought it had been.  I mean Mike and I got married, he signed with his hometown team the next day, and we were in Aruba the day after that.  It didn't seem like it could get any better.  And then it did.

That's right, folks.  Baby McKenna is on the way!  I've got until May until I can meet the little green olive (or so the bump tells me is currently baby's size).  I don't think Bauer understands why we stuck a skate lace attached to paper around his neck quite yet, but I'm confident he'll enjoy being a big brother.

Mike and I have known since just after Labor Day, but wanted to hold on to the secret until after the first doctor's visit.  Once we got the "everything looks great" we couldn't hold the news in any longer.  Somehow I've managed to luck out on not getting any of this morning sickness I was so worried about.  Aside from being exhausted all the time, I feel perfectly fine!  We're both pretty terrified, but super excited as well!  Can't wait to meet him or her!

Friday, September 28, 2012

On the Road Again

It's been a few hours since Mike headed out of town for Peoria for the season.  I've been way more emotional about it than necessary since it's only 3 hours away from home and I'm going to be there in a week.  I'm a big baby.  Plus, it's not helping that Bauer won't stop sitting in the window gazing down the road waiting for Mike to come home, complete with a big sigh before he gives up and takes a 15 minute nap before repeating the process.  I mean, look at this poor guy.....

I've gotta admit, I haven't exactly had it rough as far as pre-seasons have gone.  Either I've gone with Mike, or I've been able to spend the time apart from him with my family since up until this year he always played within a couple of hours of them.  That meant that Mike could always pop in for a night on an off day that broke up the time spent apart.

Some girls go months apart, and that sucks.  I did that one time when I was finishing up my senior year of college and Mike was playing his first year pro on the complete opposite side of the country.  I know how it feels, and I would never want to go through that again.  My heart goes out to them.

I am looking forward to this season, more than I expected to.  I think it's a combination of how much summer we got to enjoy at home and the fact that we're so close to home this year we know we'll probably be able to make it back at least once a month, even if it's for a night.  No long goodbyes to St. Louis friends and family this year.  The only negative is that this is the first year I won't be close to my family and friends back in NY, who I was always able to see fairly consistently the past five seasons.

I can honestly say that there is something about every place we've played that I'll miss and will forever remember.  It's tough to leave the teams, the girls, and the cities and move on year after year.  Some of these places and people I'll probably never see again, and that's sad, but is also the life.  It's a life I chose and choose to appreciate for all the experiences it has given me.

Now it's time for a new adventure in Peoria and I'm looking forward to it.  More new girls to meet, another rink to explore, and a new team to watch.  Not to mention that in my six years of living in St. Louis in the off-season, having a house here, and being a Missouri resident, I've never gotten to experience a mid-west fall, winter, or much of spring.  I'm kind of excited to see what it's like, even if it's taking me away from the apple cider donuts that are unmatched at the apple orchard I went to with my parents every year.

Now I just need these next 8 days to go by in a hurry.....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wedding Video Trailer

I received an email yesterday from our videographer saying that the trailer for our wedding video was up and the whole thing would be complete next week.  I was so excited considering after getting our pictures back from our photographers, we were a little disappointed.  Partially our fault for being a little too caught up in the moment and not making sure we got shots we really wanted, partially their fault for doing next to no editing and almost strictly shots from a distance.

We watched the trailer and and absolutely loved it.  If the whole video is seriously anything like the trailer it will be exactly what we wanted.  After watching it repeatedly throughout the day and night Mike and I decided to share with anyone who cared to see.

By the way, our videographer was awesome.  I seriously wish I had booked her before the photographers, because she does both photos and video with her fiance, and I would have had her do both.  If you are in the Lake George/Albany area and getting married, seriously book LaRose Media.

We got to choose five songs plus our first dance song to have incorporated into the video. I can't even get over the song she chose for the trailer.  Just perfect.  We love it!  Haha.  And I have no idea how I did those high knees during Double Dutch in my 5 inch heels without breaking an ankle.  Okay, here it is!

Rachel + Mike Trailer from LaRose Media on Vimeo.

So much fun to watch this over and over again and relive our wedding.  I'll probably do the same with the full video when it gets here.  Best night of my life!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Little Squirrel

Yesterday while working in the backyard, out of the corner of his eye Mike noticed something fall out of one of our trees.  He walked over to investigate and found a young squirrel lying on the ground, unmoving and barely breathing.  Being the animal lovers that we are, I was determined to help it.  I immediately made my way to the computer and began looking up wildlife centers that would accept injured squirrels.  Of course, it had closed 15 minutes before the squirrel had fallen out of the tree.

I did some more research to see if there was anything we could do to try to help it until the center opened back up this morning.  The squirrel still wasn't moving, and wasn't making any distress noises, which wasn't a good sign.  There was also blood around it's mouth and on it's chin, like it had landed mostly on it's face or head.  Mike wasn't convinced the squirrel was going to live, and honestly, I didn't either, but I had to try.

I sent Mike to grab a cardboard box while I went inside and grabbed some old pillowcases we had lying around to line the box with.  (By the way, if you ever have to save a little squirrel, don't put towels in the box.  Their nails get caught in the loops in the fabric and they can break toe nails and toes if they get caught during a panic.)  He carefully picked up the squirrel and put it into the box before we carried it into the garage.

Apparently when young squirrels fall out of trees, they can go into shock even if they aren't really injured, and this lowers their body temperatures.  I filled up a large water bottle with warm water and wrapped it in another old pillowcase and placed it on one side of the box to provide heat for the squirrel to keep it's body temperature up and hopefully eliminate the shock.  Not wanting to stress it out anymore than necessary, we put the box in the garage for the night, since it was really our only dark quiet place to keep it.

I knew enough not to feed the squirrel or give it anything to drink since all wild animals have very strict diets and any variation in that diet can kill them.  Instead I spent my night checking on the squirrel every hour until bed, making sure it was still breathing and the water bottle was warm, replacing it if it wasn't.  It's safe to say I didn't get much sleep last night because I was either worrying about the squirrel or downstairs checking on it.

It spent the whole evening and night curled up in a little ball next to the water bottle.  It wasn't moving much, but it was alive and that gave me hope when I headed to bed.  When I checked on it again this morning it was much more alert which was amazing to see.  It started climbing up onto the water bottle and moving around the box when I was around.

As soon as the center was open I prepared the squirrel for transport.  When I did that, it started moving around the box, trying to climb out the sides, and chirping in distress.  I know that it definitely had a jaw injury of some sort because it's chirping was really quiet and it wasn't opening it's mouth at all, but hopefully that's something the vet at the wildlife center can fix.  I also noticed it was holding it's left front paw a little strange as it moved around, so it might have injured that as well.  I dropped it off this morning at the wildlife center, giving it it's best chance to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

I actually cried a little after I left, because Little Squirrel (as I started calling it last night) was just too cute.  I mean, how could you resist helping this little guy (or girl - no idea)?

I don't care if some people think they are pests or don't like them.  They are a living being and deserve every chance to live their lives just like we do.  I don't care what kind of animal I find injured in my backyard, I'm going to do whatever I can to help it.  I don't know how injured this squirrel was, but I'm going to believe that it'll be rehabilitated and then released into the wild to live a long happy life.

Update: We received a card in the mail from the Wildlife Center that told us that Little Squirrel had been fully rehabilitated and released back into the wild!  The center backs up to a state park, so there is plenty of safe space for Little Squirrel to make it's home!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


So we left for our honeymoon the Monday after the wedding and went to Aruba.  We were originally thinking Barbados, but it was so difficult to fly in and out of from the airport closest to Lake George.  Also, summer is hurricane season in the Caribbean, but Aruba lies just outside that area so we wouldn't have to worry about a hurricane blowing up on us.  The fact that we could skip all-inclusive and get some culture in Aruba, while also being able to drink water from the tap also aided in our decision to choose Aruba instead.

The view that greeted us from our balcony

We landed in Aruba in the afternoon so we had enough time to kind of wander around the hotel and the beach area to check it out before heading to dinner.  We found a tapas place for a pretty good first dinner.  After we finished eating we walked through the rest of the shops and restaurants to scout out where the rest of our meals would come from.

We spent the first two full days in Aruba just laying out by the water.  It was so nice to finally not have anything to do, that I wasn't in a rush to do much exploring.  We did learn pretty quickly that it's windy in Aruba.  Not sure if that's the case all the time, but I had read that there could be some pop up weather due to it being hurricane season in most of the Caribbean, so maybe the wind was a product of that.

The first day we chose to lay on the beach, and that wasn't the best idea we've ever had.  Every time a wind gust picked up we would just get railed with sand which hurt like a bitch.  We learned our lesson and spent the rest of the time claiming chairs by the pool where the hotel blocked some of the wind, there was no sand, and the ocean was still next to us when we needed to cool down.

The only other thing I noticed and thought was a little strange was the complete lack of waves, even with the wind.  Seriously, waves were just non-existent.  The water was definitely a little colder than I was expecting considering we were almost in South America while in Aruba, but not cold enough to keep me out.  In fact, it felt nice to hop into the water while the sun was beating down on us all day.

See?  No waves.
 On Thursday Mike and I decided to take a trip out to De Palm Island for an all-inclusive 8 hour all you can eat, drink, and snorkel trip.  We hopped on the bus, took the ferry, and spent all morning and afternoon laying on the beach on the island and snorkeling.  I had only been snorkeling once in Mexico, and it was horrible, so I was really looking forward to seeing what Aruba had to offer.  It was amazing.  Mike and I were in the water three different times for at least half an hour each time.  The place even offered food you could buy for the fish.  We didn't buy any, but enough people did that we got to experience the swarm of fish suddenly surrounding us.

Loved our underwater camera

There was also a small water park on the island so we spent some time hanging out there.  I'm not a big water slide person, so I just sat in the shallow end catching some sun while staying cool while Mike did work alongside the rest of the 8 year old kids there, haha!  We also found a ping pong table going unused, and went to town.  I'd never really played before, and Mike is a master at the game, so we were just playing for fun.....until I realized that I was pretty good for a first timer.  I'm pretty dead set on buying a ping pong table for our place now.

At the water park

Friday we decided to explore the downtown area of Aruba.  We hopped in a cab which dropped us off and grabbed lunch at a place he suggested.  That was where we discovered papaya hot sauce.  I've got to admit, I'm not a big fan of spicy things, but holy cow is this stuff good.  Mike hightailed it to a grocery store to buy a bottle to bring home immediately.  We picked up a couple of souvenirs before heading back to the hotel.

Saturday was our last day so we spent that sitting by the pool and hanging out in the ocean enjoying our last day of zero responsibility.  By Sunday afternoon we were on a plane headed back to NY with a 17 hour drive from there to St. Louis looming ahead of us.  As much fun as the honeymoon was (and relaxing), it was good to be back in the states, and especially to see Bauer again!  He however was much less excited to see us.  While Mike got some attention he literally refused to come see me the entire night after we got back.  Guess he was kind of pissed, haha.  By the next day he was back to giving me hugs and cuddling up after getting over his anger at being ditched, even if he got to spend the entire week with his best friend Nash.

I would definitely recommend Aruba, and not going all-inclusive (um, liquor is so cheap at Duty Free there!) so you can experience everything the island has to offer.  As long as you can tolerate the wind unlike one woman we heard saying she would never go back.  Here's some more pictures from the honeymoon.....

There were lizards all over the place down there. I think they're so cute!
In downtown

So sad that places like this need Pizza Huts to please tourists - Branch out people!
Not terribly afraid of people
Saw these guys all over the rocky areas
Sunset from the balcony

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wedding Day!

 I woke up on the morning of June 30, 2012 and immediately started crying.  I'm already typically an emotional wreck, and realizing it was my wedding day took a toll the second I turned off my alarm.  Having to stop myself from turning into a blubbering idiot was an overriding theme of the day.  My hair and makeup girl showed up at 9 am followed closely by my bridesmaids and my wedding day officially got going.

Everyone talks about nerves and such on your wedding day, but I wasn't feeling it.  I was just really excited.  Then, I was getting my hair and makeup done around 1:30 that afternoon.  Most of my bridesmaids were taking care of making sure the reception area was set up and I was in the room with just one bridesmaid and the girl doing my hair and makeup.  It was quiet in the room for the first time when suddenly it hit.  My stomach started to tie itself in knots, and my heart started racing.  No cold feet for me, but I started to panic about whether Mike would like the dress, my hair, and my makeup.  I mean, I couldn't look like shit on the most important day of my life!  Thankfully the girls calmed me down and the day resumed.

Of course just after my hair and makeup finishes a couple of the ushers came by to take my stuff up to the room Mike and I would share that night and bring Mike's note and present to me, and pick up my note and presents for him.  While my note was written on lined notebook paper, because that's all I had access to the night before, Mike had to one-up me (so typical, haha).  They handed me our iPad, which Mike had recorded a video on the night before as his "note".  I cried my eyes out listening to what he had to say, and work on a bridesmaids hair had to come to a halt for a makeup fix.

Later I was dressed and ready to go and it was wedding time.  It felt like an eternity that I was hidden in a room while everyone else walked down the aisle.  Finally it was time, and off I went.  He'll probably kill me for saying this, but Mike made me cry when he started to tear up as I got to him.  Thankfully I held it together enough to get through most of the ceremony, up until vow time.  I'd started to tear up listening to Mike say his, but when it was my turn I literally had to pause halfway through for a moment because I was on the verge of a total breakdown.  I made it through better than I expected, which was awesome, but I don't think I heard a single thing our officiant said.  I was too busy grinning like an idiot at Mike and forcing myself to hold the tears in.

We were then officially married and got to spend the rest of the night celebrating with our closest friends and family.  Unfortunately last minute a few couldn't make the trip for the wedding.  One guy couldn't get clearance by his doctor to travel after hitting a deer on his motorcycle the previous month and flying a nice 100 yards down the road.  One of Mike's groomsmen also couldn't make it because his wife gave birth the night before.  Thankfully one of our ushers stepped up and filled in.

Towards the end of the night something really awesome happened.  Turned out there were fireworks over Lake George that night.  It was unexpected and I found out about it only the night before.  My dad joked that he spared no expense for the wedding, but it was amazing to be able to enjoy those before the party ended.

For the record, I highly recommend using music from the Vitamin String Quartet for pre-ceremony, ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner music.  We received so many comments on how awesome it was to listen to.  If you don't know, VSQ does orchestral versions of modern mostly rock songs.  People had a blast trying to pick out what all the songs were.  Since Mike and I don't agree on music most of the time this was a great choice for us.  We chose mostly 90's to early 00's music from bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Coheed and Cambria, etc.

Our music lineup (all Vitamin String Quartet covers) went like this:
Parents and groom entrance for ceremony - "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac
Wedding Party entrance - "Soul to Squeeze" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
My entrance - "Beautiful Day" by U2
Recessional - "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins

When we made our entrance to the reception we wanted to choose something that would typically be played at a hockey game for a team's entrance, because let's be honest, hockey runs our lives.  We chose AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" the real version.  Our first dance was to "Stuck on You" by Failure.  Not exactly first dance material, but it's our song and our wedding, so we did what we wanted, decent first dance be damned, haha.  People spent all night saying how "us" the music selection was.

We haven't gotten any of our professional photos or video yet, but received so many amazing pictures from friends and family.  I figured I'd throw some of those in here and put up some of my favorite shots from the photographers later on when I get them.  Before I do I just wanted to throw out a big thank you to everyone who sent either of us messages wishing us good luck and congrats.  It means so much to us to see all the support from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike.  I'm the happiest I've ever been right now and looking forward to what the future for us holds.  Thanks again!

Sign outside of our reception room

Reception room - view of Lake George and surrounding mountains out windows
Close up of table settings (annoyed that ribbon came off my favor box)
Just pronounced husband and wife
First kiss!
Wedding Party (3 guys on left were ushers)
Love this photo of ring bearer and flower girls
First dance
Double Dutch ropes

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wedding Week

It's official, I'm a married woman!  Before I get into the wedding itself, there were so many other things to talk about.  Due to the fact that about 90% of our guests were from out of town, we ended up not just having a wedding day, but a wedding week!  It was awesome to spend so much time with our friends and family.

Mike, his parents, Bauer, and I hopped in the car early Saturday morning on June 23 and made the 17 hour drive from St. Louis to Lake George.  We all stayed with my parents, and while everyone was happy to see each other, I don't think anyone was happier than Nash, my parents' dog, who hadn't seen his best friend Bauer in two months!

On Sunday I took my last opportunity to relax.  I wasn't going to have a day without something to do until a week and two days from then.  I probably could have gotten some things done that day, and it probably would have made my life a little bit easier that week, but I saw a break and took it!

On Monday Mike's best man and an usher-turned-groomsman got into town.  First thing was first though, we had to get our marriage license.  After we finished that we picked them up at the airport, and spent the day giving them a little tour of Lake George.

Tuesday Mike played some golf with the guys and then we did the last minute running around taking care of final payments for vendors and such.  Then we went out for a nice dinner at one of our favorite spots in Lake George, George's.  It was an early night for us then because we had a really full next few days.

I spent all morning Wednesday baking four Gooey Butter Cakes, because I had decided at some point before the stress had kicked in that it was a good idea to give out homemade Gooey Butter Cake as favors to the guests at the wedding, along with the mini champagne bottles we had ordered.  Then I had to run down to the airport to pick up one of my bridesmaids and then pick up my wedding dress.  Due to my bridesmaids dresses not getting in until the previous Friday, my two out of town bridesmaids couldn't have their dresses shipped to them and get fitted in time.  After picking up my bridesmaid I had to run to the dress shop to get her dress along with the dress of the bridesmaid arriving the next morning.  We headed straight to the seamstress's house for a fitting a mere three days before the wedding.  From there we headed straight to a local park where Mike and I were holding a meet and greet barbecue for all the guests who were in town already.  Fours hours mingling in the park was followed up with some Martha's Ice Cream for those from St. Louis who had never had flavored soft serve before.  We spent the rest of the night hanging out with friends in Lake George.

Thursday was another busy one.  It was bachelor/bachelorette party day and Mike had a mini golf tournament set up for the guys in the morning.  I had to meet my other out of town bridesmaid early that morning so I could get her to a fitting only two days before the wedding for her dress.  I was in serious doubt that the dresses would be done on time, and fit well.  When that was over I had to head back home and make four more Gooey Butter Cakes.  In the afternoon my maid of honor picked me up and all my bridesmaids and I spent the afternoon laying by the lake.  Then it was time for the bachelor/bachelorette parties!  Mike and his group stayed in Lake George while the ladies and I went to Saratoga for the night.  After dinner we ended up at a drag show where I was pulled on stage, but thankfully didn't get too embarrassed.  After the show we continued to bar hop until our ride came.  On the way back I let Mike know we were headed home, and he insisted on all of the girls meeting the guys out.  Not a typical end to the whole separate bachelor/bachelorette parties, but it was a really fun end to the night.

On Friday the girls all came over and helped me slice up, box up, and attach ribbons and seals to the cake favor boxes while Mike went on an hour steamboat ride with his side of the family.  After that was done Mike and I had to pack up bags for the next two nights because we'd been staying with my parents up to this point.  Then we had to get all of the favors, centerpiece parts, seating charts, etc. up to the wedding location.  After checking in to separate rooms at the hotel, Mike and I met up with everyone for rehearsal and then dinner afterwards.  After dinner ended we decided to meet up with everyone in town and hang out the rest of the night with them.  We ended up finishing our night off at an arcade taking over skee-ball.

 After exchanging our won tickets for really ridiculous things we didn't need Mike and I said our goodnights and headed back to the hotel.  It was really strange to have him walking me to my door only to leave to head to his own room.  I mean, we've been living together for 6 years, so this was a new thing for us.  The second the door closed I started to cry.  It finally kind of hit that I was going to be married the next day.  I spent the next few hours struggling to fall asleep, and eventually gave up and watched a late night playing of Super Troopers on Comedy Central.

And that's how I spent my week leading up to the wedding.  It was busy.  It was stressful.  It was fun.  It was probably the best week of my life.  Check back in a day or two for a blog about the wedding, complete with pictures some of the guests took!  Still just dying in anticipation for the pro photos and wedding video.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wedding Stress

Yikes, it's been forever and a day since I've posted!  I can't lie.  I've been living, breathing wedding planning since I got back to St. Louis in April.  It's all I've done it feels like.  I honestly have dreams about the wedding every single night.  Sometimes more than one dream.  No, I'm not making that up.  And then when I finally wake up, even after a non-wedding dream, my brain goes straight to thinking about the wedding.

Are the centerpiece vases going to be on time?

Can the DJ find the kind of obscure songs we really really want to have played?

Will the bridesmaids dresses EVER show up? (More on that later)

How come a whole third of our guest list didn't RSVP?

What the hell am I going to get my flower girls and ring bearer?

Even worse, what the hell am I going to get Mike?!

I've been using multiple checklists to make sure that I get everything done, and finally got sick of going from one to the next to the next.  I wrote down all the things that are left that need to be done and when they need to be done by.  After the hours I've spent working on things today I've got 41 things left to check off.  And I'm going out of town for an entire week starting on Sunday.  The worst part?  None of it is procrastinated!  I still have no idea why I chose to plan this entire wedding completely on my own, especially when my Maid of Honor's step mom is a wedding planner.  Seriously.  Call me an idiot, it's fine.

Most of the planning has thankfully gone off with no issues.  That is until the time the bridesmaid dresses were supposed to come in.  And they didn't show.  The next day, not there.  The day after that, still not there.  Come to find out, the shop kind of "forgot" to tell me the shipping date had changed to two weeks later.  Okay, I can deal.  Until the shop then "forgot" to mention that the two dresses that have to get shipped to out of town bridesmaids are going to be an extra shipping charge for those girls.  I'm sorry, I remember asking about that and being told there wasn't a shipping charge.  I may or may not have called the girl on the phone a liar.  Now there are backups from the designer themselves and the dresses won't be into the store until two weeks after the newly updated date.  Then they still have to ship the dresses to my out of town girls.  And that's as long as the date the store was given by the designer is accurate and not delayed again.  I hope there are some ultra fast seamstresses around.

I'm just really over the whole having to worry and plan and think about the wedding stuff at this point.  I was having fun with it until about a month ago when things just seemed to start piling up.  I've spent hours upon hours the past few weeks and I feel like I've accomplished nothing.  Thankfully I can look at my checklist and see that many of my 41 things left to do are simple things like confirming with vendors, or going to my final dress fitting that is already scheduled.

I'm just glad I had a nice reprieve over the weekend for my birthday.  Saturday was my official birthday but I got kind of a whole weekend out of it, which was awesome.  On Friday Mike took me shopping and then out to dinner at Sidney Street Cafe in Benton Park for my first time.  Service was a little slow, but the food was absolutely incredible.  Then we met up with a few friends for drinks outside on the patio at Molly's in Soulard.  On Saturday we met up with another couple and visited a couple wineries, just spending the day sipping vino, sitting outside, and talking.  I spent most of Sunday in recovery mode taking a nap by the pool.

I'm not sure when I'll post again.  Like I said, I have a one track mind right now.  Most likely it'll be after my honeymoon in Aruba.  Until then, happy summer everyone!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Disasters Averted

Oh my, it's been a while.  I came up with like 50 great ideas for blog posts while laying in bed falling asleep only to have forgotten them in the morning.  Then when awake the only things I could think about writing about were not things I was really looking to share with the general public.  Some stuff has to remain family and friends only, ya know?

Things are really starting to speed up lately and I feel like I just don't have enough time, which is so not true.  If you follow me on twitter at all you know that two weeks ago I was dog-sitting my parents' dog, Nash while they were on a cruise.  Nash and Bauer are absolutely best friends so it was non-stop playing for 10 days.  Bauer's kind of a lazy guy.  He enjoys his naps.  Nash on the other hand is hyper-energetic and kept me on the go more than I'm used to.  It was okay though, I think the dogs had a blast seeing each other for so long.

The day Nash went home I had planned on cleaning, but was so tired I decided just to paint my nails and catch up on TV instead.  Then Mike came home from a road game at 8:00 that night and informed me that the team was coming over the next afternoon for a BBQ.  My reaction was: I'm sorry, what?!  Let's just say I did a superficial cleaning job to get ready.  Usually I hate hosting and asking people to bring things, but with the late notice there was just no way I could whip up enough food to feed a hockey team.  Of course, asking the guys to bring a side dish resulted in half a dozen different bags of chips with just a salad and a pasta salad that lasted about 5 minutes each as side dishes.  I was so busy just getting things out on the table I nearly missed out on the meat.  10 pounds gone in about 10 minutes.  Oy.  At least the weather was nice and it seemed like everyone had fun.

Then the wedding stresses started.  Basically all on the same day I realized that I hadn't heard back from our not even confirmed officiant in almost 2 weeks.  Not good.  Then I got a phone call from my mom that the rehearsal dinner venue had literally closed down and disappeared overnight.  When I say disappeared I mean signs down, phones disconnected, website shut down, restaurant cleaned out disappeared.  No notice, no phone call, no email, nothing.  Thanks, guys!  Then the bridesmaids dresses arrival date was 3 weeks later than I was originally told it would be leaving them a really tight schedule to get alterations done.  And the store doesn't do alterations anymore so they'll have to find someplace else to go to get them done.  And I still have to supply a wedding shower guest list to my friend who is hosting my St. Louis shower.  Also, can't forget that I need to get 100-something invitations assembled and addressed to send out in the next week.  Lastly, I have a phone that seems to not want to stay connected on a phone call for longer than 5 minutes, which isn't helping.

I mean, seriously, all at the same time?!  I literally sat on the couch and started to cry as the hits all came.  Then I got pissed and took Bauer out for a jog to relieve the stress.  Well, a jog is what I meant to do.  I ended up sprinting in anger and was literally dragging Bauer by the leash towards the end.  I didn't even realize it until I'd run myself right into the beginning of an asthma attack.  Kind of felt like an idiot bent over and wheezing in the middle of the sidewalk trying not to let the attack get full blown while my neighbors stared at me with no offer of help.

It was the first time I felt stressed, like really stressed, over the wedding.  Up until that point things had worked out pretty perfectly.  I didn't know what I was going to do.  Then in a matter of two days I got in touch with the officiant, found a rehearsal dinner venue, and got a call that my dress is in.  Disasters averted.  Funny how things work out sometimes.

My stress is done.....mostly.  I still have things I need to squeeze in in the last few weeks I'm in NY.  I've got things going on here in Binghamton to take care of before we leave.  I just can't believe where all the time has gone.  I can't believe the season is almost over.  Has 6 months really gone by that quickly?  Is the wedding really as close as it is?  Don't expect a lot of updates in the next few months.  I've got a crazy amount of things on my plate.  Hopefully when I do get a chance to update I won't have any more freak outs to report.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It Suddenly Feels Real

I've had a pretty busy past week or so.  It was All-Star Break, but for Mike and I, it was no break.  There was always something to do, and all of it for the wedding.  There were 7 appointments in 4 days and I'm still not done.  I'm headed right back to my parents in two days to get some more things done.

I've got to be honest, while I fully knew that I was getting married since the day Mike proposed, it didn't really hit me until last week.  Up until that point it was just emailing vendors and getting them picked out.  I hadn't really gone and seen anything or really done any sort of detail oriented stuff.  It was just big things, completely important things, but things that I could easily forget about and not think of for a while.  My photographer is picked out and I'm not getting married until the summer.  Why do I need to be thinking about them every day?  I don't.

The first appointment I had was with the florist.  I walked in without any clue what I wanted to do as far as bouquets and centerpieces.  I had no vision in my head of what any of that would look like.  The florist came up with ideas, but because it's winter she didn't have many flowers in the shop.  That is one reason I'm going back this weekend.  It's just before Valentine's Day so I can go in and see them in person to make the final decision.  I've spent all week checking out pictures of bouquets and centerpieces, and suddenly I can't stop.  I spend all day and night scouring pinterest and wedding websites for pictures.  Flowers seemed like an afterthought, something I wasn't going to care a whole lot about.  Now I'm obsessed.  Oh boy.

The second appointments was the menu tasting.  I knew that the food was going to be good, but I didn't expect it to be as good as it was.  Mike and I were so impressed with everything we tried.  Now knowing the menu we're going to have is awesome.  I can't wait to eat that food again.  I'm also hoping that everyone is just as impressed and happy with the selections as we were.

The next appointment was with the travel agent.  We originally went in thinking we wanted to go to Barbados.  After sitting and talking about it with her for a while our minds started to change slightly.  Especially when we realized that travel to and from there was going to be a major process.  Instead we pretty much decided on Aruba.  It's not booked quite yet, but by the end of this weekend it will be.  I just wanted a beach to lay on, so I'm pretty happy anywhere in the Caribbean, haha.  Being out of hurricane territory and being able to drink water from the tap in Aruba helps too though.

We went straight from the travel agent to the stationer to pick up our invitations.  Funny story about them: my mom placed the order for me since I wasn't in town.  She did it within days after Mike played like 2 or 3 straight games against the Adirondack Phantoms and was a star (at least one first star) in each game.  When they found out who the invitations were for their son jokingly commented that he didn't want his parents doing business with Mike.  When we picked them up we spent a while talking hockey with them.  Now I have a box full of all the stuff to put together.  I'm saving that assembling project for a little later on when it gets closer to sending them out.

Our next appointment was with the bakery.  We had a cake tasting and had chosen three different kinds of cakes and fillings to try.  After we were done with the tasting we met with the owner and designed our cake and put in the order.  Mike and I had already looked through pictures of cakes and we knew pretty much the exact style we wanted.  The owner made a couple of small tweaks that would still give us the look we wanted in our colors and we placed the order.  Then we ate the rest of the cakes, haha.

We had to pick out tuxes, so that was next on the agenda.  We went in and found a style that Mike liked, and I picked out the color that was what we needed.  As soon as the guys in the wedding party call in their measurements, the tuxes will be on order and we'll be set there.

The last appointment of the week was at the potential spot for the rehearsal dinner.  We met with the owner who gave us a tour of the restaurant and showed us the private room we would use.  We went over sample menus they've done before and he gave us the details on how the night would go.  After the meeting we met up with my parents and had dinner there to taste the food.  Holy incredible.  I did not expect to find a steakhouse that good in Glens Falls, NY.  Mike and I are so picky about steakhouses because we both tend to feel that Mike can cook a better or just as good steak than a lot of places.  Everything at this place from the appetizers, to the soups, to the three different cuts of steak tried, to the fish tried, and to the sides was amazing.  It was exactly the meal we want to give for rehearsal dinner.  Another thing checked off the list.

I've literally spent the entire week since we've been back in Binghamton searching through pictures of all sorts of wedding ideas.  I just can't stop.  I was always really excited about the wedding, but every single tiny detail that gets check off the list just makes me more and more excited.  I'm at the point where I just want it to be here already.  It's finally hit.  I'm REALLY getting married.  And I've gone from feeling like I just need to get the planning done, to actually really enjoying it.

So many people are from out of town and have decided to make this their vacation and just thinking of the fact that it's not just going to be a day, but a nearly week long event we get to share with family and friends feels awesome.  We certainly didn't expect so many people to rearrange their work schedules, vacation time, and spend the money to travel to upstate NY just for us, and it means so much.  We couldn't be more thrilled about how everything has been going.  And no fights!  After 8 years together we know what we like.  I think the fact that we've designed our house before planning a wedding helped.  We've already worked out what our aesthetic is so it's been easy so far.

I'm excited to be able to check a few more things off this list after this weekend.  The flowers should be picked out, the honeymoon booked, and I'm meeting up with 2 of my bridesmaids and my maid of honor while they do their fitting for their dresses.  Hopefully I'll be making my final decision on the flower girl dresses as well.  Then all I have to do really is find an officiant (that's kind of important, right?) and someone to do my hair and makeup and I'll be up to date on what should be done by this point in time.  Oh, and my dress should be in by next month.  I'm dying to put it on again.  So absolutely excited for that day.

Time sure is flying by, but I'm not complaining.  Too many good things to look forward to!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shit Fans Say

Sorry this was delayed by a couple days.  The boy and I used our All-Star Break as wedding planning time.  We had 7 wedding appointments in 4 days.  That was all on top of a serious cold that had me in bed by 10 each night because I could only sleep for 30 minutes at a time.  Anyway, here we go!

1. "Why are you so tired?  You just stand there." - submitted by @MattScooby

This is in reference to someone commenting on a goalie claiming he was tired.  I've totally heard people say this to Mike before.  They've obviously never attempted to play goal.  While I haven't either, I did play volleyball, and a goalie stance and volleyball stance are pretty similar so I know the feeling.  Here's a challenge for all of you that think it's easy to be a goalie.....Get in a goalie stance, bend your knees in a half squat, keep your back straight and stay like that.  Don't stand up straight, don't bend at the waist.  Then imagine using all your strength to push from one side of a crease to the other over and over again while remaining in that stance.  Go ahead, tell me how long you lasted.  That's on top of the amount of times a goalie has to drop down to his knees and pop right back up.  Mike once had an injured teammate count how many times he went down to stop a puck and in about half an hour of practice it was well over 150, with just that stance as short relief, if you want to call it that.  As a side note, in all honesty, my legs are less tired after running 4-5 straight miles than they are after a quick game of volleyball that takes about the same amount of time, simply because of the stance.  I can only imagine how tiring it can be for a goalie who has to do it so much longer.

2. "He's the backup."

At what point is that term going to leave hockey?  It's more relevant to say that at the NHL level where there are obvious exceptions (Henrik Lundqvist anyone?).  At lower levels it's just about obsolete.  Check out the games played by goalies at the end of a season.  Majority of teams will have two goalies who played a similar amount of games.  The word "backup" has become synonymous with the guy who's not the top prospect on the team instead of describing the guy who isn't playing often.  In the minors, there just isn't a backup.  Injuries and call-ups see to that.  Instead it's usually a story of either two prospects, or a prospect and a veteran.  Can we just say that from now on?

Hear something you just couldn't help but shake your head at in the past week?  Submit your own "shit fans say" quote either here or tweet me @RALind17.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shit Fans Say

Welcome to my new weekly feature!  Some statements will be more serious than others, but this is meant to be fairly lighthearted so I hope you take it that way.  Like I said in the last post this isn't just things I or others have overheard fans say but also broadcasters, journalists, bloggers, analysts, etc.  I'll put in the saying, then explain why it irks me, or how I can understand how it irks others.  Obviously these are my opinions, and it's okay if you disagree with me.  Sometimes being a goalie's girl puts things into different perspective than someone looking at the game from a different angle.  Not always, but sometimes.  And it also doesn't mean I'm right and you're wrong, just that our thought process is different.

Please don't take offense if you see something you've said in this or any of the following "Shit Fans Say" posts.  I don't blame you.  I've said pretty much all of these at some point in my life.  It took years of dating a goalie for my perspective on the game of hockey to change from fan to insider and from insider to goalie's perspective.  Many people never get the chance like I did to see the game from a player's point of view.  Even after 8 years I'm still guilty.

I'm sure I'm not surprising anyone by saying there are some misinformed "experts" in the hockey world in some areas.  Many of these sayings come from people fans trust to be knowledgeable, so why wouldn't they repeat the same thing?  It's like a math teacher telling you 2 + 2 = 5.  They're supposed to be an expert, so why wouldn't you believe them?  Again, I'm not saying these are wrong.  Some are dead on at least some of the time.  I'm just saying they bug me when I hear them.  PS - There might be a fair amount of goalie stuff in here, for obvious reasons.

1. "He's going to want that goal back."

Most often said by someone who never played goal in their life, immediately following a goal scored.  Sometimes that statement is dead on.  There are certainly goals that a goalie wishes he could go back and play differently.  No one is perfect.  It bothers me when I hear it despite the validity of the statement merely because how does that person know?  How do they know the goalie will want that goal back?  Can they read minds?  Maybe something happened on the ice said person didn't see.  Maybe the goalie did exactly what he should have, and would always do if given the exact same play again. I just think that it's unfair to make assumptions for another person not just in hockey, but in life.  Ask someone how they feel about the goal (or situation) before telling the world how they feel.  Often how you think they'd feel is different from how they actually do.  It's a case of reporting assumption instead of fact and you know what they say about making assumptions.....  Of course, if a former goalie makes the statement, there's probably a whole lot of truth to it.

2. "It's deserted in here."

Any version of this statement that comments on the lack of fans in a rink also work.  I hate hearing this.  I've heard broadcasters go on and on about how empty a rink is during a game.  We get it.  There aren't a lot of fans at that particular game.  Let it go.  I've also heard fans use this statement as a way to put down another team.  I think it's cowardly.  Fans of certain franchises know what their fanbase is like.  They don't need you rubbing it in their faces and trying to make them feel like they aren't worth as much as you are simply because your favorite team has more fans.  Mike has played for teams that draw well and teams that don't.  I hated hearing people talk shit about the amount of fans of a team he played for and I hate hearing a team he plays for talk shit about the opposing team's fans.  Even if there aren't a lot of them, having fewer fans doesn't make them any less passionate.  There are so many reasons people may not show up to games that range from other events in the city that day to an over-saturated market.  I think we can all agree that whether it's 500 or 20,000 fans at a game we all love the same sport, and I think there's something to be said for that.

Come back next week for another edition of "Shit Fans Say" and as always, feel free to leave a comment or send a tweet to @RALind17 with things you've overheard that drive you nuts or discuss your feelings on the day's statements!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A New Weekly Feature!

As I was watching Mike's game in Bridgeport on the computer last night, a situation occurred that reminded me of something that broadcasters, journalists, and fans all say.  Something that drives me nuts every time I hear it.  It wasn't said on this particular day, but still, I've heard that quote so many times over the years that it doesn't need to be said for me to hear it in my head during a play like that.  I'm not going to say what that quote is just yet.  I'll save it for the feature opener.  It did however give me an idea.

I decided to write a blog post titled "Shit Fans Say".  There are so many "Shit *insert group* Say" jokes going on that it just popped into my head.  I began to write out all sorts of quotes and cliches I've heard over the years that make me laugh, or roll my eyes.  As I wrote the blog, the list got longer and longer.  I threw up a tweet mentioning I was writing a post about it and suddenly I started to get responses with things my followers have heard.  I tossed out the idea that people could suggest some lines for me to add.  The amount of responses I've received was overwhelming.....and hilarious.  And so "Shit Fans Say" as a weekly feature was born.

This isn't just going to be things that fans themselves say.  After all, most of the stuff fans say comes from somewhere else.....usually the media, bloggers, broadcasters, analysts, the players, etc.  Therefore, I'm not just going to focus on fan comments, but comments coming from all across the hockey world.  The people that cover and play the sport are fans too, you know?

I haven't quite decided how I want to go about doing this.  Should I just pick one thing and discuss it?  Should I throw up a couple each week?  I haven't figured it out just yet, but I will.

If you have something you think would fit feel free to leave a comment here or tweet it to me.  I'll make sure to give you the credit unless you'd prefer to stay anonymous.  If a specific person made a comment, I won't use their name.  I'm not looking to call anyone out or embarrass anyone.  Honestly it's best if you don't include who said it so I can't say anything to implement them, just in case.  Okay kids, let's hear 'em!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hello 2012

Maybe slightly late, but Happy New Year!

I don't make resolutions.  I think resolutions are kind of silly.  Just because it's a different year people decide to change something?  Why not change something when you realize you should, no matter the time of year?  Why not keep up good habits instead of reverting back to old ones all year long?  There have been so many posts about resolutions on blogs, facebook, and twitter that I'm not going to continue on.  I won't say anything you haven't already heard or read.

I finally got my gym membership a couple weeks ago.  The fact that I did it just around New Year's Day is merely a coincidence, not me being a hypocrite, haha.  I'd meant to get it much earlier in the year, but other things ended up taking up my time and making me forget to go (*cough* wedding *cough*).  It's felt great to get back in and moving again.  I was never a runner, but two years ago I decided that I wanted to become one.  Last summer I ran my first 5k, and helped the Animal Protective Association in the process.  This year I want to run a 10k.  It may not seem difficult to some, but for a girl who was excused from running distances over a mile growing up because of asthma problems, it's a big deal to me.  I'm certainly not the fastest runner in the world, but I simply don't care.  It's not about the speed for me.  I'm just learning to love to run and enjoy the sights while I do.  Unfortunately winter brings treadmills and my enjoyment level drops a bit, but in a couple months I'll be back outside again.

I also can't seem to think about much else besides wedding planning.  I'm even starting to have nightmares about it.  In the first my dress didn't show up until the night before the wedding and when I pulled it out, it was the wrong dress!  Instead of the dress I ordered, I instead had some poofy tangerine colored mess.  It looked like it came straight from a 1985 prom.  The second nightmare I realized the day before the wedding that I'd never ordered a cake or flowers and I had yet to try on my dress after it came in.  Then the reception venue was set up all wrong with all the wrong colors, and the general public was filtering in to eat the food.  I didn't get any of the food I wanted.

I thought that once we got all our vendors (which we have) that I'd feel less stressed about the whole planning process.  Not so much.  We just found out last week that we can't have our friend marry us.  Maybe we were naive but we were under that impression that he could take a class or something and it would be legal.  Apparently that's the case in some states, but not NY.  I should have known.  Now the scramble is on to try to find an officiant that isn't already booked for our the a tourist getaway.....where there are dozens of wedding venues.  Oh boy.

We did just make appointments to meet with the florist, the bakery making the cake, and the venue for our menu tasting.  Now we move on to a travel agent to book the honeymoon, and pick out tuxes.  Also on the to-do list is the registry, which is something we've been excited about doing since before we were even engaged and have yet to even think about.  We have however started having friends and relatives already book their rooms and flights which is getting us more and more excited.  And somehow we've managed to not have a single argument so far in the planning process.  We both seem to be on the same page on everything, which does take some of the stress away.

Mike, a teammate, and I went to the Humane Society to volunteer yesterday.  I've said it before, but the Paws 4 Cause initiative that Mike helped start between the team and the Humane Society means a bunch to us.  We're both such animal lovers that we want to do everything to help animals that need it.  After the flooding the dogs and cats had to be separated into two different locations.  The dogs stayed and the cats were moved.  Yesterday we helped to move in cat food and clear space so that the cats can move back in.

There was a dog I'd bonded with the last time I'd been there named Harley.  She was a lab/pit bull mix and was a total sweetheart.  It was funny how different she was in the cage to outside of it.  I was worried she may not be adopted quickly because of how aggressive she seemed in the cage, despite the fact that outside of it she just wanted to give kisses and be pet.  I showed up yesterday looking forward to seeing her again, but she wasn't there!  She'd been adopted which despite my slight sadness at not seeing her again, made me incredibly happy.  I saw the note her adopted family sent in about her and it seems like she's loving her new life, which is something she and all the other animals in the shelter deserve.  Of course I found a new dog, Lady, who was just brought in to fall in love with.  If only having two dogs over 50 pounds was possible with our lifestyle.....

We're doing another visit next week with the cats and then two visits the following week.  Mike, some of his teammates, and I are going to help the Humane Society with an adopt-a-thon.  I don't have all the details yet, but I'm looking forward to hopefully helping some of these animals find a permanent home.  Even Bauer is going to come along to help out.  He was a shelter dog too at one point.

So far 2012 is looking like it's going to be a good year.  I hope that turns out to be the case, not just for me, but for everyone else as well!