Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Idea + Printables

One of the many things that attracted me to my husband is how creative and thoughtful he is when planning special events. On our first Valentine's Day, he told me I was in for a surprise. The only clue I was given was that I needed to bring comfortable shoes. 
 
He took me to Atomic Ballroom and I had my first-ever dance lesson. It was really romantic and they came in useful when it was time to get married. We sort of ran out of time to learn, but at least had down the basics. 


These are comfortable shoes, right?

After the lessons, we went to Gulliver's for dinner. I cherish these photos, especially because he has his now wedding ring (which belonged to his grandfather) on in this picture. He wore it on his right hand then. 




So, what to do for our first Valentine's as Mr. and Mrs.? Guys are always hard to buy for, and I can't get him anything too extravagant because we have a three week trip to Europe planned this summer.

I have a small gift for him...but, it didn't seem to be enough. I found the perfect solution over at the Dating Divas website!


 IDEA #4 – LOVE SCAVENGER HUNT


So, instead of just handing him a gift, he's going to have to work for it. The first clue I'll give to him, no strings attached. It reads "Splish, splash, SPLISHES ... it's the place where you put the dirty dishes." There, he will find his second clue. But, unlike a regular scavenger hunt, he's gonna have to complete tasks before he's given the next clue. He will have to pay a price, such as....



  • Sweep your lady into your arms and dance with her for an entire romantic song before reading the next clue. (I will have our wedding song ready to go).
  • Kiss your woman like she's NEVER been kissed before...and then you can read the next clue
  • Mmmm...nothing is yummier than chocolate covered strawberries! Take turns feeding each other chocolate-dipped strawberries before reading the next clue.



  • So, the clues are inside envelopes… and on the outside of the envelopes are the tasks that have to be completed before reading the clue inside. 
     



    The complete instructions and printables can be found HERE. Go to idea #4.



    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    Our Wedding - Recap





    We've all waited a long time for my wedding. When I was about 20, my Mom and I were shopping at JCPenney and passed by a little kid's tuxedo. My brother was 12 at the time, and my Mom exclaimed "Look! Glen could wear that to your wedding!" I did a double take and informed her that by the time I was going to get married, Glen will be wearing adult sizes. I knew he'd be an adult, but I really didn't think he'd be close to 30.

    Recounting and summarizing the best day of my life in a blog seems insurmountable. Anything I think of to try and describe it seems inadequate. Like looking at an art print instead of standing before the real thing. It's sort of the same, but lackluster; without all of the vivid colors, size and texture. It's a shell of the real work, but you get the general gist. Of course this won't stop me from trying.

    As the wedding drew near, I surprisingly didn't have much nervousness or stress; just pure joy and excitement. The day before, I even slept in until 11am! We were at the venue the day/evening before, when it tapped me on the shoulder. We were working on the seating chart and it was taking much longer, keeping me from spending time with my long-lost relatives who came all the way from Ireland. But even this task wasn't too bad. It was actually kind of fun being there because his family started arriving with all of the amazing decorations and I saw it all falling into place.

    That night, I shared a honeymoon suite with my good friend Kara who came out from Denver and we stayed up until almost midnight catching up. My bridesmaids Andrea and Stephanie were staying at the same hotel and I was able to see them for a little bit too. I found myself saying to everyone "I can't believe this is happening!" 

    I woke up the next morning and before I knew it, my hair girl was there and got to work. Then everyone started arriving: Mom, Dad, Glen, and my two other bridesmaids, Ann-Marie and Delia. 
    Delia snapped this photo of Dad and I.

    My make-up artist did Mom's makeup while they were finishing up my hair. My amazing photographer, Michael Fletcher, showed up and began documenting some of the preparation. He also played a crucial role in finding a Red Bull for me, just because he overheard me asking for one. 



    In typical fashion, I was running late, but about to leave when I got a call from our priest saying he did not have some necessary paperwork, and would not be able to marry us. "Umm...should I even come to the church?" I asked, to which he responded: "Well yes, it's better that we talk in person." Ah-ha! Here's the stress everyone was talking about! 

    My amazing friend/day-of-coordinator Margie had borrowed her Dad's G-Wagon and had her husband and friend all set to give us a ride. They looked like they were in the secret service. I texted Nathan on the way, and by the time we pulled up in front of the church he had called to say he had spoken to our pries and it was taken care of. Some of my friends were gathered outside the church and I waved to them, but the windows were tinted so dark that they couldn't see me. Once the coast was cleared, I was ushered into the bridal room, joined my bridesmaids Andrea, Delia, Ann-Marie, Stephanie and Brittany and waited. 

    There was a knock at the door, and Nathan's brother, Thaddeus, peeked through with a small, rectangular box; to me from Nathan. I wasn't expecting a gift, because he had forewarned me that he may not be able to give me anything until after we were married. I was shocked when I opened the box and found a note that read: I present to you...diamond tennis bracelet. A new tradition to be passed on to future generations. I slipped it on my wrist, and was ready to walk down the aisle with Dad.

    As we started down the aisle, I was overwhelmed by the people who were there for us, some that I hadn't seen in years. Without realizing, I started looking to my left and right as I went down the aisle. Not just glancing; I felt like I didn't want to miss anyone and tried to make eye contact with each and every person. This slowed our pace considerably, and I was later told that it looked like I was taking roll!


    The ceremony was beautiful and perfect. With Catholic weddings, you really get your money's worth; it lasted just over an hour. When we were standing in front of our priest, he very genuinely apologized for his distressing phone call. About half-way through the ceremony I thought we had missed our "you may now kiss the bride" part and asked Msgr Don if we had missed it. "Not yet." I still had that I can't believe this is happening feeling and whispered to Nathan while we were standing there: This is our wedding, we're getting married! After the kiss, I was floating on air, and ready to celebrate.

    My second cousin from Ireland, Pip, snapped this photo on our way out. I held up my bouquet to her father, because I had his Mom's rosary attached to it. The rosary had been given to my Mom years ago from her Aunt Annie, who had it blessed in Lourdes. It was my something blue.

    Outside of the church, I stood to greet people, some I hadn't seen in years! That was cut a little short because we were loosing light, and had to get over to our picture location at Irvine Lake after we took some family photos inside.

    Afraid I wouldn't have time to eat, Kevin and Sean drove us through McDonalds before we arrived at the Phoenix Club. We had a little time to kill in the foyer before the announcement and introduction of our bridal party to Safe and Sound by Capital Cities and then our intro (The Duke and Dutchess of Tustin) to Just Like Heaven by The Cure. Our first dance was "At Last" by Etta James and when we go through that without incident, I was a lot more relaxed and ready to celebrate.

    Margie, a close friend, acted as our day-of-coordinator and because of her, everything flowed. She was amazing. From creating the timeline below, to helping me out with deodorant, she ensured that everything went smoothly and communicated with our DJ to adjust when we fell behind schedule. Because of her, I didn't have to worry about anything.


    Time

    Activity

    Comments

    Music

    4:30

    guest arrival

    arrive



    5:30

    grand entrance

    safe and sound - capitol cities

    5:35

    bride & groom entrance

    just like heaven - the cure

    5:40

    first dance

    at least - etta james

    5:45

    second slow

    lets stay together - al green


    Montage #1

    Nate and Megan


    5:50

    toasts



    Bridesmaid: Andrea

    Toast to Megan



    BM- Thadeus (brother)



    FOB- Phillip





    Open floor







    Blessing of the food

    Pat Morrison



    6:00

    salads



    6:25

    dinner begins



    7:10

    choir sings



    7:30

    father daughter

    Montage #2

    I love her - The Beatles

    7:35

    Mother son in-law dance

    Montage #3

    what a wonderful world - IZ

    7:40

    Advice dance

    a sinatra song

    7:55

    open dancing



    8:30

    Cake cut

    Nate “thank you” speech

    When I’m 64: Beatles

    8:40

    Bouquet toss

    pour some sugar on me - Def leppard

    845

    garter toss

    J

    8:50

    Group photo
    On the dance floor 

    8:55

    open dance



    10:20

    herd people outside

    Bridesmaid helps line guests

    Groomsmen passes out sparkles



    10:30

    evening ends

    Megan and Nate’s grand exit




    Margie was also in charge of our amazing slideshows. The one of Nate and I as children and then our courtship even included our proposal video. There was a video of my Dad and I in our slideshow while we danced as well, but the big hit of the night was the slideshow she made for Nathan and my Mom while they danced. 

    Everyone in attendance knew what Mom was going through, and seeing photos of her as a child set to What a Wonderful World by IZ while she danced with Nate was sure to be a tear-jerker. So, we wanted to make it a little more light-hearted. And what's more jovial than Nathan driving a scooter through India with Mom on the back holding a goat? Or, a photo of the time they went zip-lining in Costa Rica or scuba diving at the great barrier reef? As the photos of their adventures started appearing, Mom had to stop dancing to watch and laugh while Nathan held her gently. Each new photo that Margie had created brought with it a roar of laughter from the crowd. Seeing her there, with my new husband, both laughing so hard and leaning on each other for support is a moment I will never, ever forget.




























    Andrea Moseley, my best friend since 6th grade, started the speeches. An eloquent speaker, her speech included an excerpt from an email the day after my first date with Nathan. Her speech was followed by Thaddeus, Nathan's brother, who talked about our two families coming together as one.

    Dad's speech was next and was beautiful and touching, describing the meaning of our names and how those attributes are reflected in our personalities. His delivery was on point, reminding me of the father who spoke in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, without the accent.

    Nathan's thank you speech was touching. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting the last half of it to be about me, letting everyone know how in love he was with "da baby."

    While everyone was enjoying dinner, we had a special performance by the Costa Mesa High School Madrigal Choir. They were nothing short of amazing, and added a very personal touch because, after all, we did meet at the high school.
    Megan & Nathan 
    November 23, 2013 
    The Phoenix Club 

    Appetizers 
    Cheese Board, Crudités & Dip, Fresh Fruit Display Swedish Meatballs, Mini Quiches, Taquitos & Salsa Chips & Guacamole 

    Drinks 
    Beer, Wine, Champagne and Soft Drinks. Be Sure and Try Nathan’s Favorite German Beer. 

    Dinner Menu 
    Garden Salad with Choice of Dressing Beef in Peppercorn Sauce or Chicken Marsala or Vegetarian with Au Gratin Potato & Seasonal Vegetables 

    Wedding Cake 
    Select from Layers of Pumpkin, French Vanilla, Chocolate, and Marble 

    Sweet Treat Table 
    Bride and Groom Will Open After Dinner. Croquembouche, Caramel Corn, Candy Apples, Cookies. Fill Your Gold Boxes with Selection of Candies. 

    Entertainment 
    Costa Mesa High School Madrigal Choir

    9:00 p.m. German Snack

    Sparkler Send-Off
    At 10:15, Gather at Entrance 

     Thanks for Sharing This Special Day with Us!

    A huge hit of the night was the sweet treat table, a gift from Mrs. Swanek. The amazingness (that should be a word!) of it can be summarized with this photo:


    Chloe, one of my flower girls.
    I remember Dad's speech was next and was beautiful and touching, describing the meaning of our names and how those attributes are reflected in our personalities. His delivery was on point, reminding me of the father who spoke in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, without the accent.

    Nathan's thank you speech was touching. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting the last half of it to be about me, letting everyone know how in love he was with "da baby." I can't wait to get the raw footage from the videographers and watch the speeches again. They were amazing - check out their work here.



    My favorite picture of my Mom and I...ever!