LIFE: Honeymoon

We just flew back into Detroit from our honeymoon in LA and San Diego, and I am (thankfully) so tired that I think I’ll be able to get to sleep at a reasonable hour. However, I wanted to take a moment to share some details from the honeymoon – lots of photos can be found on my instagram. However, I’ll be sure to share photos of the honeymoon here once I get the chance to go through the 3,000+ pictures I took.

Tuesday: We flew in from Detroit to Los Angeles around 4:30PM, and after a very anxious day of traveling I was feeling very sick. Our plans to walk the Walk of Fame and see the Hollywood sign was thrown out the window so we could find our motel, get dinner, and rest. I was unable to eat any food and couldn’t sleep thanks to my anxiety, but eventually was able to rest after Eddie walked to the nearby Walgreens to buy saltine crackers.

Wednesday: Woke up still sick and unable to eat, but I drank a lot of water and Powerade to avoid dehydration. We went to The Melt for some mac and cheese, but I wasn’t able to eat much. I didn’t want my not feeling well ruin our trip, so we adjusted our schedule to visit La Brea Tar Pits instead of going to Universal Studios like we originally planned. Everyone was confused why we’d want to go there, but we had a good time checking out the fossils and exploring the excavation sites. It was cool how they were still actively working to dig up bones. The best part of the day was when I was craving watermelon and happened to see a man selling fresh fruit on the corner of the street. It was just what I needed to get some food in me and some much needed water. I still felt sick to my stomach but it was manageable with my anxiety.

Thursday: Although I was still feeling under the weather thanks to jet lag, we headed off to Universal Studios! Of course, we were most excited for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but was it awesome to see some of the other themed parks like Jurassic Park and Simpsons. Eddie rode some of the rides, while I sat in the shade and tried to stay cool. I almost passed out while walking due to the heat, but I was able to sit and drink some water. Some highlights of our visit: buying our wands (Eddie has Sirius Black’s and I have Remus Lupin’s – he has the same length, wood, and core as my wand from Pottermore), meeting with Blue (velociraptors have always been my favorite), and the different shows that they put on. Our favorite was Waterworld, and I would highly recommend seeing it if you’re ever in the park. What an amazing half hour of stuns, explosions, and water sports. Late that night, we met up with two of my oldest internet friends: Heather and Juliet. We met up at Denny’s, where I was able to eat some buttered noodles and feel much better. It was great to finally meet them and catch up after so many years. Thankfully, they approved of Eddie and were okay with my vanishing from the internet after meeting him.

Friday: After checking out of our motel, we headed downtown to check out the Walk of Fame. While walking, we stumbled upon Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and I convinced Eddie to see it. I had been to one of the museums years ago in Niagara Falls, but he had never experienced it. We treated ourselves and headed inside, finding some of our favorite celebrities. Once we were done, we shared a strawberry gelato and headed to Warner Bros. Studios for the tour. The tour itself was great, but we were unfortunately unable to sit next to each other because the other groups took up the other spots. Honestly, it kind of dampened the mood a bit, but learning that LUCIFER IS BEING PICKED UP MY NETFLIX made our day much better – especially since we learned right as we were passing the studio where it was filmed. While on the tour, we saw some of the props and costumes for Harry Potter and the DC universe, the set for the Big Bang Theory, and were able to sit on the couch at Central Perk from Friends. When we were done, we drove the three our trip in LA traffic down to Escondido to check into out condo for the next week. What we didn’t realize was that our condo was at a high-class resort that we would never be able to afford on our own. Thank you, Colleen, for the generous wedding gift! It was a huge step up from our little motel in LA, and we celebrated with some delicious food at the fine dining restaurant at the resort at 9PM. It was the best baked potato and clam chowder I had ever eaten.

Saturday: After three days, my body’s clock was finally caught up and I was feeling much better. We met with Eddie’s grandparents, who were unable to come to travel for the wedding, and had breakfast with them at the resort. It was nice to meet the other side of Eddie’s family, and I felt like they approved of me. We wish we could have spent more time with them, but we had a very busy schedule. After breakfast, we headed to the San Diego Safari Park. Unfortunately, by the time we got there we didn’t have the whole day to explore, so we didn’t get a chance to visit every exhibit. However, we were there for one reason: the cheetah run. As a kid, I have had the chance to hold and feed baby tigers and lions, and it has been my dream to do the same for a cheetah. In fact, it’s higher on my bucket list than getting married. I knew going in that I wouldn’t be able to pet a cheetah – my favorite animal of all time. But having the opportunity to be up close and personal, just a few feet away, made me cry with joy. Eddie found it funny that I already knew everything that the zookeepers were explaining about the cheetah. It was definitely one of the best moments of our honeymoon. We ended the night with an easy dinner – a carry out pizza from Pizza Hut. We sat on the balcony and watched the sunset over the mountains, and enjoyed the perfect weather.

Sunday: Of course, we couldn’t forget about the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park. After a late start for the day, we drove to Balboa Park and walked over to the zoo. This time, we had plenty of time to roam the entire park and see every animal they had to offer. We saw many of the standard creatures such as lion, tigers, and bears. However, we saw a special bear that we had never seen in person before. Pandas! Apparently, they are only in four zoos within the United States and we were lucky enough to see one. Thankfully, I was able to charge my camera battery while we ate lunch, which allowed me to continue taking pictures until we made it back to the resort. For dinner that night, we decided to hit up In-n-Out. We don’t have this in Michigan, so we felt that we had to give it a shot. The wait was long, but the food was worth it! The fries were pretty good, and the burger tasted like a restaurant burger and not fast food. It wasn’t the best food I’ve ever had; I think I still prefer Burger King, but my loyalty runs deep.

Monday: Today was a terrifying and special day for me. First, Eddie and I went snorkeling – something I was low-key afraid of doing. I had no desire to swim in the ocean, let alone try to snorkel or scuba. There could be sharks, jellyfish, or stingrays and I wasn’t in the mood to die. However, Eddie assured me I would be okay as we crammed into our wetsuits and tried to find a place to park at La Jola Cove. That didn’t end up working out, as everyone and their mother were at the beach at 2PM on a Monday. Instead, we parked down the road by the beach and just went up to about our waist in the water. I can now say I’ve been in the ocean, and now I never have to do it again. After “snorkeling,” we headed into downtown San Diego to eat at Kansas City Barbeque – the very same diner where the sleazy scene in Top Gun was filmed. I only knew that because they had signs all over the place. While there, we met with my long-time friend who I’ve never had the chance to meet in person since she lives in Tijuana. After nearly eight years of friendship, we finally met! It was so nice to see her and to catch up. As we ate our pulled pork sandwiches and fried pickles, we planned for her trip to Michigan.

Tuesday: We still had another big amusement park to attend: Sea World. The last time I had been to Sea World, it was still in Ohio and I was just a kid. Eddie had never been able to attend, and while there is a lot of controversy around the park, we wanted to take a moment to experience it. We had a great time watching all of the live shows, and I cried during the dolphin show because they were having so much fun. The orca performance was also amazing, and while we didn’t sit in the splash zone (I had to worry about my camera) we still felt a bit of the spray coming at us. However, our favorite show was probably the sea lion performances where they spoofed various TV shows like Survivor and Dancing with the Stars. At night, they also put on an “adult” show where they made fun of the other attractions at the park. They particularly enjoyed roasting the dolphin performers for their over-the-top positivity. We had the option to stay until sunset to watch the glow in the dark performances, which were only going to be performed through August. However, after spending an entire day at the park, sitting around and killing two hours wasn’t exactly a part of our plans. So, we decided to head back to the resort to relax. For dinner, we just ate whatever leftovers we had and went to bed.

Wednesday: With only a few days left in our honeymoon, we knew that we had to visit Balboa Park again after visiting briefly during our trip to the zoo. After having a lazy morning at the resort, we visited the Museum of Man and the exclusive Cannibals exhibit. We both love museums, and seeing one on anthropology was a nice change of pace from typical art and science museums. We were going to visit the Natural History Museum as well, but ran out of time. Instead, we decided to look up a good place to get burgers and ended up at Hodad’s. OH MY GOD, one of the BEST burgers and onion rings I’ve ever had! This small restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, and certainly was worth the trip. I had the mini burger and it ended up being the size of a normal hamburger. Eddie’s small had two patties, and we could only imagine what the larger sizes would be like. It was definitely our favorite place that we had eaten at during our entire trip, and it’s all thanks to the recommendation from one of Eddie’s coworkers!

Thursday: Our last day in San Diego was spent heading back to Balboa Park and hitting up the Natural History Museum, which we weren’t able to do the day before. We’re glad that we went back, as there were some amazing pieces inside. I particularly enjoyed the prehistoric exhibit on the first floor and the skulls on the third. Once we were done there, we went downtown to check out the USS Museum. My dad was in the army, and my grandpa and now father-in-law were in the navy for different wars. It was awesome to be on the retired naval ship and learn more about our history and about our family. I even bought a Vietnam Veteran hat for dad, which he really appreciated for father’s day. With that, we headed back to the resort and dressed up for a romantic dinner at Macaroni Grill. We had initially tried a local restaurant chain, but the wait was over an hour, and Macaroni Grill was a five minute wait. Obviously, our hunger overweighed the desire to eat California faves. At the end of the night, we packed all of our clothes and souvenirs and crashed.

Friday: While we were sad to be leaving California, both of us were were ready to get back home and rest. That morning we got up bright and early and headed to the San Diego airport to fly home. Thankfully, my anxiety wasn’t nearly as bad on the trip back, and I spent most of the flight reading or watching Law and Order SVU on my phone. Our layover in Chicago was also very easy, and our luggage didn’t get lost despite not having the appropriate ticket. The easiest part of the trip home was running into my father-in-law in the airport. He had also just gotten back from a trip and happened to walk right past our gate as we were getting off. We quickly followed him back to luggage claims and he drove us home.

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LIFE: We Got Hitched!

It finally happened! Eddie and I got married today, and we are both exhausted from a long day. There’s a lot to process, from the moment I woke up and got ready with my girls, to the first look at the park with Eddie, to our wedding vows, to the night of dancing.

While it wasn’t a perfect day (the groomsmen boutonnieres went missing, I forgot my veil at home, and the clasp on my dress broke since it was taken in too tightly), overall I think it was the best party and wedding we’ve ever been to. And I’m not saying that because it was my wedding, but because our vendors were phenomenal. The food and cake were amazing, and I’m sad I wasn’t able to eat more (I also forgot to take some home for later.) As soon as the formal dances were finished, the dance floor was never empty as our DJ played the perfect songs. The photo booth was a huge hit as well! While I wasn’t able to say hello to everyone in person, I felt like everyone had a good time.

Now Eddie and I lay in bed, eating leftover KFC and thankful to be out of our shoes. We have cards to read, gifts to open, and bags to pack for the honeymoon. But all of that can wait as we settle into our new life together.

Thank you to Mike Staff Productions, our lovely photographer and videographer, and Laura Smallridge, who provided our photobooth, for the lovely memories!

Wedding Video by Mike Staff Productions

LIFE: Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties

This weekend, Eddie and I had our bachelor and (2nd) bachelorette party. It’s our last hoorah before becoming husband and wife, and we made sure to spend it with important people in our lives.

If you recall, I had a bachelorette party with my friends and family last month where we went to Painting with a Twist, played games at my house, and opened up some adult gifts. However, I have a tradition with two of my closest friends (and Matron’s of Honor) where the three of us spend a day together. Brianna was the first to be spoiled, followed after by Nancy the next year. Now, another year later, it was my turn to have them treat me to a surprise day.

Instead of pole dancing lessons or a spa day, the girls decided to treat me to an evening in of movies, home made pizza, and suggestively shaped pancakes. We started off the evening opening up my gifts, which included some lingerie that Eddie had given his input on. He even showed up for a moment to give me gifts that he had purchased at Motor City Comic Con, including a signed autograph of Tom Welling from Lucifer (our favorite show – RIP), some Devilman Crybaby buttons, and a POP figure of Darkwing Duck, Kuzco, and Reptar.

lucifer

After he left, us girls made some phallic pizzas with pepperoni and pineapple – a combination I love and never knew they enjoyed either. We had our pizza and watched out traditional bachelorette movie – Magic Mike XXL. However, we had to pause to walk down to the local ice cream shop to get some dole whip. By that time, it was late and we went to bed, but we were sure to celebrate in the morning with some sprinkle pancakes.

In the meantime, Eddie was spending time with his groomsmen. The boys went out to a game-themed escape room and were able to escape with just a few minutes. Eddie told me that they wouldn’t have made it out in time if they hadn’t earned bonus time by solving puzzles in the lobby. He didn’t tell me much of the details, but from what it sounds like, they had a great time!

escape

Afterwards, they decided to go see Deadpool 2, then went back to the house to drink and hang out. The amount of alcohol we had in the fridge when I got home was astronomical, especially for someone who doesn’t drink. However, they were responsible and didn’t drink nearly enough to make a dent in what they brought.

Overall, it was a great way to celebrate the last few days of being “single” (at least on legal documents). Soon enough, we’ll become Mr. and Mrs. Bunch and I can’t wait!

LIFE: Meet Oxford!

A few weeks back, my friend’s father passed away. He left behind a five year old cat who desperately needed a home. Eddie and I offered to foster her until a home could be found – which ended up taking only a week. However, during that week, Eddie and I fell in love with having a pet in the house and were dying to have another.

Initially, we had made a promise to not look into adoption until after the wedding. We didn’t want to worry about having a cat-sitter during the honeymoon. But I couldn’t help myself from looking up pets on petfinder and finding the most precious kitten. We took the initiative to arrange a meeting and knew that he was the one.

Needless to say, we now have a new member in our household! Meet Oxford – named after the oxford comma, of course.

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He is an extremely rambunctious twelve week old kitten. All he wants to do all day is play with his hamburger, laser pointer, and feather. His favorite place in the house is underneath the rocking chair in the den, but he’s not afraid to leap up onto the bed or couch. He is very friendly and not at all shy, unlike my other two cats that live at my parents. I’m glad to know that I have a sociable and cuddly cat who will only grow more loving over the years.

The one thing I was only semi-prepared for was the amount of work it takes to care for him. He gets fed three times a day, constantly attacks our hands to play, and keeps us up all night wanting to cuddle. It’s like having a baby, but without the crying. However, I’m more than happy to get through the kitten phase if it means having a cat in our household for the next 20 years.

You can stay up to date on Oxford over at my Instagram.

LIFE: Hunchback of Notre Dame

My cousin Jake is currently in middle school, but he did so well in his school’s play of Alice in Wonderland, the high school invited him to take part in their rendition of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He was cast as one of the gargoyles in the bell tower, and had quite a few moments where he sang and spoke. I’d argue that he was one of the lead gargoyles, but maybe I’m biased since he’s my cousin.

The show overall was very well done, and I’m proud of the talents that these kids had. The students who played as Quasimodo, Esmerelda, Phebus, and Frollo had outstanding voices and acting skills. The supporting cast also had their moments to shine as they each had their own solo singing moments during certain songs. The set was minimal but well done, and the story kept true to the book. It was a very mature production, and it didn’t feel like a high school musical (no pun intended) at all.

I’m very excited to see what productions they put on next, and am happy to share some of the photos that I took of this show.

And yes, if you think that my cousin is familiar, you probably recognize him as the hurricane tortilla kid. You can check out his videos over at his youtube channel. He puts out a wide variety of content, including challenge videos, skits, and vlogs.

 

LIFE: Bridal Shower

This weekend, Eddie and I held our bridal shower. We’re both very blessed at the turnout of friends and family who were able to celebrate our upcoming wedding with us.

My aunt was kind enough to offer her house to us for the party, and decorate the basement with blue and orange balloons and streamers. My family cooked a huge buffet of Polish food in honor of my family heritage. We served golumpki (stuffed cabbage), sauerkraut and kielbasa, pierogis (both traditional and unique) and cheesy potatoes. We also has salad, pasta salad, and fried chicken for those who weren’t as inclined for the non-American meal options. Then of course we had our dessert table, where we had cupcakes in the shape of a wedding dress, butter tarts, and cookies.

As guests arrived, they were welcome to go to the bar to get a drink, guess how many Hershey kisses were in the jar, and set their gifts on the table to be opened later. Once everyone had taken their seats, we thanked them for coming and proceeded with lunch.

While everyone ate, Eddie and I revealed that there were already some winners in the crowd and told the guests to check under their seats. Twelve lucky people won free candles that were decorating the tables. We then revealed the winner of the kisses, which turned out to be my aunt who guessed it exactly – 212.

As everyone finished up, we went into the next game to see who knew us better. We asked questions such as “who takes longer showers” and “who is in control of the remote?” We actually had a tie of 11/12 correct answers, so we had to do a tie breaker with “who had the most pets growing up?” It seemed that everyone had a fun time with that game.

At the end of the party, it was time to open gifts. To keep everyone engaged, we let them play bingo by guessing what we would get. We took time to reach everyone’s card, unwrap every gift, and thank them individually. I must say, we were quite spoiled and blessed for everything that we had received.

Overall, it was a very successful party and it seems like everyone had fun! There were a couple of people who were unable to make it, and we keep getting random gifts delivered to our doorstep. We are very blessed during this time and can’t say thank you enough for the well wishes and kind thoughts.

Life: Being and Becoming Catholic

For those who don’t know, I’m Catholic. I’ve received the sacraments of baptism, communion, and confirmation. I go to church every Sunday and I try to pray as often as I can – especially when I see an accident or broken down car on the road. With that said, I am a firm believer of accepting others for who they are and not forcing my own beliefs. So, I don’t bring up my faith unless it’s the focal point of a conversation. However, I would like to share an important event that is happening this weekend for Eddie and I.

To prepare for our wedding, Eddie and I needed go to pre-marital counseling with our presiding priest. It’s a part of the Catholic wedding process, and one that I was looking forward to. A lot of the questions that we discussed were topics Eddie and I had had before, but we learned some things about each other and about our partnership that had never come to light in the past. It strengthened our relationship and made it clear how well we completed one another.

One of the questions that came up was how we were planning on raising our children. For me the answer was simple: they would be raised Catholic as I was. It was important for me to provide my children a faith foundation. Eddie agreed that having faith was importance, but found that he didn’t want his children growing up with opposing beliefs.

Eddie grew up in a family that wasn’t very religious. While his dad was considered baptist, his mom didn’t really have a set religion. Eddie became a non-denominational christian when he was in high school thanks to a past girlfriend’s influence. Eddie’s family didn’t focus on religion, and that’s okay.

I grew up Catholic thanks to my mom, who’s entire family is pretty devout. My mom and her brothers went to Catholic school, and so did a few of my cousins. Though I went to public school, I did have catechism every Monday through middle school and my faith has grown over time. My dad and his family weren’t very religious – to this day, I’m still not sure if my dad believes in anything. That’s okay, too.

So when the topic of kids came up, I was comfortable with having one parents who was Catholic and one who wasn’t. We both believed in God and Jesus, so it wasn’t that crazy of an idea. But Eddie realized that he didn’t want that for his kids.

Now, the Catholic church has some teachings we don’t agree with – and with how I was raised, we shouldn’t agree with everything. As Mom put it, “it’s important to question authority.” That includes God. Otherwise, we’d just be sheep. I think this revelation, as well as the idea of a future family, is what was what helped Eddie to decide to take the proverbial plunge into Catholicism.

So this year he went through the RCIA to begin his journey to joining the Catholic church. All of his teachings and preparation comes to a head this week as we prepare for Easter, the most holy day of the year. Palm Sunday we received our palms and had them blessed. On Monday we went to the Communal Penance to complete the sacrament of reconciliation. Tuesday I went to the Catholic store to buy a cross for our house and will have it blessed on Easter. Eddie went to Holy Thursday Mass and participated in the washing of the feet ceremony. On Good Friday we will take time during 12-3PM to go to church and do the stations of the cross and read the gospel. Then it will all come to a close on Easter Vigil, where I will be Eddie’s sponsor and witness as he receives his sacraments.

I am very honored to have been a part of this process. While I love Eddie regardless of his religion, it brings me great joy and comfort knowing that we share the same beliefs. I know that God has put us in each other’s path for a reason, and this time of year helps me recognize it even more.