Thursday, February 26, 2015

Boys and Boys & Girls and Girls

Yesterday, completely out of the blue, Bailey asked me "How come sometimes boys kiss boys and girls kiss girls?"

Now, in general, kissing in any way, shape, or form is completely disgusting to her.  Any time Scott and I kiss each other in front of her (even if it's just a quick peck on the lips on our way out the door) she rolls her eyes and says, "Ewww, gross!"  So when she asked me about boys kissing boys and girls kissing girls, I responded to her the same way I do when she asks why mommy and daddy kiss each other...because they love each other.

"But boys aren't supposed to kiss boys.  They're only supposed to kiss girls."

Oh, my dear girl...

My first thought when said that was I'm not ready for the toddler version of the sex talk, let alone when it comes to boys and boys or girls and girls.  But then I started to feel ashamed.  Of myself.  For categorizing kissing and sex as something that should be explained differently somehow when it comes to same-sex couples.

I know I'm waaaaay overthinking things kids are 4 and 2.  The ins and outs of sex aren't even a blip on their radar right now. And I know that Bailey's question was completely innocent.  But I also kind of wonder if maybe I haven't done a good enough job, as a parent, of showing her that boy-boy and girl-girl relationships are normal, too.  When you think about it, really, how often do young kids see those kinds of relationships portrayed in "their" types of media?  {I'm looking at you, Disney Jr. and Sprout.}  I can't think of a single kid's show that I know of that shows same sex parents or same sex couples as a normal thing.  All the movies we've seen over the years show the prince and princess getting married, or the king and queen living happily ever after.  Of course, my kid thinks that's the only "normal" kind of relationship out there. Where's the cartoon that shows Johnny's two mommies?  Or Suzy's two dads?  How come when we watch The Finger Family videos on youtube every single finger family consists of a mommy, a daddy, a brother, a sister, and a baby finger?  More importantly, why the hell am I watching those stupid videos?  I hate the Finger Family song.

To clarify, I am not gay.  I am Catholic.  I absolutely do not believe that homosexuals are destined to end up in hell or that anything they do is in any way, shape, or form wrong.  I just don't believe it.  I support gay rights and same sex marriage the same way that I support marriage between a man and a woman.  My brother-in-law is gay and, while we don't see them very often, I think his boyfriend is very nice and it makes me happy that they're happy.  I've had gay co-workers and friends over the years.  I don't think they're "gross" or in any way "less" than any other person, and I don't want my kids to think that way, either.  I'm all for normalizing these types of relationships and if, down the road, one or both of my kids comes to me and tells me that they're gay, then my hope for them will be the same as it is right now -- that they find someone who they love and who loves them, and that  they find happiness in life.  That's it.  I won't be sad for them, I won't be embarrassed by them, I won't look at them any differently.  I won't cringe or look away if they choose to (tastefully) show their affection in public.  And I'll support the hell out of them, always and no matter what.

So, I tried to explain to Bailey that it's perfectly normal for a boy to kiss a boy or for a girl to kiss a girl, and that it means that they love each other.  That girls can love girls and boys can love boys, and that sometimes they show their love with a kiss.  Thankfully for me, this answer seemed to satisfy her, and she tossed out this gem:

"Well, I'm not gonna kiss anybody til I'm married."

That's my girl.

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Friday, February 6, 2015

It's Been Awhile

I've been downright lazy about blogging the last few months.  Work has kept me busy, Scott's been working A LOT of overtime, and the kids are downright exhausting most days.  By the time I have a few minutes of peace to sit down and write, I'm just too tired to want to do it.'s a recap of what we've been up to the last few months.

We have an appointment next month to register Bailey for Kindergarten.  Whhaaaat?  How is my baby going off to Kindergarten already?  And more importantly, how am I old enough to have a school-aged child?  We've got all these forms to fill out, and she needs to see her pediatrician and her dentist before she can start (luckily, we've got appointments scheduled with both in the next few weeks, anyway), and there's a readiness exam she has to take and orientation in August.  My mind is in a constant tailspin of worry already, and she doesn't even start for 6 more months.  I keep pushing it to the back of my mind, but it keeps annoyingly nudging itself forward.  God, I hope I'm not that mom who cries on the first day of school.  {Spoiler alert-- I already know I'm going to be}.

Bailey has taken her fashionista cred to new and insane levels.  She wore a bathing suit yesterday.  A bathing suit.  It's February, and the high was 23 degrees.  I couldn't convince her to wear anything else and we spent the day at home, so far be it from me to strike down her little diva spirit.  She's still obsessed with dresses and picking out her own outfits, and a "normal" day is one where she's changed her clothes at least twice.  She got this book for Christmas that shows her me how to do different hairstyles based on characters from Frozen.  I suck at just about all of the styles, but she still keeps asking me to do them.  I'm the little engine that could, except that I can't.  

Second outfit of the morning...

She put together this ensemble completely on her own

The only hair style in the 89 page book that I can do with any sort of ease

She still loves to sing and wear makeup, and she's obsessed with babies.  She makes up these crazy little stories and acts them out with her Barbie dolls, and she's got a self-proclaimed crush on not one but two boys right now.  God help us all when she's a teenager.  She's so freakin' amazing, though.  

We moved Gerry to a toddler bed after he climbed out of his crib for the third time.  Three sleepless nights later, we switched him back to his crib.  It was the longest and most nightmarish three nights of my life.   G has always been our great sleeper.  Aside from the times he's been sick, he's never gone to bed with any difficulty, and I've LOVED it.  Once he realized that he could just climb out of the toddler bed, though, it was all he did.   I'd put him down for a nap or to bed for the night and then have to wait outside his bedroom door because it was inevitable that he'd climb right out of bed and come running out into the hallway.  He woke us up anywhere between 2 and 5am for three nights in a row.  He'd come running into our bedroom, all smiles, yelling "Hi, mommy!  I awake!"  And then he'd climb up into our bed and want to hang out for the rest of the night.  And, just like that, our wonderful sleeper was no more.  It was the longest few nights of my life.  My breaking point was night three, when I found him in Bailey's room at 3:15am, jumping on her bed and playing with her Barbie dolls.  I ran to Facebook to see if any of my mom friends could commiserate and, lo and behold, a friend of mine had a simple thought that had never even entered my mind.  Have you turned his crib around so that the shorter rail is against the wall?  I read that and it was like a thousand light bulbs went flashing over my had that never occurred to me?  So there we were, at 3:30 in the morning, turning his crib back around so that the higher rail (the one he can't climb over) was facing out.  When we put him back to bed that night/morning, it was like all the stress of the last few nights {stress that I hadn't even realized I was feeling} just melted away.  And I had my great sleeper back.  I'm thinking of keeping in a crib until he goes off to high school...

Gerry is a giant ball of non-stop motion and energy.  Not that this is any different from the past two years, but it somehow seems like he's amped it up the last few months.  I never know what I'm going to find when I walk into a room at any given time.  He goes from climbing on chairs to get to my coffee and stack my k-cups, to pulling all the cushions off the couch and jumping all over them, to chasing the dog around the house, to pouring water from the bathroom sink to the bathroom floor to the carpeted hallway to tearing up the roll of toilet paper and leaving trails of it all over the bathroom--all in the span of a few minutes.  It's exhausting!  
A wallet, Cheetos, and a sippy cup tossed into the bathtub

But then there are these little moments of incredible sweetness when he stops what he's doing, seeks me out, and runs into my lap yelling, "I love you, mommy!"  He follows it up with a hug and kiss, and then he's off to destroy some other part of the house.  

Scott's sports season is finally winding down.  And not a moment too soon.  It'll be nice to have him home more often, and I know he'll be glad to be home and not clocking a game.  We miss him.  

So that's that.  Not a whole lot has been going on, but I'm sure things will pick up in the next few months as tee ball season starts and school gets closer.  Until then, I'm enjoying the relative peace around here...and I use that term very, very lightly.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Frosty VoxBox Review

Thanks to Influenster, I received another VoxBox* in the mail...more than a month ago.  Life has been SO BUSY lately, and I just haven't had much time to come here and update things, but I want to share and review the awesomeness of this VoxBox with all of you.  Because it really was an awesome box, and just about all of the products that came in here were full-sized!

Here's what came in the Frosty VoxBox:

  • Fruit Vines Bites Strawberry
  • Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
  • Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
  • Eco Tools Hairbrush
  • Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea
  • McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme
  • Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Advanced
  • NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color

First up for review:  Fruit Vines!  My VoxBox came with the strawberry flavored bites and they were delicious.  I'm a big fan of Red Vines, so I was excited to see these in my box!  The bites are soft and chewy, and they come in two flavors--strawberry and cherry.  These are low-fat and made with no preservatives and I can't tell you how much I enjoyed them.  So much that I went out later on and bought a few more packs from Target.  These are definitely a chewy snack that doesn't disappoint, and I highly recommend them!

Rimmel is a brand that I've never tried before.  Not because I have something against the company, but simply because when it comes to makeup I've got my tried and true favorites and generally don't deviate from those.  This VoxBox came at just the right time because my "regular" eyeliner was ridiculously low and I'd been using a tiny little nub of a liner for quite awhile.  So, of course, the first thing I tried from this box (besides the obviously already ripped open bag of Fruit Vines Bites pictured above) was the Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Eyeliner.  I have blue eyes and usually wear a dark brown eyeliner...the Scandaleyes eyeliner I got was black.  I LOVED how smoothly the liner went on.  The color was much darker than what I'm used to, so I probably won't wear it very often, but I WILL go out and buy Rimmel Scandaleyes in dark brown, a color that I feel comfortable wearing often.  This particular liner went on so smoothly that there was very little effort on my part, and I love that.  Normally, I'm dragging my eyelid to the side with one hand and trying to {not-so} effortlessly apply the liner with my other, which always drags somewhat painfully on my lid.  It's a process, people.  But Rimmel Scandaleyes made the process a whole lot easier, and I definitely recommend it.

Just ignore the fact that I badly needed my eyebrows done when I took this picture

I also got this Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover.  As far as makeup removers go, this one was adequate but not great.  It wasn't oily and I liked that the bottle had a squeeze-top as opposed to just the large opening (less mess for me), but it didn't actually remove my eye makeup as well as I'd expected.  My drug store brand makeup remover took it all off more easily and cost a little less than the name brand Rimmel remover.  If you've got a few extra bucks, I'd stick with the eye makeup remover you love and spend the extra cash on the Scandaleyes Eyeliner instead.

On to lips!  Bailey (my 4 year old daughter) is constantly--constantly-- taking my lip gloss and lipstick.  I don't wear it as often as I like, but I'm always on the lookout for more options and colors to fit my fair skin so I was pretty pumped to see this NYC Expert Last Lip Color in my Frosty VoxBox.  I'll be perfectly honest here--when I first saw the color, Sugar Plum, I thought for sure that it was going to be too dark and weird looking for my pale skin.  I tend to stick to pale pinks and clear glosses and this color looked waaaaay darker than I'm used to.  But I gave it a shot on date night with my husband and I actually liked it a lot!  It didn't go on nearly as darkly as I thought it would, and it looked quite nice after a quick blot .  In fact, the shine was so nice that I didn't even need to add clear gloss, and it lasted awhile.  Plus, it went on smoothly.  And the best part is that NYC brand is MUCH cheaper than a lot of the other makeup brands.  I highly recommend the brand AND the color, and I'll be trying out different colors from the NYC line, too!

And because I'm not one to pass up the opportunity for a selfie when I've actually put on makeup and left my hair down, here's one with the Rimmel Scandaleyes Eyeliner and NYC Lip Color that came in my VoxBox.

Moving my Eco Tools Hairbrush.  The bristles of this brush are synthetic boar's hair-like and the concept behind the unique bristle pattern is to distribute your hair's natural moisturizers and leave it with a sleek, lustrous shine.  I'm going to be honest, and I hate to say this, but I didn't love this product.  Quite possibly, this is completely due to user error on my part, but I found the brush to be more difficult than anything and I gave up and switched back to my Conair before I'd even finished.  I first used the Eco Tools Hairbrush after showering when my hair was completely wet.  I towel-dried it a bit but found that the brush didn't move as deeply through my wet hair as a normal bristled brush does.  The top layer of my hair was brushed smoothly, but underneath was still somewhat of a tangled mess after the shower.  I tried to comb my hair again after I'd dried it, but came away with the same feeling of not being able to brush clear to the scalp and also with staticky hair.  Again, this could be an error on my part and, for $10.99 I think it's worth giving the brush a try.  I have thick, fairly dry hair and this could be part of the reason why I felt like it didn't really work for me.  I'd definitely like to try the styling brush in the Eco Tools line, though.

The next product I received in my VoxBox was this Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum.  This particular skin care product got great reviews online.  The serum is supposed to help protect skin from future signs of aging and keep it looking younger longer.  Admittedly, I'm not great with my skin care routine.  I don't use any "magic" creams, but I do wash my face with cleanser and use lotion regularly.  I always wear sunscreen, and have only worn makeup rarely in the last 4 years or so.  I turned 30 over the summer, and don't think my skin is showing many signs of aging (and, guys, for real--if I'm looking old, LET ME KNOW!), so I didn't really see much of a difference in my skin when using this product.  BUT, I also don't think it hurts to use it and I like the thought of it helping to prevent future signs of aging.  Overall, I recommend this one.

Moving on from face and hair to the kitchen...dun dun dun!  Those of you who know me know that I am not so great in the kitchen.  If it weren't for Scott, the kids and I would live on sandwiches and microwaved dinners, so I didn't have high hopes for the McCormick Gourmet Thyme that came in the VoxBox.  I don't cook often and when I do I'm not very creative.  But I sprinkled some of this on a chicken breast for lunch one day...and it was delicious!  I'm not a fan of plain chicken breast but we're trying to eat healthier over here.  A tiny sprinkle of the thyme gave my plain chicken breast a hint of flavor without being overpowering , and I really enjoyed it.  Luckily for all of us, Scott is much more creative in the kitchen than I am, so I'm sure he'll come up with a million and one recipes to try the McCormick Thyme in...and I'm looking forward to those!  Overall, I recommend this product!

And last (but certainly not least), Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea.  As luck would have it, I had a miserable cold the day this VoxBox arrived.  I'm a coffee junkie but when I'm feeling under the weather I prefer tea at night.  So, of course, it would make sense that the one time I wanted tea I didn't have any in the house.  Until my VoxBox arrived.  I'm not a fan of green tea.  Like, at all.  And, truthfully, I didn't think I'd be a fan of the Celestial Seasonings Green Tea either.  But desperate {sick} times call for desperate measures, so I ripped open the packet and steeped that green tea like it was my job.  And it wasn't half bad.  I added a little bit of sweet and low and sipped it, and it was pretty good.  If I'd had regular tea in the house there's a 99% chance that I never would have opened the Celestial Seasonings, but I'm glad that I did.  I wouldn't drink this all the time, and I still prefer my plain Lipton when I'm sick, but this particular tea was good in its own way, and I liked the hint of mint it had...definitely nice for winter and a change of pace from all the hot chocolate and peppermint mochas I normally consume during that time.  Overall, I recommend this product.  I wouldn't buy it in bulk but it's nice to have just in case.  And if you're a tea drinker and you like green tea, then go for it!

So, there's my Frosty VoxBox review.  I really liked this one and will definitely be purchasing more of some of the products I received.  If you'd like to become an Influenster and receive your own VoxBox for free, comment with your email address and I'll send you an invite.  You won't be disappointed!

* I received all of these products for free from Influenster for testing purposes.*

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday, Gerry!

It's been more than two months since my last post...yikes!  Life has been crazy busy and I just haven't had the time or the inclination to sit down and write a proper post.  So what better way to kick off a new year of the blog than by wishing my favorite little man a happy 2nd birthday?

Gerry is, in a word, incredible.  He's mischievous and funny and sweet and cute as hell, and I'm so lucky to have the pleasure of being his mother.  Life, for him, is just one big opportunity.  He's learning and discovering new things every day, is totally a go with the flow kind of kid, and he laughs at everything.  If more people were like him the world would be a much better and happier place.

I'm going to keep this short, otherwise I'll have a mile-long sappy and sentimental post.  So I'm just going to say this:

Happy happy happy birthday, Gerry!  I'm so thankful for you and I love watching you grow every day.  I love you to the moon and back, buddy!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Day We Met {From the Husband's Perspective}

Last week, I wrote this post about the first time Scott and I met.  When I first started thinking about the post {weeks ago}, I'd asked Scott to write his own little blurb about how we met from HIS point of view.  To be honest, I was expecting a quick 2-3 sentence summary along the lines of  "I saw her and thought she was hot and I asked her out", so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened an email from him that contained an entire page about that day in his mind. 

The editor in me couldn't help but jump in a few places but, other than a quick spelling adjustment and a sentence structure check, this is all Scott. 

When we met: My wife can tell you that I am definitely not good with dates, so I will refrain from trying to remember the year. The details I do remember are the ones that I cherish. It was a cold breezy day in October. I was repeating my School and Society class for the second time around. For the most part, the class was a breeze. I remember trying to set up a lunch date with another girl in that class who, at that time, I wasn’t sure had a boyfriend. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t the girl who I had been talking with in class who really caught my attention, but the girl who was following behind me on my way back to the dorms.

 As a gentleman would, I opened the door and asked how she did on our test. I know--great pick up line. We talked while we walked all the way back to the dorm. At that moment I was torn. I had felt a strong connection with Jess and wanted to continue the conversation by taking her to lunch. Which, at West Chester, meant the side caf. So I vowed that I would go and sit through the lunch that I had already planned, with full intentions of simply smiling and nodding at everything my lunch date had to say because I was so taken by Jess. As it was, fate wasn't far off-- as I was walking to lunch with my date, there was Jess. At that moment, which can only be described as an “OH S***” moment, I realized even more that I wanted to be going to lunch with her. I had only talked to Jess for five minutes and in those five minutes I knew that there was nowhere else that I wanted to be and no one else that I wanted to be with.

I remember feeling like I had blown an opportunity, that there was no way Jess was going to talk with me again. At that moment, I knew that she was the one. It only took one look and a five minute walk to convince me that this girl was the rest of my life. Needless to say, the lunch date was like a sand trap. The girl that I had been walking with continuously talked about her boyfriend at home. As she continued to talk, I continued to hear "Blah blahblahblah", and I could only think of Jess. The fact that she had seen me obviously walking to lunch with this girl and the fact that I couldn't stop thinking about her, pushed me to stop down to her room later that day to ask her about some answers for a homework assignment. The reality of the moment was that I just wanted to get a glimpse of her, to see if I still had a chance. At that moment, I wasn’t sure. She had said that she hadn't started the assignment, but that when she started working on it, she would stop down to help me out. I can tell you that I nervously waited to see if she would ever stop down. I knew how to do the homework; it was just a way for me to break the ice. I didn’t have to wait long.  Within an hour or two, she had stopped down with the assignment completed. At that moment, I knew I had met someone special, even in spite of my half clothed roommate, who jokingly asked if she had come to see him.

We've had many great times since that day. I am glad that I had failed that particular class the first time around with a C-, I am glad that I ran into her on the way back from class, but more importantly, I am so very lucky that she said yes on that day and yes on October 24th, 2009. Thank you for the life we have built together.


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Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks our fifth anniversary, and it's been 5 years of nothing but rainbows and unicorns and chocolate and wedded bliss.

Just kidding.  We have two kids--there's been stress and worry and craziness, and unicorns don't exist.  But I wouldn't trade the last 5 years for anything in the world.

You know that part in your vows that says 'in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, 'til death do you part'?  That's some pretty heavy stuff, and I don't think a lot of couples take it as seriously as they should when they get married.  On the day of our wedding, I knew we were never going to be rich.  Scott is a teacher and I worked in was a safe bet that we'd never be "rolling in it".  I knew we'd have good moments and bad ones.  I knew it would take some adjusting to our new husband and wife roles.  I knew that we were going to have struggles.  I knew that we'd have arguments and disagreements and that we'd be angry with each other sometimes.  I knew all of this as surely as I know my own name, and yet I wouldn't have changed a thing.  Because there's no one else in this world that I'd rather struggle and argue and disagree with.  And because I knew that there were going to be so many good and happy moments in our marriage, and there's no one else in this world that I'd rather celebrate those times with.

So, that's what we've been up to these last 5 years.  In between the disagreements and the struggles, we laughed.  We loved.  We had two of the most beautiful children on earth.  We bought a house and made it our own.  We spent time with friends and family.  Celebrated birthdays and holidays.  Marveled at our children's first steps and first words.  Shared discreet laughs at their expense.  Teared up when they learned something new and wonderful.  Survived health issues.  Comforted each other.  Praised each other.  

It hasn't always been easy.  In the monotony of the day-to-day, it can be far too easy to focus solely on myself and on how I'm feeling and thinking, and completely forget that there's another person who's opinion matters.  There've been many nights where we've fallen into bed, exhausted after a long day of work and an even longer evening with the kids, and offered up a quick, perfunctory "g'night" before falling asleep only to wake up in the morning and do it all over again.  In those seemingly endless days, that cycle of work-home-kids-sleep, it's easy to forget who we were before.  In the early days of our marriage when it was just the two of us.  But then we'll get a few minutes after Gerry has gone to bed to snuggle up together on the couch and watch one of our favorite shows.  Or Scott will sneak up on me in the kitchen while I'm washing dishes and kiss me.  Or we'll hold hands while walking the mall with the kids.  And in those moments we find ourselves and each other all over again. 

I blinked, and five years and a lifetime went by. 

I love my husband more today than on the day we got married.  I watch him with our kids and I can't imagine life any other way.  Through the stress and the struggles, the tears and the laughter, it's always been him.  Us.  And I'm so lucky that I get to be his wife. 

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

I Do... {The Wedding}

Tomorrow is our anniversary, so I thought I'd post about our wedding today.  Because, like most weddings, ours was magical and wonderful, and I'd do it all over again if given half a chance.

We got married on October 24, 2009 and the days leading up to the wedding were pretty uneventful.  Scott and I had just found out that I was pregnant and I was doing my best to stay as calm and stress-free as possible.  All the major details were ironed out, our honeymoon was booked, and the only thing left to do was show up at the church and "get it done". 

Our rehearsal and dinner went really well {with the exception of one of my bridesmaids dropping the ivory part of her dress in a mud puddle...props to my mom for saving what NONE of us thought could be salvaged and cleaned} and, afterwards, Scott and his groomsmen went back to our house to do whatever it is they did and my bridesmaids and I headed back to my parents' house for the night.  The girls and I got set up and ready for bed, and I remember being so excited and so nervous for the next day.  We woke up the next morning, and my parents had donuts and coffee ready for all of us.  I munched on a donut and drank copious amounts of coffee {because every bride should have the caffeine shakes on her wedding day} while waiting for my makeup artist to arrive.  The plan was for everyone to have their makeup done at the house, then head over to the salon to get our hair done.  Long story short, the makeup artist got lost, was absurdly late, and we ended up rushing to the salon to have our hair done and then rushing like a bunch of madwomen back to the house to get our makeup done before we had to leave for the church.  Because this is me we're talking about and because I'm rarely never on time for anything, the limo ended up waiting for me to finish getting dressed and grabbing a few last-minute photos with my parents and my sister.

My parents

I remember feeling so flustered because I was running late like always and I'd been determined to be on time for my wedding day.  My grandmother, my sister, my mom and I were planted in my parents' bedroom with the photographer so he could capture a few photos of me getting ready while my bridesmaids and flower girl came in and out of the room getting ready.  My grandmother was spraying the hell out of my hair and my mom and sister were both cinching up my dress to within an inch of it's life, and I distinctly remember looking in the mirror and thinking, Oh my God, this is really happening.

The photographer insisted on a few more pictures at home and, honestly, I was totally okay with it.  It was raining outside and I had no desire to try and stuff my beautiful white dress in the limo without dragging it through a puddle or sliding all over the place in my heels.
My grandparents

My {pregnant} sister and me

 We all made it successfully into the limo without incident, rain, heels and all.  The church was about a 10 minute drive from my parents house and I spent the entire ride trying to calm the butterflies in my stomach.  We'd been together for 7 years by this time and had spent the last 2 planning this wedding, but I still couldn't believe that Scott and I were actually getting married.  I kept trying to picture him standing on the altar in his tux, but I just couldn't.  I worried about tripping on my way down the aisle, or passing out because, good lord, my dress was tied tight and heavy, and I was suddenly feeling really hot and shaky and definitely regretting the amount of coffee I'd consumed that morning.  And then we were pulling up to the church and everyone was jumping out of the limo and running for cover from the rain and it was go time.

 My bridesmaids and I were piled into the vestibule of the church, waiting for our cue to go.  I watched them walk down the aisle one by one, and for a minute I was just consumed with nerves.  I honestly didn't think I'd make it down the aisle without passing out and started wondering if there was any way at all I could just stay there in that vestibule, without anyone watching me, until the ceremony was over.  And then my last bridesmaid started down the aisle and I got a glimpse of Scott waiting for me at the altar and, just like that, the nerves were gone.  I was getting married.  To my best friend.  My favorite person.  And he looked so handsome and so happy standing up there.  And I just wanted to be up there next to him, smiling at him and exchanging our vows and being called husband and wife.  Pachelbel's Canon in D started playing and I just remember  looking at my dad and saying, "God, I hope I don't trip.  Whatever you do, don't let me fall", and then I took a deep breath and we started walking.

The trip from my end of the aisle to the altar took all of, maybe, 20 seconds.  But in those 20 seconds time stood still for me and our entire relationship played out in my mind from the very beginning.  That very first day we met.  Those first fluttery does he like me? days.  Meeting each other's families.  Arguments and disagreements and making up.  Holidays.  Vacations.  All the drives back and forth to each other's houses after we'd moved out of the college dorms.  The stress of trying to keep a relationship going when we lived apart and were both student-teaching and trying to finish up our degrees while working part-time jobs and very rarely seeing each other.  The night I thought we were going to break up for good.  The day we graduated college with no jobs and no money and no idea what the hell we were supposed to do now.  The day we moved in together...and then a few weeks later when we lost power and our bathroom toilet exploded and we had to clean everything in the dark.  Kisses.  Hugs.  Promises made and sweet words spoken.  The night Scott proposed.  The months we spent planning our wedding--choosing our colors and flowers and cake and planning our honeymoon.  Tears.  Smiles.  Laughter.  The smile on Scott's face two weeks earlier when he found out he was going to be a father.  The previous night when he kissed me and told me he couldn't wait to marry me in the morning.  By the time I made it down that aisle the only thing I wanted to do was to marry that man.

 I don't even remember what the priest said or the psalms that were read.  I do remember saying my vows and putting Scott's ring on his finger.  I remember looking up at him and knowing that, even though we had no idea what was going to happen in the future and in spite of some of the things that happened in the past, we were going to be okay.  More than okay.  Even if we were dirt poor and living in a box on the street.

Before I knew it, the ceremony was over and Scott and I were making the trek back down the aisle hand in hand.  I remember looking up into the choir loft and seeing all of my preschoolers {who we'd invited to the church}smiling and waving at me.  And I was just so damn happy.

In between all that happiness, our limo left without us and my sister and brother got in a fight with the driver and Scott's aunt fell and whacked her arm at the buffet.  But in between all of that was more love and more joy than I ever could have imagined for my wedding day.  Scott was finally my husband and we were surrounded by our family and friends.  The food was great, the music was awesome, and the entire evening was fun.  More than that, we were ready to spend the rest of our lives together, corny as that sounds {and, believe me when I say that it's corny as hell}. 

I'm sure that every bride swears she'll never forget her wedding day, and I'm no exception.  It was one of the best days of my life, and one that I'd happily live over and over again.  Five years later, I still remember that day very clearly, and I'll never forget how happy I was.  I know it's not a lot of time to have passed but it sometimes feels like forever.  When we first got engaged, my mom kept asking Scott if he was "sure" that this is what he wanted to do and, back then, I was so angry that she was questioning him and us and our commitment.  But as we started planning the wedding, I realized that she was asking him that because marriage is such a big commitment.  It's not a "well, let's give it a shot and if it doesn't work out, there's always divorce" type of thing.  It's for life.  Forever.  My mom wanted to make sure that we were both prepared for the ups and the downs that come with married life...and there have been a lot.  But there's never been a day when I questioned our marriage or my husband, and I count my blessings every day.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Will You Marry Me? The Proposal

Spoiler Alert:  It took 5 years, but he finally put a ring on it, guys.

The proposal was everything I could have hoped for, and I can't wait for the day when Bailey or Gerry ask me about it.  Scott had surprised me with tickets to see a show and stay the night in a hotel in New York for Christmas that year {2007}.  I was thrilled...thrilled!  The date was December 22nd and we met up that morning with my sister and brother-in-law who were also going.  The plan was to take the bus to NYC so that we wouldn't have to worry about leaving our car anywhere...but, after spending a solid hour at the bus station and then being told that even though we had reservations we weren't guaranteed an actual seat on a bus and thus may never actually make it to the city, we ended up piling in the car and driving.  We made it there with just enough time to grab some dinner in the hotel restaurant before heading off to see Hairspray.

 We headed a few blocks away to get in {a ridiculously long} line to see the show, and I remember being so cold.  December in New York is absolutely beautiful...but freezing.  We enjoyed the show and got the obligatory {and over-priced} Hairspray souvenir cup, and then headed off to check out Rockefeller Center.  I'll admit this was my sole reason for wanting to come to New York in the winter.  The tree all lit up, the crazy crowds, the ice skaters...I love it all.  I mean, look how beautiful!

 So we head down to Radio City Music Hall and it was just breathtaking...and there were so many people.  My brother-in-law suggested we take a picture in front of the tree -- as close as we could get to it, anyway.  So we snapped a few pictures of him and my sister and then my sister tells us to stand there for our photo.  "Jess, stand in front of Scott.  Now, Scott,  put your arms around her...act like you like her!"   And I remember thinking, for God's sake, just take the damn picture....and then I felt Scott's arms around my waist and heard him say, "Look down".  And, because I hate having my picture taken and just wanted to be done, I plastered a smile on my face and told him "Shut up and smile."  Because I'm classy like that, and it's how I'd always pictured my proposal going...

Eventually, I got a clue looked down and saw the ring box in Scott's hands, and time froze.  For me, anyway.  There were a million and one thoughts running through my head, spanning the gamut from WTF is this? to No way! to This is really happening...

 I'm pretty sure I didn't even give him a chance to actually ask, Will you marry me?  I just dove right in with, "Is this for real?!"  We'd been dating for five years by this point and I'd thought he was going to propose when we'd gone to Aruba back in August.  He didn't, though he had the ring then, because he knew how much I loved New York at Christmastime and he wanted my proposal to be special.  And special it was.  But completely unexpected after Aruba.  I remember him taking my glove off and putting the ring on my finger and finally asking me to marry him.  I remember the huge crowd that was surrounding us at the time.  I remember gazing at that ring and being absolutely shocked that he had chosen a ring that was so perfect for me, and one that I would have chosen for myself had I been the one to pick it out.  It was beautiful and shiny and the diamond...oh, I loved it.

After calling my parents and my grandparents and, I think, Scott's parents, we finally walked back to our hotel, where there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us, compliments of my sister and brother-in-law.  We toasted and I stared at my ring some more and then we went to the bar down the street for more celebratory drinks.

I can neither confirm nor deny this, but I may have made it a point to get regular manicures for, like, a year leading up to the proposal.  Just in case. 

The next day was Sunday {family dinner day}, and my family and Scott's were all at my parents' house when we got home.  There were congratulations all around, and my mom gave me a gift bag full of bridal magazines, and I think I came back to Earth sometime that night.  Over the next few days, we picked a date and told all of our friends, and I just remember being so happy.  I wish I could better put into words exactly how I was feeling at the time, but I can't.  But you better believe it's a day I'll never forget.  The drive, the show, the actual proposal...I couldn't have picture it any more perfectly. 

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Moment I Knew He Was "The One"

Ready for more mushy love stuff?  Drink it in now, you guys, because it'll probably be another year before I give you this much mush!

I read this article a few weeks ago and actually saved it to my computer to read again later because it was that good and I loved it that much.  The article is titled "10 Husbands Share The Moment They Knew They Wanted To Marry Her" and I loved every word of it.  It's not often you hear lovely anecdotes like these from the man's perspective, and most of them were incredibly sweet.  So, of course, it got me thinking about Scott and me and "the moment" I knew he was the one.  And, honestly?  There wasn't one.

Because there were so many little moments where I just knew that he was it.   

  • Like after our first date.  We doubled with my sister and {now} brother-in-law, and went to a pizza place {Vito's} and then a movie {The Ring}.  During dinner, he made a teeny dig at me about my height and, at first, I didn't know whether to laugh or to run in the opposite direction and call it a night.  I chose to laugh and ended up being grateful to him for "breaking the ice".  In the end, I was way more comfortable after that than I would have been had our date been more formal and overly-pleasant.
  • When he told me he fell for me the day we met.   If you read my last post, you know that I most definitely did not look my best on that day.  I woke up late for class and ran out of my room with no makeup on, hair in a messy ponytail, dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie, with a handful of tic tacs shoved down my throat in lieu of brushing my teeth that morning.  To this day, Scott tells me that was the day he fell for me and that I looked beautiful to him, messy hair, sweats, and all.  Any man who spends your entire relationship telling you that you're gorgeous without makeup and looking, quite possibly, your worst is nothing short of a keeper. 
  • All the times he brought me coffee.  Back when we were in college, he used to wake up at what {to me} felt like the crack of dawn to go workout with his friend and roommate.  They'd leave and I would go back to sleep and wake up a couple hours later to the sweet smells of coffee and oatmeal.  Every time.  It was so wonderful to know that he was thinking about me...and, I'm not gonna lie, the coffee was a damn good bonus.
  • When he met my parents for the first time.   I'd only had one serious boyfriend before Scott and, needless to say, that boyfriend had not won my family's hearts {I can't be certain, but I think it's a safe bet that at least one of my parents did a happy dance the day we broke up}.  So I was ridiculously nervous for Scott to meet them.  I tried to prep him beforehand:   "My dad isn't much of a talker, so don't be bummed if he doesn't speak to you much.  Or, like, at all." and  "My mom can be kind of overbearing.  She's got good intentions, but she's going to be hard on you.  And she's a little bit scary."  I was entirely convinced that they were going to offend him in some way and he was going to realize that I was really not worth all the trouble, and run for the hills.  So, the day he met my parents, when he called my mom "Mom" immediately and engaged my dad in conversation about God-knows-what-because-Scott-is-happy-talk-about-anything-with-anyone, I was shocked/thrilled/convinced it was a fluke.  And then when he kept coming back and actually spending time with my family rather than running to the basement to avoid them like some other boy had always done, I knew he was it.
  • After our first "real" kiss.  Not the quick "I'm on my way out the door" little pecks, but our first honest-to-God kiss.  Oh, that kiss was magic.  Romance and fireworks and everything you could want in a first kiss.  He had me right then and there.
  • When I met his parents for the first time.  I was so incredibly nervous.  Will they like me?  Will they hate me?  Will they pull him aside later and tell him to do better?  The minute I walked through their front door, though, I was hooked.  They were sweet and funny and you could just tell by looking at them how much they loved each other and enjoyed each other's company.  From that very first day, they invited me into their family and have been nothing but wonderful to me, and I'm so blessed to have them in my life.
  • When his best friend told him I wasn't good enough.  Scott made a big deal out of me meeting his best friend, and had planned a nice double date with his friend and his friend's girlfriend.  They'd grown up together and Scott was so excited for me to meet him and I wanted so badly to make a good impression.  We met up and, social awkwardness aside, I thought it went pretty well.  I'm quiet by nature, but I took part in conversation and was polite, and I felt pretty good about everything by the time we left the restaurant that evening.  But the next day, Scott's friend told him that he didn't think I was good enough for him...that Scott had loved his last girlfriend more than he did me, that she {the last girlfriend} was a better match for him, and that he didn't think we would last.  Most people would have listened to their friend and dropped me like a bad habit.  Hell, I'd have dropped a significant other like a bad habit if my best friend didn't like them.  But Scott didn't.  He told his friend that he was wrong, that I was a great girl and that he loved me.  Twelve years later, we're coming up on our 5th wedding anniversary and have two beautiful kids.  Scott has lost touch with this particular "friend" {not because of me...I feel like it's important to note this} and they haven't seen each other in years.  From that very first day, he knew he wanted me and that we had something, and he didn't just let it all go because of his friend's opinion.  I didn't find out that any of this had happened until a few months down the road.  But when I did, when I realized that he was, in essence, sacrificing a friendship for our relationship?  I knew he was it
  •  Those first few nights we fell asleep together.  I'm talking way back at the beginning of our relationship.  I spent most nights in Scott's room {because college}and those teeny little dorm beds didn't leave much room for stretching out.  So we snuggled up nice and close, and I will never forget that first night.   I remember being wrapped up in his arms, all cozy and comfortable, and just as I closed my eyes he whispered in my ear that I was beautiful and that he loved me...I fell asleep listening to those words and I don't think I've ever had such a good night's rest.  The next night he sang a song {ridiculously off-key, but it's the thought that counts and no song has ever sounded sweeter}.  The night after that it was more talking.  Being with someone who was so comfortable talking and sharing his feelings and singing softly to me was brand new and surprising to me.  That first night I was pleasantly surprised.  By night two, I was downright giddy with happiness.  By night three, I was a goner. 
  • After our first fight.  This was our stupidest fight to date--we'd been dating for just a few weeks when I went on a trip with a few friends to visit some of our other friends from high school at Penn State.  The trip had been planned before I'd even met Scott and I was really looking forward to it.  Scott didn't want me to go because I'd be traveling with two friends of mine who were...{gasp!}...guys, and we'd be gone the entire day.  I didn't care that he didn't want me to go because I'd already had the trip planned, I was excited about it, and who the hell was he to tell me I couldn't go, right?  So I went, and I had a blast, and I didn't get back to our dorm until very, very late that night.  Scott had had the whole day to stew in his annoyance, which had turned into anger, and he was good and worked up by the time I got back.  And so we fought.  And it was dumb, and we both ended up angry, and I stormed off to my own dorm room to think angry thoughts about him.  And then a little while later there was a knock on my door and there he was.  And the first words out of his mouth were "I'm sorry".  Honest.  Sincere.  And I melted.  No one had ever apologized to me before.  Ever.  I wasn't expecting it.  Truthfully, I'd expected never to see him again because I'm dramatic and self-destructive like that.  But there he was, apologizing, and looking all handsome and sexy without meaning to.  And that quiet and genuine apology just did me in.  It was our first fight, but not our last and, to his credit, Scott is incredibly good at apologizing when he's wrong.  And sometimes even when he's not wrong.  He's better at apologies than I am.  Much better.  And after that very first apology, I knew that just about any other fight we had {and I knew there'd be others} would end okay.  And I knew that there wasn't anyone else I'd rather argue with.  He was it
  • The year he brought New York to me.  I've always loved New York and had told him him how much I loved it at Christmas time.  One of our first few years together, he built me New York for Christmas.  Yes, built it.  For me.  He came over to exchange Christmas presents, and he walked in the front door lugging this giant box covered with a blanket and I thought, Oh God...what is that?!  And then he took that blanket off and there was a miniature New York, complete with snow and a Christmas tree and little shops all lit up and people walking around and ice skating, and a promise ring in a small box nestled in the snow.  He'd spent I-don't-know-how-long building it for me and he was so proud of himself {"I used a saw!"}, and it was absolutely perfect.  And I knew, yet again, after putting so much work and effort into something for me, that he was the one.  I kept that New York scene for years, right up until we moved out of our parents' houses and into a home of our own and Scott told me that it was time to let it go.  
  • That time I got stupid drunk and accidentally blew him off.  We'd had plans one night to grab a pizza and hang out in Scott's dorm room with a friend who was visiting.  Before our friend got there, Scott and I were hanging out in my room {something that didn't happen often} and drinking Mike's Hard Lemonade with my roommate and her boyfriend.  At one point, Scott looked at his watch and said that it was almost time for our friend to arrive, so I told him to head over to his room and come back and get me when our friend got there.  And then I proceeded to {accidentally} get ludicrously drunk.  On Mike's Hard Lemonade...because, again, college.  I don't remember the rest of that night, other than a few little snippets here and there.  I remember Scott coming back to get me and me telling him I wanted to finish my drink and that I'd be down in a little while.  I don't remember finishing my drink and I don't remember how I got there, but I do remember making it to Scott's room, where I spent the rest of the night alternating between throwing up in a trash can while he held my hair back and passing out.  The next morning I woke up to a horrible hangover and an understandably pissed off boyfriend.  And he had every right to be pissed off.  Regardless of the fact that I didn't mean to, I'd blown him off the night before and ruined our plans.  I was an asshole.  But, still, he took care of me that day.  I spent the entire morning recovering in bed, and he popped in and out to check on me between his classes.  He brought me soup and coffee when my stomach could handle it and joked about the fact that I literally could not remember getting to his room or keeping him up the entire night while I vomited every few minutes. I didn't even remember seeing our friend.  Had the situation been reversed, there's no doubt in my mind that I'd have stayed angry for days and just let him wallow in his hungover misery.  But Scott is a better person than I am.  Once the overwhelming feeling of nausea and wishes for a swift death had subsided, it hit me good and hard.  I had a good guy.  A great guy.  And I'd be an idiot to let him go.  He was it.  
  • When he planned an amazing birthday for me.  Most of my birthdays have been wonderful, but my 22nd will always stand out.  We'd been dating for almost 4 years by that point and, if I remember correctly, I'd had these grand ideas that turning 21 the year before would magically turn me into some cool and sophisticated chick and, when that obviously didn't happen, I was crushed.  So, when my 22nd birthday rolled around, I wasn't expecting much.  I'm a summer birthday, and it usually falls right around the time that my family goes to the beach for vacation, something I look forward to all year long.  That year, Scott kept bugging me to stay home the Saturday that everyone else left and I remember being so annoyed about it, but I stayed back.  And was so, so glad that I did.  Early that afternoon, he told me to hop in the car for the first part of my birthday present, and wouldn't tell me where we were going until we pulled up in front of a spa.  He'd set everything up for me to get a massage and a manicure and pedicure, and told me to relax and enjoy myself while he went home to cook me a birthday dinner, and that he'd be back in a few hours to pick me up.  He'd set everything up ahead of time so that everyone working there knew it was my birthday and that this had been a surprise, so everyone kept wishing me happy birthday and offering me coffee and champagne, and I had a truly relaxing and fabulous time.  He was waiting for me when I was all finished and when we walked in my parents' front door, the house smelled amazing.  He'd baked a cake and cooked my favorite dinner and had everything set up on the back porch so that we could have dinner outside by  candlelight.  It was the most perfect meal I've ever had and I couldn't believe how much effort he'd put into making the day special for me.  It was truly incredible.
  • Every single day of every single year since I met him

I don't say it enough, but I married an incredible man.  To this day, I don't know how I got so lucky but I'm so thankful that I did.  He's good to me and he loves me and there has never been a day where I doubted that he was the one for me.  At the beginning of our relationship, I held back.  A lot.  I'd been recently dumped and, in the way that only an overly dramatic and angsty teenager could, I felt like I wasn't good enough and that no one else would ever love me again.  And then Scott came along, and he was all lovey dovey and sweet from the get-go, and for the longest time I refused to give in to it or to him.  But when I fell?  Oh man, I fell so hard.  And I've never looked back.  I love him more every day and there is no one --no one-- that I would rather stumble, walk, and find my way through this life with.  I don't tell him enough, but I'm so happy and grateful for him.  He's The One.

And always has been. 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

How We Met

Scott's and my anniversary is this week, sooooo in honor of this momentous occasion, I'm writing a few posts about how we met, how he proposed, our wedding...all love, all the time!  {Blech...I'm so not a sappy person}.  Moving on.  Friday marks our 5th wedding anniversary and our 12th year together and, oh, how time flies.  It doesn't feel like it's been that long at all.  And I guess, in the grand scheme of things, 12 years really isn't that long.

We met on a cool fall day in 2002, when I was a college freshman and he was a sophomore.  I'd woken up late for my 8am class and had no time to get myself ready before having to run across campus to make it to class on time.  So I jumped out of bed, threw my hair in a ponytail, skipped any makeup at all, and hopped into the first set of clothes I could find -- black sweats and a hoodie.  I made it to class on time, but was a shaky wreck by the time I got there.  It was, literally, the third week of classes and I hadn't yet mastered the art of being cool, calm, and collected while on campus.  {Side note:  I'm 30 years old now and I still haven't mastered being cool, calm, and collected anywhere}.  I took my seat in the back corner of the classroom and avoided eye contact with anybody.  We took a quiz that day, and I remember just trying to focus and breeze through it while visions of coffee mugs {which I'd had to forgo that morning, thanks to my lateness} danced in my head. 

Walking out of class that morning, I kept my head down {are you guys getting a picture now of how socially awkward I am?} but lifted it up just in time to see this guy standing in front of me and holding the door open.  I jogged a bit to catch up {because nothing is as awkward as someone holding a door open for you when you're about a hundred feet away}, smiled and thanked him for holding it.  I walked through the door and then returned the favor by holding it open on the other side, expecting that to be it.  So I was surprised when I heard that same guy ask, "How do you think you did on the quiz?"

I don't remember the answer I gave, but I'm sure it was stupid and awkward and there's a very good chance that it had nothing to do with the quiz or his question.  From there, we started walking toward the dorms and talking, and I distinctly remember how easy it was to talk to him.  Normally, I was a ball of nerves when it came to talking people, boys especially, and I was shocked at how easily I was able to have a conversation with this one.  I learned that his name was Scott and he was a sophomore, that he'd almost gone to Widener University, and that he lived in the same dorm I did, one floor above me.  Couple that with the fact that we had the same class together 3 days a week and it was a wonder we'd never bumped into each other before.

We parted at the front door of our dorm that day when a group of his friends bombarded him with a football and I didn't talk to him again for a week.  I'd convinced myself that our walk and talk together the week before had been nothing more than him killing time and being forced to be polite to me since we were both headed to the same place.  I wouldn't sit next to him in class, refusing to be the weird girl who gets all creepy after one innocent conversation, and I really and truly thought that he was "out of my league".  He talked to everyone around him in class and seemed to have a ton of friends and, after that day that we took the quiz, we didn't have another opportunity to walk together again.  So, in the corner I stayed.

Fast forward another few days.  I'm sitting at the desk in my room, trying to get some work done while simultaneously being polite to and ignoring my less-than-hygienic roommate at the time.  {Another side note:  It took me 3 years and 3 different roommates before I found one that I REALLY liked and got along with...and we're still friends today.  :-) }  There was a knock at our door and my roommate hopped off her bed to answer it, both of us thinking it was her boyfriend.  Imagine my shock when in walked Scott with a polite hello to my roommate and a smile for me.  He asked me if I'd finished the homework for our class and if I could give him a hand with a few of the questions he was having trouble with, and I told him I was just finishing up the last couple of questions and offered to stop by his room in a few minutes with it.

I didn't have a single question of that homework answered.  Hadn't even started it.

Fifteen minutes later, I'd charged through the homework packet and found myself knocking at the door to Scott's room.  Turns out, he didn't need any help, just wanted an excuse to see me outside of class.  So we got to talking about football after I noticed a Redskins helmet on his dresser {I know less than nothing about football} which turned into us talking more over lunch.  Over the next few weeks, we had lunch and dinner together most days, he invited me to come watch his hockey games, I spent pretty much every waking moment hanging out in his dorm room, and we met each other's parents.  Meeting him made my first year at college {and all the ones after} so much more wonderful than I'd expected it to be, and I'm thankful every day that he "needed help" with his homework.

 The story of how we met isn't a fairy tale, but it is to me.  Scott came along at a time in my life when I needed him and didn't even know it.  He makes me a better person, he makes me feel loved, and there's no one else I'd rather stumble and plow through life with.  During our walk back to the dorms that first day, I had no idea that I was talking to my future husband, but I had a very strong suspicion that he was going to be playing a very important role in my life.  The day that we met was an ordinary one for everyone else but, for me, it was downright extraordinary in the way that everything aligned so that he and I bumped into each other.  From waking up late, to leaving class at just the right moment, to miraculously overcoming my complete inability to have a normal conversation with a member of the opposite sex, to living just one floor apart in the same was like everything just fell into place beautifully on that day.

And the rest is history.


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