Much to be thankful for!

It’s been a while! (Oh just eight months or so) Let’s see if I still know how to do this…

Thanksgiving is truly a wonderful time of the year. It brings people together, forces us to stop and think about the blessings in our life (and to hopefully give thanks for them), and asks us to slow down to enjoy a long holiday weekend. Our days are so often filled with rushing around, stress, to-do lists, etc. And although we may feel some of that this long weekend — we do have to get the food cooked, the house ready, and everything prepared — Thanksgiving is a celebration and the preparation is well worth it.

This year I have so much to be thankful for. I wish I could press pause. Time is going fast, but I hope to have a fresh memory of it always. I am incredibly thankful for my amazing husband, partner, and best friend. I’m blessed and grateful for my supportive family members (both the Mescalls and the Temples), as well as my extended family and friends. Colin and I both have a job, food to eat, clothes to wear, and each other’s hand to hold. We are in a new house and are prepping to embark on the most important journey of our lives: parenthood.

Which brings me to what I am most thankful for this year: my pregnancy, and our daughter who I am carrying. As I write this she is wiggling around (maybe she knows I’m writing about her?). Feeling her move is literally the best feeling in the world. Last night I had my hand on the same part of my stomach for a while — I couldn’t fall asleep and I like to feel her move around when I’m up (she’s a mover and shaker at night, like her mama) — and I actually felt her foot kick out at my hand. It was definitely a foot, I’d bet a million bucks it was. It almost felt like I was holding her foot in my hand. I’ll be honest, I started to cry a little (that’s what pregnancy does to you — not to mention I’ve always cried easily, which is quite the fun combo — just ask Colin!). This was another moment where my pregnancy felt incredible and REAL. When you’re pregnant you obviously go about your life and it’s not always the first thing on your mind 24/7. But when you stop to think about what’s happening inside your body it really makes you appreciate all of it. There is a little person inside me — I don’t know what she looks like yet, I don’t know what her personality will be like, the things she will like or dislike, the person she will become — but she will be here soon, and I can’t wait to get to know her. I can only imagine how I will feel when I can hold her in my arms for the first time!

So much has happened since I last wrote on my blog. I feel like I am a whole different person in some ways. Sometimes I still can’t believe I am pregnant and on my way to becoming a mother, but let me tell you…at 31 weeks it is becoming more and more believable; a little more each day. My pregnancy has been such an eye-opening, empowering, truly awesome experience. It has made me realize I am a woman who can face many things, do many things, and take on many things. It has helped me become more assertive, and find the courage to speak up for myself and figure out what I want. As a Catholic, it has strengthened my faith in and relationship with God. It has deepened my love for my husband, as well as my family and friends who show such genuine excitement and enthusiasm when they talk about our baby. She is so loved already, and in turn that fills me with such joy.

My heart is so full, it honestly might explode when I meet our child. My pregnancy and my daughter has already changed my life for the better (drastically). I can’t wait to see, feel, and experience the changes that’ll happen when she is here.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! Travel safe, and eat a lot. This time of year I don’t even mind people saying anything about me eating for two, because you know what? Today I am going to embrace that. So pass the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top, and enjoy!

Date night: Donavon Frankenreiter concert

This summer is a busy one. Since we’re getting hitched in September, June through August involves lots of fun pre-wedding activities and to-do’s — so we set aside various weekends for this reason. We also like to get in some family time, which requires a few trips to Long Island and Vermont here and there — so we were sure to block off a few weekends for retirement parties, weddings, vacation, birthdays, etc. We truthfully only have a couple of weekends plan-free, and wanted to make sure they stayed that way.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it. Summer to me means busy weekends with family, friends, beach, food, drinks, laughing, etc. I enjoy having plans on the calendar. I do however, also enjoy having a little downtime. We all need it now and then. Since we’re so focused on our wedding (in only two months!), I want to make sure Colin and I are getting enough time to ourselves to prepare for our big day — to make sure we’re staying connected amidst the craziness that is summer.

Since this past weekend was one of our ‘downtime weekends’ we enjoyed a lovely little date night on Saturday at the Donavon Frankenreiter concert at the Blue Ocean Music Hall (Salisbury, MA). We went last year and had a blast, so decided to go again this year. The Blue Ocean Music Hall is a great place to see a concert if you’ve never been.

We started out with dinner at Not Your Average Joe’s in Newburyport, then stopped into Dolce Freddo Gelato across the street for a treat. After dinner we headed to the concert, enjoyed a great show, and then stopped into Joe’s Playland for some arcade games. We had a blast!

Check it out:

A lovely dinner at Not Your Average Joes in Newburyport

A lovely dinner at Not Your Average Joes in Newburyport

Pit stop for gelato after dinner

Pit stop for gelato after dinner

Show time!

Show time!

Mr. Donavon Frankenreiter

Mr. Donavon Frankenreiter

Sing it, boy

Sing it, boy

My favorite part of the concert came at the end when Donavon sang Tom Petty’s, ‘American Girl':

What's a trip to Salisbury without a visit to the arcade?

What’s a trip to Salisbury without a visit to the arcade?

Colin killing it at the bball game

Colin killing it at the bball game

Crushing the lanes

Crushing the lanes

I hope you enjoyed your weekend also. :)

PS: Only a couple more weeks for me to annoy you! If you don’t mind, please take a second to vote for me in the Real Simple essay contest. THANKS EVERYONE!

A full heart

I truly love Thanksgiving. A day filled with tons of food, family, laughter, relaxation, wine, and all sorts of treats – is A.O.K in my book. I hope you are all enjoying the day with the people you love.

I wanted to share a few things I’m thankful for this year. It’s nice to acknowledge those things in our lives that we are grateful for. Here’s to keeping this feeling going for the whole year and not just during the holidays!

T he most handsome fiancé in the whole world with the biggest heart whom I love so much

H ealth and happiness

A bility to learn, grow and strive to be a better person every day

N ephew – Declan has brought such joy into our lives these past few months. I cannot image a life without him!

K indness of others

S pending time with my amazing faimily – no matter how loco they (we) are (miss you Pat!)

G reat friends, near and far

I Phone and iPad :D

V ermont – specifically Stratton Mountain where I will marry my best bud in September

I nspiration – all the folks that inspire me on a daily basis

N ecessities – a wonderful apartment, good food, vino, beer, (wine and beer can be considered necessities, right?!) clothing, a warm shower every day, a cozy bed

G etting to pay my bills every month because I have a job – a job where I continue to learn something new every day

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for?

Things my Dad taught me…

1. To work hard and take pride in the work I put out into the world

2. To respect myself and others around me

3. To love my family unconditionally and to stay connected with one another no matter where we are. To always have each others back

4. To be brave, to take risks and to be confident in the fact that I can do anything I set my mind on. I’m working on writing a book, and my father and mother are two of the most encouraging people, even when I think or say to myself, “who the hell do I think I am writing a book?”

5. To be generous, giving and compassionate

6. For Colin and I to always work at our relationship. My parents work at their relationship every day and you can tell they are very much in love. They are good to each other – even though they fight at times, or disagree on things – they make a great team

7. To have a strong faith, and to nurture it

8. To continue to challenge myself, to strive to become a better person every day

9. Not to take myself too seriously. There is always some time for fun, laughter and jokes

10. To be a good person, a happy person

Happy Father’s Day Pops! I wish we were there in good ol’ London with you! I love you!

The best dad!

Lovely wife and wonderful children (if I do say so myself)

Colin and I are engaged!

Colin and I were friends for most of our four years in college. Freshman year went so fast, sophomore year zoomed by and my first semester passed like a blink of the eye when I ‘studied abroad’ in Hawaii…I got back to Merrimack for our second semester and we lived in Santagati, right next door to Colin and our other guy friends. That’s when my big, fat crush started! I thought Colin was the most handsome guy ever, and I always gushed over him to the girls (and they made fun of me, because I’m a huge nerd!) The rest of junior year passed and I didn’t think it would ever happen…

Then, senior year came. We became better friends, and by January he finally came around — I knew he had a crush on me too! By March, we were dating and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

After graduation we both had big plans — Colin was off to a one-year graduate school program at Lehigh in PA and I was off to volunteer for a year in Chicago. There I was, finally in love with such an amazing guy, and we had spend the year very far apart. It was really hard — every time we visited each other and then had to go back to our respective states, I lost it! To this day airports can still make me weepy-eyed (again…huge nerd!) But I knew if we could make it through a full year apart that we were good to go.

And now here we are…engaged!

This past Thursday – during the day – Colin asked me if I wanted to go to dinner after work. I thought, ummmm yes! After a long, busy day of work  I was totally game. I got home to my apartment and Colin showed up just a few minutes later. I was going to change for dinner and before I did Colin told me he had something I could “accessorize with” and started laughing. I was confused, but intrigued. Then, all of the sudden, he was on his knee telling me he asked my father, got my families’ blessing and wanted to know if I would marry him.

I feel like I totally blacked out after that, but I do remember running around the room like a fool and then, obviously saying yes! It was such an amazing, special moment. After Colin slipped the (beautiful, if I do say so myself!) ring on my finger, we popped open the bottle of champagne my best friend Mary gave me a couple years ago (she told me to save it for the day I got engaged) and made all the fun phone calls to tell our friends and family. Everyone knew and kept the secret from me! Such sneaks!

Afterward, we had a fabulous dinner at Salvatore’s and Meg stopped by for a bit to celebrate with us – she even treated us to dinner!

This past weekend I went out with my girlfriends Friday night to share the excitement with them, and then Saturday Colin, Meg, Matt and I headed up to Vermont to celebrate with Colin’s family. I was sitting on the couch enjoying the appetizers Saturday evening gearing up for the delicious meal Mrs. T was cooking up, when BAM! My Mom, Dad and Grandfather appeared out of nowhere! They drove all the way from Long Island up to Vermont to surprise me! I was ecstatic! It was the best weekend ever. :)

I could really babble on and on about Colin and how much I love him, but I won’t do that to you all. I will tell you though, that he is my best friend and I am currently the happiest girl in the world. I am so ready and so excited to embark on this journey with him. I am also so lucky because I love the Temple’s like my own family, and my family loves Colin like he’s one of us. It’s a wonderful match all around!

Engaged for about 3 minutes!

Our champage courtesy of Mary, one of my best buds!

Look what they did for me at work on Friday (the day after we got engaged)...SO nice!

Hanging at the Temple's in VT!

So fun!!!

Obsessed with this now!!! Deeeelicious!

The amazing bottle of wine my pops brought!

The ring! Woohoooo

Mrs. T's FAB cooking!

Skip's wonderful salad :)

Some of the fam <3

Skip serving everyone their dinner :)

SO Good!

I LOVE THESE SOOO MUCH

"Papachodies" as my Grandpa was calling them! hahah

Tasty treat

Love birds xoxo

So happy!

Showing off the bling!

Yay presents!

Mom and Skip!

A lovely breakfast on Sunday at Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice

YUM

Some fab pictures from Mrs. T:

Martha, Skip, Colin and I :)

Having a grand 'ol time!

Col and Coll

Par!

Par in VT!

Still can't believe you guys came all the way up to VT! I LOVE YOU!

Love this pic! hahah

Stay tuned for the wedding plans…..

100 Days of Kindness, Day 56

Oh being home for Christmas is so nice. I took a few days off from work, so I’m extending my long weekend as much as I can. Where did the days go when I used to get a full month off in college? Even though I don’t get that luxurious break anymore, I’ll take a few days where my eyes can take a break from staring at my Outlook and enjoy a little more relaxation and family time. It’s well deserved isn’t it?

Today was enjoyable. We had a ton of snow which finally made it feel like real Christmas. We also saw my Aunt Susan, Uncle FD, Katie and Annie, which is always a treat. (It also involved Margarita pizza from Bertuccis which didn’t hurt).

When we got back we played bananagram and watched the Sound of Music (one of my all time favorites). I must say, my family really seemed to enjoy my beautiful rendition of ‘Climb Every Mountain’ (worst song in the movie) – it should probably count as my act of kindness today – sharing my beautiful voice with them.

Woohoo - this was a good round - I won!

Kelly also did my hair tonight which is exciting! This is the first time she has highlighted my hair since becoming beauty-stylist-extraordinaire. I’m still in the process of having it done, so hopefully it comes out A.OK. I’ll post some pictures of my transformation tomorrow as she is going to give me a fab new cut as well, but I think she may fall asleep if she does it now because it’s getting so late. Sleeping + scissors + my hair = not a good idea. I’ll wait til tomorrow thankyouverymuch.

My kindness today:

My poor grandfather is in the hospital. He had to go yesterday and they decided to keep him overnight and now he’s staying again tonight. He has cellulitis in his leg/foot and it was causing him pain. This is the second time the poor thing had to go to the hospital during a big occasion. First the wedding, now Christmas! Jeeze Pa, we can take a hint – if you don’t want to participate in family get-togethers just let us know – no need to go to the hospital!

Anyway, I’ll get to the point, we visited Pa in the hospital tonight. He was excited to see us and seemed to be in very good spirits! I think he likes the attention and having the older nurses to flirt with. :)

….Ok, I still have dye in my hair and I think I’ve lost Kelly… better go find her….

Happy Thanksgiving! (And 100 Days of Kindness, Day 25)

There is so much to be thankful for. Today, I’m going to get specific:

I’m thankful that when I wake up in the morning I can enjoy a warm shower. That I have clothes to wear and food to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m thankful that I have a job to go to, a brain in my head to do my job well and paycheck I receive because of it. I’m thankful that I have a large family. Yes it’s crazy at times and yes we’ve been through the good, the bad and the ugly, but I can’t even tell you how thankful I am for them. They are so much apart of who I am and I’m so proud of each one of them. I’m thankful I have a boyfriend who loves me, puts up with my attitude, immaturity and bitchiness. Who makes me laugh like no other and always knows how to make me smile when it’s the last thing I want to do. I’m thankful for my friends. That when I need a fun night out, they know exactly what to do (dance, obviously). That when I need someone to go to, they are there. It doesn’t matter if they are in NY, MA, or anywhere else in the world. I’m thankful I can go to the gym and workout (even though I don’t always… hey that’s what the New Year is for and it’s right around the corner…). I’m thankful that whenever I have exciting news or upsetting news, I have someone to call. Someone will listen (even if they don’t really want to hear me bitch and complain). For so many other things as well but I’ll end with how thankful I am for you, reading this now. I love writing this blog. I finally have a hobby and I love it. So, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading all the random things I post. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

My ‘kindness’ today: My dad needed some last-minute stuff for our feast so I ran out to the store with Moll to get everything so he didn’t have to stress. We also made a fabulous pecan pie for everyone to enjoy!

I hope everyone is really enjoying their Thanksgiving. It is just so nice to be with everyone you love (or like?…maybe tolerate?…) eating amazing food. YUM.

100 Days of Kindness, Day 24

I made a contribution to a local family in need so that they can prepare a lovely Thanksgiving meal. Someone was collecting money to then get a gift certificate to a supermarket, so I donated money to help out. I couldn’t image not having a big turkey, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, gravy, cranberry sauce, string bean casserole, wine, beer, dessert, etc.

Donating money to one of the many families that are struggling to get a nice meal on the table is the least I can do. Especially when I have so much to be thankful for.

I hope they have a wonderful day. I hope we all realize how blessed we are. I hope I never take any of these blessings for granted.

A small gesture and a big gesture (100 Days of Kindness, Day 12)

Today I tried a new lunch spot with my friend Jess at work. When we were there I saw that they carried Tate’s cookies, so I bought some and shared them with my co-workers when I got back to the office.

After work I hopped on a flight to Indiana to visit my sister Molly for the weekend. She is a sophomore in college and I haven’t had a chance to come visit her yet. So, I am really happy that I get to this weekend. I think it is always important to spend quality time with family members-especially when you are part of a big family. It is really important to spend one-on-one time with each individual family member. :)

I am off to enjoy my weekend. I hope you do the same!

*This is actually Megan! My first blog post-yaymutha! I am typing for Colleen while she is on the road. All thoughts posted on this blog are Colleen originals! I wrote exactly what she told me to, and even needed her to spell a few things ;)  Please feel free to check out my twitter @thedailymutha, soon to be an affiliate sister blog of The Daily Craic. I am launching my new card designs, and will post pictures this weekend. Stayed tuned…