Engagement Pictures!

Today is exactly three months before our wedding. So it was fitting that we took our engagement pictures earlier in the day. We were greeted with cold and wet weather but nonetheless hoped for the best and went to the photography studio.

We met our photographer, Gary, and headed over to Planting Fields Arboretum on Long Island. Our guests will have a chance to see it while they are in town for the wedding, as it is relatively near the church and the club. As it turns out, the rain started when we left the studio, but it (thankfully!) stopped when we got to the park. After dealing with the need for a "photographer's permit" (thank you, New York State), we began our photo session. Gary was great and helped us come up with different poses for the pictures and was easygoing, which made the session that much better.

It was fun to do the engagement photos at Planting Fields since we actually spent a lot of time there while we were dating. In fact, we often used to go there during the summer to relax, read a book and walk around the flowers and other vegetation. We both really enjoy state parks, so it seemed natural to go there for the photo session. It didn't feel like we picked the location out of the blue. Besides, it was a great trial-run for the wedding and a chance for us to get to know the photographer and vice versa.

We spent most of the day doing the pictures and then had another classic - a Bonanza hot dog. On my first trip to Long Island, I had one of these overboiled delights on the beach with my fiance (who I had just begun dating at the time). It was a good way to celebrate old memories and start the three-month countdown to the Big Day.

The Rings are In

We got our wedding rings tonight. They look great, and best of all, they were an easy and relatively pain-free experience. I decided to meet the fiancee at the jeweler, as a friend of mine gave me a lift through rainy Friday afternoon traffic. We walked in and out in about 15 minutes, thanks to some prior planning from earlier weeks.

We initially started out by looking at different jewelers, seeing what types of rings were available and deciding on what we wanted to buy. After a few different stops, the fiancee and her Maid of Honor went to check out rings together while I was at the office (as usual).

Fortunately, in our random browsing, we discovered the type of rings we wanted and our ring sizes. This information allowed the wife-to-be and the MOH to make decisions without me being physically present. The end result was beautiful, complete with the proper engraving and a lifetime guaranty.

Now we have to fight the temptation to actually wear the new rings. It will be nice to finally bring them out for good in a few months.

Surprise Bridal Shower!

Yesterday, Saturday, was my bridal shower!! I went to Seventh Street Cafe in Garden City for what I thought was going to be an Easter Luncheon with the Teixeira's. I was so excited to see many friends and family members! I had a wonderful time!!!

My Maid of Honor had a friend of hers make the invitations, thank you cards, favors, and a scrapbook for me. My bridesmaid Justine and my friend Amy made the centerpieces! It was perfect!!!!

I was very touched that people who have so many things going on in their lives took time to celebrate with me.

100 days!

Yesterday Dave and I celebrated 100 days until the wedding on July 17th! We went to Crave on 36th Street in Astoria to try some of the other things on the menu. We were pleasantly surprised that the falafel and crispy bananas were as good as the burgers we had the first time we went there. How could bananas in phyllo dough with whipped cream and chocolate sauce not be amazing?

Since it was a beautiful night, we were able to sit outside and enjoy some people watching. The waitress was fine with us hanging around after we enjoyed our meal. The couple who sat down next to us was equally happy with their meal and experience at the restaurant. I am hoping that this place sticks around because it is a nice, small, casual place to grab a reasonably priced extremely tasty bite to eat.

While we were enjoying our dinner, I am pleased to say Jenn posted that Tim came through surgery!

It was a wonderful day to celebrate 100 days until the wedding!

Tim, Jenn & "Curly Bean"

Where do I begin...

Jenn and I met at Scranton our Freshman year when she lived across the hall from me. Jenn married Tim shortly after college. Jenn and Tim are the people I visit in Galveston. Their baby to be is "Curly Bean".

Tim was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor on Tuesday February 16th. Tomorrow he will be having surgery to remove the tumor. Please keep Tim and his loved ones in your prayers tomorrow.


I am posting this to ask for prayers but, also because whether they know it or not Tim and Jenn have had a profound impact on my life because of their relationship with one another and their faith in God.

A little over a year ago, Tim and Jenn picked up and left PA to go to Galveston, TX to help recovery effort from Hurricane Ike. Martin Luther King weekend the Scranton girls got together. Jenn told me that they were going to drive to Texas and live there, leaving their families, home, and many belongings behind. While I thought it was awesome that she would do this, I thought she was a little crazy. But, she and Tim had made this decision together. They talked about it, they prayed about it, and they came a conclusion together. The process by which they made this decision was awesome to me. It gave me a better idea of how a couple is supposed to effectively communicate.

Anyway, I never got to see Jenn's PA house despite its proximity to New York. I promised her that I would see her in Texas. Little did I know that I would travel to Texas twice in the past year to see Jenn and Tim and that the people in Galveston would leave a huge impression on me. I didn't know what to expect on my first trip down there. I travelled alone but, I knew that this was something I wanted to do. Seeing Jenn and Tim work together was amazing to me. They were living in trailer in the yard of a parsonage. They were working together other people's homes. They took their calling and ran with it.

After a particularly long day bleaching a house and building some flooring, I posted pictures of our work so my family and friends could see what I was up to. My mother said, "I don't know that I've ever seen you look so happy." I was dirty, sore, and tired but, I was happy. I was with two people who knew what they were called to do and loved doing.

Often I see those wooden plaques in stores around town. The plaque says, "Live, Laugh, Love." That describes Jenn and Tim. They are two incredible people who have taken what they have been called to do and lived according to the message God has given us. Love one another. The love shared between Jenn and Tim has been evident from the first time Jenn brought Tim to meet the Scranton crew. Each is by the other's side. They laugh together, whether driving in the truck, playing in the Gulf of Mexico, singing along with the guitar, or ripping a fume hood out of a moldy wall. They are an awesome team.

In one of their blog posts, they referred to the fact that they are living each one of their wedding vows. In sickness and in health....In good times and in bad times....For richer or for poorer...They are living each one of these vows with love and grace.

Jenn and Tim are certainly modeling what a Christian marriage is all about. I hope that I will be able to use their example to have a marriage that is as full of life, laughter, and love.

Spring Break has come and gone...

Spring Break was extremely productive. I spent the first few days resting and awaiting the arrival of the various Garnett's and their significant others.

On Wednesday night Edward and Julia arrived followed by Andrew and his friend Mitch. We had a wonderful Easter filled with lots of laughs.

I went back to Astoria on Thursday and Friday to go to church with Dave at Most Precious Blood. Holy Thursday was interesting because the Mass was celebrated in at least four different languages. It was wonderful that everyone could be together in the same church. Based on the response of the congregation, it seemed that each language was well represented. The church was packed! Dave and I got there approximately ten minutes early and had to look around to find a seat. Good Friday was approximately two hours long!!! The church was less crowded because the service was at 2pm. This was solely in English. That evening there was a procession that turned out to have more of a parade like atmosphere. There were several speakers on the back of a pickup truck piping music and the stations of the cross in various languages on the streets of Astoria. This was quite an interesting experience because there were hundreds of people following the pick up truck. But, in the crowd were four statues of Jesus at various times throughout His life. Dave and I hadn't planned to participate in the procession. We were enjoying our dinner when all of a sudden the statues were on the street below our apartment. Hopefully, we remember that this goes on next year.

Saturday morning, Edward and Julia popped by for a quick visit because their visit was postponed by the procession on Friday. It was fun to have them over. Of course we had to introduce Julia to the peanut butter, chocolate, banana shake at Bare Burger down the street. After Edward and Julia left, Dave and I treated ourselves to lunch at a new restaurant called Crave. It was a wonderful experience. it appears to be a blend of Belgian and Greek food. The "chips" (fries) were absolutely amazing! You can order them with a variety of dipping sauces...YUM!!! It was fun to sit outside and enjoy our reasonably priced, super yummy food.

Saturday afternoon and evening was spent with my family on Long Island. Edward and Julia cooked us dinner, again very yummy. Then we went to the Easter Vigil at St. Dominic Church.

Sunday morning we headed back to Long Island to celebrate Easter with my family. We had a huge breakfast and baskets from the Easter Bunny waiting for us. Dave, Andrew, Mitch, Christopher and I went to Lido Beach later in the day to enjoy the mild weather. Of course on the way home, Andrew wanted to stop at White Castle so we grabbed a few burgers and headed home for a wonderful dinner.

Monday and Tuesday were spent with Justine, my bridesmaid and Carolyn, my maid of honor doing a crazy amount of wedding stuff. Justine and I went shopping on Monday. While we were out, I learned that Dave and I will be taking our Engagement Pictures on April 17th. Unfortunately, we had already left the outlets and had to go to the department stores to look for something for me to wear. I think we spent a total of 7 1/2 hours looking for something to wear. On Tuesday, Carolyn and I went to pick up the wedding invitations, order the wedding rings, and order the flowers. I think all of the ordering is DONE for the wedding.

Today I put together the wedding program and started to pick out some music. Now, we just need to decide who is doing what during the Mass.

Tomorrow is 100 days to the wedding according to the countdown on the website. I'm super excited!