Surprises and My First Tattoo.

I get home from work on December 22nd, 2014 in the early evening, carrying my bags, binders, and change of shoes (I don’t like wearing heels driving) in my arms and fumbling through the door.  Steve hands me the phone and tells me to call my mom on her cell phone ASAP, not letting me empty my hands or take of my coat and boots. His sense of urgency concerned me a little, thinking that maybe something is wrong, or something urgent is going on.  I call her cell phone.  She answers and says hello, and after a few seconds on small talk her and my dad emerge from our bedroom.  SURPRISE!  All the way from Ontario, Canada, they surprised both the Artist and myself that night.  We talk often enough, that they new the Artist was home during the days and I was at work.  They knew we had one car, that I used it to get to work during weekdays.  Minutes before I arrived home, they had called the Artist to have him come down and let them in the front door of our apartment building, as you need a key.  He thought it was a joke- he and my mother have a very sarcastic dialogue.  But there they were, standing in the rain, waiting to be let inside.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  I have never been surprised like that before- they came from SO far!  It’s not like  they stopped by on their way home……they drove down from another country.  We were unable to make it home for the holidays for both time and financial constraints, so they came to us!  They skipped all other holiday gatherings to spend the holidays with us ❤

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And they brought a million presents!!!

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I come from a small town, and everyone knew about the surprise.  Lots of folks sent gifts for us down with them, and holidays cards as well.  I know this is going to sound SO cliche, but it was a Christmas miracle ❤  My family doesn’t have much, but they are willing to spend what they do have one us ❤  I am so grateful to have such a wonderful family- there are no words.

We enjoyed some local museums, shopping, and lots of cooking.  And of course, lots of cooking meant lots of eating.  They even brought down a bunch of my favourite snacks from home that are unavailable here.  It was very hard when they left the following weekend.  There were many tears.  I think I am still recovering from the post-holiday blues……

To get ours spirits up, the Artist gave me my first tattoo on New Years Day.  Actually, he gave me two!

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The one on my finger is the crown motif in Basquiat’s paintings, and the Artist has a larger version of this one his ankle.  This was his first time doing a tattoo on someone else other then himself.  The one on my heel is the deathly hallows symbol from Harry Potter.  These are both very intimately meaningful to me in so many ways, but I am not going to divulge them on here.  Instead, ask me sometime.

As they heal, they are becoming more of a grey tone then black, and I have no idea why.  My skin is crazy, the Artist said I am like a member of X-Men.  I never get sun burns, I have very little body hair, and my skin is very oily and soft.  Like, so oily.  These tattoos have healed very well, and have caused me little inconvenience.  So we will see how they finish up!

Happy holidays ❤

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More Holiday Fun in St. Louis!

The other day, the Artist and I exchanged gifts.  We always do this before the actual Christmas holiday because we are so busy visiting family, we like to have some private time to do our own celebrations- just the two of us.  The Artist knows me so well, and is so thoughtful ❤

He got me some knew slippers.  Sounds generic right?  Well my slippers are several years old and full of holes- I had to wear socks in them too.  So they were not only practical, they were so thoughtful.  He knew how much I loved cozy, soft things in general, and knew how much I would love the pattern on them and the tassels!

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And this hat- which I love.  The craziness of it, the pattern, the fluffy fur- he gets me.

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And some yarn for knitting.  He knew that my all-time favourite stuff to knit with is soft, thick yarn.  I don’t mind thinner yarn, but the thick stuff is my favourite.

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And he got me a stocking full of treats!

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Ring pops- because I had been wanting them lately, and couldn’t find any cherry.  Some dark chocolate including a bar from Trader Joe’s, because I had been eyeing them up recently.  A pack of bandages, because I am always scraping my knees, getting blisters on my feet and cutting my fingers.  This was intended as a joke, but I ended up scraping my finger the next morning!  And my very first nail polish!  Because I recently broke a life long habit of chewing my nails, and they are finally a reasonable length to paint.  I had this clear stuff that I got in high school and it is all gluey, and I had been wanting a coloured one.

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Before painting them.

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After painting them- notice the bandages lol!

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I got my Artist a coffee grinder and some Starbucks whole coffee beans, some Bailey’s, a decanter to hold brandy or whisky, some new juggling balls, and some odds and ends in his stocking like chocolate-coconut macaroons 🙂  Here is a photo of his coffee supplies and juggling with the new balls!

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Under the leg!

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He loves his coffee, and I knew he would love freshly ground beans every morning 🙂

He is so thoughtful.  He really gets me.  He really listens to me, and specifics about my tastes and preferences.  I feel so lucky to have a husband who is so in tune with me ❤

I also did some holiday baking, and of course made the Artist’s favourite- shortbread cookies.  I also made gingerbread cookies, some rice krispie squares, and some black bean brownies.  The brownies were mainly for me, as they are “healthified” and super gooey and chewy- a type of brownie the Artist isn’t partial to.  But my other treats were a hit 😉

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I am a little sad that Christmas in St. Louis is passing so quickly, but I am also excited to see family!  It is a bittersweet feeling.  Time seems to fly fast and faster which each coming month, and sometimes I just want things to slow down a little, to stop and smell the roses.  But time doesn’t slow down, only we can.  Which is why I try and savour the little pleasures together- like watching Home Alone in front of our lit up tree, enjoying mimosa’s and cheers-ing to celebrate so many things.

Cheers to a new year that is just as happy and fun as the last.

Holidays in St. Louis!

So the Artist had a nice 3 days off school and work, followed by the weekend.  We started off by using a gift card we had to an Italian bakery near by and enjoyed these treats!  The chocolate drizzled coconut macaroons were probably the best I have ever had.

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Then, my mom calls me and asks if I have check the mail lately.  I say no, and run out to the mailbox, which is just outside our door, look.  There was a parcel notice in there!  I had to wait until Monday, but was waking Steve up first thing that morning so we could go and get it- I was so excited to receive yet another parcel from home.  It was full of Christmas supplies and festive items- my favourite!!!  Very similar to Halloween box of goodies sent earlier.  There were Christmas socks (as I imitate my best Mr. Bean impression, and yes, I still love Mr. Bean), cherry candy canes (because I don’t like peppermint ones), Christmas cards, oven mitts, coasters, tree decorations, fridge magnets, the works!

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And there was an advent calendar, and not just any, but this one contained chocolates from Laura Secord.  It is my first time trying that kind, and boy are they awesome.  Very high quality chocolate, and really creamy and delicious.  I have such a great family, and a huge shout out to my mom for going through the trouble and mailing this parcel ❤

After a day at home full of cleaning and organizing and relaxing, I heard a strange noise coming from the other room.  I go and check.  It is the Artist carving a wood sculpture with old knives.  You would think I would be shocked, but I am not.  Me finding the Artist doing strange things like this is our norm.  I came home the other day and there was a stool type thing in the bathroom, that is normally in our living room.  I couldn’t figure out what it was there for….the Artist later informs me it was to prop up the mirror so he could see the back of his head to cut his hair.  Ha!  What a guy.  I love his shenanigans.  They never get old and always surprise me.  That is one thing I love about our relationship, and something that I think really keeps us going strong and in love every single day- constantly surprising each other.  It is not as easy as it sounds, try and think about the last time your significant other surprised you, or you surprised them.  Not easy, eh?  Making an effort for little surprises are a big deal. For example, the Artist knows how much I like a tidy bedroom and the bed made because I feel more relaxed without stuff strewn across the room.  Tidiness around me helps me feel calm.  So he surprises me by making the bed, or staging a teddy bear in a funny way that he will know I will see when I get home.  Or sometimes when I leave early in the morning, and he is still sound asleep, I leave a little love note where I know he will see it- like by his glasses, coffee pot, or toothbrush.  Surprising each other, acknowledging these efforts, and expressing gratitude, in my opinion, is extremely important in a marriage.  Communication is key.  The Artist often surprises me with his skills and creativity.  He had no wood carving tools, but he somehow still made it work.

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Then we cleared off our older bookshelf and neatened it up, I love the raw, unfinished look of it.

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The Artist had recently made another bookshelf from mostly scrap pieces of wood, and so we filled it up with all the books that were stacked on our floor.

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And now we could actually sit in this chair because it is no longer full of books!  We still need some small tables to replace the milk crates holding our records, and to set our record player on.  I am sure we will have more scraps in no time.

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Then of course, as per my previous post, we went to the Thanksgiving Day parade downtown St. Louis.  There, we were given a Visa gift card.  We decided to pair that with our coupons and have a feast at Red Lobster.  We got an appetizer, two salads, a soup, the Artist got a large draft beer and for his entree he got a platter of lobster, scallops, shrimp, rice, and broccoli, I got a chicken pasta that had at least 2 full chicken breasts on it, and we got a dessert.  And unlimited cheddar bay biscuits.  Not to mention the two extra sides of lobster tail.  The bill would have been $95 plus tax and tip.  With coupons and a gift card, we paid only $26.  Go ahead, applaud me 😉  How awesome is that?!  I know, I know, we are on a tight budget, but how could we not get such delicious food for so cheap?  We decided to treat ourselves.  Let just, I was uncomfortably full before my entree even came, that is how full I was.  We took a lot of leftovers home, at least 3 meals just out of my pasta dish alone.  We did a little Black Friday looking around, but clearly, I can get an awesome deal any time of the year.  We both hate the crowds and crammed shopping spaces, so we didn’t last long, and didn’t find anything worth the hassle.

We also did some home cooking, and went to a studio visit of local artist, and bought our Christmas tree and decorating the apartment.  In addition to these photos, I have towels and soaps and socks and pyjamas that are festive as well 🙂

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Dancing? Christmas tunes were playing and I was loving it 🙂 I may look silly here, but I had a wonderful time decorating the tree.

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Today, I decide to put some candy canes on the tree.  Cherry of course 😉

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The only thing missing is trekking out in the snow and cold weather with my mom and aunt to do Christmas shopping, being in the hustle and bustle of things, and going out to lunch- especially to East Side Marios.  Or the food court in the mall, and we all get different things.  Then getting home at all hours of the night with our goods and unloading and wrapping chit chatting.

Soon enough!  I can’t wait to see everyone during the holidays.

Family is so important to me.

Happiness is contagious.

Parcels and Halloween!

I opened the mail, and there was a notice inside saying there was a parcel waiting for me at the post office.  A parcel?!?! 😀  From who?  For what?  I couldn’t wait!  The post office was closed, so I had to wait until the next day.  I was bursting with so much excitement I could hardly contain it.  I patiently waited until I could get to the post office on my way home the next day.  As I approached, I got butterflies in my stomach.  What on earth could it be?  I didn’t order anything, nor was I expecting anything.  And aside form bills or flyers, I love getting mail.  I love getting cards and stuff from my family.  But a parcel?!?!  I hand them my slip and so them my ID.  They come back with not 1, but 2 large boxes!!!  

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I think my eyes bulged a little, like a cartoon.  They were not heavy, so I was able to carry them home, which was about a 10 minute walk from the post office.  While I was walking with these large parcels, I think I was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time, because I was getting funny looks from passers by.  I was so ridiculously excited I was contemplating finding a public bathroom I could go into to open them, or a bench off to the side where I could tear into my goods.  I thought, maybe I could turn around and go to the library, or sneak down a side street….but then it clicked.  That would be insane.  I told myself, “I am an adult, I can wait until I get home, which is in 2 minutes”.  Somehow, I managed.  I got home and opened up my Pandora’s Box.

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Yay!  It was Halloween goodies from my mom.  She is so insanely thoughtful.  It may not seem like raiding the dollar store and mailing the items is thoughtful…but it is.  So very much.  I was recently telling her that I got out some Halloween decorations, and she asked me if I had much.  I replied by saying we had a fall table runner and some bowls, and some napkins.  And I had some candy corn from the year before.  It was insanely stale, but I put it out anyways for the look.  I don’t really like candy corn- it gets stuck in my teeth, it is insanely sweet, don’t taste very good, and made with pure junk.  But, for some reason unknown, I can’t stop eating the stale bowl of neon treats.  I told her we were at the dollar store, and I wanted to buy some stuff, like a pair of socks, and maybe another trinket or something, but didn’t in order to stay on our tight budget.  I thought maybe I could fashion a decorative garland or something out of coloured paper we had at home already.  So what does my mom secretly do?  She goes to the dollar store and gets all the things she thinks I would like, including festive socks.  I love being festive with decorations and baking and cooking, and I especially love festive socks, and she knows how much it all makes me happy.  Now, with regards to all things festive, I have specific personal rules about when to get the decor out and when I can start wearing my socks.  

For Halloween and Easter: I can get decorations up no more then 2 weeks in advance, and no later then 1 week in advance.  They must come down no later then 1 week after the holiday.  I can only bake festive goodies a few days before the holiday in order to still be able to enjoy some on the actual holiday without them being gone or going stale.  I can eat associated candy on cheat days leading up, but in small amounts.  Most of the candy is reserved for a binge on the day of.  I can start wearing my festive socks, if I wish up, to a week before, and the last day being the holiday itself.

For Christmas: While in St. Louis, we get our tree and decor up around Dec. 1, I start wearing my festive jammies and socks, watching Christmas movies, and listening to Christmas music.  This is because we go to Canada mid-Decemeber, and want to enjoy the festivities in our home before we depart.  While living in Canada, we do all this about 2 weeks before Christmas, maybe closer to 3 if we are planning on going away, so maximize our time at home basking in the glory of it all.  No matter what, I stop wearing festive jammies and socks after Jan. 1, and that is also the last day for Christmas movies and music.  And about a week, later, the decor comes down- which is quite depressing.  Also, for Christmas movies, I save my favourite ones for the closest to Christmas, just because.  And I only watch these during the holidays.  Same goes for Halloween movies.  

I guess everything is just because.  There is no real logic to my madness.  I realize I am a little insane about it.  But, my theory is, if things are up too early, and taken down too late, and I watch festive movies all year round, then the actual holiday itself is less special.  I love sitting with my family, with the Christmas tree lit, giggling and laughing playing Christmas music as we decorate.  And it just wouldn’t be the same if we had been listening to the music for weeks already at that point.  We always get a real tree, so the tree passes it’s prime by the time Christmas day rolls around if we get it too early, and then everyone gets annoyed finding dead pine needles everywhere instead of admiring the tree and enjoying family togetherness at breakfast on the cold morning of Christmas day.

And there is a glimpse of my personal insanity 😛  

Back to it.  Right away, I started putting up the Halloween decor.  I was home by myself, bursting with excitement, and yearning for someone to be here to share it with me.  I hope the Artist comes home soon!!!  The Artist came in to grab a quite bite to eat before his next class as I was decorating our front door.  The smile on his face told it all.  He said how cute it was that my mom new I would love all this stuff, and the excitement he saw within me made him smile.  Even though he is indifferent as to whether or not the door is decorated or the napkins are festive, he says how cute it is to see me all giddy.  A warm hug, the gentlest, sweetest look in his eyes….Halloween decor aside, that is what truly made my day.  If he can love me even more whilst seeing me in the middle of my holiday insanity (clearly ridiculous as I am sure you can remember from the above), then I truly have myself a keeper.  He loves me for who I am, it is as simple as that.

Here is a glimpse of our new festivities 😀

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Not Halloween related, but a favourite of ours. There is no Swiss Chalet here.

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Blurry, but it is full of candy!

Blurry, but it is full of candy!

 

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Dollar Tree is the dollar store we go to here, and these were the exact socks I had my eye on!!!!! Dollar Tree just opened up back home.

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Some chocolate eyeballs, the exact ones I had from last year that were stale! So excited for some fresh ones 😀 And a chocolate bar!

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Some festive napkins under the stale candy corn haha.

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Pumpkin lights 😀

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LOVE these.

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Fancy cups, again, the kind I had my eye on! My mom always said when I was a kid, that she knew everything. Maybe, she actually does?

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Extra cupcake decorators that I used for the plants.

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Thanksgiving and Halloween cards from my parents. And yes, I displayed the envelope because I like the stickers on it.

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Full of candy.

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Bat garland.

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Up close.

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Bathroom door.

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Fridge.

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All lit up!

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This upcoming weekend we plan on carving pumpkins, and on Halloween day, we are going to maybe watch a scary movie and eat candy 😀  Halloween and Halloween II starring Jamie Lee Curtis- yes please!  I also really want to watch Hocus Pocus, but can’t obtain a copy so far….so cross your fingers.  This craving goes unsatisfied every year.

Nice things the Artist has done: He knows I like the bed made because it keeps our room looking tidy and comfy, so he made the bed.  I left early in the morning, and he left later on, so when I came home it was a nice surprise!  He complimented me on my knowledge of art, and was impressed!  He also made this for the dining room, because I have been saying we need a side table in there:

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Nice things I have done: Cleaned the house and did our laundry.  Made the Artist his coffee this morning, and woke him with gentle kisses.  Helped him with an assignment last night by proofreading it, giving my opinion, and reading it out loud to him.  

I can’t wait until this weekend so we can carve pumpkins together.  Here is a photo of our first pumpkin carving session together, mere weeks (maybe about 2?) before we started dating ❤ 

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Happiness is contagious.

Anniversary Gifts

I wanted to share what the Artist and I got each other for our 3rd wedding anniversary.  I posted previously about our story together and photos of our wedding.  We like to fully enjoy and be present 100% for special occasions, so sometimes we do our own private celebrations before or after the actual day.  For example, this past Valentine’s Day, we had our own celebration about 2 weeks after the actual day because that was a better time for us.  That way, we could be committed 100% to that moment.  We were able to spend an entire day and evening together, rather just a little while before the Artist had class or something, and it was also during a window of slower schedules, so our minds were completely focused on being together.  So for our anniversary, we exchanged gifts and celebrated in stages.  In total, we had a nice dinner, exchanged home cards (we do home made cards for every occasion :D), small gifts, movie, baked goods, and time together to share nice words.

For the Artist, I was a little stuck.  It can be hard to think of things that are low in price but still just as thoughtful as the things we always talk about doing or getting one day.  I thought that he would really enjoy something hand sewn by me with our new sewing machine, but didn’t think I would be able to measure him, pick out fabric, and make it without him knowing.  So I thought I would fashion a gift card, so he can choose the item and the fabric etc.  Then I thought, why just one?  So I made a booklet of “Emily Coupons”!  This may look lame, but it was very special.  The coupons included things like making any dinner of his choice- including dessert, any movie of his choice- he often likes really long movies or ones that I don’t have much desire to see, sewing canvas for him, and of course, sewing him any item of clothing he wants.

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I also baked a new recipe for maple cookies, because the Artist loves them, but they didn’t turn out.  I think the best way to go for maple cookies is the kind in a box from the store.

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I also made one of his classic favourites, a pecan pie.  The ultimate goal is to beat the kind from Swiss Chalet, it is the ideal pecan pie.  Mine is pretty good too, and since I have the stuff, he is ready for a second one 😉

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And…..he got me a jewellery box!  Or at least that is how I use it, haha.  I had been saying that my little wooden cigar box was not holding everything- all my stuff was tangled and I couldn’t close the lid or get anything out because it was all messed up.  So when I opened this, I was so excited to organize my accessories into it.  And the style and colours of it are so thoughtful, they are very “me”.

Here it is empty:

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Here it is full:

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And here is my old wooden cigar box, that I now use to hold just my pins:

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I love the red velvet interior, and the old, faded gold paint.  He got it at a second hand, antiquey type store, which is my kind of store 😉  He has even picked out some of the accessories in the past here or has given them to me as gifts.  Some are second hand, some are new, and they are all “fake” and cheap haha!  But I love them.

His gifts, even if they were acquired for free or home made, never fail to become a treasure.  He is so thoughtful and creative.

Sometimes we decide to do a gift exchange and we have to get the gift at the dollar store.  Or it has to be homemade.  And boy, the things we can come up with!  The very best, most ,creative, rarest thing I got for him was for Christmas 2011.  It was a Julian Schnabel book.  He had been yearning hard for it, and for a long, long time.  But it is rare, hard to find, and only a certain, quite low number, of copies exist in the world.  And it is out of print.  Most copies cost hundreds of dollars and are used and beat up, missing pages, the cover is gone, or the spine is detached.  And they still cost a fortune.  I popped into this unique bookstore in Toronto on Queen St. and I couldn’t believe what I saw before me- this book.  And it was in perfect, like-new condition, contained all pages, was beautiful and shiny, and even smelled new still.  And, above all else, was crazy cheap.  So I bought it and lugged the huge thing home on foot.  It was only September, so I had to hide it until Christmas.  I had to tell someone my secret, so I called my mom right away to tell her!  The Artist was still searching on his own for it, so I had to do a little detective work and creative subject changing.  Whenever he saw it for a good deal, which was nothing compared to my deal, he wanted to buy it.  So I was dodging this left, right, and centre!  But usually, the Artist has a sixth sense, and whenever a gift giving occasion happens, he tries to, or actually does, buy what I got him for himself.  And then I discover it and have to tell him why he has to return it lol!  So this Schnabel book was the first time I kept him away with great undercover skills and he had no idea what it was.  The look on his face was priceless, and even more priceless when he found out how cheap it was!

That is all.

This has been a nice reflection, and has helped to soothe me ❤

It has been quite a day.  Hot.  Humid.  Sticky.  Stressing over health issues.  House is a mess because it is too hot to clean.  I need to workout but I don’t have a lock to lock up my new-to-me bike.  I want to indulge in some quiet, laying around time, to get over the stress of my most recent call from the doctor’s office instead.  I need a shower.  We need to budget (this is an every day thing, but when other things add up, it seems treacherous).

Right now, I think I will indulge in a nice shower and pampering of sorts with my good smelling lotions and soaps, then curl up with an old movie, maybe a cartoon, and do nothing.  I tend to be a worrier, and I know that if indulge in this quiet, me-time to process things, I will feel better tomorrow.  If I don’t, the feelings will linger and disrupt several days instead of just one.  So I find zapping it right away is best, if the day permits it.  And today, it is permitting.  Cleaning can wait.  My mental health comes first 😉

And when the Artist gets home, he always knows exactly what to do to help me feel better.  Another one of his sixth senses.

The neurons in your brain take the path of easiest travel, which are the connections used most often.  They are the strongest.  So even in stressful times, positive thinking and positive self-talk can make a difference by strengthening those neurons to be the ones most travelled.  So here’s to thinking about the good; I have a great and loving family who support me no matter what.  I have a wonderful, husband, so wonderful there are no words to describe it.  I am living in St. Louis in a very eclectic apartment, which is very “Emily and her Artist”.  I may not have much money in the bank, but I am so rich with love ❤

Happily Married for 3 Years.

Today is the Artist and I’s 3rd wedding anniversary.  It also marks about 3 years and 9.5 months of dating, and about 3 years and 11.5 months of knowing each other.  That’s right, we were married less then 1 year after the day we first met, and the rest is history.  I was looking for a room to rent in a house while attending Georgian College, but wanted to live in Barrie instead of Orillia (I was attending the Orillia campus).  There was a cheap room for rent in a great location near the Barrie campus, but close to the highway for easy access to get to my campus.  Everyone thought I should live at home and drive every day- but I wanted my own space again, and it is a pretty far drive.  On a whim, I decided to view the room for rent with my mom at the last minute.  I had just got off work, I was working as a nanny at the time, and went right away.  I felt like I needed a shower, and instead of putting on some makeup I threw on some sunglasses and off I went.  The Artist answered the door and showed me around, he too was renting a room there, and his family owned the house, so he helped them out my giving tours and posting ads online.  My first impression: what a cutie!  Holy crap.  The first things I noticed about him here his cheeks- man they looked so soft and squishy and kissable, and his smile- nice, full lips with perfect straight, white teeth, and those eyes- the lightest shade of blue I have ever seen, that now melt my heart every time.  He showed me and my mom around, and was super nice.  Meanwhile, I haven’t taken my sunglasses off because I wasn’t expecting such a good lookin’ guy, and my mom embarrasses me by telling me to take my sunglasses off because we are in the house!  Haha!  Oh well, he saw me with no makeup, unwashed hair, a coral coloured top and a white skirt.  He always tells me how he remembers because to him, apparently I looked good au natural.  I don’t even remember what he was wearing, I was too busy looking at his gorgeous eyes.

So afterwards, in the car, I am chatting with my mom.  We both agreed that for a student house it was incredibly clean, organized, in great shape, and that the Artist seemed nice.  The room was really small, I think something like 10ft by 8 or 9 ft, but it was really cheap and I had access to the rest of the house.  So I took it, without viewing any other place or even looking into anything else.  I moved in just after the Labour Day weekend.  The Artist and I quickly became good friends, best friends actually.  We were super close.  We shared groceries and split the bill, ate meals together, went to the gym together, hung out together, did everything together.  I really started to like him.  In fact, people assumed we were dating, even though we weren’t, he was actually dating someone else at the time, so I didn’t say anything and denied my friends’ accusations that I liked him.  But one drunken night, our true feelings came out, and we became officially boyfriend and girlfriend.  We were best friends who were in love with each other before we even had our first kiss.

Less then 2 months later was Christmas, and the Artist got me a promise ring, which I wore on my right hand ring finger.  He said that it was a promise that the next ring would be for “this finger” as he grabbed my left hand ring finger.  When we went to bed that night, he said to me, “just so you know, I am going to ask” and I replied, “just so you know, I am going to say yes” and that we shared one of the best embraces ever.  As we finished up the school year, we were driving home from a Trivia Night event and the Artist mentioned something about “when we get married….” and then realized he had mentioned getting married and started stumbling and trying not to “scare” me.  But I just looked at him and giggled, saying I had been thinking about it too.  We talked about what we wanted in a wedding, which ended up being very little.  Neither of us seemed to care too much about anything other then being officially married.  So we decided that despite having no money, we could still manage it.  So we picked out an engagement ring together, and made the announcement that we were getting married in 2 months.  There was availability at the Station on the Green in Creemore, and since we didn’t have the means, nor the desire, for anything fancy, why wait?  It sounds crazy, I know.  But if you knew us, and saw us together, it just fits.  My parents weren’t really surprised, they saw it coming, and other close family members predicted it as well.  We literally planned everything and bought everything in 1 day.  We bought the rings, my dress, and the Artist’s suit, all of which were “off the rack” because they fit perfectly and didn’t need to be ordered.  We decided who would do the flowers, who would marry us, that we would get married at 7pm and serve appetizers and desserts, and a family friend would take the photos.  Family friends helped serve the food, tend the bar, set up the music which was just an iPod, and decorate.  The only person we hired was the one who married us.  I wore a necklace the Artist gave me for Valentine’s Day, shoes I already had, there was no bridal party, themes, colours, or dinner, I made the invites and the cake myself (which was cherry cheesecake!), etc.  Super simple, cheap, and small- approximately less then 50 people.  But it was a very intimate wedding, we got to visit with everyone.  Neither of us wanted to be a part of the billion dollar industry that weddings have become these days, which is why we invited only our immediate family.  And since we are each other’s best friend, we wanted only us up at the alter.  We wanted to highlight our future lives together, and for the day to be about our marriage, and not about the wedding.  A wedding is one day, but a marriage is forever.  This is why we did things the way we did, and even though some didn’t agree, we were extremely happy with it.  We have the same attitudes for most things, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc.  There is a lot of “buying for the sake of buying” and lots of unnecessary stuff.  We try and make our holiday celebrations to be about spending time together, and any gifts we exchange are just a bonus.  Often, we don’t even exchange gifts, but rather just home made cards, loving words, and do something like have a movie night in, or go to the park for a picnic, or something along those lines.  And we often do little things for each other on a regular basis, because who says you need a holiday to do so?

Back to the wedding haha.

There was this 1 moment that I will never forget- walking down the aisle.  We did not follow tradition, not only did the Artist see me before the wedding, he helped me pick out my dress and we did a lot of photos before the ceremony.  So we came to the venue and went in the back to wait a few minutes as everyone sat down.  Then the officiant came in and said all was ready and the Artist went out with him to the alter.  My dad had a tearful talk with me about how proud he was and how much he loved the Artist, I took his arm, and emerged out the doors.  I saw Steve, the Artist’s cousin’s now husband, playing the guitar as I began to walk- Rod Stewart’s have you ever seen the rain, just an instrumental version.  I turned the corner and he smiled as he hit the part of the song “I know…” and that is when I saw the Artist at the other end of the alter.  That moment will be forever frozen in time.  Nothing could have changed the way that I felt at that very moment.  I am even getting teared up as I type this story, it is very special to me.  I could have been wearing pyjamas, it could have been in a courthouse, it could have been raining- nothing would have changed the way that I felt.  Seeing the Artist’s gorgeous smile and walking down the aisle to marry him was the most important thing to me, and watching me walk down the aisle to marry him was the most important thing to him.

As we progressed through the ceremony, we both held back our tears, and became husband and wife.  Following that was a few more photos, and then we had our first dance.  No speeches, no seating chart, no nothing, it was a free for all.  There were hot and cold appetizers, munchies, desserts, and a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  We had a great night visiting with our immediate family, and arrived at our hotel in the wee hours of the morning, chauffeured around by my father.  We had a huge heart to heart, and I cried my make up off with all my happy tears.

By this time we were living in Newmarket, I was finishing up school- both a degree and a diploma.  The Artist was done is BFA, and was applying for grad school, exhibiting his work, and working part time.  After I finished up at Georgian, we moved to Toronto.  There, I finished up my degree, and started working as a nanny, and the Artist as a cook in a fine Italian restaurant, still applying to grad school and making art.  We had loads of adventures in Toronto, and then as the Artist was walking home from work, we crossed paths as I was walking to the TTC stop to go to work.  He had been listening to a message on his phone- he had got accepted to Washington University in St. Louis for a Master’s of Fine Art, with a hefty scholarship.  I cried.  I was so happy for him.  I don’t know how, but somehow, we managed to move to St. Louis, Missouri shortly thereafter.

We have been here a year now, and it has been amazing.  I dearly miss the family I nannied for, and hope we can visit with them soon.  But St. Louis has been one crazy adventure.  My parents have drove down to visit twice now, the first time my aunt and brother came along too.  Geez, I love my family so freaking much.  They have been so helpful, supportive, and generous through all of this.  I can’t wait to see them again.  The Artist’s family has been incredibly supportive and generous as well, we are very lucky to have such great families.  Since being in St. Louis I have been able to make some great steps for my own career by meeting some great people and experiencing some great opportunities.  The Artist is out right now on his second day of his Teaching Assistantship for this year, and his first day of class.  This next year is going to just fly by, and who knows where the next opportunity will take us.  We are mobile right now, and are taking advantage of it while it exists, because it won’t exist forever.

These last few years have been a whirlwind, but what an amazing one.  I can’t imagine it any other way ❤

Cheers to the second half of our St. Louis adventure, and whatever may follow 😀

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Special Edition Sister Post

I just couldn’t wait to do another special edition family post, “remember when…” style!  My last post got me thinking about my family, I just had to get it all out to the world, because I have such a great family!

For Sherilee…

Remember when we were pen pals when we were young?  And how you used to always send me homemade beaded jewellery with your letters?  I still have some of them.

Remember when you worked in Creemore at the Tea House, and we came for ice cream while you were working?

Remember when you were a lifeguard and we would come swimming when you were on duty?  And you gave us little toys that sank to go diving for?

Remember when I got married, and you made all those delicious desserts?  And how supportive, helpful, and wonderful you were?  I could think of no one better to bear witness to my special day.

Remember when you an Allan came camping, the summer I was entering high school?  And you taught us all how to play president?  It is still Sean’s favourite game.

Remember the trip to Florida this past Christmas?  And how much fun it was?  And how Steve melted the tea kettle?  And how Allan was our on-call handy man?  And all those games of Taboo and chocolate martinis?  And our big 5am talk in the car about careers, children, working moms, etc.?

Remember when we used to get out the skipping ropes in the house when we were younger?  Yet there was a huge yard outside….maybe it was winter.

Remember teaching us how to make swamp water by mixing different juices?

Remember how you got me connected to Guelph University?  And how that has saved the Artist and I many times?

Remember how you and Allan helped me with all my resumes, cover letters, and job applications?

Remember when we were kids, and you used to get to stay up later then us because you were older, and I was so jealous?

Remember when you came to a wedding with us (one of my uncles got married?), and I was sick the entire time, and slept through most of it, and then proceeded to throw up in the car on the way home?

Remember the wedding we went to in Ottawa, and drank shots all night and danced our faces off?

Remember the countless times we have laughed so hard our cheeks were sore?  Usually because of some crazy story about the Artist and I, or something the Artist did that was hilarious?

Remember when you got married, and how beautiful you looked?  I knew I was in the presence of true love.  You and Allan are just amazing, very inspiring people.  And so generous to provide us with the means to travel to be there.

I could name a million more.  I am so lucky to have such an amazing sister.  You have such an impressive resume, it is intimidating (haha!).  You motivate me to work hard and go for what I want.  You were very helpful in breaking my “impostor syndrome”, insisting that it me and my intelligence pulling off assignments and exams with little preparation, and getting wicked grades with little effort.  I cannot believe you are getting a PhD.  That makes me speechless.  I love telling everyone about my sister and her husband, and the adventures they go on and the places they go.  I am so grateful that we have a strong relationship, and even though we live far away, when we get together it is like no time has passed at all.

I am looking forward to next time we are together, and the insane laughter we will share 😉

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