Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Daily Jamie

Weekday Picnic

I can't remember if she invited us, or just mentioned her plans and I decided to crash them, but on Monday evening Jamie and I joined Linda and Sukai for a picnic during Alicia's handball practice. We packed up our blanket, cheese and crackers, cold chicken drumsticks, watermelon, and, most importantly, a couple of balls, and met up at the field near the middle school to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. The kids had a blast running around, climbing trees, and kicking balls, and so did I, on top of which I felt like an awesome mom for picnicking on a weeknight. Monday is arguably the lamest day of the week, but this felt like vacation and got me totally pumped for the rest of the summer and late, light evenings like this.  

Rebecca And Jonathan Say I Zoo

The bride and me, at her rehearsal dinner.
Okay, here we finally are! So, almost three whole weeks ago, Becca and Jonathan had their wedding ceremony rehearsal. Everything went really smoothly, partly because they had planned everything so spectacularly and everyone was on the ball, and also because the location's team of wedding planners were pretty much amazing. They were so fun that I kind of miss them, actually, hah! 

All of these loud Americans are scary / I'm a very cuddly individual.
After the rehearsal, the whole gang of folks involved in the wedding headed to a park on a riverbank with a party room where we ate great food and heard a bunch of touching speeches. Tears were shed. Becca and Jonathan handed out presents to those of us in the wedding party and Jamie even got a Lego kit, despite refusing to be the "ring bear".
It didn't take a photo per day for almost five years for the professional to figure out you get
the best shots when you sneak 'em.
See what I mean? He didn't sneak here.
Anna and Becca. The best ladies.
Ask any woman: when your girlfriend gets married, you WORK.
Then it was the big day! All the ladies went our separate ways to get our hair done in the morning, then met up at Becca's hotel suite for makeup. Then, looking gorg, we all headed over to the zoo.
So apparently Becca is a model who has just been going around acting like a normal person as long as I've known her.

Oh, yeah! Did I mention yet that they got married in the botanical garden at The Toledo Zoo and had the reception in the aquarium? BEST. LOCATION. EVER. Seriously, the setting did all the work for them. It was gorgeous and there was so much to see that there was no risk of any dull moments. 
More of this trio because I miss them.
The Boss of the Wedding.
Becca and Jonathan were super cool about the ceremony and let me write whatever I wanted. So several months ago I interviewed them about what they loved most about each other and valued about their relationship. Their responses were really sweet and honest and funny, which made my job easy because I just made them vow to continue doing all the things that they were already doing that made each other happy.
It was all just too perfect for words.

I think they were really surprised (at one point Becca said, "Wait, do I have to promise that?" Hah!) and hopefully pleased. It was short and sweet and there were tears and a lot of laughter and it was a lot of fun, at least for me!
I told some really hilarious jokes during the vows.

Love it, love it, love it! P.S. Check out the smokin' hot, bearded Viking on the far right.
Instead of a big cake they had sugar cookies in zoo animal shapes. I mean, c'mon!!!
They had their posed pictures taken before the ceremony, so after the "I do's" it was straight into the party! With an open bar, a touch tank where you could pet stingrays, plus sharks, jellyfish, turtles, and tropical fish wherever you looked, there was plenty to do and see during the cocktail hour.
Becca's mom, sister, the bride, yours truly, Anna. And, like, a hundred jellyfish.

After a bit, dinner was served, followed by speeches and plenty of dancing. It was seriously one of the very best days ever and I'm so honored to have been a part of it.
The Troublemakers' Table.

Monday, May 23, 2016


It is obviously taking me forever to get around to telling you all about Becca and Jonathan's wedding, but that turned out to be a good thing because their photographer has already managed to get their professional shots back to them. That means that when I do get around to posting, I'll be able to show you really nice pictures instead of just ones I took with my phone. But until then! 

The Swede, Jamie and I drove our Mustang to Toledo on May 5th, the Thursday before the wedding, so that I could go out with the bride and groom and some of their nearest and dearest for a combined, low-key bachelor/bachelorette party at a brewery.
They served chicken paprikash and chilli dogs from my favorite Toledo restaurant, Tony Packo's, plus a couple of pizzas, and brought Cards Against Humanity, a hilarious party game. Since it was Cinco de Mayo, someone brought bride and groom sombreros for Becca and Jonathan to wear. I got to see Becca's little sister, who I hadn't seen in years, meet some of the couple's closest friends, and, best of all, I got to hang with Anna and her mom. Anna is friends with a few different friends of mine from college, so while weren't ever close while we were at Marietta (save a really cozy Easter dinner at her mom's house my senior year), we have gotten to know each other at events surrounding three different weddings since graduation. And let me tell you, she is amazing. She's the most positive person you'll ever meet and just being around her makes you smile. Jamie fell in love with Anna after three seconds and couldn't get enough of her the entire time we were in Toledo. I made her promise that she'd come visit us in Sweden next summer and she seemed into it, so here's hoping. 
So, the party was a lot of fun - too much fun, if you ask the waitress who had to clean up my spilled drink and who then returned with a refill in a sippy cup. I got to see how perfect Becca and Jonathan are together and it made me feel great about the wedding ceremony that I had written for them. I was also totally impressed by how chill they both were about the big events ahead of them. It was a very good start to an awesome wedding weekend.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Daily Jamie

Talk, Eat, Walk, Repeat

It's been almost two years since I've been back to Cleveland, so I wanted to maximize our time with Mom, Ray, and my grandparents. I love just being in their homes with them; everything feels so familiar. We don't ever really do anything in particular, besides eat good food and talk, talk, talk. And that's EXACTLY the way I like it. 
We did spend some time walking, though. Here, with Mom and Ray's rescue greyhounds, Rio and Cooper, who Jamie just loved. Jambo gave up the walking part after a bit, obvs. 
I also insisted on a stroll around my grandparents' neighborhood (during which my loved ones spotted something fascinating on the sidewalk, apparently).
And The Swede had the great idea to check out Viaduct Park, a stream hidden in the middle of town with a breathtaking waterfall. I hand't been there since we'd gotten engaged and had totally forgotten how beautiful it is. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Daily Jamie

April 29th
April 30th
May 1st
May 2nd
Chuck E. Cheese's. I don't know who was most thrilled.
May 4th
Mom took us to a candy warehouse and told Jamie to go buck wild, which he gleefully did.
May 7th
May 8th
May 9th
May 10th
Right before his grandma and I managed to talk him out of a poop-themed birthday party.
May 11th
May 12th
May 14th
May 15th

Getting Around

I've been so sporadic in the past year or so, you probably didn't even notice that I haven't posted in over two weeks, but the fact of the matter is I haven't. In case you did notice and were wondering where the heck we've been (though it's more likely, since you're reading this now, that you actually know me and knew exactly where we've been), we just got back from a couple of weeks in Ohio! We visited family and friends and attended my friend Becca's wedding, and while I didn't take a ton of pictures, I'll try to get you (and my family's sleeping schedule) up-to-date in the coming days.
But before we get to the fun stuff, I just want to give any of you international travelers out there a piece of advice: DO NOT fly into the United States through Chicago O'Hare. The three-hour customs line that caused us and hundreds, if not thousands, of others to miss their evening flights and become stranded in Chicago for the night, was nightmarish. I am vowing here and now never to fly through Chicago again. That night in a hotel on the outskirts of the city was enough for me; I never need to see that place again and I won't even miss that gorgeous neon walkway.
But really, after that night in Chicago, when we woke up across the street from a Dunkin' Donuts and only had a few more hours until we would touch down in C-Town, things were looking up. When we finally arrived in Cleveland, Mom picked us up at the airport and took us home to freshen up, then straight over to my grandparents for dinner with the whole family. Aunts, uncles, cousins... almost everyone was there. Unfortunately I didn't take a single picture, but my excuse is a good one: I was just having too great a time to thinking of it. 
The next day, Mom took us to pick up our rental car and while I was signing the papers on the economy vehicle I had already booked and paid for, The Swede walked in from the parking lot and said to the lady behind the counter, "How about you hook us up with the Mustang instead?" And she totally did! It was totally impractical and had Jamie not been equally enthusiastic about our ride we would have had to wrestle him into the cramped back seat, but we were all so excited that we didn't even notice how ridiculous it was. And listen, I don't usually get all worked up about stuff like this, but that car made me feel like the queen of dang road and I enjoyed every second behind the wheel. So, yeah, no pictures of my loving American family, but a roll of film worth of us posing all over and around that red 2016 Ford Mustang. 
There's lots more to come, so stay tuned!