30 December, 2009

2009: Our Year in Review


Here is most of my letter to best-nun-friend, Erin! Sorry I didn't include all the pictures :)

Anyway, this year has been incredible. God has truly, truly blessed us. What started out as a hectic year with both my Dad’s parents passing away, it finished with blessings. Connor turned one. Deirdre and Alex’s relationship continues to strengthen, though they still need lots of prayers. David and Paige continue to rescue puppies and kitties until they’re ready for a family (which I hope is soon!!!). Eric’s sister, Leeann married the love of her life, Dan and they continue to live in Boston (hoping for a trip there this summer). And last but not least, Eric and I tied the knot!

The wedding was so beautiful - things that dreams are made of, although it went by so quickly. Everyone warned me that this would be the case, so I remembered to periodically breathe and take in the moment - now my memories are like 10 seconds of highlight-real style flashbacks. Thank goodness for photographers, right? Oh, and my aunt surprised us by giving us not only all the videos she took during the wedding, but the video camera! (So naturally I’ve been documenting newlywed life. We’re pretty hysterical (or insane, I’m not sure)).

What else have we been up to? Two weeks after the wedding I did back to back Confirmation retreats of 90 kids each, whew! Ran a 5k on Thanksgiving with Eric and some friends. Went to Highlands for family time. Been setting up the apartment (only to pack it up this week since we’re moving to a 2 bed/2bad on Jan 3). Going to Notre Dame game watches and doing Dayton Alumni service projects. Somewhere in the last 8 months we went to/were in seven weddings, not counting our own Did I mention that Eric went to Japan for 10 days? How cool is that? And that I went to Belle Glade, Florida on a mission trip?


Married life is awesome (as are all the benefits!!!). We’ve been settling in to the routine of two independent personalities trying to live life with a constant buddy. Certainly a cause for growth. Eric’s been awesome at keeping up with the laundry and I usually keep up with the kitchen chores. Everything else we do in small doses (the place is only 750 square feet) and typically do them together (for now...haha!)

Everyone on the Corsetti side came home for Christmas. It was fun to reinstate our little kid traditions even though we’re in our twenties and are now married (with kids!). I know my parents relish in our togetherness, so it was hard to establish new boundaries, routines and traditions. A few tears were had this year as we all experienced the growing pains of our changing family, but in the end we laughed and simply remembered the real meaning of Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Family. PS: Aren’t the snowman cookies adorable?

What are we looking forward to in 2010? I will begin my third semester of graduate school, of which I am in no rush to complete. I will be taking two graduate level Education classes and I’m a bit nervous, but such is the start of every semester for me!!! Eric and I have a few races on the books including a sprint distance triathlon (500m swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run), a 10k run, and a half marathon run. Eric is going the distance and attempting a full marathon. Did I tell you he did a Half Ironman this year? (I may have married a psycho) After race season I think we’re going to try to start a family, though we’ll see what God’s plans are. I’m excited and can’t wait, but I also want to finish the semester of school and a few races (selfish me, I know). We’re also both hoping to make it to Nicaragua for a mission trip this year - we’ll see what God has in store for us!

23 December, 2009

Snowmen Cookies

My friend Natalie has an awesome blog where she catalogs cool household ideas - things like fun recipes, cute ways to decorate, or a new craft project - her own or found on the internet.  A few weeks ago I saw these snowmen cookies on her blog with a link to the original owners cookie design website, complete with step by step instructions (yes, 4 pages of them!). 

Katie and I needed some creative down time so we decided tackle the fondant and homemade frosting and give them a try!  Good thing I read the directions a week early because this recipe called for very specific ingredients, chill times, baking instructions...you get the idea.  What I thought would be an hour of fun turned into 1.5 days of prep work and about 5 hours of well orchestrated decorating time.

Regardless of the chaos to get these babies started, we had so much fun decorating them and giving them personalities.  Be sure to check out the photos of them below and the link to Natalie’s blog where she featured our success!  I’ve also included a link to the original website (if you decide to make them, be sure to click the links on all the ingredients - also we used Wilton products because we don’t have access to Americolor - enjoy!)





17 December, 2009

St. Practice Day - December

There is an Irish bar near my parents house called, Olde Blind Dog.  Every 17th of the month they celebrate what they call, “Saint Practice Day” - a day to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  Genius!

Of course, with it being walking distance from my parents, we have to go every 17th.  We also have St. Practice Day shirts which double as our coupon for the night.  Every month there is a different giveaway or discount depending on what’s listed on the tshirt.  So in October they gave away an Olde Blind Dog hat for anyone who came wearing their Practice Day shirt.  Last night we got $10 gift cards!!!

On top of us each getting a $10 gift card, Katie won the half-hourly door prize of $15 gift card.  Since she doesn’t have any OBD paraphernalia she bought her self a red shirt!

We’re sad Alex & Dee couldn’t make it last night - but we went pretty late and Connor was in bed.

Cheers!

15 December, 2009

A Year Ago Today: Reflection on our Engagement Story

I hadn't even remember until I woke up to an email from my inlaws congratulating us on our "one year anniversary of being engaged".  Cute, huh?

Without repeating everything, you can find the story here. What's not included in the story are all the little ways God was working in our hearts the few weeks before the actual engagement.

Back in October of 2008, I had been having some serious doubts of marrying Eric. I had asked for friends to pray for us.  Eric and I had decided to give our relationship a few more months before we pulled the plug.  During that time of Oct - Dec, God worked in incredible ways.

Part of my heart was questioning my vocation.  I had done a lot of discernment in college but at put it on the back burner because God was either telling me "it's not for you" or "not right now".  And during the Fall of '08 we had some Sisters visiting at Saint Brigid.  My heart panicked.  Perhaps this is why I was questioning if Eric and I should be married.  And that very week I prayed and prayed and prayed.   On the very night Eric bought my engagement ring (I didn't even know he was ring shopping) I sat before the Blessed Sacrament and listened to the Sisters talk about the beauty of the vocation of marriage.  I totally surrendered my heart to God and said, "Lord, thy will be done".   I continued to wrestle with the two vocations.  One exact week from that night, I was on my way from the gym to work and said, "okay God, I get it.  I'm supposed to marry Eric" and that afternoon, as I was sitting in my Holy Hour, Eric surprised me and proposed!!!!!

The cool tie in, is that Eric had been having his doubts too, but prayed & prayed while we were in Adoration on a Confirmation retreat.  It was then that he realized I was "the one" and that he should propose to me during Adoration.

God is good!

12 December, 2009

Christmas Off Campus

One on the neat things about going to the University of Dayton is that every year on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (our schools patroness), campus would be closed for class but one of the greatest celebrations of the year took place:  Christmas on Campus.

Christmas On Campus consisted of hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights all over campus, ice sculptures, rappelling santa, game booths put on by all the clubs, hot chocolate, and everyone’s favorite, “adopt a kid”.  Kids from poor neighborhoods would be bussed in and students could “adopt” them for the night.  The students would take their kid around campus to play games, see the lights, get their picture with Santa, and drink hot chocolate.  The night would end with just the students celebrating Immaculate Conception Mass together, our last big event together before exams and Christmas break.

This event has put our campus on the map, and students from all over attend UD just because of Christmas on Campus.  Due to its popularity, alumni have decided to take this event to their home cities and thus Christmas Off Campus was born.

Every year on the Saturday after Immaculate Conception, alumni gather in their city for a kid oriented service project and a Mass celebration.

My grandfather, also and alum, and I have been serving together in this capacity since before I even graduated from UD.  It’s become our special tradition each year! 

This was our first year celebrating Mass with our Chapter, so of course I was happy to volunteer to plan it.  We’re also incredibly blessed that on Director of Vocations of the diocese is an alum as well, so he celebrated the Mass for us!  Fr. Luke was able to connect summers spend on the roof of “the castle” at UD to the joyful spirit of Advent in his homily.  A few of the alum sing & play instruments so they started a little ensemble that played during Mass as well.  A true UD liturgy!

We finished the night with a potluck at an alum’s house near by, where the drinking and eating began...in true UD fashion!

Merry Christmas Off Campus!

30 November, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

We started off the morning with a brisk 5k run (walk) to benefit MUST Ministries with our friend Sarah.








This year for Thanksgiving Eric and I stayed in Atlanta to celebrate with the Buergler’s and their long-time family friends, the Litwin’s house. Last year I found it rather exhausting to figure out 20+ years of family traditions and inside jokes, but this year was a much easier transition.  While not spent with my mom’s family at the Cabin, it was a great place to be for Thanksgiving!   As tradition has it, the young guys challenge the “wily veterans” to just about every game imaginable: horseshoes, corn hole, bocce, ping pong, pool, beer pong, etc. This year the wily veterans won, but not without the young guys claiming the old guys cheat.  Tim let me proxy for him while he was carving the turkey, and I took home the gold in the champagne cork shooting contest: the young guys couldn’t contest, I was the clear winner :)

Friday morning, Irene and I tackled the Lenox Mall.  She let me sleep-in (which means  we didn’t leave the condo until 6am. ha!).  After she treated me to Starbucks, we hit the four story Macy’s in Buckhead.  Bargain after bargain, I came home with some shoes, scarves, shirt, and our pots & pan set (and 2 bonus gifts!).  We also scouted out deals for this coming week’s Friends & Family sale.  Don’t worry Macy’s, we’ll be back!

After shopping, Tim, Irene, Eric and I piled into the Liberty and took off for my grandparents cabin in Highlands, NC where we continued Thanksgiving with more eating and drinking.  Of course, we went into town for shopping and hiking.  Eric and I got a great deal on a TV media center stand for our living room, and my parents were generous to haul it home for us.

All-in-all a blessed First Thanksgiving as a married couple!  Below is guest video-blogger, Rebecca’s videos of our hiking on Saturday - enjoy!

24 November, 2009

Post Wedding - Whew!

First of all, I apologize for the delay in updating the website and in posting pictures from the wedding.  I (Elizabeth) was swamped with leading two retreats (90 teens each), a trip to the soup kitchen with 30 teens, a trip to the corn maze with 20 middle schoolers, wrapping up a Confirmation program, and planning double-header Confirmation Masses with the Archbishop.  Never mind setting up house, adjusting to living with a husband, and working out all the kinks that come with being newly married.

We’ve finally opened gifts (THANK YOU!), set up the apartment, and have settled in to as much of a routine as possible given the above.  And now, we’re moving!  Fortunately it’s to a bigger apartment, in a building caddy-corner to the one we’re in now, but still...six weeks of “do I move this from my parents house now or wait?” ensues.

A few fun things about our married life:
 Sunday’s I plan our meals for the week and Eric goes to the grocery
 Eric doesn’t mind doing the laundry.  He is good at folding and putting away the clothes
 I usually do all the cooking, but Eric is the resident veggie chopper
 Eric created an easy to remember system - his side of the bed is on the right, therefore his clothes in the closet, towel on the rack, tooth brush in the holder (you get the point) are on the right....leave it to the engineer to come up with a “system”
 We don’t have cable (or even basic channels)

23 November, 2009

Georgia Aquarium

In search of the, “as promised on the radio” new penguin exhibit, Mandi, Katie & I used my three free passes to the Aquarium on the first day of Thanksgiving break.

The penguin exhibit was a third the size of the old one and half the cold-water section was blocked off.  Needless to say, we were a little disappointed in the false advertising and from the looks of it we won’t be seeing our chilly friends until the new dolphin exhibit opens next year.  Sad.
Alas we still had fun making fish noises, fish faces and making up fish drama as we walked the glass walled hallways.


17 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} The Road Home


What a long road it was.  We waited until the last minute to leave our hotel room, knowing we would need our energy for the drive and red-eye flight.  Having been to the Bernardus dinner 2 nights earlier, we decided we needed to return home with some wine, so we went back for another tasting.  Next, we headed to lunch at a place recommended by one of our wine dinner companions.  It was on our way to San Fran and sounded good, so Phil’s Fish Market was a must.  Upon arrival, we knew it was going to be great based on the lack of parking and the clientele, a mix of must be locals and motorcyclists.  The place was indeed worth the trip though we were glad it was day time.

After a great lunch, for me at least (E had too much fried food), we had plenty of time, so we thought a trip along CA Hwy 1 would be a great coastal drive.  We stopped at Santa Cruz’s boardwalk on the north end of Monterey Bay and decided it was not worth fighting the crowds.  Back in the car, we continued along Hwy 1 to see plenty of cyclists and kite & wind surfers.  We made an impromptu stop at a lighthouse were we took some pictures and enjoyed the coastal views.  After some HEAVY traffic in Half Moon Bay for some festival, we finally made it to the airport area where we made a repeat visit to In N Out Burger and gassed up before the dreaded airport, where we now sit for 3 hours before our 5 hour red-eye flight.
-Eric

16 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} Carmel & Monterey




We awoke to a slow morning after our late night dinner and drinking at Bernardus.  We did not leave the room until around 2, but we were still able to accomplish quite a bit of sightseeing.  The first stop was Carmel beach, which has beautiful seaside houses along tree lined roads, then drops down 10’ to sandy beach.  Next was a visit to the neighboring town of Monterey, where we stopped by the aquarium for the last hour and then walked Cannery Row, a once famous sardine canning section of town that has been converted to shops and restaurants.  Now that night had set in we headed back to Carmel for dessert at a little bistro with live music in the plaza square before going back to our hotel for a movie.
-Eric

{Honeymoon} Dinner at Bernardus


Last night’s dinner deserves it’s own post.  When Eric was goggling things to do in Carmel, he noticed that a nearby winery was hosting their annual Anniversary Dinner, so he signed us up.
Upon arrival, we quickly discovered we were by far the youngest people there, and definitely the least experienced wine drinkers.  At least we have beer tasting experience, so we could “fake it” enough :)

The evening began with two wines paired with cheese and a prosciutto focaccia appetizer. After thirty or so minutes we were seated, by name card, in the ballroom.  The flower arrangements were stunning, complete with fresh grapes and grape vines.

The menus were at our seats, along with several sets of silverware and more wine glasses than I could count.  I’ve never sat at such a formal table (Katie, I thought about your table setting test - this would have been the crème de la crème).  We introduced ourselves to our neighbors and learned that we were among some “famous” people. One man did signal processing for the department of defense.  One man helped invent wine storage software for anyone from a individual collector up to places like the Bellagio. Another man was the head concierge at the Sheridan hotel in Maui (where the Buergler’s stayed for Christmases) and was presently studying for his level 2 sommelier exam.  Never mind that he also was a brew master for Sierra Nevada for a few years.  I have never met someone with such a rich food and wine vocabulary and working knowledge of flavors and pairings.  Impressive.

Needless to say, Eric and I felt like peons, but we warmly welcomed and found our company to be delightful.  We admitted our shortcomings and everyone at the table helped describe the food and wine to us. They even convinced me to eat fish! The man who had been the brew master and is now the sommelier was able to draw helpful parallels between the two worlds.

And now for the good stuff!  Dinner included:
Crab Salad
cucumber gazpacho, navel oranges, breakfast radish
Petrale Sole
kind david apple, chervil, creamy fennel sauce
Roasted Capon Leg <>
chanterelle mushrooms, currents, kadota fig, foie gras, black truffle
palate cleanser
Veal Rib-eye
chestnuts, brussel sprouts, house made bacon, cipollini onions
Pink Apple Panna Cotta
cinnamon stick creme anglaise, garden mint, spiced <>
Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies (to go)
Every bite was better than the last. The wines paired perfectly, even the sommelier agreed!  Our table was the last to leave, we all hugged and exchanged information - what good company! 
As we were leaving, the valet pulled around a brand new black Bentley.  Too bad we were going home in the Dodge Charger rental :)
Be sure to check out http://www.bernardus.com/lodge/ for a small sample of the views and service!

15 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} Carmel-by-the-sea


Last night Eric and I arrived at secret location #2: Carmel-by-the-Sea.  And yes, Aunt Keri, it is right next to the artichoke capital of the world!  After our tour of the Carriage House Inn, Eric and I found a nearby place for dinner.  The place we chose had outside dining with a fire place.  We had a great dinner and stayed cozy warm!

This morning we slept in and woke up to breakfast delivery.  With nothing on the agenda, we took our time eating & getting ready for the day.

We walked through most of Carmel before lunch.  The town reminds us of Highlands, but is a little bigger and includes some designer shops like Coach, J. Crew, and Anthropologie and dozens of art & antique galleries.  Eric’s doing his best to keep me from spending all our honeymoon money.  So far, only one gag-gift purchased!

Lunch was at a seafood restaurant the innkeeper recommended last night.  And then we walked through town again in search of the perfect snack.  We found a sweet shop and enjoyed one too many pieces of fudge.

Although the town & weather are perfect, the wedding/traveling exhaustion finally set in, so we spent much of the afternoon paying bills, watching CSI, and catching a little shut eye.  I finally made Eric call the rental car company to see what could be down about the broken splash guard the has been dragging along the road as we drive.  Good thing we called it an early day, because it’s taken Eric over an hour to remove it.

We have early dinner reservations in “the valley” (a surprise location to me), that I believe involves some wine!

14 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} Sequoia pt 2




I woke up this morning to Eric blinding me with sunshine as he opened the hotel curtains to find that it was no longer raining!  We quickly packed, ate, and were back in the car as to take full advantage of the sunny day.

First on our stop was the half mile hike around the General Sherman tree, largest tree in the world by volume. The tree was impressive, as were the dozens of trees of epic proportions.

Next we drove through a fallen tree.  Eric and I both thought it was going to be that we drove through the tree “long ways” but when we got there we were disappointed to find out that it was more like a true tunnel.  It was kind of lame.

Our last major stop before leaving Sequoia was to climb to the top of Moro Rock (437 stairs & 300 feet to be exact) to achieve an elevation of nearly 7000 ft.  The view was like nothing I’ve seen in the US.  In the ten minutes we stood atop the mountain, we saw the clouds roll up and over us - at some points blocking our view beyond two to three feet, yet just on the other side of us was a clear sunny view of the valley.  So strange.

We ate one last meal at Wuksachi Lodge, looked at a few more Facebook wedding albums, and began our road trip to....???

The drive (we’re still in the car) has been entertaining: grape farms, almond silos, llamas, cows on parade, mini-canals for farming, wind farms, small towns and random port-o-potties on the sides of mountains.

(By the way, the rock lodged under the car in yesterday’s video has caused us a little trouble today. We have the undercarriage of the car duct taped together since a screw or two fell out.  Ooops!)

13 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} Sequoia pt 1




The first of two days in the National Parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon, we awoke to rain and cold.  As we tried to gear up for the inclement weather we both realized we were severely underprepared for rain (stupid forecast).  We set off nonetheless, determined to make the best of our honeymoon.  We drove back the way we had come in the previous night, thinking it would be much easier going even in the rain, but we quickly discovered snow/slush covered roads and had to go even slower.  We stopped at Kings Canyon Lodge for lunch and road updates and continued on to the Grant Tree, the nation’s Christmas Tree.  It is the widest tree in the world at 40’ wide and 3 largest by volume.  On the same short hike was the Fallen Monarch, which you can walk through (without bending over).  Even though the hike was only a third of a mile we returned to the car with legs that were completely soaked and hands that were on the verge of numbness. After that, we decided no more outside adventures, car only.

The next portion of the day was spent driving into Kings Canyon, a beautiful, craggy canyon complete with caverns, shrubbery, and a rushing river.  I (Eric) did my best to avoid all of the falling rocks and only failed once as one was lodged under the car.  The overlooks were wasted since they were filled with only the white of clouds, but the drive was gorgeous all the more.  After a long day of driving we made it to Grizzly Falls, where I ran for some pictures and we decided to turn back for the hotel.

After the long day of driving, I took a nap while Elizabeth edited videos and updated our blog.  Dinner was excellent, as was the company.

12 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} San Francisco


This morning Eric and I began our impromptu trip to San Francisco.  Instead of seeing the city on the last day, Eric rearranged things so we started out honeymoon there.

First we drove along the bay and found a small beach site to take pictures in front of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.  Of course we decided to put the camera on a rock and take a picture of us standing as close to the shore line as possible.  Fortunately the camera stayed still; the shoreline however was ever-fluctuating and during the 10-second self-timer, Eric and I got splashed by waves not once, but twice.  We started the day with wet jean cuffs, but with the car heat on full blast we dried out in no time.

Next up we drove down to the piers.  We walked down the street along the bay coast where all the piers jet off.  First we walked Fisherman’s Warf and ate mini-donuts from one of the snack shops.  Next we checked out the sea lions in the cove next to the pier and then we continued down the street to see the cruise ships docked.  There was a myriad of street entertainers and homeless with humorous signs including my favorite, “A band of evil ninjas killed my family – need money for kung fu lessons”

Along the piers we found a bakery that made critters out of sourdough bread and specialized in bread bowls, so we ate a tasty lunch with a great view of Alcatraz and the bay!  The crab and corn bisque I had for lunch rivals anything I ate in New England.

Before leaving San Francisco, we visited Ghirardelli Square for a tasty dessert and to see the dead end of the cable car line.  I am incredibly impressed with the road ways and the public transportation in the city.

Then began our 5+ hour adventure to our mystery location.  Eric did a great job navigating the many detours and he endured my singing along with every Miley Cyrus song on the radio   The roads were windy and foggy, but we finally made it here to the Wuksachi Village where we enjoyed a tasty organic, locally grown dinner.

I can’t wait to see the sites of the Sequoia National Forest in the daylight!  So far everything here has been beautiful!! 

11 October, 2009

{Honeymoon} Airport Mayhem


This morning Eric and I were sent off in style!  The Buergler’s hosted a brunch for us to visit with our family and out of town guests one last time before leaving for our honeymoon. 

As many of you know, Eric kept the honeymoon a complete surprise except for a brief packing list, weather forecast and the general destination of “California”.  For all I knew we could be skiing one day, swimming one day, and drinking wine another.  It wasn’t until our arrival at the ticketing counter and the sky cap said, “Two for San Francisco”

Tim drove us to the airport and joking said, “hope you don’t miss your flight” as he dropped us off, because Dan & Leeann missed their honeymoon flight.

Well, we did.  Thanks, Dad!

Our itinerary said 2:50 PM departure, but we quickly found out that the flight had been changed to 1:40.  Despite Eric’s best planning efforts, he cannot turn back time.  Alas, we had to change to a later flight.  We ended up on the last flight out scheduled for 7:02.

Since we had so many details to sort out with hotels, rental cars, and the airline, Eric and I thought it best to just stay at the Atlanta airport in anticipation of our flight.  This actually worked in our favor because we were able to spend a few hours visiting with some of our college friends also waiting on flights.

Our 7:02 flight finally boarded at 7:55 and departed at 8:30.  And the rest of our travels were uneventful, and as Aunt Jo says, “uneventful is a good thing!”

The first stop in California was In-and-Out Burger!  I am amused by the fact that you can get a combo meal at In-and-Out for cheaper than a tank of gas cost in California.

I can’t wait to see how the rest of our trip unfolds.  So far I know that tomorrow we’re going to sight see a little in San Francisco before we head to our real destination.

01 October, 2009

Party Like a Rock Star

Not to brag...

Okay, to brag.


I have quite the all star line of up clergy celebrating our wedding Mass. Never in my life would I have expected to know such holy and amazing men, or to have enough of a friendship with them to invite them to celebrate our Sacrament. To get an idea of just how much of rock stars they are check out this video from the Bishop's Ordination Mass on Tuesday, yeah...they're next to the Bishop & Archbishop in the procession. No big deal.

Party Like a Rock Star:

Austin - Seminarian
Dennis - Seminarian
Deacon Dennis - Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Atlanta; Director of Deacon Personnel
Deacon Leo - Director of Religious Education, St. Brigid
Fr. Exume - Parochial Vicar, St. Brigid (and one of the smartest men I know!)
Fr. Diosmar - Archbishop Gregory's Emcee
Msgr. Reynolds - Former Vicar General of the Archdiocese, present Pastor of St. Brigid

29 September, 2009

Bishop Zarama's Ordination Mass

I had the honor and blessing of attending the first Episcopal (Bishop) Ordination to take place in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  Not only was this the first to take place here, but it was only the second Atlantan priest to be called to the Episcopate. 

Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting, then, Monsignor Zarama.  He is a truly holy man and a tremendous asset to our Archdiocese.

Friday afternoon I received a call that Saint Brigid, the parish where I work, was given ten tickets to sit in the Cathedral during the Ordination ceremony and Mass.  My fellow co-workers arrived nearly two hours to secure our seats, but it was worth it as many who had “inside tickets” were directed elsewhere to watch it on CCTV.

There were some 22 bishops, 200 priests, 100 deacons, and 60 seminarians, in the procession - truly a site to behold.  There were roughly two dozen women religious, Bishop Zarama’s family, and then only 250 lay people present...and I was one of them!!!

26 September, 2009

Relax, Have a Home Brew

As if Eric and I have nothing else to do these days, Eric signed us up for a series of four home brew classes at our favorite bar.  Our teacher is a national home brew beer judge, who has been home brewing for 20+ years.  He made it look so easy!
The engineer in Eric was surprised to learn that the brewing process was NOT very mathematical and exact, and the baker in me was surprised to learn that there is more in common between a loaf of bread and a beer than a turkey and chicken.  As Les, our instructor, said manyatimes to Eric on Saturday, “Relax  - Have a home brew”  ( And, good news, the left over grain or “mash” can be used to bake a 5 grain bread - YUM!)
In addition to learning the initial steps of home brewing, Eric and I enjoyed the company of our beer tasting group of friends as we all are taking things to the next level - home brewing.  I guess you can say it’s getting pretty serious 

11 September, 2009

Flying Shoes

This afternoon I went to pick up my dress and wedding shoes from the dress shop.  The ladies had just finished the alternations, steaming the dress and dying my shoes.  Careful not to smash the dress as I was loading in the car, I put my wallet and shoes on the roof of the car.  Who makes two trips to the car, anyway?

As I was about a block from the store, I heard two consecutive *thud* noise.  It sounded like road gravel, but the road conditions were too perfect, so I checked my rear-view mirror only to see tissue paper flying around!!  My shoes and wallet!!!

My body instantly went in to fight-or-flight mode.  Illegal u-turns were made.  Hazard lights went on.  I was going to get my shoes and wallet!  I did not have time to replace either one.

I watched as four cars drove over and around my shoes.  I held my breath as a school bus approached. This would surely be the end of them!!  Thank goodness the school bus driver stopped and she waved me onto the middle of the road so I could clean up my shoe and shoe box mess.  I threw all my stuff in the car.  I couldn’t stomach the thought of looking at my shoes.  I had to find my wallet.  After a few more illegal u-turns, I finally found it!

Once I safely (and legally!) pulled over to the side of the road I examined the damage.

My wallet - untouched.

My shoes - well, they look like they fell off the back of a moving vehicle, but considering...they look fantastic!  Really, they only look like I did some dancing in them.  And really, who is going to notice (except all of you reading this)?

Lesson learned:  We all have our turn when we leave stuff on the roof of the car and it flies away (Why couldn’t my turn be a coffee mug?)   And, more importantly, God is bigger than all the trivial things we make weddings out to be.  It wouldn't have mattered if my shoes were ruined, but I almost let it ruin my day.  I was thankful God gave me the sense of humor to get in the car and laugh hysterically the whole way home!

10 August, 2009

Beth & Matt's Wedding

Eric and I have been so blessed to attend so many great weddings and be apart of our friends special days.
My sophomore suite mate and senior year roommate, Beth, married Matt and the Catholic Church, St. James the Less, in Columbus, Ohio.  Beth not only went to grade school and Mass at the school & parish, but she now teaches first grade there.  It was so neat to see the family connection and relationship with the parish and pastor.
Of course the wedding was beautiful, the company was fantastic, and I got to witness another one of my girlfriends marrying to most perfect guy!  
To Beth & Matt, thank you for including Eric and I in your wedding day!  We hope to stand by you for many years to come :)

02 August, 2009

Amanda's Visit

This weekend my friend Amanda came in town for my bachelorette party, our young adult shower, and to spend a few days before heading to Florida for a work trip.  
Amanda and I were roommates our Sophomore year at University of Dayton in Ohio, where the state tree is the orange barrel.  We were pretty tickled when we found this on the top of the mountain!
Amanda enjoyed her tour of the Stone Mountain, especially the face of the mountain and the very Southern street names :)

25 July, 2009

Bachelorette Party

My sister Katie spent several months planning, scheming, and cooking up some crazy food & good times for my Bachelorette Party.
The fun went down at the Georgian Terrance Hotel, in their huge three-bedroom suite, complete with kitchen, living room, and dining room!  Katie made an incredible spread of food for dinner, and the girls got me, um, soon-to-be-married kinds of gifts ;-)
What I did not know is that Katie had planned to have all our and my aunts old prom and bridesmaids dresses cleaned and fixed up so when I arrived at the party, all the girls were dressed up as tacky bridesmaids.
We were also visited by some special visitors.  If you think the stripper in the episode of Friends, “the One where the stripper cries” was bad.....

21 June, 2009

Saint Brigid Bridal Shower

Two of my co-workers, Mandi and Dee offered to throw my first bridal shower!  Lovely ladies from Saint Brigid gathered to play some silly games, open fun presents, and eat really incredible cake.
Here are a few fun pictures from the afternoon
 Mandi and Me with all the yummy food
Losing badly at a “how well do you know Eric” game
Toilet paper brides contest!  
Check out the details on these dresses.
My bow bouquet, courtesy of two of my bridesmaids
Thanks again, ladies, for all your hard work, and incredible party, and lots of fun presents! 

12 June, 2009

The Disney Wonder

This fall my grandparents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  In grand tradition of family celebrations, my grandparents took all 26 of us on a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder.
Even though it was a little rainy the first two days, we continued the party.  I think the rain made the sunny days just that much sweeter!
Thank you Pap & Nannie for the fantastic cruise and for celebrating 50 years with us.  We’re so blessed to have such an amazing family!

25 May, 2009

Leeann & Dan's Wedding

As most of you know, Eric’s sister, Leeann and her new husband, Dan, got married this weekend.  The joyous occasion took place at the Cathedral of Christ the King followed by a fabulous evening of dinner and dancing at the Fox Theatre Atlanta in the Egyptian Ballroom.  It was wonderful to spend the weekend with the Buergler and Farrell families before our own big day.
They say it’s good luck for a brother and sister to both marry in the same year! 
Congratulations Mr & Mrs Attanucci!!! We’re SO excited for you :)

19 May, 2009

Ironman 70.3

Congratulations to Eric for completing his big triathlon of the season!  After completing a sprint triathlon (500m swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run) and an Xterra sprint triathlon (swim, mountain bike, and trail run), and several other single sport races - Eric completed an Ironman 70.3 at Fort Wilderness at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  This race includes a 1.2 mi. swim • 56 mi. bike • 13.1 mi. run.   Eric beat his goal swim time and finished in 49 minutes.  He kicked butt on the bike, averaging 19.2 mph!  And finished the run in about 3 hours.
We had a fun trip to Orlando for the race.  We enjoyed a pre-race dinner at Macaroni Grill (thank you LifeTeen families for the gift card!).  Sunday afternoon after the race, we walked through Downtown Disney and had sushi and wine for dinner at Wolfgang Pucks.  During our car rides we began listening to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace CDs courtesy of Elizabeth’s parents.
Eric’s post-race thoughts:  Glad to finish, looking forward to another half Ironman in the future, and when we can afford the food budget, he’d love to train for a full Ironman
Congratulations, Eric!  

11 May, 2009

Beach Weekend

I enjoyed an awesome weekend down at Fort Myers Beach with Eric’s sister, Leeann; her friends; and Mrs. B for Leeann’s Bachelorette and a few days of sun, sand, dining out, shopping, and lots of girlie drinks!
Looking forward to many more memories with the Buergler Ladies :)

11 April, 2009

Engagement Photos!

We got the best surprise in the mail today!  Our engagement photos from our March 29 photo shoot  arrived.  Jacob and Rachel from Longwerks did a fantastic job shooting and editing our photos.  We look forward to working with them again at the wedding.  
Enjoy the slide show below, or click on the link at the bottom of the frame to view at your own pace.  

30 March, 2009

Wedding. Race. Retreat. Wash. Rinse. Repeat

This post originally appeared in my private blog on March 30, 2009...




A few days ago my aunt asked me for some weekends that I'm free so they can throw me a wedding shower. As I scrolled through all the Saturdays on my hyper-organized & triple synced calendar, I realized that my weekends are filled with
  • someone else's wedding things (wedding, showers, bachelorette parties)
  • my own wedding things (dress fittings, cake tastings, engagement photos, etc)
  • 5ks, indoor tris, or
  • being Eric's pit-crew for his 6 hr races or his half-Ironman
  • Women's retreat, new teen leader mini-retreat, core retreat, mission trip
So, that's where I've been too - I realized I haven't blogged in forever - because well, I was doing all of the above!

I love my crazy-busy life and wouldn't have it any other way - except it doesn't leave much room to be sick....like today. I am skipping half a day of classes to finish a project for school (half procrastinated, half I was too sick to work on it when I had time this weekend)/I can't breathe or see because my allergies have practically swollen my face shut. okay, that's a little dramatic. haha.

Secretly I wanted to post and use as many of my labels as possible. J/K

21 March, 2009

My First 5k

This post originally appeared on March 21, 2009


This morning I ran my first 5k! It was awesome being surrounded by thousands of women (it was a women only event) of all shapes, sizes, ages, ethnic backgrounds, etc just celebrating being WOMEN :) The race was around Candler Park and the surrounding neighborhoods. I went with Sarah, Rachel (an Iron Woman!), and Haley. The race included few small hills, of which my only walking time was the up hills. YAY me. I finished with 15 seconds to go of my goal time of 35 minutes. When I got back in my workout groove this fall, I was running 48 minute 5k times. So glad to have dropped 13 mintues :) I know I'll never be extremely fast, but I would like to get down to 33 or 30 minutes by the end of the season.

The LifeTime Fitness Indoor Triathlon is a week from tomorrow: 10 minute swim (pool). 30 minute bike(spinner). 20 minute run(treadmill). This race is unique because it measures distance covered rather than fastest time. I probably won't do well since I'm not much of a sprinter.... Looking forward to it though!

09 March, 2009

Successful Snow Day!

A week ago, Monday March 2, was my first day of GSU Spring Break.  Since I usually spend Monday’s at school, and since much of the city was closed due to a freak snow storm the day before, my mother and I took advantage of this day off of school and work to get caught up on wedding planning.  
Here’s a list of the great things we accomplished on Monday:
Me:
    * two new photo albums up on wedding website
    * set up DJ info on their website and started a do and do-not play list
    * set up info on our website for guests to pick songs for DJ to play
With the help of my mother and grandmother:
    * tried on 3 more wedding dresses
    * ordered my original favorite along with the veil
    * set up order info for the bridesmaids to order their dresses
    * found a super cute possible MOB dress for mom
    * picked out and ordered an awesome dress for me to wear to Eric’s sister’s wedding
    * went to the flower market to find colors and flowers to recommend to the florist
    * bought 2 dozen vases/candle holders for the reception table decor
    * bought ribbon for bridesmaids’ bouquets
With Eric:
    * Reviewed our favorites at Macy's and Crate & Barrel for our main registries
    * Checked into Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, made mental list (aka took pictures)
        of items there we’d like to put on a short registry list
    * Began our registry at Macy's, which now includes: china, knives, pots/pans, bake ware
    * Nearly finalized our everyday dishes, flatware, and oddball kitchen pieces
    * Reviewed all choices and potential choices with parents, and received great feedback!
Advice: 
    Eric and I strongly recommend taking a camera or camera phone with you every time you go shopping. We've taken pictures of all the random stuff we say, "we should register for that" or "I really like this pattern".  The day we officially started the registry, I just pulled out the camera, we reviewed our favorites in person and it saved us SOOO much time. No need to sift through all the items at the store that we’d already vetoed; just headed straight to the favorites!

03 March, 2009

I TRIed it and I liked it - Our Triathlon Results

The post originally appeared in my personal blog on March 3, 2009...




Official race results were posted today!

Eric finished #31 overall and #26 in mens.
I finished #98 overall and I can't even count all the m/f before me as there were #104 racers :)
I met my goal: not to finish last! And, I improved my previous time trials of 2:15 to a race time of 1:45

All in all, I am thrilled! I could have pushed a little harder on the run, as that is my weak area. But, I decided that I would rather have fun and finish last than push to get just a little better time and hate every second of it. I do believe I've caught the bug - I can't wait to compete in my indoor triathlons at the end of March and April. It will be awesome to see improvement between those two races, since they will be EXACTLY the same (well, Lifetime at Alpharatta vs Mountain Brook...so basically exactly the same!)

Eric started his formal Ironman 70.3 training this week. He has just about given up his car & motorcycle for the next 4 months. His goal is to bike or run to work, church, and my house, unless we carpool for a date or late-night. He is combining this with a tithe for Lent of giving his saved gas money to a charity. Ah, I love him :)

02 March, 2009

Whew! Catching up on Wedding to-dos

This post originally appeared in my private blog on March 2, 2009....




Today's snow day was the perfect excuse to get caught up on wedding stuff.

Me:

  • two new photo albums up on wedding website
  • set up DJ info on their website and started a do and do-not play list
  • set up info on our website for guests to pick songs for DJ to play
With the help of my mother and grandmother:
  • tried on 3 more wedding dresses
  • ordered my original favorite along with the veil
  • set up order info for the bridesmaids to order their dresses
  • picked out a super cute possible MOB dress for mom
  • picked out and ordered an awesome dress for me to wear to the 7 other weddings I am going to between now and my own
  • went to the flower market to find colors and flowers to recommend to the florist
  • bought 2 dozen vases/candle holders for the reception table decor
  • bought ribbon for bridesmaids bouquet
With the help of my fiance:
  • Reviewed our favorites at Macy's and Crate & Barrel for our main registries
  • Checked into Pottery Barn and William Sonoma, made mental list (aka took pictures) of small registry items there
  • Began our registry at Macy's, which now includes: china, knives, pots/pans, bake ware
  • Nearly finalized our everyday dishes, flatware, and oddball kitchen pieces
  • Reviewed all choices and potential choices with parents, and received great feedback!
I'm a little ready for bed.


PS Eric and I strongly recommend taking a camera or camera phone with you every time you go shopping. We've taken pictures of all the random stuff we say, "we should register for that" or "I really like this pattern". Today I pulled out the camera, we reviewed our favorites in person and it saved us SOOO much time. No need to sift through all the items we already vetoed!

01 March, 2009

Our First Triathlon

Saturday, February 28, Eric and I completed our first triathlon.  Training for this race has been a good distraction from wedding plans, and cheap way for us to spend evenings together.  Even though Eric has competed in cross country races, swim meets and bike races, this was his first “all-three-sport” race.  With the exception of summer swim team, this was my first-ever race.  After a few months of training, excellent coaching from the staff at Lifetime Fitness and Eric, and many encouraging friends, I found myself crossing the finish line a good fifteen minutes faster than my goal time, and thirty minutes faster than my best practice time.  Eric finished in the top twenty five (final results haven’t been posted) and was most pleased with his bike time.  The race marked the beginning of Eric’s formal Ironman 70.3 (or half-Ironman) training.  Long way to go before his race at Disney World this May.  I think it’s safe to say that we’ve “caught the Triathlon fever” - We both have more races scheduled for this year!
Special thanks to my siblings, Katie, Jacob, Alex and Deirdre for waking up before sunrise to cheer us on and take pictures.  Since Eric was faster than a speeding bullet, the sibs didn’t make it there in time to get photos.

27 February, 2009

Pre-race Jitters

This originally posted in my private blog on February 27, 2009...


I've always wanted to be an athlete, but never had the motivation to practice or really, what it comes down to is...I didn't like to do anything that requires effort, pain, and occasional failure. Never mind the endorphins, new friends, and occasional successes!

Over the Summer I set out to loose some lbs, tone up, and tackle something new. I joined Lifetime fitness, and have been (as Cassi would say) sucked into the Vegas like vortex that is Lifetime. A few months ago I heard on the music loop at the gym that Lifetime offers an annual INDOOR TRI. I checked it out, learned that they're usually in the spring, and decided that would be my goal. An indoor tri - no winners, no losers, no finish lines, etc. Well, Eric caught the bug and decided to whoa-up me and shoot for a half-Iron man, also known as an Iron Man 70.3 In the mean time he would have to do a Sprint distance and an Olympic distance to help train. He found a spring distance in none other than Statesboro, GA (where Katie goes to school!) that fit his training schedule. Being the motivating fiance that he is, Eric challenged me to train for this race and not just in the indoor tri at the gym. Challenge taken.

Two - three months and countless hours of swimming, biking, and running, race day is here.

My nervousness. 
I am mostly afraid of the unknown. I've never raced before. I don't know what the transitions between sports are going to be like. I don't know what it's going to be like to not have my water bottle, towel or snacks. Let's be honest, I'm most nervous about changing from my swim suit to bike shorts in an unknown location (I'm praying for the locker room, but I've heard it can be, um, me and my towel...in front of A LOT of people!). I keep telling myself that it's just like our practice races just with a number pinned to my shirt....but it's not helping!

My excitement. 
It's my FIRST RACE!!! I've been training hard. I've been visualizing the finish line for two months. All my siblings will be there to cheer me on! It's a loop course, so Eric can cheer me as he laps me (haha)! I will be able to call myself not only an athlete, but a triathlete. I get to be a part of something new :)

My silly dream last night. First off, in real life, it's supposed to rain. hard. tomorrow. aah! Not helping. So in my dream they decided to re-order the race from SWIM BIKE RUN to RUN BIKE SWIM so that we could do the swim part in the rain. However, this threw off all my transitions and I ended up jumping in the pool with my bike helmet on. This added confusion only lead to messing up my swim stroke that I've been working so hard on....and I started swimming in the baby lane (between the real lane and the wall!) What a mess. I was so glad when my phone rang this morning to wake me up from this chaotic nightmare.

And with that - I'm off! Alex and Deirdre will be here in an hour to pick me up. Eric's driving down after work. I have to go pick up our race packets and I wanted to get oriented to the transition areas tonight so I can sleep a little easier. They say the first one is the hardest because of the unknowns and the transitions, but after tomorrow, I'll be an experienced triathlete! 

Let's pray that the storm moves slower or faster and doesn't effect the race. I will be SO SO SO sad :(

26 February, 2009

Engagement Party

Thank you to everyone who made our engagement party such an incredible night.  Eric and I enjoyed seeing everyone.  It was great to finally introduce so many of our friends to each other, since they heard stories of one another, but never officially met.  I know our parents were also appreciated meeting the people behind all our stories.  We look forward to many more pre-wedding celebrations with family and friends.



24 February, 2009

Prayers for Nana

This post originally appeared in my private blog on February 24, 2009


As I posted last month she has been sick for several years. She has withered away from a healthy 130-140 pound, average height, strikingly beautiful woman. These days, she lays, a mere 80 or 90 pounds in a hospital bed hooked up to feeding tubes and oxygen, wrapped in two or three blankets to stay warm. We are very, very blessed that my family can afford the incredible health care she is receiving from some of the most patient and kind nurses. However, day after day, the nurses call the family and report little to no movement or responses. The last my family could see or feel a response from her was the day after my grandfather's funeral, they could see one tear in her eye when they told her that Papa passed away.

Last night my dad sent me a Facebook message, yes a Facebook message... asking me what to do about my grandmother. The nurses think that she is not responding much to the feeding tube, and the hospital called asking if we want to replace the one she has now (I'm not sure if it's infected or broken, or if they are trying something new) or if we are ready to let her go.

As I've been reading on the USCCB's End of Life Issues both of these conditions fall in the gray area of keeping someone alive on life support vs letting them die naturally. Things like having painful stomach cancer and the feeding tube makes them vomit is an okay time to let the person die naturally. Being unable financially or being too lazy to care for elderly/sick family, is NOT a reason to let them die. So here we sit in a gray area in our faith, having to choose right from wrong; to sort through our selfish thoughts; and to discern the best life and care for someone who is unable to make their own decisions.

I have a few people I'm going to speak with today, but I'd appreciate any input, resources, or experience any of you might have. Most of all, we need your prayers. The family has turned to my dad and I to pretty much make the decision. The rest of the family is exhausted, but they are willing to respect the Church's teachings because they know it's important to me and my dad (and well, all of my immediate family).