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Well, we’re back from our whirlwind European vacation and I’ve finally gotten a minute (or two) to relax and peruse through our pictures…which got me thinking – why not share some of our lovely photos and experiences with you?! 🙂

So here I am, sitting and waiting for our reception to creep up on us – just as our wedding did – and while I know I want it to come, I also don’t want it to be over!  So, instead, I’ll reminisce about our honeymoon and entertain you all as well!!

As you may (or may not) know, we started out in Edinburgh, Scotland – made a jump to St. Andrews to say our “I Do’s”, then headed south to London and Paris. 

We. Enjoyed. Every. Minute.

There was truly not a time where we did not have fun…enjoy ourselves…laugh…smile…

Being in a totally foreign location with the love of your life does things to you!  Neil and I have been together for seven years.  Surely, you’d think that in seven years we would know nearly everything about each other.  But when you’re running around in a place where you know no one, where everyone knows you’re a tourist, where – at times – you don’t know the language, you learn new things.  You learn to figure out things when you’re under insurmountable stress.  You learn that maybe you should have spent the extra $100 a night for a hotel room.  You learn that if you just take a minute to talk to the locals, they could cause you to almost lose your head in laughter.  You learn that hole-in-the-wall restaurants are usually the best restaurants…and worth a second visit!  But the coolest part about visiting a totally foreign location for the first time together is that you learn that just as much as you love each other, you also love new places.  And that’s what Neil and I found.  Between all the locations, St. Andrews – and Scotland in general – was our absolute favorite.  Sure, we’re biased…we did exchange our vows in that location…but I’m sure we’re not the only ones to agree that Scotland was utterly ::amazing::

We spent the first night of our excursion to Europe on a plane…a plane not much bigger than one you would take to Florida.  And it wouldn’t have been a complete trip without Neil first getting in a fight with the lady sitting next to him.  Okay, let me back up and set the scene for you.  We board our plane in Newark bound for Edinburgh.  Mind you, we’re boarding the plane a whopping 90 minutes late…but that’s neither here nor there.  We get on board and we’re in a row of three: me next to the window, Neil in the middle, and a nice young gentleman in the aisle.  As they are closing the doors, the nice young gentleman realizes that the row next to us is nearly empty.  Only one person is seated there and oddly enough – it’s his friend!  So he scoots on over and Neil and I are thrilled!  We have an extra seat and now we can really sprawl out and relax.  Oh, but wait, what is this?!  Big Bertha?!  Coming to sit by us?!  Yes. Yes, it is.  A large woman – no far from the size of an old opera singer – comes and sits in that seat.  Which prompts this conversation:

Neil: “Are you going to sit there…the whole trip?”

Lady: “Yes.  The flight attendant said we could sit wherever.”

Neil (as ol’ opera lady is talking with someone she “knows” a couple rows up): “Looks like there’s a seat up there with your friend, why don’t you sit with her?”

Lady: “Oh, I don’t know anyone on this flight.”

Neil: “Um…you’re talking to that lady, clearly you know her.”

Lady: “Nope, I don’t know anyone.”

Neil: “So you’re sitting there the whole time.”

Lady: “Yup.”

Neil: “Okay, well, I have bladder problems so you’ll have to get up a lot.”

Lady: “Oh, grow up!”

Neil: “Oh, no, it’s fine.  I don’t mind getting up every five minutes.”

Okay…yes, my husband (fiance at the time!) likes to argue with middle-aged women – who have nothing better to do than argue with 20-something year old guys.  Cool, opera lady, cool!  So in the end, no, Neil didn’t get up every  five minutes, but we did switch seats – and since I’m such an amazing fiance (now wife!!) – Neil got the window and was able to relax!

Upon arriving in Edinburgh (pronounced: Edin-brah), we were absolute ecstatic!  The weather was far surpassing our expectations and the people were friendly and helpful.  We boarded our double-decker bus…

…headed straight to the top and found a seat.  And, as you can imagine, we took a bajillion pictures in the first 5 minutes simply because we were just so totally amazed!

You can’t tell from the picture…but I’m wearing my super cool Bride-Suit!! 🙂

Cute homes…with cute little yards lined the streets of Edinburgh…

…castle like homes on every corner…

…and upon our arrival to the city center, we were greeted by Scott Monument – in honor of Sir Walter Scott.

It was such a beautiful and majestic medieval structure.  So intricate and gorgeous.   Despite the fact we were absolutely exhausted, Neil and I decided to head out on the town and do some walking around.  We got into Edinburgh around 10am and our parents weren’t going to be in until about noon or 1pm, so we knew we had time to kill.  Plus, our rooms weren’t ready yet, so why not?!  We walked and walked until we stumbled upon a quaint little church on the corner…St. John’s.  We took a peek inside and it was just beautiful…

With stained glass on every window, it was absolutely breathtaking!  It was built in the 1800s (so it’s a modern building – by Scottish standards!) and each of the pews had a different hand-engraved cross at the entrance.  It was amazing. 

After an exhausting day of shopping around the shops and seeing sights, we decided to take a rest in the park…which was just the cutest little park ever!  And they had ice cream – so I took full advantage of that!!

Oddly enough, as we were walking back to the hotel to see if the rest of the family had arrived, we ran into Dave and Troy!  They took us up to the rooms where we took (much needed) showers and got ready for the night. 

We really knew nothing about Edinburgh, so we decided for dinner…we’d just walk around until we found something that looked good!  Little did we know that as we were walking around, we were going to stumble onto a whole new area of Edinburgh that we had no idea existed!!!  The area we had been in was very modern and consisted mainly of high-end mall-type shops.  This new part – on the other hand – was just our calling!!  Tourist shop after tourist shop after tourist shop!!!  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

So remember that amazing Scottish weather I was talking about?!  Well, the “Scottish weather” part was true.  Like Wendy told me, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes and it’ll change.”  Well, in the hour and a half we were eating dinner, our beautiful weather changed…to tsunami like weather!  Which caused us to be quite the tourists in our Scotland flag umbrellas and Scotland flag ponchos!!

Neil and I took a break from the rain for a quick little photo op!  Right behind us is an adorable little courtyard – they were everywhere!

Needless to say, after a big day of travelling and sightseeing – Neil and I were pooped!  We laid down to watch TV at about 8pm, I woke up at 11pm and headed back to my parent’s room where I crashed until the morning.  Mom and Dad woke up early to head to church while Dave, Ellen, Troy, Neil and I went out on the town to see what we could see!  And boy did we see a lot!!

We saw Edinburgh from the top of Scott Monument…

…and I stole a kiss in the process…

…we squeezed our way back down the monument…and were glad we worked hard to take off those extra five pounds…

…we took a peek around our first (of many) castles…and felt like true royalty!…

The massive-ness of these structures in Scotland were amazing.  To think – all of this was built in a time where there were no cranes…they were no bulldozers…there was NOTHING of modern science available to assist the workers!!  And wow…what a drop off!!!  Talk about intimidating!

The intricate work in the Great Hall Dining Room just took your breath away!

Lots and LOTS of swords!!!  All which lined several rooms of the Castle.

Yes!!  I used a REAL British telephone booth – and I really had to use it, too!!

After Edinburgh Castle, it was off to dinner and then finally St. Andrews!!!!  More to come on that special topic! 🙂

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is true!!  You are reading the (soon-t0-be) famous “engagement journal” of the new Brownsburg West Middle School cheerleading coach!!  I will be in charge of the 7th grade fall and 7th and 8th grade winter squads and I couldn’t be more excited!!

It has been my desire since before I left high school to one day be a cheerleading coach – and now is my chance!!  I was offered the job on Tuesday and accepted on Wednesday!  I still have yet to turn in my paperwork – but I have definitely accepted the position!!

In fact, just last night I judged cheerleading tryouts for the Brownsburg East Middle School and got so excited just seeing what it’s all about!  It’s sure to be a wild ride – but I am totally looking forward to it all!!!

Get excited – I’m gonna be a CHEER COACH!!!! 🙂

Saturday brought me much joy.

More joy that I thought I could have in one day!

Can I just preface this whole post by saying that I am truly blessed and I just simply have the best friends in the whole entire world?!

So the day began…well, it began much earlier as Neil and I went all the way to Plainfield to drop off his car for a little servicing, but that wasn’t the part that brought me joy – okay, it did bring me joy because I enjoy being with the love of my life…but that’s not where this story begins!

2:15 p.m. was the deadline.  He had to have me home by then…or else.

And when Emily gives you an “…or else” you better listen!!

So she showed up at the house…presents in hand! 🙂 Yiiii!!  I love presents!!!  But this one, my friends, was the most thoughtful and utterly perfect gift a girl could ask for!!!

The pretty little tag said…

For the Bride-To-Be…

Here is a gift from us to you,

Chosen and given with lots of love, too.

As your wedding day approaches, we want you not to stress,

We want you to look stunning in your beautiful white dress.

Loads of treats in this basket for you,

Lots of girly things to do.

So put your feet up for the next few nights,

And pamper yourself to your heart’s delight.

A massage and pedicure, and dinner with friends,

To celebrate your marriage that’s about to begin.

Relax and enjoy a day full of bliss,

One of the final times you’ll be considered a “Miss”.

Now, she claims to have written it herself…but I still have my doubts!! (Love you, Emily!!!)

Now for some strategically taken photographs…just for this little post!!

Me with my little present full of goodies!!!

Reading my tag….trying hard not to cry!

Attempting to open it…despite the Therese Carrico wrapping…notice Raikkon wants to help!!

Checking out all my goodies!!!

Yes…Emily and Dana love me…:)  I truly could not be more blessed…

Let’s do a run down…this is everything they got me in this super cute little basket!

  • hot pink hand towel
  • hot pink washcloth
  • pink loofa
  • pink Better Back Scrubber <—sooo cool!
  • pink InStyle magazine
  • pink Conair Section & Style combs
  • Village Naturals Bath Shoppe White Tea Body Soak
  • pink vanity mirror
  • Nicholas Sparks, The Lucky One
  • pink Colgate 360 toothbrush
  • Aquafresh Extreme Clean toothpaste
  • Stride Uber Bubble gum
  • Sally Hanson La Cross nail files
  • Trim family manicure kit (with nail clippers, toenail clippers, cuticle sticks, salon board, and tweezers)
  • Organix Rejuvenating Cherry Blossom Ginseng shampoo
  • Organix Moisturizing Grapefruit Mango Butter conditioner
  • Sally Hanson pink and purple Just Feet toe spacers
  • soft satin and velour sleeping mask
  • St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Scrub
  • Sally Hanson Insta-Dri nail polish in Petal Pusher
  • Nutrius Decadent Amber body lotion
  • Foot scrubber with pumice, emery, brush and callus remover
  • Dr. Scholls for Her Rough Skin Eraser
  • Conair pearl bobby pins
  • Conair rhinestone barrette
  • Scotch Mini Lint Roller
  • Goody Limited Edition Sahara Night Ponytail Holders
  • Dove Ultimate Visibly Smooth “DO for my BO”
  • BIC Soleil Twilight Triple Blade razors
  • Skintimate Moisturizing Shave Gel in Raspberry Rain
  • pink Q-tips Purse Pack
  • Johnson & Johnson First Aid To Go
  • Tums E-X 750 in Assorted Berries
  • Bodycology Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer in White Gardenia
  • Shout Wipe & Go
  • Tide To Go Mini
  • …and a super cute little woven basket!!

So after being rushed through looking at my goodies, it was off to our first stop of the day!!!

Mrs. Emily (see…it just sounds weird, Em!!) booked us hour-long massages at Massage Envy in Avon!!  Ooh, it was just what the doctor ordered!!!  It was so relaxing and – aside from the major congestion from the spring cold I’m toting around with me – it was perfect!!!  After our massages here…it was on to stop numero dos!

Anyone else notice anything totally wrong with this picture!?!

No, Emily and I did not break our legs on the way to the pedicure shop…but it was nice to have a warm little towel cover our legs!! Ahhhh….

Yes, we got pedicures!!!  Which I was in dire need of!!!  So off to Perfect Pinky we were!!

Totally enjoying being pampered and spoiled to my heart’s delight!!!

After the pamper session…it was off to dinner!!!  This is where the surprises got even more surprising!!

Well, first, we took a jaunt through the ghetto south west side…but we eventually made it!!!

Spaghetti Factory!!!  We were quite a bit early for our “reservation”-ish, so we waited…and look who joined us!!!

I was sooo excited that some of my favorite girls of all time came to join in the festivities!!!!  And yes, I enjoy sitting like an awkward 3rd grader getting my school picture taken…get over it!

And just in case you couldn’t tell…that’s Kim Kardashian in the back row smiling it up with the grey and black tank on!!  Yeah, she graced us with her presence Saturday.  We couldn’t believe we were in the presence of apparent royalty!!  Love ya, Kara!!!

We considered ending the night there, but I reminded Emily that a wonderful little wine bar had opened up downtown – one that we went to in Florida – and that we totally had to go!!  So…we did!!!

Girls…I love this picture of us!!!!

Yep…Tastings downtown was the next stop!!

Me with the perfect little party planners!!!  Thanks girls!!

Me and Meg enjoying some French vino…at least I think it was French!!!

Me with Kara and Jessica…who shared the most lovely looking Tiramisu!!

Annnd because Jamie was working and it had been about a bajillion years since I had seen her, we took a quick trip to Rock Bottom to see her!!!!

Ahhh, Jamie…I miss you!!!  We really shouldn’t allow our time apart to be that long!!!

I am sooo so fortunate to have the friends I do!!!

I really cannot say how lucky I truly am!!  Jessica, Kara, and Meg surprised me for the evening festivities and Emily created the most perfect day ever for me!!  And Dana…I know you helped out…and I knew you were going to be there, so you didn’t really surprise me…but I love you, too!!

To Emily…

Thank you for being the best friend a girl could ask for.  Thank you for putting up with me and being there when I need you.  Thank you for spoiling me – even when I know I probably don’t deserve it!!  And thank you for allowing me to be me. I love you.

To Dana…

Thank you for taking me in as a friend.  I am really, truly lucky that Emily was kind enough to “share” you with me and you really have become one of my truly best friends.  I love you.

To Jessica, Kara, and Meg…

Thank you for being there.  Thank you for being part of my life the past year and for continuing that relationship beyond the school year.  Thank you for always making me laugh – because you’re truly the funniest girls on the block!  Thank you for surprising me at my party and for toting around with me as I dragged you all around downtown Indianapolis!  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  I love you all – and I am so happy that we have become the great friends that we are!

It truly was a day fit for a queen…and each of these girls truly made me feel like a queen!!  I love you all and I can’t wait until we can all be together again in July!!!  But surely there will be another reunion before then!! 🙂

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I’ve filled you in on a Scottish wedding tradition…and what’s worse?!  I’m going to run out of weeks before I can complete all the traditions!! Hmmf…towards the end, we might be looking at a Tradition Tuesday and Thursday!  Sorry!!

But this tradition is fun – and definitely something I’ll be keeping up with!  I’m truly going to have to get myself a notebook of all these traditions so I remember to do them!!

A Sixpence in the Bride’s Shoe… (adopted from MyWeddingBouquet.com)

Traditionally, a small silver coin, called a sixpence, was placed in the bride’s shoe for good luck.  As sixpences no longer exist, this has been replaced by a penny or any modern “silver type” coin.

(source)

Above is the traditional sixpence – maybe I’ll try to search one out, if not, I’ll definitely be finding another coin – perhaps someone ::hint hint:: can drop a hint and Neil will hand me a coin the night before the wedding?!  How precious would that be?  I’d love it! 🙂

So let’s recap the traditions I am definitely going to follow (this is really more for me than you, but you can enjoy anyway!!)…

…at the end of the tunnel!!!

It’s official – I received the results to my national teachers exams – aka Praxis II – and I have passed with flying colors!!!  In the words of my dad: “I can’t believe you passed the test the first time you took the test!”  Thanks, Dad…you’re so sincere!!  But also in the words of my dad (personally, the greatest words ever): “YOU ARE EMPLOYABLE”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, you read that correct – I. AM. EMPLOYABLE.

There are only 32 days until graduation – but what makes that even cooler?!  When I open up my calendar in Windows Live, I CAN SEE GRADUATION AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CALENDAR (because it’s creeping into May)!!  Hoooooray! 🙂  And aside from only 32 days until graduation – there are only 17 days until I’m done student teaching.  Then I’m wrapping up my thesis and I’m finito!!!  Can you believe it?!

I am the happiest girl on earth right now.

P.S. 64 days, 12 hours, 40 minutes, and 27 seconds!!!  That’s ALMOST two months!!!!!!!! 🙂