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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Good Stuff

I thought about blogging, but then I realized that I'd rather hand write it in my journal.  Yes, I keep a journal.  It's not so much for me as it is for my loved ones in the future.  When I'm 95 years old I want my great grandkids to read all about my life as it is now.  I think that would be pretty neat for them.  Okay, well, it's a bit for me too as I often go back and read it from start to finish.  So yeah, I wrote in my journal, but I'll share that with y'all too.

Journal Entry 10.18.10

I am in love.  It is ridiculous and warm and good.  For all of you that doubted us and said that things would be "different" once we were married - you're right.  Our life is different.  Our love is different.  I am more committed to this man than ever before, just as he is to me.  Our love is so warm and so good.  I have that bursting heart feeling and well, I really like it. 


That was it for the journal.  I could go on and on.  I know that it's not all wine and roses.  For us, it never has been.  We're real.  We're raw.  Surely we've bickered in the 17 days that we've been married. But when we're loving, man, it's good.  We love harder and more completely.  We give more and get more in return.  It's a beautiful, real love that we share.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Big Day 10.01.10

I'm MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!  I am his wife!  He is my husband! We did it! WE LOVED IT!

I don't ever want to forget a single part of our day.  I am going to do my best to record it all right here.

How do you sum up perfection?  I just don't know if I can explain with words what I felt in my heart?  It is probably an impossible task, but I will try.  This man has given me the perfect engagement and now together, we had the perfect wedding.  We are so blessed to have an amazing family and an amazing group of friends that shared it all with us.

Jerry and I went for mani's and pedi's on Wednesday. It was his first and it was fun to do together.  We headed to Nordlies for our flowers.  I planned on making all the bouquets and boutonnieres.  We worked together on those on Wednesday night.  I had the three girls bouquets done nicely, along with my mom's corsage, dad and papa Jim's boutonniere, and the grooms and his guys boutonnieres. Of course I struggled with my own bouquet.  I couldn't get it perfect, but you know who could?  Yep, J could.  Add floral designer to his ever-growing list of things he can master.  Man, I'm lucky!  So flowers were done, bags were packed and it was time to sleep.  I was too excited to sleep, but tried anyway.

Thursday morning came bright and early around 5:30am. We wanted to arrive before everyone else so we got an early start. We had the vehicle packed and we were on our way by 7am. We talked and laugh and drove.  We stopped for breakfast halfway in the middle of nowhere.  It was actually a place where I used to go canoeing when I was younger, so it was cool to see that area again.  We drove through sun and we drove through rain.  The weather was something that was a bit of a stressor for me because the forecast was calling for a 30% chance of rain.  As my amazing dad kept reminding me....they were not calling for a 30% chance of rain - they were calling for a 70% chance of sun!  Thanks, Dad!  I like the way you think. 

Jerry and I laughed about petting bears and Bear Lake and The Bear radio station.  We praised God in random outbursts when we were overcome by the beauty of bright red leaves in the middle of some pretty greens, oranges and yellow.  We saw a huge bear statue on the side of the road that looked pretty huggable and we did a u-turn and stopped for a photo.  Turns out, it was the most amazing roadside market ever.  The apples, oh the apples.  Not only did they look amazing in basket upon basket, but they tasted delicious.  We bought a 1/2 peck of Jonagolds to take to the hotel along with a Red Delicious for J and a Honey Crisp for me. 

We arrived at our hotel, Cherry Tree Inn and Suites, around 11:30am.  From the outside it was beautiful.  The inside was just as nice.  We checked in and met with Krisha and Jonathon (the wedding coordinators for the hotel.)  We arranged for all of our guests gift baskets to placed in their rooms and we viewed the wedding space and the rented chairs.  It was time to unpack our luggage and settle into our room.  Our room was huge.  It was the Leelanau Suite (122) and it was right.there.on.the.beach.  I could walk right out of my bedroom door to my wedding ceremony.  How cool is that?!  We actually used the hallway door so I wouldn't be seen in advance, but really, it was right.there.  I loved that.  I'm sure it's like any other suite but this one was special because it was for our wedding.  We had a long hallway (with kitchenette) that led to the family room with a fireplace and huge windows with the view of the beach and the bay.  That room had french doors that led to our bedroom (also with a view) and jacuzzi tub.  The smaller hallway led to the bath and a smaller door to our bedroom too.  We settled in and relaxed until we got the call that my parents and Hope had arrived.  I was so happy to see them!  I just saw them a few days prior, but this was for our wedding so everything was magnified.  We got them settled in, showed them around and then went to lunch.  We ate at Ruby Tuesdays, had a few beers to relax and then went to scope out the location of our boat ride and dinner the following night.  Dad suggested a nice gift shop for a wedding present in case he and mom had forgot to get us one.  Funny, funny stuff.  It was pretty close to a beach shack and I'm sure our gift would have been equivalent to a souvenir shot glass or neon foam hat.  I guess those beers helped him relax a lot. 

When we arrived back from lunch, my sister and Mike, along with the kids had just arrived.  We met up with them, shared some hugs and love and relaxed a bit more.  We fed the ducks, who arrived right at our back door and ate from our hands.  Two were named Chocolate and Steve throughout the evening.  We saw some swans too.  I love swans and kept feeling like those were little gifts from God, just for us, to let us know that everything would be okay.  They happened to appear in the water at the times I needed that reassurance the most.  The kids played in the sand and on the pirate ship playscape.  They were getting hungry so Beckey's family went to grab something to eat.  Mom, dad, Hope and Jerry and I went back to our own rooms to relax for a bit.  In the evening we met up with Ian and Kelly.  Hope was sweet enough to watch the kiddos in their room and all the adults headed downtown Traverse City for some dinner and drinks.  We went to the Mackinaw Brewing Company.  J and I split the Smokehouse Sampler (three meats) and the beer sampler (7 beers).  Thank you Beckey and Mike for that!  At this point I was overwhelmed, nervous, anxious and excited.  I didn't really want to be out. I was having a hard time processing the realization that I was getting married tomorrow and I just wanted to hug my momma, say my prayers and go to bed.  We did just that shortly after and I slept horribly. 


Oh nerves, oh nerves.  I'm blessed with a man who knows when I need a little extra love and comfort.  He has been so patient with me the past few weeks when I had a tendency to become less than desirable (short of a monster.)  I did my best to keep myself in check the day of and he made sure to be extra comforting and calming.  I needed that.  We woke up and went to go to breakfast.  We saw my mom and dad by the water and I can't even explain how happy I was to see their faces first thing that morning.  This girly stills gets some serious comfort from a big ol' hug from her momma and daddy.  We all headed to breakfast together.  I was too nervous to eat, but knew that I needed something so I attempted to eat a piece of toast with peanut butter and half of a raspberry yogurt.  I was eyeing up that big Belgian waffle topped with cherries and whipped cream and put that on the mental menu for the next day, lol.  After breakfast my mom, Livi and I worked on the flowers.  I needed to put the boutonnieres in boxes with pins and wrap the bouquets with ribbon.  We did that in the hotel lobby and then headed back to my room.  J had to go to the barber for a hot lather and to grab some snacks and drinks for later.  I went to kiss him goodbye like any other time and he kind of looked at me funny.  It was then that I had the realization that the next time we'd see each other would be as I walked down the aisle.  He teared up.  I teared up.  We love each other. 

I was quite edgy for the next couple of hours.  We were supposed to be meeting in my room at 11am to start hair and makeup.  J and all the guys were meeting in my parents room.  From 10:40am - 11:00am I was left alone for some quiet time.  I listened to our songs, This Kind of Love and Better Together, and I sobbed with my head in my hands.  I stared out the window into the bay and prayed to God.  I thanked Him for the beauty I was surrounded by and the beautiful love that was about to be expressed.  I prayed for peace in my heart and for Jerry...for no nerves, no rain and a good time for all.  Our good Lord sure did listen. 

Around 11am my friend Kim showed up and then Erin.  Shortly after my mom, my sister, Olivia and Hope arrived.  The next couple of hours were a whirlwind.  I realized I left my MAC Skinfinish in the car, which was 15 minutes away with the guys and I panicked.  J had my dad drive it back to me while he was at the barber.  My sis and my mom went to get me dry shampoo for my bangs and oj and champagne for mimosa's.  At some point someone brought us a pizza and I tried to eat a piece in between makeup and bursts of hairspray.  We danced to Dynamite and some other songs.  We sipped mimosa's.  Momma and I had a few moments alone and she reminded me with tears in her eyes to pretty much relax a little more and enjoy life...because I do stress a bit. I remember going to my sister in the bathroom telling her that I just couldn't breathe.  I was so no nervous, so overwhelmed.  Livi just took it all in, probably a bit worried.  Poor babe!   After some laughing and some yelling and some crying we were almost ready to go.  Makeup was done. Hair was done.  Girls were dressed. Everyone looked beautiful.  My momma was radiant.  Her outfit was perfect for this day and she looked amazing. Hope looked wonderful.  So grown up.  I know her daddy was proud.  My sister was just as beautiful as always.  She looked perfect.  My niece, my sweet little Livi, just adorable.  She looked so grown up too.  She had pretty wedding hair with curls and all...and even some makeup.  I had to giggle when she told me that her pink lip gloss was the MAC lipglass that she picked out for her 11th birthday.  That's my girl!  I did my best to tell each of them how special they were to me and we all fought through the tears.  At some point I was sitting alone in our suite, in the wooden rocking chair.  Everyone was hustling about outside on the beach.  Getting people in their place, making sure everything was set up correctly.  I was alone with my thoughts.  I had my iPod and decided to update Facebook, lol.  "Can't breathe. Waiting patiently for the moment of my lifetime."  That about sums it up.  Just a few moments later everyone was back in our room.  Dad came in as it was almost time to go and mom led us in a prayer circle. was GO TIME.  I led the way with a "DeStefanis - Frizzle 2010...LET'S DO THIS!" and out the door we went.  We gathered in the little hallway and one by one they walked down the aisle until it was just me and my daddy. First to go was my mom.  She was walked to her seat by Brian.  Then Grant, my ring bearer.  Earlier on he was told to stay off the aisle runner.  He thought that meant for right now too, so he walked off to the side of it.  Ha ha ha. I wish I could have witnessed that.  They coaxed him back to the center and he walked the rest of the way on it.  Then it was Olivia, my sweet girl.  She had tears for most of the ceremony.  God, I love her so much!  Then Hope.  Sweet Hope!  Then my maid of honor, my sister and my friend, my Beckey.  During this, we had David Cisco playing the Canon in D on the steel drums (this was mine and J's little secret for our guests.  He had played a nice song on the guitar as the guests were being seated too.)  The music had ended and there was a pause.  We got the cue.  I looked at my dad and off we went.  Our guests stood.  All eyes were on me.  And all I could hear was Here Comes the Bride on the steel drums and all I could see was my love.  My amazing, gorgeous, loving, big, strong and sexy love.  His eyes were filled with tears and there he was waiting for me.  I remember that the minister told me to "be in the moment" and I needed to take a moment to take it all in.  I did a quick gaze around and took it all in and then I was zoomed right back on my love.  When we reached the end of the aisle, my daddy gave me away.  He placed my hand in Jerry's and J looked me in the eyes and told me that I looked so beautiful.  That is all I wanted to hear.  I love him so much and I know he loves me.  Those words just don't come out of his mouth often and I just prayed that he would think I looked beautiful for him during that moment. 

Our ceremony was short and fun.  To be honest, it happened so fast and I want to go back and be in that moment again.  The preacher started the ceremony and mentioned the beautiful weather.  We were SO blessed by God with perfect weather.  He asked the crowd for an AMEN at some point too and I thought that was cute.  He talked about how God made women so men wouldn't be alone.  He mentioned the verse about wives submitting to their husbands.  He explained this verse and added that submission is a gift that the wife will give her husband if her husband is willing to lay down his life for her like the Lord did for the church.  We said our vows.  We vowed to love and honor and protect and cherish for ever.  We did our sand ceremony which symbolized our two separate lives becoming one.  We used brown and white sand and it looked like a swirled ice cream cone (and someone pointed that out, lol.)  Our musician sang Better Together by Jack Johnson, because that is our song and I just wanted to dance with my man! I remember swaying with our arms around each other.  I remember patting his back where my hand laid to the beat of the music.  We said I do and Jerry kissed the bride.  *love*  It was amazing! We were introduced to the audience and we set off back up the aisle.  Our musician played a Caribbean type wedding march as we walked off.  So cool.  We got to the end of the aisle and I step on the tulling under my dress and heard it rip.  So very funny to me!  We were greeted with hugs and love and congrats from all.  It was very neat.  After the ceremony we had a good hour of photo's.  We needed photos of family, photos of friends, group shots, funny shots, bride and groom shots, bridal party shots and so on. At some point throughout the ceremony I looked up and saw multiple balconies filled with onlookers.  I thought it was very sweet that people were watching our wedding. One set of onlookers actually greeted us at breakfast the next morning with a big congrats.  They asked for our email address because they took some aerial shots of our ceremony from their balcony for us.  How sweet is that?!  Everyone was quiet and respectful.  The only unexpected noise was from J's mom's ridiculous dogs.  She requested that someone call her on speakerphone so she could hear the ceremony.  That's okay...the barking dogs made me laugh, which kept me from crying even more.  Towards the end of the photos we realized that the minister had left without signing our marriage license!  Oh my word.  Some went into a quick panic mode, but I just kept smiling and posing for the camera.  It all worked out.  He was dragged back by my dad and the best man and all is well. 

After the ceremony and photos we headed to the boat. We were taking a private catamaran cruise on the Nauti-Cat.  Jerry and I have been on one of their sunset cruises before and we knew that this was something we wanted to incorporate for our wedding.  It was a private cruise with just our wedding party and guests.  Thank you Lord for the good weather for that too!  I know that most said it was chilly but it was sunny and it did not rain.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Jerry and I went on first and Erin was taking some photos of us.  I was snuggled at the back of the boat with J and the sun was shining on us, good music playing and as Erin was taking photos I turned to Jerry and said "This is the coolest moment ever!"  I was having so much fun.  Our wedding, to us, was perfect.  I couldn't have asked for a better day.  Our family and friends arrived on the boat - with jackets, blankets, and leg warmers in hand.  We drank a little catnip, we listened to a lot of O.A.R. (which happens to be one of my favorite bands so that was cool), J, Ian, Beckey and I did a shot off the Shot Ski which was hilarious. Beckey and I did our acapella rendition of "I Think We're Alone Now"...complete with 1989 dance moves. We relaxed, we sang, we danced, we laughed, we toasted, we cried and we loved.  Dad gave an awesome toast to us.  Many didn't know the importance of it, but we did and that is what mattered.  He wished us enough.  Thank you Daddy!  Ian's toast was great.  He told of how J came to them when he met me and told them how great he thought I was.  Ian said that not only did Jerry get a great gal out of this, but he gained a great family too.  LOVE.  Beckey's toast was private to Jerry and I and it was very special.  She is very honored to have J as her brother in law. She is an amazing sister!

Once the boat docked it was time to head for dinner.  We arrived at the Red Mesa Grill...another Traverse City favorite of Jerry and I.  Dinner was delicious.  I want that food right this very moment.  I was feeling a bit restricted in my dress at this point.  I wanted to put on some sweats (cute ones of course) and get my grub on, but that wasn't going to happen.  I munched on chips and salsa and the best guacamole ever.  I sipped a Red Mesa Margarita.  "Give me the blue glass!" I ate a single steak fajita and boxed the rest. I tried to take it all in.  The manager of the Mesa covered mine and Jerry's meal.  We thanked him personally before we left and plan to go back every time we're in Traverse City. 

After dinner the plans changed a bit.  We had planned for a beach bonfire back at the hotel.  God gave us enough sunshine throughout the day to appreciate the rain that just started falling.  We went back to the hotel, changed into comfy clothes (yes, my new white sweats from VS) and we all met up in the breakfast room for drinks and socializing.  To be honest, I was exhausted.  I had leftover fajitas in my room and a big, bubbly jacuzzi tub calling my name.  BLar gave us a bottle of champagne, to be opened on our first anniversary.  That night I didn't realize it but the next day I thought that was so sweet and thoughtful.  Silly me, he got it from the boat.  He didn't put much thought into it.  I was tired.  I lasted for awhile.  I saw how sleepy that my Livi girl was so we snuggled a bit and then I took her back to her hotel room.  I laid next to her in bed for about 20 minutes.  I was hoping that she would fall asleep before I did, but that wasn't happening.  I had to give kisses and hugs and let her and Hope fall off to sleep to the sound of the Disney channel.  If I laid on that bed any longer I would have been a goner...on my wedding night!  I made it back to the breakfast room and lasted about another hour.  At that time I let my hair down and barely kept my eyes open.  Thankfully J was ready to go too.  We went back to our room for the rest of the night. 

I usually wake early and toss and turn a bit.  Not this morning.  The first time I opened my eyes...8:30ish...I kissed my husband and jumped out of bed.  Hee hee.  My HUSBAND!  So fun!  I wanted to spend as much time with our family and friends this morning before they all left.  Everyone was taking off at checkout, around 11am, and I wanted to visit.  I knew that I'd have the rest of the day with Jerry so it was important to spend time with them for a bit.  We met my dad as we walked outside.  Then we went to see my mom and Livi at the pool. I had written my mom a letter the night before as I sat there and reflected on the day we just had.  I wanted to give that to her first thing.  We had breakfast with Beckey, Mike and the boys before Papa Jim came down. I split a Belgian waffle with Grant and I sure did top it with those cherries and whipped cream.  It was divine. We visited with Kim and with Hope.  I spent some more time at the pool with my mom, Livi, my sister, Mike and the boys. J visited with Jim and some friends.  Closer to eleven we said our goodbyes one by one.  As excited as I was to spend the entire day with J, I still got a little sad saying goodbye.  I am just an emotional person and I never like saying goodbye. 

Once everyone had left J and I set out for a day of FUN. Earlier, at breakfast, Ian had asked us what our plans were for the day.  Imagine my delight when my groom had a plan!  Wineries and a drive along the peninsula.  Sounds like my kind of day!  I absolutely love and cherish our fall drives.  I love being next to him in the car, singing along to a song together or laughing at something silly we see along the way.  I love taking in all the colors and wonders of my favorite season with the love of my life right next to me.  We made our first stop at Taco Bell.  I was hungry.  The nerves were gone and calmness set in and yeah, I was hungry.  7-layer burrito and a Diet Pepsi did the trick!  We ate in the car and kept on driving. 

Our plan was to hit Empire, Glen Arbor, Leland, Sutton's Bay and then back to Traverse City.  We did just that.  We drove to Empire and didn't see much.  We stopped at a gas station for some directions and the lady was quite nice.  She didn't think that there was a winery in Empire and we didn't see one either so we kept on. Our winery was Good Harbor Vineyards in Glen Arbor.  It was small and nice.  There was a single bar that was full to the max.  We took a self-guided tour, which consisted of a lookout room where we could see men working down below.  We finally got a spot at the end of the bar and the tasting began.  Our tasting glasses were included in the price...which I loved. We bought a bottle of their 2009 Riesling.  As we drove on to our next stop we saw a pretty view of a lake and wanted a picture.  J was great about just turning around and parking on the side of the road whenever I wanted a picture.  We got out together to take our photo.  He had the great idea of using the self-timer and setting the camera on the hood of the car.  It worked perfectly! We got two cute shots of us.We kept driving and arrived in Leland.  I had said "I really want to visit Fish Town", not realizing it was right there.  But it was! So visit Fish Town we did.  I love the quaint town, the old shanty's, the whole vibe of it all.  It is a very neat place.  We walked around and of course, were greeted by a duck. It was probably Chocolate or Steve's friend from the hotel.  We were amazed by the waterfall and the little red canoe.  We had a nice older couple take our picture and we returned the favor by taking theirs.  We saw a fisherman in his orange coveralls and took in the smells of the smoked fish. 

Our next winery was Gill's Pier.  It was beautiful inside and out.  There was a tasting room set up that I imagine you'd make a reservation for.  It was a small dark room set up with tables, chairs and dishes.  Their was a big ornate fireplace and lots of award winning wines on display.  We just tasted two of their wines, the Icebox Apple and Whitewater at the tasting bar.  Although the place was lovely, we didn't love any of their wines.  We walked around outside, took in the scenery from their pond and viewing area and moved along.

Along the peninsula we saw many things that took our breath away.  Many made us praise God in the moment for it's beauty.  One thing in particular just made us do a double take...and a triple...and of course a u-turn for a photo.  It was a glass house.  The photo's don't do it justice.  It was tall and narrow.  I just googled "Glass House in Northport, MI" and this is what I found:

Anderson Architecture completed this home in 2006 atop a hill overlooking a cherry orchard and Lake Michigan. The striking structure took less than eight weeks to build thanks to the use of prefabricated materials. The steel frame of this house is wrapped in corrugated, translucent acrylic slats, allowing it to take on and reflect the changing colors of the landscape, like a chameleon blending into its habitat. Because it sits on a steep hill, the entrance of the home leads to the third floor, letting residents descend to the bedrooms or walk up to the living area.

That is very interesting! 
We arrived at Leelanau Cellers and although we weren't too hungry, the smells from the bar/restaurant were surely egging us on.  This winery was right off the water.  Beautiful views even in the rain.  We liked the open layout of this place.  It was light and airy.  Plus, there was no cost or no limit to the wines we could taste.  We started off with about four each, but ended up with six or seven.  We purchased a bottle of blueberry wine and their  Late Harvest Riesling 2008.  We sampled their Witches Brew and it was served warm.  Jerry and I both loved it.  We would have purchased a bottle, but we already have one from some friends.  I can't wait to warm our bottle and sip it as we snuggle up in front of our fireplace.  Life is good, is good!  As we were leaving the winery so were another couple.  It happened to be a guy I knew from MDYC when I was in high school.  I was so very excited to introduce Jerry as my husband!  My husband, y'all! How awesome is that.  I beamed with pride.  "Nice to see you! This is my husband, Jerry."  Awww yeah!  We ducked across the street and into a little art gallery.  We looked around and took it all in.  I pointed out the quirky pieces made with tinker toys and measuring tapes.  J pointed out things that I could make, metal sculptures and really unimpressive items that were priced at $5,000 and beyond.  It had the same feel as a gallery back home that we've been too a time or two.
Our drive up and around the peninsula took us to the casino next.  We didn't intend to stop at this one, but since it was there we figured, why not?  It was Leelanau Sands.  It was smoky and small, but the bells and whistles drew us in.  J is not much a fan of the casino.  He likes sports books and keno and poker, but slots...notsomuch. We agreed that we would play one dollar...ONE DOLLAR y'all....and that we did.  He picked a machine, we put it in and pull the arm.  Ding, ding, ding.  We won $5!  I was content with taking our winnings and leaving, but J knew how much I loved the casino and he told me that it would make him happy if I played with that $5.  I objected at first, but when he said it would make it happy, I obliged.  I went through half of it and felt bad for losing.  In the end we walked out of there fifty cents richer.  Ha! As Jerry said, "we put a dent in that place!" 
Black Star Farms.  Black...Star...Farms... what an amazing place.  From the moment we passed it, zipped around in another u-turn, and turned in the drive we were mesmerized.  I've been to many wineries, tasted many wines and thought I knew what a vineyard looked like.  I've never seen anything like this.  Maybe it was the white flowy coverings on the vines.  Maybe it was how they swayed and curved and winded the entire length of my view.  Whatever it was, I was hooked.  Jerry was too.  We thought it was beautiful and breathtaking and we couldn't wait to get inside.  There were multiple red barn like buildings.  One held the wine room and cheese room.  One was a marketplace that had brick-oven pizzas and other foods and baked goods.  One was their hotel, I think.  We parked and went to the wine and cheese building first.  Upon arrival you're given a glass (that you get to keep) that's filled with a warm, mulled wine.  For $5 you get the glass and six tastings.  The warm complimentary number was good, like the Witches Brew.  We spotted the cheese room and took a quick peek in the window and then we went to one of the back bars for our tasting.  We sampled our six wines each and shared our glasses so we could sample even more.  There were many good ones to choose from.  One had such a rich, buttery aftertaste.  I didn't like the initial taste very much but that aftertaste was so smooth and good.  We thought about getting that wine, but didn't.  We will definitely get a bottle on our next visit there.  We tried their raclette cheese sample and couldn't leave without getting a wedge of it.  We also purchased a yummy garlic cheese spread and crackers, which we munched on during the next leg of our drive.  After the wine and cheese room we went to view the animals.  They had a petting zoo out back.  We saw chickens, free roaming ones too, a couple pigs, sheep, turkeys and a horse.  The horse tried to eat my scarf.  We went inside the marketplace to use the bathroom and wash our hands.  We had been craving pizza but decided to hit the road.

We arrived back to hotel sometime early evening.  We relaxed a bit and decided to make plans for dinner.  We remembered Erin and Sam talking about the beautiful sunset viewed from the Boat House on the Old Mission peninsula.  We didn't plan on dining there, but thought we'd fine something along the route.  We didn't find dinner, but we found a piece of heaven.  I don't know how to explain it.  I've never been very eloquent.  I tend to ramble and go on and on, but when I saw these views I was speechless.  My eyes filled with tears and I felt closer to God than probably ever before.  How could you not when you are with the love of your life in one of the most amazing settings that our Good Lord created?  There is a lookout over Chateau Grand Traverse that will take your breath away. Like with everything else on our drive we passed it, stopped, turned around and came back.  We joined another vehicle and then we were joined by quite a few others.  It was a popular place. The sun was setting at this time.  We sat together and watched it for a while.  I took photo upon photo even though they all looked similar.  It was just so beautiful and I kept trying to capture the true beauty of it all on film, but it never happened.  I do have some beautiful photos, but they cannot compare to what we witnessed that night.  We continued to head up the peninsula in search of someplace for dinner.  We passed a few places but nothing stood out.  Before we knew it, we were at the tip of the peninsula.  We pulled into Lighthouse Park.  It was late.  It was dark, as the sun was almost set.  It was definitely cold and windy.  We were here though and we wanted to go snap a pic by the water.  It was so cold.  So cold.  We scurried along so quickly to get to the water.  It was very picturesque.  I can't wait to view that same spot again when it's a little warmer and a little lighter out.  We were standing on the 45th parallel - halfway between the North Pole and the Equator.  At that time I felt like we were closer to the North Pole, brrr.  Funny though that it looked like the trees were on fire thanks to that gorgeous sunset.

We headed back down the peninsula and stopped once more at Chateau Grand Traverse to appreciate the fiery orange turned purple sunset.  Then it was back to the hotel.  We didn't have dinner yet, and now we were hungry.  Our plan was to head downtown.  We passed a few places and nothing jumped out at us.  A part of the Park Place Hotel is Minerva's... a nice little restaurant.  We put our name in for a booth and sat up at the bar while we waited.  We ordered Spinach and Artichoke dip.  It was not good.  Don't get me wrong, we ate it.  We were hungry!  We decided to leave and find a new place for dinner because if your appetizers aren't great then your meals might not be either.  I think we went back and forth on our decisions.  We talked about going back to Red Mesa for a quiet booth and delicious food, but in the end we decided on heading to Turtle Creek Casino.  Not to gamble, but to check it out and to eat.  They had three restaurants and only one sounded appetizing.  It was Bourbon's.  The wait was  too long so we looked around the casino, ventured up the three floors...past the lounge, the night club, the giant pumpkin, over to the hotel and back down again.  We lost $1 on the slots so our fifty cent profit was gone and we were now down fifty cents for the trip.  Oh darn.  We made our final dinner decision.  That'sa Pizza!  We stopped there, ordered, took it to go and went back to our hotel.  It was late. We were tired.  We grubbed on some of the best pizza ever.  We filled out jacuzzi tub with hot, hot water and bubbles and we relaxed for the night. 

Jerry wanted to get on the road early Sunday morning.  I did not.  I just had the best weekend of my life and I did not want it to end.  I knew that although the weekend was ending, this awesome new chapter in our life together was just beginning.  Home we went.  We're here now and we're ready to start this new chapter as husband and wife.  L.O.V.E.