Hi Friends! It’s been a hot second since my last post. Life has been…. kind of a beautiful mess!
The truth is that I am exhausted. The last month has been a total whirlwind and most days I am not entirely sure which way is up. If I don’t write something down, I don’t remember it.
As an example, about two weeks ago (Maybe?) I had a meeting on a Monday and didn’t realize that I had completely forgotten about it and not shown up until Thursday. Oops. Luckily, I was able to reschedule.
I’ve been so busy that I didn’t post anything on Instagram for 3 WEEKS! If you know me, you know that I typically post about once a day!
Also, the blog turned 4 years old a couple of weeks ago! I had been thinking of doing a sappy throwback post with a lot of fanfare…and then I completely missed it… so thank you to everyone who keeps reading! Moving on…
In other news, Ben and I are adjusting to a new schedule as he started a new job a few weeks ago and I am still trying to figure out balancing schoolwork and adulting. Most days, I am usually up until about 2 am doing homework. Needless to say, this month has required a lot of prayer, patience and coffee (mostly on Farmer Ben’s part-#besthubsever).
But even with all of the hustle and bustle and adulting failure, life is good and Ben and I have so much to be thankful for.
Life is SO good!
Ben and I took a quick trip down to see the family for Thanksgiving. (We drove down Wednesday after work and drove back on Thursday night). Yes, it was a lot of driving but Farmer Ben is probably the best
car dancer road trip partner on the planet so we had a blast.
I spent a large portion of the trip scanning radio stations (I know, I’m incredibly behind the times) so I could belt out Adele’s “Hello” while speeding down the highway, eating Trader Joe’s chocolate almonds and drinking coffee like a champ!
The highlight of our trip was going to Wegmans on Thanksgiving day and
completely blowing our grocery budget on beer and cheese buying some awesome foodie things that we may not be able to get at home.
Just kidding! While this beer and Wegmans brie are both wonderful treats, it was even better to spend time with the family….especially because I finally got to meet my beautiful niece! Her name is Olivia and she is perfect!
She already looks so much like my sister! (Side note: Can we talk about how good my sister looks after delivering a human baby three weeks ago?!) It’s crazy….strong genes! It was awesome to see the rest of the family as well… I always hate to leave!
Since being home, I’ve been going pretty much nonstop but I am thankful that I am able to do what I do.
Phew… this was an incredibly random post! I had something much deeper planned when I first started typing and…well, clearly that didn’t happen. Next time friends!
Let’s catch up! How was Thanksgiving? Favorite road trip snack? What’s your favorite foodie item/beer?
Also, linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for today’s Thinking Out Loud Post….check out some of the other posts! Thanks for hosting the link-up!
Hope you all had a great weekend, I certainly did!
I snuck away to visit the family in Horseheads, NY and let me say, it was so fun (even though Farmer Ben was missing)!
Anyway, here is a brief peek inside my trip… I was a terrible blogger and didn’t take as many pictures as I should have.
I did manage to remember to take pictures at the Horseheads Brewing Co., great beers, great staff. If you are in the area, try the ” hot chocolate,” a mix of their jalapeño ale and chocolate porter!
That’s all for today! Enjoy!
Dinner and dessert, my brother-in-law’s latest craft-cigar box guitars!, Horseheads brewing company randoms and more eats.
Ben’s sister and niece were also in the area this weekend. So, on Sunday, after church and a quick lunch, we met them just outside of Lake Placid bearing some of the best local cuisine…Clare and Carl’s Michigans (just google it).
After leaving my car parked on the side of the road, we headed up Whiteface Mountain…although I’ve lived in the North Country for quite some time, I’d never actually made this trip before, so I was pretty excited… unfortunately, I didn’t really think too far ahead and was not wearing the best outfit for being on top of a mountain ( a cotton dress and a pair of slip-ons)…luckily, I had a zip-up in my car.
Anyway, we drove up the mountain slowly, stopping to take a few pictures along the way…
When we reached the top and found a parking spot, we took the elevator to the top of the mountain (!!!!) and looked around…then we walked/hiked down to the castle and enjoyed our Michigans before hitting the road again.
Although it was a quick trip, it was really great to catch up and enjoy the view from the top.
After we got back to the car, Ben and I decided to head into Lake Placid to wander around, with a pit-stop for root beer floats.
Overall, it was a pretty awesome weekend and we are both thankful for the quality time spent with family.
How was your labor day? What’s your favorite local food? Ever taken an elevator to the top of a mountain?
My sister took this little gem over the weekend. She wanted a picture of my brother wearing that shirt….I seized the opportunity.
Photo-bombing lesson: The element of surprise is key.
Any words of wisdom to fellow photo-ruiners?
The last 24 hours have been full of my favorite things…
1. Burritos. Ben and I had delicious-ness for lunch from our favorite taco joint.
2. Foodie Penpals-I sent my package to Marcia in Florida… Anxiously awaiting the arrival of mine!
3. Farmer Ben in Chef Pants.
4. My siblings.
6. A good run.
7. Summer nights (and bon-fires).
8. Go-go Juice and being on time to work.
8. Sunny days.
10. Writing this blog.
Hope your days have been as blessed as mine. Have a great day!
When I last left you, I had just experienced the first openly awkward encounter with one of the family members.
It was in the previously mentioned sea of bubbles that I was blindsided. I was expecting things to be (the closest to) normal with this person…but I was wrong. And it didn’t get better…we had another, and equally awkward, run-in at the reception.
At first I was a little miffed about the weirdness, but after some thought, I realized that it had to be equally as uncomfortable for this group to see me as it was for me to see them… I mean, I was supposed to be a part of the family and then I just… wasn’t…and even worse, I went off and married someone else! So… yeah, it was a weird situation.
Ben and I quickly moved on to a different part of the group and--after a flub-up on a relative’s name and a sideways glance after telling her that Ben was my husband– had a really nice chat with other people I knew. It was while standing in this group that I almost had a heart attack (numero uno).
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar face walking toward us.
“No. No. No. There is NO WAY that he’d come over here. NO WAY! Just… NO,” I thought.
But, he kept coming. Closer and closer. Everything slowed down to the point that I was a living instant replay….
“Nooo-oooo-oooo Waaa-aaaaay,” I screamed inwardly!
And then, standing right in front of me was the ex.
If the ground could have opened up and swallowed me whole, I wouldn’t have minded. As it was, I am pretty sure that my face changed three different colors and my legs almost gave out.
This had to be a joke, or a mirage? Something.
And yet, there he was. Still standing there.
It was the first time that we had seen each other since the day I left Virginia, just over two years ago. Except, this time, I was looking at a stranger.
“Hi! How’s it going?!” He asked, as if we were best friends.
After a pause to collect my thoughts and concentrate on my face not turning purple, I replied, “I’m doing very well, how are you?”
Now, I said in my previous post that I was more worried about seeing the family of the ex than the ex, himself. As I mentioned, we aren’t on bad terms but we also are not friends. We just… aren’t on any terms.
Needless to say, I hadn’t planned on him coming up and acting buddy-buddy. I figured he would do what any reasonable adult would do; ignore my existence unless we ran into each other getting a drink and then politely nod, exchange the obligatory, “nice to see you,” then go back to ignoring me. That’s what a normal person would do. And as much as I hate to admit it, it’s what I had planned on doing.
I should have remembered that nothing I ever plan on actually happens… usually the exact opposite happens.
Instead of moving away from the group I was with, the ex continued to stand there and pry conversation out of me as I skillfully hid the fact that I was having a minor stroke.
I can’t imagine what was going through Ben’s head as he watched his wife, face changing colors, sweating and legs shaking, and her ex-fiance, standing there with a manic smile and equally red face, trying to make small talk. That Farmer Ben is a keeper. If he was nervous, he didn’t show it.
I eventually re-introduced the ex to Ben, proving that I am, in fact, the universal queen of all awkward situations on the planet. Let’s just say, it could have been a lot less weird, but I took care of it.
About 15 seconds after this awful re-introduction I saw another familiar face striding toward me.
“JAY!” I screamed as I practically jumped into his arms. I had never been happier to see my old roommate than I was at that exact second.
After a few more painful minutes, Ben and I headed back toward my car and started driving toward the reception site.
We decided that we both needed a beer.
I had been told by the ex that the reception site-the eagle’s club- had a giant eagle statue in front of it. I realized this was true after I sped past it. Of course I had someone following me, so I was pretty embarrassed when I had to slam on my brakes and pull into the next driveway to turn around. Oops. My bad.
Jay and his girlfriend, Ben and myself and another couple found a table in the middle of the reception hall. This seemed to be the safest place…at least that is what I had planned on, anyway.
We sat and chatted for a few minutes and watched as the rest of the wedding crowd trickled into the room.
The family and wedding party started to find their way into the building.
My heart sank as I watched something happen and knew there was nothing I could do to stop it.
Cue slow motion.
“Nooooo…No….Nooooo… No-ooooo Waaa-aaaay,” my inner warped voice screamed.
It was happening again. As I watched in horror, the ex and his date entered, he made eye contact, glanced hurriedly around the room (or in my mind, slowly around the room) and then made a beeline for a table. But not just any table. The exact table that Ben and I were sitting at.
The two sat down and everyone else at the table collectively stopped talking, exchanged looks of horror and then stared down at their laps. No one knew what to do.
I am pretty sure my face went from its normal pinkish-pale to bright red to paper white and my stomach went from its usual place, down to my butt, up to my throat and back. Twice.
Ben, noting my face color, asked “Are you okay?”
I heard the ex mutter to Jay, “I figured I would dispel some of the awkward-ness now. You know?”
I almost jumped on the table and yelled “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! How is this NOT AWKWARD?!” But I remembered that it wasn’t my day and that I was in a crowded room, so I didn’t. Instead I sat there, exchanged a dumbfounded look with a friend of mine and then got up to get a beer.
After that, the night was pretty calm. There were a few more awkward interactions and I somehow ended up having a really nice conversation with the ex’s date (she was a pretty cool lady, props! ). Go figure.
Ben and I enjoyed a few dances together and Jay, our friend Danielle, and I reminisced about our time in DC.
Everyone at the table enjoyed people watching and the awe that comes with being in such a rural town. I really loved seeing Laura and Ted enjoy their first few hours of wedded bliss. So much happiness.
As much as I hate to say it, I give the ex props for being the bigger adult in this situation… not saying that I would have been rude to him, but I probably would have handled the situation a little differently if the roles were reversed.
In short, I got through the night. Ben got through the night. We did it together. I couldn’t have asked for a better date…or a better husband for that matter.
Upon leaving, I sighed with relief. I knew that I had survived the collision of my past and present. I smiled to myself as I realized once again that I am truly blessed. Every ridiculous crazy things has happened for a reason, even if I have no idea what it is at the time.
We got in the car and drove back toward my sister’s house. The night was over. And I was leaving with my person. Thank God.
A Note from Noelle: I’ve actually had this post written for a couple of weeks now but I’ve been stewing as to whether or not I should post it… In the spirit of being overly honest, here you are!
A few weekends ago my past and present collided. Literally.
As I drove down and across New York State , my hands shook, my hair stood on end and I was sweating. A lot. It was hot, cold and everything in between. I think I put on and took off my hoodie about 37 times during the five-hour trip.
The only thing that kept me driving down the highway at slightly over the speed limit was Ben, offering an affectionate squeeze of my hand or an encouraging smile every few exits.
When we got off highway and made the turn toward my sister’s house, I knew there was no turning back… unless I suddenly came down with a nasty stomach bug… or my car broke down… or something, anything else.
As I tried on the first of the two dresses I brought, Ben smiled at me and my sister told me to wear it. I was fretting about wearing the right thing and not being too dressed up or down. My stomach was doing backflips and I was wondering if it would be too late to quietly back out.
Ben and I had a quick lunch together, consisting of a giant burger and french fries, then we rushed back to my sister’s house to get ready. Time was passing too quickly and before I knew it, I was hurrying Ben out the door and into the car.
I turned back on to the highway and headed west. As I drove, I wondered what I was thinking when I had RSVP’d yes.
It was a trip I’ve made several times but this time it was different. I was with my husband, who’d never traveled this road before and had no idea what to expect.
I was going to place I hadn’t expected to return to, and especially not under these circumstances. I was seeing people I’d never thought I’d see again… at least not on purpose.
We were quite literally traveling straight into my past life. The town where I grew up, with people I used to know, in a time where I didn’t even know who Ben was. As we got off the exit, we passed familiar fields and houses. I had forgotten how long it took to get into town and as we drove, Ben was surprised at how rural it was. The landscape had a few changes, but for the most part, all was the same.
We drove slowly down the street to the address mentioned on the invitation. Of course, I drove by it the first time. As we circled the block, we took in the sights of a small town that hadn’t changed in years.
I parked the car and realized that my hands were shaking, and I am pretty sure my legs were, too. As I opened the door, I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing that I needed to jump off.
Again I wondered, “is it too late to just get back in the car and drive away?”
I looked over at Ben, who simply took my hand, and smiled as we walked toward the church. I’m still amazed about how cool and collected he was compared to me… if the roles were reversed, I wouldn’t have been able to speak, let alone keep encouraging him.
We climbed up the steps and hung a right into the sanctuary. My plan had been to sneak into the back of the church unnoticed, but I had forgotten where we were. Needless to say, it was a small enough church that no one walked in undetected. As I chose a pew in the back, I looked up and saw my ex’s father standing in front of me. Along with an uncle, aunt and some cousins.
At this point, my legs were shaking so badly that I am not quite sure how I made it down the row and returned their “hello’s,” but somehow I did and I introduced them to Ben. My husband. I felt like my stomach was going to leap out of my throat and my hands continued to shake as we finally sat down.
Another Aunt sat down behind us and, realizing it was me, continued to make small talk for the next few minutes. I was cursing my need to arrive at big social events early.
Luckily, another familiar face sat down behind us and I was able to switch conversations. An uncle smiled at me from across the room and mouthed a “nice to see you.”
Perhaps I should explain myself, before you think I’ve completely lost my mind.
My ex’s sister and I are still close. She even attended our wedding. And to be perfectly frank, I was fine with seeing the ex. We aren’t on “good” terms per say but we aren’t on bad terms either…we just…aren’t on any sort of terms. So I knew that we wouldn’t be having any in-depth conversations. I doubted that we would even speak.
I was, however, absolutely positively terrified of seeing the family.
I was not in a good place three years ago when we broke up. I was extremely scared and insecure. Completely uncomfortable in my own skin. I haven’t seen the family since the day the ex and I parted ways and I was unsure what to expect this time. Especially because I would be bringing a date (my husband-who isn’t their son/nephew/cousin) with me.
I’m a very different person than I was back then and my life has changed in so many ways, it’s difficult for me to connect to my old self and seeing this family was going to force me to do so.
They are wonderful people, but I am sure they thought it was a little odd that I was going to the wedding. Most people would have just sent a nice gift. If they did think it was odd, they didn’t let on. All of them were wonderful, and-with the exception of a few sideways glances-everyone exchanged pleasantries and small talk.
I have to admit, I definitely made this a bigger deal than it actually was, but when you go from having people very much a part of your life to… not a part of your life, what can you expect? I had no idea. Neither did Ben.
The ceremony was short and sweet and I have never seen Laura look more beautiful than she did in those moments.
After the ceremony ended, the crowd made their way outside to enclose the bride and groom in a sea of bubbles.
It was in this mass exit that I had the first-and most unexpected-awkward exchange of the evening. I’m going to chalk it up to having too much going on and not being sure how to react in the bubbles, the people and the activity. There was one more sideways glance, but again, it was done with grace and barely detected.
And now…for a short break. Click here for Part Two.
Okay…I need to clear something up. Apparently one of my posts from last week caused quite a stir (as evidenced by my phone blowing up with texts and Facebook messages), so I have some explaining to do. I’m sorry I didn’t elaborate sooner, it just wasn’t the right time to do so yet.
Ben and I are having a baby. No. Totally kidding. We are, however, embarking on a new adventure.
Ben is starting as head chef at a new restaurant…it’s such a great opportunity for him and I am so excited and proud of him! Again, it wasn’t exactly expected, everything just sort of fell into place.
We’re also making plans for the next step/adventure. Those details are still a little foggy.
Now that that is cleared up (phew!), there are a few other things I am super excited and/or happy about.
- The restaurant I work at in the summer is finally open! It’s gotten a much-needed facelift, an updated menu and a super talented chef (see above). I am really excited to be working there again and seeing all of my regulars. It’s going to be a great summer!
- I sent out my foodie pen pal package! I can’t wait for Lauri in Texas to get her box full of Upstate NY/VT goodies!
- I should be getting my foodie package soon! I looooooooove mail!
- The Farmers’ Market is finally opening for the season!
- We have corn coming up in our garden. And beans. And lettuce!
- My friend Angela just moved to the area! We had dinner on Monday…I am so excited to hang out with her more.
- I had a great conversation with my friend Christina on Tuesday. I love knowing that my friends are doing well!
- I had a run/dinner/girls’ night with my friends Nessa and Tina. I am so social lately!
- It’s finally starting to feel like spring!
- I just noticed that I have used an exclamation point in every single bullet! !!!
- I got in a great walk at lunch today and am just itching to get out and run!
One last thing.
Happy belated birthday (it was yesterday…oops.) to my amazing Aunt Rayna! You are such a wonderful lady and an inspiration! Here’s to many more!
Over and out.
I am super excited to announce that I’m back. Back on track that is. I told you about my night of lunges (still feeling the burn from that…oy!).
The next night I was able to make up a few routines set to music-thank God for my year of Jazzercise (shout-out to Renee, amazing instructor!). The moves consisted of boxing, kicks, crunches, some stretches and dancing like a fool. If felt good to be moving again. I only wish they had a class in the North Country. I’ve been told to try Zumba-also fun, but it’s just not the same.
Saturday, I continued my activity. I went to visit my mother and ended up lugging some heavy boxes and groceries around, playing with our 200+ lb. English Mastiff (Love Griffin!) and the kitties. I then went home, threw on my running clothes and took off for a quick 3 miles before work.
I say a “quick” three miles, but it wasn’t really. I was extremely sore, so getting myself up to pace took some time. I hate to admit it, but I even took a walk break in the middle. In the end, the 3 miles took over 30 minutes. Not great, but I can’t complain since it was my first run in about three months. Needless to say, I have some work to do. Thank God for some upbeat tunage or I would have been in serious trouble. Confession time: I definitely listened to “Moves Like Jagger” and “Love You Like a Love Song” during this little trek. Don’t judge.
Why am I telling you this embarrassing tidbit? I’m human… it takes time and effort. This first run was rough, no doubt about it. But I’m gonna keep at it. You should, too.
Anyway, Sunday was a huge day for me. I was finally teaching Ben how to ice skate. We went to the open skate at SUNY Plattsburgh… I was super excited as I would be sharing a piece of my childhood with him and possibly starting a new activity together.
Unfortunately, the experience did not live up to expectations; We got there about 5 minutes before the open skate started. When it was our turn for rentals, they were out of our sizes. We were both stuck with skates that were at least a size too big. Not good, especially for someone who has never skated. Even worse, the blades were dull.
When we finally made it onto the ice, it was complete chaos. Tons of toddlers and little ones were pushing around little bars to help them learn, trying to run on the ice and then sliding all over the place, while their parents were… somewhere else. Teenagers were skating in groups of 5 or more, middle schoolers were playing tag (okay, this was not that obnoxious) and some people were just standing in the midst of it all. There was hardly any open space on the ice. In short, it was nuts. The ice was super rough. I was about half way through a spin when I had to dodge an out of control 8 year old, needless to say, I fell and smashed my knees. I fell again later, after hitting a crevice on the ice. Ben’s ankles weren’t holding up very well with the giant skates, so he went to change back into street shoes. I took a few more turns around the ice, still dodging small children, bewildered adults and unconcerned parents. I finally gave up with 10 minutes of skating left.
Now, it may just be me, but you’d think that living in a town where it is winter for about 5 months out of the year and SUNY being a big hockey school, that this skating time would be run a little better. Again, that’s just my opinion.
I know that next time I go skating, I’ll probably go to the small rink on the other end of town. We still had fun and got some quality time on the ice in, but it was a bit too crazy. I’m happy to report that Ben was a quick learner- I was pretty impressed, all things considered. Yeah, my hubs is pretty amazing.
Anyway, the reason I am lumping this in with my activity is that ice skating is an awesome workout. It’s also tons of fun and doesn’t feel like a workout, until later. Yes, you may fall, but you just get back up. You’re in constant (low impact!) movement, using your arms, your core, and your legs. Ice skating is also great for balance. Just sayin’, give it a try!
I’m not sure what I will be doing tonight as my knees are feeling a bit rough today, in addition to everything else. Even with the little bit of pain, I feel good. I was telling the hubs that I haven’t felt this good in a long time. I have more energy and my whole outlook has changed for the better.
Sorry for this post being a bit scattered, it was a pretty stellar weekend! I’m looking forward to hearing about your workouts, your fitness hangups, and what your favorite activity is. Look for a new post and a possible recipe soon!
I’ll leave you with this quasi-random photo: Some of my best friends and Griffin…circa 2007, stolen from my friend Mel. How can you not love that sweet pup?!
PS. Another embarrassing Noelle fact: Apparently my right leg is bigger than my left. I am wearing my amazing new boots. The left zips up all the way, the right…doesn’t. Ugh. No big deal.
It’s going to be a short one, but I want to start out by saying that I have so much to tell you! December has been a busy month. Unfortunately, it’s been so busy that I haven’t had much time to sit down and actually talk about it. Forgive me. I will catch you up on the happenings in my life soon… Unfortunately, today is not the day.
Because I have to work today and tonight, continue baking, shop and sing tomorrow and have family things to do the rest of the weekend, I am taking this spare moment for you. The holidays are about spending time with friends, so here we are.
I can tell you that I am very thankful for a good job and great co-workers, Christmas food/baked goods, time off from work, new tires-finally, a wonderful family and my new husband. The last year has been crazy, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
It’ll be my first Christmas as a Mrs., so I am wondering what sort of traditions we will start…so far, we have waiting til the last minute to do…everything! What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Or favorite memories?
Some of mine are having dinner at my grandmother’s house with all of the family, or going to Boston and having the Christmas Eve party at my Uncle Paul’s house-complete with Chinese food. There was also the time spent watching Christmas movies with my siblings. I also fondly remember singing in Christmas programs at my church, including one special Christmas where I threw up in the middle of singing “Oh Holy Night” with my sister.
I want to take this time to say “Merry Christmas,” in case I don’t have another moment. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday, full of baked goods, wine and time spent with loved ones. God Bless.