Thank You

Hello friends,

The time has finally come for the second phase of the wedding threesome contest to come to a close.

We’re not going to lie — at the end of phase I, when we heard that we had to keep up a blog for three weeks during the middle of final exams and final projects, we were less than thrilled about the idea. These three weeks have really been some of the busiest of our lives. However, despite our crazy schedules — we prevailed. And since a majority of these posts were written by both of us, together — the task actually served to strengthen our bond as a couple. During some of those crazy, busy days, it was almost therapeutic to actually sit down together for an hour or two and write stories and laugh about times when it wasn’t so crazy.

Naturally, we got by with a little help from our friends, too. On some of those days when we just couldn’t find an hour to come up with bloggy genius together, some really amazing people were there to bail us out. Brian, Tawn, Miles, Jeff — we really appreciate your special guest contributions – you have no idea how huge they actually were for us.

We would also like to thank all of you who have devoted a bit of your time each day to coming and reading the blog. We can’t even believe the amount of views we’ve gotten in just three weeks – and from all over the world, too!

The winning couples from phase II will be announced here http://www.weddinggirl.ca/ on Monday, April 16th. Three out of the four couples will be moving on to phase III, but we don’t yet know what phase III has in store for (hopefully) us.

We sincerely hope that we don’t have to harass you all again — but if we do, we’re certain that you will have our backs! Your support throughout this whole competition has been unparalleled and we appreciate everything that all of you have done for us.

Writing this blog has definitely been a lot of fun. It has given us the opportunity to reflect on a lot of the fun things that we’ve done during our time together; It’s given us the opportunity to express some of our ideas and visions about our wedding day; And — of course — it’s given us the opportunity to share all of these experiences with you all.

We will leave you now with ten reasons why we think that we should move on to phase III:

  1. We are two amazing people who really deserve a break
  2. We have the best and most supportive friends and family!
  3. Our blog has been awesome (it’s been cute, touching, funny, sweet, romantic…)
  4. The announcement is the day after Jackson’s birthday — and moving to phase III would be a sweet present (‘that plus beer,’ says Jackson)
  5. Loretta’s computer died yesterday so now we have to pay for that, too
  6. Loretta’s high school cheerleading team gets a pizza party if we win
  7. Jackson’s friends each get one beer if we win
  8. We have a really cute puppy
  9. We have been paying for school for a combined 13 years – with 5 more years to go!
  10. We really want to be able to afford the wedding of our dreams

If you all can think of any other reasons as to why we should win – show us some love and post it as a reply! Let’s give Jay from Captivate Bridal, Rick from Rick Denham Photography and Mary from a little help in selecting this year’s Wedding Threesome Contest winners 😉

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Would You Like Some Cheese to Go with Your Whine?

We thought we’d share some exciting plans we have so far for our upcoming nuptials.

When: February 2013. Why a winter wedding you ask? Well there are 3 good reasons:

1. Graduate students don’t get many vacation days and since we both attend university year-round the only time we know we will have time off is our reading week, which happens to fall in February.

2. The venue we picked is amazing (see below) but is only available in the winter season.

3. We want to honeymoon somewhere exotic so why not go when it will be cold here?

Where: We are getting married at Loretta’s church, Westminister United Church in St. Catharines. Loretta has many fond memories at the church growing up, so it was a natural choice. Our reception will be held in the former Niagara District Courthouse in the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. Originally built in the mid 19th century it was once a courthouse, jail, and town hall. The courthouse is now designated a national historic site of Canada and currently is home to the Shaw Festival during the summer months. Niagara-on-the-Lake has a special place in our hearts (as you read about in our engagement story) and we fell in love with the venue instantly!

Niagara District Courthouse in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake is the venue for our wedding reception

Our Wedding Theme: We love our wine. From our first date to wine tours in the summer, we’ve (mostly responsibly) had our fill of wine – mostly white, mostly Riesling, to be specific. Jackson even bought Loretta a giant wine glass where we keep every cork – if it’s for a special day, we write the date and the occasion on it! Given this, plus the fact that our wedding is in the heart of wine country, we naturally decided that our theme should be wine and cheese – inclusive of a cocktail hour wine tasting with a wine barrel bar, some wine themed decor, a cheese wedding cake and wine and cheese themed favors.

We opted to skip the traditional wedding cake and have a wedding cake made out of cheese wheels!!!

Cheese Spreaders and Wine Corks as Wedding Favors

A wine barrel bar to serve a wine tasting during cocktail hour

Jackson and Loretta save all of their wine corks!

Some wine themed decor

How it all Began – The Story of our First Date

Jackson here. This is the story of our first date – from my perspective.

It was mid-March, 2009 when Loretta and I had our first date. I was super nervous. My hands were sweaty, my voice was shaking. I was in trouble.

However, as luck would have it, I was guided by some excellent advice (and even a prop) given to me by Miles, one of my amazing groomsmen. He suggested that if you’re really nervous on a first date, it’s good to have some kind of an activity do so that you can fill in any possible awkward moments with a turn at the activity – and for those who know me well, you know that I have a tendency to be a little awkward at times.

For Loretta and I, this activity was Boggle – Miles actually lent me his personal copy for that night. But even though I had this genius crutch, I don’t think I actually needed it as Loretta and I hit it off tremendously (though, I probably had a little extra confidence having that awkward-saver as a back-up if I needed it!).

Boggle - great first date activity!

Loretta set out some treats for us to munch on – white wine (Riesling, at least a 2) and some pineapple with chocolate dipping sauce (mmmm).

We played a few rounds of Boggle as we munched on pineapple and sipped on Late Autumn Riesling. As I kept winning round after round of boggle (I’m a words-guy!), I could tell that Loretta wasn’t really fond of losing – so I let her win a couple of rounds. Good thing the conversation came so easily, because the Boggle may not have been the perfect fall-back crutch that I had hoped it would be!

Loretta had a great sense of humour and seemed to really take a shining to my goofiness and especially liked my Mike Tyson impersonation – I had been working on it earlier that week. As the night wore on, I noticed that if she got up off the couch to do something, when she came back she would sit down closer and closer to me every time. I thought – she likes me, awesome!

The defining moment must have been when Mr. Deeds unexpectedly came on the TV. Prior to our first date, we had talked about how we loved comedy movies and Adam Sandler’s Mr. Deeds was one of the films at the top of our lists – this couldn’t be just a coincidence!

'The hideousness of that foot will haunt my dreams forever'

When the night was over, Loretta showed me to the door.  This was it – the ‘make-it or break-it’ moment – time to leave a lasting impression. As we both went in for the kiss goodnight, Loretta went for the lips – and I went for the cheek. The kiss ended up being an awkward combination of a half-cheek, half-lip kiss.

I thought to myself – ‘I blew it, best just to get out without any more awkwardness.’ So then I turned to the door and pulled on the handle and it wouldn’t move – it was locked.  Of course it was. Loretta unlocked the door opened it up for me and as my face burned with embarrassment, I thanked her and walked out the door. Way to go, Jackson – way to leave a ‘lasting impression.’

Fortunately for me, Loretta (obviously) overlooked that awkward ending – she actually found my nervousness and awkwardness to be kind of endearing. And look at us now, more than three years later and engaged to be married!

It only took about 15-20 dates for me to stop shaking like a leaf every time I went to knock on her door.

A picture of us during our first summer together

A ‘Decent’ Proposal

We know you’ve all been waiting on bated breath to hear about how Jackson popped ‘the question’ to Loretta. Well, without further ado, here’s the story of ‘The Proposal.’

It all began in early October, when Jackson was plotting and scheming on how he would possibly get Loretta to the place where he knew was the perfect place to ask her to be his wife.

Jackson had a plan to take Loretta away for a romantic weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL), but the tricky part was trying to get Loretta to agree to it without her being suspicious that something was up, as she is usually the one to plan the getaways.

Needless to say, Loretta knew, or at least hoped that something was up. However, as she was the one to pack all of the luggage – and she went through every piece, item by item – her hopes were deflated as she found no evidence of what she was hoping to find (i.e. a little jewelry box). Note to the guys: the ladies never check the inside jacket pocket.

As we drove down the highway, Loretta started to get nervous as we approached the U.S. border – she kept telling Jackson she didn’t pack her passport. Jackson started to sweat as it started to rain a little. Jackson turned off the highway at the last exit before the U.S. border and the rain had stopped. Thank god – says Jackson. Jackson suggested we take a walk – a walk in 10 degree drizzly weather. We pulled into Queenston Heights – a park in Queenston near NOTL. We had been there before – maybe 6 months into our relationship, Loretta brought Jackson there to have a picnic. In our first visit there we set-up our blanket right near the bandshell under a beautiful tree on the most perfect summer day. That was the day – the day that we both knew, the day that Jackson knew Loretta was the one and the day that Loretta knew Jackson was the one.

So, 2 ½ years later as Loretta reluctantly went on that walk in the miserable weather, Jackson found that tree we sat under on that nice summer afternoon and he got down on one knee.

Jackson was so nervous and Loretta was so excited that neither Loretta nor Jackson really know what he said to this day – but whatever he did say, it must have worked. Loretta said yes – obviously, that’s kind of why you’re reading this.

Loretta at the hotel just after agreeing to be Jackson's wife - she looks excited!

Loretta and Jackson spent the rest of the weekend celebrating NOTL style. Loretta bought Jackson an amazing umbrella, they went to a fancy dinner and they stayed at the Queen’s Landing Hotel. It’s so fitting that NOTL is where we’ve decided to celebrate our love on our big day – almost exactly 4 years from our first date!

Loretta couldn't help herself. She had to sneakily send this picture to her maid of honour while Jackson was in the bathroom.

The secret to long-distance love… ‘the post-it note’

Some of the post-it notes we've kept from our long distance days!

  

Jackson and I started out the first two years of our relationship doing the long distance thing. Ok, not the easiest thing to do… but a few tricks made it a lot easier. Enter the post-it note. I started sending J post it notes with his lunch I would pack for him on Sunday mornings for work. I’d try to get it in his backpack when he wasn’t looking so he would have something cute to read that day. Jackson would then do the same before he left on the weekends. I would find funny notes all over the place throughout the week when he wasn’t there with me. When we moved in together we found that both of us kept all of each others notes. Here are a couple of my faves:

Loretta to Jackson:

I had a great weekend with you yet again! Thank you for taking me skating I had so much fun. You are such a great teacher and hopefully one day I can stop on my skates just like you 🙂 Also, thank you for driving around to every store to look for chicken with me. No chicken? They all were just outta chicken? LOL. On that note enjoy your lunch and have a great day at work ❤ Loretta xoxoxo

Jackson to Loretta:

Every bit of my heart beats for you Loretta. My right and left atria and ventricles, even my bicuspid and tricuspid valves. I wish I was spending the day with you instead of studying this stuff. I love you ❤ xoxo J.J.

Yahoo! Friday night = date night!

TGIF!!!! Friday nights happen to be date night at our house. No matter how busy we are or what has gone on in the week, Friday night is night just for the 2 of us. It also happens to be take-out night or ‘cheat’ night’. As we are trying to save for our upcoming wedding we don’t go out as much as we did last year and as Jackson puts it he needs to get into ‘tuxedo shape’ so we are cutting back the junk food … but Friday is our night off to enjoy! We may go out for dinner at a nice resturant, order a pizza, get fastfood, or just get a bottle of wine and some popcorn to watch a movie.

Last Friday when it was still 25 degrees out we decided to skip over to the best burger joint in London for some burgers and beers on the patio (yes on the patio in March in Canada)!!!!

On the patio in March! Beer and burgers = awesome date night 🙂

“and they called it puppy love”

Wow we have written over 10 posts and we have yet to blog about our pride and joy, our puppy!

When we both decided to pursue graduate school, move in together, move out of Loretta’s apartment and into a new house, we also thought hey we also need a dog! Why not?

Loretta has always wanted a great dane – Jackson didn’t think that this was such a good idea as he thought a 150lb dog sounds like a little more than we can handle. So we went back and forth on what breed of dog we wanted and decided upon the most beautiful breed out there, the Weimaraner. Yes that gorgeous silver dog that no one can pronounce its name. We often get “oh is that a ‘wimuraner?” or ‘weimerhiemer’ or even Loretta’s mom calling the breed a ‘rhymewhiler’.

We picked out our puppy from a litter of 11, born January 31, 2011. How do you pick just one puppy out of that many cute little fuzzy babies, you ask? Well, we decided on a big boy who seemed very calm and relaxed. HAHAHA anyone who knows our pup knows we did not choose the relaxed puppy.

Wernicke just a couple of days old!

And what did we name this boy? Wernicke. Now, most of you will fit into 3 groups:

  1.        You don’t know the term and think it’s a weird name, or
  2.        You know it and you think we are clever nerds, or
  3.        You know it and you think we are lame nerds.

As a future neuroscientist and a speech-language pathologist, we wanted a name that reflected both of us so we decided on Wernicke, after Wernicke’s area – the area of the brain that is responsible for language comprehension (see we are nerds – but take solace in the fact that it is not our 1st born’s name). However, this name is fitting – as we believe he may have Wernicke’s aphasia meaning he has severely impaired language comprehension, especially if he is in the backyard or the dog park (although the word ‘treat’ still gets through!).

 

How Wernicke got his name

Wern is now 14 months old, 85lbs and a bundle of love and energy. He can go on a 10km walk and prance back in the house asking ‘ok so what next’. He loves giving kisses or will nibble your fleas for you as a sign of affection. He loves morning snuggles in bed and can clear the room pretty fast with his ‘stink bombs’.

Here are a couple of cute moments:

Oh Boy digging is fun! Why do you look mad?

Maybe he's a little too big to sit on our laps

Wernicke and Jackson hanging out together

Wernicke's 1st Christmas

Commandeering the bed ALWAYS!

What Wern was doing while we were trying to write this blog!

Meet the Cast – Mandatory Blog Post #1 for the Wedding Threesome Contest

Our Wedding Threesome Contest-Masters, Rick from Rick Denham, Jay from Captivate Bridal Cinema, and Mary from WeddingGirl.ca have charged us with our very first mandatory blog topic! They want to know all about our wedding party!

Without further ado, we present the cast of who will be starring in Loretta and Jackson’s big day:

Tawnyah (aka Tawn or T) is Loretta’s Maid of Honor. We met on the Brock cheerleading team. I was a top (the girl who flies in the air) and Tawn was a 3rd on the team (the 3rd is the one who basically protects your back and head), needless to say we became friends instantly and she has saved my life on numerous occasions. After Brock we went on to cheer competitively with an all-star team and travelled all over North America and have even coached our own program. From funny moments at airport security to many 3am adventures (in several different cities) Tawn and I have done it all. Tawn is the life of the party, the fun, free-spirited personality. She has the funniest stories – things that can only happen to her. She will be the one at the wedding who will lighten the mood and calm me down if something goes wrong. However she will not be the one who will keep us on time. Sorry Mary, that has to be your job – if we leave it to Tawn we may not make it to the church (but we’d definitely make it to the after-party)!

Loretta and Tawnyah, our Maid of Honour

 

Jen (aka JZ) is one of our Bridesmaids. JZ and Loretta have known each other since our Brock cheerleading days and then again in all-star cheerleading. We also worked at summer camp together – I of course was the science instructor while JZ worked as the high ropes instructor (basically she was way cooler). No wonder she is currently an elementary school gym teacher.  JZ is our world traveller, from Alaska to Australia, she has been everywhere – and I always get a souvenir. JZ has been on all kinds of crazy adventures with Tawn and me and is probably the best at keeping us from not getting arrested – hopefully she is instrumental in this task at the wedding – she may be able to keep the reception PG13 or at least prevent some streaking in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake.

JZ in Australia

 

Darby is a bridesmaid and Loretta’s oldest friend. Darby and I go way back… all the way back to Mrs. Trush’s senior kindergarten class.  We grew up together, through elementary school, high school orientation twice at two different high schools, and even went to university together. We have so many memories together growing up including her mooning some boys in another car while my mom was driving us home from the movies to getting lost in the woods on a grade 10 fieldtrip. She is a lovely and brilliant young woman who has gone from student council president to working for the Niagara Region Emergency Management Response Team. On the big day Darby will be our go-to for any emergency situation from having emergency personnel on stand-by in case Jackson passes out to calling in a favour just in case of a winter wedding blizzard (that better not happen)!

Loretta and Darby in a 'wayback playback'

 

Penny is also one of our fabulous bridesmaids. She is the younger sister of the groom (Jackson to me but Tom to her – which leads to all kinds of funny conversations). She also happens to be the proud momma of our ring bearer Jack. Penny is our resident wedding guru. She will be (by our wedding date) a newlywed herself. In addition to planning her own nuptials she is also involved in many other wedding parties this year. We are hoping to be pros after being involved in Penny’s wedding but I’m sure she will be the go-to for all kinds of questions that pop up along the way.

Penny's 'Garth' impression

 

Isabella (aka Bean) is our flowergirl and is the daughter to my brother Andrew and Jhoanna. Isabella was chosen because she loves to be on stage – literally, she will make a stage in the living room and place all of the chairs around and you must sit and watch her perform. We are so excited to see her performance at our wedding. Bean will be instrumental in the seating plan design because if she doesn’t like where you are sitting she will be sure to tell you to ‘get out!’

Bean. She's already picked the right team!

 

Brian our MC is Loretta’s closest and most fav cousin. Brian will be no doubt the BEST MC ever! He is the most hilarious, sarcastic, and quick-witted person you will ever meet. He will do a fantastic job and will be able to ‘roll with the punches’ if something unexpected happens because he is so good on his feet.  Often at weddings, speeches can be a bit dry but Brian will get everyone laughing and engaged. Nothing is ever off limits for Brian and we are looking forward to hearing some of our hilarious adventures together… you may even get to hear the one about locking Loretta’s mom in an outhouse in the middle of night – we’ll see!

Brian, our Emcee 'princess' 😉

 

Jeff – The best man. Jeff and I met during grade 10 chemistry when another friend and I thought it would be a good idea to invite that ‘really smart guy from class’ over to my mom’s so he could help us with studying.  Well, the studying idea kind of backfired as we ended up spending the evening in my mom’s hot tub – wishing we knew some girls who would join us – and not studying at all. Even though I lost out on the good chemistry grades – I gained a really great, lasting friendship. Jeff and I have done many things together – playing hockey, partying, fishing, camping trips, we even had a band together called ‘Ass Notes and the Shitty Beats.’ Jeff was chosen as the ‘main man’ because of our rich history and his capacity to keep me ‘on the level’ – which is certainly going to come in handy as I tend to get a little anxious in important situations. On our day, Jeff will help get the party going as he’s pretty unabashed on the dance floor – some may even say that he’s got moves like Jagger. I can’t wait to hear Jeff’s speech – which he’s been working really hard on, right Jeff?

 

Jackson and Jeff, The Best Man

 

Eric – a.k.a. ‘Miles’ is a groomsman. Miles and I also met in high school – it was in Clarkey’s communications class, the best class ever. Him and I have been known to ‘fire it up’ from time to time. I particularly (sort of) remember him and I having a few (too many) beers on St. Patty’s one year and sleeping in his car. This was actually two days before I met Loretta (with which, Miles actually had a role in!) – I’m sure Miles heard his share of how excited I was to meet her that night. Our friendship really solidified during our time at McMaster University together as we shared a class and many bro-mantic coffee dates on campus. Miles is certainly going to lighten the mood on the day with his quick-witted humour. I’m convinced that he will perform as a stand-up comedian some day.

 

Miles. Thug life

 

Tom – a.k.a. ‘Moonbeam,’ or ‘Beamer’ is a groomsman. Beamer and I met through a friend at my old job and we’ve been ‘toit’ ever since. Beamer and I share many traits – we’re both pale, we have red hair, we’re of similar heritage (pale, red hair, you figure it out!), we love hockey, well-brewed beer and having a good time. Back in our younger days – Beamer and I used to play soccer for 4 hours during the day and then go out and dance until the lights came on. Our idea of a good time (and subsequently, our body shapes) has since evolved somewhat as lately we’ve taken to performing marathon jam sessions with our ‘band’ – Circa 1981. I’m using the word band loosely here – most of us barely play an instrument. Beamer is definitely going to ‘kick it up a notch!’ on our wedding day and make sure that everybody is having a good time. I’m sure we’ll take some notes from our younger selves and dance until the lights come on.

Beamer as Ron Burgundy

 

Andrew – a.k.a ‘Drew.’ Drew knows me as ‘Rocco’ – you’ll have to get him to tell you the story. Who knows, maybe he’ll write a special guest blog about it. Drew is the younger brother of the bride, father of our flower girl and a fellow Montreal Canadiens lover. The first time that Loretta told me about her brother, she told me that he was a habs fan. I knew right away that I was going to like this guy. Drew and I got along pretty well right off the bat – we’ve watched many a sporting event together. I remember the time that Loretta and I came down for the super bowl and Shirl’ (Loretta’s mom) had written ‘Packers’ in green food colouring in the snowbank because she thought everybody was going for the packers. She was pretty disappointed that only Drew was going for the Packers. I told her not to worry as I would gladly write ‘Steelers’ in it’s place using my own yellow-coloured liquid.  As the family liaison, Drew’s jobs will be to help all of our guests have a good time and most importantly, to make sure that he doesn’t Rocco the wedding.

 

Drew definitely Rocco'ed this picture!

 

Jack – a.k.a. ‘the little man.’ Jack is Jackson’s nephew, Penny’s son and our ring bearer. Jack is almost 2 years old and he’s learning so much. According to my sister (Penny), he has recently learned how to feed their dog ‘Kanin’ treats. He knows where the cookies are kept, and he gets one out of the cupboard and stands their yelling “BUBBYYYYYY,” until the dog comes. I think this is pretty darn cool, and I think Kanin probably does too – I doubt either of them get bored of this activity. Jack’s job on our day is to make sure the rings get to the alter – hopefully he doesn’t try to feed them to the dog before he gets there.

Jack, our Ring Bearer. What a cutie!

 

We would like to give a special ‘thanks’ to Facebook for providing us with most of these hilarious photos.

Who gives a flock?!?

So since this is a blog about love and all that mushy stuff – what in the world is more cute and lovey-dovey than baby lambs????

Our dog boarder has a 50 acre hobby farm and a few of their sheep just had babies!!!! If you know Loretta at all, then you know that she LOOOVES babies. Especially fuzzy ones. So, needless to say, when we went out to pick up our puppy and Loretta heard of the little wooly bundles of joy, what would normally have been 15-minute visit quickly turned into a 2-hour-long ordeal of snuggling and cuddling.