2014: a year in review

2014 has been a big year for me. Yes, I got married. And that’s probably the biggest thing, but there’s more to it than that. I’ve remarked to people before about how graduating college was always the last thing on my horizon. Not that I didn’t have hopes for life afterwards, but I just had no concept about what was beyond May 2011. I spent my life looking forward to milestones that I could plan. In a sense, I had always known what to expect. And then upon leaving BU, the world was my oyster (as they say). And since then, it literally has been a whirlwind. Life has not slowed down or gotten less exciting, as I would have assumed it would. In fact, the past 3 1/2 years have been incredibly full with high’s and low’s, consolations and desolations, weddings and funerals, joy and sorrow. Now coming into 2014, I had an idea of how it would go since most of it revolved around planning our wedding. But it’s fun to look back on all the moments that have made up this year. So let’s get to it:

I truly can’t remember much that occurred in January except for a really cold winter. Oh…and I read the Hunger Games during a few snowy days early in the year. I still can’t decide if this was a big mistake or not. It probably was. I was bed ridden from these horrifying books for days and it consumed my mind for weeks. One day I’ll have enough clarity to explain what kind of experience I had.

Dear Lonnie was a part of my life. Any close friend of mine knows about Lonnie. The hotel I worked at had a hard time hiring an HR Director for a while, so instead of leaving the office to just me (which would have been just a blast…not), we brought in (for a second time) Lonnie: a retired HRD for the company who does task-force and was born & raised in Minnesota but lives in Sonoma, CA. This woman made so much of my work life bearable. The pair of us had SO many laughs, plenty of cries (you would too if you dealt with some of what went on), and a lot of deep life talks. I can say that I would not have made it through as much as I did in that place without her presence.

Who can forget YOLVO? You only Las Vegas Once…ish. My older sister planned my bachelorette pary in Vegas. This started out as a joke (because I’m not really a Vegas person), but it’s always been my life dream to see Celine Dion live. So off to Vegas we went. My older sister (sorry Kerry, 21’s only), my three best friends from home, and my four best friends from college. I was a bit nervous for this trip, but it turned out alright. Despite Celine being on holiday the one weekend I make it out (sad face x 100), we avoided the craziness of that city and just enjoyed some nice time together away from the negative degree parts of the country.

YOLVO 2014

Jenan became my sister when she married Keith on March 8th. Yes, just two months before me and Kevin. My parents deserve an award. They got married at the same church we did, and it was a truly remarkable time. Lots of joy and some really awesome photos. I love my family.

Keith & Jenan

Moments in Priscilla. Moving into married life, especially understanding it as a Vocation, means a lot of change. I savored the moments with my roommates. Since senior year in college, my roommates have been a big part of my life. It’s always been women I knew from the Catholic Center at BU, and my last house with them is still the home to many women I know. And one of our roommates entered religious life the day after my wedding, so those last few months were ones of big preparation!

In April, I got a new job. Despite the way I might feel about the way work is going, God truly had a hand in this change. Lonnie and I both left the hotel within the same week: her for California to enjoy life back at the winery and me for a new position trying out a different industry. The timing was impeccable as it meant I had off all of holy week, and I’d still be able to take all the wedding time off. And there are a number of other factors that made this a better opportunity now that I’d be getting married.

Last day at the hotel - bittersweet.

EASTER IN DETROIT. This was another grace of changing jobs. I had planned a trip to see my dear friend Elise for Easter on a whim one night, since I didn’t envision me and Kevin really making it out there once we got married (and Kevin would be in Duluth for this Easter), and was able to extend it a couple of days. This trip had a profound effect on me. We went to Christ the King parish in Ann Arbour, MI and all I can say is it was powerful. The whole trip was wrapped up in deep spiritual talks, visiting holy places, driving on 8 Mile (obviously), and just enjoying some of my last unmarried time with such a good friend. As we liked to say, we were bringing Easter Sunday to the city of perpetual holy Saturday.

Me & Elise on Easter Sunday!

There were a few last events before the wedding that Kevin and I shared with each other and with friends. The marathon in Providence was a festive day with my roommates plus some. Our day trip to Rockport was a lovely last hoorah as engaged people. Random bachelorette and bridal shower things with my friends. Packing up my room and finding keys from my last 3 apartments (oops).

Enjoying a nice Sunday in Rockport weeks before the wedding!

Providence. Just chillaxing.

And then I got married on May 30th. More about that here. And we honeymooned in the Canadian Rockies. More about that here. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’ve enjoyed learning the ways of marriage and being a wife. In addition to the big things like growing in virtue and learning to sacrifice more, I’ve also learned how to cook spaghetti squash a number of ways, make my homemade coffee creamer, entertain large groups of friends with my single waffle maker, create a variety of meatless Friday meals that are also super tasty, crochet (sorta), plant an herb garden on our balcony (and endure the failures), and turn our small apartment into a cozy home.

I’ve attended three weddings from August to November (was a bridesmaid in one), and they were all wonderful. It was fun going to a wedding as a married person and being on the other side of it.

One of my closest friends, Ashlie & Josh, had a baby in November! Sarah and I were blessed to be able to throw her a shower at Josh’s parent’s home in Albany, NY. It was so great seeing her 8 months pregnant knowing that so soon they’d bring their first child into the world. And now he is here! John Paul! He is adorable. And I just know that they are doing a wonderful job, as hard as it can be not being very near family or close friends.

We enjoyed a Pennsylvania Thanksgiving this year with the whole family, shortly followed by a Philadelphia Eagles football game in DC, and annual tradition that we opened up to extended family this year since so many wouldn’t be home for Christmas. We stayed in my sister and brother-in-law’s house in Alexandria, VA and it was a blast.

Family uniforms, from Papa Krouchick. (missing: Kevin!)

And now I am in Duluth, celebrating the Christmas season! It’s been a real blessing being here. I’ve only been once before a year and a half ago, but it was a quick two days with lots of packed events. This time we’re able to take it slow. And we’ve gotten in some good quality time with his mom, brother, and uncle as well as some close friends.

It’s crazy to think that those have been the big things. Kevin and I have experienced quite a bit of life in 2014. God is blessing us abundantly as we continue to find the rhythm of our day-to-day. There have been some trials, but we’re learning to trust the Lord in new ways. We’ve felt an outpouring of grace especially in these last couple of months as we try to look ahead to this next year. I have a feeling 2015 will be just as full of a year, but in a much different way. We will have many big life decisions to make and we pray God continues to be generous to us and that He will guide us to where he wants us. And we hope that we can continue to be generous in return; we truly have so much to be grateful for.

 

A Canadian Honeymoon

Canadian Honeymoon

WARNING: LONG POST REGARDING BEST HONEYMOON EVER

Planning our honeymoon was an adventure. It took us a long time to figure out where to go as we (well, more like I) had our hearts set on Europe. We initially had planned out our itinerary for 4 days in Portugal, and the main attraction there was Fatima, then we’d stop over in Rome and see a good friend who is studying in seminary there, and then do a week in Ireland driving all around. I worked so hard to make this work, I planned out every day, where we would stay, how to get the best rates on travel…and duh, it was like 5x more than we could afford. When we finally came to the realization that this honeymoon was not going to happen, we actually felt a lot of peace. Mainly because we admitted we were trying to make it a pilgrimage. It would have been an awesome pilgrimage, and one we’d like to take one day, but maybe our honeymoon was not the right time.

We love Canada – we’d been to Montreal on a pilgrimage together after 6 months of dating. My parents had honeymooned in Canada, and my brother was about to as well. And for some reason, maybe God’s will, it felt so right. All the pieces came together (a lot of it has to do with my parent’s generosity), and we were ready to go! Let me take you on a tour of the best honeymoon of all time (I’m a bit biased)..

Part One: Whistler, BC (two days)

Atop Whistler Mountain

Whistler, BC

Whistler is essentially a small, luxurious, resort town north of Vancouver. And it was perfect. We stayed in my parent’s timeshare, Club Intrawest, and what an amazing experience. The hotel was beautiful, just what we wanted. It was a short walk to the main village. The town was close to empty. We had our pick of walks and trails and restaurants. I would recommend this place to anybody looking for a nice getaway. Since it was early June, not everything was open, but it didn’t make much of a difference for us. The beauty alone (combined with perfect 60-70 degree weather) sufficed.

Part Two: Vancouver, BC (three days)

Vancouver, BC

What an interesting part of the honeymoon. Kevin’s not much of a city person, and although I can certainly enjoy wandering around cities and finding cute coffee shops, this was unique. The evening we got in, the front desk lady at the hotel suggested we take a stroll down this one street leading to the harbor. Well, we did. And I don’t want to offend anyone, but it…umm, it wasn’t our scene to put it simply. So our initial impression of Vancouver was…not the best.

View from Kitsilano (I think)

We were determined to make the best of it, though, and the next day was actually pretty good! A nice city market can really do a lot for me (it was my favorite part about living in London besides the pubs), and we spent most of the day on Granville Island. There was lots to see and the market was huge. It had so much to offer, and turned the inspiration wheels for Kevin. Afterwards we went to the Cathedral for confession and mass – really beautiful! And then off to the pier to see FlyCanada – a 20 minute imax experience showcasing the beauty of Canada. I did get a bit sick, but it was stunning, nonetheless.

Granville Island

That was definitley the highlight of Vancouver as the next day turned out to be a really big fail. Everything we tried to do got thwarted somehow or cost exhuberant amounts of money. We joke that Vancouver is the place where they take your money. When we asked two separate concierges for cheap eateries, both sent us to restaurants with entrees no less than $20 (whattttttt?!). Overall, we had an enjoyable time. Would we go back? Probably on our way to Whistler.

Part Three: Lake Louise, AB (one day)

Lake Louise from the Chateau where we stayed!

GO HERE GO HERE GO HERE. First, let me say how spoiled we were. We totally splurged and stayed at the Fairmont Lake Louise AND they upgraded us to a suite. Speechless were we. Amazing service. Amazing view. Amazing lake. We could just sit on that lake for hours staring, and time would not have been wasted. We tried hiking a trail, but there was lots of snow getting higher up, and…bears. We didn’t see any, but the area was on grizzley watch. We did, however, get up in the morning to watch the sunrise over the lake. We didn’t see a super clear sunrise due to the mountains, but it was still stunning.

LOOK AT THAT WATER

Unbelievable.

Part Four: Banff, AB (4 days)

Once again, spoiled. Through the generosity of my parents, we stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Banff Springs. Talk about the life of luxury. That place is a castle, and in this most romantic way. You could spend a day just exploring the hotel itself. The view outside our window was Bow River and the Rocky Mountains. There’s so much to say about this part of our trip. One thing you should know is that apparently in early-mid June in this part of Alberta, you have daylight from 4:45am to past 10pm. So that’s one of the reasons we have so much to say – it felt like we did about 4 different activities per day!

Hello, Canada!

Chateau #2!

Town of Banff – what a cute place. So quaint. Just walking around this was great; we found our absolute favorite restaurant, Bear Skin Tavern – I think we actually went here 3 times. They have the BEST pizza. They also kept giving us coupons to come back, so we did. There’s the town Starbucks, obviously, where I got my wifi on. It’s just a super cute place that made our trip even more of an experience.

Love!

Johnston Canyon – our first hike in Banff, and it was lovely. You’re walking alongside the river (with railings for a large portion of it cause your essentially on the edge of a cliff) for a couple miles? I don’t know. But it brings you to this stunning waterfall, and I love waterfalls. A very refreshing hike about 30-40 minutes from town.

Vermillion Lakes

Vermillion Lakes – ahhhhhhhh GORGEOUS! It’s right on the edge of town, so super close, but you can drive/bike/walk in a loop around them. We stopped one evening there during the golden hour (Kevin’s favorite time of day), and it was simply breathtaking. If it weren’t for the million mosquitoes (that always seem to favor me over Kevin), we would have sat there forever.

Look.at.that.view.

Top of Sulphur Mountain

Sulphur Mountain – so worth it despite my hidden (not so hidden anymore) fear of heights. We took a gondola to the top (you can hike, which Kevin did one afternoon during introvert time, but it was evening and we just took a quick trip). The view at the top of Sulphur is wonderful, but you can walk across it to the peak of another mountain and you just keep going higher and higher and higher and the view keeps getting better and better and better. We were super blessed with perfect weather everyday, so needless to say it was phenomenal. Oh my gosh. I kept wanting to stop cause of the height, but Kevin gently pushed me to keep going and I’m glad he did.

The Pro

Horseback Riding – this one I have to laugh a bit. It was a unique experience, Kevin loooooved it, I just had a super rogue horse. There was a group of eight of us, and we took a two hour trip around some beautiful land and up a smaller mountain. Objectively – awesome. Seriously. But my horse kept wanting to eat everything in sight. And I did not like having to continuously kick my horse and then have him get mad at me and start shaking his head furiously. We did see a coyote on this trail, though, which was cool.

One of my favorite views!

Such beauty

Tunnel Mountain Drive – another one of my favorites. When you stop along here, you feel like you’re overseeing all of God’s creation (well, not all of it, but a good part). Stunning. We went back twice cause it was just too beautiful. It’s a simple drive from Banff, and you just pull off the road at points and take in the beauty.

The lake all to ourselves!

SO MANY SHEEP. EVERYWHERE.

Lake Minnewanka – a nice spot (very big lake). Not my favorite, but still glad we went. It looks like a great spot for summer water activity, but was pretty empty when we went. One notable thing about this area, though – ALL THE BIG HORNED SHEEP YOU COULD EVER WANT TO SEE. Not joking. They were just chillin’ everywhere. Didn’t care who they blocked, who took photos of them – they were just doing their thing.

SO MUCH BEAUTY

So much peace :)

Moraine Lake – this was my top rated spot in the Rockies. We almost didn’t go cause it was our last night in Banff and it was about an hour drive away, but we are SO SO SO glad we did. We got there around 9pm and it was almost deserted. The moonrise would happen at about 9:45pm, so we wanted to stay for that. We walked up a bit and just overlooked pure goodness. It’s a glaciel lake, so it was still partly frozen just like Lake Louise, but I think that added to the beauty. There was a perfect reflection of the 10 surrounding peaks in the water. We just sat in awe for a while. This was the most worth it drive ever.

The Final Stretch

Our final night

(We did then go to Calgary, which I won’t really mention. Sorry to all the Calgary lovers out there, but umm…didn’t do much for us. We watched Harry Potter in our hotel room.) The entire honeymoon was just so refreshing. A perfect way to enter into our marriage. It was perfect too in that we had plenty to do, but it was also relaxing. And I’m so grateful we were able to take two weeks. It really allowed us to enter into it and feel removed from our everyday lives. It marked a distinct start to our marriage and we loved it. I would encourage this trip to anyone! If ever there are questions on how to plan the perfect trip to Canada, we’re HAPPY to help!