Tag Archive | Maine

This day was my fairytale

Hello, hello! It has been quite some time since I’ve written. Between wedding planning and being between states all summer, I could barely keep up! However I’m back to the blog, and this time it’s as a married woman! Brandon and I said “I do” on August 15th in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and it was truly the most perfect day. The location, the setting, the atmosphere, and the love surrounding us was truly magical. Our wedding day will forever be the most special day of my life.  While we don’t have our professional photos back from our amazing photographer yet, I wanted to share some memories that I captured, and that friends captured, from our special weekend. (Thanks to all for the photos!) This day was my fairytale <3

Set-up day! Friday, August 14th:
Our wedding was held at the Spruce Point Inn in Boothbay Harbor, and it was the perfect venue for us. If could give any advice to future brides out there, it’s this: ask your venue if they will let you set up the day before your event. Our wedding coordinator Carolyn allowed us to do this, which helped calm my nerves and alleviated SO MUCH stress for us both. We set up from 8:30-10:30 a.m., and then we didn’t have to think about it again. Plus, many hands made light work. Thanks to all of our family and friends who helped!

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The wedding day-August 15, 2015:
Morning run to shake out my (happy) nerves!

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The countdown began:
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Our room:
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Getting ready fun:
Make-up by the amazing Kimberly Savage:
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Hair by Brenna Clauson:
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2 Mrs. French’s :
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All dolled up!
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My dress security was on POINT: Smile
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Moments before the walk down the aisle!
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Down the aisle we go!
Mom & Nana:
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The most special moment with Dad:
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Mr. & Mrs. French!
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All my girls:
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Our amazing cake and whoopie pie favors from Sweet Sensations Bakery in Rockport, ME:

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Bouquet and other flower touches from Boothbay Region Greenhouses. We worked with Marinel and LOVED her!
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Some other special touches included a table in memory of our Grandparents: IMG_2434

Our guest book “paddle”:
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Dancing Shoes:
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Special signage, with so much help from Mom French, and our amazing friends!
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If you’ve made it through this entire post, I apologize for the picture overload! It was so fun to write this and re-live our magical day. Thanks again to our family and friends for celebrating with us and for all of the love. xoxo

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Engaged! The best question of my life

Hello, hello! Happy Labor Day, I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend. For the past week I have had some exciting news to share, but I never got the chance to hop on here and write. Since I never ever want to forget a single detail about this, I figured today was better late than never!

This past Sunday on August 24th, 2014, I was asked the best question of my life.
Down on the ocean in beautiful Kennebunkport, Maine, Brandon asked me to marry him. I don’t think there will ever be another moment that takes my breath away or surprises me quite like this one, and I know for certain I will never forget it.
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My Fiancé

Although I’ve known that Brandon was the one for me and would be my future husband, I truly didn’t expect this to happen after work last Sunday evening! I was 100% surprised and so so happy; it was done in typical Brandon fashion; heartfelt, caring, and full of love. It was truly the best night of my life.  I feel so honored that he asked me to be his wife, and couldn’t be happier that our families are being joined together forever. A new brother, the best in-laws and a wonderful extended family is just icing on the cake…so happy!
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Brandon brings so much joy, laughter, and purpose to my life and I can’t wait to spend forever with him.  I’ve currently been replaying our engagement-evening events in my head over and over again, and smiling so hard my face hurts. Since I never want to forget this moment, I wrote a little poem of my memories that night:

Our Engagement: A Night to Remember

A drive to the water
we were all dressed up,
it was a Sunday evening date
where I thought we’d just laugh and catch up.

But you had a plan, 
one that I did not know;
so sneaky yet organized
everything just seemed to flow. 

Since drives to the ocean are one of our favorite things
it wasn’t abnormal to stop and sit,
listen to the surf,
and smell the air that it brings.

Little did I know when you parked at the beach
that when you said you wanted to touch the water
you were planning to go down on one knee.

This night was going to be one to remember,
it was part of your plan,
to say a heartfelt speech
and ask for my hand.

I can’t believe I almost ruined it,
being so late from work,
crushing your sunset plans
and all of those ocean-side perks.

But sometimes the best moments go unrehearsed,
and since I had no idea I went and said something first.
“When are we going to get a dog” I asked,
it seemed that was all that you needed,
since you responded really fast.

When you said “there’s something that has to happen before we get our dog”
I still didn’t get it,
it was like my mind was in a fog.

But you followed that by getting down on one knee,
looking me straight in the eye,
asking “will you marry me?”

That beautiful ring
glistening in the dark,
your smile so bright
I could feel the love and the spark.

Due to sheer surprise,
I barely remember my reply
but it was an obvious yes
to this dream guy of mine.

Sealed with a kiss, a hug,
and about a million “I love you, oh my god’s”
we ran to the car to share the news
with our loved ones near & far.

The most memorable night for both of us
and for our families too,
I can’t wait to spend all of my life with you.

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Thank you to all of our family and friends for your heartfelt congratulations, love, and support. I’m so excited to be Mrs. French!

xoxo

p.s. Summer 2015 wedding is the plans…wedding date coming soon! Smile

Friday Confessions: moments

Hey friends! Long time, no talk. Time sure has slipped away from me this summer. It is SO hard to believe we’re almost to Labor Day.  I don’t know how you’re feeling about it, but I’m quite honestly having mixed emotions.  Since the end of summer is upon us (I hate saying that but it’s true… I start classes in less than 2 weeks!), I wanted to be sure I wrote about some of my favorite moments through the last few months. After all, even though I originally started this blog to share recipes,  it has truly become a space to also express my feelings and write about memories I never want to forget.

We all have moments that stick out in our minds…happy and sad moments, freaking-out moments,  life is oh-so-good moments, etc. I’ve certainly had my fair share of cries and hysterical moments this summer, but all-in-all, there’s been a lot more happy moments that stand-out in my mind more than anything at all. For one, Brandon came home,  for another, my sister got married, and just yesterday we signed a lease and move in one week! While the summer has also had its challenging moments, mostly it’s been incredibly special. I will always look back on these few months and cherish these times.   My favorite moments were:

Moments with my parents: It’s been incredibly rewarding to live with my parents this past year. Having this one-on-one time with them day-in and day-out as an adult has been so special. I’ll always hold dear to my heart the early morning work-outs and walks with my Mom, movie and dinner dates with my Dad, bike rides, mother/daughter day-off trips, and grocery shopping together…man-oh-man I’m going to miss my parents. I will never be able to thank them enough for their generosity this year and I will always treasure these moments.

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An evening stroll in Kennebunkport

Fried food date with Dad (YOLO)
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Bike ride cuties

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Moments with friends: I haven’t seen nearly enough of my girlfriends these past few months, but no matter how far apart we live, the second we’re together, it’s just like old times. Much love to my girls.
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Moments with my other half:Although I’ve only seen my sister ONCE this summer (I can’t even believe that’s the truth), every second of  being together was wonderful. Best friends forever and always.

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Moments with grandparents (and the grand-dogs):
It has been a summer of adjustment without our Boppa around for all of us, especially for Nana. For that reason, we’ve tried to keep her busy and keep her surrounded by loved ones at all times.  Moments with Nana and my Mem are always full of laughter and love, but they’re never quite long enough. My parents would agree that moments with their “grand-dogs” are never quite long enough, either.
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Moments of celebrating love:
It is the summer of weddings and I have loved it! Witnessing some of our closest friends and family members exchange heartfelt vows has been so special and has warmed my heart. Plus, attending them with Brandon has made them even more special.

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Moments of togetherness:

I have not spent nearly enough time with Brandon this summer as I’d hoped, but we are so excited about our upcoming move and future endeavors. I’m thankful for the special moments we have had this summer, and can’t wait for future together.
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Moments at work: The biggest challenge I faced this summer was creating a work/life balance for myself. While I didn’t exactly excel in this balance, I am really proud of the improvements I made in my managing skills and food-service skills, along with the commitment and dedication I showed throughout the season. I truly couldn’t love a small business more.  

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Do you have any stand-out moments of the summer?

What’s up for Labor Day?
I will either be moving or working, so please share some fun plans so I can live vicariously through you!

Truth is…

Truth is… 
Time management has been a challenge for me lately. I love blogging, but I’ve had a hard time balancing school , work, and life over the last few months. One New Years resolution of mine will be to blog a couple of times a week, mostly because it truly makes me happy to write, reminisce, and share thoughts and recipes.
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Truth is…
Thanksgiving this year was one of the best that I can remember. Great food, great family and lots of laughs, I just loved it.
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Truth is…
I am mentally (and physically) exhausted from studying for finals. I have had 3 finals over the course of the last two days, and in the last two weeks, I do believe I’ve studied more  for chemistry than I have for any other subject EVER. Lets hope it pays off.

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Truth is…
I recently found out my anatomy & physiology credits from Australia aren’t being accepted for course credit at the college I’m attending, and therefore I must repeat A & P in America. Truthfully I cried for about six hours thinking about the effort and money I spent to take that class…but truthfully I know everything happens for a reason and it will all work out in the end.

Truth is…
I love my grandparents more than anything and selfishly I want them around forever. Watching them struggle with old age has been nothing short of challenging, so I’m always so happy when we’re together and we can dote on them.
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Truth is…
Friendship is a blessing. I spent last Saturday in Boston with some of my dearest friends and I truly loved each and every second.
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Truth is…
I really miss outdoor running. While in Australia, most of my workouts were outdoors and I sort -of became accustomed to it. I certainly enjoyed fall running to its fullest in New England, but Maine winters +snow+black ice+frigid temps=no more running for me. However last week and this week, I managed to sneak in one run each week on the “warmer” days, and walk/runs with my Mom. It was blissful!
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Truth is…
I’ve been making a protein shake each morning for breakfast to go along with my fruit and yogurt, and I am absolutely amazed at how long it keeps me satisfied. Arbonne protein powder for the win!
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Truth is…
The holidays are my favorite time of year. When else can you bake and shop every single day and not need an excuse to do it?
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Truth is…
My Mom and I may have a T.J. Maxx problem…just sayin’.
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Truth is…
I made these iced oatmeal cookies last week and they were EPIC. Mother Thyme is a genius. I’ll most definitely be making these  over and over again.
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Truth is…
Brandon arrives home for Christmas in 12 days. To say I’m a little excited would be an absolute UNDERSTATEMENT!
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Got any truths to share?
What’s your favorite thing about Christmas time?
Anyone else have a TJ Maxx “problem”? : –)

Thursday thoughts

Thursday…finally. Can I get an Amen? Since I’ve been working all weekend, every weekend since I’ve been back and I have night class Monday through Thursday night, Friday night is my only true weekend night-off. However, tonight my normal  Biology lecture and lab got cancelled, and I couldn’t be happier. To be honest it kind of feels like Christmas!  Class cancelled=no one hour commute=night off=YAY!

Anyway, here’s some random thoughts on this Thursday:
-I am super psyched for my twin sister’s wedding. This past week, my sisters, cousin, and best friend (about half of the bridal party in total) all got together and purchased our bridesmaid’s dresses. We made a great afternoon of dress fittings even more fun by stopping next door for a couple of margarita’s afterwards. Shopping + margaritas = my kind of afternoon!
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-I don’t remember ever disliking a class as much as I dislike Chemistry at this time. Atomic numbers, compounds, mols, elements…UGH. The one thing I do enjoy is the teacher (she is awesome!), so I’m trying to focus on that positive.

-I am becoming even more of an ice cream fanatic since I’m working around it all the time. Would you be able to resist homemade Peppermint Stick or White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle? If you can you are a stronger person than I!
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-I can not praise Bic Bands enough. I have been wearing mine to work, to work-out, and to go-out. I just love my sparkle band!
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I’m still unpacking and settling back into my room at home. Since I haven’t lived here since high school, I’ve been finding a lot of things my childhood….like this jacket. My proof that I was once a cheerleader Winking smile
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-I have been a big-time fan of Alexia sweet potato fries for awhile now but hadn’t yet tried the sweet potato “puffs”. Um… lets just say I’m never making my own sweet potato fries again.
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-One final thing… I need a puppy in my life. Anyone out there have a King Charles Cavalier Cocker Spaniel? OMG obsessed.
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How’s your week?
Have you tried any new food products that you like lately?
Do you have a puppy? If so, what kind?!

sometimes the hardest thing is the right thing

Hey friends! I truly did not intend to take a leave-of-absence from blogging while I was home, but somehow that’s what happened. However,  I can say I truly enjoyed every single second I spent with my family and friends, and sometimes stepping away from technology is necessary to make sure that happens. I must admit I am VERY behind on blog-reading, so to some my favorite bloggers out-there (Meghan, Charlotte, Leslee, Monique, Rachel, Elizabeth, Brooke, Kristy, Kelly, Cori, Kristina, Lillian, Bek, just to name a few) I am still a devoted reader, promise! Smile

Anyway, in five short weeks home, I think it’s safe to say I fit a lot in. It all started with a visit from my twin, which was full of:
– fun dinners:
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-puppy cuddles:
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-…and ice-cream dates:
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This visit was followed by a week-long trip to Cape Cod where we:
-mini-golfed:
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-went bowling (where the best part of the bowling alley was the bar!):
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-relaxed, exercised,  and ate loads of frozen yogurt:
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-had a fantastic dinner with some of my closest girlfriends and family (hi Laura, Peter, and Lauren!):
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…and dined out:
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(To.die.for. Lobster salad at the Poppenessett Inn)

Our Cape trip was followed by a wedding dress shopping weekend with my sister, Mom, and best friend Sarah. Can I just say that I’m OBSESSED with dress shopping? Love love love. We also squeezed in  a girls night at Mohegan Sun, and a visit to Kimmie’s wedding venue in Newport, Rhode Island:
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(We are standing on the exact location Kim and Jim will be married next year!)

-Mohegan Sun girls night:
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-Plus I got to see my dear friend Michelle for lunch, too:IMG_3567

In my last few weeks home, I worked most days (Hi Mr. Shaw!), but fit in some pool time, a Boston visit, and quality family-and-friend-time too:
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So after a whirlwind trip, I’m back in Australia! It feels wonderful to be back with Brandon after a month of being apart. I don’t think long distance relationships get any easier, no matter how much experience you have with them. But as good as it is to be back,  I do have a confession: I’m not back for long. After countless hours of research, pro/con lists, deep discussions and many tears, I’ve decided to move home in order to continue pursuing my second degree back in America. As hard as it is to admit, sometimes the hardest decision is the right decision, and this is one of those times.
 
Would I rather stay in the same place as Brandon? Yes.
Do I love living in a tropical paradise? Yes.
Do I feel that moving to Australia was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Yes.
Would it be easier to stay here and continue doing what I’ve been doing? Yes.

However, the adult me asks:
Education wise, does the university here offer what I need for courses? No.
Does it make more sense to take my pre-requisite classes somewhere more affordable? Yes.
Do I want to be done with school as soon as possible and start my new career? Yes.
Will staying in Australia enable me to do this? No.
Will I have more opportunities to work while attending classes at home? Yes.
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And so, with Brandon’s support and our families support, I’ll be moving back to the U.S.A. at the end of August, immediately starting classes in Maine at that time. 
I’m extremely grateful that I can continue my dream of achieving my masters degree of nutrition at home, but it deeply saddens me to leave Brandon, the life we created together here, and the friendships I’ve cultivated this past year. Sometimes the hardest decision is the right decision, and I’m praying that this one is the right one for us.

Thank you always for your on-going support and for reading,

Meredith

P.S. Brandon’s parents are en-route to Australia tomorrow and we are anxiously awaiting their arrival. Travel safe, Brad and Sue. We love you!

Happy at home

Hello from home sweet home! I am so happy to be here; I just can’t believe how quickly the days are passing. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! Thankfully, my flights back to the U.S. on Virgin Australia went very smoothly. In fact, I only had one semi-freak-out during the whole trip, which happened to occur in Los Angeles airport. By the time I got my luggage and went through customs, border protection, and re-checked my luggage, I only had one hour left to sprint across three terminals, make it through security, and board my flight. I sure did cut it close, but somehow I made it!

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This was after about 15 hours of flying…I may look tired but I was SO excited to be on U.S. Soil!

My greeting from my family at the airport in Boston is honestly a blur to me, mostly because I was quite teary-eyed and so ecstatic to see them. I’m glad my sister Christie snapped these pictures because I think they capture my reaction quite well!
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Mom, Mom, Mom!!!!

So besides catching up on sleep this past week, my first few days home have included some of the things I’ve missed most over the last 6.5 months,  including:

-Eating my favorite foods
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Panera Bread bagels and Mom’s fruit salad (Please don’t mind my side of extra butter  with my bagel LOL)

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Mom’s homemade baked stuffed shrimp= obsessed

-Indulging in my favorite treats
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Chocolate-glazed Munchkins after Sunday Church

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Shaws Ridge Farm Red Raspberry Chip Icecream

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Raspberry/coffee soft serve, with rainbow sprinkles of course!

Shopping at my favorite store
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Truthfully this is the only store I’ve shopped at so far this week, but I nearly died of excitement. 

-Seeing my favorite people (and animals)
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Lunch reunion with both of my Moms: –)

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Reunited with my nephews!

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Finally reunited with my twin. 6 months was far too long without her.

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Finally getting to see (and try-on, obviously!) my sister’s engagement ring. It is STUNNING.

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A special visit with My Mem

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My Dad and Peanut

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My Mom and precious Preston

Besides those favorites, I’ve also gotten in some great work-outs with my Mom, have enjoyed copious amounts of iced coffee, eaten too many desserts to count, and have been re-adapting to driving on the “right-side of the road.” Winking smileA perfect week in my book!

I am so looking forward to the next few weeks and seeing other friends and family members, especially my girls. Since I’m in Maine with my parents and many of them are in Boston, I have a lot more reuniting to-do and I can’t wait. Home sure is a happy place! My only wish is that Brandon could be home too, enjoying all of these things with me. (Missing you, B!)

What’s your favorite thing about going home?
I think mine would have to be family dinners; I cherish that time with my parents and sisters!