My Favorite Vacation Memories

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This past week my family went to Folly Beach, South Carolina for our big family vacation.  This trip was very special because we had the whole family together.  My parents did an amazing job planning the whole trip for us.  My husband and I drove down in the van with my family.  My brother Alex, and his fiance, Steph, met us at the beach house, all the way from Virginia.  My sister, Michelle, brought her boyfriend, Patryk.  And my youngest brother, Forrest, was able to bring his friend, Dante.  All together there were ten of us.  This is a list of some of my favorite parts of the trip, and why.  I would absolutely vacation to this spot again, and would recommend it to anyone.

 

  1. The Beach House– We rented a beach house right on the ocean for the week we were in town.  Our front porch literally looked right out onto the beach, and it took us probably a total of just 15 steps to get onto the actual beach.  Being right on the ocean was wonderful!  Every morning Kevin and I would sit out on the porch and watch the sunrise, or listen to the waves.  Any moment we wanted, we had the most breathtaking view from any of the windows of our house.   Being right on the beach made it so easy to go down and lay out, or swim in the water (which was an unbelievable 85 degrees Fahrenheit!) It was easy to go for a nice walk on the beach, and because our porch faced the beach, we enjoyed watching each other play in the ocean from the house.
  2. Downtown Folly and the Golf Cart– We all had a blast visiting downtown Folly Beach.  The downtown area is just a small street full of fun touristy stores and restaurants.  You definitely know that you are on vacation in a beach down when you stroll around downtown Folly.  We rented a golf cart during our stay because the town itself is not very big, and it was easier to just drive the golf carts to town instead of all piling into the van.  The golf cart was so much fun because we got to enjoy the beautiful weather, and who doesn’t love driving those things!?
  3. Deep Ocean Fishing- One of my personal favorite parts of our trip was when we went deep ocean fishing.  We went out on two fishing boats with professional fishermen.  They helped us and taught us how to fish!  Our boat caught two large catches.  It took Kevin, Alex, and my dad all their strength to reel in a gigantic sting ray that was 4 feet across in length.  Because the ray was huge, we were not able to bring it up onto the boat, but we all were in shock when we saw how big it was in the water.  I also ended up reeling in a 4 foot shark all by myself!  I can cross that one off my bucket list!  I know the other fishing boat with our family ended up catching a few sharks as well!  This was definitely an experience that was unlike any other.  Just being on the ocean was amazing too, so much being surrounded by sharks and sting rays.
  4. Patriot’s Point- We spent most of Tuesday at Patriot’s Point where we explored the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, the USS Laffey destroyer, and the USS Clamagore submarine.  I think that the guys on the trip liked this part the most.  You had free rein to roam all over these huge vessels that use to be active for the US navy.  The aircraft carrier had so many old planes, which were so fun to see too!
  5. Charleston Carriage Rides/Boat Tours- Charleston was absolutely beautiful! The history and architecture there blows my mind.  One of the best ways to explore the city was going on a carriage ride.  We had a carriage that fit up to 15 people.   Our carriage driver took us all over the historical streets and areas of Charleston.  We learned so much on that one carriage ride.  We also went on a boat tour around Charleston.  My favorite part of the boat was getting to see Fort Sumter.
  6. Escape in 60- Spur of the moment, we decided to try an escape room.  Most of us had never done one before, and those that did said that they would love to do it again.  We all had such a blast! All ten of us were locked in a room, the Warden’s office, and had to use clues and puzzles around the room to help us escape.  A TV monitor with our 60 minute countdown made the pressure feel more real!  This was perfect for my family because we are all very hands on and love puzzles.  I definitely would recommend an escape room to anyone who loves adventure!
  7. Crabbing- At night, we would all go out to the beach with flashlights, nets, and buckets.  As we walked, small crabs would be on the sand, in the water, and along the rocks.  It was so much fun trying to chase the crabs with our nets.  We let them all go after, but it was fun to see how many we could catch.  While crabbing, it was stunning to see all the stars.  That view is definitely something we don’t get up in Chicago.  You could even make out the constellations.
  8. Game Nights- We had two fun game nights while on vacation.  While we all played games 2 nights, throughout the trip everyone was constantly playing games throughout the days.  Some of my favorite were Code Names, Bananagrams, Pie Face, and Rollick (a team charade game).  Having ten people in the house meant that there was always someone to play a game with.
  9. Family Bonding- The absolute best part about the trip was spending so much time with my family.  Now that Kevin and I are married and out on our own, and Alex and Steph are in Virginia, it is pretty difficult to get the whole family together.  Being able to spend the entire week together was wonderful.  There was no doubt that everyone became closer from this trip.

 

Thank you for letting me share my vacation memories will you all! This family vacation was definitely a success!  The memories that we made together will last forever!

 

Always,

Jackie

Our Chicago Sports Themed Wedding

Kevin and I got married on May 24, 2015.  He and I have both been huge Chicago sports fans.  A big part of how we met was through watching sports together.  We are avid fans of the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Bulls.  When we got engaged, we wanted to incorporate our love of the Chicago sports teams into our theme.  Here are some of my favorite touches! 

Engagement Photos:

Our theme started with incorporating sports into our engagement photo shoot.  We bought baseballs to write our wedding date on.  I saw this off Pinterest and absolutely loved this idea!  We posed in our Chicago Bears and Chicago Blackhawk jerseys for some fun and playful pictures.  We had such a blast shooting with our amazing photographer.  He made the shoot so fun and natural!

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Save the Date: 

For our “Save the Date” cards we sent out, we did a ticket stub.  We had fun with the actual date when we designed this.  It was fun seeing our guests reactions when they received their cards in the mail.

Table Numbers:

For our table numbers, we used sports pennants.  Each table was either a Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, or Bears flag.  We went with a Navy and Silver color scheme throughout the wedding to keep colors neutral, but also classy.

Place Cards:

For our place cards, which told our guests what table they were at, we used an assortment of trading cards. We found trading cards that coordinated with our four teams.  The fun thing about these cards was that we did not just go with current players, but instead players throughout the decades!  We coordinated cards with the sports themed tables!  If you sat at a Chicago Bears table, you had a Bears trading card!  The same goes for the other teams!  I was told by guests that this was one of their favorite touches.  Many of our sports buff guests had fun looking at the players that they had on their cards and reminiscing!  This was my favorite part of our sports wedding theme!

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Guest Book Jersey Shirt:

For our reception, we had a Jersey Shirt made with our last name and the year of our wedding.  We had silver sharpies at the table, so all our guests could sign their name onto the shirt.  We also had a traditional guest book so that our guests could write little messages.  The jersey shirt was a cute keepsake for us to frame and hang up in our future house together!

Candy Bar:

We had a fun candy bar for our guests to enjoy.  We had an assortment of bubble gum, M&M’s, Skittles, Tootsie Rolls, and Chocolate sports balls as our candy.  We had fun signs throughout the wedding with fun sports sayings.

Bridal Party Photos:

We had a blast taking our bridal party photos!  We had fun playing out on the golf course and creating these football themed pictures!  Our whole bridal party embraced our sports theme.

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Introductions:

When our bridal party was introduced, they came into the famous “Space Jam” theme song.  This got our guests really pumped up as we all entered.  When Kevin and I were announced, our DJ played the Chicago Bulls introduction music and announced us like we were players on the Chicago Bulls.  When we entered the reception hall, our bridal party made a tunnel with their arms, which we ran through.  After we came out of the tunnel, we all got into a huddle and chanted “Jezior”, our last name!  This was so much fun to do with everyone!

Garter Toss:

Kevin took off my wedding garter to the Chicago Blackhawks goal song, “Chelsea Dagger”.  He then placed the garter onto a football and threw it into the crowd of guys.  The guys got very competitive when he threw it out!  This was so much fun!

Our wedding day is by far the best day of my life!  We had such a fun time, and I loved sharing these photos with you all!  Thank you for taking the time to relive this amazing day with me! 

Always,

Jackie

Our photographer for our engagement shoot and wedding was Eric Floberg! He is an amazing photographer and videographer in the Chicagoland area!  I would recommend him to absolutely anyone!

http://ericfloberg.com/

 

Blessed with a Generous Gift

This weekend my husband, Kevin, is turning 27!  We had talked about going to Milwaukee for a day to explore breweries and then spend the night there.  Kevin loves trying new beer and exploring new places.  This seemed perfect!  When we looked into hotels in Milwaukee we were shocked at how high the prices were.  We decided that we would pass on the Milwaukee weekend.  Maybe  next time.

I knew my parents and siblings were also going to go to Milwaukee that same weekend.  My parents won a free hotel room at the really nice hotel, “The Iron Horse”.  Earlier this week my mom and I discussed that Kevin and I were planning on doing Milwaukee too, but with prices being as they were, we were going to have to pass.  She tried to give me ideas on ways for the trip to be cheaper, but soon saw that even the hotels far from the city were pricey.

Kevin and I started to plan what this birthday weekend would be like.   We had a few ideas  for Saturday and Sunday.  Kevin seemed happy with our plans.  The thing about my husband is that he is probably the nicest and sweetest guy you will ever meet.  Even if he was disappointed about not going to Milwaukee, he never showed it.  He told me that it was not a big deal and we would have fun staying home and up this way for his birthday.  I still was upset that I could not swing the birthday weekend he had hoped for.  Kevin always goes above and beyond for me on my birthdays, so I wanted to do something special for him.  I had been disappointed that Milwaukee wouldn’t work, but was hopeful for the new weekend plans we had.

Tonight I got a call from my mom.  She and my dad were on speaker phone and told me that they wanted to give Kevin and I their free hotel room this weekend.  They said that they would have just as much fun as a family doing something up their way.  They also knew how much I wanted to treat Kevin to a nice weekend in Milwaukee.  I kept telling my parents that they did not have to do that for us, but they kept insisting.  They felt we would definitely take advantage of the weekend more than them.  Me being me, of course I began to cry.  I was just so shocked and thankful that they would give us such a wonderful gift.

My parents have always shown me that they love me and care for me.  Instances like tonight and receiving their generous gift just show how amazing my parents are.  My mom and dad are the most selfless and giving people I know.  They never just think of themselves..ever.  My dad is always working hard so that our family can enjoy great experiences and enjoy life.  My mom is always working hard at the hospital and at home to ensure us children get to do so many things!  My mom hardly ever takes time to just sit and watch a movie or TV, or even relax at times!  She is always helping to plan our countless school or extracurricular activities.  Being younger, I took for granted how amazing my parents truly are.  As I have grown, I am just blown away with their loving and generous hearts.  My heart is just so overwhelmed and full tonight.  I could not be more blessed or thankful!

My parents are truly the best people I know.  Thank you so much for this gift, mom and dad.  This means the world to us.  We are so lucky to call you mom and dad! We love you so much!

 

Always,

Jackie

Grateful 

When I was little I fought with my younger brothers and sister all the time. My brother Alex and I were the worst. We seemed to never get along. If the other person was happy or content, it was our job as their sibling to try to get under their skin.  Michelle was your typical younger sister. We fought about petty things. She stole my clothes and I got mad.  Everyone said we would grow older and become closer, even consider each other best friends. We swore that would never happen in a million years. 
Fast forward to now. I am 25 years old and dealing with the stressors of life. Alex now lives down by Washington DC studying international relations and counterterrorism. After getting some very upsetting news, I am a complete mess. Who do I call? Alex, of course. Alex who always is so calm and focused. Alex who is immensely mature for being 22 years old. Being able to sob like a child to him and tell him my problems, knowing he won’t judge me is so reassuring. He listens and let’s me speak. Then he gives me his advice. Of course it’s what I need to hear. I immediately feel better. After we hang up I know what direction I want to go in with my problem. The next day he checks in on me. “We will never be friends,” we swore when we were younger. How wrong we were. 
  My sister is only 19. She is currently studying abroad in Ireland with her college. I get endless silly texts and snap chats from her as she’s on her amazing adventure. When problems arise, she is someone I can vent to. Someone who can let me just be myself. Someone who can say what I wouldn’t say at times. Even though she’s miles away and across the sea, she takes time to listen and help me through my problems. She still steals my clothes, I mean, she’s my little sister, it’s her job. But she also is my person who I can turn to. She may be a lot younger than I am, but she knows how to make me feel better. 
I cannot believe how much my relationship has grown with my siblings. The past few days Alex and Michelle have been an ear to listen, a word of helpful advice, or someone to just make me laugh. I am so lucky to be their big sister. I don’t know what I would do without them. 
Alex and Michelle, thank you for being my support. You two truly are my best friends. Love you both immensely! 

Always,

Jackie 

Lost Voice

I don’t usually go to social media to reflect on the death or passing of a celebrity. But this morning I saw the news about singer, Christina Grimmie being shot at her concert. I have followed this talented young lady on her YouTube channel even before she made her first appearance on “The Voice”. I cannot even imagine what her family and friends are going through right now. I do not know what compeled her shooter to do what he has done. 

Grimmie’s cover of “In Christ Alone” is one of the most beautiful covers of that song. It is by far one of my favorite songs and gives me so much hope in life and in death. This beautiful woman is in a better place now. (Below is the link to her cover of “In Christ Alone”)

Life is so dear and precious. Today tell your loved ones that you love them. No time here on Earth is guaranteed. 

“No guilt in life, no fear in death; this is the power of Christ in me. From life’s first cry to final breath.  Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand; till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.” 

Always,

Jackie

It’s the Little Things

Once again today has thrown me for a loop. I can tell you that more than anything I want to escape from it all. But I choose to focus on the little things that bring happiness. Today I choose to find joy. 

– My husband and I are doing the Beach Body 21 Day Fix to help improve our physical health. We have been sharing my shakeology packs till his came in. Guess what came in today? His shakes! That’s a little success!

– My husband also just informed me that he won an autographed ball from a minor league player who was just moved up to the Chicago Cubs. Out of over 700 entries he was chosen as the winner! Definitely something to smile about!

– My little sister comes back from Ireland on Sunday. She has had such an amazing time there. Seeing her pictures and snap chats has made me so happy. I am so overjoyed that she is getting to experience a new culture and adventure. 

– Today is Friday! I get to spend the rest of the weekend with my amazing husband! 

It’s the small things. They may not seem like a lot, but they’re what’s helping me get through the hard times. 

What are the little successes in your day? 

Life is good. 
Always,

Jackie 

Find Joy 

It has been quite a while since I have been able to blog. Life has been quite a whirl wind the past few weeks. Today more than ever I have to tell myself that everything will be okay. In this moment now, I choose to find the joy in my life. 

– I have a job that I absolutely love. Working over the summer seemed like a bummer at first (in the fall I am a TA in a life skills special education class), but after this first week has ended I can say that I am loving summer school. The students in my room are all new to me, but our class has a great chemistry and we all just click. The students bring me joy every minute of the day. 

– I have the love and support of my mom, dad, brothers, and sister. Whenever things get tough, I know that I can call them. Just last night I called my brother and mom when I was upset. This morning my sister who is studying abroad in Ireland took time out of her day to support me too. No matter how tough life can be, I know I will always have the unconditional love of my family. 

– I have friends that care about me. Whether it’s through a text or a phone call, I have a core group of best friends who have stood by my side. They have seen me at my best and worst. At times we don’t talk or see each other as much as we may want, but we know that no matter the need, we are always there to help pick each other up. 

– I have my faith. Even when I am at my lowest lows, I have an amazing God I can turn to in my times of need. I have a Bible full of verses that give me strength and hope. I know that I will never be alone. 

– I have a faithful and supportive husband. He has stood by my side through the fun and happy, and the difficult and sad. He loves me for me. Having my husband by my side makes me the happiest. He truly is my inspiration. 
So today, when it feels the hardest, I choose to find joy. 
What brings you joy?

Always,

Jackie