Christmas Cards

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Every year, people at work hand out Christmas cards. This year, someone handed out a card with this picture on the front:

I just found it kind of strange because:
A) I didn't know that Native Americans visited baby Jesus in the manger and
B) I didn't know wrapping paper and bows existed when Jesus was born.

You learn something new everyday.

It's probably one of the weirdest Christmas cards I have ever seen.

Top 5

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Currently, we are snowed in and the snow it just keeps piling up. Right now, we have over a foot and the "winter wallop" as they are calling it, is supposed to continue until tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd post what Adam and I voted as the top 5 funniest pictures of the wedding reception, which by the way, was a blast. So here they are:

#5: We think it looks like Adam's Mom is doing Mr. Roboto in this picture.

#4: During dinner, we had a special surprise, the Hershey Kiss showed up! Lots of people posed for pictures with it, and my niece Charlotte hugged it about 25 times...but Adam's coworker Rob really got some action with the Kiss. Don't worry Rob, I won't tell your girlfriend. By the way, we still have no clue if there was a man or a woman in the costume.

#3: The last 3 pictures of the night were all similar to this one, I think anytime grown men are holding bouquets of flowers, it makes for an interesting picture.

#2: The groomsman in this picture has been Adam's friend since Adam was in elementary school. I also happened to grow up going to church with him, and we both know that he likes to have a good time. He was the life of the party, and I saw him dancing with many women, including both my mother and Adam's and my aunt. I also like this picture because my sisters are pointing and laughing at him in the background.

#1: This is the best picture of the entire night, who knew that my brother-in-law Andrew had such amazing dance ability? This must be his signature dance face, because there are 2 more pictures where he has exactly the same look. I'm sure my sister is very proud.

Here Comes the Bride

Friday, December 18, 2009

On the morning of December 5th, we woke up and headed out to the salon to get beautiful. The snow had just begun to fall and everyone was asking me if I was anxious about it. I thought it was wonderful and was very happy about the fact that it was not sticking to roads. After the salon, we came back to have lunch and get ready. All of the bridesmaids looked incredible and it was so nice to be able to talk and laugh with them all day.

Once we got ready, it was time to head to the church. The limo driver was a bit directionally challenged (I know how that is), but eventually we made it to the church and had just enough time for pictures before the ceremony. I only had to wait for about 30 minutes in the holding cell room before the big walk down the aisle.

The ceremony was perfect: the church had just been decorated, so you could smell the fresh greens and all of the candles in the windows were flickering away. The sermon was great, and it was so special to be married by the same minister who married both of my sisters. Adam was very handsome, and the best man didn't forget the rings. Overall, it was a success and by the end, we were the new Mr. and Mrs. Adam Cianfichi.
There are hundreds of pictures of the wedding, and you can check them out here.

The Best Day

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 5th was by far the best day of my life. I know I'm bias and everything, but my wedding was amazing...actually, it was beyond amazing. The day was everything that I had pictured in my head since I've been engaged, it even included the perfect amount of snow: enough to make it beautiful, but not enough to hinder people's ability to come.

If I jammed the entire wedding into one post, it would be a book, so I'll break it down.

On December 4th, we had an incredible day of relaxation before the big day. It started at the spa, with manicures and pedicures. Adam's Mom even got her first pedicure EVER, and now we know what gift certificates to get her for all major holidays.

On Friday night, we had the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal went off without a hitch...everyone was on time and cooperative. The Cianfichi's had gone to so much trouble to make the rehearsal dinner beautiful, relaxing and fun. The Two Mile House in Carlisle was the perfect setting and the food was killer. It was nice to sit and laugh with family and the bridal party before the craziness of wedding day started.

Christmas Preparation

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Even with all of the stress and craziness that goes along with the planning of this wedding, last night Adam and I took some time to set up the few Christmas decorations we have. Now, we will return from our honeymoon to a festive apartment and be able to enjoy the final 2 weeks before December 25th!

This ornament was attached to one of the gifts we have already received, and it quickly became the focal point of our little tree.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Usually when I leave work, there are various homeless people out in the plaza in front of my building, and they always ask for money. Once one of my coworkers that I was walking out with said that he was probably alot less likely to give money to a homeless person when he was just leaving a very long day at the office.

Yesterday, I was walking out when I saw a young guy (probably my age) dressed in nice jeans, a button down shirt and a Polo blazer. Honestly, he was probably dressed in more expensive clothing than what I was wearing. He claimed that he had recently become homeless and then, in a southern accent, asked me for money. I don't ever carry cash, so I didn't have anything to give, but it got me thinking about whether that is a good tactic.

Giving the guy the benefit of the doubt (because I have no idea if he really was homeless or if he just wanted to go buy a pack of cigarettes at the CVS), I would be much more likely to give money to him because he is less threatening to me and also because I can picture myself if that kind of situation (hopefully that never happens). It made me want to go out and do an experiment to find out what type of homeless person gets the most money, although I don't really think that would be very ethical.

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Bachelorette Bonanza

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Last Saturday, my amazing sister Sally threw me an incredible bachelorette party with 10 of my closest friends. My oldest sister flew up from Atlanta and even Toni traveled down from New York City. Every time I get together with these friends, it feels like no time has passed since we've seen each other. We talk, laugh and goof around and it was so nice to catch up with all of them before wedding day.

We started the day off with lunch at Sally's and then visited two different Maryland wineries: Basignani Winery and Boordy Vineyards. We tasted about 25 different types of wine between to two and even got a tour.

After sipping wine all afternoon, we headed to Sally's to hang out and get ready for dinner. Around 7:00 we went downtown to Pazo, one of my favorite restaurants. We paired up, ordered lots of different types of tapas, and I even got to drink two really fun cocktails.

After a 3 1/2 hour long dinner, we went to Powerplant Live, where we witnessed the shortest dress I have ever seen as well as some pretty interesting pole dancers. We were there for about an hour before we decided to go back to Sally's and go to bed.

I had a wonderful time with amazing friends and I'm sure I'll remember it forever.

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Improv Everywhere

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This morning I was cruising YouTube and found Improv Everywhere, a group that goes to different public settings in NYC and breaks out in song. Some of their music videos are hilarious, but this is my favorite. Can you imagine being in a grocery store and having this happen?

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T-Minus 1 Month

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So the big day is only a month away and I am getting more excited by the minute. I have various countdowns going on as well....30 days, 5 more grad school classes, 15 more days of work, 4 more weekends, etc.

On the planning front, everything is running smoothly and I am confident the day will be beautiful and really special. We've met with the musicians, the florist and the photographer, and we've also ordered all of the place cards and thank you notes. This Saturday is the final meeting at the reception venue. We even have about 98% of the responses and it looks like an amazing group of friends, family and coworkers will be there.

I feel like I've been waiting forever for this day (well, 17 months is a pretty long time) and now I'm afraid it's going to be over in the blink of an eye. So, I'm going attempt to sit back, relax, and not become Bridezilla because at the end of it all, I am marrying my best friend and the perfect guy for me, and that's nothing to stress over.

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Think of him as your solider

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

For the past 18 months, I have been working on a joint Department of Defense and Department of Veteran's Affairs pilot program called The Disability Evaluation System, or DES. Basically, the two departments work in conjunction in order to help some of the Gulf War's most seriously injured veterans. Working on this project has been hard for me, because many of the claims are for people my age or even younger, and many have catastrophic injuries.

Today, one of those service members took the time to come visit the office with his mother and speak to us about his struggles thus far. They traveled up to Baltimore from Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital outside of Washington, D.C., a place that has been their home for almost 3 years, since the service member was flown out of Iraq after stepping on a land mine. His injuries are unbelievable, and he is only 25 years old.

Although seeing this young hero was extremely emotional and heart-wrenching, it was even more emotional hearing from his mother. When the accident occurred, she quit her job as a nurse to be her injured son's full time advocate, sleeping in his room on a hard hospital cot, and fighting with doctors and physical therapists to get him the care that he deserved.

The whole time she was talking, she kept referring to him as "her baby" and "her soldier." Here was this big, 25 year-old man, but to his mom, he was still her baby. It just goes to show, that no matter how old people get, they are still someone's baby and mothers are willing to do everything in their power to make sure their babies are not hurting.

She encouraged us to imagine that every case we work is "our soldier," someone who is important to us and what an important lesson as we approach Veteran's Day on November 11th.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

A couple of months ago, Adam and I started watching Glee on FOX Wednesday nights. Let me say, that the show really brings out the inner band/chorus nerd in both of us, plus it really appeals to our sense of humor. We find the sarcastic and off-the-wall jokes and comments hilarious and usually spend the whole episode laughing.

Throughout the show, they have little vignettes where certain characters sing a song that has something to do with the story line. It made me think about how much a song can describe a situation, a feeling or a story.

Have you ever been listening to a song and you can totally relate to it, or you are just so moved by the moment, the notes, the chord progression, the words that it catches you off-guard? That is honestly why I think music is so can be a song without lyrics and it still has the ability to make you feel a variety of different emotions.

When it came to picking the song for our first dance at the wedding, we had a hard time. We didn't know whether to pick one of our old favorites, or something new and different. Eventually, I heard a song on XM radio and fell in love with it because it describes one of my favorite times of the day.

Anyway, if you haven't watched Glee, I would recommend it, then you can write long, drawn-out blog posts about what music means to you.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

On Friday night, Adam and I drove through the pouring rain to Mechanicsburg for another busy weekend. The plan was to meet with the minister, the DJ and celebrate my Dad's birthday with a nice dinner and then pumpkin carving. Even though it was raining, we picked out some great pumpkins and had a wonderful evening carving them and celebrating Dad's birthday with carrot cake made from scratch by my sister, Sally.

When we were growing up, Dad always used to carve our pumpkins for us after we would scoop all of the goop out of it. Usually, we would stand around the kitchen table that was covered with newspapers and Carrie, Sally and I would argue about what the face should look like. Dad usually drew the design quietly, maybe listening to our design ideas, maybe not, but our pumpkins would always turn out to have great little faces.

Over the past couple of years, we haven't carved pumpkins at home, we were all busy doing different things. It was fun to sit around the kitchen table and carve pumpkins, even if Adam was the one carving it for me this time.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

On Tuesday afternoon, Adam and I went to have our engagement pictures taken. The pictures were kind of an afterthought, considering we have been engaged now for about 16 months, and I wasn't even sure that I really wanted to have them taken. I am very happy that we went, because the pictures are great! Here are some of our favorites:

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Being Sensible

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Over the weekend, Adam and I ventured up to State College, PA to catch the Penn State vs. Iowa game and also to celebrate my future sister-in-law Cara's 21st birthday! We had been looking forward to the weekend for a long time and we were very excited to go up for the whiteout game.

Around noon on Saturday, it started to drizzle, and then the drizzling turned into a downpour. Thankfully, we were all in Adam's grandparent's RV enjoying chili and other football games on TV. Around 7, with the rain still coming down relatively hard, we all bundled up in sweatshirts, ponchos and hats and headed over to the game. Saying I was miserable would be an understatement. The game was wet, cold and the people in front of me decided to combat these two problems by making out through the entire first half. And to top it all off, Penn State played like crap, and they lost.

After the game, we met Cara and her friend and began the long trek down to the bars so she could be there and ready to party when the clock struck midnight. It took us longer than expected, and she actually ended up turning 21 while she was in the bathroom of a computer lab, complete with countdown and all.

Shortly after midnight, Adam's parents called to wish her a Happy Birthday and tell her to "be sensible." "Being sensible" then became the buzz phrase for her 21st birthday night. We went to a really cool, dirty and dingy Irish bar where everyone was getting warm and drowning their sorrows after the horrible game.

Overall, the celebration went off without a hitch: she got really drunk but didn't get sick (the sign of a successful 21st birthday), both the band and the entire bus on the way home sung happy birthday to her, she rode the children's carousel in front of the Giant at 2:30AM and Adam and I got to relive our long-lost college days.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

I feel like the next few months might be the busiest and most exciting of my life so far.

For the past 16 months we have been waiting in anticipation for the big day...December 5, 2009, and with two and a half months to go, everything is moving very quickly. I'm sure that October and November will fly by and the big day will be there, staring me in the face.

This past weekend, we sent out invitations, met with the church wedding coordinator and went for the first floral meeting. Needless to say, it was so neat looking at pictures of flower arrangements and trying to pick the right color of roses for everyone's bouquets. I think the most exciting thing for me, was finally sending out our beautiful invitations and I can't wait to see who will come and share this wonderful day with us.

Other than worrying about all things wedding, I've also started back to grad school with a governmental budgeting class. Honestly, it's not a subject I am very interested in, but at least it will be over and I won't have to worry about it anymore after this semester.

Sorry this is just a boring life update entry, but life is pretty crazy right now!

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What a guy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Last weekend, Adam and I drove through Newark, Delaware on the way back from visiting my Grandma in Philadelphia. As we were going down Main Street, Adam asked me if I would go back to college if I could. I said no, because I think that it's exciting being in the working world: paying for your own stuff and a nice apartment, having responsibilities, working and being taken seriously (most of the time.) It was fun while it lasted, but I wouldn't want to go back to college.

Someone must have been listening to my comment and thinking, "hmmm I think this week would be a good time to give Rachel a good taste of grown-up life."

This morning, I got ready for work and headed out to my car. I Stuck the key in the ignition and nothing happened. Now, the reason I bought a brand new car was so I wouldn't have these problems anymore. So, pissed off and upset, I went back into the apartment and woke Adam up from his deep sleep. "Babe," I said, "my car won't start." Grumbling an inaudible statement, he proceeded to get up, throw some shorts on and walk outside with me, where we both confirmed again that my car was not starting.

Then came the big decision....what do I do now? Do I take the day off of work to call AAA and figure this out, or should I get Adam to take me to the train station and figure it out after work? We decided on the latter, and my wonderful fiance agreed to work from home and pick me up in the afternoon. So off we drove to the train station, he still shirtless and half-asleep and me still upset and wondering how much this will all cost, but when I got out, all he said was, "don't worry, I'm the man, I'll take care of all of this," and it made me feel much better.

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Super Market = Not so super

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Perhaps one of my least favorite errands to run after work is going to the food store. Adam and I usually go grocery shopping once every 2 weeks, but of course we always need something in between. Yesterday, I needed Catalina dressing and tomatoes for our taco salad.

The grocery store we visit also happens to be frequented by many elderly people. Nothing against older generations, but why must they do their grocery shopping at 5:00 on a Monday evening, when the whole working world goes to the store? Once, I was wearing my VA polo shirt while shopping and was accosted by a man in the produce section who wanted to know about his benefits (note to self: NEVER wear VA polo shirt in public.) Since we started shopping at this particular store, I have been almost hit in the parking lot twice, helped numerous other shoppers figure out the electronic scale and label maker, and have been asked by a little old lady to get the prune juice off of the top shelf.

Yesterday, I was not really in the helping mood and all I wanted to do was get home. I quickly grabbed my salad dressing and tomatoes and made my way to the check out lines. Of course all of the lanes with a checker had hoards of people stretched to the back of the store, so I made my way to the self check-out station.

In my opinion, self check-out lanes should have disclaimers posted above them stating that people must have enough knowledge to use them. I got into the line behind an elderly woman with only a small container of potato salad and some olive oil, thinking she would be speedy. Boy was I wrong! It seemed that having to type in the product code for her potato salad and weigh it was just a little too much for her, so she stood there glaring at the screen and refusing help from anyone, claiming that she "would like to figure it out by herself."

I could hear a collective sigh from the group of tired workers (who had only ventured into the store to purchase a few things for dinner that night) as they observed this lady ahead of them. Finally, one store employee took pity on us and opened another self check-out, which was quickly followed by a stampede of people to the newly-opened lane.

Maybe you should have to carry a special bonus card with you shopping to prove that you are a proficient self-checker, and if you don't scan your card, the lane doesn't work. Just some food for thought.

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The Cat's Out of the Bag (Or the Apartment)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It was a sad day in the Cianfichi/Achuff apartment on Sunday as we said goodbye to Hailey, Adam's cat. Adam bought Hailey shortly after he broke his ankle his junior year in college. A few months later, I met Hailey when I went to a fraternity party at Adam's house. She was cute, but I'm not a cat person and I left the party wondering why a college fraternity guy had a little kitten. Over the next year, I watched the poor cat get locked in the bedroom during parties, fed weird food and given all sorts of odd alcoholic concoctions. She was the only female in a house full of messy, dirty boys. No wonder she tried to run away 3 times.

When Adam took his job in Baltimore and moved into his own apartment, Hailey was left for weeks at a time while he was away on business trips. He got calls from the management office saying that she would sit by the door and cry. He had her de-clawed after she destroyed a desk chair and one of my bags because she was lonely and bored.

Then, the other animal entered the picture. From the beginning, Tobey was fascinated by the cat. He would run around the apartment looking for her, and then terrorize her when he did find her. She would, however, get back at him by standing outside of his cage and pawing at him through the bars. When we moved into our new apartment, the complex changed the regulations regarding pets, so we thought about it and decided to attempt to find a better home for the cat.

On Sunday, Adam dropped Hailey off with a really nice family that lives in a big, beautiful house near his parents. Even though he was pretty upset about it, he said that the family was incredibly excited about their new pet and had already purchased her all sorts of toys and treats. She will certainly be spoiled and get tons of attention, and that makes both of us feel much better about the decision.

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Metro Mania

Monday, August 17, 2009

For a year and a half, I have been riding the metro to and from work everyday. Two years ago, I would have never thought that I could ride public transportation every single day, but it's pretty easy and when I think about the money I'm saving on parking, gas and car maintenance, it really seems like the best option.

Usually when I get on the train, I put my sunglasses on, crank up my IPOD and read a book, and most of the time my rides are pretty uneventful. Last week, however, was an exception. On Wednesday, I was sitting in my usual seat when we stopped at one of the stations. The doors only stay open for about 10 seconds, so many times, you see people sprinting down the escalator to try to make the train, and often times, people force the automatic doors open so other people can run on.

Last Thursday, a woman ran on with her baby in the stroller, but her husband/boyfriend/baby daddy/flavor of the week man must have been behind them because the lady stuck the baby-filled stroller into the door to stop it from closing. The stroller was squished by the force of the door and the poor baby started screaming.
What a wonderful way to show your child how much you love them, shoving them into an automatically closing door. Stroller companies better start equipping their products will roll cages or something.

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