One Year to Go (Again): Part II

Welcome back! Yesterday I shared the most beautiful photos that my friend Melody took for Les and I at Misselwood Estate to commemorate our original wedding date. It was such a sweet start to our week before we took off on a little get-away over. So now let's get to our trip and the rest of our celebration!

Les and I both took Friday off from work so we could head right to Candlewood Lake on September 4th. My parents were already there, and my sister and her husband joined us later that night. I grew up going to our cottage almost every weekend in the summers since I was in 6th grade. It was only an hour away from where we grew up in Connecticut, so it was really easy to get to and it was the setting of many a June birthday party for me and huge family gatherings at the end of summer.

But after my parent's moved to Maine a few years ago, we hadn't been getting to the lake as much; we think it had been at least 2 (maybe 3?) years since Les and I had been there. As hard as this is to admit, I think another part of our family's not going to the lake lately has to do with losing my Uncle Steve last year. At our big family weekends, he was very much the life of the party. He's in the back left of this photo on what we affectionally call the "family flotilla." One of our collective favorite memories from that year and really from all-time at the lake is when someone tried to toss a plastic pitcher (with a lid) of margaritas out to the float and it sunk. Steve dove right in and came back up triumphantly with a still-full pitcher of margaritas to pass round. There was also the time he DOVE off of "Chicken Rock," named because most people are too chicken to jump off it, let alone dive head-first. Or the time he almost led a mutiny on my dad's sailboat on a dead-calm day when-after several hours stranded my dad refused to give up the sails and turn on the motor. Steve is the center of so many of our favorite stories.

This vacation made us realize how much we missed Candlewood Lake, though, and we're looking forward to getting there more often to make new memories, and keep smiling when we re-live the old ones.

In the meantime, what made this trip even more special were the surprises that my family and our friends had lined up for us. On Friday night after my sister and brother-in-law arrived, my family led Les and I down toward the water where we saw a little canopy of bistro lights surrounding a big tent. Swoon.

The four of them had set up a romanic little glamping site (like camping, but more glamorous) for Les and I, complete with a cot, champagne, a sheepskin rug (!) and a few other treats. We were so surprised. Who thinks of that?! It was such a cute way to give Les and I a little bit of the magic back that we thought we'd miss on this bittersweet weekend.

They did an incredible job jazzing up this tent! Saturday morning, we woke up to the most delicious blueberry and ricotta pancakes courtesy of Kelly and Tom and then we all headed right for the water. The six of us spent a fair amount of time in the same giant float pictured above. Speaking of pictures, I realized that I hardly took any photos at all from this trip (besides the tent)— I was too busy spending time with my family, and relaxing. So was someone else... clearly:

On Saturday we also took the boat out for a little lunch cruise and swim, and eventually headed back up to the house for dinner on the deck. Afterwards, we popped a bottle of champagne that Kelly and Tom had given us when we got engaged, and my dad toasted to "what would have been and what will be," commemorating September 5, 2020 and our new wedding date of September 4, 2021!

Here's when the waterworks started... after we poured the champagne and did a little dancing on the deck, Kelly told us that she wanted us to come inside and watch a video that she had put together from a trip to Northern Maine a few weeks back. But when the video started playing, it was a picture of Les and I followed by video messages from my bridesmaids, a few girlfriends, and Les's groomsmen. I'm dying to share them... but there was some singing involved and I'm not sure how public the group wants them to be. ;) I was in tears... first from the sheer joy of seeing all of my girlfriends on video with heartfelt messages, re-written Taylor Swift lyrics and Tik-Toks, and then from the hilarity of watching grown men sing Can You Feel the Love Tonight from the Lion King. It was truly the most amazing surprise and it made Les and I feel so, so loved. Shoutout to Maid of Honor Kelly and Best Man Colin for coordinating and executing what are now my favorite clips to watch daily.

The next few days were filled with more relaxing, floating, boating, swimming, canoing, eating and drinking. We were able to stay safely within the confines of our little cottage and just enjoy time off from work and away from the apartment. And, more importantly, instead of lamenting over what could have been this past weekend, we were too distracted by love and the lake to dwell on it,

And so, the countdown begins again! We're now at 355 days until our wedding, and we're more excited than ever.

Lastly, before I go... and speaking of weddings... a very happy first wedding anniversary to my sister Kelly and brother-in-law Tom. They were married one year ago yesterday in beautiful York, Maine right on the ocean, and they've had an incredible first year of marriage! From an amazing honeymoon in Europe to quality time quarantining together to buying their first house— I can't wait to see what year two (and the rest of your lives) bring you!


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