Tag Archives: Relationships

Christmas 2012

This Christmas season we traveled to Chicago to celebrate with Alyssa’s family. The trip had a bittersweet beginning as we attended services to honor and remember Alyssa’s great-grandmother, Nana, who passed away a week before Christmas. She was by all accounts the true matriarch of the family. A genuinely remarkable woman, it would be impossible for anyone who had met her to not remember her sense of humor and beautiful smile.

Living in Nashville the last several years, these two northerners have had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit with a forecast of 65 and snowless in December. So we were both happy to see some flurries our first day in the Windy City.

There were of course the epic family get togethers complete with karaoke and dancing.

One of my favorite parts of going to Chicago in the winter is that my in-laws live on a pond that is perfect for skating when it freezes. My skating skills aren’t necessarily on par with the rest of the crew. However, I did get a pretty decent hockey lesson from Alyssa’s dad, and even helped (at least I tried to) protect the turf in a neighborhood pickup game.

Alyssa on the other hand grew up figure skating and is pretty awesome on the ice.

Alyssa and I became Aunt and Uncle this year to twin boys, and even though we hated missing their first Christmas we’re so grateful for technology that let us see our little buddies!

We went downtown to check out the city’s holiday lights.

Train reflections

Hope that you all had a great Christmas with loved ones!

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The Worst Day Of Every Year…

I wear my white Chuck Taylor’s just about every day. I love them. I love them so much that it sometimes has caused problems in our relationship. Not that Alyssa doesn’t like the white Chuck Taylor’s, but being the 7 year-old trapped in a grown-ups body that I am, I wear them until they are falling off my feet…literally. Then I buy a new pair. Once a year – before every big tour, I buy a new pair…and it’s the worst day of the year.

Everybody knows that Chuck Taylor’s look better dirty – so when I have to put on brand new white ones it makes me self conscious. I have a sudden urge to play in the mud just to color them up a bit.

Last year I felt like my Chuck’s held up pretty well. I suppose we weren’t on the road as much, and I was feeling like I could get a few more months out of them. Then I started to notice towards the end of the year that Alyssa would drop subtle hints. Whether it was conscious or not she would, without fail, suggest I take a look at any shoe store we passed. So I broke down – I bought a new pair in the middle of December, but did I wear them? Nope.

They sat in their box in the bottom of my closet. They sat there for months until I looked down one day at my feet and thought, “It’s time.” Personally I felt like they could have lasted for another 6 months, but marriage is about sacrifice right?

So I put them on stepped out the door for a bite with some buddies and sure enough, “Oh you got new shoes?”. Dangit…why did I do this? So long 2011 Chuck’s…

Thanksgiving In Chicago

Well, it seems as if we’ve been a little MIA lately. We spent last week in Chicago with Alyssa’s family for Thanksgiving, and then as soon as we got back Aly came down with some sort of a cold. But between making her smoothies and bringing her chicken soup in bed (half of which I spilled all over the place) I edited this little video of our time in the Windy City. Hope you enjoy!

Fall Cleaning – Finding Things We Could Have Used Months Ago

This past weekend we decided to do some fall cleaning. Dust was starting to collect on old clothes and our desk drawers were becoming so cluttered that it was becoming impossible to find anything. So after breakfast we started our Goodwill bag and began making the hard decisions of what to toss.

I started with my desk – so much junk mail. You see I’m completely paranoid about throwing out junk mail – I think that the bad people of the world are going to steal all my info, open up credit cards accounts and go on extravagant vacations on my credit score’s dime. So instead of trashing it all I just hold on to it until I – A) get access to a shredder or B) have access to fire where I can burn the evidence.

Alyssa in the meantime started on her craft drawers – and let me tell you, the woman could start her own craft shop with the amount of buttons and gluesticks she has.

Time for a Zack Morris style time-out for a brief story:

The week before our wedding, while I was on the road, Alyssa called me a bit upset that she couldn’t find her passport – an item that was most necessary for our honeymoon travels. However we knew some people who had used passport expediting services and we weren’t too worried.

Well, the next day she called to inform me that she couldn’t find her birth certificate either. Now, if you don’t know, not having a birth certificate highly complicates getting your passport expedited and we were running out of time.

Long story short – Alyssa’s mom had to go to the county clerk’s office back in Chicago and get her birth certificate to mail it down to Nashville same day air. Then we had to FedEx everything to the expediting service and pray for the best.

So the whole week before the wedding when most people are stressing over things like whether or not the flower girls will remember their cues, we were worrying about whether or not we would be able to go on our honeymoon.

But alas – at the last minute the FedEx package arrived and we all were relieved.

Time In:

So during our little cleaning session guess what turned up in one of our ‘junk boxes’…Aly’s birth certificate – oh the drama we could have avoided.

Needless to say we’re going to take a few more organizational precautions in the future – no more close calls for us. But thankfully it all worked out in the end and we had an amazing honeymoon in St. Maarten!

Oh and later that night I started a fire to burn all of our junk mail…

San Fran Memories

This past weekend, Chico traveled to San Francisco with the band for an event called Live on the Vineyard. He met lots of cool people there and they had a great time!

While I was at home, I had a pretty low-key weekend. I couldn’t help but think of the time I went out with Chico and the band for a few tour dates in California 2 years ago for my birthday.

Not only was it my first time in California, but it was my first time traveling on a tour bus! I met up with the guys in Reno and as they say- it was an older version of Vegas. That night was my first on the tour bus and it was pretty rough! We drove through the night through a snow storm in the mountains. The bus was squeaking so loud, my ears kept popping due to altitude, and it was really bumpy! Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much that night!

The next day we arrived in San Fran and Chico and I woke up early, rented a car, and spent just one day in the land of Rice-a-Roni (the San Francisco treat, remember?). We walked over the Golden Gate Bridge a few times enjoying the views and our time together.

We also went to Alcatraz! It was one of the most erie and awesome places I’ve been to! Chico and I were so fascinated by the stories, history, and architecture of the prison. A definite must-see in San Fran!


With a few hours left to spare, we then decided to hunt down the Full House house. Yep. We are those kids who grew up watching the show and couldn’t pass up this chance! Perfect opportunity. And yeah, we ended up taking pictures next to it…

…and we found some of the places from the intro theme song.

After a show in San Fran and then the next night in Los Angeles, it was time for me to head home and go back to work.

This trip felt so magical. Almost like I had stepped out of my life and into a photograph or something. It’s really hard to describe how much fun I had. I am seriously jealous that Chico got to experience the City again without me! There WILL be a next time!

There Is No Escaping…

I thought I was safe. I thought this would be easy. I thought the only thing that Alyssa had ever cooked with success in our four years of dating had been Kraft Mac & Cheese and even that was debatable.

Then came perhaps the most dangerous gift of our wedding shower in Chicago…A recipe book. This was no ordinary recipe book – it was filled with hand written family secrets and traditions from friends and family – some passed down over generations. I knew this would be trouble.

Don’t get me wrong I love food…like LOVE food (especially sweets). After all I grew up in the northeast where my Italian grandmothers took it very personal if I didn’t go back for seconds – or thirds for that matter. However, in recent years I have found that the best way to eat healthy is the ole’ “outta sight outta mind” technique.

Still, I figured it would take Aly some time to learn her way around the kitchen – WRONG. Ever since that first dinner together in our new home when she cooked me a birthday feast that included a family favorite ‘Poppyseed Chicken’ followed by my mom’s chocolate cake I knew I was in trouble. And remember how I said that I especially love sweets? Turns out desserts are her specialty. She will disappear in the kitchen and all of a sudden the house is filled with the smell of butterscotch or cinnamon or some other deliciousness.

When I’m home I office out of the house so I’m stuck all day with whatever goodness she was inspired to make the night before. And let’s face it – my will power is not nearly strong enough to fight off these cravings.

I have single-handedly made whole sheets of cookie cake disappear, murdered muffins by the dozens, and destroyed full pans of pumpkin loaf in one sitting. My current battle this week has been Alyssa’s pumpkin pie…

This is a war that I clearly cannot win….looks like I’m going to have to double my jogging miles…

Art House 20th Anniversary Celebration

Last night marked the 20th Anniversary of Charlie & Andi’s organization called the Art House. Twenty years ago, they bought a 100 year old church and converted it into the Art House and called it home. Here they have been mentoring people in the arts community, and hosting concerts and retreats regularly for the last 20 years. Inviting people into their home and showing them love and hospitality is what they have been called to do.

Chico worked at the Art House for about 3 years when he first moved to Nashville. It was his first start in the music industry – assisting Charlie in the studio and learning the business.

The Art House

Jon Foreman, Charlie, and Chico in the studio

Charlie & Andi are a couple that Chico & I really look up to. For one, Charlie is an artist and spent much of his marriage on the road. Talking to Andi is so refreshing. She has been there and done that and has such a calming effect – not to mention her homemade granola is incredible! Plus, she survived with no texting, emailing, and skyping since Charlie’s time on the road was before these technological advances that we take for granted. We’ve got so much respect for this couple, that we asked Charlie to marry us back in June. The ceremony was so special to us and they continue to impact our lives now.

Every time Chico & I hang out at the Art House, we feel such a sense of “home.” The place is so magical for me and I have an overwhelming feeling of love every time I step in to their home.

Good times at the Art House

Here are a few pictures from the event last night where old and new gathered for a time of community:

Andi’s Beautiful Garden

Chico spoke about how the Art House has really impacted him throughout the years.

Brooke Waggoner

What an inspiring night!