Friday, June 28, 2013

Up, Up, and Away!


On the day of our wedding, we received an amazing wedding gift from our amazing friends! We were given a hot air balloon ride that flew over upstate NY. You could imagine our excitement, especially since we’ve never been on a hot air balloon ride! Here is to another “check” off our bucket list! 


We waited until the new season in May to book our hot air balloon flight. We were planning for Memorial Day weekend, but Lana, the hot air balloon pilot and part owner, enthusiastically suggested that we book May 17th, which happened to be Cori’s birthday.  Lana insisted on this date because the weather was supposed to be perfection and we would be hitting the “weather lottery” as Lana explained and who could argue with that?! So... I ended up rescheduling my surprise birthday plans for my lady love so we could partake in this awesome experience! We woke up at 3:00am and arrived in upstate NY at 5:30am. The balloon ride was scheduled for flight at 6:00am. It was an early start and we were pretty tired, but being able to watch the gorgeous sunrise over the wide, open field was totally worth waking up at an ungodly hour. 


As daylight approached, we were able to watch the entire set up of the hot air balloons. After snapping a few photos and a briefing on how to safely ride hot air balloons, we were ready for our sky adventure! Lana split us into 2 groups. Group 1 would fly first and Group 2 would follow in the chase car before their flight. Cori and I were in the second group.







We jumped in the chase car and followed the balloon, taking a ton of pictures along the way. The hot air balloon landed in a corn field and we literally ran through the corn field with the rest of our group to board our flight. There is a small window of opportunity to board the balloon once it lands and before it takes off for flight again. The spontaneity of this adventure was definitely a highlight!






Once aboard and in flight, Cori turns to me and says, “I just remembered that I am scared of heights!” My poor wife tried her hardest not to have a panic attack. Nevertheless, she was able to relax a bit and enjoy the flight. 

 

The views were incredible, as well as the overall experience. Words cannot paint a good enough description…









 After our breathtaking flight, Ken landed the balloon in a parking lot. Once on the ground, we each hopped off one-by-one and assisted with the deflation of the balloon. The pilots were amazing! Lana was so positive and passionate about her career in hot air balloon flying. She was funny and a little wild, but in a good way. Her energy was contagious! Her husband, Ken, was our pilot and he was a little more reserved than Lana, but equally passionate.


We waited 7 months to book this flight and it was well worth the wait. The experience was unforgettable! The name of the company that is owned by Lana and Ken is called Fantasy Balloon Flights. A ginormous thank you to our wonderful friends: Sarah, Mike, Katie, and Sarah's parents for our amazing wedding present! Xo


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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lights Will Guide You Home


The months of May and June of 2013 have been pretty rocky for us. In the beginning of May, we had to rush our poor pup, Gambit, to the emergency vet because he knocked over the ceramic cat dish, and then ate the ceramic pieces along with the cat food. He did not need surgery because the vet surgeon was able to remove the ceramic pieces with the less invasive procedure, an endoscopy. Gambit is now healthy and happy! More importantly, we always remember to hide the cat dish when he is home alone… no more ceramic buffets for him!

Gambit's X-Ray... the white stuff are ceramic pieces.

The Fur Children

On May 23rd, I, Stephanie, was in a horseback riding accident. The horse I was riding, Annabelle, was acting spooked due to the thunderstorm and she tossed me during mid-canter. Annabelle is a tall horse and it was a hard hit to the ground. Luckily, I did not hit my head or damage my back, but I did dislocate my pelvis in 2 spots on the left side and also broke my tailbone.  I was out of work for a month and recently returned on the 24th of June. I am walking well with the walker and I’ll only need the assistance of Mr. Walker for another week or two. The orthopedic told us that surgery wasn’t needed, thankfully, and the bones should heal fine. I should be back to normal functioning by the end of the summer and I’ll be back on the saddle in the fall! 
 
Note the dislocated pelvis (to the right off the center) on Stephy's X-ray

Stephy and Annabelle

Last and most definitely least because the rules of life state that bad things only happen in threes, Cori and I were in a minor car accident that was Final Destination style. We were on our way to a friend’s wedding and driving under the railroad tracks when something from the Metro North Railroad smashed into the roof of Cori’s car… right over her head! Thankfully, Cori had a blazer so her beautiful head was not injured. The damage, however, did cause the glass to shatter everywhere and we were covered in glass fragments while wearing evening gowns. The paramedics helped us out of the car, dusted us off, and a police report was made. Cori’s car is  a total loss, but thankfully we managed to get out with only minor scratches from the glass. On a positive note, Cori can now get a new car!

Bye Blazer!

Made it to the wedding!

In between all this nonsense, birthdays were celebrated and we were lucky enough to have friends and family help us in our time of need. The trick is to hold your head up high and try to stay positive because there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Today, on June 26th, the light shines the brightest as it was announced by the U.S. Supreme Court the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 are considered to be unconstitutional and both were defeated in today’s ruling in a 5-4 vote. 

What does this mean for same-sex couples in the United States?

The Defense of Marriage Act was a bill that denied federal protections to legally married same-sex couples. Proposition 8 was a bill that stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in the state of California. As of this morning, thanks to Justice Anthony Kennedy and four other liberal Justices, Section 3 of DOMA was overturned and marriages in California are now able to resume. This means that in 13 states, including California and the District of Columbia will recognize same-sex marriages on both a state level and federal level. As more states continue to legalize same-sex marriages, couples will be able to acquire federal benefits. These benefits include: Bankruptcy, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Federal Employee Benefits, Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Immigration, Medicaid, Medicare, Military Spousal Benefits, Private Employment Benefits, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Taxes, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Veteran Spousal Benefits. 



Where in the U.S. is there marriage equality?

Previously…

Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, Maryland, and Washing D.C. 

Within this year…

  • Rhode Island became the 10th state in May of 2013 signed by Gov. Lincoln Chafee.
  • Delaware became the 11th state in May of 2013 signed by Gov. Jack Markell.
  • Minnesota became the 12th state in May of 2013 signed by Gov. Mark Dayton.
  • California became the 13th state on June 26th of 2013 thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.   

Cori and I had a legal Marriage in New York, in which we were granted state benefits, but not federal benefits. After today’s victory, we have a marriage that is recognized on a state level and federal level! Upon our relocation to California in the fall, our marriage will also be recognized on a state level and federal level.

California...

...here we come!

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wedding Gifts: Part 2


Almost one year ago, I sat in the back of a bi-plane as I watched and video tapped my wife (fiancée at the time) taking flight for the first time. Of course this sparked a new curiosity and hobby she was interested in, but thankfully it has been put aside for her love of riding at this time. Boy, she picks expensive hobbies! Check out her wedding gift post HERE.

The day has finally arrived!!

Over the last year I patiently waited for the winter to be over and the roads to be clear of ice and snow so that I could participate in my wedding gift! Stephanie purchased a Dream Car Sprint for me through Gotham Cars. This experience allowed me to sit in the driver’s seat and have full control over an exotic imported sports car of my choosing. Originally, I was sad that the laps were on a controlled course; however, I quickly realized that this would allow me to drive at top speed without the annoying slow driver limiting me. I set up my appointment time and patiently waited for the day to arrive. I pre-registered on-line a couple days before THE day and was bummed I wasn’t able to pick my car on-line. But then THE day finally arrived. With my proof of insurance (yes they did require that) and my driver’s license in hand, we headed over to the track.

It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky. The temperature was just right and the cars were beautiful! I read and signed the final paper work, which stated “this is an extremely dangerous activity” and that I was liable for any damages as well as the requirement for a helmet… boo! Next I picked my car, in which my two choices were Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder or Ferrari 599 GTB. We waited for about an hour because (of course) I chose the more popular car, the Lamborghini, but I wasn’t complaining! While waiting, we were watching everyone else (all men) take their turn.  I couldn’t believe I was THE only girl there that was going to drive! All the other ladies there were just cheerleaders for their husbands/boyfriends.

My READY face!

Blasted helmet!

Then finally, my number was called! I strapped on my helmet and slide into the gorgeous convertible! With 540hp at my fingertips, I took the first lap with restrain so I could learn the turns and as lap one finished, I pushed down on the gas pedal more and more. The company didn’t allow for a long straight away, probably so people/drivers couldn’t get the cars too fast. With the instructor next to me encouraging me, I stomped the gas and floored the engine as the car reached 100mph! Reaching the end of straight away, I let my foot off the gas and turned the corner into the rest of the track, including a hairpin turn! It drove like a dream, so smooth almost like I was gliding along the pavement. 

The guy who keeps people from crashing.

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

Top down!

After my ride, I didn’t want to leave. I would have loved a turn behind the wheel of the Ferrari, but I’m sure that is somewhere in my future! I posed for some photos and then bought an awesome shirt! We headed off for a lovely vegetarian dinner and then I raced home to look up specs and other opportunities on the company website! They offer a day of driving… kind of like a tour on some back roads… in the car of your choosing with your significant other or friend in the passenger seat (without the instructor). That is definitely something I would save up my pennies for! The only problem would be choosing just one to drive! Until then, I will be dreaming about my experience and the possibilities of the future!

Ferrari 599 GTB

Steph is really hoping for "swim with sharks" =)

 Check out the video of me driving at top speed:


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